Prioritizing

The laundry needs to be done, but who has time for that?

The world, as I know it, looks like it might go down in flames if Donald Trump becomes president.   My countless hours of “research” on Netflix and YouTube about Preppers will help guide my efforts as I prepare for the potential dark times ahead.

My first priority:  a bug out bag.   For decades, I have been carrying a small form of one and didn’t even know.  I have always carried emergency cash, food, water, band-aids, beauty supplies, and other modern day necessities to help me prevent first world starvation (not having food immediately available for a hour or so), agitating my melasma, and running out of band-aids when someone scrapes their knees.  My current bag is big enough to be a day-bag and weighs a ton.  I’ll just throw in extras.

With the bug out bag taken care of, I need to  include defensive gears.  The pens and pencils I have in my bag look harmless enough, but it has been known to be mightier than the sword.  I accidentally stabbed myself one time while rummaging through my bag for the wallet.  I have gone through airport security without raising alarms – how little TSA knows!

Now, I have to convince and motivate the unbelievers that I live with, who have been the biggest threat to my plan for storing of provisions.  The cans of Spam just disappear as soon as I buy them.  Ditto for anything else delicious.  Same with wine or beer.  The cans of beans are untouched.  If they don’t stop raiding my supplies, we will be eating rice and salt, or cold canned beans.

Wish me luck guys!  Even if we can avert the D. Trump disaster, I still have to worry about the zombie apocalypse – I KNOW THAT ONE IS COMING, FOR SURE!

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The New School Year

In the beginning there was Gandalf, and Gandalf said, “You shall not pass!”  It was the only the first day of school, but all the children failed.

 

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Asian Service Guarantee

(In the voice of an old Asian man with a thick accent.)

We do good work. Guarantee!

Our work done 100 percent right. First time!

We make mistake? No mistake!

Ah, we make mistake. We so sorry. We die of shame now.

Our work always on time. Guarantee!

If work done late, no refund. But, we commit suicide. Right away!

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Sunday Crabbiness

Another Sunday to ruin my day. Sundays make me so damn irritable.

I can be anything, be with anyone, do anything any day of the week, except Sundays.

I hate Sundays because it is the one day where I am forced to be around people in a pompous parade of religion and hypocrisy. The one day where I feel forced and I don’t like being forced. The one day where I see myself trapped inside a building, for a predetermined, arbitrary time so that I can practice religion and worship God. Instead of being closer to God, I feel more distant.

On Sundays, I just want to retreat from the world and be left alone. I just want silence and solitude. I just want to shut myself away from the noise of humanity and listen to the silence. God speaks to me in silence. Why can’t people understand that? When I die, I want my angel to take me on a Sunday so I can really see God and worship Him on a true Sunday.

Until then, I will worship him Monday through Saturday in doing what I can do to be good and help my fellow man, and then struggle with bitterness and resentment on Sundays. God forgive me for being so crabby and backward.

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Asian Judgement

It’s a difficult task for any Asian to be different in the Asian culture. The Asian code of conduct is so firm, ingrained, and rigid that is it impossible to escape. Even the most rebellious teenager will naturally and instinctively bow and defer to any elderly person. I think the worst that Asian teenagers can do to hurt their parents is to get an art degree and become an artist of some sort.

Asians can’t be different. Even when they try to be different, they end up being collectively different in the same way. Doesn’t make sense, but it makes sense to them.

Look at all the “rebellious”, “bad ass” images of Asian youths. These youths try to project an image of “I don’t give a damn.”, but they do give a damn. They all look like they came out of the same fashion plate. And I know they give a damn because as soon as they get home from whatever they were doing, they do their homework, study for the test, and make their A’s.

And if an Asian does break the code of conduct, then there are just three simple explanations.

“You lazy.”
Any deficiencies in character will first go through the lazy filter. If laziness can explain away what you did or didn’t do, then the Asian race has made it’s judgement. You erred in your ways. It is unforgivable, but not totally unredeemable. You just need to work harder.

Didn’t get an A on the test? Laziness is the illness, and hard work is the cure.

Didn’t get the promotion at work? You did not work hard enough. Work harder.

You work 40 hours a week? You are taking it too easy. 65-80 hour work weeks are respectable. Weekends are bonus days to get more work done.

“You stoo-pid.”
If you worked hard, studied hard, and were meticulous in planning the bank robbery, but you got caught anyways, then you must be stupid. You certainly weren’t lazy, but you were stupid. How could you be so stupid? Your missteps and flaws are open to brutal judgement and analysis.

“Why you use old car for get-away car? Your car broke down and you got caught.”
“Why you not use new car for get-away car? You get away faster.”
“Noon, is wrong time to rob bank. I say three o’clock. People sleepy then.”
“Aiyahh, you so stoo-pid. I can do better.”

Finally, if you do work hard, make good decisions, but still defy Asian understanding then you must be “so gay!” Don’t expect flexibility in thinking with Asians, especially old Asians.

You are a good kid, always on the honor-roll, perfect attendance, but you come home one day with a new hairstyle that your parents don’t understand. This is what you will be asked:

“Why you cut your hair that way? You so gay?”

“Why you wear pink shirt? Men wear white shirt. You so gay?”

“Why you no married yet? You so gay?”

You disappoint your family. Instead of being another doctor in the family, you graduate with an art degree, work hard, and make lots of money. You aren’t lazy. Making lots of money compensate for the liberal arts degree, but you are an artist. Why are you an artist? Why not a doctor, a scientist, a mathematician? There is no job security in being an artist – no hospital to work in, no laboratory or research facility to work at, no teaching position at a university, no government job. Something is wrong with you. You are different.

Aunts and Uncles will ask, “Why you artist? There is no job security. You so gay?”

Of course you are not gay. You are in a heterosexual relationship with two kids. But they are convinced that you are. They are smug and sure that you will come out of your closet one day. They are just waiting for that day. Until that day, whenever they see you, you will get the tired:

“You still artist? Why you so gay?”

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Asian Pride!

Asians don’t care what the rest of the world does. They only care about what goes on in their world.

There is no in between in the Asian world. It’s DO or DO NOT – NO TRY! It’s either success or failure.

Did you make an A on the test? Yes or No.

You must get an A! You did not succeed unless you got an A. Asians are not interested B’s. Getting a B just means that you were lazy and laziness is unforgivable.

C’s are marks of failure. You bring shame to your family. No Asian will post a C grade on any refrigerator.

D’s don’t exist in the Asian mindset because it is unthinkable. D’s bring shame to your family and is an affront to ASIAN PRIDE!

If you dare to get an F, your one F has seriously set your race back 10,000 years. All 10,000 year’s worth of perfect A’s and extra credits are not enough to erase the blight of the one F. You bring shame to all Asians. You deserve to be disowned.

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You Fat!

Asian woman says, “You fat!”

Anyone who knows an Asian woman intimately, will understand that, next to money, size is very important. No one is more critical and observant about this matter than an Asian woman. It’s not about your weight, how skinny you feel- it’s the size you are, the shape of you.

A size “2” is a respectable, standard size. “0” will raise eyebrows in silent admiration. “00” is darkly, secretly enviable, coveted.

Going up to a size “3”, for an Asian woman, will signal the alarm bells. Kind aunts and relations will simply state, “You fat.” There is no hurtful intention, just a simple, pure, honest observation that signals the need to do self examination and to be on guard. Asians pride themselves in honesty to their family, especially to their children. They will be brutally honest if they feel like they have to because they find it appalling to have their family, especially their children, make fools of themselves in public and bring shame to the family. (Note: very few Asian children will dare go on tv to make jackasses of themselves. Their parents, extended family, the whole Asian community are watching.)

Such honesty, should be appreciated, because when an aunt wails, “YOU FAT!”, Asians believe it. The world will be deceivingly polite. Friends will want to spare feelings. People will say soothing things like, “You are just pleasingly plump, big and beautiful, perfect the way you are…” But it takes the Asian family to tell the truth – the real truth that is in the mind of people when they look at a person, their body, their shape. Asians don’t buy into the self-delusion. There is no such words as “pleasingly plump” or “big and beautiful” in their vocabulary.

Asians trust their family because their family will not lie to them. If they do something stupid, they will be told so. They will get the total, unvarnished, “You stoo-pid!”, “Why you rob the bank?”, “Now you go to jail!”. There will be no the-devil-made-me-do-it defence. You rob the bank, you apologize, you go to jail.

Now going beyond size “3”, “4” and into the “6” and above will not get anyone jail time, but it will sentence the Asian woman to the constant, “You fat” until the message is heard and action is taken.

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Beautiful Tyrant

I write about my mother more than anyone in my life because she occupies my mind even when I don’t know it. She never really belonged to me in the same way that other kids could lay claim to their mothers. I never really had her when she was alive, and she refuses to leave me even after she is long gone. She was always elusive and outside my grasp – the most beautiful creature that I couldn’t call my own. So my mind wonders in circles, revisiting old memories and combing through them for the lost pieces to the greatest puzzle of my life: Who do I belong to?

I was the satellite orbiting my mother’s world. Always circling her, wanting to get nearer, but forces beyond my control always kept us at a distance. We coexisted and went through the motions of living but we never knew each other. There was never a handshake, a touching of hands, any inquisitive “How are you?”. We didn’t share the simple courtesies that even strangers share.

I watched her go through life. My perspective of life became a disassociation of mind and body as I spent my childhood studying her and studying me and racing to catch up to her. I have plenty of sad, sepia tone memories of watching my mother walk away from confrontations, unpleasant truths, and me.

And now I think I have caught up with her. I am going to be 37 in two months, and as I look in the mirror, I see my mother looking back at me. It is startling to see her face staring back. I do look like my mother but not as beautiful as her, and yet, more beautiful than her. I see a reflection of the love and hate from within for a person that I want to run away from but I can’t.

The love for her springs from the childish parts that yearned for her. The little toddler that remembered her leaving me behind and shoving me aside to make room for abusive men. The wailing, heart wrenching cries of a little one who begged for her mother. The young girl that needed a mother’s guidance and protection but got none. These parts of me longed for that beautiful woman, suffered from the rejection, and thought that they were never good enough.

But the woman in me rages with fire and fury at the injustice of it all. After living life a bit and having kids of my own, I often walk back in time and revisit myself.

I revisit the little 3 year old softly crying at the gate. Her mother was taking her little brother, but leaving her behind, to visit a boyfriend. As she stands there crying, I sweep her in my arms and take her with me on a journey to revise history. I wipe away the tears and we play.

I revisit the young 13 year old who doesn’t know what is to become of her. She is lost, unsure of her self, and doesn’t feel worthy of love. She is crying and wants to die. I take her hand and show her what her future is. She does find herself and become more beautiful than the person who made her.

I walk in this world but I live in other worlds. I shift in and out, and along this journey I find that I belong to myself.

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To Be So Good

Once upon a time, when I was a nine-year-old kid, I actually whole-heartedly, truly believed in such a thing as living a sinless life. My mentors, the nuns, taught me so. The church said that it was imperative to my eternal salvation. The stories of saints were proof that I could. If I could believe it, then I could achieve it. I believed within my heart that I wanted to be a good person, living a pure and holy life without sin. I was determined to be so good as to not sin, and so I gave myself the grace of starting fresh the following day, hoping that I would not die that night.

I strategized: eat breakfast and ignore everyone, then brush my teeth like I should and ignore everyone, change my clothes and put them away neatly and ignore everyone, go to school and ignore everyone, come home and ignore everyone, and then go to bed.

The next day I woke up fresh and remembered my holy mission to be sinless. I said a morning prayer. It took one minute to say the Our Father, but that minute felt too long and burdensome. Then I made my bed neat and tidy. That felt exactly like what it was suppose to be -a chore- but the day was fresh and I was determined to outlast the day.

Breakfast was eaten and it was hard to ignore my rising irritation. I skipped the usual morning cartoons to devote time to brushing my teeth properly. I was determined to succeed. God died on the cross for me, so I chose to give up morning tv. God died on the cross for me, so I chose to brush my teeth. It was torture. I was losing precious moments to detailed brushing that could have been spent playing. My childhood was slipping away. I could have died in the next hour. Why couldn’t God have made strong teeth that didn’t rot?

I left the bathroom with a healthy conscience, knowing that for once I was turning that new leaf and starting to live right. Then who should I see? My younger brother. Just seeing him irked my nerves. Then having him poke me with his finger tempted me to knock his lights out. I let it pass. I let it go. I wanted to be good.

I changed my clothes and made a tremendous effort to neatly fold the clothes and put them away. The mental and physical toll of accomplishing that was unbelievable. I was exhausted before the morning was through.

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Holiday Newsletter

Happy Holiday Greetings From The Clydesdales!

Happy Holidays to everyone! This past year has been a wild year, but we are thankful that we survived it. Verne, the kids, and I are doing well, now. Verne is safe and sound at home now. His flight home was uneventful, although his trip wasn’t. Who knew that he had such an imagination?

Somewhere back in March, Verne suffered a mid-life realization. He felt the need to find himself, and so he found himself gambling. The losses were small and big. After burning through all the saving accounts, he came to his senses and stop gambling. Then Verne realized he was missing the excitement and thrill of new things. Somehow, he managed to find himself chatting with another woman on-line. He fell in love with her, withdrew all his retirement money, took an international flight to Britain to meet her and start a new life. His secret woman turned out to a be man, who beat him up and robbed him of all the cash. Verne is recuperating at home. He has a bruised face, sore ribs, and lots of explaining to do. The kids and I still love him, but we are curious as to how much money do we still have left?

Despite the prospects of poverty, the kids are happy and cheerful. Our oldest, Stinker, made us proud this year. After years of obedience school, Stinker has finally graduated. In June, he received his “I Am Now a Good Dog” badge and the necessary obedience school certificate so he can go the Doggie Daycare while I go back to work. He no longer bites Verne’s leg and he plays nicely with Sweets, our other kid.

Sweets, is happier these days since Stinker is nicer to be around. Sweets is no longer afraid to share the couch with Stinker. He is very happy to have Verne back home. He follows Verne everywhere and snuggles with Verne. Sweets just adores Verne. He will have no problem at Doggie Daycare. His wonderful temperament and friendliness will help him make friends.

Verne will continue to work and I will soon be the daytime activities coordinator at the retirement home. We will try to make small vacations this year, but we will mostly stay at home. With work and the kids, our year looks pretty full.

Happy New Year!

Love,

Verne, Julie, Stinker, and Sweets

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