Loneliness and Insecurity

There’s a weird feeling I have at the moment, and it’s called loneliness and insecurity.  It means I want to talk and make a friend, but I’m insecure/anxious about how the conversation would go and whether it would be a positive overall interaction or a negative one.

As an HSP, apparently I go out of my way to avoid uncomfortable situations, so you can guess where that leaves me.  I guess I’ve kind of forgotten about my HSP-ness, except today, I noticed one of my friends on Facebook, an acquaintance, rather, had changed her last name back to her maiden name.  That’s never a good sign when you know they are (were?) married.  It’s really disheartening and while one shouldn’t jump to conclusions, I thought back to the research I read a long time ago about how neuroticism is the number one personality predictor of an unhappy marriage, in so many words.  I think HSP-ness and neuroticism pretty much overlap quite a bit.  So I made my hubby take the HSP test.  He’s not an HSP (no surprise at all there).  I think when I make my hubby take tests like these and listen to his responses, I realize how much I assume everyone around me must think the way I think, or feel the way I feel in response to things, and how strange it is to find out that they don’t.  You mean loud noises don’t really bother you?!  You mean you’re not bothered by coarse fabrics?  You don’t get nervous when someone is watching you do something?  You must be an alien!  Except no, the alien, folks, is me.  Just kidding.  We are 20% of the population, so not so alien after all.  But the point is, something about us, oh, maybe the way we are so very moody, makes it difficult for people to live very very closely to us, which marriage is.  Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this doesn’t make me feel too good about myself.  So it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about these personality things.  Thankfully, it is the Lord who brought me to my husband, and my husband to me.  His ways really are higher than our ways.  My thoughts are kind of all over the place on this.  I guess I just feel bummed when things aren’t working out for people and of course I can’t have any way of knowing what is actually going on, so how can I say anything?  It’s all very confusing.  Years and years have passed and so much change, too.

I think that’s what ties all of these thoughts together.  Change.  I don’t like change.  Since I’m back home, I’ve realized a lot of folks are probably still around, but I don’t know if they would want to talk to me.  There’s always the past, the connections to this person or that person, and then there’s this huge gap of time, and by now, I have no clue what to think or what they think, or if they even think.  I want to connect with people, but I have no words.  Or maybe they’re busy.  Or maybe I’m busy.  I would be okay, except see the reason I’m writing this is that I spent too long scrolling through a NewsFeed, reading just that.  News.  News about people, when all I really want is to actually sit down and talk to them, except I also don’t want that as well.  Because what if they don’t open?  That feeling when you can’t seem to get through feels even lonelier, somehow.  Why do things change?  So we left our old community behind, but I am forming a new community here, and it will take time.

I feel there is a new stage of life ahead of me.  The leaves are growing a radiant reddish hue and life is morphing as well.  It seems as I grow older, family becomes more and more primary, and more of them actually need your care, or is it that I actually notice and care about someone other than myself.  I will be 29 in a few weeks.  Throughout most of my life, I haven’t felt my age.  I’ve always felt younger than I actually was.  Today though, my age feels very real to me.

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The Past

Yesterday I was talking to Hubby about “the past”.  I was considering, some people say that the past is the past.  As in, it doesn’t matter, and we should focus on the present.  To which I raise my eyebrow and think, yes, that’s a good point.  But doesn’t the past affect who we are today?  But to what extent does it matter or doesn’t it matter?  Some people are those who “need to know”, and others are better at passing over those things and having new beginnings.

I’ve always been the kind of person who has trouble letting things go.  The imprints on my heart run quite deeply.  I’ve found out from conversations, that many people can’t remember too many things from their childhood.  But I remember random moments.  I remember preschool, the fake cake with the pandas on it, and being excited when it would finally be my turn to sit in front of the cute cake.  I remember getting in trouble for being awake during naptime during daycare.  I remember my first week of kindergarten.  I sat on the carpeted floor and found a book about Spot the dog, and I read it.  And I found out that the other kids were not reading the books, they were only looking at the pictures.  And that was one of my first realizations that I was ahead of other kids academically.  I remember sitting in a chair for my first piano recital, not quite knowing what was going on.  I remember getting shots with a happy face, but it seems my memory must have tricked me because how can you have shots in the shape of a happy face?  I remember my first friend who asked me if I wanted to be her best friend, but it would have to be second best friend, because someone else was her first best friend.  I remember that I didn’t know why she wanted to be my friend, but she did.  I remember watching my best friend run around the playground getting chased by boys, and wondering what was so fun about that.  I remember receiving an inflatable hammer bigger than me as a gift in Hong Kong, because somebody else was afraid of it, and feeling quite good about myself.

Being back in the city where I grew up conjures up a lot of memories from “the past”.  Watching my cousin go through being a teenager again reminds me of my wide-eyed days, when a group of us genuinely believed we could change the world.  When there were no bills, no homes, no jobs to think about.

The past is a strange place.  What is it about some events that place them so firmly in my memory?

Interior Design

How many years of study does it take to become an interior designer?  And how much of it is natural talent?  I’ve been reading up on design, since looking at our living room gives me little inspiration for what to do with it.  It’s difficult when you’re on a budget in your head which is not a budget at all (the budget is, I just bought a house, and I don’t want to spend anything until I feel like it again), and also wanting to not have a space that really looks designed (um contradiction, much?).  Not going to find that on Pinterest anywhere, I think.  Do people actually use these living rooms?  Or do those pillows just sit there, in that exact formation, pretending to be inviting, but inviting no one?  Is it just art?  Beautiful art, but I can’t picture myself or guests inside of it?  I wonder.

They say thick fabrics and woven work and textures contribute to a cozy living room.  They say area rugs help tie everything together, even if you have carpet, which seems a huge tragedy to me.  Someone else was trying to convince me on the benefits of an area rug.  The jury is out.  I’m stuck guys.

It’s funny, but life was easier when we just had to make do with what we had.  When I was a broke (whether in bank account, or just in my mind) girl with a couple roommates, and we collected things off the streets like it was gold and hauled it away to our temporary dwelling.  Chairs here, a dishrack there.  When the old bones of the building had its own charm and we just had to move in.  The little details were woven in by a Berkeley person of the past, giving the place its own character to stand on.  It was more than we could have asked for already as wanderers.

Now the choices and possibilities are seemingly endless and yet not.  There is a house across from us that looks exactly the same as ours.  Except we did choose a few things out of the options.  Mushroom color grout.  A certain color for our tile.  Granite in the bathroom (which apparently is way more finicky than I knew!)  Other than that, little to no upgrades, so that our seller questioned whether we were truly going to live here or were we planning to rent out the place?  I considered ourselves simple, happy with the basics.  We would DIY the rest of it, we said.  We wanted to learn.  We didn’t know that moving would involve learning to a point of certain exhaustion (or is it the heat?), if learning can do such a thing.  I’m just being dramatic.  We’re not exhausted.  Just tired.

Interior designers say you have to start with a vision.  What’s our vision?

How to Peel an Orange

Wait, what?  Yes, there is actually a VIDEO about this.

…  Now I’m generally not one to be wow’d by how-to food videos, but this one, I was like, wait, really?  Is it a cultural thing?  Do most people really not know how to peel oranges?  Hm.

Mom peeled oranges for me and my brother all the time growing up.  The prize for finishing dinner was fruit for dessert.  Mom always peeled the fruit for us and placed it in our bowls, like the spoiled children we were.  It was a simple process, one I could copy easily.  She would make a few long cuts lengthwise around the orange and two crosswise cuts near the top and the bottom, just deep enough to get to the skin but not too deep that juice would start spilling out.  She’d peel the thick skin off the top and bottom, and then peel the slivers of skin from the sides. You’d end up with a nice round ball covered with remaining white, soft ridges of what my parents liked to called “fiber” or pith.  Sometimes they peeled it off, and sometimes, they left some of it on for our health.  Ugh, my favorite.  Then, the orange would get split in two and we would be able to peel off the slices of orange without any mess.

I wonder if it’s an Asian thing to prepare oranges like this?  In fact, I didn’t know how to cut an orange into pretty slices because we never did it that way.  I always felt that cut slices of oranges tasted slightly better though, and my theory is that’s probably because with the slice, the pith isn’t the first part that hits your tongue.

Speaking of Asian, the husband and I went to visit Colorado this weekend.  We noticed the food there is decidedly Boulder (bolder, ha ha .. !), and saltier.  So the rumors are true.  I wouldn’t mind living in the middle of America though.  The skies were actually a lovely blue, and you could still see the stars at night.  No smog or city lights to drown out their shine.

Home, sweet home.

Again!  I’m back and trying to be a good homemaker.  Because when you’ve lived in glistening hotels for two weeks, you realize your own pod isn’t quite so glistening when you come home to it.  All of a sudden the dust that has collected since I won’t tell you when looks so obvious.  Like why didn’t I see that before?  And the baseboards!  I didn’t even know what baseboards were until college.  They’re these cute random ledges on the bottom of your walls that seem only to make themselves noticed when they need to be dusted.

Also, when you’ve eaten glorious New Zealand grass-fed cows and sheep (because that’s what normal cows and sheep eat, apparently, without trying to be fancy), served to you by resident Kiwis, your own semi-edible creations of who knows what seem much less appealing.  But I’ve been inspired to keep learning how to do this thing called cooking.  After all, just what is it that all those restaurant chefs have that I don’t have?  Hours of training?  Impeccable knife skills?  Good creative and artistic sense?  Whatever they have, I hope it’s communicable.  Just two days ago, I made myself black bean soup.  Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to survive.  And beans have protein, guys, protein.  Protein is to girls with ridiculously fast metabolism and quickly returning hunger, as, as, a good fly trap is to a fly.  Sticks to the insides.  Sorry.  So this black bean soup consisted of items that were still edible in my pantry after our trip (whoever invented canning, bless you).

Let me tell you what was in it:

  • Black beans (drained, rinsed.  Why we need to rinse and drain our beans, I’m not sure, but the recipes all say to do it, so I do)
  • Chicken broth (the use within 5-7 days kind, let’s hope I use it within 5-7 days!)
  • Lemon juice (because I found out that practically everything tastes better with a fresh lemon squeezed onto it, so why not my soup?  And acid might brighten up the beans)
  • A generous pinch of SALT (FINALLY, I learned, salt is not to be forgotten folks)

It was interesting, semi-edible as I expected, but not edible enough that I would feed the hubby with it.  So I bought him pho.

Anyway, today, I decided to make a salad, and since I’m tired of store-bought dressings with who knows what natural flavoring or color in there (rumor has it that Raspberry Nestea is flavored with the secretions of beavers but apparently that is “mostly false”), I decided it couldn’t be too hard to make a vinaigrette.  A friend on the phone suggested I add some sesame oil to that vinaigrette, and so I experimented with some rice vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, and salt, in artistic ratios meaning, arbitrary and according to my heart’s desire.

But this helped me, along with some finger licking!  Thanks to that website, I may have gotten the proportions right!

Oops, dumplings been in the pot for too long.. gotta go!

 

What is a title?

I’m tired.  Lately I’ve been attempting all sorts of recipes, and the results have been mixed at best.  I’m not sure.  Beyond the black and white directions is a frantic girl crouching over a hot oven, peering through the not so transparent window, checking for burns.  I’ve burned myself once in the process, but haven’t cut off any fingers.

I’m not sure, but I think Asian recipes are easier for me.  I wonder if it’s because I subconsciously absorbed some of the things my mother told me in my teenage stupor.  Mom used to pass on bits of cooking advice here and there, but I was never interested.  It sounded like a foreign language to me, and she always made it sound so easy.  My mind tuned out, just the way it does when people give me directions…  Thank the Lord that in this day and age, we have GPS.  Every week, I go to the same places, but I always use my GPS.

What was I saying?  I was saying that although I didn’t watch Mom cook as in give her undivided attention, I think I must have been hovering around somehow.  I saw stalks of green onions here, a chunk of ginger there.  And when I cook now, the quantities are familiar somehow, even though I have never touched them before.  Like distant shadows have materialized before my eyes.  I always miss home when I have to cook.  I miss the way Mom made it look so easy.  The kitchen was always in pristine condition.  Like a fairy had come in while I was gone and swept all the evidence of cooking away.  Now that I live on my own, there is no fairy, save my dear husband who I allow to wash dishes for me, with some guilt.

Friday is coming, Friday is coming.  The little ones will come through our door with hungry stomachs.  What will I feed them?  Stay tuned…

Burning fingers, and other things.

The fact is, I haven’t blogged in awhile.  I don’t blog as regularly as I used to, and I’m not really sure why.  I’ve been sleeping a lot, which is bothering me a bit.  Every time I come here and realize I don’t write as much as I used to, it bothers me too.  It’s like writing has always been part of my life and when it’s not, well it’s strange, and I don’t know whether it’s because this blog was made to accomplish a goal that seems forced and so I’ve neglected it, or because I just don’t have that push to write as much anymore.  I really hope I can write more again, especially since I’ve been feeling like a wanderer, a little bit.  I don’t have a permanent locale at the moment, which is fine for a little while, but then you start to feel restless.  You do what you need to do, all without a place called home.  What’s so significant about having a home?  A home is a place where you’re able to build, to tear down, to put up, to stay.  I didn’t mean to write about home, but I guess that’s what is on my heart right now.  Maybe because we pray it so often.  “Lord, make home in my heart”.  Isn’t it strange that the Bible would mention something like that?  When I mention that I’ve lived in SoCal before, I inevitably have to mention that I came here for Bible school.  Now it is at once a convenient way for me to tell folks that I am a Christian, but it’s also a convenient way to maybe give folks a chance to cast all kinds of judgments and opinions about who I am and what I stand for.  At least, that’s what I think when I mention it.  And so I say it, and I watch for reactions.  Do they think I’m a hellfire and brimstone preaching Christian?  Are they going to stop cursing around me?  Will they close their heart?  It’s stressful, really, and I have no clue how to navigate the situation.  Here’s to a lot of overthinking.