14 January 2011

Stability or stagnancy?

Last weekend, we welcomed a new microwave into our home because its predecessor experienced a slow, painful death.  And I'm no spendthrift.  I don't enjoy parting with money...unless it's an absolutely necessary, utilitarian item.  But I took comfort in knowing that our recently departed oven rendered 9 years of wonderful service.  And at that realization, I was in shock.  It meant that I have lived in this house for a longer span than I have lived anywhere else in my entire life.

My upbringing could be characterized as mobile, to say the least.  I switched countries; I transferred coasts; I moved from house to apartment and back again.  And let me tell you, an only child with natural tendencies toward solitude does not fare so well having to maneuver rapidly changing social scapes!  I imagine most people who know me now think that I'm rather outgoing but the truth is that I've learned to mask the shyness and hide the knots in my stomach when I encounter novel social situations.

Now I have what I have always wanted: roots.  I've made true and trustworthy friends in my neighborhood and I feel safe in relying upon their friendship.  And this house, this rundown, broken house, how I love this house--how I love this home!

I've met a lot of people who have what my mother always termed wandering feet.  They're the ones who don't want to be tied down--to be anchored.  They want to venture; they want AD-venture.  So it makes me wonder if this gift of roots that I've given my children will be interpreted less as stability and more as stifling.  I wonder if this mundane existence to which I'm so attached will be interpreted by the boys with disdain as limiting.

As usual, unrelated photos:

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06 January 2011

On the diagnosis of race

Okay, so here's the thing.  People are curious and they are naturally inclined to label and categorize, and none of that indicates the relative goodness of a person in either direction.  I get it.  I really, really do.  But, you know, I get a little tired of it sometimes.

All four of us were eating out recently when the waitress pointed to both of the boys and asked plainly of James, "Are they both yours?"

Really?  No, c'mon...really?

It was clear she was referring to biological heritage, and James was probably too shocked by the audacity of it all to be offended so he answered just as plainly as he was asked, "Of course."

The exchange didn't just rub me the wrong way because she supposed a wayward sexual history on my part (or maybe she didn't assume that I had been unfaithful but that I had had a child with a previous partner?), it also rubbed me the wrong way because whether a child belongs to a family isn't necessarily a matter of biology.  We are close to too many families who have adopted the loveliest souls into their hearts and homes for such assumptions not to rub me the wrong way.

For the less casual observer, we present even more convoluted evidence than the kids' divergent physical traits.  Our family actually has my last name.  So those who know A1's last name is the same as mine--a common Vietnamese name of the Smith or Jones variety--are easily confused.  I cornered two families, one from A1's preschool and one in his Kindergarten into admitting that they'd wondered about his origins as he doesn't appear to be of mixed race to the untrained eye.  Yes, it was all in good fun and humor...but what happens when he grows up and internalizes the message that he doesn't look as if it belong in our family because he's not mixed enough?

Obligatory, unrelated photos:

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I love this one...it really demonstrates that A2 is both charmed and charming.  Poor A1 in the background, unintentionally out of focus and unhappily pulling grass bits out of his mouth!DSC_1470


Look carefully...there's a child rolling downward amongst those leaves!
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I don't know what's going here, but they're clearly happy, so it gets posted!
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02 January 2011

Shattering shame

There are a few things that I love, but to which I rarely admit.  This post serves the dual purpose of meeting my New Year's resolution to write more and of outing myself, as it were, in order to negate the secrecy component of my shame.  And without secrecy, how much power does the shame have over me?  Not that much, I say!

1. Grey's Anatomy: There's really no way around all the melodrama and rapidly changing love interests other than to describe this show as a soap opera, pure and simple.  So I say to those who would roll their eyes at me, "Fine, that's just fine.  You roll your eyes and I'll keep mine glued to the screen every week when this captivating piece of television airs!"

2.  Diddy: Yes, the Sean Combs variety.  What can I say, he's dapper in a suit, his business acumen has yielded a formidable financial empire, and he certainly knows his way around a music studio (more as a producer than a performer, but that's not so relevant).  

3. Prime lenses: Okay, so that's not much of a secret that I want photography gear.  But I'm still ashamed of my coveting ways.  The 24mm I want runs $2,000 and the 85mm has nearly as hefty a pricetag at $1,700.  See?  The shame--it grips me with its cold bony fingers!

Okay, to distract you as quickly as I can from my peculiar preferences, I'll post some pics of the boys at our fave locale, the dry riverbed the wet river.  That last pic was snapped on my iPhone--that seems totally safe to take 2 little ones out to rushing waters, right?
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