First Son: Mom, is Heaven a real place?
Me: I donâ€™t believe so. But to tell you the truth, I have never died, so I could be wrong. I am wrong all the time.
First Son: Well, if itâ€™s a real place, then I would like to find you and play catch.
I think we then went to the shoulder of the main road of the conversation and discussed what kind of materials our mitts would be made of in some heavenly kingdom. Husband pointed out that while this is First Sonâ€™s idea of heaven, to play catch with his mother for eternity, it might not be mine. I donâ€™t mind. I actually enjoy playing catch now, but I hate pitching. My god, do I hate pitching.
This was my idea of heaven in high school. Ooooo, that hair, that man makeupâ€¦.
In these awful news stories times, I have been watching â€œThe Good Place,â€ a light comedy thatâ€™s well crafted, theatrical, but substantive enough and takes place inâ€¦the after life! (dum, dum, dah!) Kristen Bell is the leader navigating these new waters, and wow, she knows this character, it is so in her wheel house. And it’s a complete pleasure to watch her expertise at work. The show is well written, the premise and the characters actually deepen, and the cast is diverse. Sold, dudes. Iâ€™m totally sold. Ted Danson is great in it as well, and he’s had a long career under the radar, always working and consistently good. (Side story: I was in his orbit for one episode of TV I shot years ago. It was 3 in the freaking morning and he was doing a scene of casual conversation with his co-star, but you need so much energy in the middle of the night, he asked for some protein, turkey rolls before Take Kajillion. Friend #1 was on fire that night [I was Friend #2]. He asked Friend #1 if she was tired and she said â€œthereâ€™s no place Iâ€™d rather be.â€ Wow. Quite frequently, I am not like the people around me but that was a fun experience.) I had to watch like four episodes in a row the other night to convince myself it was worth getting up out of bed to do the dishesâ€¦again. (Yet another aside: I finally saw one apartment that was crazy-messier than ours, with four kids, three cats, and piles of clean laundry on every available surface. The father would be horrified that Iâ€™m saying this because he was already horrified when I said I needed to use their bathroom at the block party. I was only excited because most apartments are not as messier than ours, and I finally got to find one EVEN MESSIER! I HAVE REACHED SOME OBSCURE LEVEL OF NIRVANA! You guys, see? Life is worth living.)
I really thought this title said â€œLittle FRIES Everywhereâ€ and I was pretty excited. Ugh. Will still read the book, though am now incredibly left down. Have no idea what this book is about.
I love him. Iâ€™m so glad to hear this. â€œNever Let Me Goâ€ is one of all-time favorites, though my friend recently cited as a cold, unfeeling book. I feel about â€œNever Let Me Goâ€ the way I do about â€œPurple Rain.â€ Itâ€™s such a weird, creepy story, I just ATE IT UP.
A co-worker circulated a quote about Angelina Jolie stating how frogs and crickets are quite delicious with beer, apparently a popular treat in Cambodia. Other people expressed horror and made fun of Angeline Jolie, etc., typical stuff. I was at a kids party and some parents were joking about hot dogs, and an Asian mom volunteered a comment.
Her: â€œYou know like how Asians eat dogs.â€
Me: â€œWhy would you say that? I donâ€™t know any Asian who eat dog.â€
Her: â€œItâ€™s just a joke.â€
Me: â€œItâ€™s not funny.â€
What I really wanted to say is that â€œyouâ€™ve internalized some racist ideas and you need to stop.â€ Husband cautioned me that maybe sheâ€™s not as comfortable being Asian than I am, and that she was naming the hurtful comment before someone else did. I agree with that assessment.
Itâ€™s just none of this is funny to me. If someone has bugs, frogs, or dogs in their diet, then it means their country and people went through a period of desperate starvation. This is my chip-on-my-shoulder reaction that I cannot shake and cannot be easygoing about. Iâ€™m never going to use someone elseâ€™s suffering as material for a joke. Nor is racism cool with me, by the way. Not sure why people persist in teasing Asians for these weird foods. Not like we mock early European Americans for the Donner Party cuisine choices….maybe we should. Goofy Americans, cannibalism, etc.
Thereâ€™s a wave of public outings of men in the entertainment industry of sexual predatory behavior (Iâ€™m not even talking about Roman Polanski). I think when the Woody Allen scandal first hit, it was confusing to me because I love his work. Joss Whedon, producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite TV shows, a fictional heroine who inspires me to keep going when Iâ€™m physically and psychically exhausted, has also been outed as someone who cheated on his wife for decades with twenty-something actresses. That was a major blow. When the Bill Cosby story was beginning to circulate, I had a co-worker who didnâ€™t believe it since she had worked with him and he was such a gentleman. Our personal experiences aside, I believe in the saying where thereâ€™s smoke thereâ€™s fire.
They are particularly tough when the stories about men who have at least professionally championed women, but I have come to feel these false idols need to get knocked down. And this is just Hollywood. Pretty sure every sector has scary stories about men in power who have been taking advantage of vulnerable, lower status women for decades, just like Harvey Weinstein. I think itâ€™s healthy that these stories have come to light and these developments give me hope that things could be shifting, although you know what they say about progress â€“ one step forward, two steps back â€“ so weâ€™ll have to wait and see.
Man, if youâ€™re ever having the blues or just canâ€™t focus because the state of the world is so goddamn apocalyptic, I highly recommend watching Prince at the Superbowl Halftime Show in 2006. Iâ€™ve heard the song â€œPurple Rainâ€ for years, of course. It was ubiquitous during junior/high school and on so much, you didnâ€™t even notice it any more. But watch how Prince sings this ancient song, especially during the guitar before he sings “whuh-whuh-wwhoooo” Do you see how much he loves what he’s doing? His face shows that he’s feeling so much that I find it impossible to not to be moved. God, he was great guitar player, extraordinary musician who really came up with such a weird, original combination of sounds. (That is as eloquent as I can be about music, being a Neanderthal music critic. Most likely my cousin Ed, who is a musician, would be a better person for that job, of coming up with explaining why some songs are so goddamn good).
I also recommend the Beyonce Bruno Mars Dance-Off Superbowl Half-Time Show in 2016. I have documented my love for Bruno Mars pretty frequently, and I have to say, I am also slowly become recruited into a Beyonce fan. (Of course, she is awesome, but sheâ€™s so mainstream and popular, I get repulsed.)
“Crying” by Roy Orbison is, of course, a great song, but this is more about crying than classic Orbison. I was thinking about how we cry in my family. My parents and I do not cry in front of each other. Itâ€™s unbearable and makes whatever painful situation even more acute. I remember when my emo flew in from Ohio when we first found out my dad had cancer, I picked her up from the airport, cried, she cried. When she got to our house, she came up to hug my dad and tried to say something like â€œhung-booâ€ (which I think means â€œbrother-in-lawâ€ but I can barely remember like my kidsâ€™ names these days, so donâ€™t take my word for it) but she couldnâ€™t get the words out, because she was crying, which made my dad cry and pull away, so he could pull himself back to stoic. With my kids, they cry in front of everyone pretty easily of course, because theyâ€™re still young (though First Son is starting to seem to sense of embarrassment about crying), and sometimes, I end up crying in front of them â€“ not like all the time, but some nights are super-hard and the tears come. If I can sneak into my room or the bathroom, I do it, but sometimes, thatâ€™s not possible so the kids witness my waterworks. They ask me about the tears, and I just tell them point blank â€œIâ€™m crying because Iâ€™m tiredâ€ or â€œIâ€™m crying because Iâ€™m sadâ€ â€“ and Iâ€™m beginning to think this might be actually the part of parenting Iâ€™m doing well unintentionally. I think itâ€™s good for them to see someone get upset, cry, express/release, then move on, because the older I get, the more stressful the demands are on my mind/time/body, I am beginning to understand how itâ€™s not helpful to hold all your stuff in. Iâ€™m not saying go overshare adult problems with kids, Iâ€™m saying, sometimes, you feel like doody in life, and itâ€™s okay. You weep, then move on. We shall see. This is a distinctly different from the way I was raised. Also, when the kids ask about deep, crazy stuff, I try to come up with a simple explanation that wonâ€™t make them anxious. First Son matter-of-factly told me last night how he was telling his teacher about my dadâ€™s cancer, how he has brain cancer and how it affects the way he walks/talks. Huh. The other night, Wonder Twin Girl had a meltdown at a restaurant and because I read this story that went viral about a dad who let his kid freak at Walmart, since he was raised to let it out. It made me realize, when possible, I have to give them room to feel like crud.
Weâ€™ll see what kind of adults they become.
God I still remember Patrick Marquez singing â€œPretty Womanâ€ in the sixth grade talent show. He was a shy Philipino kid whom of course I noticed, there being like two Asians in my school and all, though of course, we did not speak to each other. He had enough confidence to sing and burgeoning friendships with popular kids, so had he stayed in my school system, perhaps heâ€™d have ended up okay, socially speaking. They got three other popular boys to back him up on guitar, drums, and bass, and a little popular girl get on stage to walk during the spoken part of the song, where Roy Orbison says â€œwell okayâ€ in a glum, tired-ass, I-give-up voice but then perks up when the girl waits and turns back to him, and starts seeing â€œOh wait, what do I see? Sheâ€™s walking back to me.â€ It was totally adorable and I canâ€™t imagine corralling children into choreo. Itâ€™s also funny to me that teachers make children act out to the songs that were popular in their youth. I love that actually.