What I Learned On My Girls’ Weekend Getaway

This past weekend, a few fellow mommies and I went to SF for a Girls’ Weekend out. We lolled about, walked without considering small children, ate a ton and drank in the day time! Heck, we even drank at night! Awesome! It was so enjoyable and relaxing and truly fun. Thanks, ladies and husbands!

Here are a few things I learned this weekend on my first weekend trip without the kids in two years.

1) I didn’t really miss my children. Not even the baby. But I did talk about them at least 65% of the time and checked in with Hapa Papa every few hours.

2) Hapa Papa did fantastic with all three kids – even without having lactating breasts! Clearly, this is a sign that I need to leave more often.

3) Getting to know new friends is really fun. I’ve slowly been getting to know some of the moms at Cookie Monster’s preschool better and it has been wonderful. I don’t know why I worried so much about getting along with the other mommies. It gives me great hope for the future when the kids start elementary school.

4) Finding out what the other moms did before becoming SAHMs was a revelation. In our group, we had two lawyers, one child psychologist/school counselor, a financial advisor, and a preschool teacher. I had the least amount of education out of them all. They were all slumming it!

5) There is such a thing as too much chocolate. We attended a chocolate festival at Fort Mason and by the end, I was a bit sick of chocolate. Also, turns out I prefer truffles over bars. The best thing that I put in my mouth this weekend.

6) Valet parking in SF is totally worth it.

7) After attending an Asian American Film Festival, I realized I might have to start putting my money where my mouth is. If I want to see more Asians in film, I need to support their work.

8) Even though I’ve had my pixie cut for at least a month, I’m still not used to my new look. I am constantly surprised when I see myself in pictures and reflective surfaces.

9) I still get carsick.

10) Things that I might’ve found titillating or risqué a few years ago are now boring and contrived. Not because I am jaded or inured to sex. I’m just older and wiser and find some of the more desperate actions really sad.

11) I can’t control myself in bookstores. Especially when it comes to books that feature Chinese or Japanese stories for the kids. I’m also a sucker for coffee table books with tons of art/pictures.

12) Staying up until 3am chatting is better than sleep.

13) After coming home, say, “Thank you” to Hapa Papa and try to curb the urge to point out everything you see that is wrong with the house. It makes Hapa Papa feel shitty and me seem like an ungrateful jerk. Which I was for a few moments. Sorry, Hapa Papa. You are an awesome dad and husband and I am so fortunate to have you.

Since all the husbands performed admirably (one hit it out of the park by taking his boys on a spur of the moment camping trip to Santa Cruz), we clearly can leave our children more often. Any suggestions of where to go and what to do next?

Resisting the Urge to Curate

So last night, this happened on Facebook:

Actual internal conversation I just had with myself: Was Ben Franklin a US President? I can’t believe I don’t know this. I should ask FB. No, I should wikipedia it. No, I should Google it. Wait. He is on money. Only dead presidents are on money. Ok. Whew.

Within minutes, I was served notice (kindly, mind you) of my multiple errors of 1) Ben Franklin NOT being a US President, 2) dead presidents NOT having exclusivity on currency, 3) relying on Notorious BIG/Puff Daddy (he was still going by Puff Daddy at the time) and Jay-Z songs as legitimate resources regarding money, and 4) me NOT fact checking and drawing from my pathetic and faulty “knowledge” of US history.

My UCLA education hard at work. Granted, I didn’t take history at UCLA so one can hardly blame them. We’ll just blame high school. Yes. And the internet for banishing all real necessity for recalling facts. And user error of the internet.

I will confess, I was a little embarrassed by my public gaffe (though truly minor and all in good fun). I felt like I just fell on my ass in public. Of course, my first instinct was to hide it and delete the post. But that is silly and speaks volumes of my own latent (now highlighted) insecurities. After all, although my post didn’t say too much about me (other than my complete failure to retain basic facts), my deleting it certainly would.

Who knew I cared that much about how I looked?

Everyone crafts their Facebook image – some more meticulously than others. Personally, I tend to post pics of my kids, the occasional rant, links to things I find cool/horrible, and status updates that perhaps mock myself and Hapa Papa. You know, like real life only better (and funnier). For the most part, I don’t mind laughing at myself since it’s all in good fun. And it’s talking about me, so there’s that going for it.

So what was the big deal about this post? It’s because my idiocy was inadvertent. I guess I don’t mind falling on my ass in public if it’s a scripted pratfall, but I do if I accidentally trip on a crack in the sidewalk.

Ultimately, who cares that I made a mistake? Why is that so bad that my first instinct was to hide it? No one expects me to be perfect or always correct. I certainly don’t expect it of others. I can only hope I have responded to my friends’ mistakes as graciously as my friends did to mine. (Sadly, this is actually in question. I know. I am an ass.)

Hopefully, one day, I will be secure enough in myself to not care about my image (Facebook or otherwise). For now, I’ll just have to satisfy myself with pretending to not care until I don’t.

Songs I am Digging

Did I just use the word, “digging”? As if I actually use that word in real life. Well, whatever. It’s a mentally slow day (more like week, really) and my brain is lagging. So, we are just going to listen to music today. Here are some songs I am enjoying on the radio. Let me know what songs you’re enjoying in the comments.

1) Holding On for Life – Broken Bells
The first few times I heard this on the radio, I kept thinking, “When did the BeeGees make a new song?” Well, I’ve since found out it’s a guy from The Shins and a guy from Modest Mouse teaming up together. For the record, even though Hapa Papa thinks I am full of it, other people (Google says so) think the song sounds like the BeeGees, too.

2) Young Girls – Bruno Mars
I don’t know why I like this song other than I just do. It makes me happy.

3) Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo ft. 2Chainz

Even though I find the lyrics completely deplorable (which is most rap music to me), I find the sax in this song dirty and grindy and yes, I like it. I try to zone out the words because when I actually hear them, they totally piss me off. This is a case where I’m annoyed that I find the song so catchy and I worry for my children because I may have to stop listening to the radio if they have to hear shitty, misogynistic shit like this on the daily. (Oh my word, did I just say, “On the daily”?)

When TV Feels Like Homework

Ever since I had kids (ok, ok… if I’m honest, even before I had kids), I have a mental queue of TV series and movies that I “should” watch. You know, the entertainment equivalent of eating fancy meals (not vegetables because that would be documentaries and the History Channel). Like, I should totally watch The SopranosLost, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, etc. But just the thought of it is mentally exhausting and feels insurmountable.

At least before I had kids, I could binge watch series (and believe me, I have!) but now that I have kids, it seems almost impossible. Unless, of course, I’m binge watching something kid friendly. That’s what we call business as usual in our house. In the rare moments when I have free time, I’m too tired to invest it into watching a series where I’ll be hooked and need to know what happens next and due to my extremely addictive nature, will lay aside all other life-giving duties just to splay out on my couch and zone out to five seasons of some awesome show. It’s even too exhausting to think about watching a movie (let alone remember what movie I wanted to watch).

Currently, I have in my DVR queue the last 4-5 episodes of Burn Notice which ended last summer, at least half of last season’s Covert Affairs, several episodes each of Vampire Diaries and The Originals, and this does not include all the shows that I gave up any pretense of watching and deleted from my DVR to make room for more Dragon Riders of Berk for the kiddos.

want to watch these episodes, but the reason I don’t is because I know myself. They’re like potato chips. I can’t just watch one. If I finally sit down to watch one, I will have to immediately WATCH THEM ALL. Then before I know it, it’s 2am, Hapa Papa is annoyed at me, asking things like, “What are you, a teenager? You think you’re still in college? YOU HAVE BABIES!” and I’m exhausted and cranky the next two or three days.

Yes, I know. A TV Bender leaves me out of sorts for days.

Those shows better be the most awesome things my eyeballs have ever seen. EVAR.

As a result, I end up watching shows that I like and love, but aren’t full of sex and violence so I can watch them around the kids. Even then, sometimes, it gets dicey. Plus the kids get annoyed and I get manipulated into watching Dragons for the billionth time. Again.

It’s easier to leave the TV off.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who finds consuming entertainment hard work!

That Even My Edges Are Loved

So, the new John Legend song, All of Me, just destroys me. I haven’t yet broken down sobbing while listening to it, but mostly, I think it’s because I’m afraid that if I start, I won’t be able to stop.

My favorite part is the chorus with the lyrics (full lyrics here):

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections

When I told Hapa Papa that I loved this song, he incredulously asked, “So, you’re telling me you love my farts? I’m pretty sure you do NOT.” I wanted to deck him. I guess he thinks he’s proved himself right on the impossibility of loving all of him. Well, I never said I loved the song because I loved all of him. Hmph. 

I love this song because I so desperately want it to be true for me. That all of me is loved and lovable – even my edges (and I certainly have many of those).

One of the side effects of having Daddy Issues is that for so long, I thought there was something wrong with me that made my father leave. I thought that if I just behaved a certain way, was more loving, sweet, and “Daddy’s Little Girl” that maybe just once, he would choose us. Every time he came home, I knew I was crazy to hope that he would change. Yet each time he left, I felt abandoned all over again.

The other day, I was reading the blog of someone I used to know through church and I just wanted to weep for her. She’s five years younger than I am and her entries reminded me of who I used to be – so broken and jagged, unable to believe I was loved and desperately wanting to be.

I recall the despair I used to feel constantly. That no one would and could and should love me because I was a horribly broken and shattered person. Who would want to hitch their wagon to that type of baggage? Even when I was loved, I couldn’t receive it. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was all a lie. I would do everything in my power to make myself as unlovable as possible, lashing out at the people who cared and loved me the most. Then, when I pushed people to their breaking point and they would inevitably leave, I would point to that example as proof of my unlovableness. That those people who “loved” me were made out to be liars.

I used to be somewhat dramatic.

Even now, after years of therapy and mostly healed relationships, every now and then, slivers of doubt and self-hatred slip into my thoughts. It used to happen when Hapa Papa would point out something horrible about my character and I would downward spiral into bouts of intense self-loathing combined with wanting to push Hapa Papa as far away from me as possible. But instead of wallowing in the despair as I used to, I now try to nip the unhelpful thoughts in the bud as quickly as possible.

A lot of it was me being unwilling to look at my own selfishness and sinfulness. When I finally chose to look at myself with as little self-condemnation as possible, I could see how Hapa Papa wasn’t attacking me or telling me that he didn’t love me. He was trying to love me by being honest with me in as kind of a way as possible. And truthfully, I am an incredibly selfish person (more so than most people), so the fact that Hapa Papa rarely pointed out my faults just meant that he is, as my brother said, The Most Patient Man in the World.

I can now say that I am in a mostly healthy place and can take Hapa Papa’s concerns about my character as him asking me to change because I hurt him with my selfishness vs. him asking me to change because I am irreparably broken and no one will ever love me and if they do, they are utter fools and completely deluded and once they find out what I really am, they will leave me.

I’m not even sure how the change in me happened except that I had to fake it until I made it. I have always hated that advice. It seems so insincere. But truthfully, that is what happened. I had to fake believing that I was lovable and loved and acted as if I believed that it was true until I actually believed it. At some point, I CHOSE to act AS IF what I desperately hoped to be true (that someone could actually love me), WAS true. And eventually, it was so.

This is just my really long-winded way of saying that I love this John Legend song because it reminds me of what I ultimately long for deep inside my cold, dark heart. That I am loved and lovable – edges and all. I suppose it took this many words for me to finally figure out the why and to articulate the sentiment.

IMG_0020

Proof Hapa Papa loves me (or did).

It is also my roundabout way of saying that this is how I feel Hapa Papa loves me. Perhaps he is not quite as romantic as John Legend, but Hapa Papa acts as if he loves all of me (even if he says he doesn’t love my horrible, selfish parts). Every now and then, I ask him if he still loves me, and he hems and haws, but I know he’s doing that just to tease me. (At least, I am choosing to think that.)

So even though Hapa Papa calls this an “idealistic, fake song,” it still makes me think of him. After all, I have his love for me caught on film. (Even if it was seven years ago – it’s still proof!)

Geez. When did this post devolve into a long mash note? Enough of that. Here’s the YouTube video of John Legend and his real wife, Chrissy Teigen. Beautiful people in a beautiful video.

My Kids Can’t Read But Are Expert YouTube Surfers

I might as well confess (although I’m sure it does not come to much of a surprise) that I am an utter failure when it comes to limiting screen time. Sure, there are days when my children don’t have any time on the iPad/iPhone/TV, but that is an anomaly. I suppose it is just as much an anomaly on days when my kids are endlessly on a screen, but I guess I only remember those! In general, though, my kids have a bit more than the two hour recommended screen time. I seriously don’t know how the time flies when they’re on it. I would be better about screen time, but WHY ARE THERE SO MANY HOURS UNTIL BEDTIME?

Also, let me just state now that I have no intention of seriously changing this behavior. I don’t want advice on how to cut screen time or articles linking to the rotting of my children’s brains. My brother and I watched at least 5-6 hours of TV after school every week day and we turned out – dare I say it – AWESOME! So I am not really worried about them. After all, they also spend hours outside, at the park, in class, playing play dough, cars, running around screaming and going on adventures with each other so I think we’re ok.

IMG_1206-001Anyhow, like all humans, my kids have preferences of what they want to watch and what medium with which to watch it. Of course, the kids love TV but since their grasp of the remote control requires reading and less intuitive button pushing , YouTube on the iPhone/iPad is their favorite. (Although Cookie Monster and Gamera have a disturbing capacity for observation and now know how to turn on the TV and hit On Demand and My DVR. *shakesfist*)

Watching my kids, especially Cookie Monster, navigate YouTube is amazing. They prefer the pre-iOS7 YouTube application because its recommendations are much easier to access, but they will also make do on the new YouTube app. Either way, they have no issues at all with locating what videos they want, fingers flying and scrolling with expert ease. I don’t think know how to use YouTube with as much proficiency as my kids do. I can only imagine what they will be like in the future and I have trouble with programming the future equivalent of a DVR.

What do they watch? Lately, they are obsessed with Frozen movie and song clips, (just like they went through a Cars and Thomas fan video phase). However, the most long lasting obsessing is watching two YouTube channels: BluCollection and DisneyCollectorBR.

For some reason, my kids LOVE to watch OTHER people play and demo Play Doh kits, Egg Surprises, color changing Cars, Toy Story characters, whatever – instead of playing many of the same toys themselves! WTH? And when they are playing play dough, they repeat the instructions out loud just like in the videos! (eg: “Remove the excess.” or “Use the molds.”) This is also how they know SO MANY Disney and cartoon characters without ever having watching the shows/movies.

I find it fascinating.

More than that, I find the videos and the video-makers fascinating. The videos don’t sell any toys, the makers tell you where to buy the toys (and it’s never their own sites). As far as I can tell, these two people just love to make videos and play with Play Doh and kid toys and color changing Cars. It’s mind-boggling! What do these people get out of these videos?

Hapa Papa surmises that they get money or free products from manufacturers to demo the toys to their audience – likely made up of ignored toddlers/preschoolers like my own. I guess that must be it.

What do you think? Also, my kids can’t be the only ones who know how to use phones and tablets better than most adults, right? RIGHT?

Cover Me

I didn’t appropriately account for how exhausted I would be with Christmas, visiting family, plumbing issues (not a euphemism – literal plumbing problems), and Glow Worm sleeping erratically these last few days. So, you all get another fluff piece (TWSS).

Best covers that are better than the original (sampling doesn’t count). Discuss in the comments. My favorites are below in no particular order (edited to reflect Hapa Papa reminding me what I really love):

1) Travis – Hit Me Baby One More Time (covering Britney Spears)

Who knew this song was so melancholy and deep?

2) Tori Amos – Smells Like Teen Spirit (covering Nirvana)

Well, pretty much anything Tori covers is better than the original, but I hate the Nirvana version so that means Tori’s version must be super awesome.

3) No Doubt – It’s My Life (covering Talk Talk)

The original is good but this one is so much better!

4) The Sundays – Wild Horses (covering The Rolling Stones)

LOVE LOVE LOVE.

5) Johnny Cash – Hurt (covering Nine Inch Nails)

So good people think NIN is covering Cash.

6) Mary J. Blige – One (covering U2)

Come on! It’s just too awesome! (But Hapa Papa doesn’t consider it a cover since Bono is also in it. Whatever.)