About Maggie

About Me, March 2014

I'm Maggie. I'm in Japan. It was going to be for one year this time, but it's become two three five years, and I'm having a blast. Again.

If you wander through old posts, you'll see all kinds of stuff that's changed. Tom and I are still friends, and we are both happy even though we are now "just" friends (to say "just" sounds kind of funny, as if a great friendship isn't a wonderful enough thing). Where I had 3 awesome kitties, I'm currently pet-less. Kitty-Sama passed on while I was, thankfully, at home visiting a few summers back, Willow is still with Tom, and Inky is finally in a home where he isn't picked on by another cat (and, of course, the humans dote on him).

Stuff that hasn't changed that you'll see in older posts is that I grew up in Chicago and still have people there, lived in Japan for 3 years 1995-1998 (Shizuoka Prefecture - green tea, Mt. Fuji and eel pie) and then lived in the Portland, OR area (possibly my favorite city in America) for 10 years before a short 6 months in Tulsa, OK (my, um, not favorite city in America) before coming back to Japan in 2009, this time in Okayama Prefecture (the Legend of Momotaro, peaches, a supposed mild climate that isn't and, knock on wood, very few earthquakes).

My life has gone nothing like I planned, and it's some of those things that have most shaped who I am.
  • Mom. As kids, so many of us expect that our parents will live forever. My wonderful, funny, awesome Mom died when I was in college to a really awful disease called Lou Gherig's/ALS (basically, you start slowly losing every single physical ability, even speaking or being able to eat, while your mind stays mercilessly intact, and after a few years of suffering, it eventually kills you - nice, huh?). She was a total nut, just always so silly and funny and unlike anyone I have ever met. I remember her every single day, and it makes me SO happy when I notice myself doing something that proves that she lives on through me, even when it means I've just done something really dumb. 
  • Japan. I figured I'd do college, graduate and get a job in America, you know, like where I'm from. Signing up for classes my first year, I needed a foreign language, and Spanish and French were full. I flipped a coin - Japanese or Chinese - and now I've spent 8 collective years of my life living in Japan, and it's become home to me. Most people don't get that, and that's fine. I'm always glad to talk about it if people are curious, but I will no longer waste my breath to defend living my life in the way that makes me happy. 
  • Infertility. At my age (40's-ish), I expected to have a husband, a house and a minivan full of kids. I spent years aching for that, wanting it more than anything. I almost had it once in my late 20's/early 30's, but then there was a horrific ectopic (tubal) pregnancy that took away my fertility along with the baby that would have been, and then life happened, and I wasn't in/didn't put my self in a situation where that particular dream was viable. I suppose I kind of understand if people in my position are sensitive, but I have apparently made a choice to just kind of live that section of my life vicariously through my friends' pregnancies and babies and kids while I focus on all of the other gazillions of joys in my life. Some of my older posts are fairly depressing, and it's not that I'm thrilled that I never became a parent, but I'm making some really awesome lemonade from the lemons and living my life how I know I couldn't if I had kids. It's taken many years, but I've made my peace with it. Finally.

I've had this blog for a long time but really only started writing regularly when I quit smoking in June 2007 (more on that in a sec), and then I wrote regularly for a few years. I fell in love with blogging and how it changed the way I saw the world and gave me a voice (more on the relationship between me/blogging/real life is here, and also here, too, where I decided to write things I want to write).

When I quit smoking, I started cooking (read all about that surprising little evolution - ask my dad about Manwich / Hamburger Helper - here). I also started taking pictures. A few years down the line, I'm not sure that I'm exactly great at either one, but I've learned some things, and I still enjoy cooking and taking pictures. Pictures just happen on here, but any recipe I happen to mention on the blog can be found in my I Made It cookbook, along with my review.

Another update of sorts on stuff that's changed since this re-boot. You know how I quit smoking in June 2007 using Chantix and how that's how this whole blog really got going but how so many days, even a year or more in, I was white knuckling it and kind of wishing I could smoke? After a little over two years of being smoke free, I lit up pretty much right when I got to Japan in July 2009. Within 24 hours. Yep. I hated myself for it, but I was drawn right back into the addiction. I spent a few years quitting for a few months here and there and starting again and again, every time I re-entered Japan from a visit home, where I certainly couldn't smoke. I was really miserable about it. Chantix had done some kind of magic in some ways, but it never took away my desire to smoke. In December 2012, I read a really cheesy book as a last resort because I'd heard that it had worked for others. I went home for the holidays and worried that, like every other time, I would light up when I got back to Japan. I didn't. More importantly? I didn't want to. I still don't. I'm finally free. I read in the comments for this book that it only works once, and the handful off times that the idea of smoking crossed my mind, so did that, and the thoughts went away instantly. (Not to plug the book, and not promising that it will work for you, but it's called Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr, and you can read my review over on Amazon.)

I'm pretty much what you see in my posts. I say pretty much because while I will not represent myself as someone I am not, I also recognize that every word I write here is public and is potentially forever, even if I were to delete the blog, and that means that anyone (family, friends, current or future employers, neighbors, etc.) could see this either on purpose or on accident. It happens. I was once dubbed "safety girl," and yep, that's me.

Not sure if anyone is even here anymore, but if you are, pull up a chair, grab some coffee (or tea, vodka, whatever, just bring enough to share with me, unless it's diet pop, which I'm OK if you don't share but may have a sip if you offer) and feel welcome because you are. While I do write for me, I also very much enjoy an audience, and that's YOU!