Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Reflexes are amazing!  A reflex begins with some sort of stimulus, whether it be stretching, or hitting, light, or even a simple touch (i.e. the gag reflex) which leads to a response without even having to signal the brain first.  Whoever wired our bodies did a pretty incredible job.

There are many types of reflexes:  Tendon reflexes, eye reflexes, eye-lid reflexes, face reflexes.  Reflexes that help us to flinch.  Reflexes that keep us from falling when we trip.  Even babies have their own set of reflexes.   

This might shock you, but I am an anatomical anomaly.  I have more reflexes than other people.  Here are a few of them:

Push-snooze reflex
Squish-face-of-child-with-cheeks-filled-with-water reflex
Shove-food-in-sneezing-baby's-mouth reflex
Hit-side-of-garage-with-rear-view-mirror reflex (This one PLAGUES me!)
Holding-tightly-to-baby's-legs-instead-of-grabbing-his-falling-body-and-head reflex
Insert-chocolate-into-mouth reflex
Let-go-of-rope-and-clap-hands-when-finally-up-on-water-skis reflex
Running-with-child-down-the-hall-while-she-is-throwing-up reflex
Kick-husband-when-child-cries-at-night reflex (It is instantaneous!)
Let-go-of-shopping-cart-(with-child-inside)-pointed-downhill reflex

Now, they haven't been documented yet, but I am convinced that these must be reflexes, because while they are happening, I am definitely not using my brain.

Freaky Tuesday

Here is a conversation between my five year old and me:

"What is that?"

"A piece of candy."

(with hand held out) "You have had too much candy today. If you keep eating it, you will get sick! Give me the candy."

(candy is reluctantly handed over) "What are you going to do with that piece?"

(shoulder shrug, fist clenched tightly around candy)

"Don't throw it away! Can I just have that one last piece? Then I won't eat anymore, Okay?"

"Okay. But after this no more, mom!"


I have created a MONSTER!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

But I won't do that....

Here are a few things I won't allow myself to do on principle...

-Whiten my teeth
-Get cosmetic surgery (unless it is reconstructive surgery because of burn/accident/illness)
-Wear high-heels (mostly because I look ridiculous in them, but I refuse to look ridiculous on principle)
-Use the term "with every fiber of my being"
-Drink energy drinks
-Deep fry food
-Drive my husband's car
-Take pain medication
-Wear jewelry


Here are a few things I won't allow myself to do even though I am Asian:

-Dress up for Black Tie events.

-Blow-dry my hair

-Sit on my head

-Bleach my hair

-Wear foundation 

-Ride a bike with friends

-Eat money

I refrain...

...yet it goes against every fiber of my Asian being!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eating Her Curds and Whey

Back when I was living with my brother and sister-in-law...

While raiding the refrigerator for a snack, I saw a bag of deli-sliced cheese.  Mmmm, I love cheese.  I looked over the package to see what kind it was.  

"Yummm.  Provolone," I thought as I ripped open the label.  I sat down, ate a slice, and blankly stared at the bag while I chewed.  My eyes initially glazed over the label, but then something on the corner caught my eye.

"It expires today!" I yelled in my head.  All of that cheese would soon become an inedible moldy mess!  As a fan of all that is curdled and pressed, I could not bear the thought of letting all of that glorious provolone go to waste.  So...

I ate it. 

All of it. 

Savoring, slice by milky slice.

And it was good.

That night, when my brother was preparing his lunch for the next day, he stood in the refrigerator doorway, touching shelves, opening drawers, shifting things, lifting things.  

Brother:  Do you know where the cheese is?

Me:  Which cheese?

Brother:  The provolone that I just bought today.

Me:  I don't know where that is, but I ate the cheese that expired today.

Brother:  We don't have any other cheese.  The only cheese we have was the pound of provolone that I bought today."

I watched him stand straight up, and then turn and look at me.  With an expression somewhere between disgust and amazement, he gaped.  "You ate a pound of cheese?!?"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shattered Christmas Dreams...

Dear Writers of The Office,

How do I explain to my daughter that "Santa Claus is real."

It is the doll that does not exist?

Seems kind of backwards.

Thank you for ruining her Christmas.

Yours Truly
-Token Asian Friend

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remembering the shoes that Grandma made

I was driving along the freeway yesterday when I saw a billboard.  It showed a woman's bare midriff between a black shirt and pants, and written beside it were the words, "Hang Over?"  It was an advertisement for liposuction, or a tummy-tuck, or some other type of cosmetic surgery.  The thing is, the image didn't really phase me--probably because it looked identical to the midsection I see every day in the mirror...

...the one showing the battle wounds of motherhood...

...the one hinting that the owner indulges more than abstains...

...the one that I had never thought of surgically changing, until I saw this sign...


On a separate, but yet related note...

These are the shoes my grandmother made.  They may look like they are just cute Asian shoes, but let me give you some perspective.

I outgrew these purple shoes when I was five years old.  They are about 6 inches long.

I was too young to remember when I last fit into these shoes.  They are about 4 1/2 inches long.

My grandmother learned how to make shoes like these because my great-grandmother, her mother, had bound feet.  

The process of binding feet began at age 3 and was a painful process of breaking, bending, and binding, and breaking, bending, and binding.  There were infections.  There were deaths.  But the price was worth it because with those small, lotus-shaped feet came the opportunity to marry well and live a prosperous life.  Every mother aspired to produce such feet from her daughters.

Barbaric, right?   What kind of society would force their women to mutilate themselves for social status?  What kind of civilization would hold this unnatural form to such high esteem that it caused not only the men to desire it, but also the women to desire perfection in it?  What culture would put such pressure on their women that they would go to such extreme measures for the sake of beauty?

And make grown women fit in the shoes my Grandma made?


As I drove by that sign, the temptation flickered away as fast as it came.

Not this midriff!  

In your face, plastic surgery ad!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Christmas Program

(Caution:  Stereotypes ahead)

The school Christmas Program:  A people watcher's dream come true.

-There is flustered mom taking care of all the kids while techno dad is playing with his blackberry/iPhone.
-There is card is full mom who spends half of the program deleting pictures from her camera instead of watching her kid.
-There is front row dad (big tall guy, should have good view of kid, right?) holding his camcorder with extended view screen a foot above his head.  Then, there second row dad trying to get a shot of his kid under front row dad's armpit.
-There is cell-phone mom against the wall with a finger plugging her other ear.
-There is social trophy mom with strut with spiky hair dad who doesn't hold the door open for the people behind him.  She perma-smiles; he never smiles.
-There is photog mom who stands on chair, squats, leans, sprawls on the floor--all to get the best shots of their kid.
-There is jungle-gym dad, who, apparently, is his kids' mobile jungle-gym.
-There is pop-up dad standing to take occasional snapshots of his kid over 100 feet away in poor lighting.  How did those pictures turn out, pop-up dad?
-There is big laugh dad with cackle mom.  They find a lot of things to be funny.

(Guess which ones we are!)

Then, there is THIS guy.

A Polynesian family with their multiple kids have saved seats for family and friends.  The mom had placed items on the seats on both sides, except for the seat she and her husband were in.  They stood up to bring their kids to the teachers.  Then, THIS guy sat down with his kid and wife in those two empty middle chairs.  Polynesian mom and dad come back and say, "Oh, we were sitting there."

THIS guy:  There was nothing on these chairs. 
Polynesian mom:  Yes, but our stuff is all around you.  We were sitting in those chairs and just got up to take our kids to the front.
THIS guy:  Well, we didn't know that.  We just sat down on these empty chairs.
Polynesian mom:  (expecting them to move, but when they didn't...) We've been saving these seats.  We just needed to bring our kids to their teachers.  

THIS guy and his wife just sat there.  They didn't even budge!  There were entire rows available, but they didn't stand up, or look around, or anything.

Polynesian dad:  Well, if we move our stuff on the other side of you, can you at least move down so we can sit together?
THIS guy:  Fine.

Then, two seconds after the sit in their new seats, THIS guy says to his wife, "How was I supposed to know they were sitting there?  Those seats were empty for crying out loud.  I'm just trying to find a place to sit."  

Three reasons why THIS guy was lame.

1) People don't usually come up to random strangers at a school Christmas Program and say, "Those are our seats" unless they really were in those seats.

2) The fact that their stuff was on both sides of the empty seats proves that they were really sitting there and intended to use the empty seats as well.

3)  HE WAS ARGUING WITH A POLYNESIAN GUY!!!  I must say, Polynesians are always nice, but it because they want to be, definitely not because they have to be.  Who in their right mind argues with a Polyesian man???  

Oh, THIS guy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is he???

Many years ago...

Friend:  Did you speak a lot of [Asian] growing up?
Me:  Not really.  Mostly things like, "time to eat," or "go to the bathroom," or "I am going to spank your butt."
Friend:  Really?  So your mom would never speak [Asian] with your dad?
Me:  She would, but it's mostly stuff her friends told me never to repeat.
Friend:  Your dad didn't get mad?
Me:  No, my dad doesn't speak [Asian].
Friend:  I just figured since he was Asian and married your mom that he would speak it too.
Me: dad isn't Asian.
Friend:  Your dad is TOTALLY Asian.  
Me:  No, he's not.
Friend:  Yes he is.  He has jet black hair.  He has dark skin.  
Me:  What, so everyone who has black hair is Asian?  And of course he is dark.  He has been working out in the yard all summer.  He doesn't even LOOK Asian!
Friend:  [Token], I have SEEN your dad.  He is Asian.  He even wears traditional Asian clothing.  Remember, that night we talked to him at your house?
Me:  That was a bathrobe! 
Friend:  He speaks with an accent!
Me:  He is from the South!
Friend:  Whatever!  I don't believe you.  Your dad is Asian.  


Do YOU think my dad is Asian?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Das ist Kaputt!

My mouse won't scroll.

Our sink broke.

My shoes won't velcro together

The office chair snapped.

My husband has three rock chips in his car's windshield.

Mine has three rock chips and one crack.

Our garbage can is busted.

My husband has poop on his suit.

It is as if entropy is alive and feels the need to stimulate the economy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Super sad story

My kid fell down the stairs, and by the time I found her, her hands were on the bottom stair, head one stair up, and legs were sprawled upward. I flipped my child around and, while cradling her in my arms, heard though screams and sobs, "I did...(sob)... a somersault...(sob)... down the stairs,..(sob)... and it...(sob)... was SUPER SCARY! I hurt...(sob)... my finger...(sob)... SUPER BAD!"

All i could think was, "Since when did super become an adverb?"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


(Because I am in a poetic mood.)

"Eat your fish!" said the Asian mother to her son.
"Eat your fish!" said the Asian mother to her daughter.
"You'll grow hair on your chest," she said to the son.
"You'll grow a chest," she said to the daughter.

So the son and the daughter faithfully ate their fish,
Anticipating their future with much optimism.

"How does fish do it?" they asked each other.
"How could fish do one for the one, another for the other?"
"What if it did one for the other, and another for the one?"
"Or what if it does both for both?" asked the son.

So the son and daughter reluctantly ate their fish,
Dreading their future with much scepticism.

And so the years past, and the boy and girl grew.
And the man and the woman in the end both knew

They should have eaten more fish.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ode to Winter-Worm Summer-Grass

You once were a caterpillar, pupating in the ground
Up in Tibet with the snow all around.
But then you ate up or breathed in something funny
Now you are dry and worth lots of money.

That something inside you, it started to grow.
It very much killed you, as you probably know.
What once was your body is now mummified
by that wee fungus that grew from inside.

That fungus, it grew from the top of your brain
but it didn't hurt because you no longer feel pain.
It sprouted in summer and broke through the earth
To shed more wee spores--in essence, give birth.

Then perhaps some Tibetan or some Chinese friend
Helped from the soil your body ascend.
For you have the ability to help and to cure
So many ailments, no one knows what for sure.

Here you are now, as my honored guest.
But I must insist, I have but one request:
Please take your little, but expensive troop
And get your medicinal selves out of my soup.

(Have I been served this in soup?  Yes.  Have I eaten one?  Would you?)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Out of context

My husband called me on his cell phone and said, "Rotten milk experiment."


"In the lab class you taught, did you do a rotten milk experiment?"

"Yes, why?"

"That's how she knows you.  You were her instructor."

Mystery solved.  That is why the wife of my husband's work-mate looked familiar.  

It's in situations like these that you hope you made a good impression the first time.  That is why I try to be nice when I meet people, because you never know when you'll run into them again.


I was at Costco with a friend.  Why we were going to Costco when we were single was beyond me, but we were probably getting a jumbo bag of gummy bears or a box of Gushers.

While we were walking, I ended up face to face with a man that looked SO familiar.  He was thinking the same thing.  He smiled at me and said, "You look familiar.  What is your name?"

"[Token, Token Asian Friend].  What is yours?

"[Guy with glasses].  How do I know you?"

We smiled as we talked about where we lived, what high schools we went to, where we used to work, our family trees, his best friend's sister's friends, my old dog's former owners, trying to find some reason why we knew each other.  There was that familiarity, like we were old friends that had gone through trial and adversity together.  We had to solve this mystery connection!  Then, I said, "Well, I went to college [here]."

Glasses man said, "Me too!  When were you there?"

"From [year] to [year]."

"What did you study?"


Within seconds, I saw the spark of recognition come into his eyes.  Then I saw the smile slowly leave his face.  He said, "You were my lab TA."

Then, I remembered that smug little grin grumbling cynical remarks.  I visualized his eyes rolling behind those very same glasses.  I heard that voice say, "Do we really have to do this?" and,"This is a waste of my time." and, "Can we leave now?"  

One split-second later:

"Well, it was nice to see you again."

"Yep.  Have a good one."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All in one day!

Tripe for breakfast

And a sensible dinner

No, I did not get these pictures off of the internet.
Yes, I am being dead serious.
Yes, my husband is grossed out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Imagine your young daughter's joy as she holds up an invitation to a classmate's birthday party.

Imagine packing a present, a stroller, and a baby doll in the car next to your ecstatic child for the Cabbage Patch themed celebration.

Imagine the trust you have in your child when she says, "Yes, I can show you how to get to her house."

Imagine the confusion as her directions lead you to the elementary school parking lot.

Imagine realizing that your child is a few cards short of a full deck when she begins to push her stroller to the outer reaches of the school playground.

Imagine following her to the base of a steep hill filled with weeds and thorns and cacti and bugs and snakes, and watching her finger point to the white house at the top.

Imagine climbing up that hill, feet slipping, rocks falling, thorns pricking, hands gripping, holding the blasted doll and stroller with one hand, and helping your struggling girl with the other.

Imagine, at the top, having to scale a chain link fence with stroller, baby, and child.

Imagine the looks of the other mothers as you try to act natural.

Imagine your child as she smiles one last smile at you before pushing her stroller with the rest of her friends.

I don't have to imagine it.

I lived it!

Thank you, Dad! I couldn't have climbed that hill without you!