Friday, June 22, 2012

Ugh.

Ugh ugh ugh. It's been a trying week.  A lot of instability at work that I can't really talk about, save to say that my work is not immune to the public sector constrictions that are happening everywhere as a result of the global economic crisis.  Any way you slice it, it's bad for morale.

It's not helping that my mum and Big D are continuing to use me as their filial whipping boy.  I would have thought that having spent the majority of her years in North America, that my mum would be able to resist the sexism of Chinese culture, but no.  The boys will always get a free pass.  My sister will always be the "good" child, which leaves me as the repository for all their frustrations.  I don't "behave" properly.  I'm not "obedient" or "accommodating" enough.  It gets incredibly frustrating and demoralizing.  Emails are flying back and forth with this weird blanket caveat "we're not showing favoritism" but then my name gets flung in there and weird comments get made about how my proclivity for prioritizing my friends over my family has been noted, purportedly without prejudice.  The expectations of me are so much more and it's annoying that my brothers get a free pass.  They basically get to flit in and out and do as they please, without being held accountable for how they're not being "accommodating" or "helpful" enough.

I get that kids are going to get treated differently.  I do.  But what I do resent is being the ONLY kid who gets consistently s**t on and being held to a different standard than my equally capable siblings.

One of the big issues is scheduling.  We can't see eye to eye on this matter at all.  My parents insist that I try to have things done according to "my" schedule and refuse to be accommodating to their scheduling needs and only try to arrange things when it's convenient for me.  The big, gaping lacuna in their logic is that EVERYONE IS TRYING TO WORK THEIR SCHEDULES OUT SO THAT IT'S CONVENIENT FOR THEIR OWN, EQUALLY BUSY, LIVES.  So, when my sister said that it would work better for her and Uncle Rico to have my grandma's birthday dinner on a Saturday instead of Sunday, presto changeo! Dinner is on Saturday without comment.  When I send an email stating what blocks of time we have free to do something, then suddenly it becomes that I'm making demands, and not requests.  It's completely illogical and irrational.

It's like trying to set up a meeting request in Outlook and then flipping out when you want to have a meeting on Monday at 2pm and two of the attendees have something from 2-2:30pm and that time is blocked off.

Blargh.  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  I'm also my own worst enemy, because I have somehow sublimated some of that Confucian filial piety thing so that I still feel guilty.  Which is my own problem.  I gotta accept it and move on.  My new mission is to ignore and play the part of Bruce Wayne.  Do what I like when I like, don't try to organize things in advance, and let them howl.

There is also a valuable takeaway here, and it involves parenting and like, NOT PLAYING FAVORITES.  Haha. No really; I'm currently reading Alison Bechdel's new comic memoir (ie. it's not a comedy, but it's a memoir presented in comic form), Are You My Mother? and it's got a bunch of psychoanalysis type stuff based on her own therapy sessions, her readings of Virginia Woolf and most of the major psychoanalysts (Freud, Jung, etc.), and based mostly on this dude Donald Winnicott's theories on the transitional object and more importantly, the true self and the false self.  Basically, the true self is the confident, self-actualized, creative you.  Living your true self is awesome.  The false self is when you internalize or subsume your true self and model the behaviour that's expected of you, so that you become more like your mother, father, caregiver, etc.  It's an unconscious process, and you can trick others and even yourself into thinking that the false self is who you really are.  But what ends up happening is that even if you're successful with your false self, you feel kind of sad and empty and lonely (obvi!)

If I were to armchair psychoanalyze myself, I would say that Mom and Big D have problems dealing with my true self and want me to be more of a false self.  The problem is, I can probably say that from, say, BIRTH, I've never been a false self kind of person.  This is a positive in some respects (I tend to be very happy/content and confident and creative) and negative in others (I can be tactless and have problems seeing things from other people's perspectives).  Mom and Big D just can't handle my true self.  Does this mean that I'm off the hook from humoring them?  No.  I'm not so unreflexive as to think that.  But at the same time, our clashes seem to always come down to the fact that I don't behave the way they want me to.  Am I doing something horrible?  No.  I just have my own way of scheduling the life of myself, my partner, and our young son.  Because it's such a minor thing, I don't really think it requires changing, especially since every OTHER aspect of my life is helped along by this one tendency (ie. my tendency to be organized and be a planner).

Ultimately, we both have to love each other for who we are, not for who we want the other person to be.  I think I can safely say that I don't really expect or want anything from my parents on the regular.  I don't want or need them to change in some fundamental way in order for our relationship to change.  I just get irritated when they call me out and single me out for rando s**t.  But whatever.  As the Dotytron is fond of saying, HATERZ GON' HATE.

Tonight is softball and it is very close to our house and I am very excited about that.  Last night I went home and we had clam pizza for dinner and a lovely beet salad over arugala and CSA greens with goat's cheese and candied pecans.  Momma D came over for dinner and a visit.  It was yum.  And I treated myself to a decompressing-from-stress fudgesicle.  The kids went out and put on their boots and splashed in the post-rain puddles.  If that pic above isn't one of the cutest things you've ever seen, then you must be living in Sanrio World in Japan.

Tonight we had pimento cheese, mortadella, and pickle paninis with chips.

And I made a key lime pie ice cream base which I churned this morning so it will be ready to be my post-softball treat.

There is something magical that happens when you mix eggs, condensed milk, and lime juice.  It thickens up so nicely on its own.  I've posted my recipe below for any and all of you who have an ice cream maker, along with Christina Tosi's graham crust, which I baked off and chunked into the ice cream to give it that real, key lime pie flavour.

Fin.

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream


1 1/2 c. whipping cream (you could probably use coffee cream)
1 1/2 c. milk (I used 2%)
1 can of condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 c. lime juice
zest of two limes

- heat the milk and cream in a saucepot over medium heat until the mixture comes to just under a simmer.
- add the lime zest and let this steep
- whisk together the condensed milk and the egg yolks and the lime juice
- slowly temper this mixture with the hot milk-cream
- pout the tempered eggs back into the pot and cook over low heat, stirring/whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to a bare, bare simmer and thickens
- cool the mixture overnight and churn as per your ice cream maker's directions.

Momofuku Milk Bar's Graham Crust
tweaked with my minor, minor adaptations


1 1/2 c. graham crumbs
1/2 c. powdered milk
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. whipping cream

- preheat the oven to 250F
- in a bowl, toss together the dried ingredients until evenly combined.  Add the liquid ingredients and stir until wet, sandy "clumps" form.
- dump these clumps onto a silpat  or parchment-lined baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or until the clumps are toasted and feel dry.
- break the clumps into smaller pieces and fold half this amount into your churned ice cream before you freeze.


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