Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to lose your cool?

...Bare your testimony.

I turn into a blubbery idiot and I hate myself when that happens.

I am never afraid of public speaking - but put me in front of a group of believers and... make me speak about something profoundly touching...I turn into a fount of indecipherable weeping. It's embarrassing.

I haven't borne my testimony in a long while. I think I was trying to shed my "she always gets up" image. Those of you that knew me in college - please don't tease me. ;-)

Yesterday my husband and I went to the Sacramento temple to join a few other brothers and sisters in doing the first mandarin Chinese baptisms and confirmations for the dead. I don't live in a very diverse area. So, it was neat to do something for my heritage. We were a small group. There were a few of us Chinese women and then mostly return missionaries or spouses. I am so impressed at these return missionaries that are now grandfathers who still remember and still love the Chinese people. It is amazing to me because there are so many that leave their mission and you would never know what people they served among.

I've always felt a bit trapped between my American birth and my Chinese ancestry. So I went to just be in the temple, and do service. Plus, I love being in the temple.

When it was my turn to do baptisms, I stepped in and forgot that they keep the water nice and warm - it enveloped me. Then I was dunked over and over. I had decided to keep my eyes closed the entire time to facilitate the fact that it was useless to wipe between dunkings..and so that I could have my eyes closed during the prayer.

At one point during the prayer, I was listening to the speaker as the water dripped down my head to my face, I realized that some of the water were my own tears. I suddenly felt these women, these tiny Chinese women who finally, after so many years of suffering received relief. It made me feel an immediate kinship with these women.

I may feel mostly white - but I'm making an effort to return to my roots by reading about the history of China, and the women in China. I felt like I was there for my peeps, my sisters. These women who were told and treated like they were of no worth - simply because they were female. These women who always did their filial duty, despite their treatment as lower-class citizens by their own families. These women who never did anything for themselves, but constantly did their duty to their ancestors, in-laws, birth family, husband, children... these women would finally receive their peace. These women who spent a lifetime eating bitterness from their youth...with their bound, broken, painful feet. To these women I bow and pay my respects.

As we were doing baptisms I heard them say this one is the 26th wife of so-and-so. I was hurt that instead of names they were just numbers. Part of my rebellious nature said...forget doing work for the men - let's just save the women! ;-)

I am so grateful for all my ancestors that made it possible for me to be where I am today. I am nothing without them. They have let me stand on their shoulders. I hope I can do the same for my progenitors.

Many of the names read sounded like my maiden name "Huang" the character that means "Yellow". There are other characters that sound I thought I'd peek at the names to see if it was the same character as mine. They were - and that made me even more excited. No matter how fed up I get with people, relationships, etc... it takes the temple to take me out of it and see how unifying things can be.

As I sat there waiting for others to finish I thought about my girls. That in four and a half years my oldest will make sacred covenants and enter the waters of baptism. That soon enough we'll be able to bring them here to do baptisms for the dead too. I so look forward to my little family walking in the temple together.

I was very grateful to be there. I was grateful that my husband, who doesn't understand Chinese...except when I call him crazy in Chinese... did the baptisms and confirmations with me ...because he loves me. As we stepped out of the temple the sun had set. I always feel a little - other-worldly as I leave. For some reason time stops for me when I'm inside. I forget that there's a burden of an imperfect world outside. I can't wait to be back for my Chinese peeps.

It's nice to represent. Yo.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Visiting Teaching

Something people forget that we are all in seasons of our lives and sometimes... we needn't be so militant about it.

I sometimes believe we become like the Pharisees ... too preoccupied with the letter of the law, policies, numbers that we forget about the spirit of it. Or we forget that people need to take care of their families. It does no one any favors to have 100% visiting teaching if you're creating more strife at home because instead of taking care of or getting a chance to relax with your're too busy making sure everyone else is taken care of outside of the family...

beam v. mote eh?

So no more retarded comments about... how you can squeeze it into a young mother's life. How about a little support and understanding ...hell - weren't you there once? Didn't you wish someone would be a little more lenient and thoughtful/considerate? Or is that just me?

Truthfully - I don't think I've ever liked visiting teaching. We're assigned "friends" to come and visit to "act" interested in us each month? Really? Huh? Really? I have a really hard time acting interested in someone unless I really like that person. Is it easy for other people? I don't know. My best visiting teaching times were ones where they weren't formal meetings...and the women happened to be my friends outside of the mandatory obligations.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's BUTT cold

After high 60s and mid-70 degree weather here... today is 40 degrees and I'm freezing my toes off. The toes that just got their summer-looking manicure...

I recently found Green & Black's ice cream at Nugget. I love Green & Black's chocolate almond bars... but it's too cold right now to dip into my ice cream.

I also purchased a pint of Ciao Bella's Blood Orange Sorbetto... YUM!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hmmm...Open Door Policy

So the policy around the Church now is that if you are a male teaching a class of kids, you must have the door open, unless there's a window that people can see into your classroom.

I'm totally fine with this policy. It's too bad it's necessary, but it's a wise thing.

I still think background checks, in addition to this would be useful - but even more than that I think this policy should occur regardless of if you are male or female. It's odd to me that this isn't required of females. Are they waiting for a report of something to happen before making this a policy? Why? Personally, I hope that they enforce this policy BEFORE some kid has to go through something horrible.

Given that most of the news about kids and teachers in schools are with female teachers, I think that um... this should be fair on both sides of the sexes. But...what do I know, I'm just a mother.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Yesterday, AW, one of my favorite teachers in RS taught. The subject, being Easter and all was on the Atonement.

One of my favorite parts of her lesson was when she talked about service. She talked about being honest about service. This is something that is near and dear to my heart. I'm big on doing things because my heart is in it. I find it aggravating to watch people grumble as they serve or feel upset as they're serving. What's the point? You make everyone unhappy?

So I loved when she said - if you look in your family cabinet and you only have 2 jugs of milk and you need that for your family - it's ok not to give it away. I was like - YES! I wish more people thought like that.

I've always been taught that our families come first. So that's how I have run mine. My little family comes first. For example - recently our RS pres sent out another email about helping a family of 10 move from their old house into a brand new, million dollar plus, custom home. The matriarch of that family and the RS pres wanted volunteers to go help her clean her brand new home. In fact - the email even said, for you with young children - trade babysitting so you can help move. The kids in the family are all older - Junior high on up. So... I was like - I don't see the point in inconveniencing a million people who have to adjust and figure out schedules when it'll cost 300.00 to hire cleaning people. I mean...really?! (channeling Seth Meyers, SNL)

So this is where I say - use your brain. We are taught to serve - it's a great thing...but we need to use our brains. Everyone's situation at a certain time is different. It's frustrating to hear people who don't have young kids counsel those of us with them - how we should rearrange our lives to help others - when frankly - we could use some damn help too. I mean REALLY!!!

That's why I made my comment during the lesson about guilt. I think I have the gift of not feeling guilt about running my household... I think too often we're made to feel guilty... that we ought to have a spic and span home, or do enriching activities 24/7, or be extremely dull to demonstrate our adherence to the gospel. (When... the truth be known - our general authorities tend to have some wicked humor.) I ...just don't care about that. I think the Lord knows we're in different seasons of our lives, even if other people who ought to know - don't. I think he's happy with our best efforts. We know when it is our best efforts. I also think that this pressure to be friends with everyone... is ridiculous. Our priority is our family. If people fit into that picture - fantastic. But if they aren't good influences, thoughtless and bothersome - we do not need to make the extra effort so that they feel good about themselves. It's not our job...and if they have issues - I say grow a pair. ;-)

I don't have time to waste on people who don't care for me. It's like the example of those crazy women who will do anything to stay with a guy who is really "not that into you." The women who get pregnant for the guy to stay, or the women who threaten suicide. I have never understood that kind of behavior. It embarrasses me. I want to slap these women and say "do you have any dignity?" Why would you want to be with someone who didn't care for you in that crazy, manic way you are demonstrating??? Really?! This is the same way I regard my relationships. Life is short - we have a finite amount of time. If it doesn't work out - fine, move on.

So maybe I have a little more irreverent view ...of the atonement. I like to think I'm realistic. I'm done with the BS...and the play-acting...and the need for attention in the reputation department. Who cares what anyone else thinks ...they are not important - the relationship between you and Lord is. Only His opinion matters. Other people can sit there and bicker and act jealous...and self-righteous if they want - if that's what they enjoy ... bon appetit. I don't know about you - but I'm too busy with my own life to care. Maybe that's why people like that are unhappy - they want so desperately to be considered. Which is why I nearly laughed when someone answered the question about having clean hands but an unclean heart. If you knew the person that answered that comment... you would understand the irony.

I am comfortable with my little family. I like them - I like making sure that what's first is first, and then moving down the line of priority. That's what makes sense to me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lost in the anals of my memory

Saturday was a fantastic day... my daughter had a dance class - we went out to lunch as a family to the Tea Party Cafe...and then for ice cream after...and naps all around.

Then my husband got the urge to clean up the study. He asked me if I wanted to throw out a mug... this mug.

I was like - NO...that's why it's on the display shelf.

Then I realized... oh my gosh - that's a job I had.

I was a docent at BYU's Museum of Art. I loved that job. I did it during the "Imperial Tombs of China" Exhibit. After that volunteer job I was hired as a docent coordinator...or something... I can't remember the title. I would basically make sure we were staffed. My bishop helped me get an interview for that job and ... I had forgotten how much I loved it...and that I actually did it. I love museums... I'd forgotten how much I missed it.

...I have whole classes I can't remember. So it's nice to recover lost memories.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I should be putting all the furniture in the tiled areas because we've got the carpet cleaners coming tomorrow...but I'm taking some time to blog because if I don't do it right now it will just spill out of my memory and be lost forever.

Lot's of thoughts in my head. Recently Compulsive Writer had a discussion about standards - how far is too far in a physical relationship for someone who is older ...working a a second marriage possibly.

Then there was this discussion posed by Amy about good enough.

Then there is this constant crab like behavior I see... so I'm trying to get it all down into words so I can at last... sleep easily at night. Ideas I don't get down just haunt me in my thoughts day and night. So's to some nice snoozing tonight.

When someone asks a question... "so, how far, is too far?" I'm of the opinion that we aren't looking for a real answer - we're looking for someone to help justify the guilty feeling/action we're planning on or doing. I think that we inherently know. We just do.

I used to get annoyed at this one boyfriend who would stop a particularly enjoyable kissing moment by saying, "I need to stop, I would be uncomfortable doing this if my Mom was around." I was a girl who loved to kiss. I didn't kiss a boy until I was 19 - so by then it was like - this is what I was missing baby...let's get it on. I used to think in my head - "HELLO. Your Mom isn't here..." BUT I was missing the fact that in general, guys and gals are wired differently. I didn't realize this until I was married. I was that naive - yes. Guys can't just turn it on and off easily - they are easily turned on...yes... but I, in my naivete didn't have a clue. I feel bad for those poor boys I must've tortured with my love of kissing and playful teasing. I had no idea...until after I was married just what I was doing. (you may laugh...)

Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine, we were talking about raising boys ... she said she really felt bad for those young boys in Jr. High. You see all these young girls dressed... too tight, too short...too skanky for anyone...and they had no idea what they were doing to these poor boys who looked like they couldn't stop shaking. They tried not to look but couldn't help it and the girls would just bump and brush up against them innocently... and these poor boys were just in a complete craze of hormones.

I was that girl at church that was annoyed when they gave chastity talks. I was annoyed because it seemed to me that they were putting a lot of emphasis on our role, as young women, in maintaining chastity for us and the boys. That annoyed me. It wasn't until I was married that I realized what a large role we play for these hormone driven boys. Men and women are just wired differently. We have different trigger points...

So when someone asks - if the guidelines the Church recommends to youth apply to someone in their 40s... I'd have to say... well if you're asking - then yes, yes they do apply. It's almost like that talk John Bytheway gave about kids asking ..."well how far is too far". Geez, if you have to ask - you know...and isn't it better to be talking about the opposite? About how to maintain a good conscience?

The truth is... I have no faith in adults. I grew up wearing rose colored classes... I thought with age brought natural wisdom. That was until I found out that adults I had thought had it together turned out to be complete messes. Just because you can have kids - doesn't mean you are mature enough to have them. Just because you have had sex - doesn't mean you have the will-power to resist it when you shouldn't be messing around.

It is disappointing to see fathers - who ought to be acting like adults - turn out to need their own children to remind them of who they are. Sad that there are adults who still don't know how to function as responsible humans. It's frightening really.

I've found that for some reason...these people all find a way - no matter how "nice" they are... to rationalize themselves out of doing the right thing. There's someone I know who is ... considered "nice" but has always been in my opinion - just weak. This person let his children take the rap when he was caught with porn...this person is now abandoning his children to start up another life with the money collected on his first wife's death. The kids are stunned, hurt and disappointed...but all I can think is... doesn't surprise me. He has no character and in my estimation - never had any character. This may or may not be an extreme case - but to me this type of person is disgusting. I believe you choose to be weak. You choose the road of ease, of least resistance. Weak people are easy to flit with wherever the wind blows them. True strength comes from standing against the challenges, the temptation and overcoming. We will never know how to fight if we always run.

I suppose that's how I feel about our best efforts. La Yen made a great comment in this discussion. It's how I feel about motherhood in many ways. I think I'm blessed in some respects - I just don't give a damn how someone else is raising their kids. I may make a comment to be sympathetic to others - but... to be truthful - I'm doing my thing it's mine. I don't wish to compare or compete. If I learn something from someone that I like - I apply it to my own family. I never realized what a weird thing it is not to feel guilty. I don't feel guilty. I figure we won't feel guilty if we know we're doing the best we can. If we are - we don't care about what others think of how we parent. We only care about how our kids think of how we parent. Because... isn't that what matters most? Our kids? Not what our neighbors or ward members or even family members think of us? I treat other Moms as an opportunity to learn something new...not as competition. It reminds me of this post my friend Pia posted about letting go... I think it applies to our concept of motherhood.

What does this mean for me? Well - it means that I have no problem with my kids watching Little Einsteins during breakfast. I'm selective about what they watch...I will not leave the TV on to some kids channel all day or all morning. I will monitor and limit TV. BUT... if I'm having a rough day and need a break - Einsteins or Charlie and Lola save the day.

This means that because I can buy local and organic I will. It means that because I value what goes into my own body, I will not give my kids any less because if I won't ingest it, why should I make my kids? It's all about our values. What do we value most.

This also means that I do not live vicariously though my kids. I will not sign my daughter up for dance because I was a bad dancer as a kid. (FYI, I was a rockin' dancer ...hahahah) It means extracurricular activities will be extras... that work for her schedule - not my desire to be able to say... my daughter is in soccer, karate, dance, violin, gymnastics, and math tutoring. Again, the focus is on the kid. Not on how you look to others. I believe a kid needs down time. So... we have three week-days of down time. LOVE that.

It also means I will NOT let my daughter wear clothes that "I wished" I wore. Is that why these teeny boppers are dressed inappropriately? Or is it because the Mom's have finally gotten the body they wanted all these years and the kids are treading in their footsteps? I dunno - it' frightens me for these girls sakes. I will not be that mother that is dressing inappropriately for her role as a woman. This doesn't mean I dress in sacks. ;-)

This also means that I allow play dates - with kids I think are good influences on mine and vice versa. This doesn't mean I'm leaving my kid with whomever, whenever.

These are just some of my values as a parent. Which means, it's mine - not necessarily someone else's way. We all have different personalities, goals, families... so we do what works best for us.

This is why La Yen's comment about "Pride of the Poor" was so interesting to me. I'd never been able to figure out how to articulate something that bugged me...and she did it in three words.

It's like crabs... because you aren't where you like to be ... that doesn't mean you need to drag someone else down to feel better about yourself. It's the whole idea of - who's opinion do you care about? That's what it comes down to. If you care more about what other people think of you - you'll always come up short. But if you care only about doing your best and understanding that life is NOT a competition or about reputations... you'll always find happiness...or at the very least PEACE (which is dang good).

I am by no means saying I don't have my bouts of insecurity - I do. But ... something about college changed all that for me. I became even less insecure with kids. It's almost as if... well screw them - if they can't be happy for me or supportive... don't need them. So I wonder... if those of us who do give a damn what everyone thinks of us...needs that... maybe we should be working on some quality self overcome that insecurity.

But I do have a question... is curvy the new chubby? Because I get that "you're not fat - you're curvy" from my girlfriends a lot. (because... ok... the weight thing...that's a little insecurity I have... it is so annoying that I am bothered by it too)


ps. Sorry I couldn't find a picture to go with this... if you think of one - let me know!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The British Are Coming - YES!

I've been boycotting Bachelor for... more than a few years because it's the same mish-mash. They never end up together (I do love Trista and Ryan...well I love Ryan). But... oh - my... this season he's British. I'm a sucker for all things British. I love how he introduced himself...

"I'm Matt Grant, and I'm here to steal all your women."

Yes you are Matt... oh Yes you are. (although... the women annoy me - the cattiness the ugliness... can they just show him doing nothing and looking into the camera reading the encyclopedia? That I'd watch regularly)

ps. On a random note... our new Nugget Grocery store sells Treacle Tart - it is typical of UK desserts - not a lot of flavor but very sweet.

I can't help it.

...I think this is too cute. I blame it on... well estrogen and raising self-proclaimed princesses. (By the's much better to be a princess in imagination than in the middle ages...)

...and because you rarely see any Asian representation in media... I love that the little Asian fairy is totally sultry. I have my HOT MAMA friend Tracy to thank for this picture... she is AWESOME.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

About those crabs

I love to eat crabs... fresh crabs. The kind that are live...and then dumped into a hot pot. They just taste better than frozen ones. Sorry. 

There's also that story about the crabs in a bucket. That if one tries to get out the rest of them pull it back down. This annoys me about people. I find the older I get the less people I like. Which is why I am always baffled by folks who say the opposite. I can't figure out if they're just going senile or what...

I find it so obnoxious when if someone gets a new ... car, phone, house... takes a vacation, gets an MBA ...feels happy... etc... that other people get upset over this. I mean really. There is NOT a finite amount of "fill in the blank" out there - we make our lives what we want it to be. Feeling angry with, and a desire for that someone to fail is frankly, pathetic. 

I never feel that way about people...unless I really, really don't like them ...then it's for a second of pure spite. ;-) BUT... whenever someone achieves something they wish for - that I don't wish for... or have... I'm happy for them. Why? Because if that's something I wish for I would be able to achieve that too. No biggie. Maybe it's my naivete... maybe it's a blessing. I honestly believe that we can do anything we desire - with hard work. So... I don't get all wrenched up inside to see someone succeed. It annoys me to see entire cultures that are upset when one of their set rises to acclaim. Get over yourselves.

Maybe people who act like crabs deserve a little... hot water eh?

I'm a slow learner what with how crabs act in a bucket

In the last little while I have been betrayed by people I thought were decent - thoughtful people. People I'd invested time and energy in because I thought they cared about me the way I cared about them.

I'm the person that seeks out a new person to help acclimate them to the neighborhood/ward. I invite them to activities, introduce/help them to make friends, organize group events and do my best to provide everyone with fun and entertainment.

I'm the one that draws people out - let's them share their stories and feel important. I find it my responsibility to help people feel good about themselves. I guess you could say I know what it's like to be new in a ward...and I don't want people to go through what I have gone through. I'm one of those people that find that it's my responsibility to get out there and get to know people - even if I'm new.

So it's especially hard on me to find out that in the end these people identify how easy it is to abuse my good intentions by simply taking advantage of me. Stupid me for allowing it.

I have a problem with blinders. If you're nice to me I will tolerate most anything you have to say or do...until I wake up. Once I feel's over.

Recently I had a friend that turned out to only call if she wanted something. This "friend" would complain about her husband, her kids, people in the ward/neighborhood and ask me to be company on errands for her. She asked me to babysit for her when I was explosively pregnant - but never returned the favor. It became a HUGE joke that whenever I had a call from her it was only ever to ask for something. I stopped answering the phone - I was totally disappointed and upset about being badly used.

I had another friend who I had also been someone I had sought out to help and do the neighborly thing to help get acclimated to the area/ward. I introduced her to the friend in the paragraph above and it turns out they decided I was easy to use and then screw over in the end.

So what I don't understand I look over my life...I can't remember one instance of a friend seeking me out. I can't remember one boyfriend who I didn't ask out first. It's very hard to think of many activities in the ward I'm in that I've ever been invited to. I'm always inviting and organizing activities... and people love to come...but with the exception of 2 women who occasionally spearhead's all me.

Not to mention my RS pres has a vendetta against me because she thinks I'm an idiot.

Thinking through this made me wonder. What is it about me that people don't feel a need to reach out to? Why am I cursed to be "alone"? Alone in reaching out ... alone in creating fun GNOs... it's like that quote about leadership ...the loneliness of it all. I didn't ask to be so... Or am I just a really bad judge of character? I treat people the way I want to be when they treat me like doggy-doo - I figure that's what they want back...the end.

Things like this make my friend SW awesome. I invited her to go to tea with me and my girls. I have done this with many folks in my ward. I paid - like I usually do. It wasn't a big deal - she only ordered tea and scones. It was nothing. The very next day I had this gift bag on my front door. In it was this glorious tea pot with a satchel full of tea. We had talked about how much I love tea and how I want a cute tea pot...and she thoughtfully did something so fabulous for me. It nearly made me cry. I have never once had anyone do something like this for me. I've taken numerous people out to tea and paid for them - and have yet to have them do something like that for me. So to have my friend SW do this... was monumental. It made me realize that there are people out there like me... I found one. It's so nice to be on the receiving end for once.

What it means to be Alone on the Mountain Top

If you ever feel like you're the one that has to organize, start things, introduce people and a consistent doer... you might feel like this once in a while. You know, where you feel utterly alone. Despite being the life of a party, group or the gatherer - you feel apart. It's something I don't understand, bewilders and frustrates me - so since I need a place to go for just me - voila. Join me won't you?