SUBURBIA!! OH NOES!!!

As I mentioned before, I have been remiss in the posting of entries because I have been moving. Not only moving, but also trying to secure refinancing to renovate my old house before selling or renting it. Not to mention a whole bunch of other stuff.

Yay! So much fun!!

Okay, not really.

But, I would say about 90% of the items from my old place has been moved into the new one. Since we didn’t need to sell my house to buy our current abode, we have been able to transition gradually, but when I say US I mean mainly ME because I’m the one with the flexible schedule. John has been great as in transporting all the big furniture and getting things over to the dump and also securing the contractor to fix the house. If I had to do that as well, I think all the details would have bowled me over and driven me completely crazy. To be honest, I feel like that right now, even without the extra responsibilities. Like this:

Whut? Huh? Nonono!!

I have been moving all the little stuff, like books, clothes, kitchen utensils, pictures, shoes, office and office supplies, etc. etc. to the point that my lower back now hates me and I want to weep every time I traipse back to Baltimore to pack more belongings, five to six bags and boxes at a time.

However, things have calmed down somewhat recently to the point that I’ve been exploring my new Ellicott City/Woodstock neighborhood a bit and observing all the “wildlife” and nature around me, trying to identify  birds and trees and plants. I am pretty ignorant of such things, having always lived mainly in urban areas except for my time in boarding school. When I was there, I loved the large expanse of trees and farmland and being able to gaze out on acres and acres of stone houses and barns and romping around in fields and dreaming of one day potentially living in a lighthouse. I felt as if I could finally breathe and that I was free.

So I am growing to like the area around me. Even though our new place isn’t out on a whatever-acre plot and is in a townhouse community, the areas around us are open and you can see the sunlight through the leaves of the surrounding trees as they slightly undulate in the wind. It’s nice and I’m starting to kind of like it.

However, I am feeling the impact of the differences between Baltimore City and Howard County suburbia. As in, strangers here smile and wave at you. For no reason at all. Suddenly, I feel like I’m a New York City native that has been transported to, say, Milwaukee or Minneapolis where people are polite to the point that I give them the side-eye and consider them suspiciously and wonder what they want from me.

And everything is…perfect in our community. Grass is cut and trimmed, sidewalks and streets clean with no weeds growing out of the cracks between the pavers, no dog poop and scary mutant rats, no crowds of twenty-somethings rollicking by right after last-call from the local bars.

Also, we live right by a golf course. This is a view from one of our windows:

How beautiful and perfectly sculptured!

So when I’m home, either puttering around or working, I see – ALL DAY – a bunch of golf carts driven by passengers with immaculate collared shirts and khakis chatting about who knows what. They trot onto the hole and stretch and line up their shots and then slap each other on the backs and guffaw while enjoying the high life.

Okay, they’re not all like that. But that’s what I envision in my mind whenever I see them. And, guess what? I’m living amongst them! This boggles my mind, that I caved in or sold out and that I’m now an actual suburbanite with tee times and contemplating whether or not to belong to the local country club.

Don’t get me wrong, my family actually did all those things when I was growing up (not the suburbia part, but all the rest, including high tea with scones and formal functions for which I had to wear velvet dresses during winter and cotton ones with lace during summer, which I hated), but I fought to get away from it all so now it’s rather unsettling that I’m back in the midst of it.

But I’m not a kid anymore, nor a teen or even a young adult so I have been contemplating a lot of philosophical questions, such as perhaps it’s time for me to let go of a lot of my phobias and prejudices. I tend to hold tight onto things, for a lot longer than I need to; I am nostalgic and stubborn to the point that sometimes I get in my own way. Sometimes I throw up my own barriers. And I think this is one of those times as I have been enjoying my new life, my home, the surrounding trees and flowers, and (sometimes) the oddly cheerfulness of our neighbors.

Support to Baltimore From Me

Thankfully there were no fatalities that resulted from the underground steam pipe explosion that happened near Camden Yards yesterday evening. Although I do extend my warmest wishes and sympathies to those who were injured.

There is something about Camden Yards. It took me a while to get warmed up to it since I was around when Baltimore demolished Memorial Stadium. Sure, it was dilapidated and sad and not safe, but even though I wasn’t born and bred in Baltimore, there was something so…Baltimore about Memorial Stadium. It was plunked right down in a not-so-great neighborhood, but its very bricks seemed to have soaked in all those years of games, the excitement of kids, and smell of hot dogs. It screamed of the old-time stadiums, when although the seats you sat upon were uncomfortable and, let’s face it, the bathrooms appalling, it was all part and parcel to going to a baseball or football game.

I think I was among one of the last audiences to attend a game at Memorial Stadium. It was during pre-season for the Ravens, a training game, but it was still fun since at that point I hadn’t attended many (perhaps only one or two) professional athletic events at an actual stadium. My family wasn’t one for such entertainment; my mother preferred operas, ballets, and orchestral performances. So, for me, it was exciting.

The stadium was run down, the grass wasn’t even mowed because everybody knew that Memorial Stadium was going to be torn down soon so the city didn’t care about its maintenance. But there were still die-hards there, people who showed up simply because they knew that it was going to be the last chance that they could sit in those crumbling chairs and gaze out on what would probably, as future historians would like to view it, a venue to be studied and categorized.

Since then, however, I have come to love Camden Yards, even though I don’t visit it much and eschew the commercial peddling of beer and peanuts and everything else that has been labeled as part of the American baseball experience. It’s a great place and quite beautiful, especially when you’re looking out on an expanse of green, people, and the open sky lit up with bright lights.

Baltimore has its problems, to be sure, and we have had issues with the infrastructure under our city, with its previous sewer systems and yet to be discovered caverns and collapsed old building structures due to fires and development. It’s something that we will probably continue to struggle with since we are near a bay and everything in the city slopes downwards, but there is not much we can do about it in the short-term unless we discover a deposit of Spanish doubloons somewhere the city can claim.

On behalf of Baltimoreans, or perhaps just me, I apologize that there were injuries due to whatever the issue was. We are trying, we really are. But thank you for continuing to visit our city and Camden Yards and I hope all those injured in the explosion last night recover well. Please continue to come see all of us in Baltimore.

Lack of Trump and US Political Commentary

WTF is going on?!!?

I have held back on my blog. A LOT. From any commentary regarding President Trump and US political machinations. And you know why? Because I am completely, utterly confused and bewildered about what is going on in our country.

I’m not sure anymore what is happening or what will transpire; what is true and what is not as well as what is propaganda and what is serious journalism. All I want to do at this point in my life is burrow under the covers of my bed and wait until the next election until it is ALL OVER and I can peek out and decide whether or not to stress about the state of affairs for another four years. Really.

Right now, this is me:

Just…just leave me alone.

I’ve been hearing a lot of opinions, how people want to impeach President Trump and how others don’t. For me, I am just tired, simply tired, of everything Trump related. I live in Maryland. If whatever our president does gets us annihilated (i.e. North Korea), I’m pretty much in the epicenter anyway. If we get nuked, I’ll be dead and my stance on all things political will come to naught so I prefer to take my time espousing on my other thoughts and musings.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not a popular position to take, but I’m just done. DONE. No marches, no signs, no nothing. Sorry.

I think our president is unqualified for the position he has undertaken. I don’t agree with his views on minorities and women. He rarely forms a coherent argument or point of view when he speaks and it pains me. So, I think he’s a wee bit stupid. I mean, don’t blame it on his age. He just turned 71, but my mother is about the same age and she’s brilliant. Smarter than I am, to be sure.

When it comes to governing, maybe in even a simple way, I think our president sucks. There. I’ve said it.

And, yes, like everyone else, I hate his tweets. He’s not a teenage girl who we can forgive when he resorts to lashing out on his cell phone. I mean, have some class, guy! Show some restraint, some gravitas. You owe it to the office the nation elected you to, right? You are not a tween. Just, please, stop.

But with his tweets and all this craziness about the Russian investigation, I don’t know. I am like the bunny who just wants to roll over and into a safe haven somewhere waiting for all this insanity to pass.

Whole Foods, You Caved to Amazon?!!? Just Don’t Take the Soup Away!!!

SOUP IS ALWAYS YUMMY!!

I always said that Amazon was going to rule the world one day. And here they are, buying Whole Foods. Why? I dunno. I’m sure I can come up with my personal hypothesis as to this strategic move since they are entering the whole “Prime Pantry” and “Amazon Food Delivery” sectors, but…it’s Whole Foods. Leave it alone!!

The one protest I have about this is that I would love it if Whole Foods doesn’t change their soup recipes too much. I am a lover of soup. I don’t know why, except that perhaps I am the world’s slowest eater with the smallest appetite and soup is comforting and easy to chow down on.

I told my boyfriend that I am very atypical when it comes to eating. As an Asian, I mean, because per a previous entry I guess I’m not 100% Asian and at this point in the learning of my family genetics, perhaps I am about only 50%, so maybe it’s not surprising. As a race, Asians love to eat. If we had  our choice, all Asians would simply sit down and eat and drink and talk all day at a big table with a bunch of their friends. While mysteriously making money while eating.

I, on the other hand, eat very slowly (I also don’t have that many friends, so it would be a small table). I am the slowest eater I know. I can take one meal and struggle through it all day and not finish it. It’s gotten even worse the past few years. I have to force myself to eat food; it’s not that I don’t crave anything, I watch Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and other similar shows and want everything I see on screen but then when it comes to the actual sitting down and consuming of food…it’s difficult. I’ll eat a few bites and then just sit there, looking sadly down at the rest of the food. I don’t know why, except that perhaps my mother forced me to finish my meal when I was younger, every single piece of whatever it was on my plate.

You do NOT even know how delicious these things are. They are these Chinese, beef-filled fried dumpling thingies. Sigh…

I was extremely skinny when I was a kid. So much so that the school called up my mother one day and asked if my family needed financial assistance in food subsidies to help feed me since the nurse thought I may be malnourished.

This sent my mother into a frenzy as the last thing she wanted anyone to think was that she was maltreating her daughters due to lack of financial resources. But there I was, all thin arms and legs, so she decided to fatten me up.

We had a nanny who was assigned to me to ensure that I ate every scrap of food I was given. This started around the age I was six. There were evenings when I sat there all night, four to five hours, just staring down into my bowl or at my plate and I still remember how my nanny used to plead, “Please just finish it, please just take a few more bites.”

I would try because she would almost be crying; a grown woman sitting there with a little girl, hour after hour, looking at a congealing sop of soup or rice or whatever else it was. I’m not sure now why she didn’t cheat, why she didn’t throw the food away, but I guess she had some sense of honor.

I felt really bad for her so I pushed through, even though it took me forever. I did, because if someone is basically shedding tears in order to be free of her duties and that stupid, stupid dinner table based solely on something you alone can do, wouldn’t you do it? You would. I did. But I think it scarred me for life, all those nights being forced to eat all the food that was put in front of me.

So one of the easiest meal choices for me is usually soup. And Whole Foods actually has great soup. I sincerely hope that they don’t fuck it up and make them all goopy and fatty and gross because most of their recipes…are actually pretty yummy. And take it from me, from someone who needs to be enticed to eat, their soup is pretty good for a grocery store chain. Whole Foods…don’t give in!!

Regarding My Racial Makeup

I’ve been assumed to be many of various races. To date, I’ve been taken for:

  • Eurasian (this is what I am seen as primarily, by people who notice such things)
  • Native American
  • Filipino
  • Hawaiian
  • Part Indian (from the country of India, not Native American)
  • Eskimo/Inuit

The fact of the matter is, people, that I’m American. I am a mix of a whole bunch of things, which my mother kept secret for a long time. She couldn’t hide the fact that my sister and I were a mix of something after I was born; my sister is older, but she takes after my mother and looks a lot more Asian.

I, on the other hand, appeared and there I was! Obviously not 100% Asian! In case you don’t know this already, Asians are very sensitive to the physical characteristics of other Asians in order to place them into specific categories (Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Vietnamese?). I’m not sure why, but there you go. It’s simply a cultural thing that you can’t get away from. During orientation week at Hopkins, a whole group of Filipinos came up to me and asked, “Do you speak Tagalog?”

“No,” I responded. “I’m, um, not Filipino.” Then they were like huh, okay. And walked away. That was it. I was not part of the team, apparently. That’s how it can be like; you can be ostracized or cut off at an instant because you don’t pass the DNA test.

I have a whole bunch of other similar stories, most of which include people assuming right off the bat that I’m half Caucasian. It’s not an insult to me in any way, it was more always amusing because I never thought I looked THAT mixed, just somewhat.

But, let me remind you that many people (unfortunately) still judge on race. I don’t know why and never will. I’m just not built that way; I have friends of various races and sexual orientations.

In my opinion, if a person is good and true, that’s all that really matters, right? And if they stand fast by me and I connect with them to the level that I will lay down my life for them and vice versa, what else really matters?

Anyway, this is what I’ve been told that I am comprised of (to-date, because who knows what else will be disclosed!):

  • Chinese
  • Taiwanese
  • Dutch
  • Korean
  • Possibly Japanese
  • Iranian
  • Turkish
  • Mongolian
  • Possibly Russian
  • Possibly Spanish
  • And, finally, “We are not sure on your father’s side, because he was South Pacific Islander”

All the “possibles” added to the “definites” may actually add up to a total of me being 50% non-Asian, which has been a shock to me. I knew about my Dutch lineage, but all the other information has been disclosed only recently by my mother. It explains my somewhat wavy and frizzy hair as well as some of my other physical characteristics, but I’m still kind of adjusting to the fact that I may not be as “Asian” as I thought.

And Dutch is way up there, as in that I am 1/16th Dutch, which doesn’t sound like a lot…but I was always told that I was “part Dutch, way back in your ancestral lineage” which was a translation to me of “1/100th Dutch way back when!!”. And, I mean, when I think about the Dutch, I envision blonde hair, blue eyes, pointy wooden shoes, and windmills. And cheese.

But a whole lot of things do make sense to me now, such as when my mother told me not to be surprised if I had children who had blue eyes. She always referred back to her own background. All she said was maybe because “You are possibly part Russian, that happens with Mongolians all the time! Blue eyes!” when I asked her why. But no. It was the Dutch thing. Combined with the Russian thing. And all the other things.

Am I bothered by these disclosures? Somewhat. Just because I was never informed of them and that it kind of changes my perspective somewhat. As in, that’s why a bunch of people always asked me about my racial makeup when I thought it should be apparent. But I guess they were in the right and I was in the…ignorant? And also, I suddenly have an entire history of peoples to enfold into my understanding of who I am. It’s a huge consideration and puzzle to ponder over.

My mother had me when she was older so she comes from a generation that I can understand may be intolerant or ashamed of having mixed DNA. In this day and age, I think (hope) that we are much more accepting or, actually, cavalier of the fact. Especially here in the States where, let’s face it, we are pretty much all mutts.

Which is a good thing, right? I mean, I had many dogs growing up and the muttiest and rattiest always seemed to survive the longest. They were the toughest and scrappiest. So that’s not such a bad thing.

So I guess this is a shout out to all my mixed, mashed, fellow Americans and people of other nationalities. We are here to stay!!

On Immortality

Anyone who is close to me will tell you that my biggest fear is death. I don’t think that it’s uncommon, although people seem to think that it is. I’m not sure why. I mean, our species survived specifically due to the fact that we tried to avoid death, correct? But there is a whole bunch of New Agey crap out there about “being one with the energy of the universe and accepting fate”, etc. Fuck that. At least that’s what I think. I will fight to the very last because as tough as life has been for me, I’ve invested way too much into it to give up now. Or later, at any point.

I will be one of those crotchety old women where people will say to each other, “Will she die ALREADY?” and I’ll think to myself, no way, not until I have to!!

It’s similar to buying and fixing up a car that is so old or random that you can’t easily find parts anymore and people tell you, “Give it up! The car’s not that cool anyway!!” and you know that in your mind, the logical part of it, they are correct, but your stubborn self refuses to cave in.

So, yes. My main fear is death. To clarify: MY death. It sucks in that it will happen eventually, but it’s a positive in that I don’t have arachnophobia or something similar involving creatures that I actually may come across in my everyday life. As for other people’s deaths…I already have severe abandonment issues so I lump them into that category. I illogically and unfairly blame them for dying and leaving me. Hey, I never said I was 1) nice or 2) a complete humanitarian, but at least I’m pretty aware of my faults (of which I have many, I admit).

This fear of mine surfaced when I was about eight or ten. I made it my mission to read every single book in the elementary school library. Sounds great, right?!!? No. Because then I came across a medical textbook, which I checked out, that detailed the various ways the vital organs in our bodies could fail. There were diagrams and everything. I brought it to my mother and showed her a page.

So imagine this, people. Before I had the sex talk with my mother, I had the death talk.

“So…people die from being sick, not just old?” I asked.

“Yes, everyone dies, sooner or later, from something.” She responded.

“And what if I die in an accident with lots of people?” I asked. “How are you going to know it’s me so you can take me home and bury me?”

“You have very specific birthmarks. I will know it’s you.” (Yes. She said this.)

“And then I’m not going to exist?”

My mother says she is an atheist, but I think she’s more like me: an agnostic, if you want to apply a label, but someone who believes that us mere mortals are not able to define a celestial entity in a dictionary-bound definition.

She went on to explain that we may exist in some other way, on another “plane” is how she put it, but that didn’t assuage me. Not at all. But then she said something that I remember and – as morbid as it is – hold close to my heart to this day.

“When you die,” she said, “I will come to you and we will go together.”

“Do you promise?” I asked.

“Yes.” She said.

My mother gives my sister and me a lot of odd, contracting data about our ancestral background. She alters the past in what we’ve said or done to her benefit. She did and continues to do a lot of things that are negative and non-maternal. But she has never gone back on a promise. So it was, in a way, comforting, to hear those words.

It’s not that I want to live forever. I don’t think that I want to be immortal. Because I can be very literal, I imagine myself floating on a tiny remnant of the planet after our sun has gone supernova, being all alone in cold space. FOREVER. No. That sounds like torture.

It’s more that…I want to know how everything turns out. How we as humans, evolve. Do we make it off Earth? Do we expand into space? Will we achieve some type of peace? When will we encounter extraterrestrial beings? How will that unfold? Will they be kind? Will all our races actually eventually merge into one? Will we physically continue to evolve and achieve a new physiological wonder other than opposable thumbs?

These are the type of thoughts that run through my head. Yes, it’s maddening, but what I can I say? They are there and I am me, and there’s really nothing I can do about it short of getting a lobotomy.

I kind of hate that I won’t know. It’s like starting a book and not being able to read the final chapter.

So I really do hope, as my mother said, that there is another plane after this one and that I will be able to witness what happens to the human race. And I still believe, in my childish heart, that when I pass from this stage to the next, that she will be standing there to take my hand.