Grocery Shopping And Culture Shock

I love going grocery shopping in unfamiliar places.

Like yesterday, I went grocery shopping in New York – on Manhattan – for the first time. Completely different from home, as home would be completely different for New Yorkers.

Grocery stores are familiar on some level, no matter where you go. In France, or Spain, or Japan, or Turkey, or Ecuador. The function is the same, though the options and display often change. They provide a snapshot of the cultural differences, and I find them fascinating.

Grocery shopping at home is rarely so interesting.

Update (The Highlights)

Life since my last update:

  • My youngest sister had her baby!
  • She then got married
  • Which happened just a few days after my uncle’s funeral
  • And while I was besieged by The Plague, requiring that I communicate via whiteboard.
  • I have not been writing much (which has a lot to do with the lack of blogging)
  • But I took a Zentangle class at the library, so I’ve had something creative to do while my words are on holiday.
  • I taught a scriptwriting class at the local regional high school drama festival
  • Then chaperoned the trip to the state drama festival.
  • I’m taking an awesome Diversity and Narrative writing workshop with Mary Robinette Kowal and K Tempest Bradford (so my words are starting to come back!)
  • And now I’m freaking out because I’m visiting NYC in a couple weeks and didn’t plan out the logistics months ago. I’m a control freak like that.

How have you been?

A Note On Breakdowns

A curious thing happened after my last post: I had friends and family checking up on me.

Which is not to say I didn’t appreciate hearing from every single one of you. You are all amazing and I am honored that you care about me. Thank you for that. ♥

I almost chose not to mention the breakdown. After all, the point of the post was the fact that I get a chance to do something exciting and terrifying that will go a long way to fulfilling a dream that I’ve maybe never quite believed possible.

Let’s face it: there is not enough discussion about mental and emotional health. There is a stigma attached to the subject, and treating it like it’s something rare or unique or unusual isn’t helping anyone.

That’s why I didn’t edit it out of the last post. Well, that and because I felt truly badass for being such a wreck and then doing something so awesomely terrifying.

Breakdowns are considered a weakness, and weakness is shameful. Or so society seems to want us to believe. But acknowledging and embracing weakness is also a form of strength. Breakdowns happen every day and are nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t understand dancing around the fact of them or using coded language to talk about them as obliquely as possible.

Newsflash: none of this makes them go away; it only perpetuates the culture of avoidance.

They happen to all of us, at one point or another, because life is hard, and we all reach a point where we just can’t deal with it. Some of us are blessed and privileged with the ability to get through them – move past them – more quickly than others. (I think I’m one of the privileged ones, so please take all this with a grain of salt.)

If I’m talking about a breakdown, that means it’s over and done, and I’m fine. Seriously. And if you’re checking up on me, please be patient if I’m confused and don’t immediately remember why you might be concerned.

Most importantly, thank you for caring.


In further proof that I’m insane, I’ve officially signed up to do something that terrifies me. Yesterday, I volunteered to run a scriptwriting workshop for a bunch of teenagers. After spending the greater part of the day battling an emotional breakdown. (Completely unrelated, fyi.)

My day:

  • sleep in
  • make awesome breakfast
  • proceed to breakdown
  • haul in firewood before too much snow fell
  • continue with breakdown
  • ok, done.
  • Now let’s do this terrifying thing!

In conclusion: I am either insane or badass. I can live with that.

Highlights Of A Snow Day

  1. I actually really like the snow, even (especially?) when the drifts are waist-high.
  2. Shoveling is an amazing workout. I will be sore tomorrow.
  3. Finally sat down and typed a couple shorter pieces I’ve been procrastinating on for a while.
  4. Realized that those pieces are not as horrible as I thought.
  5. No (day job) work!
  6. This post. :)

This has been an excellent, relaxing and productive day off. Adult life does not have nearly enough proper snow days.


I saw a performance of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman last weekend. I went because I have friends in it, and because I saw the auditions (it was a dual audition with Turn of the Screw) and wanted to see how the actors – and their characters – would grow from there.

The show was fantastic. The best moment came at the end – the curtain call – when the titular character’s actor stepped out. I’d somehow forgotten that there was a real live person behind the character.

That was amazing. Just wanted to share.