Spring Cleaning with Sissy Spacek

This happens every April, I feel like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. All she had to say was, “I’m not leaving until I have a good time,” but then she killed everybody, so she kind of had to leave. Oh yeah, Spoiler Alert – too late – I suck, especially because that’s not even the part that I relate to. It’s the part where she’s mildly on the verge of a nervous breakdown and shuts all the doors and turns the fire hoses on full blast.

Then she was thinking, “What do mean you’re not helping with clean up?” Now that’s my idea of getting people to step up. If I dressed up in a bloody gown, looked all crazy-eyed and hosed down the slackers, I bet my boys would put their dirty laundry in the hamper every – fucking – day.

Speaking of hoses, I’m doing some internal Spring cleaning as well, in the form of a juice detox. I know, sounds awful, right? It starts with The Last Infusion, and if this is a Jesus reference, then my husband is Mary Magdalene, as in he’s doing the detox with me. He’ll probably crucify me before it’s over because he can’t drink alcohol, or eat fun food and we start on his birthday of all days. That’s the kind of woman he married: prove your love by cleaning that liver!

I contemplated posting until after the treatment because anything can happen in the next 72 hours to steal that thunder: stepping in dog diarrhea, being flattened by a falling crane, waiting for an overzealous Jehovah’s Witness to go away or worst of all, epic fail. But I pictured the Sissy Spacek asking me, “What are you waiting for,” and stopped procrastinating.

Lately, the possibility of failure is a dread worse than being the target of a feces-flinging monkey. Of course, people encourage me to think positive, but I reason that somebody has to fail just like somebody has to be a “flying poo” victim. It’s just the law of chance, or Murphy’s monkey, or my incessant volunteering – whatever. Like most bloggers, if shit happens – there’s something to write about. I’m not Tom Petty, but even the losers get lucky sometimes.

Regardless of the outcome, whether it’s the treatment, the detox, or even new Alien movie, I’ve decided I’m going to roast in the sun this summer. I don’t care if I get as dark as Wesley Snipes – I’m going to take Blade’s advice and “Say No to sunblock” because I hate shellacking myself with that funky stuff. I plan on toting the free umbrella some jewelry store gave me, even though it makes me look like Chinese Mary Poppins. Perhaps you deem that statement as racist because I’m not Chinese but excuse you, the umbrella is.

Ever since I read about heat therapy for cancer, I’ve been wanting to roast myself like a turkey. Then my son had a pet-sitting gig with a Bearded Dragon and when I saw her in her tank, baking under the lamps, I just wanted to shrink myself and join that crazy looking lizard on her hot rock. My son and my husband, the geniuses that they are, decided to dump 20 live crickets in the tank and watch the lizard get all Godzilla-like. Eventually, she pooped in the tank because that’s what happens when your buffet bounces around while you eat it.

Who’s gonna clean that up?

Bearded Sissy Spacek.

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Mummy on the N Train

On an Astoria-bound N train at 10:35 am on a Monday morning:

She was probably around 65 years old but she could’ve been a reanimated mummy. Skin so wrinkled and hardened, her face was like a walnut tucked into a shawl, albeit a colorful shawl, because nothing else would flatter the single tooth in her head more. Her happiness was obvious – untouchable, even. Who knows if it had something to do with her demeanor or perhaps she was just happy being with her unemployed-looking son. I assume he was unemployed because he was wearing a hoodie with cannabis leaves stamped all over it and he was doting on his toddler with the expertise of a nanny, especially when he snapped an elastic headband on the child’s head.

Because they appeared Indian, I was tempted to ask him if he knew the botanical significance the hoodie was promoting but then decided not to, because Hell, that could be the reason his mother looked so full of bliss. After all, weed isn’t restricted to those dressed in reggae regalia. If Harold and Kumar could show that Asians make hip and geeky potheads, why not mummy granny?

So, she may have been high, but she sat with an expression that was more than stoned – it was beyond cheerful, beyond peace. As if she knew all there is to know about everything and didn’t give two chickpeas whether it was true or not. She could care less that her son dressed like an Indian Joey Buttafuoco, that her grandchild looked like a boy with a blue-flowered headband. Even the single decaying tooth in her head was ready to fall out any day – so what? Pudding. The only other person who may or may not be high and this happy is Gary Busey (I’m gonna have to put that werewolf movie he was in on our Netflix queue – I think it was called Silver Bullet? Or had something to do with a silver bullet – or I may be having a Gary Busey moment here…).

The point is, never in my life, had I ever looked upon such a weathered and ancient soul and saw it as a goal. I sincerely thought – could I have that? Could I grow that old and aesthetically-not-giving-a-shit and obtain that shell of immunity? Of course, I might stick with lotion because I really hate being itchy, but all the other solvents – would be thrown out the window. Forget deodorant and shampoo – fuck Fluoride and teeth whiteners. What kind of person meets a friend for lunch and compares her teeth to the whiteness of a napkin because her “friend” told her to? The same kind of dumbass who asks if her teeth are white enough!

Actually, I could be that dumbass but I’m lucky that my friends don’t offer Rachel Ray solutions at the tip of their fingers. If I said aloud, “My eczema is flaring up,” Rachel Ray disciples would suggest a homemade remedy along the lines of olive oil and squirrel feces, but ask any one of my best friends and they’d suggest I try weed in any obtainable form, because obviously, my problem is that I’ve stopped drinking beer – another side effect of chemo, apparently.

My husband has even offered to make me Funny Brownies, but considering how much the boys love brownies, it seems like a dysfunctional-family-sitcom-episode waiting to happen. On the other hand, it could be an experience of a lifetime. Something I could look back on in another twenty-years. And I’d smile through every thirsty pore in my aging face, riding on a Queens bound N train with my fully grown weirdos.

gary-busey

…and what does this even mean?

 

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Mr. Spock and Dance Belts

Trying to define the difference between smart and intelligent with my boys is like much like discussing the difference between jiggle and bounce. For the latter, I actually had a conversation with my ballet studying son, that he had to wear a dance belt to keep his balls from bouncing around. For those who don’t know what a dance belt is, it’s basically a jock-strap, a thong, a Brazilian bikini bottom but – for dancers. Boy dancers.

With tears in his eyes, he pleaded – no, screamed as loud as he could, “It goes up my butt – I HATE it. You don’t understand!”

I wish I could’ve told him that, of course, I understand. Because, no woman, especially at my age,  ever escaped some kind of moment where an uncomfortable thing went up her butt. But…that would be opening up a ten gallon tin of worms with that boy. Instead, I tried to explain how women have to wear (or should wear) sports bras to keep their boobs from bouncing – but he just couldn’t see how watermelons compared to eggs, so I finally told him: if he didn’t wear a dance belt, he’d forever have a tiny penis.

And that was the end of that.

By the way, boys will drop any argument when you talk facts about penises (I did Google the plural for penis and was sad to discover that it wasn’t penii).

Also, since I ordered his dance belt online, I get hit with dance belt ads, basically pictures of men’s crotches whenever I Google or go on Facebook. I don’t know about you, but I have to look over my shoulder when I’m simultaneously reading posts on family vacations next to a picture of balls stuffed in a canvas cup.

But let’s get back to failing miserably at conversing with my boys.

After they figured out that balls bounce and fat bellies jiggle, we moved on to the difference between smart and intelligent.To the boys’ unsophisticated mind, smart and intelligent is the same thing and so, I put it to them like this: an intelligent person is someone who could have a conversation with Mr. Spock.

I have no idea how they got it because they’ve never watched Star Trek, and by that I mean cheesy Star Trek – the only true Star Trek because everything after that is just – Mudd. Besides, the boys are Star Wars fans and I, for one, think the Trekkies and (whatever Star Wars fanatics are called) should not mix.

If I may add, Star Wars is smart, Star Trek – is intelligent.

After my comment, my Libra-boy asked me right away if Mr. Spock would find him intelligent and I said, “meh.”

Still, he continued to daydream of how that conversation would go. While he fathomed that Mr. Spock would enlighten him on lasers and teleportation, I moved on to pondering what the wages were for the Enterprise crew. Eventually, it lead me to conclude that intelligent people never get…paid.

Think about it – you were never lead to believe that anyone – anyone – on the U.S.S. Enterprise got a paycheck. No one ever talked about craving pancakes or…going home. They were always in space or on some fucked up planet, which coincidentally, always had oxygen, otherwise, worker’s comp – sheesh!

If they did get paid, then definitely, Bones made the most money. I’m sure Jim was broke after paying all his alien child support. As for Spock, I’m sorry, it’s just wrong to pay a Vulcan – they seem opposed to cash, don’t you think? Could you picture Mr. Spock at Best Buy or shopping for ear muffs? It’s just wrong.

By the end of Libra-boy’s pretend conversation with Mr. Spock, I gauged his IQ somewhere around sausage. It’s okay. With the way things are today, intelligence is a curse.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.43.26 PM

 

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Black And White Is Not Just A Cookie

Apparently, we can’t get rid of our cable because there’s nothing good on Netflix Instant Play. Everything we want to see is still on an archaic DVD, which we reduced to four per month plan because my thumb-head husband tends to leave the movie sitting around for two weeks before watching it.

He must think it’s wine. But no matter how long it sits, a crappy movie is still going to be a waste of time.

Since we’ve gone through every episode of “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers” I suggested watching “The Twilight Zone” – it turned out to be the original series – in black and white.

After the opening scene, Zuki asked, “When is he going to open the door and go into color?”

“This is not the Wizard of Oz, buddy. It stays black and white.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and sunk back into his chair. “This sucks.”

By the third episode, both boys “appreciated” the show and it’s integrity. It was about the story, not the actors or the set or the special effects.

I never realized how much the actors sweat on the show. Good old fashioned sweat – not spray on.

Alas, the intelligence of the show was too much for them. When they couldn’t figure out what Rod Sterling had to do with the show – or what he was saying for that matter – they asked if they could watch something else.

And turned on “Family Guy”.

They will probably never go near a black and white movie or TV show again. If they do, their brain will automatically go into zombie mode because everything they watch on the screen now is over-stimulated. In high definition. With scenes and action for people with a three minute attention span.

The only thing they’ll ever desire in black and white – is a cookie.

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The One Track Mind

Our school just finished its third Read-a-Thon. What’s a Read-a-Thon? Well, it’s a fundraiser like a Walkathon only the sponsors pay money for reading rather than reenacting the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Over the past three years, we had on average a rather low number of participants. Of eleven-hundred students, barely one hundred turn in their collections. I’d give you the percentage but thanks to Common Core, I’m not sure standard math makes sense anymore.

After much deliberation, we decided that the prizes needed improvement. My allergic-to-reading son came up with a sellable top prize.

“I’d read for a Harry Potter wand!” He said.

So it was said. So it was done. That’s the beauty of serving on the panel. You kind of expect Yoda to show up and say, “Your ass it doesn’t seem you always think out of.”

Not only did we secure a Harry Potter Wand, it f*cking lights up. Even better than a vibrating broomstick!

End result? Out of 97 participants, 54 of them were boys.

Yep. Even without common core, I know that means more than half – were boys.

If you have one, you know the beauty of that – boys don’t like to read. A boy who does, couldn’t be bothered logging it. And if logging isn’t an issue, then I assume he’s only doing it because he’s smart enough to bribe you into being “paid” for it.

Boys have a one track mind. They’ll do what it takes to get what they want and guess what? They’re happy when they get it!

My son hasn’t brought home a reading log since the second grade – let alone made a ritual of logging reading sessions as well as he does his poop volume. For the Harry Potter wand, however, he logged every – single – minute.

When he finally got it, what did he do?

For starters, he tried to change a stack of looseleaf papers into a million dollars. Then he tried to change his brother into a bug.

After epic failure, his brother took the wand and tried to magically grow a beard.

Finally, their dad asked for the wand and demanded to turn the lights off. He shoved the wand up his nose and lit it up.

With a flashing blue nostril he turned to me and said, “Quick. Take a picture!”

Intelligence at its best.

Harry Potter Wand

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Don’t Worry A Troubled Mind

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom

“Worry Wart” was my middle name. I was born to worry. As a matter of fact, worrying was my main reason to become a parent. Parenting, I thought, was the perfect excuse to worry for every little thing.

Worry if the baby’s healthy. Worry if the child gets hurt. Worry if they’ll make friends and do well in school. Worry if my worrying is borderline psychotic and thus raise a serial killer with an unoriginal Modus Operandi.

That would be lame. Not even book rights. Oh my God, so much to worry about and so little time!

But like sleep and quiet moments, I soon learned that there is really no time to worry with kids. Shit just happens – regardless.

So I learned how to prepare.

There’s a distinct difference between worry and preparation. True, preparation is pretty much taking precaution on nothing more than an assumption; but to worry was just – immature. To give into it, gets you nowhere and actions based on it brings nothing but trouble. Just the thing worry was trying to avoid.

Ask anyone what they’re worried about and basically what they want to say is, “I’m worried that we’re gonna die.”

I didn’t want to worry to the point of becoming one of those moms. You know, the ones who are like, “Life? Oh no, that’s too dangerous for my children and I’m far too busy for that.”

It’s amusing how the modern mother became so irrational when the world became more accessible. They wipe everything clear of germs, pluck their children out of every challenging situation, fight their kids fights for them and then sit them down to a cardboard box of Chicken McNuggets because they forgot to pack a snack.

Their kids can’t eat fruit but they’ll eat mystery meat from a clown.

Okay, hungry children are demonic. Over time, we’ve accumulated a mountain of lunch coolers and water bottles to make sure my kids don’t “turn”. Our pantry is single-serving snack central and can city. All that’s missing is a Milky Way candy bar and we’d be ready for James Franco.

In all the years of outings with boys who are convinced we will resort to cannibalism when the subway stops, I’ve learned to be prepared.

While I can’t say that I never worry, I’m certainly not a wart anymore.

So, what are you worried about?

Troubled Mind

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Chat-o-meister

Not many parents would tell a baby to shut up, but we did – constantly. After endless hours of his blabber we’d say, “Shut up, Samu,” despite ourselves. His jibberish was beyond cute and oh, kids say the darndest things – it was literally, “can you just shut up for five minutes? Just five minutes!”

It never hurt his feelings – quite the contrary. It got to the point where he’d respond, “No I can’t – I’m a non-shutter upper!”

As he got older, the Chat-o-meister got worse. What, with school and all, he’s armed with a bigger vocabulary. He can articulate now and give visuals. Way to go, level P reader! The other day, in a crowded elevator, he said to his friend, “My mom washes her hair in the bathtub, so sometimes her hair is in our bath and it’s irritating. And gross.”

Which was better than his explanation of an altercation at school that went, “Nicholas said the “b” word – you know bitch -,”

“Samu, you’re not supposed to say the word. You just call it the “b” word.”

“Yeah, but you might’ve thought I meant bastard.”

Thank you, Samu. Thanks for being so – thorough.

He has yet to ask me for his own Facebook page or email account so he can spread the word. He does, however, want my old camera so he can make his own movies. I’m assuming the storyline will be something along the lines of “Bad Piggy finds the box of tampons and decides to launch them at the stray cats in our community driveway!”

Don’t worry – you won’t be subjected to his nonsensical movie marathons. First of all, I have no intention of sifting through our boxes and boxes of junk just to find our old camera, only to sift through the same mess to find the battery charger. Second, it’s inevitably going to be me who has to edit all his hapless footage and upload it to Youtube.

Speaking of which, he hasn’t figured out that he would need his own Youtube account. Unlike his buddy at the schoolyard, who has that all covered. This kid, Shane, is only in Kindergarten but he’s as tall, if not taller than Samu. He comes up to me and says, “I’m getting my own Gmail!”

So I say, “Great! Tell me – who would be emailing you?” Because seriously, who emails a letter of the alphabet or just sight words?

Shane says, rather curtly, “Not E-mail – G mail. G. G. G – mail! Not E!”

Now I’m thoroughly confused and tell him so. My understanding is that Gmail is an email account, so why would he need it – was the question I posed to him.

He replied, “For my Youtube!”

And he rolls his eyes like he’s just had the most idiotic conversation, ever.

Of course, when I recounted the story to Zuki he sided with Shane saying, “Mom, you know, you are old.”

How does that even make sense? Then again, why am I surprised – Zuki, who’s in the fourth grade, says, “Mom, I think I’m getting a boulder.”

A boulder?

He opens his mouth and points to one of his back teeth, “See – this one is loose. I think I’m getting a new boulder.”

For the record, his molar is fine – it’s his brain that’s loose.

Me: “He doesn’t look like an ‘Andrew'”

Samu: “Maybe he draws a lot.”

Shut up, Samu.

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Lucky Number Seven

Well, seven – times eleven, actually. Apparently, in Japanese custom, turning 77 is a milestone age that should be celebrated with grand fanfare. My mother, however, a typical Aquarian eccentric, threatened to disown me if I planned any kind of birthday bash for her 77th. She is too humble, you see, to be the center of attention. So, I’ll honor her here, and spare her the embarrassment and she can smack me upside the head the next time she sees me in the street.

Seriously, in New York, you’re better off fighting in the street. If you fight in your own home, neighbors call the cops on you.

Then again, I hardly fight with my mom. It’s not because we’re gal pals or I’m that good Asian daughter. No, it’s because I know I’ll never win. Never. My mom has a sharp tongue, a very rogue sense of humor and unbounded energy that seems to get more out of control the older she gets. The woman walks a minimum of three miles a day and when she was snowed in she climbed up and down the stairs of her apartment building.

Who does that, right?

While I can’t claim that her charm is nurturing or supportive – she has been responsible for presenting the truth in life changing ways. If you don’t deserve praise, you’re definitely not going to get it from her. My mom rode the same elevator as Mick Jagger once and when he doubted she knew who he was, her response was “Sure I know who you are, you were in The Beatles.”

Only she could stump a Rolling Stone.

She’s not a big woman, she’s not a loud woman but she does have presence. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish. She taught me everything about being a performer – about respecting the stage and your audience and your art. Most importantly, she taught me not to insist. In the land of pushy Americans, that’s a tough thing to teach.

Finally, she’s an American herself. Yes folks, she went back to school and became a Naturalized Citizen. Her classmates are young enough to be my children (if I were a teenage mom). I’m proud of her and deeply respect her persevering character. Hopefully, she’ll read this post because if I told her this in person, she’d ask me if I’d been drinking and smack me upside the head.

Asian moms.

Humble Happy Birthday.

My mom with my sister

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School of Dad

“The sense of someone missing is stronger than the sense of someone there.” – Paul Theroux, The Mosquito Coast

 

By accident, the memory of the movie suddenly dug up an urge to read the book. It took my shitty library two full weeks to locate a copy and whether it was the lack of copies available or just fate’s way of telling me I’m getting old, only a large print type was located for me. Large print – it’s like reading a poster in book form. Three times the normal weight, too.

 

Nonetheless, the book is brilliant. The story’s fascinating and the writing – is like savoring a goblet of Saintsbury Pinot Noir. And it may have been fate or pure coincidence,  but it arrived the week of Father’s Day.

 

As I read the journey, memory and feelings of a thirteen-year old Charlie-boy towards his genius-but-mad-father, I saw a refracted reflection. Not of me and my dad – because as much as I’d like to recount that my father was a bit touched, it was more like O.C.D. that rivaled famous Jewish comedians. There wasn’t a hint of genius in my dad’s babbling whatsoever. Besides, his O.C.D. issues became rather comedic after he survived a stroke. Like watching a mute Gilbert Gottfried.

 

Yes – I’m awful.

 

Anyway, the refracted reflection I saw, was through the eyes of either of my sons – towards their dad. The words processed at face value: the relation, the misunderstanding, the sense of responsibility and the sense of abandonment. The embarrassment. The awe. Not that those feelings, even combined, are exclusive to them. But – I know – they’re dealing with double standards.

 

My husband’s a tough cookie. Kind of chewy – distasteful even. But he’s their dad. Their memory of him will go down regardless of how anyone else wants it to remain. It’s their rite of passage. How children eventually relate to the world. The School of Dad: all individualized courses.

 

In the end – it’s got nothing to do with mom. That’s why kids survive divorce and death and democrats.

 

By the way, my own dad taught me that.

 

So that's my DNA?

So that’s my DNA?

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Exponentially Yours

“Exponentially,” is a term Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman uses to describe how spicy something becomes when a slop chef uses hot oil for Buffalo wings. Never mind that the word is a mathematical term, I can picture dudes across America saying, “this chicken is exponentially hot,” instead of just fanning their tongues yelling, “Gimme some water, gimme some water!”

 

The sissies.

 

Anyway, things are exponentially busy. Could be the drop sunshine amongst the buckets of rain, lately. At least the busy-ness is all good – for now.  I’m holding a spot on the floor for the other shoe, which is expected sometime in August. In the meantime, I keep my poker face on – the same look I have when things suck.

 

It’s hypocritical, actually. I tell my kids not to use the term “suck” and use it constantly. I say the supermarket music sucks; the number 7 train really sucks; the weather is starting to suck – but if those guys even try to say that homework sucks, I make them do pages of penmanship. Yeah, guess I suck.

 

But I told them if they win a national spelling bee, they can curse to their hearts content.

 

“Yay!” Shouted Zuki like it’s in the bag. I’m not trying to undermine him but really, it’s like Britney Spears auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera. No lie, he still asks me, “Mommy – do you have any G-U-M-B?

 

“Zuki, for the hundreth time, there is no “b” at the end of gum.”

 

“But there’s a “b” at the end of dumb and that’s the way I want to spell it.”

 

Dumb Gumb. If there is such a thing, I can think of a few people who’ve been chewing it.

 

He might just become one of those annoying people who needs to “ax” a question. Or misuse words like, “Literally, she was getting on my nerves.”

 

Literally? Was she climbing up your back?

 

But that’s American English. It’s probably just as bad as Chinese Spanish. Or my husband’s Japanese. Whatever. The next generation will simply attach a letter “b” to the end of a word and change the English language, exponentially.

better humen bean is

better humen bean is

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