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Visual Representation of My Thought Process

To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me, and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism: it’s my least favorite quality, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

– Conan O’Brien

p.s. The picture is from our vacation in Maui in 2008. It was warm. No snow. I was on vacation. No work. My job was secure then. No impending doom. And my kids were still just kids. No freaksoid preteen (Such a category is not even named in Chinese so how do you expect me to deal with this phase?!).

p.p.s. Great. The picture was supposed to help me relax. Now it simply reminds me of things that once were.

p.p.p.s. If I were given $32 million dollars, I could probably also afford to be un-cynical.

p.p.p.p.s. Ok. That sounded VERY cynical.

p.p.p.p.p.s. Sorry. Coco.

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I wonder what the statute of limitations is for going on and on and on about a trip one took in the blogosphere. Bear with me here: there is an urgent whining I need to unload…

WTF ASIA?! What’s up with all the skinny bitches?

If you know me, you know that I’d be the last person on earth to reinforce/subscribe to any stereotypes knowingly. I am the self-proclaimed, kill-joy, party-pooper, stereotype police. But I have to say, I felt totally out of place when I was in that part of the world last week. Actually, I felt TOO MUCH OF ME was IN the place.

I left in 1993 and have not been living over there. Throughout the years, I have become complacent. I am 5’7″, so by all measurement, I am of medium height in the U.S.  I “carry my weight” really well and I have the advantage of living in the Midwest, to be more specific, in Chicago, the #13 Fattest City in the US in 2009. In addition, I often wonder whether being Asian automatically makes me look thinner, like, here’s my theory, people cannot believe that there are fat Asian women… When I renewed my driver’s licence last year, the man at the DMV refused to accept the number I gave him for my weight.

“You look like you weigh no more than 150 lbs!” So he put down that number. Hey. I was NOT going to argue with him…

As soon as I got on the plane from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, I felt like a giant. Not only was I taller, I needed more girth. I was in the middle seat, and both of my seat mates voluntarily surrendered the armrests to me. That is the kind of nice gestures you make for the overweightI looked: neither of them filled up their seats. I could see the blue seat cushions. Like the “air between thighs” test, they also passed the “visible seat cushion” test.

As soon as I got off the plane in Tokyo, I had the vision of Godzilla rampaging through the City of Tokyo in my head. Was I merely imagining the worst about myself? I wish.

“You are so fat now!” My nephew said as soon as he greeted me at the airport. With affection, mind you.

“Have you gained more weight since March?” My mom asked. “Look at your arms.”

When I saw my dad at home. “Oh, ha ha ha. Look at you. You seem to be bigger than last time.”

At the restaurant where I saw my brother and my sister-in-law, because that is really all we do: we get together, we eat, we talk, and we eat some more,

“You didn’t lose any weight at all!… Never mind. Eat eat eat. Eat now. Go on a diet when you return to the U.S.”

My entire trip I vacillated between feeling obese and stuffing my face. Often simultaneously.

“You need to lose weight. Now eat some more!”

I love my family.

So here is the chicken and egg question:

Did I feel the urge to get out of there because I knew I would not fit in, in more ways than one? Or did I let myself grow to fit the space that was afforded me, physically and figuratively?

More WTF moments came when I was at various restaurants, roadside stands, shops, stalls, surrounded by skinny women stuffing their faces heartily with delicious food. So fucking unfair…

One of the best beef noodle in Taipei. There is a line outside on a Monday night...

Deep fried anything tastes yummy

Big giant tapioca balls, oh, how I love thee... So much so that I had 6 of tapioca treats in 2 days...

Dan Dan Noodle - a tradtional Taiwanese dish; I had no desire to go to fancy restaurants. I craved the roadside vendors and night markets...

At the basement of any department store worth its weight, there is a tricked out food court lined with shops offering any style of Chinese cuisine (and Japanese and Korean) one can possibly crave. As if that is not enough to mock the overweight amongst us, on the other side of the food court, there are always fancy pastry shops and bakeries, tempting us with the mouthwatering, intricately decorated, baked goods.

Temptations! Tell me this is NOT a case for "f* unfair!"

Another pastry shop. How many pastry shops does one need? Apparently many.

Another fancy pastry shop? No. Wait... This is good ol' Dunkin Donuts! Upgraded!

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I don’t understand why people complain about the frenzy over Christmas yet fail to be annoyed by the hype around New year’s Day. Ok, yeah, I understand why. But I am taking some “poetic license” here…

It is probably just me: No will power. No desire to improve myself. Disillusioned by year after year of failed plan to exercise and diet three days into the new year. Cynical of the belief about New Year = New Beginning. It was just another same old clock ticking. Arbitrary!

I woke up on January 1, 2010 to yell at the kids for yelling at each other on New Year’s Day.


I know. My 2010 has already started with a big irony. I can see that this is going to be a great year.

Perhaps it was a wrong move for me to step on the scale at all this morning… Everything just went downhill after that…

I have learned, rather than set myself up to fail, to set individual, realistic goals for each day: Today I vow to do the dishes, wash the bedsheets, finish unpacking, put away the stuff on the floor and vacuum the carpet. Not sure about making the bed with the laundered sheets. That can probably wait until January 2nd.

Years ago when Mr. Monk was still a toddler and I was a happy content definitely NOT-restless SAHM, I learned a few things from some online cleaning guru lady that still apply to this day. It makes the times when I switch my role to that of a housewife “a life full of purpose”:

1. When you wake up, get dressed, and put on a pair of sneakers even if you are not going anywhere. Sneakers help transform all the household chores into “exercise-like” items. You will feel yourself more energetic, and more purposeful. They also keep your feet from getting tired: you know you have a lot to do around the house!

2. Wear an apron with pockets when you pick up the house: you can stash the knick knacks along the way in the pockets and put them back where they belong on route.

3. Put on some music and move to the beat. My favorite is ABBA’s album, starting with Dancing Queen.*

4. My own tip: Have a drink. Add more rum.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Day, Soren Lorensen!

* Our friends FORMER friends put both Dancing and YMCA on the DO NOT PLAY list at their wedding. And those two songs only. I knew then that this friendship would not last… Turns out she belongs to a fundamentalist church and does not believe in dinosaurs. ’nuff said. (The real kicker is? He is a biologist. After so many years, I still wonder how that has worked out for them?)

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In which I complain about my seat on the plane… *yawn*

December 27, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I finished reading the book that I brought with me 3 hours into the flight. What now? Should have saved the book for the trip rather than greedily starting it before Christmas. With the detour to Sarah Palin’s homeland I now have an even longer flight with no reading material. And sitting in the middle […]


Play the Sad Trombone: I can’t sew to save my life

October 26, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet I visited Sad Trombone just now. Yet again. I am Today’s Failure #8418. My failure today, as a mother: I can’t sew worth a damn. I am not talking about elaborate arts and crafts. I am talking about simple hemming. I failed Home Ec in high school. Or, rather, I cheated otherwise I would […]


Sorry mommy can’t come to the school, but don’t grow up and murder people ok?

October 9, 2009 random

Tweet I was reading the article about the so-called Craigslist Killer, Philip Markoff, in Vanity Fair, and like almost everybody, I wanted to find out, perchance through this detailed article, WHY?! Stories like this, a bright young man from a well-to-do family with a seemingly normal upbringing make people especially anxious.  If you cannot explain […]


In addition to the Pre-nuptial agreement, draw up a chore chart and sign on the dotted line!

September 13, 2009 random

Tweet The following is a rant against men who do not help out around the house.  You have been forewarned… I hesitate in calling myself a feminist. Because I am embarrassed.  Not because of the label, but because I would be living a lie if I call myself one.  I am the woman that Feminists […]


Live squid is not part of the standard diet in China, or Asia for that matter

August 13, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet Once in a while I get all riled up with my mouth foaming like a rabid dog. My irrational anger especially loves a good target of Stereotype Mongers and Exoticism Panderers. This is that kind of moment. PMS. Whatever. The target of my rant today is this book: Lost on Planet China: The Strange […]


It would have been fine if there were NO instruction…

June 28, 2009 random

Tweet I am completely confused by this ant bait by Walgreens. It should have been very simple, until I decided to read what the sticker says: “This surface is TOP. Bottom should be placed against floor or stuck on wall.” The problem is, according to the photo on the package, the bottom is supposed to […]

Are we really at odds with each other?

June 11, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet This is an age-old debate and for sure I am opening an ancient can of worms. And for some, this is probably opening up some disappearing scabs from long-since-forgotten battle wounds as well… But I don’t know why something this trivial bothers me. It leaves my working-mother-core shaking. It makes me question myself whether […]