Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hunger Strike

Today is our 8 year anniversary....I had a long talk with him last night as I have been almost every night lately and he finally did something that made me turn my decision around to move out.
He drank wine. He has always criticized and poo-pooed my consumption of wine at home, and certainly never elected to share in my love of it. I had my obligatory 3 oz cup last night out of my Japanese tea cup, and he broke out a Seattle shot glass and asked me to pour him a little. He drank it and asked me if it's supposed to make your chest warm, and I laughed and said yes.
He's not doing well. He's lost about 20 lbs and he's not even going to the gym. He was in impeccable shape beforehand and now his eyes are consuming his whole face. He hasn't been eating and I know he is in a deep depression.
He told me that he had a plan to re-propose to me in front of the church where we got married 8 years ago today. He even wanted to ask a priest to preside over it so we could have a blessing or something...all of a sudden he wants God back in his life and I don't know why it took this but it did. I can't walk away from a starving man...I'm Greek for crying out loud. I have to cook for him and nurse him back to health. I want to accept his love and believe in the miracle that has occurred in his heart. I am going to give him a chance, but I told him I would never put up with what he put me through...not from him or anyone else in my life.
I prayed the other day for God to help me let go of some of the things I've been holding on to like my bitterness and dreams of a better life without him. I know I could not only survive but I could thrive without him...so my choice to stay is not out of necessity, but of desire.
My friends will be disappointed in this decision, but they don't have to live with it, I do. I am going to work on my schoolwork today, but when I get home I'm going to tell him. I hope I'm making the right decision- something in my heart tells me I am.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feverish Rant

Yeah, I admit it...I was on a feverish rant last night, but it was a worthy one. It's not until I start visualizing the life I want that I can actually go out and pursue it. I'm up at 1 am on Tuesday morning trying to study for my stats mid term tomorrow and my mind is racing. I talked to my sister today...she just moved to Minneapolis and loves it. I am in the process of looking into a major Minneapolis-based company that I had the pleasure of connecting with in Houston at the MBA conference. I think it makes sense, and I think I might just do it. I need to step my school game up, for real though. I've been so consumed with my personal life that I've totally neglected my classes this term. If I can just forget about the rest of the world for a minute and get my education in order, I think I would be a lot more at ease. I can picture myself living the good life in Minneapolis for a couple years, then transferring to Miami or somewhere on the east coast. Damnit...I need to get a decent grade on this stats exam if I want to pass this class. I gotta get a grip.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Turning Things Around...

So I saw my new shrink on Friday...I like her. She's Venezuelan and she knew my GEMS. I had a long talk about my GEMS and we worked out some of the issues and sadness I had about losing her. It was a loss to the entire mental health community, as well as the Latino community. She meant so much and was so respected by everyone, it was hard to accept that she could get to a point where she didn't know what a loss it would be if she was no longer here. She asked me how I felt she was now, and I said that I would like to say she's at peace now, but I don't believe that. I don't believe that she could have peace if she could see the life she left behind from where she is now. I don't think she will have peace until she is reunited with her family in heaven and can ask their forgiveness...it was good to talk about it with someone who could offer some sort of insight...I think it's one of those things that the average person, including myself cannot fathom or understand.

On to other news...the 30-day period of marital repair ended yesterday. It looks like we're on the up and up, but something inside me is still unsettled. My new shrink asked me to start doing things based on the life I want for myself. Not what's best for the marriage or MMM, but what will be working toward the life I want for myself. It seems so simple, but I had never really thought of things that way. I suppose here is as good a place as any to paint that picture, so here goes:

I want to get my energy back, so I forced myself to get up at 9 am this morning and went for a 30 minute walk outside.

I want to succeed in school. I got my mid-term grades back for 2 of my classes and let's just say they were less than stellar. I came back from my walk and prepared a document for my group meeting at 1 pm so that they could see my head was in the game. I know I haven't been carrying my weight with them, and we just had our mid-term peer reviews which I'm sure I got slammed on. In our first meeting, I had just gotten done telling MMM I didn't want to be married anymore. Needless to say I wasn't quite focused during that meeting. We had a good talk today about our group dynamics and roles, so I think things will get better moving forward.

I have a test on Tuesday for statistics which I am going to do my best on, but it's always been an area of struggle for me. I am going to push myself to succeed at all costs.

I want to be fit. The aforementioned walk was just for my mental health more than anything else. I am going to start a fitness regimen slowly; I am wasting the best years of my life with a lower than average level of physical activity. I am too young to be so sedentary. I want to have a positive self-image, and more energy than I do right now. I don't need to be a supermodel, just active.

OK. That was the list of immediate things I can change. Here's the list of things I want for the future...the harder stuff that will require some tough decisions.

I want to be in a marriage. I want my marriage to be one in which I consider my husband to be my best friend. I want to laugh, cry, and love with him.

I want to have children. I want to share my children with a man who will be a wonderful father figure spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

I want to have an active spiritual life. I want my family to come together around church activities, I want my kids to be in Sunday School and I want my husband and I to study the Bible and pray together as a couple, then do the same with our kids.

I want to have an active social life. I want my husband and I to interact with mutual friends, couples, and our families. I want to host dinners and go to social functions together. I want to get excited to get dressed up, and I want to go to benefit dinners, plays, operas, concerts, dance performances, and ballet recitals for our baby girl.

I want to be active in the community. I want my husband to coach our son's little league team. I want to do volunteer work at a homeless shelter or children's cancer hospital. I want to do community clean up projects, I want to volunteer at my children's schools.

I want to travel. I want to be spontaneous and adventurous in our travel plans. I want to spin the globe like they did in Coming to America and pick a place to visit. "Heads New York, tails Los Angeles." I want to bring the kids eventually, but I want to have one trip a year alone with my husband where we go on a romantic getaway...maybe we go to the same place every year, maybe we go somewhere different. Either way, we'll have a great time.

I want to dance. I want to dance with my husband and my kids...maybe we could even have a Saturday night soul train in our living room where our kids teach us the newest dance moves when they're older, and we can have our songs that we teach them from back in the day. I want my children to know music, to understand the roots of rhythm and how it is an integral part of an enriched life.

I want culture. I want to teach my children Spanish and English at the very least, and I want them to learn Greek at Sunday school or even the Greek Orthodox school across the street from Company X. I want my children to be involved in their cultures- to know the food, languages, customs, and music. I want them to understand cultural patterns and the beauty of being a multicultural family. I want my children to embrace their differences and uncover similarities. I want them to cherish having grandparents from all over the world and laugh at the stark contrasts, but equally strong love.

I want art. I want to invest in paintings from my sister and other artists, but I want art to permeate my home. I want each room to have a signature work of art, whether it's a painting, sculpture, or photography. I want my home to reflect cutting edge elegance, and the taste I have developed over the years as my parent's daughter and the sister of an artist.

I want food. I want to cook incredible meals for my family every night, but I also want to create unforgettable holidays for my family and friends. I want to have dinner parties with all adults every other month...where we listen to jazz, salsa, or even dance hall reggae. After everyone goes home, I want to spend the evening with my husband doing whatever we feel like doing...

I want to write. I want to write a book someday. I want my husband and I to have enough financial stability to where I don't have to work, but I will work on projects as a consultant. As a mother, I want to raise my children but also dedicate time to part time work and writing. I want an office with a huge window that faces the water...whether it's the ocean, a bay or a river, it needs to be living water...not a lake or a pond.

I want wine. Sounds funny, but I want to invest in a wine collection from wineries all over the world where I travel. I want local wines (I live in pinot country) and I want a vast array of Chilean, Argentinean, Spanish, and Italian wines. I want to hold wine tastings at my house, and have a special wine opening on the holidays. I want to travel to wineries around the world and see how it's made in different countries.

It's a laundry list, I know- but I need clarity on where I'm going if I'm going to make it happen. I hope my new shrink doesn't think I'm a high-maintenance dreamer.

Focus coming back...


Sleeping, Slipping, Sickly.

I've been sleeping a lot lately. I've been sick, so I'm trying to attribute it to that, but I was sleeping a lot before I was sick. I find that I need at least 11-12 hours of sleep a night, and my days are spent unmotivated and unfocused. I have had an incredible amount of loss this year, and while MMM and I are on the rise, I still don't feel like myself. I know I'm depressed, and as much as I want to snap out of it, I don't. I've been taking some medication that my GEMS prescribed to me before she took her own life...now I'm wondering if I should even be on them.
This year, in an effort to recoup my old self, I have reached out to friends and family to cheer me up. It always helps temporarily, but then I find myself in the same position again. It's almost as if it's physical and not mental. I don't feel strong enough to change my fate so I just slip away into unconsciousness. I often lie in bed with my eyes closed fantasizing about another life which just ends up depressing me more because I'm not in a position to make it happen. I want to feel alive again, I want to be awake and energetic. I get all kinds of advice from people, but it almost feels impossible to apply. I don't feel particularly sad about life in general, just disappointed in myself and my lack of ambition. I used to be impressed with myself somewhat...now I don't feel like much at all. I miss the times when I could laugh for hours at a time and paint pictures of beautiful dreams. Maybe one day it'll happen again, but in the meantime I'm here reaching out for something that I'm not allowed to have...scattered. self-absorbed. searching...I'm alone.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, It's Gonna Be Super!

Trying to get over a throaty chest bug today...it probably doesn't help that I was out until almost 4 am drinking and smoking with a bunch of 25 year old girls at a bachelorette party last night. I had no idea how the other half lives...but now I do. I must say, every bachelorette party I've ever planned or attended has been REALLY tame. In fact, all we do is either:

a.) eat dinner
b.) sing karaoke
c.) go dancing
d.) all of the above

Well...apparently 25 year old white girls do it a little differently. They all had personalized t-shirts with the most ostentatious sexpletives I have ever seen in mass quantities....and I thought I was being racy wearing a black silk camisole! We then proceeded to go to a couple bars where the bride, (who was wearing a veil with Magnum condoms as a tiara no less) did body shots on the bar and was passed out and puking before 11 pm. In true TT form, I refrained from hard alcohol (my poor almost 31-year old entrails just can't do it like she used to...except in MD and MIA) and stuck to wine and champagne.
The DD took her back to the hotel and the rest of us continued to bar hop, where the bridal party danced on the bar and had the attention of all the men in the place. I realized at that point that I was the lamest of the lame and that I traded in my party hat long ago. I thought that shakin' it on South Beach until 4 am last April renewed my membership to the VIP, but apparently if you're not bare assin' it and making out with bartenders you're really nobody.
We finally ended up at the 24-Hour Hotcake House where I devoured a blueberry Belgian waffle and a cup of decaf, and then got back in the party van with such classy slogans such as "Shameless Sluts" and "Cumm over here" painted on the windows.
Ahhh....one day I'll look back on this and be ashamed, but for now I'll just pray that no one I know saw me.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Latin Simplicity.

As a socialite chef, one can get into the rut of only cooking for special events, family get-togethers, church meetings, work potlucks and the like. At times it seems as if home cooking is mundane and useless when it hasn't been indubitably appreciated by the audience of 1 with whom you live.
Today, instead of fretting over the likes, dislikes, and carbohydrate limitations of the man of the house, I made what I like to call the Essential Latin Dish.
I start with a good sofrito. My recipe was passed down to me by my suegra who can cook for an army and used to cook for the Navy.
If you're not familiar with what sofrito is, I would liken it to the soul of Caribbean Latin cooking. It's in everything from soups, to beans, to chicken fricaseé.

1 cup fresh cilantro, (Use fresh recao leaf if you know what it is and where to get it)
1 cup raw onion
1 cup bell pepper (Any color will do, use ajiz if you know what it is and where to get it)
About 6-7 garlic cloves
1 packet of Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
A couple tablespoons of olive oil and a little water
Dash o' pepper
Dash o' Adobo Goya con Pimienta
7-8 Spanish pitted olives w/ pimentos (add a little juice if you like)

Blend ingredients in the blender, but leave a little cilantro, onion, bell pepper and garlic aside...about 2 tablespoons to be minced finely.

Pollo Guisado
Once you have your sofrito ready, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep frying pan on medium. Place several chicken pieces in a gallon size ziploc bag (I prefer boneless) and season with a little Adobo Goya (your choice of flavor) garlic powder, and about 2 tablespoons of white vinegar (nothing fancy, the 99 cents/gallon kind will do just fine) and about 1/2 cup of chopped onions and seal. If you have boneless pieces, you may pound the chicken with a smooth mallet (not a meat tenderizer, it will puncture the bag) or a pilón (if you don't know, don't worry about it) until the chicken pieces are thoroughly flattened to about 1 inch in thickness. This is done to disperse the flavors into the meat and tenderize.

Place the chicken pieces in the pan and brown each side, uncovered.
Once the chicken is browned, add 1 can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.
Add approx. 3/4 - 1 cup of sofrito, stir.
Add approx. 1 cup of chopped potatoes, about 1/4 inch thick (no need to peel, I like baby reds)
Add a little more vinegar...about 2-3 tablespoons
Then...the REAL way to do it- add some beer. Don't get fancy, Coors Lite will do the trick...Feel free to drink what you don't use ;-)
Cover and lower the heat to a simmer, cook for approx. 35 minutes and break out a large sauce pan for your beans.

Habichuelas (Beans)
Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium
Take the cilantro, onion, bell pepper, and garlic you set aside and mince as finely as possible.
Sauteé this mixture in the olive oil until just before garlic browns.
Add a tablespoon of white vinegar
Dash o' pepper
Dash o' Adobo Goya
Add 1 can of black or pink beans
Add 1 can of tomato sauce, and 2 cans of water
Add 1/2 cup of sofrito
Add 1/2 cup chopped potatoes (same as you used above, sliced approx. 1/4 inch thick- you can also use yams or sweet potatoes)
Add 1 tablespoon finely minced Spanish olives w/ pimentos

Lower to a simmer and cook for approx. 35-45 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly softened.

This will be easier if you have a rice cooker, but if not- cook it on the stove top.
For whatever rice method you use, for every 1 cup of uncooked rice you make, add 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Ensalada de Pepino y Aguacate
Take one whole English cucumber, cut in half width wise, and then each half length wise. dice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick semi-circle slices and place in a large salad bowl.
Add approx 1/4 handful of thinly sliced red onion
Add approx 1/4 handful roughly chopped cilantro
Cut ripe avocado in half. Use side w/o pit, and using a pair knife or other small knife, cut avocado into a grid. Peel back skin and use pair knife to release avocado pieces into bowl.
White vinegar
Olive oil
Garlic powder

OK. Once you have all this going, serve the beans on top of the rice, the chicken on the side, and the salad in separate bowl. ¡Buen provecho!

Cultural Note: If you want to be Dominican for a day, eat a bite of banana between every 3rd bite. Sounds crazy, but do it once and you'll do it again and again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Too Much Time...

I never thought I would be the one to say this but...I have too much time on my hands and it's starting to get debilitating! I can't wake up until 11 am or so, and then I spend time doing things that don't matter because I feel like I have all the time in the world...then the day's over.
I know I've been depressed lately from all the deaths going on...but I feel like I should be more focused. I almost feel like I never want to work again full time, so why am I pushing myself so hard to finish school and go to an MBA conference for which I'm not even serious about any employers? I actually had a long talk with my best friend last night who is having a MAJOR baby-fiending episode these days...and while I'm not exactly dreaming of uteruses like she is, I am seriously considering motherhood for the first time.
I told myself I wouldn't consider it until I finished my MBA, which now has a definite completion date of August '08...I also needed to know what my marital/relationship situation would be which wasn't definitive until recently either. While I'm not 100% sure if MMM's good behavior will last forever, I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will. If it doesn't, I hope I find out soon so I can make other arrangements. I'm going to be 31 in October and I'd like to at least start trying by my 32nd birthday. Do I sound like a crazy baby-obsessed 30 year old? I've been married for almost 8 years so I would like to think I'm not being hasty...
The more I'm at home, the closer I feel to my dwelling and the more I can picture myself nurturing and raising a child. I am going to start preparing my body internally by completely cutting out smoking...not even socially. I am going to limit my alcohol intake, watch what I eat, and get on a regular exercise regimen. I want to make sure that I am at the very least physically prepared...I know the emotional part comes during pregnancy. I will read all the books, get the room ready, and start nesting like a mofo.
It's really important to me that the father of my child be extremely understanding, nurturing, and financially stable. I need to know that I have the option to stay at home while my children are in their crucial developmental years. I want to know that he will treat me with respect and not go astray while my body is going through so many changes. I need to know that he will think I'm beautiful even with a big belly and indigestion. I want to make sure he can go with me to birthing classes, crib shopping, and will read the baby books with me.
Man...this is a freaky feeling. I hope I'm in the right place to be dreaming about this stuff. I have a year to figure it out, so you can best believe I'm going to be watching my situation like a hawk.