Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We Risk, We Lose, and Life Explodes

I don't consider myself a risk-taker. A lifelong worry-wart, I have no room, and not enough courage, inside myself to take big risks. Oh, I can handle little risks here and there, the moments where I'm able to clear the fog of worry and fear and do something moderately risky - eat something that seems weird to me, ride something big and scary at the fair (seriously, why do the same rides I loved as a child seem like nothing but giant, rusty pieces of crap just waiting to collapse now?), maybe wear an outfit that's not exactly me, but shows every curve at its most flattering.

But big risks? It's just not me. I have no desire or plan to sky dive (though kudos to my sister and BIL for recently doing it to celebrate his 40th b-day), nor do I foresee myself camping alone in a national park; I won't ever be a blonde, either.

And yet, I can concede that I have been somewhat of a big risk-taker when it came to matters of the heart. I have declared love when I had no idea if it would be reciprocated; I have laid bare the deepest, and the crappiest, parts of my soul; I have taken chances in situations that seemed hopeless and much too painful to really have hope for. When I was younger, I took risks without serious, deep consideration; I did it for the romance of it all, because I lived in a world of Lord Byron and old poems written by people who were as ridiculous as me. In adulthood, I took the risks I did because I knew I could not live with myself if I didn't. I knew what my heart wanted, truly wanted, and was not going to deny it or myself the possibility of happiness.

But there is another kind of risk that I've taken, perhaps too much in recent years, that I wasn't even consciously aware of until just recently. I didn't realize I was doing it, nor did I classify it as a risk; I was just doing it, some primitive part of me pushing me into this place of do-or-die and extremes. Sometimes, many times, even, it's worked; I've gotten the results I wanted. But other times - mainly, this last time - it hasn't, and maybe that's why I'm right here right now, writing these words.

I'm still in some very deep introspection about this; being so suddenly aware of it, I am amazed and scared and ashamed and not at all sure about what to make of it. Surely, on some level, I was aware - in moments where everything was down to the wire, where it felt like everything was at stake, this is how I chose to handle it. That there is the bottom line: I chose an extreme, took an enormous risk, and the rest is just the consequences of that one act.

I'm not even quite sure how to describe this. For now, I'm calling it the "push you up against the wall with a knife at your throat thing", since that is the image in my head of what I (figuratively) do, and it just might be the best description of what I'm talking about here.

The pattern as I see it unfolding is that I spend a huge amount of time trying to resolve something (in this case, the problems in my marriage); I believe I tried everything I could think of: rational conversation, listening, fighting, doing what I'm told, asking a million questions, fighting some more, therapy, giving in, pleading, crying, yelling, talking, talking, talking, coming up with creative solutions, asking some more questions, shutting up, etc., etc., etc. If it exists, I tried it at one point or another. And then.

And then time ran out. Everything became, in one excruciating moment, too much: too overwhelming, too frustrating, too sad, too impossible to overcome. And the risk I took, the way I put Ben up against a wall with a knife to his throat (figuratively!), was to declare that we had arrived at the end, and we were done. DONE. If there could be no change in our dynamic, if he could not change (specifically, the way he regarded and treated me), then there was no real marriage between us, and we could not continue together.

I meant what I said: things between us were not as they should be between two people who had been together 10 years. I did not like the way he treated me, nor did he like how I treated him. Life was not good, and it was affecting Max. I was not bullshitting when I said I was done with the way his issues controlled our life.

But the thing I was not done with was Ben himself, nor my belief in him as a person, or in us as a couple that had weathered so much and could weather so much more. That key difference - it was lost in the pain and fighting, and especially in my risky move to bring everything to a head. When I say that I recently realized the risk I took, it is because what I really realized was that, even as I pinned him up against the wall, I fully expected that he would not allow me to do this. I was sure he would be so shaken at his core that he would realize the severity of the situation, of the things he'd done to contribute to this, and drop everything, open his soul, and fight with everything he had.

That he did not is the thing that I just could not reconcile, or understand, or accept.

At the time, I was not conscious of this, but this is what it was; this is what I did, and this is how he responded. Do I blame him? Yes. Do I blame myself? Yes. Does any of this matter now? No; because this is life, and life, it turns out, is nothing more than moments where you either risk or don't risk, and you either win or lose. In this case, I risked everything and lost it, too. Whether it was a conscious act or not, whatever my intention was - what does it matter? All that's left is the debris, and I am somewhere between trying to find my peace with everything, not letting the guilt kill me, trying to remain compassionate towards him, and creating a new life from scratch.

And as the year closes today, what I'm thinking about the most is that a risk is just that, a risk. It is a chance you take, and that chance includes utter failure. It is a thing that brings with it consequences that can be sad and frightening and catastrophic, and you must be willing to be held to those if you choose to take the risk. It is a thing that does not care about intentions or feelings, that does not always have a happy or heroic ending. It is a moment, one that defines everyone involved. It is something that can go horribly wrong, making your life explode into pieces so innumerable and tiny, you don't know how to pick them all up, or if you even can.

I have spent the majority of 2008 trying to wish it all away. Tonight, this year is mercifully over, and while I feel frightened and overwhelmed by what 2009 might bring, I have a new plan with me, one that I really hope will help me get strong footing in this new life of mine. My son and I will spend the evening at home, he playing with his new toys, oblivious to what the night means, and I grateful to have a roof over our heads and a son who is the personification of joy and wonderfulness.

When the new year breaks, we'll just have to see what awaits.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/31/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, December 29, 2008

And the Winner Is.....

Fran, who posted this entry:

Because I have no family, I have always volunteered to work on Christmas day so that someone else will be able to spend the holiday with loved ones. I've done that every year since I got my first job many, many years ago. Of course working on the holiday earns double pay and that money is always donated to a local family in need. So the benefit of working on Christmas day benefits two different families - and it benefits me because it makes me feel so good to do this.

Congratulations, Fran!

Man, this was tough for me. There were a handful of entries that I loved, and it was a tough call to make. I ultimately went with Fran's entry (thanks in no small part to a discussion with a dear friend) because of her double selflessness: working Christmas Day so another can be with his/her family, and donating her extra pay to a family in need. It's admirable and kind, and so it wins the Carrabbas gift certificate.

I am so grateful to all of you who participated, and I really wish I had something to offer my other top two choices. I thank all of you who participated and wish you all a great 2009.

Posted by Tere @ 12/29/2008   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From Us to You

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Posted by Tere @ 12/24/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jesus Wants Me To Date You



I always know I've been watching too much Lifetime TV when I find myself fantasizing about randomly crossing paths with a handsome, slightly older man who's well-adjusted and emotionally stable. By the time I'm picturing us holding hands as we walk through a snowy park, Max running ahead of us, him kissing my cheek before running off to chase the boy, while I toddle along with a very pregnant belly, I know I've sunk far too deeply into the Land of Things That Do Not and Most Likely Will Not Exist and must reign it all back in.

So I do - I pull back and laugh at myself and spend a few amused minutes thinking about how absurd it is for me to find myself here, a 31-year-old single mom who loves the idea of a wonderful, loving man but is too damaged to believe that man could ever be hers. The absurdity is tinged with a dash of pain, a feeling not of complete hopelessness, but rather the sharp sting that comes with being too realistic a person.

I've caught myself a few times wondering if I would ever be the kind of person who actively seeks to date. So far, it's a "no" on that one; I don't see why I would ever want to be a part of the dating scene or go through the torture of having to meet people and stress about all that goes with that - I prefer to leave the possibility of finding a wonderful partner to chance. Still, I also know it's foolish to say "never" and so I won't.

O.k., this is the part where Jesus Christ comes in.

Because in those moments when I've imagined myself as someone else, as someone who would "get out there" and have an entirely different attitude about the whole thing, I've thought about the concept of using one's religion as the way to meet new people and possibly find a mate.

Considering the success of sites like JDate, this is not a strange notion. It is *strange* to me because I am not sufficiently tied to Catholicism (hello, anyone remember the Jewish husband?) to truly believe a Catholic dating site or singles group would be the key to all this. And yet, I find an appeal in it. Perhaps it gives me a sense of safety, or a belief that anyone in a site or group centered around a religion is playing in a field closer to mine.

So with these being my thoughts on the matter, I was particularly pleased to have dinner recently at the same time that a Catholic singles group was having a speed dating event at the restaurant. Because my group was seated in the smaller private section that the Catholic group was using, I was able to witness the men and women as they went about their speed dates, and for me, it was utterly fascinating.

I obviously had my own preconceived notions about what a dating group or singles out on the prowl would be like, because I was pleasantly surprised by how normal and ordinary everyone seemed. There was no sense of pretension or b.s. in the air, just some amusing awkwardness. It really seemed like they were just there to have fun and enjoy themselves - and suddenly, the whole idea seemed not as intimidating or awful.

At some point in the evening, we chatted with some of the folks in the group. We got more information on how the speed dates worked and had some fun in my own group trying it out. The thing is, I seriously doubt I could ever do a real speed date; mainly, because how can I possibly cram the Awesomeness of Tere into a mere five minutes? Playing around that night, it felt impossible to say a single thing that would be of any use or interest to anyone in that amount of time. Still, I suppose the idea is to give someone a taste to see if their interest is sparked; I still I would fail at that, though.

I decided to try to find more info on this group and see what their story was. I was able to locate Jim, the founder of Catholic Singles in Miami, and we had a nice chat about dating and religion.

I learned that this group was fairly new and had done just a couple of speed dating activities. Jim and his wife started the group because they wanted to do this for friends who had interest in meeting other Catholic singles, and though speed dating would be a good way to go. He feels there's a big need for this type of group, based on feedback he's received. Turns out that people want to meet people within the safety of their religion but also want it to be something cool, more casual, less "churchy".

When I expressed my apprehension at the thought of having just five minutes to showcase all the ways in which I'm awesome, Jim said the purpose of the speed dating was more about experiencing dates, about getting out there and connecting. The conversations should be very general, not too deep or personal.

So what about the Catholic aspect? It's easy to see why someone who goes to church would want to date people who are ideally like-minded: it's comfortable and safe. Still, not everyone agrees on Church teachings, and values are not guaranteed to be the same. This, ultimately, would be my problem with this option. I can totally see the appeal to it, yet I am too lapsed a Catholic to be taken seriously by any guy looking for a good Catholic mate. I would be the black sheep of the Catholic daters, for sure.

The thing that blew my mind about all this, though, was finding out that a lot of people join singles/dating groups because what they want is someone to go to church with. Huh. I hadn't even thought of that. And yet, I get it. Did I not enjoy Mass the most among my friends, when I had company I could share the experience with? Perhaps in this lonely world, for many people it's not about hooking up or finding a soul mate; it's just about trying to deepen one's faith, and finding an agreeable companion whom one can do that with.

I like that idea very much, even if I could not see myself ever being as brave as these nice people. Really, on some level I know I can manage a date, but whenever I actively think about this, I just cringe. I can't handle it. I am so fail at this, it's not even funny. As it is, I've already experienced that situation where it's "my friend thinks you're cute, can he contact you?" - only to have that mythological friend never appear. Sweet Jesus, rejection before I even knew who the person was!

I guess that's how it goes. And if that's case, I will most definitely need the Good Lord by my side.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/22/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And Now I Show My Love For You

Oh, my sweet, sweet people. I love you all so much. I do. I really do. To know that you're out there, reading my words on such a faithful basis - it means a great deal to me. Granted, I don't know who half of you are, or what you think of me (omg, please let it be good!), but I know you are there, and that's all I care about.

I often wish there was some way to express my gratitude at having so many people come by here, at the comments I receive, the emails I exchange with some of you, the friendships I've made. I'd like to think my words and sentiments are enough, but I've been given the chance to give one of you a very nice thing, so hey, now you know I really love you!

Some of you may know that I have a pretty intense love for Carrabbas. For those of you who didn't know: I have a pretty intense love for Carrabbas. I LOVE their food. I love their prices. I've chronicled my love affair a few times this year, which clearly supports my stance that I love their food.

It is this love that has made the following possible: I'm giving away a $50 gift certificate for Carrabbas!

Hells yeah, we got a contest going on here!

Here's what you need to do to be a contender:

In the comments, share your favorite holiday tradition or memory (or both). I will go over all of them and pick the one I like best. That person will win a $50 gift certificate from Carrabbas.

Is that easy, or what? This nice holiday surprise is made possible through the good folks at Carrabbas, who are providing the gift certificate themselves. I mean, I love you enough to spend $50 on you myself, but Tere Claus doesn't have that kind of dough this year, you know?

You have until Christmas Day - December 25 - to enter. I will pick a winner between the 26th and 28th and announce it on the 29th.

I have to point out that the certificate is good only in the U.S., so I apologize to my non-U.S. readers; I would have loved to included you, too.

Guys, I'm honestly so excited to offer this to you. I want to make one of you happy with the gift of a free, delicious meal, and I really hope you participate and join in the fun.

So, (please) get to it!

Note - for those of you who enter: please be sure to leave at least a first name. Ideally, I also need a way to contact you - I recommend an email address - but if you don't want to publicly post something, email it to me. If you post as "Anonymous," please sign your name at the end of your entry.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/18/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Make Loving Me Easy For You

You know how some women, when asked what they'd like, never consider themselves and instead murmur some sweet words about how all they wish is for their family to be healthy and to be able to cherish their special moments together and for world peace?

You know how some women, if pressed, feel it's in poor form to just blurt out what they want and instead say they want nothing or offer vague suggestions that are hard to decipher?

You know how some women hint and play coy, hoping you'll sift through all the layers of all the shit she's talking to arrive at the great truth of the thing she really wants?

I am so not that woman.

I want things, and I want you to get them for me. And I will happily accept these gifts as proof of your undying love and devotion.

Here, go check out all the awesome things I want, then show me how much you love me by getting me something from my wish list*. You will be relieved because you know exactly what I want and so you can't fail; and I will happy because you listened to me and got me exactly what I wanted.

If I could make this any easier, it'd be by taking your wallet and helping myself to your cash or Visa. But I have better manners than that.

Now go: clicky, clicky!

My Amazon.com Wish List




* -- It's called a wish list for a reason. A girl can dream. The truth is that I'm really easy to please, especially if you're trying to please me with chocolate or yummy food of some kind.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/16/2008   | | | links to this post

Friday, December 12, 2008

How About Some Meme-y Fun?

Oh Fridays, you are a welcome sight. What better way to segway to the weekend (and away from all the doom and gloom this site has been covered in for weeks now) than with a good, old-fashioned meme?

Let's get to it:

My ex was...
freakishly obsessed with the notion that women were out to take over his life and ruin his creativity. That's why he's an ex. (I'm going with Good-but-not-so-good ex here)

Maybe I should...
stop being such a worry wart.

I don't understand...
physics, complex mathematics, or why I can't just always get my way.

I lost my...
cord for the rice cooker. One day it was there, the next it wasn't. I haven't got a clue where it is, but I need it.

People would say that I'm...
many things, but never predictable or boring.

Love is...
freedom.

Somewhere, someone is...
choosing fear.

I will always...
put my children before anything else.

Forever is...
not long enough.

I never want to...
know the pain of losing a child.

I think the current President...
is President no more, and for that I am thankful.

When I wake up in the morning...
I'm still tired and wish for another hour of sleep.

Life is full of...
possibilities, surprises, blah, blah, blah.

My past is...
never as far as I wish it were.

I get annoyed when...
people don't just answer the friggin' question.

Parties are for...
partying?

I wish...
for something solid and real.

My dog is...
very, very missed.

My cat...
is not my cat.

Kisses are the worst when...
they're too wet.

Tomorrow I'm going to...
get waxed, have lunch with friends, possibly run errands; I'm a little apprehensive about my evening plans, and that's all I'll say about that.

I really want...
to be my own boss.

I have low tolerance for people who...
feel they're above basic consideration for others and have a sense of entitlement.

If I had a million dollars...
I would've skipped this survey.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/12/2008   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chapter 3 (or perhaps 3,000)

This is the point where I enter a new chapter, a new place, a new existence in this "life, part 2" of mine.

There has been a shift, one so stark and unignorable that I have very quickly made some important decisions about myself and my life and have begun to act on those.

The other night, I lay in bed, wide awake at 2 a.m., feeling this immense pressure on my chest. Everything about my life felt too overwhelming. I kept thinking about this last year, everything that has happened, how it's affected me, what it all means for my future; I was wondering how I could continue to carry all this and move forward at the same time, knowing it would be impossible, when in a flash, a wave of anger washed over me.

"What the fuck, man?" That's exactly what I told myself. "Why am I in this agony when I'm the only one in it? Why am I stressing over other people and whatever shit they have going on in their heads, especially when none of them stress about me?" It was a night where I asked a series of questions of myself - a lot of "why's" - where I indulged in one final pity party even as I lay there facing some very harsh truths.

And from there, it all took a turn. I realized that (due to a few specific events/reasons) I was living in this suspended state of tension - like when you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. And in that state, you just can't move or do much. I've been waiting for something to happen - for a change, for words, for something.

And the truth is, there's nothing. There's nothing but all that is right in front of me. How can I wait or wonder about or expect something beyond all that is right before me? I am suddenly very aware of how I apply this concept in all aspects of my life: I am always wondering if the people around me are holding back; I'm always waiting for more - for their real feelings, their real thoughts. Why don't I just take it all at face value? If someone doesn't say more, or something different, isn't there a greater chance that they don't simply because the more or the different is just not there?

So with all this, during that long, torturous night, I realized I had to stop it. I realized I was entitled to my sadness and my anger and my frustration, but that I could not let them control me, nor let them cloud my life. They are there. They will be there for God knows how long. But they are not me, and they don't have the right to keep robbing me of all the possibilities before me.

It is just that I am so indescribably tired of everything. I am especially tired of myself, of being this person who devotes way too much time and energy and emotion to people and relationships in way that is just too one-sided. I am tired of hope, of thinking that there must be something better, because that notion will keep me tied to an illusion for an indefinite amount of time if I continue with it. I have told myself for months now to keep my chin up, to be hopeful of life, to stay open - blah, blah, blah. For now, it is just done for me. No more. No more of this ridiculous bullshit; I'm over it.

I have realized that there are just some things that I have to accept, whether I like it or not, whether I think it's fair or not. I just have to accept it. And I have to do whatever it takes to keep my life moving forward, no matter how drastic, no matter the cost. I have had this recurring vision of myself standing still while all around me thousands of tiny axes fall; it is a bizarre but accurate description of what I feel. I am at this point determined to take whatever measures necessary until I am free of this fucking agony that has taken every shred of happiness from me.

I am done - so, so, so done. I miss smiling easily and being light-hearted and in a playful mood; I miss not being so freakishly sensitive and taking everything personally. I miss my self-esteem and self-confidence. So there is no more of this shit. No more me stressing over others, stressing over what they think of me, what they feel (or don't) for me, stressing over all the ways in which I fail. There is no more me measuring my words, acting cautiously for fear of pissing someone off. There is nothing but me looking out for myself and my son and doing whatever it is I have to do to give us both a happy, peaceful life.

I haven't got much of a definite plan right now, but the shift that I needed has occurred. And now, I am committed to seeing this through to a better end.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/10/2008   | | | links to this post

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's Friday, and We All Need a Break

Amanda tagged me to do this meme, and I'm all over it. Because I know you're dying to know these seven random things about me.

Are you holding your breath in anticipation yet?

Ready?

OMG!!!

The rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Tell 7 random things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag. (note: what the heck does that mean??)

1. My most favorite magazine is Coastal Living. That magazine is to me a wonderful escape, something to dream about and look forward to, because one day, I will live in a lovely cottage by the water. Ideally, I'd have one built from one of their hundreds of floor plans (they feature one in each issue, providing for endless imagining on my end). I love all the houses they showcase, all the furniture and decor products (though it is all way too expensive for me), all the destinations they feature. Seriously, sitting down with this magazine is my own personal heaven.

2. The other magazines I subscribe to are - Body & Soul, Healthy Cooking and Natural Solutions. I have gift subscriptions to Domino and Allure. I let my subscription to Marie Claire run out because the quality of that magazine has gone down. I also subscribe, on and off, to Bust, and enjoy Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and the gossip rags every now and then. The only parenting magazines I read are Mothering and Brain, Child.

3. In fact, when I was on maternity leave, I went through this crazy phase where I was like, obsessed with the gossip rags. I had to read them every single week. It was so bizarre. It wasn't enough to buy them at the grocery store, either; I went as far as subscribing to both Star and US Weekly. Insane, I tell you.

4. When I was on maternity leave, I was also obsessed with these protein shakes I discovered at the grocery store, and some days, that was all I had for lunch and dinner. It was this chocolate powder that didn't taste like total crap and actually tasted really good when you mixed it with milk, and I couldn't get enough of it. I even bought a hand mixer to really do it right. Then one day I added some Nesquik chocolate syrup, and it just took it to a whole other level of awesomeness. I wasn't drinking it for weight-loss purposes or anything like that, it was just yummy. In fact, I keep a can of the powder in the cabinet and still make the shake every now and then.

5. I also keep my cabinets stocked with random crap that I most likely will never use, but still feel obligated to have, just in case. Thankfully, most of these items have long shelf lives, so I buy myself enough time to either eventually use them, or toss them when they expire, but by then it's been so long since I even got it that my guilt is assuaged a little. I'm talking about things like panko, baker's chocolate, deviled ham, random crackers, random sauces, random spices. I just feel better having them around.

6. But then I have things that I really do use, and I always forget that I bought them on sale or because I had run out, and I go and get some more, and next thing you know, I have like 5 boxes of brown sugar, 5 boxes of Splenda, 4 bottles of Nesquik, 6 bottles of olive oil, 4 bottles of oregano and cumin (each), and 300 packets of Max's favorite cookies (those freaking goldfish crackers are coming out my ears at this point).

7. And when it comes to Max and keeping his favorite snacks around, I've recently realized that I'm pretty much feast or famine about it. It's either 25 cups of applesauce, 15 yogurts, 2 packs of pudding and 300 packets of cookies, or nothing. Seriously. Interestingly enough, one of the hardest parts of living alone (and adjusting to living alone) and having your child only half the week is figuring out the food situation. Some things keep, but others, like the fruits and veggies he loves, end up going bad by the time I have him a few days straight and manage something close to normal for us. I've become a fan of those green bags (they work!), but I'm still not very good about getting the groceries done right. In time, I suppose.

You know I'm not going to tag anybody; just do this and leave your link in the comments section. Seriously, it'll help you relax and detach for a bit. Take me. I've had a rough night. It's now 1 a.m., I can't sleep, and this cute little activity has given me a much-needed break from my thoughts and emotions.

And I don't know about you, but I'm very thankful it's Friday. It's the holiday party at work, and I've planned a nice evening for myself and am looking forward to it.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/05/2008   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Darkness Around Us Is Deep

Whenever he first sees me, he cracks the biggest smile I've ever seen and his face lights up with an indescribable joy. No one has ever been so excited to see me. Over and over again - whether it's first thing in the morning when we wake up, or when his father drops him off, he is always so overjoyed to see me, with shouts and hugs and kisses - each one of which breaks my heart.

I pull him into my arms and hold him tightly. I am aware each and every time of the fleetingness of the moment and try to memorize each one. As I take in his smell, I say a prayer of gratitude for this creature-boy of mine: for his mere his existence, for his sunny personality, for his affection and charm. I am flooded with the awesome luck of being his mother.

But with every hug, every squeeze of my heart because for some unfathomable reason the sight of me makes him happy, there is the shadow of everything else. And I think, in the wake of my gratitude, about how this is not what I wanted for him. In a rush of jumbled thoughts, I always think that it's not supposed to be this way. I think of all those little things I wanted for this boy, and how so much of it hinged on the simple notion that he would never have to know the pain of not having his parents together; of having two homes; of the constant shuffle back and forth, so that he can never settle in one home long enough to get comfortable before being traded to the other one.

It just wasn't supposed to be with this way. He - we - were not supposed to experience this, this loss, this instability, this uncertainty. He was supposed to have a life untouched by all the shit that comes with parents who split up. And here we are, and I haven't got a single way to protect him or reassure him or make it all better.

I think, as William Stafford wrote, about the "small betrayal in the mind" - the "shrug that lets the fragile sequence break" - and the way that small betrayal and shrug change the entire course of a life. I think about how in reality it only takes one second, one blink of the eye, to turn to the person next to you and stop believing in them and the life you pledged to build together. From there, there is only the shutting of doors, the walls going up, the walking away without looking back. Whether you physically stay or go, it is like this. Compound this then by the paralyzing silence you leave in your wake.

The fragile sequence breaks. We follow the wrong god home. And we miss our star.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/03/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

You Too Can Be a Fabulous Cook Like Me

Right around this time last year, I was reading a magazine when I saw an ad for an "easy holiday appetizer" recipe that caught my attention for it's uniqueness. The appetizer was meatballs, which I love. I mean, I know how to make some freaking awesome meatballs - in Cuban style, Italian style, and surely, if I decide to try it, Thai style. So the fact that it was about meatballs caught my eye.

But what really made me stop and think, "that is so bizarre it's probably delicious" was the other ingredients: cranberry sauce and chili sauce. It sounded like such a strange mix that I figured there had to be something to it. (Keep in mind, having grown up on a strictly Cuban diet that began to expand only in the last decade, that I had no clue what chili sauce was. I still don't. Is it what you put into chili and cheese?)

Anyway, it was such an easy and intriguing recipe that I went ahead and made it for my family's annual "Primo Party," where my cousins all get together to eat, drink and talk lots of shit.

Those meatballs were a hit. Not only did I love them, so did everyone else. At least, that's what they said! In fact, I know some people who read this site have tasted these meatballs, so I ask you now, step up and testify!

After that first time, I made the dish a few more times. Once, during some major PMS, I made a batch (and as you will see, this recipe is enough for a party, and I made it just for my home), and I spent days eating them. It was awesome.

It turns out that this recipe, which I have since learned is actually named "Ultimate Party Meatballs" (and it has its own website, where they have a big sweepstakes going!), is a big deal to both Ocean Spray and Heinz. The funny thing is, I clip a lot of recipes from magazines, but not the promotional ones that are in ads. This was the first recipe I tried that with, and look what it got me: instant fame and adoration in my private circle!

I've prided myself with this recipe, feeling all smug because it is so simple, but no one could figure out my secret. This is why I cannot believe I'm about to share it with you. That's it: there goes my secret, and now I've got nothing. But! In the spirit of the holidays, I want to share this easy, delicious dish that will impress everyone. Because I'm generous like that.

So, here goes:

Ultimate Party Meatballs

Ingredients

* 1 16-ounce can Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce
* 1 12-ounce bottle Heinz® Chili Sauce
* 1 2-pound bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs

Directions

Combine sauces in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Add meatballs. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.

Makes 30 appetizer servings.


Seriously, that's it. For real. The thing is, the cranberry makes them sweet, and the chili sauce gives them a good kick.

Go ahead and try it. I promise you're going to love it. If you don't, I'll treat you to coffee. Or chocolate. Or both. And maybe I'll bring some meatballs to stuff down your throat to convince you I'm right.

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Posted by Tere @ 12/02/2008   | | | links to this post