Archive for January, 2012

A little help

January 31, 2012

Somebody tell me to put down the crack and walk away from the possibility of entering into Star Trek Fandom.  Crap on a cracker.  That would mean the rest of my free time for the rest of my life down the toilet.  No, I say.  But it is bloody tempting.

And I’m apparently writing stuff I never thought I would.  More details once I’ve posted.  (orz)

And in other news, I was sort of  late to work today because I was trying to carmelize onions for French Onion Soup.

My priorities in life.  See my work and despair.

Someone, please.  Send help.


The Worst Aunt in the World

January 18, 2012

Yup.  That’s me.

We went to my parents’ house this past weekend and made mandu.  (Korean dumplings.)

Usually what happens is that my mother makes a vat of filling and then everybody sits around and makes enough mandu for the next couple of months.   It’s pretty tedious and time-consuming, so you’d want to have as many people around to do this as possible.

This time, she waited around for my SIL to show up to help.  But my SIL needed to go shopping, so it fell to me, my dad, and my mom to make the mandu.   That would have taken forever.  When I say vat of filling, I mean VAT.

But wait!  There were teens and preteens in the house!

So I called them in and told them their job was to make mandu as a replacement for their mother.  There was some protest, and they kept wanting to bail, but I made them stay for the entire process.  Their mandu were terrible looking – lumpy, filling leaking out, lots of little rips and tears.  Ugly. I made them do a lot of do-overs.

Those kids wanted to go, so badly.  But I kept at them, telling them this would be the most useful they would be for the entire weekend.  If it really bothered them, maybe they’d remember the experience and use it for a college application essay  about Korean-American culture and family.  (Probably titled “Mean Auntie, or the Bitter Taste of My Tears in the Dumplings.”)

The other thing that happened was that I woke up sore after the weekend.  Probably because we spent a fair amount of time playing (and I’m not proud of this) “Just Dance 3” on the Wii.  It’s a dance game where you copy movements of people on the screen, but the only movement that counts is the hand with the controller.

It’s silly, but my family is also incredibly competitive about the dumbest things in the world and so I was bound and determined to destroy the hopes and dreams of a bunch of under-1o’s with my dance steps copied from a video game.

Like I said, I’m not proud of this, but it is something I think those kids can also learn from.  What that lesson is, I’m uncertain.  (Mean Auntie can’t dance, maybe?)  Anyway, Henry really likes the dances where he can pretend to be a robot or a Power Ranger.  (Although how he knows anything about Power Rangers is beyond me.   He doesn’t watch the show at home, and we don’t have any of the media.  Maybe school (that disseminator of all things cultural)?

I need an adult

January 12, 2012

We’ve been throwing out/donating a bunch of stuff since before the holidays , clothes and toys, mostly.  Partly to make room to the new stuff that undoubtedly was coming our way, partly just to feel like we’re starting fresh for the new year.

Usually, I’m all about tossing the old and the broken and the long-unplayed with.  Get out, I say!

But a few things just hit me the wrong way this past week.  On Monday, I ran over one of Henry’s good outside toys (if there can be such a thing) and felt truly terrible about it.  It was a nice Tonka digger with caterpillers that really turned.  Because the broken plastic stuck to my mittens,  I had to scrape these little yellow plastic bits off the snow with my bare hands to get rid of all the evidence before he came home.  I don’t think he’s noticed yet.  At least, he hasn’t asked.

Today, I packed up all the Lego Primos (the really big chunky blocks Lego used to make for small hands) to give them away to the kids’ daycare.  I wasn’t happy about it, because I just have this fantasy that J will use them and love them even though she hasn’t, but when W said it was time, it made perfect sense.  But man, I burst into tears when packing them up.   I’m glad the kids weren’t here to see it.

Partly because this was the first toy I really invested time in finding – doing it all ebay style  (I don’t think they’re made anymore) and finding a couple of big lots of them.  And Henry loved, loved, loved them.   (They’re great for wall-building.  And that might be about it.)  Although he hasn’t gotten near them since he discovered the duplos and then the regular Lego bricks.  And they’re perfectly good and probably will last forever.  They’ll have a good home at the daycare and be loved by other little children.   Even thinking about it is causing me to tear up, though.  (If I think about it at any length, I will go all ugly-face and bawl.)

That said, I don’t even know why.  It’s not like I felt anything like this sense of loss when W got rid of the crib, or when I stopped breast-feeding, or the day Henry started school.  Or any number of things that really might be considered more personal than a box of brightly colored plastic chunky toys.

I can’t do it just yet.  I’ve just boxed them up and put them in closet, so I can get my act together.  In my head, I’m thinking I’ll make sure every last piece in the house is gathered up before I give them away.  But I know that’s just a delaying tactic.   When I do give them away, I want to be perfectly composed.  Maybe I should ask W to do it.

W also mentioned getting rid of the push-toys that make clanking, pop-corn sounds when they’re pushed across a floor.  I also have feelings about them (there are two).   Sure they’re annoying, but I’m not yet ready to give them up.  I don’t know why.  It’s not like I want to have more children and are saving these things for them.  I don’t think it’s because I want to save them for my children’s children.  It’s like they’re my toys or something.  What’s my issue?

Internet, I think I need a hug.   Or some counseling.  Or maybe just a kick in the butt.  Something.


January 11, 2012

(Title of post from my college off-campus experience, where someone was camping and spent much time and effort, comically, trying to find fuel tanks for the trip, which I remember being called something like “bumblos” but I’m not certain.)

New Year’s is a big deal in my family.  One of the things that happen is the young bow in respect for the elders and wishes for luck, and the elders give the young some cash money.  There’s also a lot of eating of traditional foods and thinking of the year past and the year ahead and the dead and all that.  The important thing, though, especially to the young, is the money.

My fail (my first of the year, go me!) was that I forgot that.  We were on our way back from DC, on Saturday, the day before New Year’s, literally on the NJ Turnpike, and I’m suddenly thinking, “oh, crap, I forgot New Year’s money.”  W and I have been elders since we had kids.  Maybe since we got married?  (It seems dumb, but I should remember when I turned into an elder, right?)

Anyway, I worry until we get to my parents’ house.   I ask my mom if it’s okay to not give.  She says it’s okay, but W notes that it’s never okay to be those people who don’t have New Year money.   I ask her how much to give, and she says it’s up to me.  I say, “$2?” and she says that’s cheap and makes a face.  So no money is okay, but $2 is too cheap.  Go figure.

I ask my dad if he’s got any spare small bills.  (He used to have lots because he ran a store.)  No.  My brother’s not around, so he’s no help.  So W and I strategize and we go over to the local strip mall and proceed to break a number of 20 dollar bills to get enough singles and fives to give away the next day.  W called it “shaking down the immigrants and natives.”

We get back to my parents’ house.  I check with my mother about the number of kids showing up.  At least 27.  Damn.  Still not enough money.  (Although we are well fortified with single cans of soda, granola bars, battery packs, single serve chip bags and yogurt cups.  I felt like one of those people passing counterfeit bills.)  Although my mother kindly reminds me that if I don’t have enough fives, I can give tens.  Everybody loves tens.  (Sure they do.  I’m not giving away that much money – mostly because I don’t have it.)  My brother shows up, and he’s got some fives.  (He’s really sympathetic because he’s done the exact same thing, but because it was before my parents retired, they had the money.  Then I make a threat to take the money people give my kids and give that away.  My brother laughs, because he’s done that too.)  Then the next morning, my mother coughs up $20 in singles.

The lucky money thing goes well enough.  Some people didn’t show.  We’ve got some singles left over.  Oh, thank goodness.  Safe.

Then some people show up at my mother’s house after the big event.  There go the rest of the money – and still, my mother’s going on about how I should stop counting and just give it away – which is easy for her to say.  I just didn’t want to give an unequal amount of money when it’s obvious that I’m counting out singles, and I might not have enough anyway.  Which I do.  Barely.

I should just take my brother’s advice and if I’m even thinking about being in the vicinity around New Year’s get a whack of money and just leave it with my parents.  It’ll be so much easier than the night of the bumble-o’s.

I told this story to a friend recently, and she thought it was funny, until we told her how many kids.  That brought it all into perspective for her.   Because 27 is a lot of kids.   Then she told the story of how she went to buy the red envelopes for New Year’s money (she’s a long-time Yankee recently married a Canadian-American-Chinese guy) and was thrilled at how many there were in the pack.  Because she could use the envelopes for year and years until they were all used up.  Until she realized that they all had the year on them.  I laughed, because if she were really ethnic, that wouldn’t matter.

Anyway, that’s my New Year story.  Here’s to hoping your New Year goes a little more smoothly than that evening did for us!


January 7, 2012

About a month ago, I posted a whole story, added something to the community about it and then 20 minutes later, I deleted it and all mentions that it existed.  This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.

I guess I had a policy of “posting it forevermore.”  It wasn’t a formal thought-out policy, I just posted stuff when I thought it was done.  (It’s sort of a pity that my pieces never seem truly done to me, I’m always going back and picking at little typos or things I suddenly discovered I didn’t like.)

It’s just that the story was finished, but it didn’t feel finished in the way that I wanted it to, and it being out there made me all anxious in a way that didn’t seem right.  Part of it, honestly, was that it was a kink meme fill for a sort of dark topic and I tied it to a work already in progress, which doesn’t seem exactly fair.  Also, kink meme fills are supposed to be happy and the way the prompt ran – well, nothing happy was going to come out of that.  So, it got pulled.  And I felt better about it.

But it wouldn’t leave me alone.  So I picked at it for a while.  It’s a hard fic for me to do, because it comes from a dark place, considering the origins of child warriors and things like that.

I just posted it yesterday, for two people; me and the Original Poster.  I hope the OP reads it and likes it (as much as one can like something so dark and potentially angst-inducing).

As for me, I’m posting just to be done with it.  Maybe that’s how some people do it.  With this fic, I’m really understanding the idea of how people just write for themselves, because this fic isn’t going to be very popular.  I don’t have a lot of aspirations for this fic – I’m just be glad to be done, and I can stop thinking about it.  And with this post, even deliberations about this fic will be done.

Edited: To say, it’s not that I’m not happy with the piece, because, ultimately, I am satisfied.  I just don’t want the characters (and the reader) to have suffered for nothing.  As I commented to the reader, I’m not the type to drink the tears of others.

random coincidence

January 6, 2012

Here it is.   One of the things that happens occasionally that I really wouldn’t believe if people told me it would happen.

W and I were with the kids in Washington DC for the better part of a week.  We waited until the nicest day and went to the zoo.  We ambled about, and then, I almost ran over a lady in front of the bathrooms.  I can’t remember if I apologized, because I was mesmerized by her face.  Creepily.  I knew I was staring at this person and yet I couldn’t stop.  She just reminded me of someone I knew.  (You know about me and my little staring problem.  I’m aware of this and yet this seemed even more creepy and socially unacceptable.)  She kept looking back at me.  In my head, it was her trying to remember my features so she could report them to the police about crazy stalker-zoo-lady.

Anyway, I finally managed to say something like “Excuse me, but you remind me -”

And then she yelled out my name.  Much screaming and some hugging ensued.

Turns out, this was somebody I hadn’t seen in nine years.  We’d met and spent most of our active, in-person part of the friendship in Wisconsin (where she still lives), I’d been a bridesmaid at her wedding, and somehow, we both managed to take our families to the National Zoo on the same day and meet up at the toilets.  Crazy, huh?

W had taken the kids to the restaurant, and was pretty mad when I gestured for him to return back to the bathrooms.  His admitted feeling on it was “This better be some amazing frickin’ animal if you’re having me come back all the way there.”  (Ha!)

Sick of it

January 3, 2012

So sick. Got a terrible sinus pain from a bad cold. It feels like a toothache all over my face.  Just throbbingly bad.

Hopefully, that’s what’s causing my current writing blues.

What might have made the problem worse was the trip we just took to DC, which was great, except that I was so miserable for it. At least we did stuff and tried to not think about how miserable I was.  Walked the National Mall in the cold, yelled at children and tried to be upbeat.

Hey friends that I visited – I’m sorry if I made you sick. Really, really sorry.

Also, read the Stephen King writing memoir.  Most lasting thing: he aims for 2ooo words a day.  Just, wow.

Maybe I’ll go call in sick, hide in bed for a while and try to feel better, about the cold and my low verbiage.  (2k a day?  Damn.)