All Mixed Up at ccMixter

Friday, October 27, 2006


I found out, in a surreptitious way, that my teenager is lying to me. Because my method of discovery is surreptitious, I cannot tell her I know that she is lying to me. The thing she lied about is not a major thing in and of itself -- but the fact that she lied to me is very disturbing. Furthermore, when I tried talking to her about the subject about which she lied, she continued to lie to me even though I gave her ample opportunity to tell me the truth.

Most people do not think there is anything unusual about a teenager lying to a parent. While that is not acceptable behavior or expected behavior(especially for certain prize teenagers), it is not unsurprising that a teenager will lie to his or her parent. By temperament, my teenager is reticent, withholding and not terribly articulate. She does not like talking to me when she is eating even though meal time is one of the few times we are together as a family. She does not like talking to me on the phone when I check in with her at the end of the school day. She does not even seem to like talking much to me when I go in her room, sit on her bed, and chat with her. She is a shut-down master. As a result, I have little true knowledge of what is going on in her life.

I do know that my teenager is in a safe school/social environment and believe she is not engaging in dangerous or excessive behaviors (certainly not the kind of behaviors I was engaged in when I was her age). I also recognize her need to individuate and all that entails. Nevertheless, knowing that she lied to my face is an alarm I need to listen to. I'm just not sure how to respond.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I discovered an entertaining way bloggers can cheat on content development: It gives you all kinds answers to hypotheticals that are meant to describe your character. The past life generator turned me into a diseased belly dancer who lived in New Zealand and died by decapitation. At first blush, I thought this was just random. Then it dawned on me -- I am indeed a belly dancer who longs to go to New Zealand and who is very, very attached to my head. Provocative.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I cannot count how many times my friends and I discuss what we will cook for dinner while we are in the the middle of eating lunch.

I love food. It is not that I just like to eat, which I do, but it is more about loving food -- the idea of food, the preparation of food, the feeding of others, thinking about food, talking about food, reading about food. Food as an art form. Cooking as a challenge.

Considering the obesity rates in the U.S. it looks like food is a weapon of mass destruction in this country.

Contrary to the foregoing, my whole life is not centered around food. While I am a creative home cook, by no means am I a gourmet cook with fancy techniques. I peruse cookbooks, but only rarely make recipes from them, preferring to create my own version of whatever has been tested and published. Because I keep kosher, there are many foods I do not touch. I do not even eat out all the much, and when I do, I tend to go to the same restaurants and order the same dish.

I hate eating out alone. That seems to run in my family as my father hates eating alone too. It makes me so sad to see other people eating alone, especially if the person is fat or cranky looking or old or so tuned into the food that s/he is oblivious to the surroundings.

I do love the social aspect of dining. I so look forward to mealtime when I am with a friend at lunch or hosting 25 people for Thanksgiving dinner. As noted in prior posts, cooking for others is one of my all-time favorite activities. Here are 10 of my favorite foods:

  1. Cutta (sweet and sour beet soup)
  2. Asparagus roasted with olive oil and kosher salt
  3. Chicken roasted with lemon and garlic
  4. Coconut Curry
  5. Cesar Salad
  6. Grilled Salmon
  7. Ice cream
  8. Chai tea
  9. Pureed cauliflower
  10. Pie

You are welcome to let me know what some of your favorite foods are.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Upcoming Reunion

I attended an alternative school during my junior high school years (7th to 9th). The school was a cutting edge experiment in 1973 when it first opened and I was one of the first set of students to attend the school. It had classes for kids from kindergarten to 12th grade. It was based on a humanistic model, where homeroom was called "family" and every week there were group sessions to discuss just about anything. Instead of P.E. we went hiking. The openness and experimental nature of the school fostered creativity in its students.

This year, the school is having its first reunion.

When I first heard about the reunion, I was excited. I had some dear, dear friends back then who I have lost touch with and am interested in knowing more about. What are they like as adults? Are they married? What kind of work do they do? Are they still the type of people I would like to be friends with?

Then I started thinking about my life when I was in junior high. Ages 12 - 14 are not really the best year's in anybody's life, and certainly not mine. I get queasy when I think about the things I did when I was that age -- things that would make me die if my children did them! I put myself in situations where I compromised my integrity, experimented dangerously and acted in ways that were just plain stupid. Now I'm not so sure I want to see the people I did these things with -- first drug experiences, first sexual experiences. The social mechanics of the young teenager are not pretty and certainly were not pretty in the permissive atmosphere of the early 1970's. Some of my most benign memories of that time:

  • Listening to David Bowie's "Space Oddity" with Rachel
  • Dumping a dead snake in a back alley in Hollywood with Jenny Belleu after she stole her mother's car (we were 14 years old and found the snake during one of our school hiking trips)
  • Going to Disneyland with Marina, Kevin, Michael, Dimitri and Gary
  • Being Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz"
  • Getting mugged in the neighborhood park with Danny and some other kids
  • Seeing a giant potato bug in the "Garden"
  • The smell of school lunch
  • Going to the radio studio to catch a glimpse of Dr. Demento
  • Hanging out at the La Brea Tar Pits when the park was filled with street performers, hippies and LA County Museum entrance was free
  • Window shopping at Sadie
But the painful memories reside like a stone in my heart. Some of it is the normal angst of adolescence that comes with the negotiation of relationships. But I also did things that made me feel anxious and guilty because I knew then that what I was doing was wrong. My parents were permissive. They trusted me because I was smart and nice. But I did things I did not want them to know about, especially things around my sexual discovery. I put myself in situations that were not conducive to developing healthy self-esteem in a young lady. I still feel very sad when I think about it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My Earliest Memory

I was around two or maybe three years old. I was outside with other children who were bigger than I was. I was wearing a new two-piece bathing suit. I was very proud of my new two-piece bathing suit. I felt like a big girl in my new two-piece bathing suit. One of the bigger kids told me that the bottom was on inside-out. Right away, standing outside on the sidewalk, I took of the bottom, turned it right side out and put it back on. The other children laughed at me because my bottom was bare for that moment. I felt a brief sense of shame.
My inner voice is low and not making itself heard.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


This weeked was Sukkot. Generally, I have to work on Sukkot. While I am able to take time off for Rosh Hoshana, Yom Kippur and Passover, I usually cannot get the time off work for Sukkot. This year, however, since Sukkot fell on the weekend, I was able to be here. This meant I cooked.

And I cooked. And I cooked.

I was so pleased to be home for the holiday that I invited guests on Friday night. I invited guests for Saturday lunch. I invited guests for Sunday lunch. There were at least 12 of us at each meal.

And I was so pleased to cook for all of them.

I made cutta (sweet-sour beet soup), beef curry, lemon garlic chicken, spiced cauliflower, eggplant with basil, green bean bajee, rice, hashua, shufta, green salad, egg salad, baked eggs, cauliflower en croute, salmon with herbs de provence, tuna salad, autumn salad, greek salad. My daughter made lasagna. I served humuus, and challah, seven layer cake, checker board cake, apple pie, medjool dates, cashew crisps, rugalah, cookies, grapes and almonds. We went through several bottles of wine, and Pelligrino, soda, coffee, black tea, mint tea.

Every body ate. We laughed a lot. We had fresh flowers in the sukkah. In the garden there were hummingbirds, and butterflies the size of tea saucers fluttering among the purple sage blossoms.

What a blessing to feed my friends!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Listening to Dreams

In Selene's dream, all the action is slo-mo
She jumps and she's flying out of reach
In Selene's dream

The dreams of other people are usually not that interesting to listen to. Yet people want to share their dreams -- the dream experience sometimes being so real, so profound, so moving that telling the dream can dispel or cement that experience.

When recounting dreams, people tend to tell them in a monotonous, droning voice that makes my mind wander. Not only do my children share their dreams with me, but my friends do so, or at least they used to when we were in school together, in those days when our contact was regular, daily. Now my primary contact with my friends is on the telephone. All of us with our jobs and our families, we're no less committed to each other than I was with my daily school friends, it's just that we are all grown up now with evolving needs for connection. Much of that is satisfied by our families, who naturally, are the relationship priority. Not all my friends are married with families. But even my single friends, at this point in our lives, have jobs and routines that do not facilitate the immediacy of those daily friendship where one conversation is merely picked up the next time you see each other instead of these "catch-up" conversations that start with "So what's been going on?" In the "catch-up" conversations I learn momentous events have effected my dear friends tremendously -- cancer scares, job promotions, a shift in perspective. In my youth, it hurt me to learn of such momentous events anytime other than concurrent with the occurrence itself. I felt betrayed, left out, less loved. Now, the timing of the telling is not significant -- just the telling, and perhaps more importantly, the listening.