Like Confucius, but in English

I thought I’d start writing down real-life bits of wisdom for your benefits. I am totally qualified to impart wisdom to strangers on the Interweb because I am naturally wise and Zen just from being Chinese. It is in my blood, damn it! Just look at this picture to the right: My shadow turns into a dragon, OMG! (Ok, technically that’s not me, and the picture is rooted in a racist history of Hollywood films. But GODDAMNIT, it’s a fucking dragon. Look!) This will be a growing list because I love you.I am wise. I am facetious. And Zen. Srly don’t forget about Zen. p.s. Actually, I do love you. I love this. Right here. I carry your heart with me.


Things I said to my kids…

Don’t do a half-ass job

House Rules: Rule Number 1: Do NOT die. Rule Number 2: The Golden Rule. Rule Number 3: Do NOT embarrass your parents. I am not your best friend. I will love you. Respect you. Listen to you. Worry about you. Be there for you. But I don’t want to be your best friend. Because when you do something wrong, I need to discipline and punish you. I am your parent.

Don’t tell me how difficult your brother is. Don’t you think I know that?

Don’t tell me I can’t be on the Internet because I told you to get off the Internet. I am not in school any more. You are!

*Exasperation* For god’s sake! … Ok. You are not supposed to do that. You know the Ten Commandments right?  I didn’t mean your god. I meant mine. So it is ok!

“Mom, you look silly in that hat!” “Well, then I have done my job as a parent.” Books? You are not allowed to read books today! It’s too nice a day to be wasting on books!

“Mom, what’s your password?” “I can’t tell you.” “Come on, mom.” “I said I can’t tell you!” “I need to use your phone!” “FINE! It’s ‘Curse Word Curse Word Curse Word’…” “No. Way.” “Way. Why do you think that your mother does not curse?” “Hmmm. Because you are a… mom?”

(On IM with my oldest) “Mom, I just changed your name on GTalk from XXX to MOM.” “Ok. Because I am not me, I don’t have a name. I am just your mom.” “…” “I changed your name to Number 1 Son.” “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Well, maybe you should have thought about THAT before you did so well in the Spelling Bee!” Response to my 6th grader when he complained about having to compete in the School District Spelling Bee.

When in doubt, evoke the Golden Rule.

Your opinion though interesting is irrelevant.

Don’t say dumb things on purpose to provide content for my blog, I have enough material already. Thanks!

Seriously. What do you expect me to say to that? ‘Atta boy!’?! *Response to my 6th grader when he proudly announced how cool it was to ride his bike downhill with no hands.* He actually said, “Mom! I’m telling you. NO HANDS!”

“We are not equals. I also gave birth to two children. Would you like to do that too?” Response to my 6th grader’s protest when I asked him to leave the computer, “How come you get to be on your computer?”

If testicles are so important, how come evolution hasn’t done something to protect them, like grow a rib-cage-like thing around them?

I was telling my 14 yo that I don’t require him to date Asian girls. (I just thought I should make it clear seeing all the brouhaha about Asian Dads and Tiger Moms…) He threw his hands up in the air and said, “Mom, I know! The only dating advice I’ve got from you is ‘It’s ok to be gay. I will love you just the same’!!!”

My job is to set boundaries. Your job is to push the boundaries and see how far you could get. Our job is to find a sweet spot together. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we don’t. When we don’t, the boundary I set stays. You won’t like it and I am ok with it.

My one hope for you wrt. your career path when you grow up is that you have a job that makes you wake up every morning and you can’t wait to go to work.

“Being bone-tired isn’t a bad thing when there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing.” – Chef Daniel Boulud, as quoted in Wired.


Things that make sense if you don’t think about it…

Husb: “Do you think you are a MILF?” Me: “I believe I am disqualified when my own husband does not nominate me.”

Lowered expectations make a more optimistic person.  Or rather, the pessimists are in fact the most optimistic amongst us.

I expect the world sucks, and when it does not, I am always pleasantly surprised. Same as people.

Midlife crisis: Others bought cars. I started a blog.

Do we really need 3D movies and TVs? Isn’t real life 3D enough?



Turns out my youngest child is sometimes most of the time wiser than I am…  I shall dub him Mr. Monk:

Ah, Friday. The day we compare all the other days to and find them not as good. 0913

Older brother, [talking about digital drawing] “… so I just filled the character with skin color…” My youngest, “Did you really just say ‘skin color’? What are you? A racist?!” 0813

I yelled, “Just stop doing everything!” out of frustration. “Mom, it’s a paradox. If I stop doing everything, I will die. Dying IS doing something.” 1212

After I complained about his mad science experiment by suggesting, “Why don’t you set ants on fire like normal kids?” he said, “Do you want me to grow up to be a scientist or a serial killer?” 1112

Argh. I know too much about politics! (He’s not even 10) 1012 For a while I did not put my head on the pillow when I went to bed. One day I used the pillow, and I was like, “Oh my god. What have I been missing all these years?” 1211

I think Kazoos are like cigarettes: You hold them the same way [Never mind how he knows that!] and they are both addicting. The only way to stop the addiction is to not have one in your hand. 1211

You don’t have to be aggressive to be progressive. (Out of nowhere over a bowl of ice cream) 0811

“Mom! Come watch this so you can learn to be a good mother! You know, so you know how to talk like a good mother!” For the record, they were watching Everybody Hates Chris. 0311

“I know how to take pictures with my mind! You just open your eyes, look at the stuff, then you quickly close your eyes and keep them shut.” 0311‎

As he frantically shoved boxes of “movie theatre candy” into my purse before we left for the movie, Mr. Monk said to no one in particular, “You know why a man marries a woman? Just so he has someone else to carry his stuff.” 0311

Humans are so spoiled! 0710

If television wants to show Japanese cartoons, why don’t they show something good like Doraemon? 0510

When I turn 21, would you buy me a beer? Like, my first beer, ok?… Wait. Ok. I’d better remind you again 12 years from now. 0310

“You know what’s ironic about the Karate Kid movie?” He was referring to the 2010 edition with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. “He is learning Karate in CHINA?!” 0210

As an update to the lovely Valentine’s Day card he made us, Mr. Monk elaborated, “I could also say ‘No matter how unattractive you are, I still love you.'” I have a truth seeker on my hand. 0210

After my veiled-snide response “Well, I wish I were Queen of the Universe but I can’t” to his “I really wish I could…” passive-aggressive attempt (atta boy! Take after your mother!), Mr Monk said, “Queen of the Universe? I don’t want you to be Queen of the Universe. Then you’d be too busy taking care of the universe!” 0110

This is my revolution: doing the dishes will be my job from now on! … (While doing the dishes) Ah. It is nice to have a revolution! 0110

“Pray for what you want. Work for what you need.” That’s what my fortune cookie said. 1209

The worst part about being an adult is having to deal with us children, Mr. Monk said matter-of-fact-ly. 1109

Coffee makes grown-ups better.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Naptimewriting September 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm

“Don’t tell me how difficult your brother is. Don’t you think I know that?”

I said this last week and thought I was terrible. Now I know I’m walking in the Zen footsteps of Greatness.

Now. Our award for Most Overeducated Laugh of the Week:
“…the picture is rooted in a racist history of Hollywood films. But GODDAMNIT, it’s a fucking dragon. Look!”
Naptimewriting recently posted…A Whole New WorldMy Profile


Absence Alternatives September 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm

LOL. You are best!


Ameena April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

I think you are far wiser than Confucius…especially since you also know that while welcomed, others’ opinions are irrelevant.

Brilliant page…really, just brilliant!
Ameena recently posted…it’s the principle…or is itMy Profile


Absence Alternatives April 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Thank you m’lady. *blush*


cardiogirl March 8, 2011 at 3:08 am

Oy. We tangle with this one. All.The.Time:

Don’t tell me I can’t be on the Internet because I told you to get off the Internet. I am not in school any more. You are!

Damn straight, I did my time in school and I PAID FOR THE COMPUTER! I don’t actually say that but I do scream it in my head. Nice list!
cardiogirl recently posted…I can’t sell it for publication but at least I’m not living in a shoe boxMy Profile


Absence Alternatives March 8, 2011 at 7:44 am

Thanks! Oh it just gets worse. I have to remind my oldest on a regular basis that we are NOT equals. And whenever I say that, I think to myself, “Great. Now I am becoming the kind of tyrannical parents that I vowed not to be…”


Cassondra December 14, 2010 at 9:56 am

Can I beg/borrow/steal your house rules? I want to cross stich them on a piece of cloth, frame them, and hang them on my wall.


Absence Alternatives December 14, 2010 at 10:17 am

LOL. Thanks! 😉 Please go ahead. I do think cross stitching is undervalued. Every home should display the Law of the Family such! (In some Chinese families, the Law refers to that big giant stick used to whack children… Ha)


Sandra June 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

We got the ” Gee Bok Tung” ( with the chicken feathers) my kid’s and grandkids know about this and haven’t had the experiennce yet. My Mom is from the CHINA and is a (FOB) not like her relatives who are (FOP’S). I appreciate yur Blog!!!!


Absence Alternatives June 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thank you so much!!!


Kelley November 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Hopping over from Studio Thirty Plus! I can tell I am going to like your blog… I like that internet part. Feeling guilty that I’m on it right now while my little dude is watching Peter Pan, but…I am the mother, right?? I need to read your list over and over!


Absence Alternatives November 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Don’t let them make you feel guilty. Guilt-tripping is our prerogative as mothers! You don’t go through labor pains without gaining anything. 😉


Wicked Shawn March 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Love is not shown or given by standing watch at the end, it is shown and given during the quiet times, when you share the precious memories of her with your boys. When you remember her beauty and grace and the lessons she taught you and let them guide you through decisions you make in life.
I am so sorry for your loss, love. I will raise my glass to you and your Aunt tonight at exactly 10pm Eastern time. In celebration of a woman who was there for you when you needed, who helped to shape someone who is a bright spot in this world. 😉


JennyMac March 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

“Don’t tell me how difficult your brother is. Don’t you think I know that?”
HAHA. I want to get some wine and come over to your house just to hear the conversation. I also loved the exchange regarding the internet. LOL.


Terresa Wellborn February 9, 2010 at 12:16 am

The list of “Things I said to my kids…” is brilliant! I’m loving your blog, humor, wit and secret identity…


Absence Alternatives February 9, 2010 at 6:56 am

Thank you so much! Thank you for visiting and commenting. 🙂 I am dealing with preteen crisis now so am MIA. I will be back tomorrow with a guest post for WTF Wednesday! 😉


Andrea November 19, 2009 at 6:55 pm

My seven-year-old son has some wisdom he shares with me:

“Wine makes you whine.”

It’s true. Feel free to add it to the list. 😉


Absence Alternatives November 19, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I love it. LOL. I will do so. May I use his name (from your blog) to give him proper credit?


Yuko (emma_zero) November 18, 2009 at 9:45 am

You make me laugh, as always. You have such a wonderful talent to express your poignant point of view.

People often say to me when I pour my soul out about what I see wrong in the world, “Why bring it up? That’s just the way it is. Live with it. Everyone does.” And I disagree. I expect the world to be a better place, and that’s precisely the reason why I need to point out what is wrong.


Absence Alternatives November 18, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Thanks for the very kind words. I am glad you got the humor. I am cynical and naive at the same time. I think being “nameless” on here enables me to call a spade a spade. Thank goodness for Al Gore, right?


Absence Alternatives November 10, 2009 at 5:28 am

@ Falling
Agree I do. (Does that sound like something Yoda would say?) Seriously though, through your work, you must have seen true instances of pains and sufferings, without being an optimist deep down somewhere inside your heart, I doubt you’d be able to continue: you’ve got to believe that what you do matters (by the way, it DOES!) “Throw one starfish back into the ocean one at a time and such shit” as you said in one of your posts, eh?


Falling November 10, 2009 at 1:24 am

Re: the optimist/pessimist thing. My husband keeps telling me that my constant worrying makes me a pessimist. I maintain that the fact that I see the world as such a dangerous place AND continue to go out and partake of it actually makes me the ultimate optimist.

What say you, Zen master?


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge