Monday, November 2, 2009

You're not serious, are you?

I was reading the "Dear Prudence" column on over the weekend, which is something I'm wont to do (unless work is unusally slow, and then, dare I admit, I read it during "working" hours), and the past set of questions were just too awesome to ignore. Normally I leave the advice giving to those that are better equipped and more entertaining than I (see the Fly front page), but I just can't let these go without my own .02, so straight from me to you, free of charge, is my advice to these dimwitted letter writers, as well as my own paraphrasing of the original questions. If you want to see the original letters, go to and look up the Dear Prudence column. I'm too lazy (and stupid) to post the link directly for you.

And away we go!

LW#1: Dear Prudie,
I have this super awesome boyfriend that's totally great and I just love him to pieces and we're all sunshine and rainbows except for this one little issue: he holds me down against my will and tickles me nearly every single day since the day I told him I HATE to be tickled (which was like, date #3 when he insisted we play the "What do you absolutely hate the most so I can torture you with it?" game) and even though I've told him repeatedly that it makes me super uncomfortable and I panic and hate it, he tells me that I need to go with it and learn to like it, because obviously since I'm laughing I must like it. You know, the whole "no really means yes" thing. And since he's cool with it and gets off on it, I should just deal with it, because then he wouldn't have to go through all the effort of pinning me down to do it. How do I tell him that I really, really, really, REALLY don't like it at all?

Clueless Wonder

Dear Clueless:

Kick him in the nuts the second he starts toward you with his hands extended. Then dump his ass and date a guy that doesn't think holding you down against your will (for any reason) is the greatest thing since Rohypnol. Period.

LW#2: Dear Prudie,
My mom used to be a total drunk, but she's been sober now for 6 years and she wants to have a "What'd I miss?" lunch so I can fill her in on all the details of my adolescence when she was too sloshed to give a shit. I'm really uncomfortable doing this, because even though I'm proud of her for being sober, I really don't need that trip down memory lane. Am I being selfish?

Lost in transformation

Dear Lost,
Not only are you not being selfish, but you don't owe it to her either. It's great that she's been sober and accepts/acknowledges that she lost  a lot of good years she could have been spending bonding with you, but she completely missed out being able to help you through the most turbulent time in anyone's life. She doesn't get a do-over, and she needs to accept that some things you just can't get back, no matter how much you'd like.
And don't forget that it's not you that should be put into a situation of trying to make her feel better or whatever it is she's looking for in this scavenger hunt down memory lane. Tell her that you don't want to get into it because you've come to terms with it and need to keep that chapter closed. If she insists, tell her straight up that she's the one that owes you explanations and closure, not the other way around. My personal theory is that she wants some kind of assurance that she didn't royally fuck you over when she was too busy drinking to notice you were living in Hell on Earth because I imagine she's got some serious guilt, and she should. Sorry. I call 'em like I see 'em. And best of luck for a healthy relationship with her, because it sounds like she's still got some issues to work through.

LW#3: Dear Prudie,
Now that I'm out of Graduate school, I really want to show everyone how grown up and sophisticated (i.e. snooty) I've become, but I'm new to "grown up-style" socializing. I want to have a dinner party with the group I used to hang with, but they've all gone and gotten lives and have significant others or (gasp!) spouses. I don't want to play with them, because then the attention wouldn't be just on me. Can I invite my 10 friends over and tell them to keep their lousy loved ones at home? And can I use the lame excuse that my dining room table is too small to fit everyone?

All about me

Dear All,
There's probably a good reason why that particular group of folks don't keep in touch with you anymore. Sounds like you're living in the past, and haven't figured out a way to get out of it. Not to mention, you're old enough to have gone through Graduate school and you're using terms like "grown up style socializing"? Really? And what's with your dining room table being too small? You're telling me that you can comfortably seat 11 people at your dining room table? That's the biggest "small" table I've ever heard of.
You know what I think? I think you got yourself a fancy little place, full of fancy little things, and you want to play Dinner Party and have all those folks over to rub in their face that you're doing sooo awesome but you don't want to deal with their significant others because you're actually jealous that you didn't bother to go out and get a life while you were furnishing your "small" place with your tiny-only-seats-11-comfortably-table. If you're really interested in catching up with lost friends, meet at a restaurant where they have space enough to fit your friends and their significant others, and quit acting like such a dumbass. 

LW#4: Dear Prudie,
We adopted our daughter when she was 5 years old and a foster child in our care. Since then, we've been forcing her to keep in contact with the family members that were responsible for getting her put into foster care to begin with, because this therapist insisted that doing this wouldn't make her feel like a freak at all. After all, blood is thicker than water, right? Anyway, she's 12 now and wants to stop hanging out with her freak ass biological family members, but we don't think it's right. I mean, sure they've made some "bad" choices, but we love her sooo much that we think it's in her best interest to continue to force her seeing family members she has no interest in being around. Because we're that open minded and forward thinking! Tell us it's okay to continue to ignore our daughter's wishes for a normal childhood.

Dr. Spock Didn't Have a Chapter for This

Dear Doc,
Having 1)been adopted myself and 2) grown up living with foster kids and taking care of them all my life, I feel like I have enough experience to tell you that you need to cut ties with your kid's biological family and let her really be a part of yours, no strings attached. Because what you're doing, despite the best of your intentions, is constantly reminding your kid that she's not really your kid. You realize all you've done this entire time is reinforce the fact that she's not really your child, right? That even though it says so on paper, all this time you've spent making her see her "other" family is just confusing the kid into thinking she doesn't really belong in yours, right? That's gotta make her think she's not good enough to just belong to you, hence her explanation to you that she's happy being here, with YOU.

Sure, you adopted her, but you've basically made her spend the entire time she's been part of your family spending it with the very people that put her in the position to be part of your family. They made "bad" choices? Ya think?? Child Welfare doesn't get involved with families who just aren't making their kids eat their veggies or brush their teeth, you know. There's a reason why that kid was taken away from the people she was with. And, being 5 years old when it happened means there's stuff that she remembers, and it's not good stuff either. 

I don't know what kind of whacked out therapist you've been taking her to, but anyone with half a brain could tell you that allowing your child to be around the damaging, neglectful folks she was likely around, but only in a "safer" environment is not conducive to proper healing of traumatic events. She's your kid now, right? So let her be your kid. Respect her wishes now that she's old enough to voice them and tell those family members that she's not interested in continuing a relationship with them, and since it's her choice, they have to respect that. If she changes her mind when she gets older, then it's her choice to contact them again. That's your job as her parents - to do what's truly best for her, not what you think should be best because you have some weird Mary Poppins notion that some kind of perfect world exists where the neglectful, absuive family that gave you your child has completely changed their lives and turned out to be great people that totally wouldn't hurt your kid again.

Why are you taking more consideration of her other family's feelings than you are with her own? You want her well adjusted and happy? Let her have her family- her real family (that's YOU) - all to herself and really feel like she belongs to just you. That's what she wants, how many different ways does she have to say it?

And before I get a bunch of "People can change, you know! You're not being fair to that other family!" responses, here's what I know: in the course of living in my mother's house (for 18 years), there were no less than 15 different families that had their kids placed in our home for care (my mom was one of the few foster parents that wasn't willing to separate siblings from each other) while the parents tried to get their shit together. NONE of them ever did. Two of those kids (out of probably 20+total) ended up becoming my siblings, and the rest? Yup, all went back to those very same parents that had them taken away to begin with. And you know what happened? They all ended up back in the system again, or got too old to bother being put back in and ended up being stuck in a shitty situation with no real recourse but to run away and start life on their own. Of the ones I still keep in touch with, they either had babies themselves when they were 15 & 19, ended up in abusive relationships, turned into alcoholics/drug addicts themselves, or just plain disappeared. The ones that did manage to come out on the other side a bit better for the wear? The ones that continued to live with us (with their parents' permission because they really didn't want to bother being parents) as part of our family, even though it was never officially acknowledged.

So yes, miracles can happen, but it's pretty rare. And with regard to this particular letter writer, this kid is obviously not cool with hanging with her biological family, so the parents need to take the hint from their kid and let that relationship die. After all, she knows better than anyone else the kind of people they really are.

*steps off soap box*

Well, that's it for me today, folks. I'm actually going to do some real work now! Have a fantastic Monday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Fruit of My Loins

You know those days when you watch your children, and you're in awe of the kind of people they are? You can see the compassion and thoughtfulness that fuel them? You get a brief glimpse of the kind of thoughtful, compassionate adults they will be? Of all the things they will accomplish? The positive Changes In Society they will make? And it makes you smile?

Well, today was not one of those days. Today I saw the other side of my kids. The bickering, argumentative "HEY, MOOOOOVE!!! No - YOU MOVE!!!" kind of kids. In order to paint a crystal clear picture for you, let me share with you our dinner conversation this evening.

Harry (H): You know, we haven't had Sloppy Joes in a long time. These are good.

The Boy (TB): These should be called Sloppy Katies, because she's a slob! (follow with incessant giggling)

Katie - aka Pre-Teen Drama Queen (DQ): Be quiet, Christopher. Just because I don't have OCD like you doesn't make me a slob.

(TB stops laughing, opting instead to burn holes through DQ with his eyes)

Me (Me): So we had a conference call at work today.

H: Really? What was it about? (said with mock interest)

DQ: Stop staring at me, Christopher!

TB: Make me!

DQ: Oooh, look at me, I'm Christopher, and I think I'm soooo smart. I'm so smart the only thing I can do is stare at my sister and say 'make me!'

TB: That's right - I'm so smart I get straight As - what kind of grades do you get, Katie? Not straight As!

H: Is this ground turkey? Because the meat looks funny.

DQ: You get straight As because you're in THIRD grade. Like that's hard...

Me: Yeah, it's turkey. We've eaten it like this a million times.

TB: Did you get straight As in third grade? NO. So I guess that means you're STILL dumb.

H: Well, I didn't say it was bad, I just happened to notice it didn't look like ground beef.

DQ: Whatever. Jerk. (directed toward her brother, not her dad)

TB: I know you are but what am I?

Me: Well, no, you didn't say it like you didn't like it, I just thought it was weird you were surprised by it, because we hardly eat ground beef anymore.

DQ: Right, Chris. SO mature (followed with exaggerated eye rolling)

H: Well, yeah, but I just never really noticed it before, I guess.

TB: (laughing)


TB: Stop what?

DQ: Laughing! You're all " HUH HUH HUH" (makes crazy facial expressions while simultaneously leaving mouth open and snorting)

H: (viewing his pride and joy): Boy, I sure wish we were out in a restaurant so that everyone could see our kids like this.

Me: Yes, because they're AWESOME. I'm so proud.

Fast forward to bed time. Harry and I are on the couch, watching the last few minutes of Dodgeball, when we hear this:

DQ: Christopher, give me the toothpaste!

TB: Get YOUR toothpaste! This is mine!

DQ: Mine's gross. Just GIVE IT TO ME (this is squealed at an impossibly high pitch - so high the dog has actually hidden his head under a blanket in an attempt to keep his little doggie eardrums from bursting)

TB: No! I'm not giving you my toothpaste so you can make it all nasty by getting your HAIR in it!

Harry and I look at each other. And at the same time ask ourselves the 64 thousand dollar question: "How does she get her hair in the toothpaste?!"

DQ: I'm not going to get my hair in it, just let me have some so I can BRUSH MY TEETH (this time the dog whines and actually puts his little doggie paws over his head)

TB: You want some? HERE!!!

Then a blood curdling scream followed by maniacal laughter.

I walk into the bathroom to see my dear daughter with toothpaste covering her ENTIRE toothbrush and her wrist and The Boy laughing like a loon.

The dog has run away. Harry has suddenly become deaf. And, after banishing the children to their rooms, I closed my eyes and tried to find my happy place.

I'm off to watch Lost, where at least the people on that island only have to deal with murder and possibly mass destruction.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let me 'splain

Just a quick note to say that I'm posting some of my older blogs here so they're all in one place. And yes, they are all fabulous. Just like me, of course.

Helloooo Kitty!

After several years of serious, serious consideration, I finally did it. I got a tattoo. While most people would think this was not a big deal, especially the ones already tattooed several times over (and by several I mean more than one), this was a big damn deal to me. Those of you that are keenly aware of my inability to make any kind of non life-threatening decision can well imagine the kind of mental debate that raged for years over this.

I was obsessed with whether or not I wanted something permanent on my body. Then with where to get it. I'm a big-picture kind of gal, so it was important to me that it not be in a place that would eventually end up...drifting, or in a place that could get...larger...over time. Throw into the mix the fact that I wanted it to be in a place I could see (what's the point of having one if you always have to rely on someone else's opinion as to how it looks?), but also in a place that wouldn't be too painful to get done, and I wasn't left with a whole lot of tattooing room.

I had ruled out places like the sides of my shoulders (I'm always reminded of old school bikers sportin' heart tattoos with the word "MOM" stenciled across it), my hips (see aforementioned drifting and enlarging concerns), or my hands or feet (OUCH!). So that pretty much left somewhere on my legs. Since they're pretty "meaty" (you already know that story), the drifting/sagging factor is relatively low and if they get any bigger I'll have to shoot myself; all that was left was leg location.

If I got it high enough on my leg that it could be covered by shorts, then chances were pretty good no one other than Harry would ever see the damn thing, because believe me when I tell you the size of my thigh is an acquired appreciation. Anywhere around the knee region was out. My knees are one of the few visible bones on my body, and I wasn't willing to endure that kind of needle-to-bone suffering. Besides, getting a knee tattoo is just weird. A lot of folks suggested the area just above the ankle bone, but again, that's one of the few areas not protected by a generous layer of...insulation. So I finally (finally!) decided on the upper right side of my calf. Nothing too big, nothing too small, something in the 2-3" range. Now I was ready to get tattooed, right?

Silly, silly people. That just solved WHERE I would get the tattoo. I still had to decide on WHAT I wanted to have permanently inked to my body*. It had to be something I loved, something I would never get sick of. Something that I would always have fond memories of or always enjoy. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting something that had my kids' names on it. For a while I seriously considered two little dolphins (who doesn't love dolphins??) - one pink, one blue - jumping out of some waves with Katie and Christopher (respectively) written on them.

But then my paranoia and superstition kicked in and I was worried that if I did something like tattoo my kids' names on my body something bad would happen to them (hey, you should know by now that my neurosis runs deep & wide), so that went out the window. Don't even get me started on what would happen if I tattooed Harry's name on me.

Then one day as I was ordering more Hello Kitty purses (I'm Asian and female, if I don't have an unhealthy obsession with all things Hello Kitty they take away my Chinesey-ness), it hit me: what are the two things over which I obsess the most? Hello Kitty and roller derby! Eureka!

So I sent a quick message to my friend (and fellow Hello Kitty obsessor - yes, she's Asian too) Elli asking her if she could come up with a cool Hello Kitty-derby girl tattoo. Harry had come up with a rough concept of what I wanted, but I wanted her to put her creative spin on it. She of course agreed (again, how do you say no to Hello Kitty?), and Harry and I were on a road trip to Kentucky to pop my tattoo cherry.

Why Kentucky? That's where Elli lives and works. And your first time for anything should always be with someone you trust. So we showed up (after a seriously fun practice with the ROCK derby league - they are the sweetest people EVER) and Elli showed me what she had in mind.

I finally believe in love at first sight. She was beautiful. Tough, cute and totally derby girl through and through, yet still very much Hello Kitty. Perfect.

When Elli was ready to start tattooing, I was incredibly nervous. The tattooed folks I polled about pain ranged in scale from "not that bad" to "hurt like a motherfucking BITCH" - but everyone emphasized "make no doubt about it - it HURTS." Great. So I lay down with my leg exposed and braced myself for the pain. And I secretly hoped I wouldn't sob like a baby or (God forbid) ask her to stop all together and have to walk away in shame with a partial Hello Kittty tattoo stuck on my leg as a permanent, humiliating reminder of the day I became a chicken shit.

Elli said, "Okay, I'm going to start now," and the machine kicked in and the sound of drilling (all I could imagine was a dental office and images of root canals and teeth extractions immediately came to mind) filled the air. I held my breath. Clenched my teeth. My hands were curled into tight fists. I squeezed my eyes shut. All in preparation for the impending (possibly unbearable) pain.

And it wasn't that bad. I mean, everyone's right - it does hurt, but it's not so horrible that you can't hold a conversation or think coherent thoughts. In fact, there were a few moments where it was actually kind of peaceful and relaxing. Like a massage almost. And there were a few moments where I really did have to clench my teeth and keep from yelling out loud. Thankfully those were short lived.

When it was all said and done (roughly 90 minutes later), I had a beautiful, permanent reminder of my favorite obsessions. And I'm hooked. I'm already planning my next one. It'll be on the upper side of my left calf. Because I can't walk around all lopsided with only one tattoo on one leg, you know. That'd be weird.

*yes, it really is exhausting being me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let's get this party started!

Okay, so first things first. I should make a few disclaimers so there is less confusion when you read things from me. So my first blog is really more of a "Ten things you should know about me" sort of thing. Don't like it? Move on. You won't hurt my feelings.

1. If you can't catch from the name of my blogspot where I'm from, you're too stupid to be reading this, so stop now before you hurt yourself.
2. I'm a disoriented (get it? No? See #1) adopted chick from a crazy family full of other adopted chicks (and one dude) and as a result, I am only Asian by genetic structure, not by actual practice or knowledge of it.
3. ^ That totally makes sense to me. Sorry, I have no "translation" button. Despite all evidence to the contrary, technically English is not my first language so I use that excuse whenever I don't make any sense. Deal with it.
4. I'm obssessed with roller derby and it'll take anyone with 1/4 of the computer skills I have to figure out where & for whom I play, or what my derby name is. You probably won't even have to do any searching because I'm fairly certain I'll bring it up myself at some point (or points) over the course of blogging.
5. I hate fakers, liars, cheats and hypocrites. If you are any of those things, you will, at some point, be the target of my blogs. Don't like it? Quit being a loser suckass douchebag. 
6. I actually have a filter, but I use it so much at work that I have to turn it off whenever I'm not working so it won't break at a very inappropriate time.
7. I have 2 kids. They are awesome in every way.
8. I'm married to an equally awesome man.
9. I'm totally, completely, artsy-fartsy/crafty-challenged. Like beyond Special White Helmet challenged. It's both sad and frightening and I do not volunteer for anything crafty for just this reason.
10. I'm a walking, talking, neurotic, contradictory mess but I'm good for a few laughs and a swift kick in the pants.

If you're still reading this, welcome aboard the Seoul Train. It's  a wild and crazy ride!