Posts filed under Uncategorized

Candy and Grace

I've been on a reading streak recently and though I'm not even halfway through Shauna's Niequist's beautiful essay collection I can't help but recommend it based on the passage below. Bittersweet

So these days, I'm on the lookout for grace, and I'm especially on the lookout for ways that I withhold grace from myself and from other people. At first, showing people grace makes you feel powerful, like scattering candy from a float in a parade -- grace for you, grace for you. You become almost giddy, thinking of people in generous ways, allowing for their faults, absorbing minor irritations. You feel great, and then you start to feel just ever so slightly superior, because you're so incredibly evolved and gracious.

But then inevitably something happens, and it usually involves you confronting one of your worst selves, often in public, and you realize you're not throwing candy off a float to a nameless, dirty public, but rather that you are that nameless, dirty public, and that you are starving and on your knees, praying for a little piece of sweetness just one mouthful of grace. -Shauna Niequist from "Grace is the new math" in Bittersweet.

Let's everybody share a little candy, okay? -Em

Posted on August 10, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Carwash

The Carwash When my son was younger he was afraid of the carwash. Young toddlers , they freak out about everything. They are so cute, but also... unpredictably unpleasant. I like spending time with him a lot more now that he is almost five. He has so many fun things to say and his sincere enthusiasm for running errands with me never fails to brighten my day. Now that he is older he LOVES the carwash so the other day I took him there as a special treat for him, me and our car.

As we pulled in he exclaimed "Oh mommy, I'm so exciting!"

To which I replied. "Yes sweetheart, you most definitely are."

Posted on May 27, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Scales

I learned about the Jewish concept of "weighing the scales" in someone else's favor a few months back from a book I read with my Bible Study. "Weighing the scales" is basically an enhanced version of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, looking kindly upon their actions before assuming the worst. It comes from the practice of rounding weight to the customers favor when selling something. I have always liked the idea even if the cynic in me does not. This video reminded me of weighing the scales. It is a more beautiful way to go about your day.

Posted on May 13, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Leaving the MumbleCorps

drop-the-micUnlike many people I don’t fear public speaking. I’m generally happy to take the mic and start bossing (ahem) directing people. The problem is the mic doesn’t help if you mumble (check), speak too quickly (double-check) and have a smallish voice (three strikes-I’m out). Despite all this I’m still a relatively good public speaker, when I concentrate I can control all of those vocal issues but concentration is tricky when 100 people are staring at you. I’m a fairly good public speaker, but I want to be a great one. I want to facilitate large rooms of people with ease instead of frustration. I want to pick up a microphone with Kanye West-level confidence. So logically I'm creating a self-designed “run the room like a boss” course. First up are Comedy Improv classes. Have you ever seen people trained in improv comedy? They are amazing. They assimilate a suggestion and then immediately start performing with commitment and swagger. Rolling with the punches, fearlessness and communication with the audience is imperative for improv and if that’s not good training for running a room I don’t know what is. I’ve been doing the comedy improv classes for a little while and hope to blog about them eventually but until then I’m interested in hearing what else I might add to my coursework. Suggestions? Does anybody want to come over and yell "You have a voice!" at me King's Speech style? Be bold. :)

Posted on February 9, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Choices

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. - Fred Rogers

Image from Nate Berkus' Book "The Things that Matter"

Something that you hear a lot from people who are older is "I wish I had cared less what other people thought". I've not overly inclined to care about others opinions. I am weird and I like that about myself. I do however have an annoying and deep-seeded desire to please people. I want the friggin gold star on my worksheet. This works well in some settings. When I'm at Crossfit, my wish to please the instructor pushes me through the last set of burpees. It works less-well in other settings where I cave to doing things a certain way to make other people happy. I am thinking in particular of a weekend I spent doing hours upon hours of preschool laundry to fulfill an expectation at my child's school. Life is too short to do that much laundry people. It was my fault too. I VOLUNTEERED TO DO IT, because sometimes I am a dumbass. A dumbass who wants gold stars.

Compromise is part of life, but I don't want to look back and be filled with regrets. Why would I waste a weekend washing laundry instead of having fun with my kid?! It applies to the little things too: I want to be cool with painting "Make tacos not war" over my kitchen sink and wearing fuchsia every day and Mr. T style jewelery if that is what suits me. One of my colleagues dresses impeccably every day for work. She told me once "I know I overdress, but I don't care. I like nice clothes and I want to wear them!" The day she told me that she was wearing a dress that I own but never wear because I'm always "saving" it for an appropriate occasion and I'm a little embarrassed that it has a giant fish print. I think that part of the year of being bold is learning to stand behind my honest opinions even when they will be unpopular, uncool or even inconvenient for other people. The trick is learning to do this gently. After all if I am really being myself I am far more interested in making tacos than war.

Posted on January 24, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Word of the Year is...

A few years ago I started picking a theme for the year instead of making resolutions. Apparently I’m not alone in this as several bloggers I read are doing the same. In 2010 the theme was “Have fun” because in the intensity of new parenthood I had trouble remembering how to enjoy myself.  I literally needed to re-learn. The next year I choose “Be kind” because I was remedial at that skill too. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Just. Be Kind. Both years were great experiences. They were such simple, applicable “resolutions”. Easily expanded to fit or contract as needed. I choose the theme in a very hippy dippy way. I sit around and “let it come to me.”  I wish there was more of a science to this matter. I wish there were lists involved! There aren’t. I sit around for a few days at the end of the year until a thought pops up.

This year I can’t stop thinking about being bold. Admittedly this could be because I haven’t blogged since October and the Be Bold Brave Robot pic has been accosting me every time I open my browser. It could be because I attended Camp Mighty in November, an emboldening mind blowing experience to be sure. It is defenitely connected to the unexpected, unpleasant turns we experienced last spring. I feel so aware that life is passing by quickly. Everyday my baby boy is bigger. Everyday I’m getting older.  People are coming into this world and leaving it with alarming rapidity. Life is happening and I don’t have time for fear, useless anxiety and my endless planning. I just need to learn to BE BOLD. I mean, seriously, even the sidewalk is telling me so. Star Trek is practically demanding it of me. I must BE BOLD in 2013 and honestly I can’t wait to find out what that will entail!

Posted on January 7, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Kind and Generous Robot Army: Mobilize!

Being mighty and generous are mutually inclusive so everybody attending Mighty Camp this year is fundraising for Charity Water, a very cool organization that brings clean water to developing nations. Have you ever spent some time without clean, potable water? I have and it bites. For me it was just an inconvenience but for many it is a serious health threat and its appalling that so many still don't have access to this basic human need. I'm psyched about the work charity water does and I bet you are too. Here's the deal: Head over to the Mighty Camp Charity Water Page and make a donation. I know you want to because my blog is only read by kind and generous robots. If you give $20 or more I'll send you a print of my Brave Robot picture because being kind and generous is the work of a Brave Robot indeed. Now get to it! Be bold Brave Robots!

PS-If you contribute drop me a line and let me know so I can send you your print!

Posted on October 24, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Back to Reality

We're back from Colombia and I'm missing my former schedule that included a one movie/one book/ five fresh-squeezed tropical fruit drinks a day diet. I'm also mourning a series of hilarious (if I may pat myself on the back) blog posts that I wrote, edited and then promptly deleted by accident. Yikes. Instead of reading about Bogotá Beauty salons this week it'll be book reviews galore.  I read the Hunger Game Series (excellent!) as well as the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books. I'll spare you my thoughts on those books since everybody and their Mom has already read them. Tomorrow I'll start book recs but in the meantime can I suggest 21 Jump Street for your viewing pleasure? I haven't enjoyed a comedy so much since I saw Bridesmaids. I promise that it is a million times funnier than it's trailer.

Posted on July 29, 2012 and filed under Bossy Pants Recommends, Uncategorized.

10 Years Today

Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.-Mr. Rogers

Thank you so much to each of you who has encouraged us along the way.

Posted on June 12, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Buried in Books

Recently things have been... not so great. Arnold and I have deemd the time period between March 15 and April 15 as the "deluge of bad news". Sadly I'm not actually being that over-dramatic when I tell you that. I try to be careful about what I share here in this public space so today I'm not going to be talking about problems but rather, enjoyable coping mechanisms. My mechanism of choice lately has been to stop doing anything except, work, child, eat and books. Books, books, BOOOKS! I cannot get enough books. My nerdy junior high reader stuff has burst forth from me. I no longer cook(sorry noodles :() or surf the web. I only read books! All of this is to say, that I have many, many recommendations for your summer reading list and if I can tear myself out of "Kosher Chinese" (my latest paperback escape route) I will tell you all about them... soon.

Posted on May 29, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Listening

"Listening, as far as I'm concerned is certainly a prerequisite of love. One of the most essential ways of saying "I love you" is being a receptive listener...Listening is where love begins. Listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.-Fred Rogers

Mr. Rogers birthday was this week. Let's live out his legacy by remembering to listen. Happy Weekend!

Posted on March 22, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Reconciliation

I was talking with friends this weekend about the beauty in fighting. Without romanticizng the ugliness of hurt feelings and the words that cut to your heart there is a flip side to the pain. There is the possibility for reconciliation and the safety of knowing someone who continues to love you after you've shown your worst side. There is the ability to remember that even when it gets really, really stormy there's still a good chance that it will all be okay.

Posted on March 19, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Everything you Can Do

When we're taking risks at any time in our lives - trying new things - whether it's a new job, or a diet, or a different lifestyle, it certainly helps to know that people who love us will urge us to keep trying, and will also offer a hand, an ear, or even a shoulder to cry on when we feel like giving up. Maybe, too, they'll help us remember, even as we're disappointed about what we can't do, that there is much we can do.

Posted on February 9, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Noodlemania Week #2-Perez Improv Noodles

Perez Improv NoodlesPerez Improv Noodles

There's lots to love about Asian Marts: reasonable prices, endless aisles of sauces and live fish tanks. To my mind though the festive atmosphere is a distant second to the lack of mainstream values regarding physical space. Old ladies plow straight into you at the Asian marts and I love it! I think it's fun to shove my way through crowds. I've woven my way to the front a lot as a short girl so having a place where this behavior is culturally acceptable warms my heart.

I'll tell you though that Lunar New Years Eve at the Asian Mart was not my favorite. It was packed with people carrying roast duck which instantly filled me with unrequited envy. Plus, and no offense to all non-asians as well as 1/2 of myself but there were so many non-Asians there and they were not acting right! I felt extremely annoyed at all the good-natured white people wandering around the aisles, carefully reading labels and making chatter with their friends. "No, we need THICK SOY SAUCE" they'd shout to each other across the aisles. I wanted to shake them "NO, no, no. Stop behaving like this at the Asian Mart. You are supposed to bump people out of the way and grab things quickly!"

This of course is extremely hypocritical on my part becuase this is exactly how I act at the Asian Mart. It's not like I can read Chinese so I'm pulling the same shenanigans myself, spending 20 minutes looking for frigging preserved Tianjin vegetables.

It's a confusing cultural conundrum, or maybe it's not. Maybe I was just dripping wet from the rain and in a ridiculous rage because it wasn't my day to eat roast duck and get red envelopes from doting aunties. Poor, poor me.

The chaos at the Asian Mart was such that I spent 30 minutes there and still came home with only 80% of the ingredients needed for my dish. By this point I was wild-eyed with hunger  and residual duck rage was threatening to spill out of my eyes in a self-indulgent sob fest. (Am I the only one who gets this upset when hungry? No? Just me and my toddler?) So, this week you won't be reading about pad thai as I originally planned you'll be reading about the noodles that I made up with the random stuff I bought. I present to you "Perez Improv Noodles"

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of noodles (I used fresh shanghai noodles)
  • 3 shallots
  • Lots of chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs curry paste
  • frozen shrimp (defrosted)
  • 1 carrot-julienned
  • 2 Tbs of fish sauce
  • 2 Tsps of brown sugar
  • Green onions to taste ( I like a lot)
  • Cilantro for topping

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles. Duh.
  2. While noodles are cooking heat up the oil, it should be not-messing-around-hot. Add the garlic, shallots and curry. Stir fry for about two minutes or until fragrant. Pay attention. Don't burn it!
  3. Throw in shrimp, brown them, but don't overcook. Rubbery shrimp is a gross waste.
  4. Add carrots, fish sauce and sugar; bring to a boil.
  5. Divide noodles between serving bowls and mix in portions of your topping. Top with green onions and cilantro.
  6. Forget about the roast duck debacle. Slump in your chair with clear eyes and a full belly. Nap (optional-but suggested for rainy days)
Posted on February 7, 2012 and filed under Noodlemania 2012, Project EAT, Uncategorized.

Mil Gracias

A few cool things happened last week. The first being that Rick Bayless saw my cookbook project and gave it a shoutout on Twitter! Nice, right?

 Besides sharing a name,Emily Bayless & I share having made evry recipe n Mexican Everyday (n 1 yr)!Check out her recap: ow.ly/8vwLR

Too bad my poor punctuation gave him the false impression that my name is Emily Bayless. I feel bummed about that because Rick and his colleagues are so nice. Not only did he tout my project, he also dm'd me congratulations directly at the midpoint of the project... and both the producer of his television show and one of the photographers/testers who worked on the cookbook e-mailed congrats through the blog.

Can you believe that? These are immensely talented people and they were so kind to take the time. After spending a year in that cookbook I have so much respect for everybody involved in making that TV show and those books. Now that I know how much it takes just to cook all the recipes (and simple ones at that!) I cannot even imagine the effort it is to produce a quality cookbook and to get social media pats on the back from the people who made it all happen? It felt awesome.

So once again, I must thank you guys! Thank you for all the encouragement. Thank you for the tips and advice. Thank you to my friend Dahlia who helped me to do some food styling when I couldn't stomache taking one more crappy picture of the delicious food I was turning out. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! On Monday I'm launching a new food project. If it turns out half as fun as this one, it'll still be a raging success.

Posted on January 19, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

A Year of Dates

Last year Arnold and I committed to go out on a date once a month. Thanks to our kind and generous circle of friends we were able to make that happen! It was hard at first to leave our little guy at home but once we got over our separation anxiety we had a great time. When it was just the two of us we took for granted our endless hours of freedom but now that "dates" are a limited commodity we take them seriously. It was a veritable sushi, froyo, musical, movie explosion

This year I hope to continue our monthly dates but I'd also like to add some quality time "playdates" with the other special guy in my life. I'm not thinking of elaborate activities, just setting aside an afternoon a month that is just devoted to us spending time together, counting the blue cars and perhaps eating some ice cream.  Two monthly dates might be more to balance, but I now get how the happy times together help you get through the rough days. And besides, with a face like his, how could I not?

Posted on January 11, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

F.U. is for Fun

2010 was a rough year and I was glad to bid it and its tough life lessons goodbye. When the clock struck midnight on January 1 2011. I was so worn down from trying to get my head around the past year all that I decided on one very simple resolution "Have more fun." Seriously. That's it.

Most people would excel at this, but I'm assuming most people also don't prefer to spend the night alone with a DVD and their label maker. It's not that I'm not "fun", I think that in general I am a very fun person, it's just that I have trouble storing responsibilities for later. My mind is constantly thinking of what I need to do next, the dishes, the laundry, the (insert boring here). I can't blame this on parenthood either, I've always been like this. For 2011 I didn't want to think of all the to-do, I wanted to stop and have some fun. I wanted to take a vacation day and spend it in bed reading ( I did this once a month). I wanted to lie down at the park and watch the clouds roll by with my little guy. I wanted to stop thinking about all the obligations and just chill out for a sec.

Guess, what? I totally rocked my resolution. A plus for me! Yesterday Arnold wanted to go to the city for the day to "eat and have fun". Honestly I didn't want to go. I thought about the cost, the gas, the bridge toll, the expensive city food etc. I thought about how I need to go back to work today and there was laundry, stuff to clean etc. etc and if I don't do it I'll fall behind. And then I thought screw it, let's not leave behind the lessons of 2011 so quickly. So we hopped in the car and drove to the city. We ate good. We wandered aimlessly. We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. We hugged our son and reveled in his amazing emerging personality. We sang along at the top of our lungs. We had F.U.N!

Posted on January 2, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.