Something Wicked This Way Comes

I can’t put a finger on it but I am feeling pretty fucking pissed off right now. For the past several days, I have just been buried in the shittiest possible mood ever. It could be a number of things, like oh, the state of the world, my missed deadline, my sex life, my sometimes annoying babysitter, or my inability to fit into anything that doesn’t scream “fourth trimester.”

Yeah, maybe.

But I doubt it.

Because I am feeling all the symptoms of something far more sinister, you know kind of like coming off a three day meth bender where you find yourself laying in a pool of your own vomit and somebody else’s feces.

Ah, how I miss the 1990's.

Anyway, I have the strangest feeling that the persona known to you in the blogosphere as “SWC” or the “Stepford Wife Chronicles” is taking over my life. No, I don’t mean that blogging has taken over my life. I mean that the cranky bitch—the one who carries a gun and smokes a pack a day is unloading her arsenal of rage in my mind.

I know, I know. What I am describing has all the fixin’s of a psychotic break. And I say BRING IT ON, muther fucker.

Anyone else feeling pissed off?


Daily Bread

Yesterday, in another act to be filed under “Royal Waste of My Time,” I had lunch with someone who I thought could be my one and only in the flesh friend here in the gilded penal colony.

When I first laid eyes on this woman a few months ago I thought, "Wow, she is neither tall nor blonde." Later I found out that she had a bona fide job and actually read books. She was an artist, liked a good glass of wife and didn’t cook. She was Bobbie Markowe (Paula Prentiss) to my Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) from the 1975 original The Stepford Wives.

And just like the movie they got her.

I should have known something was wrong from the outset because she seemed too giddy, but I thought maybe she was high or something. Nothing wrong with that, the woman does have four kids after all. But then she randomly threw out the word “scripture” as in, “I’ll have the cob salad. With a side of scripture.”

Okay, scripture in and of itself is not a bad thing—in fact, it should be known that I have a few of my own favorite scriptures, like Leviticus 18-23: “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” Righteous.

Anyway after that painful lunch and public prayer, I went home to my sometimes-annoying babysitter who informed me that my kids shouldn’t celebrate Halloween because it glorifies Satan. And that is when I knew that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere.

I mean, Stepford Connecticut seemed scary enough, with the threat of becoming a complacent robo vixen housewife but in reality, it is not a stretch.

But to have to live on a small island with people who actually believe that Halloween--the only time of year when parents can openly send their children out to rustle up the year’s supply of candy—is wrong, well then they are just plum fucking nuts.


Character Assassination

I am but a mere rookie in this game of blogging, but I have been "tagged." After a quick investigation, I discovered that tagging in the blogosphere is not like "tagging that ass" as they say in America, but rather something a bit more refined. I should have known because Mariecel who keeps it real over at Cosmopolite-Kaffeeklatsch is very discerning.

I gather that the rules are as follows: list 7 things about yourself and then get 7 other bloggers to do the same. You know, like good old fashion chainmail. I always sucked at this in elementary school so I am leery about trying to beat my personal bet now.

But sure, I'll play. Though I am feeling mighty evil today so I am changing the rules a bit. I am going to tell you fourteen things that you may not know about me. Then I am going to tag the seven blogs that come up in Blogger under "Next Blog" (look up, to the tool bar, to the left.... that's it).

1. I am not true Blonde.
2. Despite appearance, my boobs are real.
3. I do not believe in wearing workout gear outside of the gym, as in no workout gear as casual wear. And in my universe, wearing a sweatsuit after twelve noon is gauche. So is wearing sneakers with dresses. But, I think tennis skirts are cute and can be worn at anytime of day.
4. I was once held hostage by a rebel group in Latin America.
5. I also have connections in the world of organized crime.
7. I am a people person.
8. I am over big label bags.
9. I grew up in California, moved to New York City, then back to California, then to Italy, then back to New York, followed by brief stints in Ohio, Texas, California again and then back to New York City. Now I live in Hong Kong.
10. I am a Doctor.
11. This blog is an outlet for my evil twin sister who takes possession of my body at random moments.
12. I have a flesh and blood twin sister who is occasionally evil.
13. I hate rules and when people tell me what to do and fashion mandates and acting my age (which by the way, according to the Mayan calendar is either 28 or 163).
14. I have the exterior of a cranky irreverent blowhard but really, I'm just a kitten.

Above, there is one statement that is not true. If you figure it out and tell me the correct answer, I will send you an authentic can of tainted milk or a bucket full of toxic toys sent directly from the manufacturer in China.

And here comes the fun part. These are the random folks that I tagged.

Raili R-K







And I also hit up American Girl in the UK and JB over at Gathered Tribe


Note to Self

Today is my birthday.

To commemorate this day and my various accomplishments over the past few years (had two babies, became an insomniac, ended a long career, gave up a monthly paycheck, moved out of the city and an apartment that I loved, got married, became seriously unemployed, moved to the other side of the world, started eating my way through Asia, acquired a golf cart, lost all my friends, was late for an important deadline, and took up blogging) I am going to eat a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream and leave you with these immortal words:

"I'm not perfect, I'm not an angel, but I try to live a certain way because it brings honour and respect to my mother. I tell people that when they look at me, they're looking at nothing but a big, overgrown, tough mama's boy. That's who I am."


We are the Champions

Lately, I have been sitting around thinking about all the times in my life when I have won something. You know, like being the tenth caller and scoring tickets to see some unknown band (what do you expect, it was public radio). Or, winning, as in drop your business card in a glass bowel and hope that they draw your name to win that free night at the Banyan Tree Villas in Phuket, Thailand (actually it was my husband who won, but rumor has it that I get to go). Or my favorite kind of winning the-- I am going to stay up all night for days to write the best 1,000 words on what life is like for a chicken (got honorable mention and $75 smackers). Then there is the winning with strings attached, what I call "winning in the capitalist age" also known as the the retail win.

The retail win is always a good kind of win if you go in with steel clad balls. It is the time share win, the no purchase necessary win, the 30 day free trial win. As long as you don't buy, you win.

So today, I made good on a retail win. I cashed in on a "Face lifting and contouring facial" from The Organic Pharmacy's Hong Kong Spa called, The Farm. And no, The Farm is not on a farm, but on the fifth floor of one of the many, many high rises in HK, only this fifth floor has a balcony that looks out on to some other buildings and some trees.

So I made my way in the building chanting the retail win mantra: get in, get out , which as I rode the slowest elevator in the world, started to sound a lot like the Missy Elliott song that was playing one drunken night many, many years ago at a bar in Key West where I danced on top of a table and someone slipped me a dollar (I count this as another kind of winning by the way). Later, she asked for a lap dance, but I had to explain that though I was single, I was straight and destined to become a suburban mom.

Back at the Farm, they finally opened the door after realizing that I wasn't the Fed Ex guy but a non-paying customer who was going use up all of their spa goodies (get in) and then, after firmly telling the sales girl that I was not going to fork over USD $ 6,543.82 for a bunch of spa treatments, I would leave them with a fake smile and generous tip (get out).

Perfect. Until I saw the pretty little jar of anti-aging serum that only works with the anti-aging gel which only works with the never grow old cleansing cream that works wonders with the, you-can-take-it-with-you toner. And because it is all organic, you need the special organic cloth to gently apply all of this eternal youth.

Okay, yes, I know that a hot date with Dracula is cheaper (he pays when blood is involved, right?). And if you happen to find a twenty on the floor of the bathroom on said date it is also a form of winning.

And there is that winning grey area. The "it-can't-be-stealing" win because you were already home from your "free" facial and when you notice that the sales girl put a jar of their signature cellulite cream in your bag (retail value:$386.99).

Won anything lately?


At the Weekend

Don’t you just love when British people say “at the weekend” when we Americans know that it is “on the weekend?” I mean, come on! As if we need to have any further confirmation that the lilypad of a landmass called England is better than the U.S. of A.

You Brits already have the higher currency, universal health care and politicians who have not had lobotomies. I've watched CSPAN. Ya’ll can throw down in Parliament.

Anyway, this weekend I have decided to take a bit of a blogging break. Let’s see if I can cure myself of this most strange addiction and actually focus on my “serious” writing.

Plus Hub recently said to me, “It is pathetic that the most exciting thing going on in your life is a blog.”

Just how do you Brits say “ouch" in fancy English?


Break Me off Some of That Sexy

Just when you thought you couldn't feel any older, you remember your first crush.


That Four-Letter Word

Yesterday I exercised my right as an American citizen living abroad and dragged the baby and my husband to the embassy to cast my absentee ballot.

That’s right, I voted.

And since I didn’t get one of those little stickers that showed that I performed my civic duty, I am going to tell you the three reasons why I ventured out with newborn baby in tow to expose my breasts in public, sweat like a roasting pig, and put my health at risk by breathing in billions of suspended particulates just to cast a vote that may not be counted until days after the fat lady sings.

1. My children and yours will inherit the earth. Just because my kids currently live in pollution that looks like this, doesn’t mean yours has to.

2. Taxation without representation. If we are legally bound to bailout the fatcats and rescue the small frys while everything else is going straight into the shitter, I shouldn't I have a hand on the flusher?

3. If you don’t vote these people or these people will vote for you.

So, please fucking vote.


Confederation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Or The Silent Scream

Jesus seems to be following me everywhere, and I don’t mean that hot young Mexican dude whose pious parents decided to name him after the most holy of holy. I am talking about the divine man himself--you know the one-- that guy who is on all the T-shirts.

Anyway, this is not the first time I have had the honor to come face to face with Jesus and his busy band of PR reps. When I was nine years old, I was a passenger on my beloved grandmother’s spiritual journey. She went from church to church looking for some sanctified purpose in life and I went with her because I loved her and she always took us out to breakfast after a morning of worship and speaking in tongues.

With every visit to a new church someone from the pulpit would point to us in the crowd and implore us in their most ominous voice to “accept the lord Jesus as your personal savior” or something to that effect. Between us (my sister included), we have been “saved” about 654 times.

I am not sure why my grandmother “saved” herself so often, but I know why I did. I had developed a healthy fear of Satan-- having seen the Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Halloween and some really scary movie about a woman trapped in some mental ward. It was called “The Silent Scream.”

So, been there, done that.

But lately, in my pollution filled days here in Hong Kong, it seems like everyone I meet is on a mission to save me. I have been invited to attend church, bible studies, and women’s scripture groups. Its like my soul is on 80 percent markdown at an after Christmas Day sale.

Look, I respect god and Jesus and Adonai and the Prophet and Shiva and Ganesha and Buddha and the laws of the universe, and the we are all one philosophy. I support responsibly practiced religions and accommodating, tolerant faiths.

But can’t a girl get an invitation to a book club that isn’t reading the Bible?


The Pepsi Challenge

Today, I had the very unfortunate experience of seeing photos of celebrities at three months post-partum. Aside from the shot of Jessica Alba clad in a bikini (does that girl ever wear anything but?) the photo that most put me to shame was of the star who gave birth just three days after I did. I don’t need to tell you that I questioned my womanhood and came out on the side of thinking that I may actually be a man. A very fat man with super-human lactating man-breasts. And you think that’s something? You should see the post-partum facial hair. Off the charts. Straight out of Ripley’s.

Anyway, those photos haunted me all day. I went up the stairs of my elegant Tony Soprano meets Golden Girls cookie cutter mini mansion, ripped off all my clothes and assessed the jalopy that I cautiously call “my body.” I mean, can’t I trade this thing in or something?

My whole former life passed before my eyes and let me say now, in case I get all out of control weepy here, I love my husband and kids. Love them. They are my life. There is no need to call child protective services or think I am heading for divorce court, okay? But I do miss my old body. And I sort of miss the old me. Not me, my life before Hub and kids—no, I would never want those days back, thank you. But I must say that upon reflection, my old life or rather my old body, was pretty damn hot. I was a hottie. I do feel strange writing this, but show me some love. I am just honoring what once was. Because now, unless I opt for plastic surgery, it is possible that my former body,--as the country folks say— “it ain’t never comin’ back.”


The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Blogging. Never thought I would do it and I am not sure why I am doing it now.
--An exercise in narcissism?
--A distraction from real world issues?
--A form of writing while avoiding my “real” writing?

All of the above.

The past few nights, Hub and I have been watching season one of the show Californication. I know, not new in the United States but new to us folks here in Hong Kong, thanks to our local DVD Rental Store. Anyway, I think that Hub not so secretly longs to be like the main character: the sex saturated clumsy but likeable looser, Hank Moody played by David Duchovny. Through the show, Hub is reliving his pre-wife and children days. Actually, ”living” is the more appropriate word as Hub is hardly a one-nightstand sort of man.

Anyway, he likes the show. The writing is solid but the story line screams of a smart fifteen-year-old boy fantasy trapped in fifty-year-old man body. The verdict is still out for me. But one thing that stuck in my mind is when Hank the struggling novelist turned Hollywood writer whore and fellow blogger said that, “Nobody writes anymore, they just blog.”

So true.

I recently stumbled my way through a ton of blogs about every subject under the sun. I can’t decide if the scariest blogs are by the right-wing demagogues, the porn sites fronting as blogs or the blogs by fashionista teenage girls which display photos of their latest shopping sprees (a different sort of porn).

But what I learned as found my way out of the black hole of the blogosphere is that blogs are like books.

Hardly anybody reads them.


Public Holiday

October 1 this year was a day of celebration for millions of people commemorating the end of Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah. In my neck of the woods, October 1 had a billion people celebrating National Day of the People’s Republic of China.

Public Holidays in Hong Kong are sort of like Sundays for my household. The nanny is off duty. We wake up late (8:00 am) and Hub and I spend a good part of the morning trying to stick the other with childcare duties by hiding out in the bathroom or by sneaking in some time online. But after my eldest son has been allowed to watch too much T.V. and we adults feel sufficiently guilty, we muster up the courage to turn it off. Then, Hub and I stare blankly at each other. I know the question that is going to follow.

“What do you have planned for us today?” He will ask.

Now, I am not a party planner, social engagement coordinator or a secretary. I am not Julie McCoy. But, it’s a public holiday, so I'll be festive.

“Let’s go to Toys R Us.” I surprise myself with this suggestion. I mean, the US economy is crashing, the future is uncertain and I really hate shopping but I really, really hate going out among the flood of people—elbow to elbow— when it is sweltering and on this day so polluted that one hour outside causes my chest to feel tight.

For some reason Hub agrees and we set off to Toys R Us in Kowloon. This will require taking two ferries. We miss the first ferry and have to wait. Hub suggests that we go inside our local café. Good idea. We cautiously walk in and spy a table. Hub gives me that familiar nod and rushes off in one direction while I take off to the other. We reach the table, just as a couple is about to move in on it. One swerve of the stroller by Hub seals the deal, the table is ours.

The couple watch us with contempt as we decamp: two strollers, Hub’s giant back pack (don’t ask me why), my extra large bag, eldest son’s (ES) stick that he brought from outside, a baby carrier, and a newspaper. We spread this out over two tables. ES starts kicking the chair of the customer next us and baby is now awake from his nap, crying that nonstop newborn cry.

In moments like these, I leave my body. I look down on my family. I see us the way other people must see us.

We are parents of two young children. Like all parents with two or more young children, we are pariahs. We over propagated. Our precious little loves are actually brats, too loud and too spoiled. As a group, we parents of two or more young children are to be avoided. Get stuck sitting next to us on a plane, train, or even a ferry and well, you must either move or complain, pointedly and under your breath.

And it is not just the single people or the couples with out children who hate us two and over families, it is other parents too. The parents of older children or one child or the people who have managed to leave their young children behind—these are parents who are annoyed at us for reminding them what their lives look like when they are out in public with their own kids.

But let’s change all of this hate.

Next October 1st, let’s celebrate the folks that I call parents or the parent of the young two or more (PYTOM). Think of it as a day designated to getting clipped on the ankle by a stroller, having some snotty nose kid turn around in his seat to watch you eat, or to having your ear drums pierced by the cry of a baby, or to witnessing hand to hand combat between siblings. On this special day, the childless, the parents of older children or of one child could remember that once us PYTOM, we were just like you.