In no particular order

  1. I’m wearing a bright red and orange flowery kimono over all black today. I was Chief Evaluator at Toastmasters and what I noticed, right away, is that I talked to 1000% more people because they came up to me. Everyone was more animated, and I think it had less to do with me and more to do with what I’m wearing. I might start organizing my clothes by extroverted and introverted, because if I sparked this reaction on a “seriously, don’t talk to me, today,” day, I would have been in tears before the meeting even started. Luckily, today, everything’s coming up bright red and orange flowery kimono.
  2. This next thing is subjective. I think my mom has been trying to pick a fight with me since last week when I talked to my brother. I made Greek-style chicken breast with spanakopita (spanakopita was frozen Trader Joe’s, the Greek chicken breast was my own invention). When I asked how it tasted, she told me it was chewy and I cooked it wrong. While I admit that it wasn’t a perfect chicken breast, it wasn’t over- or under-cooked, it was juicy and flavorful, and if it was a little chewy, it was not obnoxiously so. Also “chewy” is not a taste. Then, over the weekend, I made asparagus soup with shredded lamb and baked bread. The bread was admittedly a failure— I misread the recipe early and could not recover. It basically didn’t rise, though it tasted fine. But the soup, which was crazy-intensive (lots of simmering, then flash-cooling to set the color, removing and shredding the meat, pureeing the veggies, straining out the stringy bits, then returning the meat to the pot and reheating) was also delicious. The lamb was tender. She got one bit of gristle (she says, though I got none) and wouldn’t eat more than half a bowl. I’m on my own for the leftovers there because she needs to be prove to me that I’m not a good cook (except I am a good cook. Not a perfect one, but a good one.) She was complaining, this week, that her friend had brought us mini meatloaves and I hadn’t served them. (a) She brings them frozen, so I save them for a day when I want to heat food up, not cook it. I also leave convenience food in the freezer for her for nights when I go out (though she never uses it). But she was going to see the friend today, so I went ahead and heated one up for dinner with leftovers last night. One of these is too much for a single serving and not quite enough for the two of us, for a meal, but I knew I was long on side dishes and I had three mini meatloaves in the freezer, so at some point, I was going to end up with an odd one. Also, we’ve been lousy with leftovers, so this was intentionally a zero leftovers meal. I heated one and she complained that it was a waste to heat the whole oven for this one little meatloaf. I said that I had also reheated some leftover scalloped potatoes in the oven. She made a face at me that indicated that I’m stupid. I have many eccentricities and faults, but stupidity is not one of them. She told me I was being penny-wise and pound foolish. Also, if I’m cooking and cleaning wrong for her, she’s welcome to do it better. I may just give her the chance tonight, because I’m stuck with her tomorrow night and I think I’ve had enough for the moment. They told me I could go home from work early because the building is having HVAC issues and I’m dragging my feet because more time with her is not what the doctor ordered.
    I think that I’m exasperating her by not fighting with her, but (a) if you’re baiting me into fighting with you, I won’t give you the satisfaction and (b) I don’t want to be nasty and abusive to people I love, and if you want me to give you an excuse to be nasty and abusive to me, no. I think it’s starting to affect her regard for me, and I think the word I’ll be looking for her to spit at me soon is “gutless.” She’s thinking seriously about going after the animals to get a rise out of me— she kicked the dog’s tail yesterday rather than step over it, and if he had noticed, I might have had a hard time ignoring it. Here’s the problem: I’m not afraid to fight with her because I think she’ll win, I don’t want to fight with her because it’s punching down and I get nothing from that. I don’t believe that her being a jerk is a good excuse for me to be other than the person I aspire to be, tempting as it sometimes is. And as for the animals, they avoid her when I’m not around. The dog won’t be in the same room with her unless I’m in the house, and once they go upstairs, she won’t follow them. She says they only act up when I’m there anyway.
  3. After poking at my buttons for a week, she got all weepy about something. Here’s the thing: I love her and I think the thing she was weepy about was something that I’d be legitimately empathetic about, under normal circumstances— missing my dad or something. But after fending off a week’s worth of cheap shots, I got nothing for you. I used up all my goodwill not telling you where to get off.
  4. The dog is doing so much better, since his bandage came off. We walk every night because I’ve realized that he wakes me up barking more often when he doesn’t get walked and I don’t get enough sleep to enjoy being woken up ever, so nightly walks it is. He’s going further, faster than he did in recovering last time. Mom says this is me letting him dictate behavior and that “he’s just got to understand (that his needs don’t come first).” I think he can’t possibly understand— he’s a smart dog, but his understanding of my schedule and priorities seems, you know, limited. I have to be the smart one. I adopted a puppy, and of a breed that I knew to be somewhat high maintenance. Though he’s not technically a puppy anymore, he’s a young, reasonably healthy dog, with high energy. I can’t just park him in the back yard, decide that I don’t want to walk him, and then complain about the natural consequences of that. A walk that I usually need at least as much as he does seems like a reasonable price to pay.





4 thoughts on “Miscellania

  1. I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that your exceptional patience and kindness is beautiful. I remember you once telling me that your mom needed an enemy so she could understand how to function in any given situation. The longer I live the more I understand the kind of childhood pain that gives rise to such a coping mechanism. Your responses have to be greatly unsettling for her. They also are such a gift, an opportunity to have an experience of healing. You are uniquely positioned to offer that gift, and may be the only person from whom it is safe enough for her to take it. I am praying that she will. Blessings, Fawn

    Sent from my iPad


    • I said that? I’m glad you remembered it—it’s easy to lose perspective in the middle of it, and it’s nice to think that I might once have felt reasonable enough to analyze from a cool remove. Thank you for your encouragement. I pray that I can stay the person I feel called to be amid all this button-pushing. She’s good at provoking, so resisting all that bait gets challenging. But I’d like to keep choosing and not react any more than is strictly unavoidable. It’s streaky— we were on a good streak just before this, and hopefully the current streak is almost played out.

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