Wednesday, March 28, 2007

walking unassisted

the paloma circa 2004 @ 14 mos

the porkchop circa 2006 @ 9 mos

sometimes, the thin man and i marvel at the paloma and the porkchop - about how quickly she started talking and how quickly he started walking... and now, i'm actually beginning to worry that they're getting that... spunk?... moxie?... gumption?... egads, aggression?... from me.

yesterday morning, i read a post called "transformations" over at chicago chick (who btw - is getting her family ready for the sale of their current condo and eventually the move into their new house, while weathering the plagues of financial hemorraging, physical torture and mental distress. hang in there, girl!).

anyway, in her post, she wrote something that has been on my mind ever since i read it:

"Yesterday I asked David if he loved me and he said that he loved me more lately. Of course I asked "Whaddaya mean LATELY?". His response was that he loved me more since I decided to become part of his marriage. Huh? He went on to explain that I am so independent that at times he didn't think I was his better half..... Maybe I'm mellowing out or maybe I'm just too tired to go the remainder of my life alone, but he's right. I am very independent and it will probably never change but I have learned to rely on him more."

coincidentally, i've been thinking a lot about my own independence (or lack thereof) and i just happened to flip thru a book of daily inspirations for the year (i've also been feeling a little uninspired as of late) and today, march 28, is devoted to "cultivating a self assured attitude". it says:

"....Self-assurance is an attitude that assumes you will always get what you need and that at this moment you are in the process of getting it. Self assurance assumes that others are available and want to help and that you don't have to do it all by yourself..... When a woman is too confident and independent, it is sometimes a sign that she is not at all sure that others are there for her, and so she has to do it all herself...."

of course, when i read this i had a "yeah. no sh*t, sherlock." moment. but, then it hit me. i am really not as self assured as i think i am. i'm not as self assured as i used to be, even a year ago. sometimes, i think with each passing day, that i am becoming less and less self assured.

honestly, i've never assumed that i would always get what i needed. and i rarely feel that i am in the process of getting what i need.

i know intellectually that there are friends and family and sometimes even complete strangers who make themselves available to me for help. but i ALWAYS feel like i have to do it all by myself. i NEED to do things by myself. and i do this for two reasons 1) i don't want to feel like i owe anyone anything (even if it's a pair of marshmallow peeps). 2) i don't want to appear weak or inferior or disabled (looking the way i do, it's almost a given, as in - ("she MUST be disabled, just look at her").

as a child, i wanted to grow up fast for my mom. she never asked me to do so but i just knew, it was hard for her to be a single mom, to make enough money to keep us fed, clothed and sheltered. it was difficult for her to work so often and so dilligently and know that i almost always came home to an empty house. life was always especially tough when i got sick or when i was due for another operation. my mother used to scold me all time for trying to do everything too quickly and certainly before i was old enough to learn, or rather, NEEDED to learn life/survival skills that she, as an adult, took for granted. i didn't want her to think that i was "behind" the average child my age. i needed to show her that she wouldn't always have to look after me.

eventually, as a single adult, i fashioned a life for myself. and i mean "fashioned" in the truest sense. i dreamt it up and meticulously designed it. drafted the pattern. shopped for the finest materials and notions to lovingly create it - cut it out, sewed it up, made some alterations - and it fit me like a glove. and to the general public, it probably looked like most "haute couture" garments - unwearable, confining, impractical, eccentric, maybe even a little fugly. but it was my life. and it sounds weird, but i especially felt like i had finally released my mom from her responsiblities re: me. i was finally and happily the only one responsible for me.

everywhere i had lived, i had always made sure that i could live there on my terms. at the very least, i (as a single asian female) had to live somewhere that was within my means, relatively safe, had public transit and/or the random taxi nearby and a grocery store within walking distance.

now, i'm married and a mother and i've taken on the responsibilities of caring for three other precious lives outside of my own. and almost every other day, i feel like i've failed one of them, if not all of them. a few days ago, i told the thin man that recently i started feeling like i was working retail again. i feel that same obligation i felt at former mcjobs to always smile when customers were nearby. i don't want to feel this way around my family or friends. i find myself feeling isolated both physically and emotionally (which isn't really a stretch for someone as antisocial/shy as me but it's been BAD lately).

when we moved to our house and this neighborhood, it fit the above criteria - pretty much. but with time i realized the harsh reality is this:

i'm living in a house that although it is BEAUTIFUL is way too big for me to care for and by virtue of its age will probably always need something fixed or replaced or installed. our neighborhood, one of the handful of chicago "cop and firemen" neighborhoods, is very safe but because of it's troubled racial history feels strangely unpredictable and volatile to me. although i live close to the commuter train stop, i am at the mercy of the train's (sometimes hourly) schedule (not to mention, two dueling toddler nap schedules and the short, easily tired legs of a four year old). although we live in chicago, taxi cabs (and they are legion, prowling like sharks for chum) do not wander aimlessly this far south. we live very close to a really great local organic grocer but it doesn't stock EVERY SINGLE THING i need. a grocery run might actually include separate trips to the drugstore, the liquor store and the italian deli - which wouldn't be so bad if they weren't all located at the furthest corners of the neighborhood. and it's just plain hard to get groceries in the height of a midwestern subzero winter (or even an extra hot and humid summer) with two children.

as a stay at home mom to two children, it's no surprise that i should feel confined to my home. but as a stay at home mom who doesn't drive (literally scared sh*tless to drive & bad eyesight), i'm also confined to the perimeters of our neighborhood (but, i can only visit the same places a few times a week before i start to look like a would be mrs. robinson to all the would be benjamin braddocks' at the local borders bookstore and i can only buy so much yarn and knit a handful of projects before i start to resemble a reluctant bachelorette stereotype...)

so the bottom line is i'm left to rely on others pretty much ALL THE TIME. i have little to no independence of my own. i rely on the thin man or family or friends for errands i cannot complete. if neither the thin man nor i can get groceries, i rely on peapod to deliver. sometimes, we find that we don't have any fixings for a good dinner and so we have to order it up - there are very few restaurants in the neighborhood. and many of them don't deliver. although we have met with pediatricians down here, i make the majority of our ped appts with our northside office (who know our histories) and only on weekends, when the thin man's schedule can accomodate us. occasionally, i rely on neighbors to drive the paloma to school when the weather is too brutal to drag the porkchop out on the walk to and from preschool (twice). any other kind of retail shopping (therapy) or diversionary gallivanting has to be done in a neighboring south suburb or on the north side (which is infinitely prettier) and, if being done with children, needs the use of a car. and have ya seen the dan ryan expressway recently?

realistically, we can't move. we really can't afford to move anywhere else and where else COULD we move? this neighborhood, with its great schools, parks, inexpensive, abundant and architecturally diverse housing, fellow cool & hip transplanted neighbors is really perfect for a young family like ours. i know this intellectually. but emotionally, i am completely torn up about it. i have never in my life felt so useless, so worthless, so powerless... like i so often do now. i worry about how this is affecting my overall mental and physical health, each unique relationship i have - with my husband, my children, my family members and friends...

all of which makes for a very very unhappy, very uncertain mamazilla.

Monday, March 26, 2007

if i were a toy...

i would be "neanderthal woman", part of the prehistoric world of toys from bullyland. how sad is it that i need to schedule a pity date with a warmed bowl of liquid wax, strips of cotton muslin, a shaving razor, fruity shaving foam and some foul smelling chemical depilatory.

and... oh the horror! THE HORROR! *insert crescendo-ing psycho stalking horror flick music here* THE TOENAILS! *shudder*

seriously, it's been a long *ss winter and these last few warm days in chicago have evicted me from my dark, warm, womblike burrow and forced me out of hibernation. but unlike my fellow dormant moms who have now blossomed into a beautiful daffodil or vibrant crocus or graceful lily - i am the fugly, wild, feral weed (as in dandelion, not cannabis) personified.

in the winter, i only have to occasionally think about who is "bra worthy" or "jeans (v. yoga pant) worthy" or "contacts worthy" or even "shower worthy".

horrible i know, but sleep totally trumps every thing in my book - even if it's just an extra five minutes.

and now? now, i have to think about who's "ingrown hair worthy".

i walked out of the house today in sweatpants and a sweatshirt and athletic shoes... and everyone else was walking around in shorts and camis and flip flops - all willy nilly, skippity skip.

wtf?! it's 80 degrees! in march! in chicago! i wanted to b*tch slap the national weather service.

don't get me wrong, i'm SO ready for spring. i'm especially ready for summer. but i'm so not ready for the roving eyes of the hair gestapo.

and another thing, if i was blonde... and latvian... and well, pretty, thin and a shapely C cup - no one would care if i had hairy pits or legs.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

but do we really need another princess?

ok, so we could use a little more diversity amongst the awkward rebellious teenaged disney royalty but another princess?

can't disney animate a few dozen more everyday humdrum girls of color? it sounds like that's what we really need.

and for the record - no, mulan is NOT really a princess - show me where in EITHER mulan film, she magically becomes a princess. she rescues three princesses in that last film. but, c'mon, let's call her what she is, ok? "hun *ss kicker" is NOT a bad title.

however, having a daughter who is princess obsessed i am curious about the new african american disney princess - maddy.

after reading some articles, some things i found interesting:

1) my guess is the film is loosely based on the frog prince fairy tale... probably one of my least favorite fairy tales because the princess is such a spoiled brat and after all her eye rolling and whimpering and complaining she STILL gets the prince. maybe this time around, the dis-enchanted frog, gets a clue and up and walks AWAY from the royal...

2) the film is called "the frog princess" so, does that mean she's the one getting turned into a frog and then kissed? is the debutante (see cast list bbelow) taking over the role of the princess and maddy the chambermaid walking away with the prince? and what's up with all these princesses needing saving anyway....

3) people are assuming her prince is caucasian (see cast list below) let's hope disney thinks outside the box in more ways than one in this instance too... 'cause disney, not all of our good men have to be caucasian, kiss-bestowing, shoe-toting, horse-riding, enchanted princes in shining armor. blah, blah, blah, thank you for throwing us a bone aladdin.

4) i always thought that princess kida from atlantis would be crowned the first aa princess. it seemed like that was what the animators were implying. i believe kida was also voiced by mixed actress, cree summer. i dunno, the atlanteans looked poc to me. and i mean if they can make a mermaid from a danish fairy tale a princess. can't they do the same for an atlantean princess. she wasn't a ball gown wearing princess either. she kicked *ss too.

though i have to admit i wasn't sure how she changed/ lightened her skin color from "atlantis: the lost empire"

to "atlantis: milo's return"

5) lastly, a list of characters... how are they going to steer away from stereotypes in this one?

Maddy - A 19-year-old chambermaid.

Charlotte La Bouff - A 18-year-old spoiled, southern Debutante and Diva.

Dr. Duvalier - An African American Voodoo magician/fortune teller. The villain of the movie.

Mama Odie - An elderly, 200-year-old Voodoo priestess/fairy god-mother.

Ray - A lovesick Cajun firefly.

Louis - A Jazz singer alligator.

Prince Harry - A gregarious, fun-loving European Prince, in his early twenties.

Lawrence - Prince Harry's pompous valet.

Big Daddy La Bouff - Wealthy, Southern plantation landowner and father of Charlotte La Bouff.

Eudora - Maddy's mother. In her fifties. Used to be Charlotte's nurse maid.

George - The La Bouff family's cook.

Little Arila - Maddy's little sister. She's little, but very smart.

Friday, March 09, 2007

new accessories for spring!

first and foremost, i have been in a weird, hormonal "is-this-where-i-wanted-to-be-when-i-turned-35" funk for a while... so, i apologize for the blog pause... :(

i bought these shoes. they've alleviated the funk...
for a little while...
i think.

anyhoo... thanks to bloggo chicago, the zero boss and the "new and improved" for introducing me to a whole new kind of substance abuse some of the new blogging accessories (? tools? obsessions? toys?) that you might've noticed lately on *MAMAZILLA*.

via bloggo chicago (VIVA LA DEPENDS PORN!) , i sniffed out cocomment. it makes all my worthless $.02 on all yer comment windows and haloscans... easily tracked and um, worth it. yes, i'm still stalking you. mwahahahahaha!

via zero boss, i got the 411 on mybloglog and google reader. although my(free)bloglog offers a lot of tracking features. i think my (free) sitemeter offers the same tracking features. unlike sitemeter, mybloglog offers up a handy little widget that allows me to put a "face" to a "name". so, even if y'all come by and don't comment i see you and it reminds me stop on by and do a reciprocated drive by on your blog as well.

google reader (pay attention, bloggo chicago) also provides the new widgets that have taken over where my blog links were on the right sidebar over yonder. i always wonder if it looks like i'm not linked to you (and i'm sure you know who you are) anymore. if it does, i apologize. mea culpa! but google reader really does simplify when my blog stalkees are posting new smack. and stalk, stalk, stalk, i must! this by far, is the most addictive of all the blogging toys. i'm constantly adding new blogs to it, only to find myself slackjawed and drooling over how much i have to read after just a day off of reading. IT'S. INSANE. how do you clever, articulate, hilarious, everyday posting bloggers find the time to do it all?!

lastly, i really like the "new and improved" blogger (stfu, haters). in most situations, i'm just a cheapskate and since my employers pay me in dessicated cheerios and sh*tty diapers - i'm also broke. so, for me, blogger is awesome 'cause it's FREE! admittedly, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of typepad or wordpress, but i'm just a humble destitute mamazilla, not dooce or city mama or motherhood uncensored. besides i have a low tolerance for noise - i send all bells and whistles to lola's (my mom's) house and she puts them in the overflow toy box we have over there.

back to the random things i like about the new blogger:

i can tag my posts
it's super easy to create a new post
it's SUPER DUPER easy to upload images (no more uploading via flickr or picasa)
ok... so, i can only think of three things.... suffice to say, it's not the same old blogger and with all new things bloggish - neither am i! :)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

happy 4th birthday paloma!

so, i managed to pull a birthday party out of my ghetto *ss. it was no easy nor pretty feat.

normally, i would've planned the whole thing in advance, but the trip to manila took so much advance planning (plane tickets, passports, inoculations, hotel, etc...), i just didn't have time. then, when we got back, the priority was getting re-acclimated to chicago time and weather.

finally, last wednesday, i pulled out my "defeated and exhausted mommy" card and called some neighborhood moms and dads (and my awesome stepsister) and got a few "yeses" to my pathetic sob story phoned in birthday invite.

on saturday, the thin man and i got the kids up early for a grocery store run and for the most part that went well (unlike the usual screaming and/or wrestling match). we got the cake and most of the other par-tay provisions at the jewel (btw - i heard that that's a chicago thing to name a store with a "the" at the beginning. c'est vrai, chicagoans?).

then, when they went down for their afternoon naps, i sped out to the dollar store for the party favors and another tablecloth (because i had saved the ripped and stained "my little pony" one from last year... 'cause i'm SUCH a cheapskate... and decided at the last minute against using it).

the party favor gods were with me 'cause i scored a mess of random disney princess stuff for the girl goody bags and some random but cool stuff for boy goody bags (i freakin' hate goody bags... i NEVER got goody bags when i went to parties as a kid - ok, maybe i'm jealous). normally, i don't differentiate between boy or girl goody bags, but these parents did come thru on no notice... i wanted them to feel like i made SOME effort... mind you, i'm still jetlagged... i'm still running on fumes and yawning constantly most of the day.

when the paloma woke up from her nap she was over the moon... it was so good to see her so genuinely wholeheartedly happy. she's still jetlagged too and it's disconcerting not to see her chipper, energized paloma-esque self. she and her nine friends had a (2.5 hour) ball. with veggie booty. and goldfish. and pizza. and capri suns. and cake. and lots of tag. and toys. and crying. and screaming. and more toys. and 10 minutes of a dvd. and goody bags.

clean up was strangely easy however. so, you know i'm going to find a piece of cake in a shoe next fall.

that's ok... that smile is worth it. :)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

holy f*cking hell.

the latest of what passes for humor on myspace:

"One part Pee Wee's Playhouse, one part crazy, unpredictable Japanese talk show, and one part whole milk. Mix and serve chilled. Written by Kim Evey and directed by Greg Benson. More episodes to come (if this one gets a good response), just ADD ME to catch future episodes! May not be suitable for children. Or adults."

Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show (Episode 1)

Add to My Profile More Videos

and here's some of the intelligent commentary from the myspace masses:

"...i'm with the general population of proud fatass americans when i say that intellect, creativity, normality, trend and talent, and pretty much the value of human life is completely contingent on how well one speaks english. and how white they are..."

"this is shit. real japanese tv rules, you've totally missed the point. i understand that this is a joke but the name sux and there was no food. EAT SOME WIERD SHIT, THAT'S WHAT JAPANESE TV IS ALL ABOUT!!! That and cute swimsuit models (also missing). "

"GOD DAMN asians get weirder and weirder everyday"

"wow im not suppost to watch this happy stuff buut i couldent risist and now im regeting me doing this that song was just scary but uhh none the less that was a good video uhhh ASIANS ARE WEIRD!!!!! "

"ENGRISH LOL JAPS LOL where did i put my chopsticks and buckteeth?"

"Can i slap the crazy stupid asian bitch LICK POOP hahahaha"

"Hahaha! I love it! And to whomever is saying it's racist, I don't think being able to poke fun at your own race is "racist". :P More, please! 321go!"

" It doesn't matter if her accent isn't right on or not, she is still asian DUHHH! Ha, I want those bubble chairs. "

the majority of the comments are congratulatory and complimentary towards the filmmakers... then, of course, there are all the comments about how HOT HOT HOT the japanese girl is and how much they want to take her home and love her long time.

what's unbelieveable to me is that kim evey, AN ASIAN WOMAN, is the creator/writer of the skit.

way to perpetuate the stereotyping of your fellow asian women! see, it's because of crap like this that i don't get angry when asian people call me a sellout or a race traitor. because sellouts and the race traitors exist and some of them are just outright ignorant.

i want to believe that common sense would prevail and that an asian woman would see how the rest of non-asian america, as well as asian americans, would process a parody film like this. because of films and characters like these, asian women (in america) will always be the exotic, foreign, disposable, comical, sex object.

while i was travelling to the philippines, it was so refreshing to see asian women in all kinds of advertising. in the airplane seat pockets, you could find us pictured in the airplane safety pamphlet, the entertainment and lifestyle magazines - we were represented as career women, mothers, students, etc... when we landed in seoul, i noticed the same thing on the terminal billboards and on the televisions at the gates. and in the philippines, even in the former red light districts, there were enormous ads featuring filipino moms serving liquid vitamins to their kids.

consequently, because kim evey is married to a caucasian and perpetuating sterotypes, the rest of us, asian women, who are also married to caucasians (or those who pass), regardless of how socially aware, ethnically proud or actively outspoken, will have to pay for it at the hands of other seriously pissed off, misunderstood, hurt and righteously angry asian people.

aren't there enough REAL japanese tv shows on youtube or google video to share and watch?

and is this film the kind of baggage we want to unload on the younger generations of asian women (american born and immigrant alike) who are soon to follow us?


Related Posts with Thumbnails