From the monthly archives:

January 2011

What is missing here?

January 31, 2011

in random

This week according to Chicago Tribune

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Oh, who cares about Chinese New Year right?

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Honestly, I would not have been so indignant if they hadn’t made such a big deal out of Nathan Lane’s 55th birthday as “THE BIG THING” for February 3rd. Nothing against Nathan Lane: Love him in The Birdcage. And it is very easy to forget about Chinese New Year when you are not surrounded by other Chinese people; I myself have done so a few times and forgot to call my parents even. But come on. It is not even his 60th! I even checked to make sure that I didn’t miss the news of his untimely demise. So the Chicago Tribune folks sat around in the News Editing Writing Brainstorming Room and Nathan Lane’s 55th birthday is what they managed to come up with.

FAIL.

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The year of the Rabbit is coming whether Chicago Tribune acknowledges it or not. Beware of Angry Bunny. Just sayin’

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Warning: According to my Blog Advisory System, this post is rated RED for The Touchiest of All Touchy Subjects. I wrote it last week but did not have the heart to publish it because I was worried about losing readership. In the end though, I have got to do what feels right by me and I apologize if when you get to the end you are like, WTF? I did not sign up for this!

My 8-year-old, Mr. Monk, cried during his Religious Class last Saturday because he wanted to attend Mass and his parents, we, have not managed to take him on a regular basis.

Mr. Monk, unlike his elder brother, is prone to taking things 100% and to the extreme. He takes everything that people say in, personally and seriously. He obeys authority figures (his parents not included, alas) with a fervor: whatever they say, you have to follow. He had already come home crying before that because the priest had told them, “Your parents promised to bring you up Catholic and they have to bring you to Mass every week.” Because that’s not how we operate in this household, he has been really troubled. The other shoe has dropped. This twice-a-year-Catholic thing is not going to work for him.

He really wants to BELIEVE, and there is no compromise. He seems to have a hard time understanding “grey areas”. To be 100% honest with myself, I’m worried. Now that Mr. Monk is convinced this is the right way (because OTHERWISE why would we, his parents, send him to RE every Saturday morning?!), he perceives my being a non-Christian as an anomaly. He brings up my being non-Christian more often than I am comfortable with since ideally, I would have liked it to be a non-issue, the way it has been with his older brother.

I do not agree with everything the Catholic Church has to teach and I am not sure about the whole “Immaculate Conception” thing (and I will simply leave it here). Out of respect for my spouse, I do not discuss Jesus with our kids. The old testament part, however, I have no problem discussing it with them, myself being an English Lit major in my youth and all.

I wish, with all due respect to my marriage, that I had given more thoughts to this whole Interfaith thing before I said yes. I did not expect it to be so complicated since I am agnostic; I had expected it to be conflict-free since, heck, I believe in every god, deity, fairy, spirit there is. Growing up in a Chinese society, I was immersed subtly and not so subtly in Buddhist and Taoist teachings and beliefs. The concept of Karma has been driven into my subconsciousness since day one. More importantly, there is no judgement passed. No concept of Sin. No concept of Grace. No threats of going to hell for non-believers.

Back to the story about last Saturday… After RE, the Catechist, Mrs. G (G being curiously a common German Jewish surname) told me, “I could tell that he was trying to be brave, but he was crying and said that he didn’t go to Mass… but he wanted to…” Because in my previous email communications with Mrs. G I had told her how much I appreciate her openness and how she made me want to bring the kids to Mass even if I have to do it by myself (since my husband travels a lot), she gently pointed out, “This is great and just gives you more incentive to bring him to Mass!”

We ended up talking about Interfaith families and how I didn’t realize it’s going to be more complicated than I have expected. I stopped short of telling her I am uncomfortable with the Church because of the whole anti-gay, anti-abortion stance. I simply asked her, “The church. This church. The sermons are not too ‘radical’ right?” She got what I was trying to ask, and she wrote me an email:

I’m obsessing about our conversation (I do that sometimes!)… God makes everyone perfect in His eyes.  I can only tell you that the Catholic Church does not teach that they are damned or bad.  They see all people as sinners in need of God’s forgivenss, so really we are all in the same boat… Mass is not a time where anyone delves into the “tough” topics like, homosexuality, divorce, politics, etc. It is a time for worship and praise of God. It is a time to come together as a group of people from all different backgrounds, circumstances, and “sin” status (Ha!). There will be no finger pointing. No one will look at you and say, “Clearly, she doesn’t know what the heck’s going on.” You don’t have to pretend to, so don’t worry! Your boys will help out. They’re wonderful people because YOU care so much about their development. Religious or not, you are bringing them up in the right moral way. You are sharing and showing the love that God has for each and every one of us… yes, you too! God loves agnostics too!

I fell in love with Mrs. G right then and there, despite her being a devout Catholic, and I decided to take the kids to the Mass at 5 o’clock that day.

THIS I could deal with, I thought to myself.

If all Christians were open to a calm discussion with open stance the way Mrs. G is, I could stop worrying about this whole Interfaith thing. Maybe they are. Maybe it is not as complicated as I thought. Maybe it is just me.

Unfortunately for me and for my sanity… at the end of the Liturgy, the second Intercession offered by the Deacon was “Let’s pray that the anti-abortion law will be upheld, they are fighting for it in D.C. right now, that we will continue to uphold the sanctity of life.”

I was completely caught off guard and could not believe my ears. Did he really say the “A” word when there were so many children present? I am not the sheltering kind of parents but I certainly do not wish to have to explain to my young children what abortion is. I was also utterly confused because of the “anti-abortion law” that he mentioned. As far as I know, Roe vs. Wade still stands. Did I miss something? Was I caught in some twilight zone?

When I went home, I realized I was an idiot because that day, January 22, marked the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, and two days before that John Boehner introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that would codify the Hyde Amendment by permanently prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs.

And yes, I believe, this is the touchiest of all touchy subjects that will convince many Christians to vote against Democrats no matter who is running for Prez on the GOP ticket in 2012. This country’s future is going to be fought over the right to our wombs. Imagine that.

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I am so friggin' confused myself!

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I made this Venn Diagram for a post more than a year ago and, I have to admit, I am still as confused as ever. Back to Square One. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

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Things I learned today

January 29, 2011

in random

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I will never ever be able to fold a fitted sheet perfectly no matter how much time I spend on it. Fitted sheet, consider yourself folded.

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Checking my email is never going to be “QUICK”. I will always spend more than “Just one minute” when I log in my email account. I will be tempted to click on the links in the emails and it will always take longer than I think to read and comment on a blog post. And when you forget about your child’s lunch, he will hunt you down and demand lunch, but in a nice way that actually makes you feel even shittier.

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Corporate brand image does not necessarily mean Caution and Stodgy and Prim&Proper. “Inappropriate” innuendos are allowed in official press release; sometimes it makes it a WIN.

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"Clipart - Housewife Washing Up at the Sink Whilst a Man Sits in an Armchair Reading a Newspaper"

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My husband has blue hair!

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I’ll take the one on the left to go

January 25, 2011 random

. I am letting it all out today. What you are looking at is my butt. Well, half of my butt: I had to crop the top of my butt off so you cannot see my muffin top. Ok, so technically, I am not really letting it all out today. Just half out. I took […]

55 comments

Sundays in My City – From Dives to Skyscrapers

January 23, 2011 through the looking glass

. . . p.s. Obviously backdated so it appears to have been published on a Sunday. These pictures were taken a week before but I have been to lazy busy to do anything about them. .

20 comments

Saturday Smörgåsbord

January 22, 2011 random

I have been watching SpongeBob with Mr. Monk this whole day except when I am being the Chauffeur. (And I know I am not the only Weekend Chauffeur around here…) You know what I admire SpongeBob the most? He does not seem to understand the concept of Envy and Jealousy, and therefore he is always genuinely over-the-top […]

43 comments

The Cure

January 21, 2011 random

Seeing how many of you are under the weather or are boarded up in your camp of resistance against some full-on attack by Black Death, I thought I’d introduce you to Tiger Balm. . . It cures everything. In the same fashion that Chris Rock introduced us to the omnipotent healing power of Robitussin. “‘Mo’ […]

44 comments

My Chinese babysitter is going to FIRE me soon

January 20, 2011 no manual for parenting

I sometimes feel very sorry for my children: because how I am caught between two worlds, they too are caught between two worlds. Many of you have commented on my responses to the Tiger Mom Controversy with great insight, grace and kindness. One comment that made me pause and reflect upon the factual state of […]

17 comments

The Need for Convenient Justification

January 19, 2011 no manual for parenting

This is a different reaction from my reading of the controversy surrounding Amy Chua’s WSJ article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior?” Yesterday, I said, Bring it on! The can of worms has been opened! Today, I will continue to clear this raging case of “Oh oh oh I have something to say Pick Me Pick Me” […]

26 comments

Bring It On: The Can of Worms has been opened!

January 18, 2011 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tiger Moms. That’s all I hear/read about these past few days. Ugh. Yeah I hear you. But are you surprised that I need to talk about it? In case you have not heard, the “Tiger Mom Controversy” refers to a WSJ article written by a Yale Law School professor, Amy Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior?” […]

25 comments