weight

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).

catch

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.

john cho in columbus

August 13th, 2017


One of my dear friends A. thought I should see the film “Columbus” starring John Cho, a picture about two people meet who meet in a hospital, waiting around for their parents to…die (sorry, I did watch the movie or read reviews. I am kind of just winging it.) They bond in a way strangers randomly can and transcend the pain of their circumstances by being around spectacular architecture. Anyway, my friend recommended the film to me saying it really reminded him of me, and I said, i could see why. I also think all those themes would resonate with me, which is why I need to flee from such a film. I’m really at a point in life where I only want to see pictures of hot (diverse) models shooting at zombies.

Still, I’m glad, of course, such films exist, and I want stars like John Cho to succeed cuz I’m greedy for Asian representation. He seems like such a nice fellow in this interview, which basically summarizes his passion for projects like “Columbus.” He says he wants to keep doing projects of this caliber and expresses that he would happily work with this director for the rest of his career. It struck me as so idealistic. I think I had similar feelings about art when I was in my twenties, but so many things have happened since then, including rejection, intense life events, that have changed my appetite for projects that exhume the travails of the human condition to much lighter fare. Like I’m really not up for tapping into the bone marrow of life to really capture some hard truth about life.

Of course, if you’re a star, you’ve had a very fortunate life and maybe not had the setbacks that help shape a more cynical (or I think realistic) life philosophy, and who knows if interviews really present people’s real personalities. It seems like a Faustian bargain to me once you make it in the movies…but enough of this yammering.

JUST BRING ME HOT ZOMBIES!!

joke fail

August 13th, 2017

I remember visiting my mom at work when I was seven and this other little boy Ernie, a bit younger than me, was also visiting that day. He had short, well-kept hair, a side part, he was filipino as well as seriously adorable. Someone in the elevator asked Ernie how old he was, and his response was “I’m a hundred years old!” He then folded his hands behind his back and beamed a perfect smile, causing an uproar of appreciate laughter in the elevator. I observed this whole scene and studied the joke, timing, body language, etc. Later that day, I got my shot. One of my mom’s co-workers asked how old I was and blurted out with complete excitement “YOU’RE A HUNDRED YEARS OLD!”

Silence.

Awkwardness.

For years, I would review, what had I done wrong? What had Ernie done differently? Was he just simply more adorable and earned his positive reaction from the smile alone? It was only later on that I remembered the work choice and I ended up insulting the adult instead of enhancing my own cuteness. So embarrassing.

As an adult, I still foul jokes by verbal missteps. With jokes, you have to be careful not only with word choice but timing, sometimes tone, etc. You can’t want to tell it too much.

I also remember from that visit to Mom’s work place someone had bought me a huge slice of chocolate cake from the cafeteria, and I politely refused it, ever mindful of limiting my sugar in-take since I was hearing about my weight ad nauseum from my mother. I was just sitting there drawing pictures of waitresses taking orders, but really, just thinking about that damn cake the entire time, until finally, when I thought no one was looking, I quietly lifted the cellophane and took a big bite. The guy who bought me the cake saw me and burst out into laughter. Busted.

So I did earn a huge laugh that day after all.

mindful eating

July 22nd, 2017

You know there are classes that help people practice mindful eating? I think they sit at a table and they pace you. (I’m making it off.) But my real life mindful eating training was first grade, where we paid a quarter a week for two pretzel rods. Every kid in that class ate the grains of salt off the pretzel rods one my one, slowing licking off the each and every layer of pretzel epidermis down to its white sloppy, mushy heart. It must have taken like thirty minutes. No idea how the teacher ever tolerated it.

K.C. Royals

July 21st, 2017


First Son has begun an obsession with baseball, but all is not lost. He got a card featuring a player on the Kansas City Royals, and he held it up as he sang “Royals” by Lorde to me. Heh heh.

With this latest obsession, I am regularly recruited to hit a ball with a bat, pitch, and run bases about twice a day. I have not held a bat since seventh grade. It is actually fun to hold a baseball – it truly is the perfect size for a palm (or mine).

As an adult, I have the wherewithal and experience to take that simple step of extending the bat, analyzing the best point to swing, and actually hitting the ball. This never happened back in the days of adolescent yore. I, probably like many kids or girls, felt too self-conscious to even extend the bat. To appear that I was trying would demonstrate that I cared, and if I failed without trying, that was better than failing with trying.

I was telling all this blathering to Husband how I took the time to extend my bat to judge where the ball should go and the background as an adult, an impossibility when it really counted (junior high school, when it could have made me more popular). He paused and asked me in all reverent seriousness, “would you like me to teach you?” I’m like, god no! Sure, if we could time travel, a lesson would have been fantastic when I was young, but now I’m 45. What do I care?

Nevertheless, he made me get off the TV watching couch to take his lesson and I allowed it without rolling my eyes. Sigh.

serena williams

July 4th, 2017

There is some hullaboo over this recent portrait of Serena Williams, whom I completely worship. The piece mentions how there was something that bothered her about her backhand, she decided to drill it 2,500 times and started the count over whenever she messed up. When she realized she was pregnant, she strategized winning each match in two sets, to minimize exerting herself. Ugh, she’s brilliant. The article is bout her and her fiance, the founder of Reddit, who said “she makes me want to be a better version of myself.” Lame. Dude, the lady makes _all of us_ want to be a better version, uh doy. What is so special about you? But then, perhaps that’s too tough a question to ever answer. Serena is exceptional and trying to come up with an equal is a losing game. Couplings happen when both parties are ready for the next step at the same time. Besides, they detail how their first date was a six hour walk in Paris and that the wonder for her was going through the city like a normal person. It’s exactly the plot of “The Prince and Me” starring Julia Stiles. (Like my version of charming royalty would be take them to the public library, CVS, and Starbucks. “See Prince Harry, this is where I buy toilet paper,” etc. etc. etc.)

The writing by Buzz Bissinger is fantastic and the hullaboo I mentioned was the fact that Serena poses nude in her pregnant body. I get that people are tired of celebrity indulgences, but this is Serena. Her body and her mind are essential elements to her game and legacy. She can do whatever she wants.

get out, part 2

July 2nd, 2017

Just to make fun of myself.

Me: Hey, did you see “Get OUt”? I thought it was pretty good.
Nancy: I saw it with you.

Forever MJ

May 25th, 2017

Speaking of dancing, First Son has slowly put his subway love aside for Michael Jackson. He heard “Beat It” at a playdate, which has possessed his brain. He has descended into a scholarly review of all things MJ, including the albums and Weird Al Yanokovic parodies (and beyond. He knows all the words to “Amish Paradise.”) To love MJ is to love his dancing. The man, troubled as he was, was an incredible dancer. The way he moved…nobody else can do that, you know? I can tell First Son is always thinking about MJ. Whether he’s on his way to school, to the kitchen, to the bathroom, he will suddenly break out a move or strike a pose that mimics the hip-swiveling, ankle/wrist snapping Bob Fosse-influenced choreo of Michael Jackson apropos of nothing.

First Son is not a performer exactly. At least, he exhibits the opposite of wild enthusiasm whenever school requires the kids to go on stage. However, left to his own devices, he sinks into his imagination and all bets are off when he’s in his own music video world. He is not shy about taking up as much space as he likes, belting out “Human Nature,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Remember the Time,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” “Thriller,” and “Off the Wall” with accompanying slithering moves. For Halloween, he dressed in the Thriller video costume. For his birthday, I brought in cupcakes decorated with mini–Michael Jackson Thriller album cover to class. You get the picture.

My high school BFF visited with her daughter, who was quickly recruited to join the MJ team. The four kids rehearsed and made us wait in the bathroom. When we came out, they played the “Beat It” video on the computer, with First Son, Wonder Twin Girl, and BFF daughter taking turns as MJ, while Boy Wonder Twin played the main villain by going shirtless under a winter parka and wearing a headband.

I mentioned how when BFF was turning ten, she hosted a slumber birthday party where we played “Beat It” over and over again. I still remember her standing on the couch and striking out her arms to beat of each bell in the beginning of the song. (Doesn’t sound so cool when I say “bell,” does it. But what the heck is that instrument then?) She has no memory of that night, so couldn’t appreciate the full-circle-ness of the moment. I had just moved to our town that year, so for me, it was probably more striking…or maybe her memory is just a piece of sh*t.

HA HA