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Showing posts from 2012

LIBRARY BUMS WE HAVE

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After school on Mondays and Wednesdays Ducky, Socs and I head straight to the Chinatown Branch of the LA Public Library. We wrestle their English, Math and Mandarin homework and pin it to the proverbial education mat. Next we cruise the grade school aisles for reading enjoyment, and then log-on to the computers to play games before heading across the street to their Shaolin Jin Wu Kung Fu classes.

I don't think I'll ever tire of seizing every opportunity to learn about my daughters. And a trip to the library is fertile ground for Ducky and Socs revelations. At other library branches we've literally had to step over men who've passed out drunk across the sidewalk. Last week Ducky was getting out of the car as a man stopped walking, just even with her on the sidewalk, and lost his liquid lunch in a stream onto his shoes.
Today, this is the patron we sat next to in the children's reading section of the library. He was about 6 feet 5  and this image was snapped by lay…

WHEN DO WE GRADUATE TO SOPHOMORIC HUMOR?

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Kids find anything related to the potty hilarious. It's a universal child fact. Ask any parent, they'll tell you. It's vaguely off-putting to be having a pleasantly mature conversation with your child (OK, for me it's a mature mishmash of Chinglish) and be speaking to them as an adult when all of a sudden Ducky blurts "Wait! I poo poo!" and jumps up to fart away from me. Giggling she gleefully sprint-dances to her chosen spot and loudly passes gas. Then she practically has to hold herself up against the nearest wall as she manages to say, "Excuse me" around her giggles.

Yes, we've explained that poo poo is different than farting, but neither of our girls is interested in changing their use of the words "poo poo".

Oh, they don't miss an opportunity to tell on each other for passing gas and stinking up the bathroom before the other one has to take a bath. "Fah-dah! Jieh Jieh go poo poo (giggle) when I bend down for my brush on …

LEARNING TO BE A MOTHER FROM MORNING RADIO SHOWS

I'm scarred from my morning drive!
And I'm sensing a disturbing trend on morning radio. Yesterday while driving my daughters to school a DJ was interviewing the writer of the book SHITTY MOM. The author and callers bantered back and forth about all of the ways that most of us are bad mothers.

I casually glanced in the rear-view mirror at Ducky and Socrates, and felt relatively comfortable with the content because, hey, their English is coming along, but their comprehension isn't 'witty banter' quick yet so it's cool for me to stay tuned in.

As I drove I eagerly awaited the author's voice to come over the airwaves into my car and give me crucial knowledge of behavior that I must avoid lest I be judged a shitty mom. Listening intently I made mental notes: Don't yell, lose my temper, ridicule or physically abuse my kids. Check. Gotcha.  I'm happy to say that I'm not a yeller, I don't hit the girls and I'm a firm believer in building up thei…

2 NON BLONDES

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Ah, Los Angeles and the white hot pavement of Hollywood! Well, today it was 105 degrees outside and the whole family headed off for our first trip to the Glendale Galleria to beat the heat and buy Ducky some new sneakers. Dang! This growth spurt is nothing short of miraculous and she's outgrown 2 pairs since we've started buying shoes for her 4 months ago. Anyhoo, focusing on tennies is not very fun when there are crazed Halloween costumes everywhere you look right now -- which leads us to the photo above.

Both Socrates and Ducks have a fondness for Rapunzel and ask for every published iteration to be read to them at bedtime. Usually it's Hudson's pleasure to read to them, but once I read it and was intrigued to learn that Rapunzel is taken from her parents by a witch. Ah... I don't know if Ducks registers any literal identification with this literary damsel, but now that I'm a mother, I'm no longer surprised by how simple and Freudian life really is. You …

2, 4, 6, 8 HOW DO WE EMANCIPATE?!

Well, if our daughters ever want to emancipate from us, here is the written material that they can take to a judge against me.

OK, I know that they (whoever they are) always say, "kids don't come with a handbook." As in the old lame attempt at levity during a boring party:

Father 1: Oh, kids these days!
Father 2: I'll say! And they don't come with a handbook!
Father 1: Heh-heh. You're a real card! Heh-heh.
Father 2: Why thanks, let's go get a frankfurter.

Yeah, it's a lame adage, but being a mother for less than 4 freakin months I must say, it sucks that all of the old chestnuts that used to fall out of my parent's mouths (and my friends parent's mouths) are true.
So, lame "kids don't come with handbooks" sentiment aside, as parents we should have enough sense to avoid some of the stupid shit that we smack ourselves in the head after the fact for.

Case in point. This past Labor Day Hudson and I took Socs and Ducky to 6 Flags Magic Mo…

IVY + SEQUOIA

Hudson is stark raving crazy for camping. I was raised camping, or what I considered a big boring trek from Chicago to Colorado every summer. Truth be told, I don't know how many times we spent part of our summer driving to Colorado in our gigantic (seriously bigger than the Grizwald's!) station-wagon* camping -- but in my memory, it was every year. And while I'm blurting out truths, when I was young I made a pledge to myself that when I grew up, I wouldn't camp when I was an adult because I wouldn't have to. Instead I planned to travel to luxurious places that offered every comfort, convenience and even pampering if desired.

So how do I reconcile Hudson and my views of sleeping out of doors? Well, he loves camping and I love him...so I'm onboard. After spending time with our daughters, I had my doubts that they'd achieve Hudson's level of excitement about outdoor living, but I kept an open mind.

Yesterday we returned from a week-long camping trip in th…

FINDING THE QUIET

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To quote a famous Chicagoan, "Life moves pretty quickly" and this Chicagoan agrees with that observation. The constant flow of responsibilities and expectations is enough to run a person into a wall, and that's without adding the compounded stress of self-imposed busy-brain chatter that most of us can only occasionally become aware of -- let alone silence -- even when we're asleep.

That is where meditation comes in, but many of us who hunger for serenity and calm in our daily lives aren't in the practice of strengthening our mind so actually meditating is nigh on impossible.

So how does a person, a supposedly enlightened sentient being remove themselves from the swirl of hectic stimuli and learn how to have some small control over our thoughts and emotions? How do we evolve?

I don't believe my education was complete because I only know enough to know that I don't have any control over my brain and the thoughts/chemicals that rush through it at the loud bl…

SECOND CHILDHOOD

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Since adopting our daughters I'm not 'regressing' in the strict sense of the term, but I'm re-experiencing my youth in a big way... and in small ways too. For example, all it takes is for me to announce to my family that we're going to the pool for the afternoon and POOF! suddenly it's a hot Chicago day in 1971 and Stokley is trying to get me, Barb, Lloyd and baby Matt out the door to Rec Park to swim.

Oh the logistical nightmare of changing clothes, remembering to take off my underwear before putting my bathing suit on, deciding whether or not to attempt to pull my shorts on over my shoes, retrieving my pool pass from the bulletin board in the kitchen and pinning it to my suit, etc.

Then I'm 6 years old at the pool, recalling the sweet smell of Twizzlers mixed with Coppertone sunblock, chlorine and toasting skin as the olfactory backdrop to the total exhilaration of my body plunging into cool water and enveloping me ending with the incomparable swoosh of i…

ROLLIN WITH MY CREW

Yeah, OK, they may be 9- and 10-year-old girls who speak almost no English but they're my posse. We woke up on the 4th of July just like any of the other Wednesdays we've had together -- all 6 of them -- and because there are no chores on Wednesdays (a big bonus to being the mother,  sort of like being God, I get to devise my own schedule reality and figured that a mid-week break would be good for all involved) we drifted into the kitchen. Me in an inside-out slip dress (it's what I woke up in, no need for further explanation) Jung-Chu wrapped in her fleece blanket and wearing a Northshore Day School football jersey and Chi-Ping in a blingy sparkle baby t-shirt and striped size 2 toddler underpants.

We yawned and blinked and held a brief committee to pass a breakfast referendum: buttermilk pancakes with a selection of mixed nuts and sliced fruit. This quiet committee was shattered by hunger and activity. Chi-Ping flipped on the radio and started to get breakfast underway t…

WHAT'S YOUR TATTOO DARLING?

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Yup, I got a new tattoo from an artist named Darling. Arlene Darling. It is "Fearless Honesty" in Chinese. I got it only after scribbling it on my hand for several months like a grade-schooler doodling -- but this one is deadly serious for me. I feel incredible freedom in living honestly.

As a newly sober alcoholic I need to be rigerously honest and work to the steps that give me the best shot at a good life. I figure having a tattoo reminding me to keep it real staring back at me as I drive with my hands at 10 and 2 is a good reminder.

I'm at a point in my life where I can no longer be afraid to be honest with myself and the people around me. I've employed a few strategies to keep me from telling convenient untruths -- one of which is correcting myself immediately upon blurting the words that I know aren't true. And holy crap that's effective. It's also a serious deterrent to recidivism because the immediate result is severe embarrassment.

Example with m…

IVY GROWS IN HUDSON'S GARDEN

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Where have I been and just what have I been up to? Well, I am recovering from a near deadly alcoholic decline and I'm enjoying a period of growth. There. Too frank? Well, sorry, but there it is.

What should I begin with in my catch-up post? Well, I'm a full-time stay-at-home MOM.

Yup. I'm not one to bury the lead so I just tossed it right atcha. Sorry I forgot to holler, "Catch!"

"Who" you may ask, "would give Ivy children?" No, not have sex with me, but legally endow me with live youngsters. Well, that's a story that is worth sharing so I'll do that here.

 "Why?" you may ask in my 46th year of life would I embark upon mommy-hood? Why indeed is a fleeting question when I make a mistake and have to explain in a mishmash of Mandarin-English to my daughters that it's my first time being a mom and I need a do-over.

"Where?" you get the idea that I'm prepared to re-join the quasi-literate bloggishphere and work t…