Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

get out

Monday, April 10th, 2017

My mom went to see “Get Out” by Jordan Peele by herself.

Me: Why? Why would you do that to yourself?
Mom: The Times gave it such a good review, I had to go.
Me: Yes, it’s brilliant, it’s clever, but it’s still a horror movie. yYu are not a horror movie person. i saw it. It was very scary.
Mom: I covered my eyes.
Me: Why didn’t you leave?
Mom: I don’t know. It was not a crowded theater.
Me: I really wish you would call me before you make these decisions.

“tiny, beautiful things” by cheryl strayed

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

I picked up this collection of advice columns after reading that the Public Theater had adapted it into a show that ran this past December. I love when theater comes from unexpected places, so I thought I’d give this a whirl despite the fact that this kind of obvious book is not really my jam. No matter. I dug it. This woman writes very well, and with such directness, such honesty, that it really inspired me to be more myself when writing. I love giving advice too, so it was interesting to hear her perspective.There is one excruciating letter from a man who lost his twenty-three year old son to a hit-and-run via drunk driver that I bawled on the subway.

She is also the author of Wild, a huge bestseller and a movie starting Reese Witherspoon, so her level of success is astroid level (unless astroids are the ones that shoot down the earth. First Son was just reciting the difference between a comet, a meteorite, and an astroid, and I cannot for the life of me recall the definitions but possibly none of the three would be an appropriate word of astronomical success if they are all stars that shoot down to the earth in terrific fashion). Strayed recently gave an interview about how much money she actually made from writing her first big novel sale and was explicit about how much the agent gets, the credit card gets, how the length of the payment schedule means you never get that moment of holding two giant bags of money in the air and shout “I’m going to Jamaica, b*tches!” or whatever is your catch phrase of glory. When I was a kid, I read the Choose Your Own Adventure series, where depending on your choices, you went to different pages in the book. I used to keep a book mark at every crossroads to read the other paths I could have taken. I could never accept that the one adventure was the only one open to me. So reading about Strayed’s path of unbridled success having obstacles made me feel that every path is full of struggle and I stopped worrying about the ones I haven’t taken.

pretty woman

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

I was recently assigned a big project at work, and all the people in my corner there are rooting for me. May I note, however, that the way they are rooting for me is by making very pointed, personal comments about how I speak and dress to the point where I’m like, oh it’s like I’m in Pretty Woman without the denouement on Rodeo Drive where Julia Roberts gets to buy whatever she wants with a bunch of credit cards. I will say right before I headed into a big meeting, my head mail room guy told me wipe my face and my office manager dusted off the back of my jacket. It was completely like being around my family, some of whom start brushing my hair before saying hello.

odd jobs

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

When we immigrated to the U.S., my dad had a lot of trouble lining up work. Back in Korea, he had gone to Kyongi Boys High School and Seoul National University, an Andover and Harvard of Korea, if you will. It was the seventies and there was a recession, so despite having a law degree, my dad, like many immigrants, had to hustle and start from scratch. I had forgotten the series of odd jobs he had gotten connected with through his friends, until this past Valentine’s Day when I joked to Husband that I got him a box of chocolates with an animal on the cover without eyes. The comment made no sense to either of us, but then, something got jarred in my memory and I recalled a large box of stuffed animals in our home in New Jersey with no eyes.

Husband: What do you mean with no eyes?
Me: No eyes, I mean like no eyes were ever sewn on the stuffed animals.
Husband: And you played with them?
Me: Oh sure. It’s not like they once had eyes and they were gouged out. (This reminds me of King Lear — isn’t he blinded in the play?)
Husband: No wonder you’re so weird.
Me: You’re a lucky guy.

I also remember getting a hooded white rabbit waist-length coat when he was briefly in the fur business and Mom had some gray fox fur coat that framed her face and went down to her ankle. She was quite glam then (and still is actually). There was also a time when he sold these awful sad clown paintings and paintings of boats at a dock, like the most soulless, cheesy, dentist office-looking art that was stacked in piles around the house.

Poor Dad. He was always so hungry to work, to prove himself. I often felt like he was a Willy Loman, whose ship had never come in. Maybe that’s not a fair assessment. Before we moved to the U.S., he was based in London while Mom and I were in Seoul. He worked for some shipping conglomerate, a Samsung or something, and traveled all over the world.

In the U.S., the biggest job he managed to get was a freelance gig as a middle-man selling semi-conductors, connecting American, Korean, and French business peeps, using his effervescent charm and goofy jokes (and I’m sure whatever else you’re suppose to use) to close deals. I did not really know and still do not know what a semi-conductor is, but it has to do with computers…I think. He was very well-liked. He did that for four years while I was in college, and through that job, he paid for every penny of my tuition. My parents are so proud of that accomplishment, and I had no appreciation of it at the time. Now I do. People my age are still paying loans, I have three children and I don’t there’s anyway I can pay for even half of their tuition. What good fortune I was born under.

That was his last big job. The computer industry changed, and the semi-conductor wasn’t really necessary. Every time I’d call him to check in, he would say “I’m fine, not doing much, looking for some excitement.”

This was many years ago.

brooklyn museum of art

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Just for a fun breather, I thought I’d take the kids to the Brooklyn Museum. I need art, once in a while, god especially in the wacky version of the world according to the news.

The kids do very well with conceptual art, particularly video installations, and they have tons of experience with children’s museums of course.(Is this because they love watching TV?)

Wonder Twin Girl got yelled at for sitting on an installation that looked like a bench. This began the guardians trailing us room to room. (You know, I really don’t blame them. I felt momentarily concerned, but then that stopped quickly.) And when I turned around in the Egyptian exhibit, I found Wonder Twin Boy leaning on an ancient Egyptian tomb with both hands spread in a classic high-five spread. This was the point in our museum tour, I announced to my gang “okay, time to go!”

bodhisattva, teacher edition

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Last Friday, First Son’s class were scheduled to perform at the schools Chinese New Year concert. He spent the time with his classmates, learning the song lyrics and the moves, but when it came time to line up, he burst into tears and stuck with me. He said he both wanted to be in the show and he also didn’t. I can absolutely understand that, and I push him sometimes and not others (he’s a somewhat tentative fellow). I told him, “Look, dude, I know you. You’re scared now, but when we go home, you are going to have regret. When your friends are on stage, you will suffer FOMO [he did not know what i was talking about]. Let’s just go backstage and see what it’s like. No need to decide now”. We went backstage where the other kids were cheerfully putting on red headbands, and I explained the situation to the teacher who was terrific. She hugged him, asked him if he could help out this other kid who was out all week. Once he nodded, she shooed me away, and he was in the show. He’s not a natural performer or anything but he was on stage without throwing up or weeping, performing the same steps as his peers. I was very pleased. I would like him to have experiences where he overcomes nerves, experiences being brave, so that it’s less daunting the next time to situation calls for him to step out of his comfort zone, so I thanked the teacher.

She said, “I always want to ensure all the children feel confident that they can and should try new things!” It occurred to me that she felt love for all her students. I was very moved that for some reason and was reminded of the teachers in the Sandy Hook tragedy who tried to shield their students. That, I thought, is true bodhisattva. Teachers love their students, people who are not even their flesh and blood. I have enjoyed the love of many teachers, so I have no idea why I have never noticed this quality before.

selena gomez

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

This young singer actress is so lovely. Why do her songs stink so hard? All these songs are cranked out by factories. Anyway, so why not send her a good solid catchy tune?

viola davis

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

Tuesday, 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.)