Monday, December 2, 2013

My Predictions for The Walking Dead

This blog really is about anything!  (Also, spoilers if you haven't seen it.)

So, I watched the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead last night and, while I have a lot to say about what happened (and some nagging questions about things that happened prior to this episode,) I want to focus on my predictions for what will happen to the characters when the show comes back in February.

1.  The Bus Group.  Those that were fortunate enough to board the bus before it left will be whisked away to an alternate, pre-determined location and will wait for an agreed upon length of time before moving on.  Things will still be perilous for them, as many of them were still sick and the only experienced fighter I saw get on that bus was a super-weak and sweaty Glenn.  I think they might have had emergency provisions on the bus, but I would imagine not many weapons.  The main tension with this group will be about whether they wait for the others, and for how long.

2.  Maggie/Bob/Sasha.  These three will make their way toward the rendezvous point (either with or without other various characters that scattered in the aftermath) slowly and barely armed.  Bob was shot, Sasha was only recently very ill, and Maggie just watched her father die and Glenn drive away on the bus.  If they take a car or manage to meet up with Daryl, Tyreese or anyone else along the way they might be okay.  It's also possible that they (or any group) might pick up PTSD Tara or extra-pissed off Lilly on their way out of dodge, although I don't imagine either of those two are good for a fight right now.

3.  Tyreese/Lizzie/Mika.  Those bad-ass, creepy little girls saved Tyreese' life when they shot Alisha, and then ran away with Tyreese following.  This potential character combination holds the most interest to me in light of the fact that Carol was to be a sort of replacement parent for the girls, but because she (ostensibly) offed Tyreese' would-be girlfriend, Carol was banished.  It's satisfying to think that he's now responsible for Lizzie and Mika, and I'd like to say that they might bring some of his humanity back, but I'm not totally sure The Shining Twins have much humanity left themselves.  What would be even better is if Tara joined this group- a  non-relative, non-love interest for Tyreese to deal with and two surrogates for her lost niece who happened to have blown away her girlfriend.  I would enjoy a whole episode of just this.

4.  Daryl/Beth.  These two were seen leaving the prison together, but my money is on Beth having picked up Judith on the way out because a.) Beth always has Judith and b.) they left the baby carrier behind because it wouldn't fit on Daryl's motorcycle.  This would make an interesting stand-alone episode, too- Daryl nodding and shooting things, Beth singing and remaining eerily hopeful despite her father's death, and little, blood-soaked, Judith doing cute baby things along the way.

5.  Rick/Carl.  Clearly they won't get far with Rick having been shot and then beaten and then nearly strangled to death.  They'll lie low somewhere while Rick suffers the effects of infection while Carl keeps them fed and safe until they can move on.  The chief question here is whether they'll make it to the meeting spot in time or whether Rick will have to play catch up to the group once again.

Well, what do you think?  Am I way off?

Other, good questions include- Did Carol really kill what's-her-face and that-other-guy, or was she covering for someone?  Did you have a mini-heart attack like I did when that walker almost bit Daryl?  Who is the psychopath fixated on small rodents?  How loud did you cheer when Daryl shot Mitch IN THE HEART with his crossbow?  Who took out that other camp last week?  How bad-ass was Michonne's rolling away to safety in that fire fight?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dear Guy I Went to College With

Years ago, you told me that the only reason I wanted to have children was so I could have someone who unconditionally loved me.  I took you to mean that because I had not (and would continue to have not) always been treated kindly by the opposite sex, I viewed having children as creating someone who wouldn’t leave me and love me just as I am. 

I just wanted to let you know you were wrong. 

I tried, and failed, to articulate how I felt about this comment at the time.  Maybe part of me was worried that you were right, that my desire to start a family was wrapped up in a selfish need for love and validation.  I hadn't really done much thinking at that stage of my life about why I wanted a family, I just knew deep down that I did. 

And while there are a myriad of reasons to marry, not marry, have or not have children, I want to focus on the unconditional love part of your comment. 

First, it supposes that I believe in unconditional love, but for the most part I don’t.  I once had a therapist tell me, using himself as an example, that although he loved his wife he couldn't stay with her if she suddenly started smoking crack.  This, to me, is a condition.  You might continue to love your crack smoking spouse for a while after it was over, but eventually that would fade until it no longer resembled love. 

There are many conditions to romantic relationships.  They can be torn apart by abuse, neglect, breach of trust- anything that my Dad would call “attacking the core” of what makes the relationship strong and makes you a couple.  You and your partner can weather many hardships, but when you start chipping away at the core you run the risk of being unable to recover it. 

This is also true for almost any familial relationship, and I have seen enough family members fight and stop speaking to know that, although they might still claim to love the other person, the fact that they've ceased contact says otherwise.  You cannot love someone you've completely eliminated from your life (with exceptions that I’ll get to,) and if you are willing to do so it’s because they haven’t met your conditions. 

Even pets do no unconditionally love us.  If we stopped feeding them or started abusing them and gave them the opportunity to leave they would do so, finding food shelter and comfort somewhere else and, eventually, forgetting us.  These are the conditions they have set for us, and for most people these are easily met.

Which brings me to the relationship you specifically mentioned- parent and child (and I won’t differentiate between mothers and fathers here- the facts for both are the same.)  A child does not unconditionally love a parent.  Just like romantic relationships, abuse, neglect and breach of trust can all be serious enough for a child to eventually abandon a parent.  They might say they still love them despite all of that, but completely cutting someone off does not read love to me.  Even some of the children of prison inmates can forgive enough to visit and stay in contact, so if a child cuts a parent off it’s because their conditions have not been met.

Notice above I said “for the most part” I don’t believe in unconditional love.  My one exception is the love a parent has for their child.  There is nothing that my children could ever do or say that would make me stop loving them.  There is no conceivable act or condition or behavior, no matter how depraved, that could make me not stop loving them.  The parents of serial killers are still capable of loving their children deeply even if they no longer understand or approve of who they've become.  They might even cease contact, but deep down I know they still love them because that kind of love doesn't go away.  It can't.

Is this true of all parents?  Probably not.  I’m sure there are some out there who just couldn't or wouldn't feel enough love for their children as to have it be unconditional.  These are the parents who are capable of cruel and evil acts toward them, the worst of which might be complete indifference.  Thankfully, this is not the norm.

I've talked to parents who've given up their children for adoption and, although technically those ties are cut, there is not a day that goes by that they don’t still feel some sense of love for that child (and again, I know that this is not true for everyone.)  I've known parents who've lost children very young or not so young who do and will carry that grief around with them for the rest of their lives.  It’s a grief so indescribable that there is no word in the English language for a parent who has lost a child.  It’s a grief that I hope to never have to feel or even comprehend, as it’s so big and so heavy just to know people who have felt it.  It brings tears to my eyes to even think about.

So, ultimately, the short version of my response to your comment (here almost 20 years later) is that I didn't have children so someone would unconditionally love me, I HAD CHILDREN SO I WOULD HAVE SOMEONE TO UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE.  They might walk out the door at the age of 18 and I might never see them again, but that will never be my choice. I will never stop trying to reach them and there will never be one single nanosecond when I don’t love them no matter what. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Greek Yogurt is My New Best Friend.

I've always had so so relationship with yogurt.  I've never really liked it, but I've always understood the benefits (and if I wasn't sure, Jamie Lee Curtis made sure I knew, too.)  My kids love the tubes, and even more so since I switched to the thicker, less sugary Greek yogurt tubes they offer now.  I just couldn't get into it.  I've had almost all the brands and even tried the dessert flavored ones or the kind with the crunchy mix-ins (and I love crunchy in almost anything.)

That all changed, though, when I started making my own tzatziki sauce for Greek recipes.  Plain Greek yogurt started to seem like a good substitute for things like sour cream and cream cheese, all at only 17 calories, no fat and 3 grams of protein per ounce.  I recently used it in pasta with Alfredo sauce that even my son, who traditionally eschews most sauces on anything. absolutely loved.  I've concluded that all my past problems with yogurt were that they were paired with fruit or fruit flavored and, much like cottage cheese, it never quite tasted right to me sweetened.

Which brings me to one of my favorite topics of all time: Sandwiches.  Specifically, cucumber sandwiches.  After a recent first-time trip to the local Farmers Market ("What do you mean I can get three bags of vegetables for $7.00?") I decided to try my new-found love for Greek yogurt to make these cool and tasty sandwiches.  The result was very similar to my beloved tzatziki sauce, so of course these are my new favorite for lunch.

Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sandwiches

6 oz. tub of Chobani, or your favorite brand, Plain Greek Yogurt

2 tsp Cavender's Greek Seasoning (or similar as Cavender's does have MSG in it.)

Lemon Juice (optional)

Bread (This can, literally, be any kind of bread you prefer.  Traditional cucumber sandwiches are made on very soft white bread, but I used multigrain and I've even seen them on French bread.)

1 very thinly sliced cucumber

Stir Greek seasoning into yogurt.  You can also add a little lemon juice to the mixture if you wish.  Spread a thin layer of the yogurt mixture on each slice of bread, and layer cucumber on one slice.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the cucumber (again, optional.) and assemble sandwich.  Cut the crusts off if you want, make dinosaur shapes if you want, go crazy.  Enjoy.