life

Writing Advice: Shop at ALDI

Where I live, we have several options for buying food. In addition to the local grocery store chain, there’s a fancy yuppie market, a “whole foods” -style store that sells a lot of vegan/veggie foods, a farmer’s market (a couple of days of week through the summer), an Aldi, Walmart, an Asian market… even the Target has a grocery section. Usually, I do one or two big shopping trips to Aldi a month, and that covers everything except for what I get at the Asian market (lumpia wrappers, pancit noodles, etc), and a a trip to the chain store to get the few items I can’t get otherwise (or I’ll get them if I have to go to Target that month).

The last few weeks I’ve been so busy that instead of taking the time to shop at Aldi*, I’ve been picking up just what I need most, at the chain store. It’s much more expensive, and though it’s quick, it’s a time spent on lot of little trips. Plus, instead of having a fridge full of food to choose from, I end up stressed and annoyed that I don’t have choices; I don’t eat as healthily, and it’s tempting to get fast food or order delivery instead of yet another trip to the store to get dinner…
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Go On

Growing up in Central California, where the summers are hot and dry, I equate the Fourth not with some grand celebration but with blue skies, beer, and grilling. Fireworks when I was younger–those coils that flare up and then leave black snake patterns on the asphalt, or the spinning pinwheels of death we could only light up at my Grandpa Merle’s house in the desert–and backyard parties when I was older. Driving with the windows down, singing along to the radio.

Update: Not Dead. Also, Unlikely to Be Dead Anytime Soon.

Short version: I had a biopsy of my thyroid tumor this morning, and it was benign.

Long version: Today has been intense. The last two months were awful in a slow, creeping way, while I waited to find out was wrong with me. As I went along, had more tests, got closer to a diagnosis, the news kept getting worse. I didn’t want to talk about it with very many people because I didn’t have an answer yet, and didn’t want to worry everyone, but at the same time, I was getting worried. Stressing about all of it took up more headspace than I wanted it to.

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February is the quietest month

It’s been pointed out to me that I’ve been quieter, online, than usual this month. Few blog posts here, fewer tweets and FB updates, and that’s true. It wasn’t intentional but a symptom of the calendar and the other things going on in my life.

December is full of holidays, breaks from school and work, social occasions and general merriment-related stress. January comes on the scene with lists of things to do and goals to be met, along with the promise of potential. “This is the year it all changes!” January shouts, and we want to believe.

March sloshes into April and the process of churning forward into Summer begins. March is when things start to happen out in the world, the calendar begins to fill up again, and we’re expected to start shucking the winter layers in preparation for May revels. I like a good revel as much as the next girl, so I abide by this yearly cycle just like the rest of the world. But what about February?

Short, cold, dark, February. It’s not a bad month, nor a sad one, but I always find it to be a quiet one. The streets are quiet. The nights are quiet. My head, more so than it’s been in a long time, is quiet. I’ve cleaned and redecorated my apartment, nested in for the long haul through winter, and am warm and cozy… which leads to comfortable silences and not noticing when the hours slip past. With fewer social engagements I get to have much-appreciated time alone, and then spend my extra time on the people who matter most. Problems and “drama” that ended 2012 have faded away, leaving only the good moments behind.

Work has been moving along and gaining momentum, so much so that there have been days I’ve answered email and tweeted and blogged as Dagan Books and have completely forgotten to do those things as me. I’m okay with that.

I’ve been reading more novels and less short stories. I think that’s a winter habit, too.

February is coming to an end and with it the end of the quietest time of the year. I’ve done the work I needed to do, change the things I needed to change. Like a bear coming out of hibernation leaner and hungry for what’s next. Okay, more like a squirrel than a bear, but you get my point. (Do capybaras hibernate?)

There’s more, a lot more, that I am almost tempted to say but not quite. Personal things, internal things. Happy, hopeful, lovely things. But I think for now I’ll keep that to myself, and enjoy the quiet for a bit longer.

February isn’t over yet.