viola davis

January 18th, 2017

I read this wonderful profile of Viola Davis where she just gave it everything. She was so honest, discussing her poverty, talking about what she has gone through — she has a drive to share it all, an urge to be authentic and real publicly. It’s so inspiring and makes me want to be the same in every day life.

And then, I remember, oh yeah, I’m not an Oscar-winning actress with my own major network TV show.

The rules are different, capiche?

New Museum: Pipolotti Rist: Pixel Forest

January 18th, 2017

On Christmas Eve, Mom, kids, and I spent the day at the New Museum. Husband had been assigned to work that day. I copied the idea from a neighbor’s instagram. I had never heard of the artist Pipolotti Rist, but the pictures I saw posted featured children frolicking among beautiful lights. My neighbor confirmed that the exhibit was child-friendly, in that it was an hour long, and warned there was some nudity that “wasn’t too bad, just a few nipples.” Ha ha.

The first part of the exhibit was a floor-to-ceiling three screen video of underwater footage, someone swimming underwater. We could watch the film on pillows, lying on top of soft carpet. Twins were mesmerized. The next exhibit contained vines of blinking lights that changed to the beat of the music. There was a cool exhibit featuring beds for all visitors to lie in and watch a screen on the ceiling featuring a film from the bottom of a pond. That may have been my favorite, despite the fact the kids were jumping bed to bed. It was so lovely, so theatrical…and there were so very many penises. Not just like flaccid penises, but erect penises with moss growing over them (when the kids asked, I said that was a plant. Sometimes, when cornered, I admitted, yes, indeed, those were penises). One of the films featured a woman jumping up and down, her boobs flopping up and down, steady as a metronome. Every time a nude would come on screen, my mom would squeal “oh no!” and we would usher the kids to the next exhibit. Wonder Twin Boy started shouting “I SEE A PENIS! I SEE PENISES!” What could I do? Sometimes, I’m like a sitter/Grandma, and instead of reprimanding him, I shouted back to him “OH MY GOD, I SEE A PENIS TOO!”

What the heck. It’s Christmas, I thought. This one is on the house.

I didn’t have to fully get uptight by the nudity because my mom took care of that, which made me giggle. We had lunch at Whole Foods and Husband ended up getting off work early. I have no idea what the art meant, though it was so wonderful to see.

It was a great day.

to baby, or not to baby. Asking for a friend.

January 17th, 2017

Relax. It’s not a question for me, although I will admit Wonder Twin Boy recently announced “I’m ready for you to have a baby.” Ha!

A friend asked whether to baby, or not baby, that is the question. She’s married. She’s got a house, a job, all the proper fixin’s but for some reason, doesn’t know. And I have no idea what to tell her. I have a colleague about to give birth to twins and it’s bringing back memories that I haven’t thought of in years. I chatted with Mom all about all the flashbacks. I just remember feeling like I was snaking tiny arms through sleeves, over and over again, sun up, sun down. Mom remembers wanting to kill the NICU nurses for urging me to visit every day from our apartment an hour away when my body was still a wreck. There were terrible moments like when Wonder Twin Boy turned blue and I ran him to an ER late on a Saturday night. I remember weeping to my childhood best friend in LA about how hard it was, and I forget what she said, but she made me laugh so hard and quoted a dad of twins she knew who said it stinks now, but there will be double happiness.

Double happiness? Um, I wouldn’t go that far, although because we have graduated from the diaper and potty training stage, because the children in school and can speak/dance/sing and come up with the most marvelous jokes, it’s better. (Of course, they also punch the heck out of each other, so…yeah.) I don’t think having a kid makes you happier–however, if you had a chance to and couldn’t decide and change your mind, then you’re in for a long miserable haul. Regret, I have read from one of the innumerable happiness books I’ve read (but this one was written by a Russian psychiatrist so I’m more likely to believe it), can greatly determine your happiness.

Also, aside from the fact that parenting is a lot of work and can be very lonesome at times, that kid might be worth their salt simply because it’s another person to love in the world. That’s not a shabby reason to have a kid. Despite the fact that Husband and I find the children tortuous at times, I can tell that we love the kids because we are both so fiercely protective of them. We had a play date this weekend where the other child pushed down on Wonder Twin Boy in his privates area. I was like WRATH OF KHAN. Last year, a father we knew pushed First Son off a fairly high platform in the playground, we think, to protect his toddler but never got clarification. Husband is still furious about it.

Perhaps, I thought, if I shared those thoughts with my friend, she can decide.

She is still undecided.

(As an aside, this picture is of the Gerber baby of the year. I told a room full of caucasian, maybe-conservative co-workers, “You guys, I’m so excited, but Gerber just chose their first Asian baby of the year ever! About damn time!” and I was greeted by crickets. I knew that would happen, and I made the comment anyway. I told my friend A. about this, how I will sometimes make a joke or a comment that I really want to make, evening knowing it might alienate my audience.)

waffle

January 16th, 2017

It’s the little things.

Wonder Twin Daughter: I can count in Spanish. Want to hear me?
Me: Sure.
WTD: Uno, dos, tres, waffle, cinco, seis!
Me: Did you say “waffle”?
WTD: I just counted in Spanish.
Me: I think you said “waffle” instead of “quatro.” That is the best thing I have heard all day.

Elena of Avalor

December 29th, 2016

Kids get to watch lots of cool shows, and we play them so Husband and I can eat dinner. Whenever “Elena of Avalor” comes on, I notice Husband goes silent and gets completely absorbed. When I try to engage him, he holds a hand up for me to wait till he can see the next plot twist, and I feel endless delight in making fun of him for this. It is noteworthy because no other kid show has this effect on him.

“sent with gentle effect”

December 28th, 2016

That’s the phrase that has been appearing with my mom’s texts lately. I wondered if it was her trying to mollify the harshness of her messages, but it turned out it was an automated iphone option. In any case, in truth, we could both talk to each other with more “gentle effect.” I’m accustomed to keeping a faithful account of all her insults – some of which are hurtful, but mostly, land like barb-less arrows and make me giggle more than anything.

Mom: You dress like a homeless woman.
Me: Really?
Mom: And your children dress like homeless children.
Me: Then I should get food stamps. It’s very expensive to feed all of them.

Later that day, Boy Wonder Twin said “Mom, you’re not fat but you’re getting fat.”

That’s normally what my takeaway would be from the day — a collection of character slams. The day was maybe ill-advised — a trip to Manhattan to see a holiday train show around the actual holidays, taking them to lunch in a restaurant, where Boy Wonder Twin was miserable enough he strangled me for 45 minutes and used my purse as a punching bag. But when I bought mom a coffee outside, and she didn’t say how she respond how she wanted her coffee, and I urged “come, on, come on, let’s go,” Coffee Guy said “Take it easy. We have time. Be gentle with mom. Be nice to mom.”

And I’m like gosh darn it, he’s right. Had he not intervened, I would not have seen my own behavior.

I need to speak to her (and others) in a manner “sent with gentle effect.”

Also, Coffee Guy got our order wrong.

Butterflies

December 28th, 2016


(There is a connection here that I may not be able to make, but know that I am coming back to practice here so that my writing can once more become fluid.)

First Son is a remarkable young boy. I say this despite the fact that many may feel this about their young people, despite the fact that he sometimes greets me “What’s the problem, bro,” despite that he recently said to me “you are the worst mom ever.” (To which, I said, “you’re welcome,” because really, what else can one say to this ABSOLUTELY TRUE statement?) His teacher asked that we ask the kids about their research topics. His happens to be about butterflies.

Me: So are we going to see any butterflies today?
First Son: No silly, they’re all in Mexico and California.
Me: Is that right.
First Son: Yeah, they migrate to warmer weather, lay their eggs and die. They live one year and the babies are like orphans because they don’t have a mom and dad.

For some reason, I was just bowled over about this. I don’t think I ever knew this about butterflies, and it was a nice conversation to have. Earlier that week, my mother had stated: “You don’t help me. I only help you. You didn’t even help me when I was sick. You are just pinned down by your three babies.” Since I’m always plagued with the feeling that I’m not doing enough for all the people in my life, just got my gilded guilt going. It was just a nice moment of emoting – her consistent feelings of abandonment, and mine of guilt, because it’s true. I would help her more if I could, but I truly have moments where there is nothing left to give. It was funny to hear First Son story, which on that day I spoke to my mom, I heard as a tale of giving everything up for your kids.

Ray Bradbury

December 28th, 2016

is We read Ray Bradbury short stories in junior high school or high school. Maybe it was the collection called “The Illustrated Man.” He had one where African Americans were so hurt and fed up to decades of vicious, racist, horrific treatment that they leave the planet and move to Mars. Eventually, one white astronaut comes to visit and said the white Americans had destroyed the earth and he was there to see if they would accept earth residents, but that he would understand if they would not.

One African Martian woman leads the discussion that begins the process of them considering the request. She reviews each place on the earth where a bad memory had a occurred—is that tree where uncle James was lynched gone? Is that plantation where my entire family was whipped gone? They went through a litany of landmarks where severe trespasses had been committed against each individual African Martian, and found the answer was that spot had be scorched, and it began a healing profound enough that they were able to allow them to take in the white earthlings.

I have been thinking about that story in this post-election landscape. Every day, I click on the newspaper and there is news of violence, hatred, coldness to another’s fate, and I just, I don’t know, that story has been rattling around my brain.

This Is Us

December 10th, 2016

this-is-us I keep watching this show and not crying. this seems to be the exact opposite reaction to everyone in my social media network…because I am dead inside. Ha ha ha!

elevator

November 22nd, 2016

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When I got home tonight, I held the elevator for a stranger. He thanked me and we rode up in silence, at least at first. He turned to me.

Stranger: Do you live in the building?
Me: Yes, do you?
Stranger: No, my kids do. I’m visiting them.
Me: Cool.
Stranger: they’re the half Asian, half black kids?
(He is African American and the kids are half of him and her, so I notice those kids all the time. Since I have biracial kids, I find biracial people fascinating and I probably stare too long. And more on him, he’s not a large man and has a beard that has become one skinny dread lock. He has head phones on and is bopping to music during the elevator ride.)
Me: Yes, the three boys? They seem like good kids. I always see them doing laundry. Could they teach my kids?
Stranger: You know how the mom has cancer.
Me: Yes (I noticed her losing weight with a shaved head, so I guessed, but didn’t feel like lying just then.)
Stranger: She died today.
Me: Oh no.
Stranger: I have to go tell them now.
(His floor comes up, so he starts to leave the elevator).
Me: Oh, good luck, I’m sorry.

I feel terrible and have no where to put those feeling since I was about to take care of the kids. Then I realized, what the heck am I moaning about? i’m not the little boys who had to hear the bad news and live it. I called another neighbor who said they like candy and mac and cheese. Going to get some candy tomorrow, because I didn’t offer to help like a dummy.