Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Past, Christmas Present

Christmas was my Aunt Margaret's favorite time of year.

Aunt Margaret was my mom's oldest sister, and the sibling that lived closest to us growing up.  She spoiled us more than relatives (aside from grandparents) are supposed to - all the big, fun, expensive stuff of our childhood came from Aunt Margaret and Uncle Leon.  My brothers' first Atari, and then the first Nintendo (back when they were not hand-held versions, and still needed an adult to hook up to the television).  She used to take me back to school shopping and buy me an entire wardrobe for the rest of the year, and often it was clothes my mother would never have let me wear, had her older sister not purchased it for me.

She loved Christmas.  For reasons still unknown to me, my family celebrates Christmas on the 24th, not on Christmas Day.  Growing up, Christmas Eve was always a huge party, and by huge, I mean 30+ adults, and then children on top of that.  Margaret always wrangled the adults and the food, which was usually potluck and plentiful.  In an unusual (at least to me later in life) twist for a Chinese family, there was always a pinata.

She always made the kids gather round the piano, my mother would play, and she would make us sing Christmas carols, and she would make us sing all of them.  She even passed out little booklets, so everyone knew all the words.  This was the price we happily paid for the stacks of presents that formed a ring 4 feet around the tree.

I love that it's a fake white tree behind us!

When the time came for the actual gift giving, the kids would be gathered together and Santa would make his entrance.  Santa was whichever uncle happened to have a few extra pounds that year, or whoever had gotten out of it in the last two years.  Santa would enter through the front door with his Chinese accent, carrying a black garbage bag full of toys.  When he was done distributing what was in his bag, he would give an accented ho-ho-ho and leave out the front door.  Margaret and the aunts would take over giving out the rest of the gifts, and every person's name would be called out individually, and every person would have to fight his/her way to the tree to get it.  As you can imagine, this took forever. Our Christmas Eve parties lasted well past children's bedtimes.  (That's my little bro Eric, my Dad and my Mom).

We've been without my aunt for a few years now, and this season is always when I miss her most.  While we try to keep up the big Christmas Eve party tradition, its not quite the same.  We are no longer forced to sing, although now we're lucky if someone remembers to turn on some Christmas music.  There's no pinata, although now that there are more kids, I'm starting to think maybe we should bring that tradition back.   And now its those kids who ask during appetizers, "When can we do presents???"

I wish she were here to see it.   And this one, CJ on Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To F*!?-wad, What Yo Mama Apparently Didn't Teach You

Has anyone else noticed a lack of common courtesy these days?

Generally when my husband and I complain about this, it is in reference to the little things.  People don't hold doors open for each other.  A driver cuts across 4 lanes of traffic to get in front of you and you graciously let them in, only to receive not even a little wave of acknowledgement in return.  People don't say "please" and "thank you" anymore.  People don't say "good-bye" to end a phone conversation, they just hang up because they are done speaking.  A couple stops to talking in the center of a busy sidewalk instead of standing off to the side.  Common courtesy has gone out the window and rudeness is the accepted norm.  We're so busy getting what we want and going after what we want - nay, what we deserve - that we don't take a moment for basic human respect.

That's one of my pet peeves.  And I understand that there isn't really anything I can do to change any of that, but I also think that people do it unconsciously, and because they are never called out on it, never need to rethink their actions or their lack of action.

What I can't tolerate - and what I won't tolerate, is deliberate, unnecessary, and uncalled for meanness.  It is one thing to flip off the driver who cut you off on the freeway and then slammed on his brakes; an offense has occurred.  An offense singular to you has occurred.  It is quite another to be mean and rude for no purpose other than being mean and rude, and it is yet another, even greater offense to do that under the guise of being "anonymous".

I wrote a pithy little sardonic post a while back about watching paid programming while feeding my 4 month old son at ungodly hours when only paid programming is on television.  As you can see, there were two comments on the post, one wanting to know how the Magic Bullet worked out for me, and the other saying it worked really well for her.

Then today, this comment showed up:

"Anonymous said...

Ahhh, another fat, silly, dumbed-down American with too many shiny plastic cards, waiting to be spent. You and others like you are idiots. I'm sure you swallow all the ads, hook, line, and sinker. You believe in penis enlargement too, eh? That says a lot about the fat, dumb-assed americans. I guess we get what we deserve, when losers like you are bored at five in the morn."

...and fucking lit me off.
Now, I don't know which one of us he was referring to as the "silly, dumbed-down American"; probably he meant all three of us, since only the a silly, dumb American would buy a product advertised on television which happens to make perfectly good shakes, purees, marinades and baby food.  But I have the feeling that both kys and Mrs M will agree with what I'm about to say.

Which is that this comment was completely and totally unnecessary.  It was mean just to be mean and scathing.  Dude, I don't know you and you don't know me.  You don't know how much of a loser I really am or actually how fat I am, but I am quite clear now on what an asshole you are.  Not only are you an asshole, but the fact that you chose to make your oh-so-intelligent comment (that's sarcastic too, in case you couldn't tell) cloaked as "anonymous" tells me that you are not only a giant fuckwad, but that you are a coward as well.

Let me tell you this too, fuckwad, that I am a proud, intelligent American who does not believe in penis enlargement, with too many shiny plastic credit cards which I will use to purchase whatever the fuck I please.  And unlike the fact that I, in no way deserved your rude and unnecessarily cruel comments, you are totally getting what you deserve in my response, simply because you chose to be mean.  Presuming I don't actually know you (and if I do, you are even more of a chickenshit for being anonymous), I didn't ask you to read my blog.  You don't like it, you don't like my writing, you don't like me, close the window and move the fuck on.  Did your mama teach you to be this rude or is it just a trait you picked up in your non-American country?

You want to be smug, you want to be mean, you want to be rude?  Fine, that is entirely within your right.  You read the post, I opened myself up for comments and you gave me yours, I get it.  But grow a pair and quit leaving your comments as "anonymous".  My name is Karen and I stand by what I said.  Who the fuck are you?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm Back... sort of...

Geesh, its been so long, I don't even know where to start...

Let's start with a CJ update.  Last week we had his 6 month kidney ultrasound.  Today, we went to see the pediatric urologist to look at the results.  We didn't even bother to go into an exam room.  Our appointment was so late in the day, he just looked at the ultrasounds on his computer while we waited in the front room.  He said since no one else was coming in, he could check CJ really quick right there in his carseat in the stroller, so we unbuckled him and unbuttoned his button-up-pants-jammy-thing.  Dr Koh peeled away one side of the diaper, moved his little pee-pee from side to side and said, "Yep, looks good."  I told him I had only broken it twice ("A" broke hers 3 times!).  He kind of chuckled and moved on, I guess he knew what I meant.  Or didn't care.

Anyway, CJ's ultrasounds look good.  Dr Koh says there is only a little swelling of the left kidney, which could indicate continued reflux in that kidney, so CJ needs to stay on his daily antibiotic.  Last June at the first ultrasound, both kidneys were very swollen, so this little bit of swelling is good news.  He seems hopeful that at the 1 year mark his reflux may correct itself naturally, and  he may just grow into what I call his big-boy kidneys.  Cross your fingers, this means no surgery.  So he still gets his daily bubble gum (flavored amoxicillan) and we'll take some more pictures in June.

At Thanksgiving, we started him on solids.  Last week we finally purchased a high chair, after someone in my Saturday mommy group said it "changed the way I feed."  Here's what's changed:  instead of needing one napkin to clean him up, I now need three and a wet nap chaser.  He loves the high chair and loves to be fed in it (especially if it's apples), but is always trying to help me by grabbing the spoon as it heads into his mouth.  Or by turning his head at the last second, so I shove apple onto his cheek.  Or by taking a spoonful of apple, swallowing half, and then sticking the hand farthest from me into his mouth to mush it all up a little more.

We finally had to cut his hair.  Rather, I finally had to insist that we cut his hair.  Because it was super long all the way around, it had separated itself into three distinct areas.  There was top - our favorite - with the cowlick up front, and the cowlick in back, which poufed up like and Elvis souffle.  No matter how long the top got, it never weighed itself down.  It just kept getting higher and higher and curling like a 10'er off the North Shore.  Then there were the super long sideburns, which worked for the Asian gansta look when we put a hat on him.  Then there was the back, which started to change texture.  It became very coarse, and then because he would sleep on his back, began to knot itself like it wanted to dread.

The same rainy day we cut his hair, he caught his first cold.  He became congested and snotty and then screamy since he couldn't suck on his pacifier and breathe at the same time.  And he loves the suction bulb, let me tell you.  You'd think I was cutting his arms off instead of trying to get a few boogers out.  The best part about the whole thing - aside from the continued snottiness and screaming - is that he managed to give his cold to Daddy, and now Daddy has spent 3 days hacking it up and running a fever. You know why I'm not sick?  Someone needs to drive the bus.

So that's where we are.  I'm driving the bus.