Thursday, 28 February 2013


Did you ever play the computer game The Sims?

If you didn't, no great loss. It's kind of like real life (Sims get jobs, go swimming, occasionally burn down the kitchen, etc), but more boring. They speak in a weird language, are wholly incapable of doing anything for themselves, and seem to not possess an ounce of common sense.

They are sort of like young children, in that way.

They also live in a crazy, fast-forward version of time. An hour of real life time is about a week in Sims world (or... something... I don't actually remember). It's super, super fast. As soon as you have finally fed your Sim breakfast, it's almost dinner time. It's all you can do to keep them fed, rested, and toileted. It really is an uphill battle. There's no time for work, no time for hobbies, it's just a grind to keep that little floating diamond even partially green.

(If you've never played Sims, I've lost you. But just go with me on this.)

More and more I'm feeling like I'm living in Sims Time. It's an alternate reality where I'm always short on time and just struggling to keep everyone fed and rested. Homework done is a necessity, hobbies are secondary. Extra credit if there's time for something fun.

We're living in Sims time here, folks. Let's keep it movin'.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Xanga Memoirs

A window into my world at age 16. Watch out, it's treacherous. I chose the entries carefully, so that you wouldn't think I was TOO crazy at age 16. Unfortunately, I think that's unavoidable. Still, when Kathy suggested posting a week's worth of entries "as if we were 16" for a Writer's Workshop challenge, it made me realise... I have a week's worth of entries from when I was 16. On Xanga! Oh, 16. 

June 5, 2003

ARGH what a birthday. A chinese exam AND the worst maths exam I have had in my entire LIFE. Maybe I can go live somewhere where maths isn't my bed? I could live there with the demon who will reach out and grab my ankle if I don't jump into bed fast enough.
Well, anywhere where maths is unnecessary. I'm not picky.
Happy Birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday dear Blythe
Happy birthday to me
Isn't it scary that I'm 16 years old??? AHHHHHHHHH I should be, like, a rebel or something! But seriously. 16 sounds ancient. I've got one foot in the grave! I'll soon need a cane, I expect.
To all who had to take the exams, I hope they were better for you than they were for me

October 13, 2003
Hello, my friends,
Oh. My. God. How is it that we should be thinking about college this early? WHY AM I THINKING ABOUT COLLEGE? It seems that getting into a university or college is extremely competitive and one needs to be very involved in school, have good grades, etc. I guess International Award is a good choice, then? It would seem so. But what I want to know is- how do people choose a college? I mean, in America alone there are literally hundreds of universities and colleges. I’m thinking liberal arts college, and then on to graduate school, to focus on a more specific subject for a career. Anybody know of MacalesterCollege? It’s in St PaulMinnesota, and sounds really good. Any opinions, let me know.
college/university sounds quite interesting, but very stressful to get in to!! And I’m still stuck on how one narrows down one’s choices. I mean, especially if you aren’t that influenced by location- what if you are just as interested in East coast schools as west coast schools, etc? HOW COME WE DON’T LEARN THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL? I’ve got a list of about a million different universities and colleges, I guess I might as well take a quick look at many of them.
Or just start with the liberal arts colleges.
Wish me luck, everybody!

November 10, 2003
Hi again.
I just remembered, having read my friend's site, that we have a fricking debate today. and I am debating against fricking coca cola. And I fricking want fricking coca cola at our fricking school.
I hope the other fricking side wins.
Isn't fricking the coolest word EVER?
I think so.
Anyways, at least try to appreciate that I'm having a hard time getting my head round this idea of a debate.
Ermm... what was I going to say? Oh yeah, auditions. well we had auditions for the high school production of "Little Shop of Horrors" yesterday, and it was dead freaky. LOL and like three out of the five people that were there when I was read the exact same lines I was reading for my audition. Hahaha! Oh well! I guess we'll see what comes of it. Hope I get a part though.
Anyways, talk to you later

March 05, 2004
hello blythe's avid fans!
this is anna. she is packing for the ia walk, and so ive hijacked her computerbot and writing a xanga entry for her
but i have not anything to say. blythe does tho. she says : "im hiding my laundry" (while applying foundation)
don't ask me...i'm just the undertaker.
ok well we must be off to eat lovely thai food at thai heaven muahahhahahahaha yumyum coconut chicken..........
okiedokie. blythe just told me she will get mad if i get more comments than she does on her other entries, so let's make her fuming so we can boil water and have a cuppa on her head.
im nto making sense any more so im going to go
and a word from blythe:" is that blended"?
luv anna

Saturday, 23 February 2013

As Long as we Both Shall Live

It's hard to make friends after college.

It's so easy when you're in school-- you see the same people every day for weeks, and so you can gradually transition from, "Can I borrow a pencil?" to "How was your weekend?" to "Want to get lunch [at the dining hall]?" and so on. Eventually, you are BFFs who can't exist without each other. That is just the way it goes, and that whole progression takes about 2.4 seconds.

Ok, sometimes it takes somewhat longer than that, but it is a very natural series of interactions.

Not so, after college.

Post-college, making friends becomes (1) a challenge and (2) surprisingly stressful. I think the mind games (at least that I play with myself) are every bit as intense as the dating-related mind games. Hoping someone will want to be your friend is even more stressful, I think. After all, if someone doesn't want to date you... fair enough. Maybe the person is not single, or maybe not looking for a relationship. But if someone doesn't want to be your friend? No way around that-- that's personal.

No one says, "Oh, no, you seem great. It's just... I have a friend already, you know?"

If you extend an offer of friendship and are declined, well, that just kind of sucks.

So the dance is very intricate, in order to avoid exactly that scenario. At some point in the "casual" conversations, it is possible to begin to glean if maybe this other person might possibly be interested in a friendship. Maybe.

Then, cautiously, you can extend an invitation to take your friendship a step farther. Coffee, perhaps. A drink? Lunch, if you are daring.

Hold your breath in anticipation, but try to look super relaxed. Maybe, even if she turns you down, it's just because she's busy.

Or maybe because she hates you and never wants to spend time with you ever no matter what. That is an equally likely possibility.

 The level of energy that can go into this is immense.

Want to go get a cup of coffee as long as we both shall live?*

*Many thanks to Twirl for her way of phrasing this. I laughed for about half an hour, and continue to chuckle whenever I think of this. So awkward. So. True.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Teenage Mutant (Ninja Turtle)

I lost the front seat of my car on Wednesday. It was a wonderful storage place for my coat, library books, bag... It was a great place, that front seat. And now, it's gone.

Or not gone, I suppose, so much as Occupied.

In the state of Washington, one is legally allowed to ride in the front seat of the car when one is 13.

And Clover is.

I find this to be a level of Shocking that I have not previously experienced. Though I am somehow surprised by their new ages every year, this year has really caught me off-guard. Thirteen. A teenager. Oy.

We made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake for her birthday.

"Get it, Dad? Get it?" she asked. "Teenage mutant ninja turtle?"
He smiled and nodded at her. "Yep, I get it."
"Get it, K? Get it?" I asked. "Teenage Mutant?"
He laughed. He got it.

She has her teenage mutant moments, of course. We all went through that, some more (or less) gracefully than others.

Those moments, though, are not the important ones. Those are not the ones I'll be remembering.

Instead, I'll be remembering her pulling back her hair with a grin, to reveal her newly pierced ears.
I'll be remembering her (sometimes outrageous) experiments with make up.
Her enthusiasm for new adventures.
Her emerging responsibility and independence.
Her sense of humour.

I have very fond memories of her earlier years, but I have equally wonderful memories of the past year-- and I have no doubt that 13 will bring much love, laughter, and fun.

So bring it on, teenage mutant. I'm excited for all of it.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Two Digits

It passes quickly, you know. Each year, one month flows into the next. The children get incrementally taller, stronger, funnier. I rarely stop to think about it until another birthday shows up.

This year, it's 10. Ten! Two digits. Ten years. One hundred and twenty months. Five hundred twenty weeks.  That's actually quite a bit of life experience, right there. There's a lot more to be had, of course, but it's enough for some things. Ten years. Wow. 

It's enough to know that Sour Patch Kids are the best candy

It's enough to know that you should keep your elbows off the table (even though that's really hard). 

It's enough to know that superheros are great, especially if they are Marvel superheros, but that they ain't got nothin' on airsoft guns (sigh). 

It's enough to know that science and PE are fun, that social studies can be really interesting (or really NOT), and that long division is hard (but can be done).

 It's enough to know that good things happen, and so do bad things, and that, actually, a lot of these things will work themselves out with time.

It's enough to know that turning up the music in the car, and singing along, is a great form of stress relief.

It's young enough to not care about ice cream dripping down your arm, or smudges on your shirt.

It's old enough to worry about being on time, but only for certain things.

It's old enough to mostly remember your homework and library books, to mostly create and/or follow a to do list. 

It's enough to you know that you are loved, and that there are many good adventures to be had.

It's enough. And it's wonderful.

Happy Birthday, Neptune.

Friday, 15 February 2013

People First Language

In case you have not jumped on the "People First Language" band wagon, I want to invite you to climb aboard.

I would like to invite you to refer to people not as their diagnoses, but as themselves.

I would like to encourage you to think of people, not labels.

Glitter is a young woman with a developmental delay, not a Developmentally Delayed Woman.

That child, over there? He is a child with an autism spectrum disorder. He is not an Autistic Child.

I would like to demand, in fact, that you think of the people first.

**And yes, of course, thinking of the people first means calling people what they wish to be called. And if that isn't People First Language, it is still "people first language," if ya know what I mean.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Really, I do this to myself

My life would be easier, you know, if I didn't care so much. I care about people, animals, punctuality, grammar, the environment, my job, the people related to my job, academics.... it goes on and on.

But really, you know what would make my life way, way easier?

If I just didn't give a damn about holidays.

Think about it. No holidays. No themed decorations or dinners, no festive songs, no cards, no gifts.

It's easier, it's cheaper, it's... sadder.

And so, despite the expense, the frivolity, the time (oh god, the time), I carry on. I embrace the holidays. And it works, actually, really well. Most of the time. I have time to give all of my energies to Christmas (we decorated! we sang! we visited lights and gingerbread houses!), Hanukkah (homemade candles! I even learned a prayer!), Easter (egg hunt!), Passover (plagues made out of ShrinkyDinks!)(yeah, ok, that one is weird). And then. just when I'm recovering from the December holidays... it hits.


Oh man, guys. February. The entire K family has birthdays that fall within one week of each other. One week. It's birthday week! Clover and A even share a birthday. That's how ridiculous this is. And, oh hey, it's also the same week as Valentine's day! And this year, it's also the same week as Chinese New Year!

And, because the elementary school is great, family night at book fair is ALSO during that week, and we couldn't possibly miss that now could we? 

And so, our week looks like this:

Monday: Family night at book fair
Tuesday: Chinese New Year celebration (And yeah, ok, technically CNY is Sunday. But I don't work on Sundays. And Monday is already taken up with book fair. And there is no way I am not celebrating this with the children.)
Wednesday: Clover and A's birthday
Thursday: Valentine's Day
Friday: Neptune's pre-birthday (they will be out of town on his actual birthday, so we are celebrating a bit early)

And ok, yeah, I could just not celebrate CNY.

Or, I guess, we don't actually need a themed dinner and homemade Valentines.

And, well, yes, Neptune's birthday isn't actually until Monday, and we could celebrate when he gets back. Except, you know, I gave him the choice. And he chose Friday.

So I'm pulling out my apron, my heart cookie cutters, tulle, glitter, calligraphy brushes, and red envelopes. I'm wishing everyone a xin nian kuai le and telling them gong xi fa cai. I'm singing happy birthday until my voice is horse, and putting glitter heart stickers on every surface I can reach.

And I'm loving every minute.

Or, well... most of the minutes.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Cooking Triumphantly

Recently, I have been cooking triumphantly.

Though I have always fed the children, of course, it's only within the past couple of weeks that I have been cooking. Chicken, steak, tofu, Quorn, potatoes, Duck Feast (ie breakfast for dinner), you name it. It's not artistic, it's not challenging, but it is Cooking.

Every night when I Produce a Dinner, I feel almost deserving of applause. Now, if that isn't a sign of The Times and My Life, I'm not sure what is. Regardless of how silly that is, though, it's how I feel.

I triumphantly marinade, cook, serve. I sit down with the children, and smile across the table at them.

I'm not the only one who is enjoying this, though. Even though this greater variety means that "favourite" foods are less likely to be served and dinner, and that trying of new things will be required. Even though it is now a Required Activity for the evening. Even though.

The kids are very pleased with this arrangement. They are really enjoying sitting around the table, chatting about our days, and enjoying each other's company. They are also eating better, though I don't think that is apparent to them.

It has only taken a couple of weeks, but they are into the rhythm. They ask what dinner will be, cheerfully accept that snacks are "fruit or veggie only" after about 4:30, and cheerfully help to set or clear the table.

It is pleasant. And I am Triumphant.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Another Tranche of this Vie

"Well, let's see if we can find out more about the venue first, ok? We need to talk with your parents about whether they are ok with you going to this concert."

"As long as I'm with you, they won't mind! You're the most responsible member of this family."

Monday, 4 February 2013

Not Yet

Not yet, please.

I don't want her to have to deal with that yet.

I don't want her heart to hurt yet.

I don't want her to know about this darkness yet.

I don't want her to know that sometimes caring is not enough

Sometimes nothing you can say is enough

Nothing you can do is enough

I don't want her to know that, ever.

But at least... I don't want her to know that yet.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


25. It sounded so old just a few years ago. Maybe it sounds even older now that I am 25, and am creeping ever closer to 26 (and nothavinghealthinsurancethroughmydadohmygod). Maybe to you it doesn't sound old at all, because you have Perspective.

But I'm 25. It's the oldest I've ever been, and the youngest I will ever be again. 

25. Lordy.

My life is full of goals, adventures, love, routine, and laughter, but sometimes one experience or another stands out. Sometimes I have an experience that makes me realise I am, in this moment, so very, very 25. 

Please see: Lady Gaga.

Dash, Aslan and I went to see her concert on January 14th, and it was phenomenal. Aslan came up from Portland, I got out of work early (thanks, K), and all three of us convened for The Event. 

Because Dash and I were coming straight from work, we were dressed in our street clothes. We looked fine, of course, but... not right for Lady Gaga. We had brought costumes, and were debating where to change when we found ourselves, almost by accident, in the Tacoma Dome parking lot. Once in, we were certainly not leaving. 

And so, because we are 25, because we came from work, because we love Lady Gaga and costumes and dancing and make up and fun, because it was the only option, really, we changed in the car. We were transformed. From Responsible Adults by day, to lace-tulle-and-spandex clad Creatures of Music. We applied make up by the dome light of the car, using gold eyeliner, bright shadows, and lipstick liberally, even though we couldn't quite see what were doing. I fell over backwards, trying to pull on a stiletto boot in the back seat of my quite-small car. There wasn't far to fall.

In the concert we sang, we danced, we cheered and stomped our feet. 

And then, after the concert,
when our voices were horse,
and our feet were sore

After the concert we drove home, still singing. We made it to bed by 1:30-- joyful, exhausted, exultant.

And four hours later, I crawled back out of bed-- to go to work.

Because I'm 25.