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Posted on May 27, 2014 in admin, Post type | 125 comments

Confessions of an ostrich

Confessions of an ostrich

Photo courtesy of perezhilton.com

Photo courtesy of perezhilton.com

What did Dave Chappelle say about suddenly fleeing his hit show for some personal time in Africa? “I’m a difficult kind of dude,” and “People got to take inventory from time to time.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up here too, but on a smaller scale.

When life throws you curveballs, sometimes you need to hunker down. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years. Dissolving a relationship, setting up a new life & home, finding my way and looking for a new focus. It’s still a work in progress.

Posting about my son’s bento lunches has been a lot of fun, and I was starting to become an insufferably public person before I stopped blogging. But odd things can happen when you anchor your public life on private life and family. 

I encountered an odd kind of attention akin to stalking that I didn’t fully understand, and it freaked me out (#YesAllWomen). I went dark in an attempt to put an end to it. The unfortunate side effect is that I became fearful of my own blog and of interacting with strangers on the internet (no matter how friendly!). I pretty much stepped away from all social media, and instead turned my energies toward my son’s school and its Japanese program, getting more involved in the local Japanese community. Online ostrich time.

I feel bad about leaving folks in the dark about what was happening. I’d like to deeply apologize to readers, fellow bloggers, and friends, and express my gratitude for your patience, encouragement and support.

  • My dear friend Heather in SF tirelessly kept me in touch with the food & blogging world, even when I wanted to bury my head deep in the sand. She fearlessly lives her life openly online, and showed me what real courage looks like in the face of actual danger.
  • Charles from Five Euro Food helped me refresh the blog and get the spam under control (comments are now held for approval until the poster has had at least one approved comment). Feel free to give feedback on the new format, with any likes/dislikes/suggestions. It may take some tweaking to get things right, and I’m still in process.
  • Bento bloggers like Wendolonia have been privately encouraging, and I’m filled with admiration for what they’ve accomplished over the past few years. Way to go!

It’s with some trepidation that I venture back into posting now, but I have things to share. I recently met up with Thomas from Bento & Co. when he was in the States, and came away newly energized about bento. Read if you like, turn away if you don’t. But I’m bolstering up my courage and hope not to disappoint.

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  1. Welcome back, Biggie! I followed your blog back when you were actively posting four years ago and I am thrilled to see you taking these steps to coming back, though it’s sad to hear you went through something that made you feel unsafe posting. What a sad state of affairs it is when a woman has to muster courage just to post on her food blog. I applaud you for your strength and am really looking forward to whatever you have in store for us in the future. :)

    • Thank you Elizabeth! I’m more comfortable keeping the focus on bento rather than myself now; I want to contribute while being mindful of privacy. Maybe that approach will help me get more comfortable with public disclosure — who knows?

  2. Welcome back! I look forward to stopping by and seeing your wonderful bento ideas.

  3. Welcome back to blogging! I imagine it takes a lot of courage to come back to it after such a difficult time, so give yourself some credit for that! I only discovered your blog sometime after you had started your break, but I still enjoyed reading through some of your past posts and taking inspiration from you when bento was a newly discovered idea for me. I’m pleased to bits to see you back and really look forward to seeing your future bento creations!

    • You’re so sweet, Grace! I’m running a little short on self-credit right now, but have more than enough self-flagellation to go around. Don’t suppose anyone wants any of that? ;-)

  4. Welcome back! Another long-time follower of your blog here that is thrilled to see you posting again. You’ve been a big inspiration for my daughter in making her own bento lunches.

    • How wonderful that your daughter makes her own bentos! How old is she? (And what’s your secret to motivating her to pack her own lunch?)

      • Well, she’s 17, so a whole different matter than motivating a gradeschooler. :D She is enamored of all things Japanese and loves making herself rice balls and cutting out cute hello kitty veggies and so forth.

        • Lucky mom! I wonder if she enjoys anime/manga too, maybe cosplay?

          • Yup! We just went to Anime Central a couple of weeks ago; she dressed as a character from Clannad.

      • My girls are motivated to pack their own lunches when the whatever the school is offering is particularly terrible (in their opinion, anyway.) They are 15, 11, and 10.

        • Ooh, that’s a good idea! Bug protests against school lunch unless it’s something like pizza. Wonder how motivated he’d be to pack his own lunch on a non-pizza day? (mwah ha haaaa)

  5. Welcome back to blogging!! Looking forward to your posts!

    • Thanks Rebecca! I’ve got quite a few old posts in the backlogged queue that I’ll space out, but have more recent photos for new posts that I’m more excited about.

  6. Welcome back!! I have enjoyed keeping up via FaceBook, but I am SO happy to see you blogging again. :)

    • Thanks Christy! It’s been a bumpy ride, hasn’t it? I suppose I’ve got good callouses on my rear now that’ll come in handy going forward. ;-)

  7. So Happy for you :-)
    Thank you again for showing me so many good things. I can’t wait to come back to SF.

    • It was my pleasure Thomas. I should be the one to thank YOU for helping to revive my bento interest and motivation to post. Here’s to bento! :-)

  8. Oy, I’m sorry someone made life scary for you, and so glad to see you back. You’ve been missed! I look forward to seeing your take on bento again :D

    • What’s that they say, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Thank you for the kind words, Cathy! :-)

  9. So glad you are back. Look forward to your new posts

    • Thanks Sarah. I’ve certainly had lots of time to think of new post ideas! ;-)

  10. Welcome back! We’ve missed you!

  11. I’m so very happy to see you back in action! I understand how vulnerable online life can make one feel, and I applaud your courage in returning to your blog. I know many people (including myself) who started packing bentos because you made it approachable here on Lunch in a Box and I can’t wait to be inspired by your expertise once again. Welcome back!

    • Thank you, Wendy: not only for the comment, but also for your support and introduction to the bento blogger group — really helpful in getting my groove back. It makes me so happy to hear you say that I made bento-packing approachable; one pet peeve that caused me to start the blog in the first place was the over-mystification of bento boxes and the food that went into them. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or intimidating!!!!

  12. Great to see you back! Still loved looking at your old posts whilst you were gone.

    • Thank you doc sarah! Hope to give you some new reading material before long. :-)

  13. Huzzah! So glad you’re back. The whole feeling exposed in a world-sized room of people behind masks kept me from starting my own blog for some time. It’s tough figuring out the limits on a relationship you’re starting with, well, everyone. But, having parts of my life that I don’t share makes me feel more intact.

    I’m loving all the changes you’ve made to the blog. I think I covered every inch of your site, including the message boards, when I was first starting out. Can’t wait for the new inspiration you’ve got up your sleeve. Welcome back!

    • Hi Venia!!! Yeah, I thought I’d been pretty circumspect about the whole privacy issue on the blog before, but I was wrong. :-( I wound up taking down the one public photo of Bug I’d put up when he was 3 or so — someone used it as the big profile pic on a spoof account mocking Bug. Yuck. Momma Bear no like.

      I still have tweaks to make on blog format: updating/adding an RSS email update form, diversifying ad banners, updating the list of current bento blogs & online stores, etc. But ya gotta start somewhere! Thank you so much for your encouragement on the bento blogger group; your support definitely made a difference in making me feel that it’s safe to come back online. (((hug)))

  14. Welcome Back! When I was researching bento making for my daughter back in 2010/2011, I found this site and was disappointed when you stopped blogging. My bento skills are rudimentary still even after 3 years of practice. Glad to see you back.

    • GAYLE!!! I had no idea you read my blog!!! I guess I’m lucky you haven’t flogged me at school and made me answer for my (in)action. ;-) Ya know, as long as the kids are happy and fed, I’m not sure it matters how “perfect” their bentos are. I’m just thankful that there’s a wide variety of lunches at the school lunch table that include bento so the kids don’t feel embarrassed by WHATEVER type of lunch they have. This week I’m making bentos for the child winner of my bento-service item at the school auction; I have bento books with Post-Its marking their special requests. :-)

  15. Welcome back, I love the new site!

  16. Welcome back, Biggie! I am glad you are back and are doing things that you like and make you happy. I am blushing over your kind comment here, love you, my dearest friend. The site refresh looks wonderful!

    • Well, you’ve gently been at me to do more with bento/blogging/writing for what, 3-4 years now? You wore me down, woman! LOLOLOLOL

  17. I did a double-take when I saw your post on my feed! Welcome back! Sorry stuff got creepy for ya, that really stinks. I’ve been reading since like, 2008. Can’t wait to see more :)

    • Eliz, my pleasure to startle you that way! (hee hee)

  18. So happy to see you again! Missed your blog posts, you gave me so many cool bento ideas and resources to check out. Peace and blessings and best wishes to you!

    • Thanks Agnes for the lovely wishes! The bento world has not stood still; there are so many new & interesting developments to explore… Fun! :-)

  19. Welcome back Biggie – it’s good to hear you’re finding your balance – I look forward to reading

    • Thank you, Cherie — big feet make for good balance, right? ;-)

  20. Woo hoo! Welcome back!! I have strayed from bentos lately and very much want to get back. This will provide me with the drive!

    • Shall we meander the field and wander back to bentos together, then? I’ll be in good company!

  21. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Yay! Biggie’s back! I’m so sorry you had creep trouble; no apologies are necessary–safety trumps all. Always.

    • Haha, you made me think of this very NSFW song, “Biggie is Back” http://youtu.be/Bn1_Vc33M_A (headphones on if you’re at work, LOTS of bad language). Thank you for your gracious understanding in the face of my abject non-communication over the past few years.

  23. So glad you are back! Looking forward to seeing more posts :)

    • Thanks Holly, hope to oblige!

  24. Welcome back! I was just cleaning up my bookmarks when I saw a new post from you! So happy I didn’t delete this blog! Best to you–hope you are back for good!

    • Me too! Glad you didn’t delete this blog, and hope I’m back for good!

  25. I totally understand. I write under a pen name and people can get weird sometimes. Especially if you make the mistake of sharing a little information. Anyways, loved your bento’s then and I’m actually getting back into it with my son. :) Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got.

    • Thank you for understanding, Bethany. Anyway, I’m not going to whine about the whole thing, just explain and move forward.

  26. I’m SO glad you are back! I’ve been packing bento lunches for myself and my girls since 2007 because of your blog, and we are all so much the healthier for it.

    • Fantastic! So glad to hear the blog has had a positive impact on someone’s life. :-)

  27. o see that you’re back! I’ve referenced your blog/blog posts often when sharing the idea of Bentos to others. Sounds like a new chapter has begun for you :) Best wishes!

  28. I’m glad you’re back. Your blog started me making bento of my own, though I’ve also taken a hiatus from making them.

    But even though I’m glad you’re back, I totally understand online ostrich behavior. It scares me sometimes how much we share online now.

    • Yeah, it’s so tempting to overshare online. I feel like we’re having a nice private conversation among friends, but I sometimes forget that it’s totally public (until it bites me in the butt).

  29. You don’t owe anyone any explanation. My only thought – call it concern if you will – is that something serious had happened. “Serious” can be so many different things in a lifetime.
    Just take things at your own pace, adapt them to fit your own life and whatever boundaries you feel necessary to accomodate what you need. People will follow along regardless.

    • Jessica! You’re still here! :-) :-) You give excellent advice which I will definitely take to heart.

      • I never actually left :).
        I put up a notification, hoping that you’d return eventually :)

        • :-) I remember your comments as being particularly thoughtful; they stood out for me. I’m sorry I made you wait so long (“omatase shimashita!”).

  30. I am ridiculously excited to read that you’ll be posting here again! I loved reading you blog, it was on of a few that inspired me to pack bento myself. I’ve kept Lunch in a Box from my feed reader all this time in the hope that you might return to blogging one day.

    • I keep lots of info around “just in case” too — you never know when it comes in handy. I’m honored to be on that list for you.

  31. Welcome back! I love the new sleek look. I discovered you after you started your break too and have read every one of your tutorial posts multiple time :-) So happy to see you back!

    • I look forward to chatting with you, then! :-)

  32. Yeah! What a welcome surprise to see this post in my inbox. I completely understand the “Ostrich”, I’ve had to take breaks myself at times. Now I post once maybe twice a month and it seems far more doable. I am very happy to see you back, I’m also very sorry that you had to deal with any unsafe situations on line. You were an inspiration to many of my daughters bentos years ago. I look forward to hearing about what new and creative bentos you have been up to.

    • I don’t anticipate a return to my former peak pace of 3-5 posts a week or anything, but multiple posts each month would definitely be doable. How nice that the blog helped out with your daughter’s bentos, that makes me very happy!

  33. Welcome back! Looking forward to see your new inspiring posts, Biggie!

  34. Welcome back! I’m sorry to hear life put you on a rollercoaster for awhile and am equally glad that you’ve gotten off of the ride. I look forward to more updates.

    • Thanks Greta! I always thought I enjoyed rollercoasters; now I have mixed emotions about them. Rider beware? :-)

  35. Welcome back!!! Glad that your horrors are behind you, and I’m really looking forward to reading your posts again. =)

    • Thank you for the support, Georgi!

  36. Welcome back!! I’m sorry to hear about your crazy stalker issues! My kids are out of school now, but I have a 2 yr old grandchild and another one on the way so it will be great to get some new inspiration for making cute little lunches when they are visiting :)

    • I’m not sure how cute my lunches are — Bug is now 9 and eschewing cutesy bentos. But fun lunches are always good, no matter how old the eater!

  37. Welcome back! Your blog was the first I found when searching for “bento box recipes” ages ago. I now have a fine collection of bento boxes and an arsenal of equipment and recipes under my belt. Your blog was worth its weight in bento boxes when I was starting out and I am so glad you’re back!

    • An arsenal, eh? You have a permit for that stockpile of weaponry? ;-) Thanks for the kind words, Eve!

  38. Hi Biggie, I am glad to know that you’re back again :)! I discovered your blog after your break, but even during your absence your site has been very informative and helpful. I am so sorry to hear what had happened to you, but I understand very well why you decided to keep a low profile for some time. I had been stalked in real life in the past and it WAS scary – even though it’s not online related.

    I think people nowadays tend to share too much in the virtual world and sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line. I am a very private person and I am rather paranoid too, so the past few years I’ve been blogging I’ve only been known as CG ;) – but then I also realised that if I would like to connect more with people online, I’ve got to open up a bit more about myself, which I am trying to do – at least now my readers know my first name *lol*. I was very active in making bento in 2011, but I’ve been slow in posting new things the past 1.5 years. I am trying to revive my blog again and reading this post makes me feel I am not alone :)!

    Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to seeing more bentos from you :)!

    • Hi CG! Sorry — your comment got caught in the spam filter for some reason but I just freed it. Hooray!

      It’s a tradeoff with blogging anonymity vs. the increased connection/reach you get through being more open. I started out determined to be only “Biggie”, then divulged my full name for a magazine article as they wouldn’t run just an alias. That article reached a lot of new bento-curious folks, but it was also the beginning of the slippery slope I wound up falling down. Haha, lessons learned.

      Let’s revive our blogs together! :-)

  39. A lovely surprise to see the email in my in~box :) it’s good to have you back x

    • Thank you for the welcome back, Andrea. SURPRISE!!! Now slogging through updating my page listing up other lunch blogs — there have been a lot of changes.

  40. So excited to have you back! Of all the bento blogs out there, I always found yours to be the most practical, helpful and informative. Not to mention, inspirational in that you made bento approachable and actually doable on a daily basis (putting faces on lunch everyday? Ain’t nobody got time for that!).

    Before your hiatus, I found your website making bento lunches for myself. That is, until I got pregnant and I wanted nothing to do with any kind of food whatsoever. Then we entered full-on survival mode, going back to work full time after the baby was born. So I had put my bento stuff away for several years. But it’s just perfect that you should come back to the blogosphere now since that baby of mine is about to start Kindergarten in the fall and I’ve been starting to think about my bento stash and give some serious thought to lunch packing for when school starts! Welcome back – you were missed!

    • Hannah, this is the most inspirational comment for me to be more active — thank you. It makes me feel all warm inside to think that my crankiness about the sustainability of food art (day in and day out) has translated into something of value for you. Kindergarten bentos are so much fun, too — I think you’ll make wonderful bentos for your child that: 1) fill their bellies (duh), and 2) are a comforting and tangible little piece of home/family they carry with them to school. Don’t need to spend hours on each lunch for that!

  41. Boy was i surprised to see an update on my feed/reader thing! you were one of the first blogs i read when i still lived in the city.. maybe since 2007ish? glad to see you’re back and can’t wait for new content!

    • Thanks lupe! I’m starting to work through the tasks of updating dead links & the lunch blog page, shopping resources, etc. Plus the next post — I’m enjoying sinking my teeth into it. :-)

  42. Oh Joy!!! Warmest Wishes on a fresh start moving forward! I’ve been a faithful re-reader and am SO EXCITED for whatever Lunch in a Box becomes.
    ~~Alie

  43. I am so glad you are back. Your site was the first one I came across when I started making bento, and the site I recommended to others just beginning.
    My bento days dwindled when my children went off to college but one has graduated and comes home from work every Tuesday for a bento lunch. : )
    I’m looking forward to reading your site again. The new design looks great.

    • How does that work for your child to come home from work for a bento lunch? Does he/she work an odd shift that they get off at lunchtime? Anyway, it’s a testament to the power of Mom’s Lunch that they return for your bentos! :-)

      • He works less than 10 minutes away and has an hour for lunch.
        I think kids never grow out of wanting Mom to fix food for them, LOL.
        I have really enjoyed getting all of my bento gear out and using it again.

  44. So glad you’re back. Thanks for being brave!

    • Thank you, Keri! At the moment, I am bravely facing DEAD LINKS and outdated info on the site. LOL

  45. I’d read your blog a lot before but only recently started making bentos for my daughter when she started preschool. Her teacher even complimented them at our first parent-teacher conference! You’re a lunchspiration and I’m glad you’ve decided to return.

    • Haha, a “lunchspiration?” Catchy, thanks! Did her teacher think bento was odd or anything, or just cool?

      • I don’t think she’d ever seen a bento before but she definitely thought it was cool. She said her lunch was the easiest to manage because it was so compact. Mine aren’t too visually fancy. I found “Hillshire Farm” lunch meat containers are the exact height as a silicone baking cup and is the perfect size for a 3-year-old.

        • I love the idea of reusing lunch meat containers as little bento boxes!!! Frugal & practical, thumbs up (if your kid loses it, no biggie). I saw a Japanese-language bento book at Kinokuniya bookstore last week, all about bento lunches packed in disposable Ziplock containers. Same concept.

  46. I’m so sorry you went through this. I’ve been wishing for your come back and hope to read more of you again. Do what feels right.

    • Thanks for your understanding and support, Nolwenn.

  47. It’s good to see you back! Thanks for keeping the old email blast list. I was surprised and happy to see your post hit my inbox a few days ago. My boys are now old enough to wonder why they get cool little forks and holders in their lunches, thanks to you. Best wishes for this new chapter.

    • Thanks, Cathy! I had a fumble with the email blast list yesterday — accidentally “published” an unfinished post draft to the site for a couple of hours yesterday morning, then took it down once I realized. But I guess it didn’t get purged from my RSS feed and that unfinished brain dump got emailed to thousands of people last night. D’OH!!!!!

      Do your boys enjoy their cool little forks and lunch holders? Those cheap little forks/picks/etc. make nice little additions to birthday goody bags — the other moms might not go out of their way to seek them out, but appreciate them as a little giftie.

  48. Welcome back. I/we’ve missed you!
    It was through your blog that I first became interested in making bento. You also introduced me to other bento bloggers and some wonderful food sites.

    • Hi Folly!!!! Glad to be back. Keep an eye on the Links page at http://lunchinabox.net/links as I’m heads down on editing that with updated information on other bento sites.

  49. Biggie, welcome back. Thanks for having the courage to return to blogging. We have missed you and can’t wait to see your new posts!

    • Thanks Just411! After accidentally posting a draft yesterday, folks on the email list got a sneak peek of the next post — so I need to finish processing those photos and get that out soonest!

  50. YAY! I’m so happy you’re back! You are one of my favorite bento bloggers.

  51. Welcome back! About a week or so ago, I was cleaning out my browser bookmarks and saw your blog’s link, and wondered how you were doing. I’m sorry to hear that you had to deal with the dark side of the web, but am thrilled that you’re back to blogging. Looking forward to being inspired!

    • Thanks Fallstar! Got some rest after the last day of Bug’s school, time to work on the next post…

  52. Hi Biggie! I’m so glad you’re back, but I can certainly understand why you stepped away for a while. I used a lot of the tips you ousted previously and I look forward to seeing what you post in the future!

    • Thanks, Carole! Just got out a new post, more in the works…

  53. So sorry that you’ve had such a hard time, but I’m very glad to see you back on line. I’ve learned so much from you!

    • Thanks Nancy, I hope that the tips I dig up are useful!

  54. I am glad to see you back. You were one of my 2 very favorite bento blogs, and I have missed you. I hope that you are doing well, and look forward to seeing posts from you.

    • Thanks Karen! So much has happened with bento since I stepped away — it’s fun to get caught up. :-)

  55. I am glad to have you back! I am glad you worked through it all. Sometimes you need to take a step back and reevaluate. *hugs*

    • Thank you, Mimi — that’s exactly what I did. It was time to pull back and reset my priorities.

  56. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that and I’m glad you’ve come back. Social media can get scary sometimes, for sure, and I’m sure all of your fans are supportive of your need to take a break. I was quite surprised when I saw there was a recent post on Flickr and I had to check the date because I was sure I had filtered for “recent” on bento boxes, but there you were. Then to see you were active on your blog again…it made my day. Take care of yourself and welcome back. :)

    • Thank you for the warm welcome back, Brenda. The Flickr interface has changed a lot over the years — I’m poking around over there as well, gradually remembering where I used to post my photos. It’s an enjoyable challenge to get caught back up. :-)

  57. Ahhh! I missed you, welcome back!!! Your blog got me into bento when I was in high school. \^.^/

  58. Welcome back! You were missed! I know how you feel, I’m in and out of blogging depending on my off-line life. It’s hard sometimes. We are still here and I’m ready to dish out more Bento admiration!

  59. Welcome back Biggie! I used to read your blog daily and have really missed you. Now that I have a little one, I admire what you did and how hard to juggle life. Look forward to your new posts! q(^v^)p