Going All the Way

I’m a pretty quick judge of character.  My first impressions of a person usually end up being fairly accurate.  This is not to say that I am always right.  If I went with my first impression of Chris, we’d NEVER have started dating…but that’s another story for another time.  So, yes, sometimes my initial assessment can be wrong.

For example, I could be having a perfectly lovely conversation with another human being, clicking along, and thinking to myself, “Hmmm, I could TOTALLY be friends with this person” and in my mind, I’m planning lunch outings with them or play dates or envisioning our kids going to college together.  But then, they say something SO outrageous, SO crazy, SO WTF!?, that my neck gets virtual whiplash from the shock of it.  Perhaps they announce that they have to dash off soon to make their monthly Klan meeting or face the wrath of the Grand Wizard.  Or, that they hope that their Mother Ship will take them back to their home planet of QTY-56 before the polar ice caps melt.  You know, that sort of thing.

Well, the other evening, I had just such an experience.  Chris and I were in a large group where the only two people we knew were our hosts.  In the spirit of being good guests, we struck up a conversation with another couple seated close to us.  Well, lo and behold, the wife was a stay at home mom too (1 daughter, 1 son roughly the ages of Sarah and Katie) and it turned out that Chris and her husband went to the same college.  So a lot, initially, to talk about….our children, other people we might know in common, etc etc.

As we continued to share our life stories, the woman asked me what brought me to Minnesota all those years ago.  I told her about going to business school at the University of Minnesota and my subsequent jobs afterwards that kept me here.  When she asked if I had a Masters degree, I replied in the affirmative.  She then commented, “Wow, you’re really educated for being a stay at home mom.”  While some people may take offense at this (is being a SAHM reserved only for the ignorant and uneducated?), I was unfazed.  In response, I made some quip about how my children remain steadfastly unimpressed by my credentials and all they care about is whether I can make bacon whenever they demand it…which if you think about it, would be a pretty awesome perk if you could swing it.

Then, came The Comment.  My new acquaintance then said to me, “You know, it really makes me think that I should tell my daughter that she doesn’t need to, you know, go all the way in school.”  Hmm? Did I hear her right? My facial expression must have froze up a little because she quickly tried to explain herself, “Well you know.  I mean, she should definitely go to college. That’s a for sure.  But you know, after that.  I mean, we send her to private school and have her in all these activities and everything but it makes me think, does she really need all that?  I mean, what’s the point?”

Am I hearing these words correctly?  Are we living in the United States of America in the Year of Our Lord 2012?  Could she possibly be suggesting that we provide less of an education to our daughters because it would be wasted?  Does she think that all girls will grow up to be stay at home moms?  And even if they do, that they deserve less of anything because of it?  WHAT?!  First of all, doesn’t she know that suggesting to me, an Asian, that you don’t need to “go all the way in school” is an anathema?  Like suggesting I switch from white rice to brown for its health benefits or that P.F. Changs really is the best Chinese food EVER?

I was speechless.  At this point in our conversation, Chris had joined in and I knew by his face that he was hearing the exact same thing I was hearing.  Yes, I realize that I am not using my degree on a day to day basis.  Does that mean that the time I spent earning it, studying in school, and working towards a goal was all for naught?  I don’t think so.  It wasn’t in my life plan to be a stay at home mom, it just played out this way.  If things had gone another direction, I know that I’d still be working and supporting myself in a challenging and interesting field.  Luckily for me, I got this gig and while I depend on Chris financially today, I know that should he pass on for whatever reason, I’d be able to support my family thanks to his very generous life insurance policy.  (Ha ha)

But seriously, as the mom of two daughters, I hope that I can help them achieve any goals they set for themselves, whether it be college, medical school, law school, or business school.  My wish for them is that they grow up to be independent, self-supporting young women with a passion for whatever work they choose.  And that through education and other life experiences, they attain one of life’s priceless treasures:  choices.  If they choose to be a stay at home mom, great.  If they choose to be a rocket scientist, that’s great too.  If they choose to be a sculptor or a painter…well, we may need to talk about that one. We Asians don’t have a great history of supporting low income generating pursuits.

If I made any money, I’d end this post with a pledge to go and make a deposit in our children’s college savings account in a symbolic act of defiance against the inequality of women everywhere.  But since I don’t, I’ll just be sure to give my girls extra cuddles tomorrow and tell them again and again that they can be anything they want to be.  Even a painter…or (gulp) a sculptor.

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

Another crazy week is underway here and I’m still looking for ways to “cheat” on my entries. I was thumbing through my journal with quotes from our girls and thought I’d assemble the “best of” for this week’s blog.  So, because I did not write any words of my own last night, I turn to the words of my darling children…enjoy.

On the Space-Time Continuum

“I’ll be back in 5 seconds.  Count to 20.” – Sarah

On Gender Roles

“Oh- I thought only boys had to go to work.” – Sarah

On Historical Events

When Osama Bin Laden was killed, my sister-in-law KC, a government teacher in California, and her class were featured in a news segment on their local television station.  I let Sarah watch the part with KC talking with her students.

Sarah: Why is Auntie KC on tv?

Me:  Well, something important happened and the people on the news want to know what she thinks about it.

Sarah: (After a half second pause) Do they know I have a loose tooth?

On Historical Events, Part 2

When I tried to explain who Martin Luther King Jr. was, Sarah took it all in and then asked:

“Was he married to Martin Luther Queen?”

On Relativity

“Why are your boobs so big?”- Sarah (I measure in at a whopping 32A, folks….most men have bigger breasts than I do)

On the Wonders of the Human Body

“Mommy, did you put on your boobs today?” – Katie

On Fashion

Why are you wearing your bathrobe?”- Sarah, after seeing me in my brand new white cashmere cardigan

“Mommy, you wearing towel?” – Katie, after seeing me in an especially fuzzy fleece sweatshirt

On Body Image

“Mom, Max (her imaginary friend) told me that I’m fat.”  – Sarah

On the Aging Process

As she tried on my strappy metallic wedges, “Mom, how old do these make me look? Do they make me look seven?” – Sarah

On Self-Control

“Did you pee pee in your bed too?” – Sarah (After seeing Chris changing our sheets)

On the Food Chain

Sarah: Mom, what are we having for dinner?

Me: Pork.

Sarah’s Friend: What’s cork?

Sarah: Not CORK, PORK…like, you know, from a chicken.

I’m not one to keep journals but I couldn’t resist this one. A great way to document all those words of wisdom from our babes.

Now We’re Cookin’

I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th!  I was lucky to have my parents in town and we had 4 days of family fun.  We hit the pool (twice), the Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe, our city’s 4th of July parade, a 4th of July pool party, a swim meet, trips to the ice cream parlor, the purchasing and consumption of more sugar than should be street legal for my children, AND I even got in 1.5 naps— a true luxury in these tough times.  Why tough?  Because my children are working me to the bone.  I am dog tired at the end of the day with neither the physical nor the mental strength to think about writing.  I lay prostrate in my bed starting at 8pm, watching bad TV and surfing the internet for mindless drivel in a futile attempt to drive away the day’s soundtrack of screaming, crying, complaining, whining, and bickering.  It’s not pretty, folks.

But I know my readers (all 7 of you) are waiting with bated breath for my next post.  But what to write? I have all these ideas but no time or energy to put them down.  Would it be premature of me to hire a ghost writer for my non-revenue generating blog?  I fear the answer is yes.

My friend Suzette suggested that I post some recipes on the blog.  Now that, I can do.  Here’s one that I made last week. It’s perfect for those nights when you have a 45-minute break between the end of swim team practice and the start of soccer.  Make it the night before or earlier in the day, shove it in the fridge, and you are D-O-N-E.

REICHERT RATING: A RARE 4 thumbs up from Sarah, Katie, Chris, and me.  Sarah had 2 bowl fulls and Katie ate it and swallowed it without pulling it from out of her mouth in a half masticated clump and handing it back to me.  SUCCESS!

MODIFICATIONS: Even though the recipe is for Asian Bow-Tie Salad with Shrimp and Vegetables, I used chicken and none of the veggies listed.  I’m a rebel that way.  I diced up rotisserie chicken meat (whoever invented grocery store rotisserie chicken should be enshrined in some sort of SAHM’s Hall of Fame) and threw in edamame and sugar snap peas (both blanched in the pasta water), shredded carrots, diced red bell pepper, and cucumbers.  Also, omitted the red pepper flakes from the dressing.  For Chris and my portions, I sprinkled with red pepper flakes and cilantro before serving.

THE “BUT I WANT TO HELP!” QUOTIENT: If your kiddos are like mine, they love to “help” in any way in all of your daily chores, especially in all things culinary.  Of course, this usually results in tantrums, spills, and tears.  This recipe had plenty for the kids to do: mixing up the dressing, tossing the veggies, tossing the pasta, etc.  Minimal threat of them burning themselves, cutting themselves, or inflicting any other injuries that would require us to max out our health care deductible.

So here’s the original recipe from epicurious…enjoy!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Asian-Bow-Tie-Pasta-Salad-with-Shrimp-and-Vegetables-4429

And the finished product: