October 6th, 2017

There’s a wave of public outings of men in the entertainment industry of sexual predatory behavior (I’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 I’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 didn’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 there’s smoke there’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 it’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 – one step forward, two steps back – so we’ll have to wait and see.

Superbowl lift, Prince, et al

October 6th, 2017

Man, if you’re ever having the blues or just can’t focus because the state of the world is so goddamn apocalyptic, I highly recommend watching Prince at the Superbowl Halftime Show in 2006. I’ve heard the song “Purple Rain” for years, of course. It was ubiquitous during junior/high school and on so much, you didn’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 she’s so mainstream and popular, I get repulsed.)

Cryin’: Roy Orbison Part 2.

October 6th, 2017

“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. It’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 “hung-boo” (which I think means “brother-in-law” but I can barely remember like my kids’ names these days, so don’t take my word for it) but she couldn’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 they’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 – 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, that’s not possible so the kids witness my waterworks. They ask me about the tears, and I just tell them point blank “I’m crying because I’m tired” or “I’m crying because I’m sad” – and I’m beginning to think this might be actually the part of parenting I’m doing well unintentionally. I think it’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 it’s not helpful to hold all your stuff in. I’m not saying go overshare adult problems with kids, I’m saying, sometimes, you feel like doody in life, and it’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 won’t make them anxious. First Son matter-of-factly told me last night how he was telling his teacher about my dad’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.

We’ll see what kind of adults they become.

Pretty Woman: Roy Orbison, Part 1

October 6th, 2017

God I still remember Patrick Marquez singing “Pretty Woman” 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 he’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 “well okay” 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 “Oh wait, what do I see? She’s walking back to me.” It was totally adorable and I can’t imagine corralling children into choreo. It’s also funny to me that teachers make children act out to the songs that were popular in their youth. I love that actually.

my finer moments

September 3rd, 2017

Ever shake your salad dressing without fully closing the top? Ever spill coffee on your nice white blouse before a meeting? My god, if the answer is no, you have not lived, my friends. My aunt gave me and my cousin Aimee a long, tiered skirt. My cousin pulled it up under arms over her boobs and added a long beaded necklace. She looked great, and the skirt looked like a cute, strapless summer mini dress. I copied her style and was feeling it, til I caught my reflection. I did not look like I was wearing a cute, strapless mini dress. I just looked looked like a crazy lady who put her skirt over her boobs.

langurous pool scene

September 3rd, 2017

I had this vague memory of being at an uncomfortable party at a luxurious pool in the countryside. I couldn’t tell if it were a memory of an actual experience or a film, but my friend B recently reminded me we went to a freshman mixer at this older wealthy professor’s house in a rural part of Connecticut. He was no longer allowed to advise male students. She remembers because he was her academic advisor and he was terrible. The world is a strange place.

music, makes the people

September 3rd, 2017

Just a quick round-up of music the kids have been into lately:

* Call Me Maybe
* I Don’t Care, I Love It
* When The Night Begins to Shine (from “Tean Titans Go”)
* Watch Me Whip
* 24K

Wonder Twins lip-synched 24K at their camp show. I just about passed out from my hysteria and excitement.


September 3rd, 2017

I’ve yo-yo-ed in my weight class since kid-hood, a challenge for someone like my mom who is emaciated for all the years I’ve known her and who channels all of her anxiety into controlling weight, including mine. When I’ve reviewed journals, almost half, maybe more of the content was about losing weight. We have long since come to peace with our differences on this topic regarding my own weight, but I’m thinking about it lately because she is slowly making First Son self-conscious about his weight. I thought she was keeping her relentless commentary to me. I get an ream of emails on texts asking me to cut back on his carb in-take and how once you gain weight, you can’t lose it. It’s tricky, since she’s so emotionally fragile and this is definitely one of my hotspot issues, I have to proceed with caution and yet also protect my guy.

I let her deliver her lecture and try to counter calmly. Let’s deal with reality. As long as his pediatrician says his weight is normal, his weight is normal. Does he look normal? Yes. If First Son ever got into a position of being overweight, then we would just make sure he gets more exercise. The way to maintain a healthy weight is to not become neurotic about it. She seemed okay with this for a while.

But then, perhaps due to recent events like poor thing broke her wrist, mom has escalated the weight talk. Now she says she has looked up the weight range for the kid’s age group and he is absolutely overweight, this is an emergency, etc. (Um, yeah, did you look for weight and height combo? Yeah.) Slowly, I’m hearing things like First Son weighs himself at her home, he is looking at grams of sugar on packaging, but some of this may be due to his intense enjoyment of counting stuff.

Once my guy asked about when he could start counting calories and whispered a request for a snack, I had to make a more serious effort to get mom to back off.

“He is afraid to eat in front of you. Your help doesn’t actually change the behavior. Every time you put me on a die when I was a kid, I would just cram food into my mouth after you went to bed. What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want First Son to remember you?”

It seems like she got my message and agrees, and I think, when she sees her behavior, she’s seems to experience chagrin. Hope it stops, but you never know.

When First Son was five months old and in full-on Michelin Man baby status, Mom told me he needed to go on a diet. It was an incredibly liberating moment. It made me see, god, all those years you were on my case about my weight really were all about you.

Anyway, after all this gabbing about the topic, I had the realization that losing weight is actually not that important. It’s just not. After years of obsessing over it, I suddenly just got an upgrade in mental real estate.

sitcoms of yore

September 3rd, 2017

Recently went on a long road trip with the family, and I gab constantly to Husband so he doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, but among the goofy things discussed were great, great sitcoms we loved growing up that are so not famous or that good, but here they are:

* “Jennifer Slept Here”
* “Mr. Belvedere”
* “Benson”
* “It’s a Living”
* “Happy Days”

He loved “The A-Team.” I loved “The Cosby Show” (ugh, why did you ruin this for me, Bill, ugh).


September 3rd, 2017

I have been recruited to practice throwing and catching with baseball-obsessed First Son. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a baseball mitt before this year, but now I’m out there regularly, and god with a mitt, it is so much easier to catch a ball and I’m getting better at throwing. A baseball is the perfect size for your palm. The mitt is making me feel like I’m The goddamn Natural. (If I missed my calling and I’m secretly a baseball prodigy, can you tell me? Thanks.)

This is a ridiculous conclusion, because among my attributes as a human, being athletic is not on the list. I was on varsity tennis in high school, but that was due to the lack of people going out for the team than any actual true ability. I think I actually placed third place singles, but the girl I beat had been playing longer and wept, so the Coach felt sorry for her and gave her the position, and I ended up playing doubles with a partner who hated me.

Years later, I found out my parents went to speak to the coach because they were worried it was racism. It wasn’t. That coach was just a wack job. Coach was a glamorous lady — sixties, short blonde wave, always with her polo shirt tucked into her shorts. I remember her Jackie O sunglasses and her preoccupation with her/us staying slim. She like to threaten to “black ball” us for the Honor Society if we didn’t acquiesce. My best friend and I complained to a gym teacher who sympathized but said there wasn’t much he could do. Soon, we heard the Coach asked around if the kids who complained were Jewish and Asian (me and BFF, of course).

All of this might sounds serious in writing, but I laugh when I think about these times now, all that long ago drama. I was really so bad at tennis. I would go for shots across the court screaming an elongated “sh******t” and still miss, not realizing that I was cursing out loud and not in my head. I had no sense of discipline or understanding or connection to what I was doing on the court. My cousin Ed who is a musician and very well-coordinated said when he played (he was great at tennis as a kid), he always heard a song in his head to base his game on. (So interesting how different people’s brains work.) I think he drives to a song in his head too. Yeah, me? No rhythm. I just sort of flail and hope the ball is there, which is exactly how I throw and catch with First Son now. He now has a move he calls “The Mom,” which includes spastic gesticulating and weird-sounding noise-making while simultaneously dropping the ball.

So proud.