Commence Panic Mode


I am not excited. 

We are T-9 days from our Taiwan Trip 2017 and I am not excited. 

I mean, I am excited for all the yummy foods and hanging out with my mommy friends in Taiwan, but… I am not excited about packing or traveling at very fast speeds in a metal tube with my four children for 12-13 hours. 

At this point last year, I think I already started packing. I have not even bothered. Or tried. Or felt bad about it. 

I don’t know if this means I have evolved or I am super procrastinating. Maybe both. 

Does it count if I made my packing list about two months ago? And have been Amazon Priming like a BOSS?

But truthfully, I bought most of the stuff last year and I don’t really need anything else other than more bug spray/sunscreen combos. 

And diapers. Lots of diapers. 

But otherwise, my kids are going to the same camps (actually, one less camp so it’s even easier), we are staying at the same Airbnb, and my mother is coming with me for a few days and my cousin is flying back with me so really, what is there to worry about?

Then why is there a nervous ball of dread in the pit of my stomach? Why am I purposely avoiding thinking about this trip for fear of totally freaking out?

I have taken my kids to Taiwan before. By myself (and with friends and family). I have sent my kids to school there before. I have used buses and taxis and MRTs before. I have even ergoed a baby there before. 

I can do this. 

It will be fun. (Mostly.)

I will eat lots of delicious food. (Especially almond tofu shaved ice.)

I will see my friends. 

I will see my family. 

I will have a constant sweaty front because of Big Fat Baby Sasquatch permanently being worn. 

I will not be pregnant. (Thank goodness for small mercies.)

I will be fine. 

My kids will be even bigger and they remember stuff from last year so they are prepared. 

We will be fine. 

I have to keep repeating this to myself like a spell. 

I will be fine. I will be fine. 

And if I am really delusional, maybe I will be so fine I will consider bringing a toddler to Taiwan next summer. 

I guess I should see how things shake out this summer before I do anything that stupid. 

Reader Mail: Why Don’t I Like KDramas?

In an effort to be more engaging with my readers (and really, it’s just a handy excuse to talk evermore of my favorite subject – MYSELF), I have opened up the inbox to take questions.

So, NOW IS THE TIME TO ASK ME YOUR DEEP, BURNING QUESTIONS. (Yes, it is likely a UTI. Or an STI. You should get that checked out.)

Anyhow, Guavarama wants to know why I do not watch K Dramas (Korean dramas).

The answer is many fold and totally a strange amalgam of preference, laziness, and ignorance.

So then, here is more than you ever cared to know about why I do not watch K Dramas despite me having an incredibly addictive personality.

1) I cannot handle having one more thing to be obsessed about. 

Seriously. I wish the answer were more complex or subtle, but this is the main reason I have never started, nor have any desire to start, watching K Dramas.

I simply do not have the bandwidth.

I obsess over things so easily. And then it takes over my life. And then I am overwhelmed with all the things that I need to watch and hunt down and I am a completist so I would not be satisfied with watching only one or two episodes they’re like Pokemon I GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL.

I’m exhausted just writing this paragraph and thinking of all the work I would have to do in order to hunt down free versions of these episodes and all the new apps I would have to install and then to find time to watch these episodes!!!

GAAAAAAAAH!!

2) In general, I try not to watch any shows that are serial. 

Again, for the same reasons as above. I am a completist. I have to watch everything in order. And I want to binge. But I can’t because part of my self-care routine (and for love of my children) is to go to sleep at a relatively early hour and get enough sleep so I don’t scream at my children the next day.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

There is a reason that the majority of my DVR queue is full of episodic shows wherein you don’t have to watch EVERY SINGLE SHOW (although I do).

A few years ago, I simply decided that short of the serials I currently watched, I was not allowed to add any more without dropping one. And as my serials have gradually ended, I have not added anymore – despite knowing full well there are plenty of awesome shows out there.

My main exceptions to this are SHORT serials. So, Legion was perfect because there were only six episodes. Into the Badlands was perfect because again, abbreviated seasons. Now that Season 2 just finished, I STILL haven’t watched them because the sheer thought of watching 10 episodes is overwhelming.

I still have the last ten episodes of The Vampire Diaries in my DVR that I haven’t watched because every time I start, I have to watch 3-4 and next thing I know, it’s 2am and I AM SO TIRED.

Have I mentioned that I still have Roots in my DVR that I never watched but can’t bring myself to delete? That was LAST SUMMER.

3) I don’t want to read while watching the show on a small screen.

Yes, yes, yes. There are many ways to get around the watching of the small screen. I, in fact, own almost all of those options.

IT DOESN’T MATTER.

The main hindrance is that I do not understand Korean and I would have to pay close attention otherwise have no clue what was going on.

I multi-task when watching TV/shows. I am usually texting (which is difficult to do if I’m watching the KDrama ON MY PHONE), Facebooking, reading, watching my kids, and sometimes writing.

I CANNOT DO THAT IF I AM TRYING TO READ.

4) It is difficult for me to obsess over actors who look like children.

Yes, I know they are very attractive. (My friends lust over SJK.) But you know what? I am unable to find anyone who looks under 35 attractive. I realize, IN MY BRAIN, that they are undeniable good-looking. But my loins, where I make most of my decisions, DO NOT.

My loins reject them BECAUSE THE ACTORS ARE CHILDREN.

MY LOINS DO NOT LUST OVER CHILDREN.

5) I avoid shows that would make me cry or feel emotions.

People, I cry at commercials. Or thinking about fat babies.

I also would like to continue to think that I am a hardened sophisticate so NO SWOOPY ROMANCES FULL OF ANGST PLEASE.

(Unless it features Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore because Helloooooo, Nurse!)

I also do not watch This Is Us despite knowing 100% sure that I would love it based on the trailers alone. I JUST CANNOT EMOTIONALLY HANDLE IT.

So, there you have it.

I know. I am an emotionally inert human. We can still remain friends though, right?

 

 

 

 

Suck It Up, May


How is May over?

You know what this means, right? Almost 1/2 of 2017 is over. That seems way too fast.

As usual, here is my monthly check in to see how I’m doing with my yearly goals, aka: My Year of Sucking it Up.

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week. Still hitting the numbers but May was a month where I felt blah about food and my cooking it. I bought $30 of meat that I was too tired to prep and it rot in my fridge. 

I cooked, but not with joy. It was kinda meh but we ate. And that is important. 

The new thing is that I finally broke out the 愛玉 (ai4 yu4) seeds and made my own 愛玉 (an herbal jelly-like dessert)! This has totally cut down on my trips and cravings for T4 and I am super pleased.

Now, I make my own Taiwanese drinks (Earl Gray and Mother’s Milk teas + homemade 愛玉 + a spoon of honey) and my wallet is happy and so is my mouth!! 

Because I didn’t really get a chance to write a lot, I didn’t go out much, so my personal eat out consumption went down. 

b) Be active once a week.

Still nope. Unless you count lugging Sasquatch around everywhere. Baby boy is 22 lbs. That’s WORK. 

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

This has been hit or miss. 

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

This has definitely been happening and happening a lot. So, of course, this cuts down on alone time and writing and reading and TV time. 
It’s a balancing act and currently, the pendulum has swung toward the sleep like an old lady side. 

Sadly, STILL TIRED.

f) No texting while driving.

This was a really bad month. I even got a ticket for texting at a stoplight. Did that scare me straight?

No. 

I feel as if I am hurtling towards the inevitable smack at the bottom. 

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

Multiple rounds of sick kids. Work. Hapa Papa doing extra work. Supervising the handyman getting work done for the house and a smattering of other things. 

I adulted. 

3) Write.

I didn’t do too much writing this month. However, I DID release my ebook (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.  

It even shot to #1 in the Chinese Language Instruction category in a day!


Thank you to all my readers and friends who helped make that happen. I really appreciate it!

Now, I am thinking of other books I can write – and then gathering up courage to write it. 

Alright. That’s it for May. How are you doing on your resolutions? Still going strong?

Escaping My Life

Escaping My Life


I have been feeling really scattered lately.

I mean, I know I have four small children. I get that.

But I was really rocking it a few weeks ago. Almost whelmed, even.

And now?

Now, I am decidedly tipping over whelmed.

I can always tell when I’m about to lose it. I escape into TV shows. Read books. Play Two Dots obsessively on my phone.

Anything to avoid dealing with my life, making meals, work (self-imposed or not), and my children.

I am even crankier and crabbier than usual.

Gamera calls me mean. She curses me under her breath. Like, ACTUAL cursing.

She’s 5.5.

And even though I know that my 2017 Theme this year is to Suck It Up and act like a grown up, truthfully, I just want this year to suck it.

Which is weird because this year has actually been going really well.

I have been reaching out to do more writing in different capacities, pitching the occasional collaboration or sponsor, finishing my ebook, and generally doing more than I have ever done in regards to writing.

So of course, I feel all my writing juices drying up. Leaving me withered. A husk.

I feel all out of words. Or at least, all the good ones. You know, the coherent ones.

Coherent words are good.

(See? I have been reduced to caveman speak. Words good. No words bad.)

Now that I think of it, it makes TOTAL sense why all of a sudden, I want to dive under the covers and disappear until 2018 or perhaps forever.

I am afraid.

I am afraid that because I have had some marginal success that more will be expected of me. Or required of me. And that I won’t be able to duplicate that success.

(And seriously, who do I think is expecting or requiring this of me?)

That everything up until now has been a fluke.

A complete accident. And soon, real soon, someone is going to realize that I am full of shit and that all my bluster is just that: bluster.

Unsubstantiated.

And for crying out loud. I am almost 40.

I SHOULD NO LONGER BE UNSUBSTANTIATED.

When I look back on my life thus far, there are two things that stand out in my mind that encapsulate how I deal with my fear of failure. Coincidentally, they both deal with musicals.

In my last year of high school, our choir and drama program was putting on the musical, Bye, Bye, Birdie.

I really wanted to be in it.

But I was afraid.

So I told myself there was no way I would get a part because I was Chinese – and there were no Chinese parts in the musical. Instead, I convinced myself I would be fine being in the orchestra and told my choir director that I wanted to be one of the pianists.

I didn’t try out at all.

I took myself out of the running entirely.

Four years later, in my last year at UCLA, I tried out for a musical written by Weiko Lin (music by Christopher Wong).

This one, I had a good shot of getting into – not only because I was good friends with Chris. This musical was about the Tienanmen Square massacre – so there were definitely roles for Chinese people.

So, I sucked it up and auditioned and lo and behold. I got one of the four lead parts.

I was ecstatic. And terrified.

And so, I did what terrified people do. I found an out.

I called my prayer partner up and we did “listening prayer” and I somehow convinced myself that God wanted me to turn down the role and spend more time on my floor to evangelize or whatever.

So, I turned the role down.

To this day, I regret making that decision. Not because I would be some famous actress or Broadway star now, but because I let fear dictate what I could or could not do.

Also, how many other chances would I have to be a lead in a musical now? I’m not saying it’s not possible. It’s just not high on my priority list.

Anyhow, I have told these two stories to Dr. T at least several times, and each time, she suggests that I might fear failure.

And of course, each time, I say, “Noooooo. That’s not true. I’m just lazy.”

But she’s right. As usual.

My laziness is the cover story I tell myself. To hide from myself my abject terror in trying out for the things I want – and want badly.

So, of course, now that I am taking some small, tiny steps towards being a writer, I am running scared.

Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination and laziness.

I escape into realms created by other people. Consuming at a ridiculous pace so that I can perhaps satisfy the craving to create something myself without actually having to create anything.

Well, brain. I’m onto you.

You’re just gonna have to suck it up like the rest of me. We’re going full steam ahead.

Rambling Thoughts


I inadvertently took a break most of last week. I was just too tired. I fell asleep several times around 7pm with Sasquatch and just hoped and prayed the other three kids didn’t kill each other. Somehow, I stumbled awake to put them to sleep.

Anyhow, here’s what I have on this fine, Wednesday morning. More ramblings!

1) What is it about Mark Ruffalo? The salt and pepper hair? The kinda mumbling? The fact that he survived a brain tumor? I don’t know, but I like it.

2) I’d been avoiding starting the last thirteen episodes of The Vampire Diaries because I knew that once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop. And dammit it all, I was right. The other day, I stayed up until 2 am knowing full well it was a bad idea but I had to just watch one more episode.

Thankfully Glow Worm woke up in the middle of the night and ran to come find me.

3) I am so mediocre that the thought of tidying up for the judgmental house cleaner stressed me out so badly that I was tempted to call and cancel the whole thing.

But then I thought, “Fuck it. It’s my money. If I am ok with RGSing (Rich Girl Syndrome) so they move stuff, then so be it.”

IF I HAD TIME TO TIDY MY HOUSE I WOULD NOT NEED A HOUSEKEEPER.

And thus, a swarm of housecleaners descended upon my house this past Thursday afternoon, did not judge, did clean, and it was glorious.

4) Of course, not even 24 hours later, my kitchen floor was sticky again.

This is why I cannot have nice things.

5) They even cleaned my baby’s activity cube. Since I bought it used, I don’t think it was ever this clean in my possession.

6) It’s really hard for me to go from folding the kids’ clothes to folding Hapa Papa’s clothes. I inevitably find his clothing too large and bulky and I want to throw away all his undershirts and socks and underwear.

I’m a jerk.

7) I have lots of really pretty office clothes that I no longer wear and couldn’t wear even if I wanted to. The main problem is that my children prevent me from having nice things. But the other problem is that my boobs are HUGE now and have rendered all these pretty clothes into crop tops.

Crop tops as office wear on an almost 40 year old is not attractive.

8) I miss hanging out with adults. I miss banter. I miss being young, footloose, and fancy free.

9) I love all my children so much. But sometimes, I like them most when they’re asleep.

10) Then I feel guilty because time is going by so quickly. I know it is so trite and cliché. But really. How are my kids growing so fast? And yet, at times, not nearly as fast as I would like it.

11) I want to go karaoking. Badly. To bad pop music from the 90s and 2000s.

It could easily happen. Just too lazy and utterly lacking in initiative.

Alright. That’s it for today. My mind is mush and I want to go back to mushing it further with sparkling wine and salami.

Have a happy Wednesday!

The Simple Joys

I don’t know if it’s the residual buzz from the bottomless mimosas I had today at lunch (whoooooooooo!), but I have been pretty happy lately.

Nothing major has happened. Perhaps I am just noticing the good things a little more lately.

Whatever the reason, there is no reason to assume that will last so it’s best I get to recording this down so I don’t forget.

And thus, my post for today will be my random blatherings of things that have made me happy of late. There are worst things to post about.

1) I have been on a tear of reading some fun and good books. I would post about them right now but I am lazy and I am thinking of starting 5 Minute Book Reviews for non-Chinese books. I can’t be stealing from my future material, right?

2) As I mentioned earlier, I partook in bottomless mimosas for lunch today. It was everything that I could have hoped it to be.

I met up with a few of my high school friends and we did a fancy lunch and drank mimosas as I shoveled as many carbs as possible down my pie hole (although, sadly, I did not shove any actual pie).

I don’t know why we don’t hang out more often. Each time we meet up, it’s a good 2-4 hour gabfest. They are just awesome women.

3) Today was likely a four hour fest because I had to sober up because of said mimosas. I wasn’t drunk. But I wouldn’t say I wasn’t NOT drunk.

That last few sentences is clearly making the case that I am still a little tipsy.

4) I just cancelled the new blinds I ordered last night for my sliding glass doors. I really didn’t want to order them except that so many of our vanes were broken and it annoyed me every time I looked at them.

Thankfully, Hapa Papa told me to look for something that would save the vanes instead of buying all new blinds. I don’t know why we didn’t look into that sooner.

That’s why I cancelled the blinds. Why would I pay $400 for blinds when Sasquatch is still too young to make trouble and thus, ensuring that we have prematurely purchased a semi-nice thing only to see it go down in flames (yes, likely literal flames) in the near future.

Well, it was nice to buy a new thing for the house and think we could get away with it. (And even nicer to cancel the order because I got the high off of buying a big thing, but then not having to pay for it!)

At least I didn’t go with my original choice of vertical honeycomb shades. I stopped myself in time to remember that we can’t have nice things.

So, a mediocre non-broken thing is still good enough for me!

5) I really enjoy the tactile feel of typing. I also enjoy the clackety clack, too.

I know I have mentioned this before.

I don’t care. It makes me happy.

6) Being productive makes me happy. Whether it’s writing in things I’ve done just so I can cross them off, or doing actual work and writing, it makes me happy.

7) I have to go to Target on Wednesday in order to buy cleaning supplies for my first housecleaning appointment on Thursday! People, my bathroom is going to be clean!! (Only one likely because they will be deep cleaning and it’s revolting so they might only have time for the one.)

Oh, but back to the cleaning supplies.

Apparently, the owner of the housecleaning business thinks my house is in such a state of squalor that she believes I do not know what actual cleaning products look like. Thus, she has a sheet with PICTURES of the cleaning supplies she wants me to purchase. And she CIRCLED THEM with a RED PEN.

I die. Of shame and amusement.

I am also grateful because let’s be honest. I really don’t know what cleaning supplies to get. Pictures are helpful because it will involve even LESS reading.

8) Sasquatch is delicious. I very much enjoy.

9) This article on BuzzFeed. I woke up Sasquatch because I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

10) I am plotting to change up the bedrooms (as in, swap guest rooms with kid rooms, buy bunk beds, turn the nursery into an office because let’s be real, Sasquatch is never going to sleep in there) and I am itching to get it done.

11) I installed a basketball hoop for the kids this weekend and they love it. That makes me nostalgic for a childhood I never had. But in my mind, playing basketball in the driveway and shooting baskets is equivalent to a happy childhood so I am super pleased.

OF COURSE I WIN AT PARENTING BECAUSE OF THIS.

12) I just ordered a box of gel pens. I used to like the Pentel v5 Ultra Fine Point ink pens – and I still do. But lately, I have been really loving the Pilot G2 Retractable gel pens with a 0.7mm point instead. I know. I went up 0.2mm.

Whatever.

I like them because I don’t have to worry about losing a cap (hey, with my kids around, YOU NEVER KNOW) and I enjoy the smoothness of the ink as well as the thickness of the line.

It seems sturdy. Like I’m declaring something.

I used to prefer a finer line, but now, I find it less satisfying.

I guess people can change. Don’t tell my past self. She would be horrified.

Alright. I am about to pass out so I should end the post here. May your Monday be full of the little things that bring you joy.

Suck It Up, April

How is April mostly over?

You know what this means, right? 1/3 of 2017 is over. That just sounds wrong.

As usual, here is my monthly check in to see how I’m doing with my yearly goals, aka: My Year of Sucking it Up.

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week.
Still doing well in this category. I was getting a little bored with my cooking, but whatever. At least we are eating.

Oh, the new thing I did was pre-made two dozen hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. That way, I can quickly add protein to a dish (it has to be separately added because Glow Worm is allergic to eggs) and Gamera LOVES eggs but rarely gets them so she is in Heaven. Hapa Papa is really happy about it, too.

I am a bit disappointed in myself this month, though. I have personally eaten out more, but my kids haven’t. It has been mostly once a week, but that is more than I would like.

b) Be active once a week.

Ha! Next.

Does watching my children be active count?

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

Again, I’m still remembering to take these most days. I consider it a win.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

Better than last month, though I have yet to sleep early 4x a week. But I do sleep when the kids sleep at least a couple times a week.

Sadly, STILL TIRED.

f) No texting while driving.

I did better this month although I slipped up again near the end of the month.

One good thing about these posts is that I catch myself texting or reverting to my naughty ways and I force myself to stop because I don’t want to tell you guys how I am endangering my life, my children’s lives, as well as the lives of other people.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

Pretty sure I did a bunch of unpleasant adulting. I even got a handyman and a housecleaner.

Hey. Part of adulting is delegating.

WIN.

3) Write.

I did awesome this month!

I finished writing and editing my ebook!!! I finished the first draft of my action plan that goes with the ebook!!! I wrote a bunch of posts!

And get this. I got my first sponsored post! (You will get to read it Friday.)

And I also volunteered to write for a few friends’ sites as well as swap posts with some other sites so look out for those next month.

So excite!

Alright. That’s it for this month. How did you do for April? Let me know in the comments.