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14 posts from February 2009

February 17, 2009

Choosing not to be offended. (updated)

Edited to add this preface: 

For the record, I'm VERY VERY VERY defensive of my girls.  If you insult them, you better be ready to deal with me - and I'm not the least bit afraid of confrontation so it's NOT going to be comfortable for you!  But I don't want to walk through life being pissed off every time someone recites the stupid "Me Chinese, me play joke..." rhyme or pulls on their eyelids or tries to imitate Mandarin language by saying "ching ching" a bunch of times.    
I understand that there are people in this world who genuinely hate other people solely because of the color of their skin or the shape of their eyes but I'll never understand why so many choose to pick THIS particular silly teenage stunt as the mountain upon which to plant their florescent billowing flag of outrage.   
Kids do stupid things - which is precisely why we don't let them get tattoos, marry, drink or vote until they're older.  
We've all been guilty of teenage stupidity and thank goodness we didn't have to grow up in politically over-correct society where everyone was carrying a cell phone with a camera. 
Our kids will grow up with cameras all around them.  Cameras that will capture all their less glamorous moments and make those moments available on YouTube forever.   When I was a kid, I could get mad and mumble under my breath and stomp to my room and slam my bedroom door but our kids will have social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and Twitter that will permanently record all their childish rants and raves and nothing will ever be forgotten.  Nothing.  Ever. 
This has the potential to devistate them so I'm doing everything I can to help them learn to pick and choose carefully what they're going to let emotionally affect them.  If I teach them to never let anything slide, to always be offended any time someone does anything even remotely offensive, then I think I'm doing them a great disservice. 
Now, my original post:


Don't we all really have bigger things to worry about than Miley Cyrus (in the middle of this photo) pulling on her eyelids to look Asian?  Does anyone really think she hates that guy to her right and wants to offend him and all of her Asian fans?  For cryinoutloud, she's 16 and plenty guilty of teenage stupidity but certainly not racism. 

Now she's being sued for 4 billion dollars over this.  Is the plaintiff genuinely offended or just genuinely greedy and hungry for publicity?    By the way, Miley has apologized twice for this photo.  She's claimed that everyone in this photo is her friend and they were just goofing around.  If that's true, then the Asian guy (who, by the way, is obviously trying to make his eyes look really wide) is also her friend.   Should I be offended that he's trying to look like me when I put on mascara?    

These kids should have been coached by their PR-sensitive handlers that antics like this are strictly taboo but they're kids and I think it's written somewhere in the Kid Handbook that children will diligently resist all recommendations of their parents/adult advisers.  At least that's how it seemed when we were raising our first teenager and I'm not expecting it to be any different when our next two (adopted from China) hit their teen years.

So why are members of my local FCC chapter spending many hours writing complaints about this, hinting at Hannah Montana boycotts and suggesting like minded adoptive parents do the same?   Are there really people out there who haven't embraced one of their most important rights of all: The right to choose NOT to be offended?  

I'm constantly frustrated that so many people have been conditioned to have a knee-jerk, negative, reaction to anything and everything that mentions race in any context whatsoever.  As if the mere mention of race makes you a racist.   I remember a newspaper article about a robbery suspect that described the man the police were seeking in great detail but failed to mention his race because the paper wasn't comfortable printing it.  How absurd is that?    

There are very offensive things in this world and they deserve our outrage but this Miley Cyrus picture isn't one of them.  In the end, I believe that it's all about how we choose to interpret things.  We can choose to be offended and constantly walk around with our attorney on speed-dial and our nose bent out of shape or we can choose to give people the benefit of the doubt and enjoy a much happier life.    You'd think more people would choose happiness!  I certainly do and I'm raising children who will do that too.  


February 16, 2009

The Perfect Weekend

What the heck do people with small kids do when it's raining every single day? Do you stay home and bake cookies then run all over the house in a sugar-crazed frenzy until CPS knocks at the door? Do you hang out at Carl's Junior just because they have an indoor play structure, bottomless sodas and a flush toilet? Do you spend so much time at the local Chuck-E-Cheese that you could probably pay your next house payment using nothing but the tickets you've earned while honing your Skee-ball skills? Well, we've been there and done that so we were itching for something new.  This time, our new adventure was bowling.

Valentine weekend blog-000001

It was fun and we'll certainly do it again and we might even bring our fancy camera so we can get a better picture than this lame one of our shoes.

Back at home, the kids napped and we sighed heavily and tried to figure out what we'd do, post nap, to fill the rest of our rainy day. Then we remembered that we not only needed to fill today but we also needed to figure out something for tomorrow since President's Day made this one of our rare three day weekends.

Since we've had so much fun in San Francisco each of the last two weekends, we looked to The City once again. This time, we searched for a hotel with an indoor pool and a nice location and we found Hotel Nikko. This is a luxury high rise hotel in Union Square and we were thrilled to see that we could get the Executive Suite for less than we'd pay for two adjoining rooms at our local Hilton.

The room was amazing. It was a corner room with floor to ceiling windows to showcase a spectacular 17th floor city view on two sides.  The pool was as warm as bath water and our girls had a wonderful time splashing and swimming while the rain came down in buckets on the glass panels waaaaaay above us. It was perfect!

This morning, we woke up to a breathtaking view, snuggled in our big comfy bed and watched cartoons with our girls.  Then we got some breakfast and grabbed our umbrellas and headed two blocks to the Westgate San Francisco Center Mall.  This is no ordinary mall.  It's at least 10 stories high with a gazillion stores and it even has a spiral escalator!    We spent three hours in this mall, purchased nothing but a cookie and a pair of running shoes for Daddy and had a really great time! 

It wasn't raining when we left the mall so we changed our original plan (The Exploritorium) and decided to go to Golden Gate Park instead.  There's a big playground that we heard about and were curious to see.  We finally found it and it was very impressive!  The girls loved the whole thing but liked the concrete "waves" the best.  They're about six feet high and look like a big ocean wave but you can climb up to the top and hang ten (if you dare -- and they didn't).   We spent two hours there before it suddenly started to rain pretty heavily so we pulled our coat over our head and ran as fast as we could back to our van!   Gwen and Maddy loved every wet minute of this exciting turn of events.  Back at the van, both of our happily exhausted little girls were out of their wet coats and strapped securely into their car seats and fast asleep in under five minutes! 

We all had an incredibly fun time and we also managed to wear out our kids!  The Perfect weekend with the perfect outcome and some pretty special memories and photos too. 

February 14, 2009

First Sleepover

Sleepover blog-000001 Tonight was Gwen and Maddy's very first sleepover and they couldn't put their PJ's on and grab their beloved Teddy Bears and super-cool brand new sleeping bags and get out the door quick enough!  Tonight was also the very first time Daddy and Mommy have attended a movie alone since 2005!  Yep, our first movie date in nearly four years!

We grabbed a yummy Food Court dinner then settled into our red velvet seats to enjoy the action film: Taken.  Hey, does anyone else think Liam Neeson looks a bit like Al Bundy?   Anyway, when it was over, Andrew looked at me and said he was certain that he's lost his ability to sit through big screen action films because he was uncomfortably tense throughout the entire movie.  I was so relieved to hear him say that because I felt the same way and was worried that it was just me.  I thought I might be having some physical problem!  Honestly, at one point during the movie, I took my pulse because my heart was pounding so hard!  No sugar or caffeine either.  Not even Red Vines.  Not even Diet Coke.  Nuthin!   Phew!   Okay, I'm about to hyperventilate just thinking about it.  From now on we'll probably have to restrict our viewing of action flicks to DVD rentals that we can watch on the big boring TV here in our nice comfy (and brightly lit) family room!

As we left the movie, our cell phone rang and we found out that Gwen fell off a table and landed on her face and had a bloody nose.  She was okay but still a bit distressed.  So date night was officially over but no regrets since we really wouldn't have known what to do with all our personal free time anyway.  We drove back to Sleepover Headquarters and retrieved our babies and carried them to the van while they were all giddy and giggly inside their sleeping bags.  A few minutes later, they were snug in their own beds (still in the sleeping bags) and there they remained until we came into their room and nudged them awake this morning.  A wonderful Valentine's Day for all of us even with the heart pounding and the tense movie and the bloody noses!

Tomorrow, we go bowling for the first time ever!  More on that later.


February 12, 2009

The spice of life

We love to dress up-blog 
I was busy with laundry when they sneaked up on me to surprise me with these quirky disguises.    How was I suppose to resist the urge to smile and hug them then run for the camera?     I don't always take time to appreciate what they get up to when they're unsupervised but I am grateful for the few times that I DO remember to stand back and look at them and smile and realize that they won't be interested in doing this sort of thing forever.  When they outgrow it, it'll be the last time our home will ever be the backdrop for these precious theatrics.

I distinctly remember how much fun it was to dig through the bottom drawer of Mom's dresser and find pretty frilly things to put on and play and pretend.  There were fancy scarves and absurdly skimpy baby-doll nightgowns (the perfect "wedding dress" for a 4 year) and shiny shoes with ridiculously high heels and clip-on pearl earrings of every color and size and yards of gaudy beads that looked like they came straight out of the treasure box!  

When I was in my late 20's, I asked mom about the contents of that bottom drawer because I finally had enough maturity to worry that she might have actually worn any of that crap.  To my relief, she denied it all and assured me that it was all there for my childish enjoyment and pleasure.   I don't care if that was the truth because all I really care about is that I no longer have a picture in my head of Mom wearing organdy petty-pants and vampy leopard print gloves.  It was many years before I'd think about this again.

Other than an unfortunate two week period in 1991 when Michael would ONLY wear his Batman PJ's, he was never interested in role-play or dress-up so it was interesting when Gwen and Maddy started putting our clothes on and pretending to be us.  We got them some cheap pirate costumes then some  dragon masks then the princess clothes then bug antennae and a Doctor kit (and so on and so on, etc) until, before we could say "What the heck are You supposed to be", they were merrily prancing through the house wearing layers of every possible combination of costume or disguise!    

I know it's incredibly cute but I'm kinda glad that I hid the penguin and monkey costumes from the last two Halloweens or they'd probably keel over from heatstroke!  I guess they've not heard the old saying about "less" being "more".   Oh well!  They can certainly pull off this look so what's the harm, right?  :)

February 11, 2009

Number 7 of 25

I got a phone call this morning from a family member who was very upset to read on my 25 Random Things About Me blog post that all I seem to care about the events of 9/11 is that it screwed up my birthday.   

It's taken me an hour to write this and I really don't want to post it because it makes me want to cry that someone who knows me personally would think I'm capable of being so shallow that I'd not care at all about the thousands of people who died on September 11th and all of the families who will suffer every single day because they lost someone irreplaceable.   I don't like to feel this way and I certainly don't like to open myself up to this type of drama to strangers on my blog but she insisted that I post a clarification so that's what I'm doing.

I thought I made it clear that so many other people are forced to forever remember 9/11 with heartbreak because they personally lost a loved one that day.  Compared to that, my birthday being on the same day as the biggest terrorist attack in US history is a trivial inconvenience and it's barely even worthy of mention.  Why mention it then?  Because there's some irony in it and the point of the meme was to list "random things about me".  Hence the name "25 Random Things About Me".  So when I say "To me, it was just a screwed up birthday", I'm referring to the date and obviously not the event.

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