sick day (from 2008)

So I finally succumbed to my three-week cold and stayed home, and welcomed Mom and Dad, since they were both home sick too. Mom happily ensconced herself on my couch in front of her Korean soaps we DVR’d for her (she digs this contemporary one where all the handsome men have metrosexual hair and the characters go on for inordinate amounts on mundane things like the nature of sleeping pills or how to best take care of a pet bird, in between family and class clashes) while my father cleaned my kitchen.

It was great to have the company, as I hate staying inside all day. As I was having one of my coughing fits, Mom rubbed my back, just like the good old days of childhood, and gently said, “You know, you’re really getting old,” which only made me choke more b/c I know who to turn to when I need a pep talk. I think the only thing she says that’s funnier is when she practices her words from Spanish class on me. Like she’ll call, and just count to twenty-six in Spanish with her Korean accent. It’s pretty awesome.

By the time they left, I was still a cough-a-holic, but passed a few hours quite amicably in their company and my kitchen looks fabulous.

swish (written in 2011)

You know, there’s a point in pregnancy, when you flip to your side while lying down, where there’s like a two-second delay for the rest of my innards to catch up. It’s such a weird feeling.

working moms (written in 2011)

More intelligent people with access to mad stats have written much on this topic, but I think the lack of women in the upper ranks in law, finance, and film, among other places can’t just be in part due to unfriendly attitudes to ladies — I think we lose female talent because they are the ones who have babies. (This is not to pooh-pooh workplace sexism, because I believe that stuff is still present…as is workplace racism. Oh, the comments I could share! They are delightful.)

Once a woman decides to have a child, it is extremely difficult to climb corporate ladder like a monkey on Aderall. Children demand your time, mental real estate, help, consciousness, imagination. The housework alone that comes with a kid is mind-boggling, so unless you are outsourcing your childrearing, I don’t know that one can put in the minimal 60-plus hour work week and travel demands of the upper crusty gigs around these parts. Higher-rung gigs means long meetings leading to Numb Bum, travel, politics – none of which are my favorite.

I actually need to work — not just for the money, but for the structure, intellectual stimulation, adult time, hours outside the family, house, etc. Of course, children can be a source of tremendous delight, but how many games of peek-a-boo do you have in your day

my dad, baby stalker [old post i found from 2010]

Ships_Oceana_cruise_ship_1 My dad likes going on cruises now, b/c you get to eat and drink obscene amounts and play golf, etc., and May, apparently, is the cheapest time to go, but he refuses because the Baby will be here by then. He says once the Baby is here, he is going to see the Baby every day.

Me: What? So he’s like never going to take a vacation till the kid goes to college?
Mom: He says he wants to see the Baby every day.
Me: Well, what we don’t want him here every day?
Mom: Don’t worry. He’ll be quiet and stay in the corner. He just wants to look at him. He has all these fantasies about the Baby, like he wants to take him to swimming lessons at the Y.

jameela jamil

One of my current favorite shows is “The Good Place.” (i have posted before, but can’t find the link.) When I can’t deal with the world, I will re-watch season one and just bask. Generally, I don’t care about celebs, but this actress, Jameela Jamil, caught my eye because she has activist interests and is so funny about her feminist point of view, I thought, why not check it out.

From podcast GirlBoss, I learned that in the UK, she was a famous DJ and music tastemaker, dogged by paparazzi, and she had some health issue that caused her to gain 75 pounds and was always in the papers for being formerly beautiful, which offended to the point where she began an online “i weigh” campaign where she invites women to list all their accomplishments (career, survivor, struggle, not just resume highlights) instead of their weight. In her senior year of high school, she broke her back in a car accident and had to heal in bed for one year. By the time she was healed, everyone she knew had graduated and she could not bear to go back to school.

She had a health scare where she thought she had cancer and made a bucket list. Once her diagnosis was benign, she decided to follow through with living outside her comfort zone. She bought a ticket to live abroad, and through her UK entertainment experience, got an agent. She auditioned for two gigs and booked both. One was to host a magic show in Vegas where she would watch magicians all day or “the Good Place.” With no acting experience, she decided to pursue “the Good Place,” since that choice seemed to be more in line with her post-cancer scare philosophy to take risks. (Jees, that must have been stressful as h*ll) She learned on the jobs and sobbed when Season one wrapped, completely convinced she had been fired.

At the conclusion of the podcast interview, she says “O’ve been thin, rich, and famous, and I wasn’t happy” (referring to her time in the UK). That’s what Jim Carrey says all the time too, that fame and wealth do not make you happy. I believe them. (However, I would also like to be rich, famous, and successful, so that i can have a podcast, and say “oh my god, you guys, it’s so true, it doesn’t matter, you guys…”

Anyway, I’m here for this actress’ feminist ways. Read here for her very funny take of it.

too many zooz

In these incredibly anxiety-provoking times, I’ve been turning to music. I’m seeing a lot of live music and trying to discuss new bands, in order to remind myself that humans can do cool things. Humans can be cool. This is a band someone in IT recommends, and I love it. I blast it when I am in deep despair over the state of our country, to chase the badd juju away. It’s like burning sage. And it’s not that it takes place of taking action, but sometimes, I need a breather in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Here’s an audio clip of one of their albums and this is what they look like in subway stations.

“the affair”

Every day at lunch, I see an ad featuring the show’s leads on Citibike terminals with sullen, troubled faces and think “white people having problems.” That’s all the ad says to me. I’ve never seen this show. Heard it’s good. It’s just that I have been trained to see diversity as normal from the old theater days of yore (since those are the only shows I could get cast on), that it looks unnatural to me.

“best day ever”

Last summer, my three descendants and I made a plan (or well, I made the plan. Please) to go check out Michael Jackson party in some hipster neighborhood off an obscure stop that was like 50 minutes from the apartment. Dicey proposal right there, since Wonder Twins still don’t quite have the sturdy constitution to handle a significant outing plus the travel to and fro, but what the heck, I moved forward with my plan anyway, and like many of parenting plans, I have these thoughts in my head the entire time as I move forward: Was this a mistake? Should I turn around? Am I the worst?

We finally got to this who-know-where off the G train and still had to do our ten minute walk, but there was no way to cross the street because it was the day of the New York Marathon. Have you ever been at Prospect Park at night and encounter a herd of bicyclists? They’re exactly like a herd of antelope. Like they appear shockingly, suddenly. Their pace makes it feel like it’s thundering, and then whoosh, they’re gone. This was not that. It was much worse. The runners were moving like a constant, rapid river. I had no idea what we were going to do.

We stood there watching all kinds of people running past us, spectators on the sides cheering wildly. We saw a man with one leg (had a prosthetic leg on the other), people with flags on their bellies from several European countries. It was very interesting for the kids, who had a lot of questions as to what was happening and what we were going to do next. This marathon traffic would take hours to die down. As the grown-up, I had this inner monologue at the time “uhhhhhhhh.” You know, just a dumb inner buzz wondering how I am the grownup, etc. I asked a stranger if we were allowed to cross, and based on his advice, “yes, if you can find a break,” I tried to spot our chance. I instructed the children to hold hands and to keep close to me as possible, because we were going to make a run for it. I chickened out several times as First Son called out “we could have gone!” I was just nervous about getting trampled. Finally, got the guts and we darted across, my eye on the crowd to make sure we would avoid runners. As we dashed, Wonder Twin Girl flung her face up to the sky and screamed “BEST DAY EVER!” (She cracks me up. This is the point of the day you’re thrilled by?) Another lady congratulated us for making it and said she mooched off our run and was right behind us.

We met our friends at the place hosting the MJ party. DJ played all of his best songs, a disco ball with flashing colors were the only source of light plus trippy images on screen. The event was for…toddlers. My descendants knew all the words and sang and danced and kind of accidentally knocked over some babies. (But why are you bringing your baby to a loud MJ party? Make room. We have some moonwalking to do.) The mom of the family we met bought me a jack and OJ so it was basically like we were in a club but it was 11 a.m. Par-tay! We had lunch, the kids all got along and had fun, as did the adults. It truly was a great day.

the power of prayer

We asked a colleague recently how her chronic injury was doing, after she had suffered it for years. She replied great. She had met a masseuse who actually relieved her pain, after consulting nearly 20 doctors. She said that treatment plus the power of prayer solved her issues.

I winced inside.

Let me discuss the concept of prayer. I’m not someone who prays, being a spiritual atheist and all, but I’m totally pro-prayer. If it is your jam, I say embrace it. Prayer can decrease stress, help you manage overwhelming circumstances or keep your calmness steady, however I do not believe prayer can impact clinical outcomes (well, except in the case that stress does weaken your immune system, so in that sense, it can.) Prayer cannot cure physical ailments (or for that matter, decrease gun violence in the U.S., or make someone un-gay). The only reason why I am so passionate about this point is that there is awful thing in cancer care where patients are expected to “fight cancer” or become “cancer warriors,” which adds to their burden. Not only do they have to actually navigate course of treatment options and suffer them, they are expected to spiritually fight illness and experience a sense of failure when they are unsuccessful. F* that. I had an old grad school class die of cancer. You know what she said to her partner near her death bed? “I’m sorry I did not fight harder.”

I hate that she felt that.

Prayer is totes fine, but let’s not overstate our power of our personal fate. We have none. Sometimes, we are sh*t out of luck and the best thing we can do is accept it.

And on that cheerful note, hugs and kisses!

family

Whew, I just read this fascinating story in The New Yorker about businesses in Japan where you can rent a family. They profile a widower who is estranged from his daughter, who rents a wife and daughter for weekly meals. The article talks about single ladies who pay for boyfriends as dates for different events that escalate into weddings where everyone knows it’s fake except for the bride’s parents. They interview an employee who has played a father, boyfriend, and groom multiple times, and he mentions how he gets confused and keeps falling in love, that the fake weddings actually take as much sweat, energy, and money as producing a real one. I can see how all of that can cloud your sense of reality!

The piece really made think a lot about the concept of family and how they form, and also strongly reminded me of what it’s like to be in a play. In a production, the cast is your “family” for this brief, intense period. You have your family dynamics on stage as your characters and your family dynamics off-stage as yourselves. It is such an intimate bonding I have found ex-cast mates who were formerly warm and affectionate behave bizarrely uncomfortable when I run into them after the fact, almost like we had a one-night stand.

Families form everywhere. They are related to you by blood, they are formed by common interest, they are formed by work. One of the things I keep thinking is how family groups you with people you would never otherwise even meet. Don’t you ever feel that way? That had you not been born in your family, you would never have talked to your sibling/parent/weird uncle (that is, if you are even in touch with your biological family) Work too. Work forms a warped family dynamics, where leadership sometimes yields as much power of you as a parent, but I also find I am close to people who would otherwise not make sense in my life.

There’s a play in there somewhere (I’m not the only one who thinks so, since the phenomenon has inspired an entire category in literature in Japan.) The article also mentions a woman who hired a fake father for her elementary school-age daughter, noticing she was ostracized and caving into herself. (The mom left the dad because he was physically abusive.) It worked. The actor and her daughter have a rich relationship, but the trouble is, the daughter is now 22 and still doesn’t know. Her mom does not know if she will ever tell her, but has kind of fallen in love a wee bit for the actor who plays her ex-husband.

In the movie version of her story, she will confess her romantic feelings to this actor, he will quit the biz and join her family. She’d never have to tell her child a thing. In real life, oh boy, in real life, I’d tell her to keep paying this man and never tell her child the truth.