Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Who came up with the idea for family portraits anyway? I mean the posed, let's make an appointment for us all to get together in one room with matching shirts and try to all smile in the same direction at the same time kind. Yes, we just had our family portraits done, and since the lst experience at Wal-mart was economical but not totally satisfying, we went to Sears. I figured if they're more expensive and they take appointments, they must be better, right? Well, maybe that's true, but I'd never know it. Picture this: me, hubby and Monkey show up all pressed and primped to find ONE photographer at the studio with her TWO CHILDREN (ages apprximately two years and five years) running around because her boyfriend showed up with them and then left. So, we're trying to get the one-year-old pictures done ffor monkey while two-year old boy runs into the frames and Monkey's toddling out of the frame to him and his shiny toy the rest of the time. We are also informed that the photographer has to follow some ridiculous "Pose list" before we can move on, so we get the one I like (and we later buy) first, and I mean first-shot of session, here, then we have to go through this circus of poses that WE WERE NEVER GOING TO BUY IN THE FIRST PLACE. After one hour of us trying to get monkey to do all but back handsprings into roundoffs into cartwheels, while taking breaks for photographer to yell and run after her children, we move on to the family poses. By now Hubby and I are exasperated (okay, it's just me that's exasperated, but that's my role in this family) and we sit down to try to get now-bored Monkey to look at the camera and smile through the pain of her permanently blinded retinas. Need I say here that IT DIDN'T WORK!

So I have decided that I have one year to come to peace with the fact that every family portrait for at least 17 years will be off-center in the frame, with one member of the family looking somewhere else and/or not smiling. Oh well, I guess they'll be good for stories later, or perhaps I'll dedicate a scrapbook page each year to a family photograph which I cut and paste out of various different pictures throughout the year where we each look our best and are smiling at the camera. That's actually a great idea.... Frankenportraits, Mwahahahaha!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Shhh! I'm here quickly to explain my absence. See, September 18th is the mother of all Korean holidays: Chuseok (pronounced, um, well, like 'chew-suck.' So bad it must be true.) While the name sounds very foreign, it's a time when Korean families get three days off to gather from far and wide and enjoy a pasttime altogether too familiar to Americans -- pigging out.

It's a three-day eating extravaganza, and I had a good time. I love Korean food and my husband's aunt, who lives nearby, is an awesome cook. So I had to break out my denim overalls yesterday to get some temporary waistline allowance. I'm telling you, my husband, after seeing me change into pajamas the other day, affectionately called me "tubby."

My in-laws also flew into town from their home in Beijing to take part in the festivities, and I haven't been logging much keyboard time as a result. They're staying with us, you see. I love my mother-in-law dearly -- and I know she likes me too -- but we have different energy levels. She can't stop moving and I ... can. So it seems the minute I sit to read the paper or drink some water she's off to the kitchen preparing another full meal for four, while answering the phone, playing with both my sons a moment and picking up and washing out all the stray dishes left around on the way. All in the time it takes me to mutter, "Oh Mom, you don't haaaave to do that..."

So guilt must be the theme of the week. The guilt is keeping me away, and because she's never ever made me feel the slightest bit bad about it I feel worse. (In fact, sometimes I think she enjoys visiting us because she knows she can do her thing here and I won't get in the way!) The only reason I'm posting right now is because, in a rare human turn, she is taking a nap. So give me something affirming to chant, won'tcha? Ugh, I am so inadequate compared to the caretaking skills of my mother-in-law, or the cooking skills of my aunt-in-law. And now I am 'tubby' to boot. There's nothing like a big family holiday to make ya feel loved and worthy.