You’ve Been Gone

My mother, M.I.A all my life.

bobby socks

Where did you go?

My mother was diagnosed with “early onset” dementia by doctors in Montefiore Hospital in 2012, and I have been lost ever since.

She was straddling two worlds––past and present––for most of my childhood and never found footing in either.  As a child of war, she has been living in trauma for most of her life, haunted by its aftermath ever more.  She married my father, another child of the same war, and they muddled through together by the skin of their teeth.

My mother was damaged.  Did she know she was damaged?  I don’t have the answer to that, but I know I am.  Because I lived through a war too.  The constant fighting between my parents put me in daily emotional and physical peril.

In many ways I am also straddling two worlds because my childhood is merely a part of the continuum that is my life: No matter how old I am, I am still the child I once was.


December 24, 2014

Occurred to me the other day
You’ve been gone now a couple years
Well, I guess it takes while
For someone to really disappear…

–Patty Griffin, “Goodbye”

Duh, Sit At The Bar

There’s a reason why I sit at the bar.

admiral's inn

Admiral’s Inn Bar, Antigua

The last dinner we had at a neighborhood spot was not choice.  Though I like this restaurant a lot, we made the mistake of sitting at a table.  It’s because there was a 45 minute wait for the bar and I let myself be lured to a ready table for two.  I’m glad they were busy on a Thursday night (and they admitted their surprise) as it means their business is not in danger of shuttering, but I know we got caught in the crosshairs: The waiter’s handwriting was in the weeds so I got a “dirty” martini when all I wanted was a dry one.

jiwon & zelma

Jiwon & Zelma

Also, when you sit at the bar you get to be oblivious to most of the slow-poke awkward waitstaff situations as your transactions take place with the bartender, who usually has her shit together.   And you are poised to be in a position to get some inside scoops!  Like the time Zelma, bartender extraordinaire of the old Admiral’s Inn Bar, revealed the ingredients for her sublime Planter’s Punch.

Yeah, I know there are children starving in Africa and the Syrians are under constant bombardment by their government, and the Chinese under threat of prison for speaking their mind: First world problems are nothing compared to the turmoil and suffering of the rest of the world.  So best not to unleash any more problems into the universe and just sit at the bar.

Zelma’s Planter’s Punch

(Zelma never revealed the quantity of ingredients so the Boyfriend had to figure them out)

The ingredients *

dark rum

light rum

orange juice

pineapple juice

lime juice (freshly squeezed, please!)

sweet vermouth

creme de cacao

grand marnier

angostura bitters


myers rum

nutmeg, freshly grated

fruit garnish, cantalopue wedge

* ingredient amounts in descending order

The steps

1. Mix all your ingredients.  Chill.  You could also freeze a huge chunk of ice, put it in your punch bowl and pour the punch over it.

2. Finish off each glass with a dash of myers rum (that’s what makes it planters according to Zelma) and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cantaloupe wedge.

To freeze a huge hunk of ice:  Pour water half way (or more depending on your punch bowl capacity) in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl and freeze.