Sunday, January 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: How to Be an American Housewife

I was looking for books to read in the new year. I was making a list. I found this on my bookshelf: How to Be an American Housewife; sounds intriguing. When did I buy this? How long has it been sitting on my bookshelf?

The first couple chapters were engaging, funny, even sad at times. I was stepping back in time.

I absorbed it rather quickly and it has stayed with me long after I've read the last page.

Shoko was a beautiful Japanese woman with the world at her feet. Life interrupted, war came to her country. She married an American GI and came to live in America to seek a new life... better opportunities.

Before each chapter is an excerpt from a handbook on how to assimilate into American culture, how to raise kids, how to immaculately clean your house.

This is my favorite excerpt:

"An important criterion in choosing your American mate is his blood type. Military men often wear identifying necklaces, 'dog tags,' which bear the blood type..."

"AB - The worst kind. They do whatever they want whenever they want. They make horrible husbands. "

"B - very practical, but dull."

THAT.CRACKED.ME.UP!!!

Growing up as an immigrant myself, I related well with Shoko and her daughter, Sue. My family always had absurdities about relationships such as these.


Other quotes from the story itself:

Sue was helping Shoko in the kitchen and came across the book: How to Be an American Housewife.

"For the first years of my marriage, it had been my handbook, my guide to doing everything. Rules for living. American style. Sometimes it was right, and sometimes it was not. Sometimes I liked it, and sometimes I didn't. But that was just like life. You don't always get to do what you want, do you?"

I wish I got a handbook like this when I moved to America. I wished my MOM got a handbook. She would dress me in a yellow t-shirt with red corduroy pants. When I wore skirts, I had these long most unfortunate socks all the way past my knee and she would put a rubber band right below the knee and fold over socks. Oh my word... kids are merciless.

"Helena was my do-over daughter. With her, I had the patience to do everything I should have done with Sue. Cook. Teach about Japan. Hugging. I would have even taught her the language, if I hadn't been certain I would mess it up. She needed to learn proper dialect, not what we used out in the country."

And that stabbed me in the heart. 

I don't talk much about this, but when my parents were in the process of getting a divorce, I knew there was no pain like that in the world. I was 11 or so. I went on the bus on my way to school one day crying as an older student from the high school consoled me. Then, I was in college and my dad got married. He didn't tell me. I guess I wasn't that important to share this news. I was so devastated. I thought that this must be the worst pain. Nothing else could be this bad. I would wake up each day and just want to end it all. And then... he had another daughter. The replacement. I was the practice child. The prototype. The cast off. He would do better with this one. He would do right by her. And that my friends is the worst most insufferable pain. 

Sue goes back to Japan to reconcile on behalf of her ailing mother. 

"Helena and I were not athletes or superstars, we were us. And that was enough." 

I hope I get to feel like that one day... enough. 

I think this was an outstanding tribute to the author's mother. What a great way to honor her memory! It brought healing to my heart and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to read this type of literature and feel... KNOWN. 



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Deceived

Deceived by L.A. Starkey

I bought several copies of this book back in October for friends. I had Steve-O wrap one of them up for me and put it under the Christmas tree.

I was thrilled on Christmas morning to show off that was signed by the author.

One of my favorite rituals after Christmas morning is curling up with a book by the fireplace in my PJs and a soft blanket.

This is a debut novel of the Soul Keeper series, book one of three.

We are introduced to Samantha, no... SAM, & Julie, BFFs for life. Both grew up in the foster care system and are now with good loving families. Through it all, they are the best of friends sharing every piece of their lives with each other. Super sweet.



Then there's the normal characters from high school: Brent, Julie's brother, who's immediately lovable from a distance. Ken, the star basketball player, who asks Sam out and is the typical poor little rich kid who may or may not have the best intentions.

Sam is haunted by strange vivid dreams and time lapses which she cannot explain.

In walks the characters Marcus & Nick: brothers? cousins? twins? the same man?
Both have their uncles as guardians in this world. They belong to the immortal world and are awaiting a prophecy to unfold. At the center of the prophecy is Sam, the dream catcher. They are the ones who appear in her dreams and take her on adventures and try to win her heart. Winning her heart will be the end game.

As the story unfolds we are taken to Olympus and see our old friends from Greek mythology: Zeus, Prometheus, Pandora, and meet some new friends. Greek mythology has been a huge obsession of mine since I was 13! I was enthralled to see these characters in a new way.

They all have a stake in how Sam chooses in the end.

This book ends with a cliffhanger! BOO!!!

Can't wait to read the 2nd book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"His life was unending, but his dream catcher's life would restart over and over as he waited for her each time, looking and searching. Never the same life, never the same situation, but always the same Samantha."

"He smelled delectable, like testosterone coated candy."

" 'Good, I like to be spanked..' "

" 'If something like puffy sugar balls and chocolate is going to dent my image as a man, then I need to start working on my tolerance now.' "

"With her destruction, the new Sam smiled an evil smile, 'For each his revenge would he forfeit his soul.' "




Monday, October 13, 2014

THEM

It's the morning dash. Trying to get myself and everything ready. 
Breakfast has been served, lunches made, bags by the door and now my hair has air dried and I'm ready to put my makeup on. 


I look in the mirror, grab my eye pencil and there they are again. 

THEM. 

The voices. 

The condemnation. 
The shame. 
They chatter amongst themselves and to me. 
Do their best to rip me to shreds and tear me down till there's nothing left. 

I used to think I was free. I struggle every day with these voices from the past. 
I breathe, put lipstick on, put a smile on and walk away. 

Tomorrow morning... they'll be there again.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

This is always a hit at potlucks, family gatherings, and even as a meal for vegetarian night.



Ingredients:
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped (do not use stems)
12 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 bunch of red seedless grapes (halved)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 small red onion, chopped finely

Mix all these ingredients in a large salad bowl

Sauce to put on just before serving:
2 TB red wine vinegar
1/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of Hellman's mayo

Mix very well, spread and mix over the salad.

I've found this is great just marinating for an hour or so in the fridge.

Toss a bit and you're ready!!










Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vegetable Curry


This is a recipe I adapted from Londyn at Blogfood.

We have this about once or twice a month.

It's hearty and delicious.

Ingredients:

  1.  2 T  curry powder ( I use about 2.5 TB)
  2.       1.5 t garam masala ( I make my own )
  3. 4 T vegetable oil
  4. 3 garlic cloves minced
  5. 1 T grated ginger
  6. 1 dried chile pepper, diced
  7. 1 T tomato paste
  8. 1 large onion, minced
  9. 2-4  small gold potatoes, cubed
  10. 1/2 cauliflower cut in florets or a small head of cauliflower
  11. 1 can diced tomato (we only use RO-TEL)
  12. 1.25 cups water
  13. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  14. 1/4 cup frozen peas or more
  15. 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  16. salt
Directions:
 
Toast curry and garam masala in stock pot until fragrant (1-2 min).  Add 1 T oil and ingredients 4-7.
If you have a drink mixer or a grinder, just put the garlic, ginger, Serrano and tomato paste in there and blend them together. I add a little water to the mix.
 
Heat remaining 3 T oil in stock pot (medium high heat). 
Add onions and potatoes until tender and caramelized. Making sure the potatoes are mushy is the longest part. Stir, stir, stir.
 
Add cauliflower and mix... and mix.
 
 
Add ingredients 11-13, plus 1 teaspoon salt, scraping brown bits from bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 
 
Bring to boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. 
 
Stir in peas and heavy cream and continue to cook about 10 more minutes. Taste.
 
Season with salt to taste and enjoy!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dressing Room Reveal

About a year ago, I turned the guest bedroom into my very own dressing room.

Oh.my.word... it's been the best thing! I love it so much.

I wanted a space that was just mine.

It is one of the most enriching experiences to get ready for my day...

So.. without further ado... here is ... the dressing room reveal:



 
This is a towel rack.
Hung double ring shower hooks to hold my jewelry.
 

 
 
Shoe rack/ bookcase... grabbed from the neighbor's trash pile.


 
 
My dressing/accessories area.


 
 

 
 
The sofa has a pull out bed so we can still host guests.


 
 
These are not all of my clothes.. they are some of my favorite pieces and clothes I'll wear in the upcoming week. It's fun rotating my clothes every week. I wear almost all of my career clothes and utilize the dressier pieces for casual/career wear.


 
 
Having all my jewelry out and displayed is awesome!!


 
 
I cannot wear these shoes.. the heels are too high and they are unforgiving... but they're soo pretty!!!

 

 
 
My tribute to Phantom of the Opera. I love this music box sooo much. My man got this for me for Christmas...
 
  
 
Every girl should have their own dressing room. It makes life grand!!!

 


Friday, May 9, 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: Shine On


Sarah McLachlan: (n.) a beautiful, timeless being with a haunting voice that sears into your heart.
















Listening to her new album, Shine On.




















It does not disappoint. It's everything you'd expect with a few tidbits of new jazz sounds as she continues to evolve in her music.

This is an album that would serve as a canvas for the swanky dinner parties at dusk. I picture little candlelit tables all around, fireflies dancing about outside, the smell of jasmine, roses and hyacinths spilling all around.

This is one I would listen to during a relaxing bubble bath as I travel all around these melodies.. these stories.. these feet that take me to new and familiar places.




My favorite songs:

In Your Shoes:
"Time for you to walk out walk in your own shoes
Lay down your footprints wherever you choose"


I have yet to do this after all these years. To walk out in my shoes, be who I am without all these masks, accessories, costumes, scripts. I die slowly a little everyday pretending.

"You’ve got a light that always guides you
You speak of hope and change as something good
Live your truth and know you’re not alone"

 









Beautiful Girl:
"I know the world can be cruel, pretty girl
You’re gonna make it ’cause you’ve got love on your side"


I so needed to hear this the last couple days...

"One thing that I know
Is it will get better…
"


The Sound That Love Makes:
Immediately I was tapping my feet and swaying in my chair when this song came on.
Very Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson feel to it.

I'm still swaying..

What's It Gonna Take:

Another song that was speaking to me!

"What’s it gonna take to make me worthy
What’s it gonna take to make me strong.."


"What’s it gonna take to lift the darkness
What’s it gonna take to light my way
I have so much to give I’ve only just begun to live.."


"How will I believe and see this through
When I feel so unready and I feel so alone.."



Little B:

Precious lullaby!
So sweet.
I plan on learning every word and singing it to my little boy blue.

I love this verse so much:
"I will treasure these years
Of our borrowed time
As much as I want it
I know you’re not mine.."


No.. he's not mine.. he belongs to the Almighty God. I have the honour of loving him and guiding him through this life. In return, I might have a chance to understand .."as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is..." - Ephesians 3:18




Honorable Mention: Monsters

Another fun swaying rhythm. Really enjoy the lyrics and melody on this one.

"And don’t you know that there’s a wolf stalking in sheep’s
clothing tells me he’s the real thing
Think what your life would be missing
if you didn’t have him to sing
To sing about... "

Hmmm....


Honorable Mention: Broken Heart
Oh! This is a GOOD one...

"How long? How long?

I should be thinking with my head
and not with my broken heart
Look to the future for all it’s got and not to us being apart..."


I so wish I could give her a big hug.







Monday, May 5, 2014

dreams deferred

Building a marriage and family
I somehow thought..
it would end my loneliness

I'm still here
There
In the empty school parking lot

My parents dumped me off
They were too busy with other things

I was the burden
Undesirable

I couldn't speak
say what I wanted
needed

No.

I give.. EVERYTHING
every
ounce
I
Have

And I'm still alone

Empty
in
the
parking lot




Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hiatus

Ok, so I know I've been absent for awhile.

I'm working on it.

It's hard.

Everyday I want to write. I want to be free.

I get scared... of.. EVERYTHING.

Of.. people knowing the real me.

I just... I just... don't know if I can.

I am working on it.

trying to write everyday.

I know it will propel me forward in ways I never imagined.

I know it will be worth the sacrifice.

I'm looking down and almost ready to jump in.

ALMOST.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Writer

I see the world through different eyes
Life’s song in various melodies and proofs
Beauty in the ashes of destruction
Hope amidst the storms
Peace in the chaos
I relay the words, thoughts, and gifts
I give my heart, myself through these words
I am… the writer.