Moms are great!

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother. Mostly because she’s awesome and is a rockin’ support system.

There have been quite a few times that I’ve been unkind to my mother or less than compassionate. From time to time, my mother will bring up one of my uncaring moments, and it bums me to find out that I’d hurt her in the past.

It’s interesting… these days I look back at some of those moments and find I’m walking her shoes today. I look in the mirror and I see her. It’s an odd thing for me… because I look nothing like the person in my 20s… the person I expect to see. Instead, I look like her… or my grandmother. 🙂

To be honest, it irritates me to see my mother instead of me. Don’t get me wrong… my mother is beautiful (and that’s not to say I see the same beauty in me). It’s just that I want to be my own person. Despite being annoyed that I look like someone else, I still have days I’m thankful I see my mother’s face in mine. I know one day, my mother will be gone, and my face will be the only living reminder I’ll have of her. When those thoughts enter my mind… I find myself grateful that I look like my mom.

I’ve been watching a lot of Korean shows lately. 🙂 I’ve always thought my mom was the best… certainly better than the moms my friends had. Watching these Korean shows (yes, I understand they’re fiction) has shown me there are other great moms out there also. They come to the rescue of their children. They root for them. They comfort them. For me, it’s a reminder that moms are great.

My mother was there for the birth of my first two children. She was my coach… or rather the panicked woman next to me. Labor is bad… but with my mother it was bearable. I think about the times when women were the only ones in the room during childbirth, and it makes sense. My mother understood what I was going through.

I compare it to my last child, where I only had my husband. 🙁 I don’t want to say he was useless… but I think back, and I still get upset that my mother wasn’t there. That was over 7 years ago, and I still can’t talk about that experience without feeling fire. Whereas my first two labors were bearable, I simply made it through the last ones. Because of my experience, I tell my daughters I’ll be with them during their labor. I just can’t imagine them having to suffer like I did without their mother.

I’m gearing up to have a hysterectomy this year. I talked to my husband first. And even though he cares, his demeanor told me he’d rather just have the problem not exist. I called my mom, who’d had a hysterectomy about a decade ago. Of course, she was completely engaged. She told me how life changing her hysterectomy was and that she wished she’d had one sooner instead of suffering through her 40s. We talked about our similar experiences that led to our decision. She asked me when I planned to have the surgery, so she could take off time to take care of me… like her mom (who had also had a hysterectomy) had done for her.

Until recently, I never really understood how precious my grandmother was to my mom. Mostly because I have the greatest mom in the world, and it never really occurred to me that my mom might have an equally great mom. I guess I didn’t see it.

Growing up, we lived in Washington and my mom’s parents lived in South Carolina. I recall visiting my grandparents in the summer, but seldom did my mom come with us. After I moved out of the house, had kids of my own, and my grandfather died, my grandmother started traveling. She took her first plane trip to visit my mom over the summer. My kids were also in the habit of visiting my mom during the summer (without me). Again, I didn’t get to see the relationship my mother had with her mom.

My grandmother died a couple of years after my mother had her hysterectomy. It was an awful time. My mom called herself an orphan. I still didn’t understand the relationship she had with her mother. To be honest, Grandpa was my favorite. I thought he was everyone’s favorite. In my mind, her reference to being an orphan was because she’d lost her last parent. After all these years, I see it was more than that.

My mom has been sharing the times Grandma has been there for her. She’s told me in the past, but I’ve only recently started to take what she says to heart. I’ve come to realize that her mom meant the same to her as she does to me. Just as I think my mom is the greatest in the world, my mom thinks her mom was.

It makes me feel horribly sad and eternally grateful at the same time. Sad that my mom lost someone as precious to her as she is to me… it makes me tearful thinking that my mom doesn’t have someone (a mom) to care for her like I do. I even feel guilt that I can’t take the place of her mom. Then I think about how my mom has been there for me, and I’m so very, very thankful that Mom had Grandma. My grandmother had been there for mom in a way I had never been.

My grandmother makes me want to be a better daughter. I know I can’t be like Grandma, but I want to give back to my mom what was taken away when Grandma died.

Reviving the Writer

Steve left an encouraging comment to me the other day. It really got me thinking. So his comment.

Steve Evans says:

Hey Reena – you are a writer. An editor too, but a writer first off. Just because you’ve not written anything for a while doesn’t change that even one little tiny smidgen of an iota.

I worked in the media for a number of years because I thought it would help me to be a “proper writer” that is, a novelist. I was wrong. As you say,work just sucked out the energy. But I learned a lot about writing and when I chucked it and started writing fiction, it was a great help.

Anyway the point is that you never know what the future will bring. You have a great attitude about writing, and about life – so say I.

Hope the NatNoMo goes just exactly as you would wish.

Steve

For awhile now, I’ve had the idea in my head that writers write. Anyone with a published piece of work could be an author indefinitely, but writing was a status you had to constantly do to achieve. I still believe that… writers write.

Steve said, “Hey Reena — you are a writer.”  I have to admit, it gave me a boost. However, I also had to ask myself, if I’m a writer… what the heck was I doing not writing? Haha

I thought of my unrealistic goal of knocking out a short story each week. That was the goal I made last week. I make all sorts of lofty goals I’ll never accomplish. That’s just me. 🙂 And to be honest… it’s difficult to even get started on an unrealistic goal because it’s like trying to eat an elephant in one sitting.

Yesterday, I woke up thinking about my muse… and where it had gone. I thought about how ideas used to float to me in the shower. How I’d dream of plots and scenes to write the next day. Now… I don’t know where that creativity has gone. It’s kind of like going to school. As long as you keep going, your brain stays fresh and ready to work. Take a few decades off and it’s a struggle to get back into the game. HOWEVER… it only takes a few weeks/months for the brain to reboot and get in the learning mode.

I think writing is the same way (or so I hope).

I’m all over the place here. I guess that’s why it’s called rambling. Let’s get back to writers write. Instead of the elephant of a goal of writing a short story each week, I can begin by writing a little every day… something that doesn’t overwhelm me. It brought to mind I Loved You First.

I believe I was about half-way into writing the novel. It’d been on the side burner for awhile. Then I came across this group whichhad a daily goal of writing 100 words. I did some calculations and realized if I wrote 100 words a day, I’d have the book finished in about 6 months. What was great about the 100 words was it was outside of my current writing project. In my mind, it’d be a way to complete one extra book that year, which might never have been completed.

So now… I’m thinking to myself… why can’t I do that now? Why I can’t I be a writer who writes 100 words a day?

The Sun Still RisesThank you for your words of encouragement, Steve. I’m writing again.

Out of the dusty closet, I’ve pulled out a contemporary work called “The Sun Still Rises.” The word count is about 12K at the moment. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on it, so I’m not really sure where it’ll lead. At the moment, I envision it being a novelette. I’m thinking, I’ll probably double the word count… hit somewhere around 25K.

It’ll take me about 4 months to finish it if I write 100 words a day. So!!! Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft wrapped up by thetime I hit NaNo. Yes, yes… I know NaNo is only 3 1/2 months away. However, there will be days I write more than 100 words. The goal is to write 100 words a day… no days off. I did that with I Loved You First. I can do it again. After all, 100 words only takes about 15 minutes of my time. Certainly I can spare 15 minutes a day to reboot my writing brain. 🙂

Anyway… I’ve had this cover for a while. What do you think?

The Non-Writing Author

So, I’ve not been writing. I guess that means, I’m not a writer any more. 🙂 Or maybe I am. Last night, I pulled out an old short story I started and did some minor editing… well that’d make me an editor. However, I also wrote a line or two. Does that make me a writer again? Hmm.

I haven’t been reading either… so I guess I’m not a reader any more either. Wow! Has life changed over the past 2 years… for the better though – minus the non writing and reading.

2013 was an awful year… a depressing year. It was the first time I ever dealt with depression. Of course, I’ve had a few down days, but last year… I was seriously depressed for awhile.

2014, though. It’s turning out to be a wicked wonderful year. The best year I’ve had since…hmmm 2000? 2000, early 2001 was awesome… this is pretty much up there.

I started a great a new job November 2013. Decent pay and with benefits almost as decent as military benefits… maybe even better with all the cut backs being made recently. Plus, I don’t have to put up with that crap that comes with being a soldier. Even better… I love my job. And it doesn’t hurt to have a great boss who pretty much lets me pave my own path when it comes to my career.

For the first time in my life, I’m with a company I feel comfortable retiring with. Of course, I have quite a ways to go… but retirement is looking pretty good right now. And the experience I’m obtaining here. It makes me feel like every day doors are opening wider and wider.

On the other hand, working a full day, really sucks my motivation to do anything but relax after work. 🙂 I’ve been trying to tell myself to really focus on short stories for a while… knock out a few and get in the habit again. Publish something… ANYTHING.

Then again, the idea of editing what I’ve written saps my motivation too. 🙂 I really need to start reading some more.

I think back to when my life was all about reading and writing. I’d come up with scenes in the shower… full of ideas. And now… blah. I’m sitting here laughing at the thought of being a washed-up, has-been writer before I’ve even gained a bit of popularity.

Still, this non-writing author is so happy with her life right now.

On a side note… I’ve already decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I have an idea for a book that I’ve been contemplating for a couple of years. I’m really looking forward to it. Even though they (whoever ‘they’ are) say not to put off until tomorrow, I am. November-tomorrow. Perhaps that’ll be my reentrance into the writing society… or maybe not. The stress of NaNoWriMo always saps my motivation for a few weeks afterward.

Anyway or anyways for those who like to use made-up words. 🙂 Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Eat to Live (Rambling Alert)

I mentioned a few posts ago about my newfound addiction to Korean Drama (K-Drama). One of the things they do often in the series is eat. Now I have to admit… I’m typically a big fan of eating. I LOVE meat… particularly steak.

A while back, my father-in-law (hater of all meats other than hotdogs and hamburgers) and I were talking about food. I mentioned I could eat steak EVERY night. He was quite skeptical and told me no I couldn’t. Crazy man… I assured him I could. In fact, I’ve been on steak binges from time to time. Day after day of grilled steak… yum!

So, steak… Yes! Enter K-Drama. Besides rice, noodles seem to be a big thing in the K-Dramas, particularly Ramen. Now, I’m not a ramen fan. However, I am fond of other noodles. So, I headed to my local Korean market and picked up some goodies.

Over the course of a couple of months, I found there are different types of rice noodles, even though they may look the same before cooking. For example, there are clear noodles (vermicelli) and another type which turn opaque after cooking. Originally, I started with rice noodles, which turned opaque white after cooking. Along with the noodles, I picked up some seaweed and miso soup mix stuff.

The first morning I had a bowl of the rice noodles and soup mixture was so satisfying. It was like comfort food. I had this wonderful full feeling… not the overstuffed bloated feeling that makes me feel like I’ve made a horrible mistake… but just very satisfied and cozy.

My rice noodles became my new steak. My late night snack would be rice noodles, and sometimes I’d slurp some down for breakfast. Oh, happiness. 🙂 Sometimes I’d mix things up by adding some meat into the mixture… chicken, smoked turkey, fish, shrimp, poached egg. Oddly enough, my preferred meat (beef) didn’t make it to my concoctions.

So, I ran out of rice noodles and headed back to the Korean store. This is how I learned rice noodles were not all the same. I picked up vermicelli instead of my opaque noodles on that trip. One difference was vermicelli took a lot less time to cook… 3 minutes. In fact, I originally thought the first rice noodles were the 3 minute ones and was surprised they took so long… even more surprised when they turned opaque. With vermicelli, adding hot water is enough to cook them in 3 minutes, and they’re really easy to overcook… falling apart if left in heat too long.

After tasting the difference between opaque rice noodles and vermicelli, I have to say I prefer the opaque ones (whatever they’re called).

Odd thing has happened recently though. The last week or so, I’ve had very little appetite. Food just isn’t very appealing these days. I still enjoy my noodles. They’re tasty, and I eat quite the serving each time. But then there is the family dinner. I sit down to eat, and it’s just a huge chore.

It’s not that I’m not hungry. In fact, I’m hungry right now. I was hungry before dinner. Yet, I didn’t want to bother with it. If not for my family, I probably would have skipped it. The odd thing, it was one of my favorite meals.

Apparently, pizza is rather popular. My family loves it. Me? Not so much. However, I’m quite fond of Pizza Hut’s Spicy Asian wings. So when my family wants pizza, I put my own order of wings… and usually, I don’t share. 🙂 They’re mine! All mine! Mine, I tell ya!

Tonight was pizza and wing night. I didn’t really want to eat when the food arrived. But like I said, I have a family, and dinner happens to be our family time. So, off to eat I went.

I decided to have a slice of pizza with my wings. However, after eating my slice of pizza, I no longer had the motivation to continue and skipped the wings, which explains why I’m hungry. Right now, what I’d really like is to not be hungry without having to eat.

Really, I have no idea what’s going on with my head. Have my noodle and seaweed meals met my needs to the point I have little to no cravings? Lately, I feel like I’m eating to live rather than living to eat, like I used to. Family meals are just a big hassle. The menu options are just so uninspiring, and I’ve yet to convince my husband and son to go on my Korean diet. I suppose it’s a good thing. It’s been a while since I’ve gone to the physician without hearing the polite suggestion to lose 10-15 lbs. Perhaps this will be the way to do it.

Have you gone through a phase where you’ve lost the passion for your favorite foods?