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happy birthday

It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.

A is for Advil I have been taking for my pounding headaches and sore throat.

B is for Benadryl for watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose.


D is for Depression that I feel on every single one of my birthday since the third grade.

You get my drift.

On my birthday I have learned to keep my expectations extremely low. In fact, I’ve learned to go through life with no expectations from anybody. Probably due to the cold virus, I’ve lost my self-defense mechanism and failed to put up my mental wall and accidentally caused some accidental birthday expectations breach.

I have also been trying to be more grateful for what I am blessed with. So I will count my blessings on my birthday:

I am grateful that it rained today.

I am grateful for the perfect excuse to sleep through most of the day. Perhaps sleeping through the day is the way to go for the rest of my birthdays.

I am grateful that my youngest needed to wake me up from my slumber because he and his brother were hungry and I, it seemed, was the only person who knew how to cook for them. This was important because otherwise I would have missed dinner.

I am grateful for the excellent fish and shrimp tacos and the two big giant glasses of epic blueberry Mojitos for dinner in a nice cantina.


Google wished me a happy birthday by name. I must be a big shot on the Internet.


Do they grant do-overs for birthdays? I will take one when I turn 80.




There are 6 teenage boys now in my house and they are staying overnight until tomorrow noon. Sleepover is a misnomer: there will be NO sleep involved. They will be up all night, taking over the house while I hide in my locked bedroom. Fortunately my boy runs with the nerd crowd so give them each a Wii remote control and time flies, as they say, Mario Cart style. Of course, when the sun comes up tomorrow, I will be ushered into the Dawn of the Dead (Tired): these teenagers, being outside of Asia where the Tiger Moms roam, are untrained in the Tao of Midnight Oil Burning (“OMG. The teacher gives them so much homework. My son spent TWO HOURS last night doing his math homework!” Yah… I bit my tongue for that one.) They all talk a big game, and yet we know, tomorrow they will be complaining about headaches and extreme exhaustion and whimper like little babies. Thank goodness tomorrow also happens to be my least favorite day of the year – I have a slogan for it too, Spring Forward My Ass –  so I am actually one hour closer to liberation.


The lady brigade suggested lots of booze to help me survive the Night of the Undead. When in doubt, add Vodka. And sometimes, bacon. Unfortunately for me though, I have something in my mouth which, actually, is one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my life, I am convinced.

Last Saturday, I got Invisaligned.

Oh no no. Taking these suckers out is NOT an one-handed job. *He he. Rim shot?* All the glossy pictures featuring beautiful people do not show you the “anchors” on my teeth to secure the braces. These bumps make me look like a vampire (of the non-sexy variety) and make it a pain to take them out, and that means I basically have only limited windows every day to eat and drink. On the first day, I tore the bottom liner out of frustration and panic when I was dizzy with hunger. “What if I cannot take these things out and I have to stop eating for the next 12 months?!” On top of the dreadful task of taking the liners out (which reminds me of the first few days when I got my first contact lenses), I am also very very lazy, and I do not like the thought of having to brush and floss my teeth AFTER every bite or sip before I put the liners back on.

This is torture for a grazer. In this past week I have experienced thousands of moments when I thought about eating but could not. It’s revealing because, if not for my inability to do so, I would not have even given it any thought before I polished off say a whole bag of Sun Chips, or ate half of the strawberries while cutting them. Gone are the days to hold a cocktail giant beer glass and sip my Cranvodka the whole day night. No more lounging at Starbucks for hours. (Ok. Fine. I don’t get to do that anyway… But you get the point) I feel unsettled and restless the whole day, like something is wrong but I cannot quite put my finger on it. The promise of losing weight from this self-enforced starvation? Ha. I am half-starved for the past week but still managed to gain 5 lbs. HOW? Because when it comes time to eat, I eat like a starved person, like someone who has no idea when they are going to see food again. I now eat appetizers, main courses, AND desserts. After I am done with my meal, I survey the pantry and the fridge to find all things that I think I may have a cravings for later during the day and I shove them into my mouth.

At the same time, I also got a raging case of pink eye and was therefore rocking my geek-cred thick-coke-bottle glasses. Along with new braces, my weight gain, and the telltale rash around my waist band…

Liz Lemon: God, three weddings in one day, I’m going to be in Spanx for 12 hours. My elastic line is gonna get infected again.

I’ve had a week of low self-esteem, which meant only one thing: I needed food for emotional support.

Like I said, one of the worst decisions I’ve made in my life. So far.

Maybe I should try and top it with another bad decision? Maybe I should just say “Oh, fuck it”, and go have pizza, cake, chips and a big giant glass of Cranvodka tonight? I mean, it’s my kid’s birthday party right? I gave birth to that little guy (now measuring 5’10”) fourteen years ago so I deserve a night off from this mental torture device, right?

Happy Birthday, Number One Son! Let’s party! Separately of course. I am cool like that. You guys stay downstairs and watch mindless YouTube videos while I surround myself with all the food that I bought for you and watch an R-rated movie. Now who’s going to help mommy carry all the food and the bottle of vodka and cranberry juice upstairs?

Update: I did not even get to eat anything when the doorbell all of a sudden went off. “Are you guys expecting more people?” “No…” We opened the door and it was The Girls. Well, I guess I have officially thrown a cool party right if it’s been crashed? You’d be happy to know that after I corralled them into singing Happy Birthday and cut the birthday pies, I quickly grabbed my bottle of ready-made Costco Margarita (NO cranberry juice in the house!) and headed upstairs while leaving Mr. Monk, my 9-year-old in charge.



My firstborn is thirteen today.

It’s official: I now have a bona fide teenager on my hand.

I am still wavering about whether I should have made this birthday into a big deal or not. I hope he was not expecting a big to-do. I hope he was not expecting a PlayStation 3 this morning as he opened the box containing a bunch of Wii accessories. They are all in black. That should count for something. If he’s disappointed, he did not show. This kid, No. 1 Son, is turning out to be a surprisingly thoughtful young man, despite his natural tendency to be a sarcastic smart aleck. (Well, I wonder where he got that? And son, if you are reading this one day, notice that I did not call you “smartass” on this post dedicated to you on your birthday)

He has shown great capacity for kindness and empathy (even though he could have shown more of this to his own younger brother…)

He has shown great potential for wisdom (despite the day-to-day harebrained ideas and actions).

He’s given me hope that he will turn out to be a-ok when he declared in the first week of being a 7th grader, “I’ve decided to not worry about being cool any more.” THIS and many other small moments were what prevented me from Homer-Simpson-choking him “You Little!…” during the more trying and frustrating hours.

To be honest with you? I am freaking out. I have been at the state of perpetual freaking out ever since I became a mother so nothing new here really. My husband knew me so well that in 2003, when No.1 son was only 5 years old, he flat out told me to skip the movie “Thirteen”, “You are going to freak out even more if you watch that movie.”


My freaking-out state reached a crisis yesterday when I received this SMS from No. 1 son:



By the time I got home from work, he’s already ready to forgive me, well, kind of, because I could not stop laughing even as I was apologizing to him, mind you, with the utmost sincerity.

So what did I do in the wee hours when my oldest was turning into a teenager during his sleep? I made someecards. What else?



Let Them Eat Cake

November 27, 2010 no manual for parenting

The night before Thanksgiving my then 7-year-old boy, Mr. Monk, found it difficult to fall asleep because he was giddy with excitement: grandparents and uncle were flying to celebrate the holiday with us, and his birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. “Mom, you know why I love Thanksgiving?” “Why?” I asked, knowing he was excited […]


The Girl in Her

July 11, 2010 therapy in session

She did not want to come back the last time she was there. She wanted to stay home. Home. When she was there by herself, she was not a mother. She was not a wife. She was herself. More enticingly, she was her younger self. She was a daughter. She was the much adored and lauded […]


Celebrate my birthday this Sunday? Have a Slurpee from 7-Eleven and a Solar Eclipse on me!

July 10, 2010 random

That’s right, peeps. I’ve got you all FREE Slurpees AND a Solar Eclipse on my birthday because that’s how I roll… You do need to get to the Southern Pacific Ocean in order to view the Solar Eclipse though you will thank me when you are staring at your own feet taking a sip from a […]


Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo, one heck of a woman

July 6, 2010 random

How do you know you have arrived? How about if google celebrates your birthday with a special google logo in honor of your birthday? . If you can look past the unibrow and the mustache, Frida Kahlo was one heck of an attractive woman exactly because she exudes confidence and willful neglect for rules of […]


My Love Affair

July 5, 2010 this i believe

On July 4th, at around 5 pm, I loaded the boys into the car, against all best judgement, headed towards the community park where half the town had been and the rest of the town was heading towards.  We were determined to be there for the long haul. The final prize? The July 4th fireworks. […]


Happy Birthday, United States of America!

July 4, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

What better way to celebrate Independence Day by watching this clip from Independence Day again? WE WILL NOT GO QUITELY INTO THE NIGHT! WE WILL NOT VANISH WITHOUT A FIGHT! We are going to live on. We are going to survive. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day! . . . What better way than to […]


Reporting, live (kind of), from the Hometown Fest

July 2, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

July 2nd. The party goes on… Happy Birthday to Lindsay Lohan and Larry David. They should hang out together more. Happy birthday to Hermann Hesse. To this day I am sometimes still Emil Sinclair looking/waiting for my (inner) Max Demian. Thanks a lot, man. . . The following is my entry for this year’s Pulitzer […]