Figs for Thought

Happy Easter

Yep, these are exactly as the name says it is

I decided to make the cookie dough truffles from Love and Olive Oil and ended up halving the recipe to test them out. Coming from an Asian American background, the concept of eating cookie dough isn’t self-indulgent as much as it’s completely unheard of. I mean, it’s raw. Even the idea of eating raw flour seems odd. This recipe doesn’t have any kind of eggs in it though, so it’s pretty safe.

the dough

The first part was fairly easy. But, lets just say that after accidentally scorching half a bag of chocolate chips that I intended to use for coating, I realized that this was going to be just a tad trickier than I initially thought. There’s a good number of them that came out deformed looking, so I ate them, but the ones which I used a double boiler method for in the melting process came out pretty well. After I had four of these though (okay, six) I felt a little…uh overwhelmed.

Today is Easter…

Hebrew 13:5

"for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you'"- Hebrew 13:5

I wore this in the morning…..

Sometimes it grates on my nerves because I smell it everywhere, but I do enjoy it.

I had some  tea in the afternoon with the bee tea strainer that Ange gave me over the summer. It’s quite fitting since it’s a tea called “Hunny,” a honey-chamomile rooibos tea that I had gotten when a tea-shop closed down in downtown Sacramento.  While it isn’t sweet on its own, it smells exactly like honey with a hint of floral in it.

Good intentions

At an after party of a performance not too long ago, I was chatting with an acquaintance who happened to be a fairly multi-talented and multi-skilled person. For some reason, I can’t get away from questions pertaining to my own personal list of “stuff” I do, and in the past year or so, telling people what I’ve been doing generally elicits some sort of “and that’s it?” comment. Never mind that I’m exhausted. Yes, that’s all I’ve been doing, but people don’t know the full story and not everyone has the same energy level.

I gritted through that part of the exchange by laughing it off.

The conversation trailed off into the subject of dating where he seemed amused at the fact that I had never dated. “Well, it’s better to get some experience than none. I mean, you never know if you end up meeting the One, and you’re not ready.” Reality check: “The One” is just a vague romantic term that Westerners use to describe the person you ultimately end up with in a predestined love story that has the craftings of an emotionally imbalanced hollywood writer. It is vague and idealistic, like some sugary confection in your imagination that’s so perfect, it cannot possibly be calorie free. But oh it is my friend, it is. That’s because its all in your head.

It’s also not the “One” if you’re not ready/doesn’t work out, so such a statement isn’t even remotely valid to begin with.

I tried to ignore the fact that it was only a few minutes ago when the guy driving me to that gathering had asked me out. Due to a number of circumstances, I said no, which was difficult since I liked him. That person had also responded with a “that’s it?” type of comment when he had asked me what I did in my free time back in January when we first hung out. There were a number of things I didn’t like about him, but flattery sugarcoats everything and you don’t realize it until you’ve taken a look at it again after some time. I gave him a difficult reply that night. Looking back, it was an obvious one.

At the party, I brushed off my acquaintance’s comment and rambled off into something about me finding myself now that I’m at the apex of my youth. Whatever youth actually means.

My highschool French teacher once quoted the saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and even though there’s a number of lost and misunderstood words, I have no doubt that everyone’s intentions (including mine) were good in these exchanges.

Afternoon with Bananas

I love the banana coffee cake with chocolate chips at Starbucks, but there’s a part of me that’s ashamed to admit this, after all it’s Starbucks; they’re not the ones who bake their goods. While the recipe I used ultimately didn’t give me a copy of that, it was still good as evident from the fact that there’s only about two wedges of it left. I used the recipe from Buns in my Oven, although like Karly over there, I ended up using only two large bananas because the third one ended up in my brother’s stomach before I could use it for baking.

This is, by far, the first item I’ve baked from scratch with the new mini toaster oven my parents bought. I’m fortunate that the recipe didn’t require a larger pan so I didn’t need to do any conversions. 8X8 was perfect for the oven. Prior to this, I’d been making smores with it…why? Cause I get too lazy to bake anything these days.

the elephant

I dreamed last night that I was a bridesmaid for a wedding that my girlfriends were all a part of. Unfortunately when I show up, I’m wearing the wrong color as all the dresses were supposed to a cream color and mine was green. So I’m asked to change, and I do. I do it, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve messed up yet again at being incapable of figuring out how things are supposed to be done since my dress was too dark colored.

Thank goodness that I’m not a bridesmaid for any weddings anytime soon.

Permissible Violence

The girl who won by forfeit (she later loses two other rounds and leaves, so it was a brief "win")

Physical violence in socially approved contexts have existed in many a great varying degree. I have no doubt that various sports and the occasional Jerry Springer show is highly cathartic for some people, but add gender into the mix, and you have a very interesting response. It’s perfectly fine for “boys” to be “boys,” but when a girl is punching or screaming, biting or kicking, somehow she’s a “bitch.”

There are times when I tire at the “men are men” explanation when I question why things are done a certain way. I don’t understand testosterone, or so they say, even though I have it in my system…. to a lesser degree.

A while ago, a certain young man decided to forfeit a wrestling match because of his Christian faith when he was set to go against a young woman who had qualified for the game. His view was that women were to be protected and honored and men ought to treat them as such (although a true man who protects women is one who teaches them to protect themselves). I’m flattered, and I don’t disagree completely, but I’m also wondering why his Christian faith made it permissible for him to participate in this sport he saw as “violent” when his opponents are men. I’m not asking whether or not wrestling is an appropriate sport. I’m questioning the logic behind this idea that a man ought not to participate in a violent sport against a woman because it is violent, and somehow it’s fine for him to do it toward a man because they are “men.”

Men have killed other men for eons. No one seems to find it frustrating that men have been killing other men for so long. Women killing each other might make for an interesting discussion, similar to women killing men, and men killing women. But men being physically violent to each other? It’s so prevalent throughout human history that it’s considered normal.

You can argue that it’s the testosterone and that men simply have it in their system to be violent, thus they need to find a constructive way to get it out of their system. At the end of the day, violence becomes a definition for masculinity, and there’s something both unsurprising and peculiar about that. I say peculiar, because this kind appears to be the most permissible in the context of morality; we can argue that two people of possibly equal biological construct are going against each other and it’s a fair combat. Never mind that spilling blood may not be ethical in of itself.

But we’re talking about a wrestling match here, and regardless of the “violent”nature of this game, it is still a game. This wasn’t a matter of whether or not he did the right thing; it was a matter of him honoring his conscience. It’s a curious result where when wrestling is seen in the context of violence, this young man can only allow himself to go against men because that’s the only violence that’s permissible.

My Prom Dress: and the downward spiral that led me to be a clothes whore

I couldn't find a good picture for this subject, but this was prom related and I like kittens

I reminisced a bit about my high school prom not too long ago. While my memory was fixated on my botched up eye make-up experience (oh the fun of being Asian!), I never did mention my prom dress. I loved my prom dress. It wasn’t what I was looking for at that time, but I bought it anyways because I was smitten. Being more practical than anything in my mindset at the beginning of my dress hunt, I had gone out shopping for something that I would wear again, preferably in a color that suited me with a classic cut that didn’t scream “prom dress.” But lo and behold I ended up with a floor-length dress that was off-the-shoulder and empire cut in periwinkle. It was a devastating result of a teenage girl’s inability to delay gratification.

In other words, I ended up with a prom dress.

My prom dress looked like a good dress, but it honestly wasn’t. At the end of the day, the off-shoulder cut that supposedly hid my upper arms because I was self-conscious about them, also made me considerably less able to move my arms above my waist. I could bend them, but move them? Not really. My shoulders ached from this confinement. In many ways, I wished I had held off of that instantaneous infatuation over that dress and searched more. There were plenty of dresses, and in my entire search, I only tried on three.

In the years that followed, I had this awful tendency to buy clothes that were almost good. These were clothes that were nice, but there was some sort of flaw. I’d waste my money on something I never needed to wear. Embarrassingly enough, I could’ve saved a good several hundred dollars over these failed frocks/shirts/shoes. I also could’ve saved myself a lot of energy by having to always make odd adjustments to these articles in order to make them “sort of” work given the money I had spent on them. It’s true nothing is completely perfect off the rack, but given the expenses, I might as well had something customized and benefited a local dressmaker with my business instead. It was a sordid and wasteful affair.

Today, my prom dress hangs in my dark closet, never to see the light of day except to remind myself of a difficult relationship I had with clothes. It was the beginning of me learning how to dress a body that had curves which I denied and hid for years, like an attempt to use semicolons after years of avoiding them because I couldn’t understand where they needed to be; they just sat there in my head until I thought I was a “writer” one day that they ended up everywhere. I think they call that grammatical abuse, but that’s another story.

A good dress should support you and show off your best assets as well as compliment your figure in every possible way. It should not restrict nor confine your movement. It should not make you less of you and compromise the way you’ve been built, which is always good to keep in mind for other things as well.

post-college thoughts

One of the charming, or not-so-charming effects of Facebook is that you’re inevitably faced with how much “fun” all of your younger college friends are perpetually having. It’s not reality because we all know they’re just a bunch of pictures and when they’re not doing something crazy, as depicted by those photo albums, they’re cramming for those weekly mid-terms. Either that, or they’re busy trying to figure out their privacy settings as they go about applying for those sought after internships and jobs. I know this cause I was a college student at one time.

I’m glad that college is over.

There were aspects of college that I loved, and a huge part of it had to do with the numerous diverse amounts of ideas, thoughts and conversations all coalesced onto one campus. I had a love affair with the ivory tower that ended in disillusionment during sophomore year, and while college was a time to “figure myself out,” what nobody told me was that college was also a time to make mistakes.

In reality, I never made enough mistakes in college. I didn’t fail enough. I think that was precisely what made post-college a little more daunting, because now my actions will have harder consequences. Don’t get me wrong, there are always going to be consequences to your actions. I’m certainly not encouraging the kinds of mistakes that entail thousands of dollars in debt that comes from taking numerous college loans, nor the devastatingly dumb ones that endanger another person’s life (although you can definitely learn from those too!). I’m referring to the kind of mistakes that I’d inevitably make had I taken more chances, the ones that were only avoidable through standing off to the side observing instead of participating. There’s a lot to be said for avoiding pot-holes, and I’m all for wisdom, but I also developed a self-righteousness that came with a lot of pride for not making some of those mistakes because “I knew better.” Yeah right.

At some point, you question the narrative that you functioned under as a system that had protected you against some of the pain that you sought to avoid, and you ask yourself why, because pain was inevitable to begin with. The problem wasn’t pain, it was my reaction to it.

In college, I was afraid that my life would stagnate once I entered into the “real world,” but I think what happens in this world is that your beliefs are challenged in more personal ways.

If people were afraid of losing their faith, innocence and identity in a college setting that intellectually challenged their theology/system of belief/identity, the real world challenges it on a personal scale. It’s easy to argue a position, but in the real world, theory is just that, theory. I can’t say that I’m running on quite the same scripts and ideas I ran on in college, nor can I say I’m the same person anymore, but I’d like to think that I’m a little more real now.

Note: I owe credit on the first paragraph of this post to my friend Ange, who was the one who pointed out this “fun life!” image that FB perpetuates even though it’s not the complete picture.

24!

Today, as I drove pass a mass exodus of junior high students, I was sordidly tempted to stick my head out of the window and scream “I was YOUR age at one time!!! LOOK AT ME NOW!!!” I didn’t. I suspect my sanity would be inevitably questioned by some very over-protective suburban parents. For reference, I once went to that exact same school. Sometimes I wonder whether the teachers I had still teach there.

I’m 24, the mind boggling number that Jack Bauer thrived on a timely basis in his fictional world, the hourly number that the earth rotates and the number between early twenties and mid-twenties. I think I expected spectacular things out of myself at this age when I was fourteen. I’m wondering if I would disappoint myself if I told my fourteen year old version what I’ve accomplished at this point in life. But I’m not sure that version of me knew what I actually wanted to begin with. I would tell her that I’m happy with my body and I’m no longer dieting. I would tell her that I’m still afraid of a lot of things, but I’m still working to overcome them. I would tell her not to worry too much about school, because she’ll do just fine at college.

What frightens me is that I look like I’m twenty-four. I no longer look like that awkward teenager. No. I look like an awkward twenty-four year old post grad who’s trying to make it in this world.

So here’s to being twenty-four.

Transitions

by Traci French

The brilliant thing about transitions is that you either embrace it, or it takes you along for a very bumpy uncomfortable ride. There are some that you anticipate, and others where even anticipation doesn’t prepare you for how odd life can get. I can list off at least three things in my life where the transition was forced rather than a self-motivated move, and even in those moments I could tell where the wind was blowing before the tornado came. But there’s also good things to come, and I have a feeling things work out exactly the way they are supposed to.

Love, Monogomy and Marriage

This title will forever cement me in the annals of “crazy women bloggers” and no sane man who happens across this entry will think twice about asking the likes of me out. Why should I avoid the topic, especially given how I’m posting this on Valentines Day (if I don’t write pass midnight)? Why should I avoid this day of…over commercialized romance? No wait, I do have an answer for that.

I witnessed two acquaintances of mine getting married on Saturday, something that I was very honored to watch considering how I didn’t think I was that close to them socially speaking. There was something about that union that reminded me of a baptism of sorts. Not that in a marriage we’re born again, but not unlike the ceremony that one goes through to get married, there’s a sort of understanding in a relationship where we know there is a promise that takes place. In a baptism, there is an outward showing of an inward reality, and that reality concerns a relationship with God sealed through the better or worse. It’s a relationship that, interestingly enough, God upholds more than we do, at least in my experience. And in life, there’s a lot of these “better or worse” moments.

I don’t think that monogamy is natural. I think that it’s a choice, and likewise, marriage is probably a daily choice (although not being married myself, maybe I’ll look back at this statement years from now and grumble about being naive).