Robert E. Lee: Douchebag of Epic Proportions

I came across this disgusting post today. Of course, you never know whether quotes are accurately attributed on the internet, but it appears D’Souza did in fact say this in an interview:

“Historically illiterate” sure sounds elitist and incisive, but you know what’s fucking worse than being “historically illiterate”? Just being the regular old type of illiterate. Hey Dinesh D’Souza, have you ever heard of like, a dictionary? He may have missed the entry, but “integrity” is defined thus:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Synonyms include honesty, probity, virtue, morality, decency, sincerity, and righteousness. It would seem to me, perhaps a “historically illiterate” woman, that a man whose loyalty to the state of Virginia caused him to lead a fucking army to wage a war in support of two causes he allegedly opposes is literally the exact opposite of someone who has “integrity.”

Do people even listen to themselves when they say retarded shit like this? Hey, this Nazi really is against murder, but he murdered a bunch of Jewish people, because you know, loyalty to Germany and such. Of course, obviously very much a man of “unimpeachable integrity.” And if you disagree, you’re definitely historically illiterate.  

It’s not because I am a “historically illiterate” leftist that I feel this way. I grew up in Lee’s home state of Virginia. I’ve been immersed in all the fun confederacy stuff, including plantation tours, visiting Lee’s house, touring Stonewall Jackson’s house, etc. While I sincerely enjoyed and appreciated those historical lessons, believe me when I say I’ve heard to no end that Lee really hated slavery and didn’t even want to secede but DERP DERP LOYALTY TO HIS HOME STATE. That fairy tale sounded plausible to a TEN YEAR OLD but then you know, I grew a brain and realized it was bullshit logic. It may be a legitimate point to make about moral dilemmas a man may face in his lifetime, or the ethical quandaries entailed in war, but it is inaccurate to herald Lee as man of great moral resolve. If loyalty to your state causes you to compromise two of your (allegedly) closely-held values, you are by definition NOT someone who has particularly strong moral principles. 

Putting petty issues of definitions and logic aside, Wikipedia provides an enlightening account of Robert E. Lee’s attitude toward three of his slaves, who escaped but were forced to return to Arlington:

Wesley Norris himself spoke out about the incident after the war, in an 1866 interview printed in an abolitionist newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Norris stated that after they had been captured, and forced to return to Arlington, Lee told them that “he would teach us a lesson we would not soon forget.” According to Norris, Lee then had the three of them firmly tied to posts by the overseer, and ordered them whipped with fifty lashes for the men and twenty for Mary Norris. Norris claimed that Lee encouraged the whipping, and that when the overseer refused to do it, called in the county constable to do it instead.
 “Unimpeachable integrity” indeed.
 

Week 39

Monday

I met a friend, who is also pregnant for lunch at Panera. She’s in the process of switching over to my OB-GYN because she was somewhat displeased with her (mine has been awesome up to this point!) Work flew by because I charged through a couple of projects I wanted to wrap up before leaving. After work, I did a couple of yoga videos.

Tuesday 

Work went by fairly quickly again, and I met another friend for lunch. I don’t usually eat out for lunch very often, but I figured now is the time to make last-minute time for good friends before Fetus makes her appearance. (Hey, think of all the money I’ve saved by not drinking alcohol these past 9 months!)

I’ve been trying to eat healthier, but I decided YOLO and suggested Persian. It’s not that Persian food is necessarily unhealthy, but I love it a lot and tend to go overboard. We met at this place with a sweet ass lunch special. They give you a small basket of bread and olives as soon as you are seated, and then the salad bar alone is glorious;  I treated myself to cucumber and tomato salad, tabouli, dolma, pickled veggies, and dates. The two of us shared the eggplant stew and a koobideh kabab that came with the usual roasted, juicy tomato and buttery saffron rice. Yeah, you try ordering this stuff and not going overboard.

The lunch was so lavish and abundant I even had leftovers to take home for husband, who enjoyed it as well. To think, there once was a time he hated Persian food! I’m glad I turned him away from a life of sure deprivation.

This put me in a great mood the rest of the day, and I compensated after I got home with some weight exercises (triceps dips, wide squats with a 20 pound weight, wall sits, bridge lifts) and a little bit of yoga.

Wednesday

Very tired. I successfully limited my liquid intake after 8:00 p.m. the night before and did not wake up much to pee… but did wake up for no reason at 3:00 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. We went to a doctor’s appointment, and I’m not dilated, though she said this is not any kind of predictor as to when I would go into labor. I was not particularly motivated to exercise after work, but managed some triceps dips and about an hour of yoga.

We went through a big box of baby clothes our neighbor kindly gave us, and sorted them by size. Most of them were boy items, but it’s not like babies really care. Girls can dress up as frogs and bears too. Although the onesie that says “Lock up your daughters!” really might be a little odd.

Thursday

Had lunch with boss and clients at Bentley’s. I ordered a Cobb Salad with the Mandarin ginger dressing instead of bleu cheese dressing. It came in epic proportions, but I think with the hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and veggies, it was still a healthier choice. On the other hand, the baked Brie appetizer with onion dip and berry jam were not.

After lunch, I stopped by Champagne Bakery, located in the same shopping center. I used to go to the one in Irvine all the time in high school, when a friend of mine worked there. I’d hang around and chill toward the end of his shift and wait for him so we could hang out. He introduced me to French desserts such as Creme Brulee, for which I have developed a lifelong love, meringues, and custard brioche. He eventually was fired for stealing from the cash registers, but my best friend in high school later also worked here, so I continued to be a regular fixture for some time.

On this occasion, I stopped to get desserts for our wedding anniversary. Although I had planned a trip to the Cravory, which has oddly flavored cookies that are amazingly tasty (e.g. balsamic rosemary – who knew this could be so delicious?), I changed my mind and was drawn to Champagne instead. I got husband a slice of Princess cake and a berry tart for myself. It was tough choosing between the berry tart and Creme Brulee. Creme Brulee usually wins over all else, but maybe pregnancy has had an effect on my taste? Also, the berry tart is just aesthetically quite a bit more pleasing. I also bought a raspberry macaron for myself and ate it on the way back to work. Stayed tuned for weight gain.

We walked a nearby hill 3 times for exercise, then rushed to the Bahn Mi place for dinner before closing time. The sandwiches were delicious and we could not believe we’d taken so many years to finally try this place.

Weekend

Friday, I went for a foot/body prenatal massage combo and it was amazing. There’s a place I’ve gone to a couple of times now that is sort of a good mix between discount massages and a spa experience. It’s more money than a cheapo Asian place, but the skill level and atmosphere are also better. The atmosphere is not quite at the level of a more professional spa, as I’ve never been to a luxury spa where the masseuse is wearing shredded denim capris or smells vaguely of cigarettes, but I’ve seriously gotten two of the best massages ever here, irrespective of price, so I’m a fan.

Saturday, I did some stretches and we did the  steep hiking trail hill by our old house once, which was nice. Later in the day, we went to the beach and did some meditation practice and I did some more stretching on the beach. I haven’t gone to Yoga class since I finished up my 10-class package, but a lot of the poses and stretches I learned in class have been immensely helpful, particularly toward the end of the third trimester.

Sunday, I walked the same hill twice and it was a big mistake. It tired me out for the rest of the day and made me grouchy. For the future, I will remember the oft-repeated advice regarding not pushing yourself too much during pregnancy. It is not the time. I think it’s good to push myself to get some type of exercise even when I’m feeling lazy, but maybe not to push it to uncomfortable limits e.g. long hikes, too much cardio, too much heat. Certainly it’s not harmful and it might be helpful for staying in shape, but the toll it takes on the rest of the day and sometimes the day after is not worth it. Sort of like a bad hangover. Except I didn’t have the pleasure of drinking, and instead of dehydration and a headache, I’m grouchy, irritable, and tired.

Henna Part 2

After waiting about a day and a half for the dye to release, I tested the henna on my hand, and it stained an orange color, as the instructions had indicated. I used an applicator bottle that came with different sized tips, and after experimenting with the thickness and speed of the dye coming out of the tip, I initially chose one of the thicker applicator options, but felt the lines were still too fine, so I went for an even thicker one and from there just went for it freehand. Maybe a little risky, but it’s temporary and all for fun anyway.

 

The paint dried a dark greenish black color and looked really cool, but once the dried henna peeled off (all over the house, every time I bent over or brushed by something, oops), the end result was pretty light. To contrast, the henna I did on my hand was much darker and noticeable, perhaps because the skin on the palms is thinner/softer?

  

Henna Part 1

I bought some supplies for decorating my belly with henna a few weeks ago and have not gotten around to using it yet. I thought the process would be easier than it is, but after Googling instructions for making henna tattoo paste, it appears a bit more involved than I thought it would be.

I bought Jamila henna powder off of Amazon and was careful to buy the powder appropriate for making a tattoo paste as opposed to for dying hair. The instructions on the box were extremely brief and only said to mix the powder with water, but instructions I found online seemed a bit more trustworthy. Husband thought I was a bit greedy hoarding a bag lemons off a tree – “Are we really going to be able to use all of those before they go bad?” – and normally he would be correct, but this henna recipe I found online required 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice so my greed came in very handy, as I polished off 4-5 lemons making my henna paste.

 

The instructions also said to add some tea tree oil and lavender oil, which I happened to have on hand. The fact I just happened to have these oils made me feel like a dirty hippie. We had bought lavender oil because we read it repels silverfish, which have a tendency to show up in our kitchen once in a while, and I had some tea tree oil for my face from Trader Joe’s. The end result was supposed to be the texture of mashed potatoes and looked like Saag, but is supposed to turn orange-brown if the dye releases correctly.

 

 

Week 38

Monday

I woke up 3 or 4 times to pee the night before, and the 4th time, I think my body was like, “Oh, you keep waking up. I guess you don’t really want to sleep, then!” and I was unable to fall asleep for over an hour. It was pretty lame and I was pretty grouchy and tired all Monday so after work, I completed a short prenatal yoga focusing on leg and core strength, did some meditation practice, and we ate leftovers for dinner.

Tuesday

I woke up 4 times to go pee the night before, but at least I had no issues falling back asleep each time. Anyway, it was still a tiring day and I was not capable of much beyond some yoga. I did a power yoga video, and called it a day. It was actually pretty hard.

Wednesday

I drank my regular 80 or so ounces of water a day but did not drink beyond two sips of liquid after 8:00 p.m. the night before and only had to wake up twice to pee! Victory is mine! It was a good morning. We had a doctor’s appointment and it was all good news. Fetus is still head down despite her totally insane movements that make me feel like she’s doing acrobatics, grating on my spine, and trying to punch a hole through my uterus. Again, I think of aliens inhabiting people’s bodies and trying to burst out, like this:

Unfortunately, the decadent eating and Taiwanese bakery treats caught up with me and I somehow gained 2 pounds overnight. Literally. I was 139.6 pounds on Tuesday morning, and 141.6 pounds Wednesday morning, which made me really irritable as my thoughts immediately floated to thigh cheese. The good news is, in the absence of freakish weight gain in the next 3 weeks, I should still fall within the recommended weight gain range, and will be successful in heeding my mother’s warning to avoid gaining 45 pounds as she did.

I went to Lazy Acres for lunch to switch things up a bit, and had an amazing salad with salmon poke, beautiful purple radishes, beets, peas, garbanzo beans, sweet peppers, and greens. Yeah yeah yeah. Raw food is so unbelievably delicious sometimes, especially in summertime.  I have not been very fond of cooked salmon since eating it while having morning sickness, but that slight distaste has not translated into the raw version. I thoroughly enjoyed the buttery, cool, cubes of salmon in my salad and savored the lovely texture.

Thursday

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and could not sleep for 2 hours, so that blew balls. This day sort of sucked so I treated myself by skipping my workout to go shopping after work. I tried to return some baby clothes, but they said I had to exchange the clothes that day and use store credit. The whole point of returning the clothes was because I believe we have more than we need and I did not want to buy more clothes without really knowing how many of each type of clothing is necessary, so this was a fruitless endeavor. I browsed some winter coats and was enamored by this faux suede, faux fur-lined hippie vest,  but it was $32! As if!

I also looked at some baby accessories, but the only thing I found useful was a pair of infant sunglasses, which were $10. They were tortoiseshell patterned and cute as hell, but I was like fuck this… $10 is like what I pay for my own adult sun glasses the fuck am I going to pay $10 for infant sunglasses? Ridiculous. No!

Later in the evening, I mixed some henna powder to prepare for use. The directions I found online said it may take 24-48 hours for the dye to release. We’ll see if I can execute this successfully.

Friday

The no liquids after 8:00 p.m. thing really does work. Only woke up twice to pee again, which I consider the second win of the week. I wake up feeling like a rock every morning because my bones feel tight and heavy. I also found stretch marks on the underside of the left side of my belly which was really sad and awful.

I was angry and and sad so I did some sprints, followed by triceps dips and then some prenatal yoga focusing on leg strength.

We don’t have any more major baby preparations or purchases to make, but I am trying to squeeze in some more piano, another massage, and a pedicure before she comes. My wonderful husband has asked me if there are any fun things I’d like to do before the due date, but La Traviatta and Magic Flute aren’t playing at the opera this season, I can’t find any recent Swan Lake performances, and anything else I can think of probably involves drinking. Regardless, it will be nice just to take it easy and spend some time together over the next two weekends.

 

It Was Coming Right At Me!

Cops have been in the news for murdering innocent people, raping women, beating their wives, and killing dogs. Most recently, goats have been the target of law enforcement. Because you know, heroes in blue certainly can’t be expected to behave like normal fucking human beings and deal with animals in a non-violent manner. Barking dogShoot it. Hissing catShoot it. Don’t know what to do with stray kittensShoot them. Somehow, mailmen, door-to-door sales people, and girl scouts can navigate the dangers of domesticated pets without resorting to deadly force, but cops can’t seem to fucking figure it out.

A Portland farmer was upset because an asshole cop killed his goat, which had inadvertently escaped through a hole in his fence. The farmer came upon the cop and his poor goat, who was bleeding and gasping for breath. The cop was not embarrassed to actually state, “‘Yeah, it was either me or the goat” because he was intimidated by the goat’s size. Maybe if you can’t fucking handle a goddamn goat, you should not be allowed to have a gun or be a fucking police officer. The owner of the $1,200 goat from New Zealand who sounds like he smokes a lot of weed responded, “Man, there are 7-year-old kids that deal with these goats. Infants that deal with these.”

There you have it. People deemed America’s heroes are more cowardly than children and infants.

In other news, a more recalcitrant goat attempted to headbutt police officers who were encroaching on his marijuana patch, but was (surprisingly) not harmed during the drug bust.

Home of the “Brave”

I recently learned on Facebook about an app or website called Nextdoor.com through a friend. Nextdoor.com describes its purpose thus:

Nextdoor is the best way to stay in the know about what’s going on in your neighborhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, learning about an upcoming block party, or hearing about a rash of car break-ins. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us. We just need an easier way to connect with them.

Seems pretty cool. I don’t think we are in particular need of this as we are in a very small gated community of only 11 units, so news can easily travel quickly without the help of an app or social media, but even so, I dig the concept. However, my friend described an actual “warning” or notice one neighbor issued through Nextdoor.com:

What in the actual fuck. It’s annoying enough to see and hear all the “See Something Say Something” propaganda posters and announcements at every mass transit station. When they make those overhead announcements at the coaster station, I usually roll my eyes, but if I’m already in a bad mood I loudly respond “Oh, go fuck yourself,” and other passengers waiting for the train look at me and wonder if I’m one of the local homeless beach bums. The paranoid propaganda is vomit-inducing in and of itself but to actually see people embrace this nonsense and add a serious dose of racism on top is just too much.

When you parse out all the bullshit in the above paragraph (“I’m not saying he tried to break in because I have virtually no evidence but yeah I’m going to go ahead and explain why I think he did”), all that has occurred is a Hispanic man in a company uniform has distributed flyers for landscaping services. How is this anything that remotely requires a warning to other neighbors? To add to the absurdity, another neighbor actually seems to share the paranoia, by responding that they too (gasp!) were offered landscaping services. “We have cameras” – really? The fuck is wrong with people?

Like, what exactly was the thought process here? And when other random white solicitors come to the door, are they met with the same reaction? (Highly doubtful). Is there some common Hispanic scheme of which I am unaware, where they go out in broad daylight making fake flyers so they can break into houses and commit rampant crime while wearing logoed clothing? Because otherwise, when you see someone in a company shirt passing out fliers, chances are, by an overwhelming margin, they are doing just that. 

People are becoming so fucking afraid of everything that it is truly fucking pathetic to behold. Despite minuscule and completely negligible risks, Americans are afraid of traveling abroad, terrorism, letting their children out of their sight for even two seconds, Mexican gardeners, and probably their own shadows. Meanwhile, they fully support their military murdering, bombing, and destroying other countries to no end in the name of the home of the “brave.” Americans are fucking wetting themselves because an unidentified landscaper knocked on their door, but expect the rest of the world to suck it up when the American military destroys their hospitals, bombs residences to oblivion, and murders children. DOES THIS MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE?

Taiwanese Bakery Treats

We celebrated our 12 year anniversary together by going to an amazing Russian/Georgian restaurant in North Park. We actually also celebrated our 7 year anniversary here. Afterwards, I was craving 菠蘿麵包 (pineapple bun), so we stopped in the Convoy area to get some yummies at 85 Degrees c. They did not have anything labeled in Chinese (not that my Chinese is that great), but it gets confusing when every Taiwanese bakery insists on naming the damn 菠蘿麵包 something different. It was “Bolo Bread” at Sunmerry in Irvine. Here at 85 Degrees it was “Boroh Danish,” which was particularly confusing because I do not associate it with Danish-style pastries at all, and there is no filling inside. I also saw 太陽餅 in the check out line and had to have that too.

The 太陽餅 was awesome, the 菠蘿麵包 was not as good as the Sunmerry one. Maybe it has to do with being pregnant but I’ve really had a tooth for Taiwanese bakery treats recently. Too bad all the good stuff is a 30-minute drive away from our place. Or maybe that’s a good thing. I really think Asians are increasingly starting to move into San Diego County, but it still feels like this:

 

Tiger Mother

I recently read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which was both hysterical and inspirational. I didn’t think it was possible, but Amy Chua makes 90% of strict Asian parents seem like lazy bums. I intensely admire her devotion to the betterment and education of her children, but am completely baffled by the discipline and drive required to execute her methods.

I’m really not sure how it’s possible for a full-time attorney or Yale Law Professor to attend music lessons, oversee hours of music practice for two daughters, create measure-by-measure notes and reminders for their pieces, write multiple books, and walk and feed the dogs daily, while still living any sort of humanly existence. Does she ever… eat? Shower? Breathe? It’s mind-boggling.

I used to think my parents were sort of strict. Relatively speaking, they were, as I was surrounded by peers who had what Chua characterizes as “Western parents” in southwest Virginia. I was not allowed to go out to play unless all homework and piano obligations were completed, even if I had just gotten out of Chinese school, music theory class, art class, or some other activity. I was in big fucking trouble if I got any B’s on my report card, while white kids were rewarded for B’s. There was some of, “_____ got a 97 on his Algebra test; you only got a 93” [oh don’t worry, eventually I beat him in Algebra], or “Your cousin is younger than you and is already setting goals to be a doctor, what are your plans?” Summer was not a free-for-all because I still had to take music and music theory class, practice piano, and memorize ancient Chinese poetry. You know, typical Asian parent stuff.

Of course, even in southwest Virginia, there were stricter Asian parents than mine. One time, when I was 10 years old, after a Taiwanese friend who was over to play at our house had gone home, my mother told me, “You know what her mother said? The 4 hours she spent at our house was the longest period of fun time she’s ever had. She’s usually constantly doing something productive.” I was somewhat horrified. While my life seemed more structured and restricted than those of kids with Western parents, clearly, I had it better than I thought. Anyway, in retrospect, I needed this because I was not always very motivated, and was often lazy. I had a tendency to cut corners and daydream, or not take things seriously unless I was doing something I really enjoyed.

In second grade, I was categorized as a gifted student and along with 3 other students, and was given some material to read and write a report as an extra challenge. The material involved some completely boring species of bird, so I procrastinated until the last minute, and then plagiarized some shit when it was due. My parents never found out about this because they were not told about it, and the assignment was not graded.

In fifth grade, I was assigned to perform a duet called The Dolls Have a Party with one of my close friends, Michael. He played the bass part while I played the treble, and he was even less keen on the piano lessons than I was. We performed to perfection at the music school recital out of fear of our teacher’s wrath (she was a Tiger Mom before she even had kids). We were subsequently also volunteered to perform the piece at a nursing home. By the time of the nursing home performance, we had fallen out of practice, completely fucked it up, and played probably a third of the song being a complete measure off from each other. Fortunately, the old people did not notice it and loved us regardless. We could hardly contain our laughter when taking our bows, but I could see our teacher glaring daggers at us from the front row.

So I was the sort of kid who needed a serious dose of discipline every once in a while.

By the time I got to high school, my parents loosened up, either because they trusted me or because they were too old to bring down the hammer constantly. My freshman year, history was optional, and 3 out of my 7 classes were fine arts classes. After freshman year, I didn’t really have a curfew. I got occasional B’s because my parents accepted that I despised math. I signed up for computer science at the community college over the summer and flunked because I got bored and stopped going. I also signed up for Spanish one year, but skipped two weeks of class because I had a friend visiting from Virginia, and also went to New Orleans for a school activity, so the teacher flunked me.

I suffered no repercussions for these devious acts, and never had to practice piano for more than an hour a day, so compared to Amy Chua, my parents probably seemed like they were running some sort of laid-back amusement park.

And I did not completely fall apart. Being surrounded by my beloved friends who were also products of Tiger parents, I succumbed to peer pressure and took every honors/AP class available and felt guilty for my 4.3 GPA (4.5 was the max, and I never got a 4.5). Yes, it is actually very possible for peer pressure to work in a positive direction.

I appreciate the way I was raised and will strive to impose equal structure and discipline for my own kids, but Amy Chua takes it to an unfathomable level to which I dare not even aspire. The only way I could come close to her level of dedication would be if I was not working, and even then, I think it would be an incredible task. Employing her tactics necessarily leaves almost no time for the self, but indeed, as Chua points out in her book, the things she did for her daughters were not at all for herself – for who enjoys being a constant disciplinarian, the bad guy, a target of your children’s frustration and ire?