Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year

It's Chinese New Year.  2012 is the year of the dragon. 

My kids are really into Chinese New Year.  I have no idea why.  I have never mentioned anything about it.  Although, I once worked with a woman from China and she took the entire office out for lunch to celebrate the new year.  It was fun.  She explained what all the different foods meant and why it was all lucky and would give us good fortune.  I can't remember most of it, but as I look at my stack of unpaid bills I wonder if I should have eaten more oranges.

Anyhow, my kids are really excited about all things Chinese.  They are thrilled when they realize that a toy they have is made in China.  You would think the novelty would wear off since practically everything is made in China, but it doesn't.  They believe in their heart of hearts that they have something very ancient and special from the other side of the world.

A few weeks ago I saw those kids chopsticks in Wegmans.  They were on sale, so on a whim I picked up one for each of them.  We ordered Chinese take out for dinner that night.  The kids did surprisingly well.  I thought that half-way through we would have to break out the forks, but they ate the whole dinner with chopsticks.  They liked it all so much that they even at the vegetables!  I mean, who doesn't like vegetables drenched in that yummy sauce?  I'm considering serving all vegetables with chopsticks and calling it Chinese food. 

The thing that prompted this whole post was breakfast this morning.  All the kids were complaining that they didn't like the pink cereal that they begged me to buy.  They sat there, their shredded wheat with the sickly-sweet, artificial-strawberry-flavored, pink frosting getting increasingly soggy and gross.  And that's when it came to me.

"Cereal for breakfast is good luck in China,"  I lied.

Yup.  That did the trick.  The whining stopped and the kitchen was filled with the sound of slurping and murmurings of who was going to have the most luck.

Don't judge.  Tonight we're having Chinese food for dinner and my kids will eat their vegetables.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Permission Slips and Other Strange Things

Some things just strike me as being so strange or unbelievable... or both. 
Just recently my daughter came home with a permission slip for me to sign so that she could decorate a sugar cookie at school.  A permission slip.... for a cookie.  Really?  What's in this cookie that I have to give explicit permission for my kid to decorate it?  Is this what the world has come to?  Teachers and school administrators can't use their best judgement regarding cookies?

The permission slip stated that although the cookies did not contain nuts they may have "trace amounts of nuts due to shared equipment."  It also stated that the frosting had no nuts, but contains soy, and went on to warn us that sprinkles may be used to decorate the cookies.  Oh, no!  Not Jimmies! 

Now, I realize that food allergies can be very serious.  I do.  Really.  My husband's cousins have some very serious food allergies that have landed them in the hospital on several occasions.  I've always been impressed by the little girl's ability to casually resist yummy treats unwittingly offered to her because she knows what eating them will do to her.  So my question is, is there really a need for all of this?  Maybe it's just me, but if I could be taken out by a legume or a cookie, I would probably be on pretty high alert about it from a young age without the rest of the world watching out for me.

Not to mention, wouldn't it have been easier to send the notice home to just the kids who have an issue with it?  I mean, are there parents who are adamantly against cookie decorating in general?  My favorite part of the permission slip was, "children will NOT be able to change their minds the day of cookie decorating."  Not was in all caps.  It seemed so serious.   All decisions regarding the decorating of cookies are final.  You cannot change your mind about a cookie. You just can't.

This has nothing to do with what I'm writing.
 I just thought it was a weird thing to show up
in a Google search for pics of peanuts.
I didn't know a single person growing up with a food allergy until high school. I found out about it in the worst possible way. We were at a party where he pounded down cookies as if he hadn't eaten in weeks. I think he was swallowing them whole. About half a dozen cookies in, he pause and asked, "Do these cookies have nuts?" We didn't even need to answer the question because his tongue immediately swelled to the size of a brisket, his eyes puffed to almost closed and his face turned a very odd shade of blotchy red. He asked for milk and Kleenex and sat outside in the cold with his fat tongue hanging out of his puffy face until he became... well, less swollen. "Emb oday," he would periodically say to worried friends.  Perhaps a permission slip would have been helpful to him, after all.

The permission slip was not the only thing that had me smh.  (That's "Shaking My Head" for those of you who are not as hip as I am.  Although using the word "hip" may have proven that I am not... Anyhow...)  The other night I came home from the gym to find my husband watching the movie "Thor."  Okay, this is one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen.  Maybe I would have a different opinion of it if I had seen it from the beginning, but this movie was terrible.

First of all, I don't buy into the premise that Natalie Portman/Kiera Knightly/Queen Padmay/WhoeverSheIs is an atmospheric scientist.  First of all, that job title sounds made up.  I'm sure there are a group of scientists that study the atmosphere, but they have to have a better name than that.  Seriously.  It's terrible.  I also do not believe that any of them look like her.  Not one.
Thor skipping down the
Rainbow Bridge

The bad guy's name is Loki (pronounced LOW-key).  It's not really a tough-guy name, is it?  It makes me feel a little sleepy.  Loki and his brother, Thor, are from a place called Asgard.  Asguard.  It sounds like the name of the company that manufactures the Hubba Hubba Hiney.  Tough-guy Thor travels between Asgard and Earth via a Rainbow Bridge.  A bridge... made out of a rainbow.  Now, I may have someday been able to overlook all of these very girly themes trying to be tough, but when I joked about there being flying ponies, my husband admitted that in the comic book there are actually flying horses.  Honestly, I would think a Norse legend would be less sissified than this. 

I sat through the rest of the movie waiting for Robert Downey, Jr. to show up.  He didn't.  Just the dude with the eye patch.


Robert Downey, Jr.
He's just so nice to look at!