Friday, June 29, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the triumph of great achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

--Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a recent my emotion-breaker. It blew me up like a dynamite. I've been training myself as a tough mom, emotion-sealed parent. My compressed emotions were burst out by this book.  This simple story halted me from my mundane life.

     "Once there was a tree... and she loved a little boy." So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. 
     Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk... and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave. 
     This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return.  
-Excerpt from The Giving Tree

The book cover is a lime green, a color of new life.
The blank space on each pages make me to write, to fill the gap.
But I learned, long time ago, a blank space is an artist's active device to the passive readers.
Staring simple black lines in pictures and words, I can't flip the page too fast; I want to live in this space.

For a moment I put down everything in my life.
I jump in this story; I become a little boy, I become a tree.
As this little boy grow older, I mirror myself.
This boy wants more and more, the tree give him again and again.
The boy takes for granted everything the tree gave him, but it doesn't matter to the tree.
She was happy to give; she was happy when the boy was happy. 

I have to confess; I'm an extremely emotional person. The strong waves of feelings sway me from here and there, they pause me from keep moving forward. Life is already hard without emotions, and my sensitive intuition makes my perception tougher to control, to neutralize. While reading The Giving Tree, my effort being tough and resilient was in vain. I fail to numb myself from it, but I'm glad to be failed. Because The Giving Tree satisfied my heart and my soul. 

*   *   *

From Where the Sidewalks Ends by Shel Silverstein

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

My daughter was quiet. It was unusual for her being silent when I ask her to choose for the bedtime story. She picks her book without taking too much time, but tonight she was awfully quiet. I peeked at her and found her looking at the cover image, almost studying it. I knew her questions would follow in a minute, "Mom, how come meatballs fall from the sky? and why this guy carries a spoon, fork and knife in his pocket?" 

Leading her to the bed, I answered "I guess we will figure it out soon." 

I read the title, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, written by Judi Barrett, drawn by Ron Barrett."
She interrupted immediately, "mom, they have same family name."
"Yes," I took deep breath, "I think they are family members." 

The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast lunch and dinner. 
     But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. I rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers. 
     Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagued by damaging floods and storms of huge food. The town was a mess and the people feared for their lives. 
     Something had to be done, and in a hurry.         

While we were reading it, I laughed and laughed. I was amazed by these phenomenal ideas. 
     'Wouldn't it be nice if we live in Chewandswallow? I don't need to fuss going grocery and cooking,' I imagined happily. My daughter, on the other hand, was perplexed. 
     "Mom," she frowned," if Orange juice falls from the sky, it's gonna be sticky everywhere. And if a hotdog falls from the sky, what would I eat? I don't like a hotdog." 

I didn't answer. I was having a good time imagining all the nonsense. I kept laughing and laughing out loud. 
   "Look, honey," I giggled, "can you imagine Gorgonzola cheese falling from sky? Can you imagine the smell? What about overcooked broccoli in a romantic dinner? Brussel sprouts and peanut butter with mayonnaise for a birthday!! Isn't it so funny?"  

  For the first time, I laughed out loud just like a kid during the bed time story. I really enjoyed reading a picture book along with my little daughter. It was a refreshing fact that I can have fun in her story time. It was a moment of epiphany that I don't need a fancy gadget to be entertained. I had a wonderful time reading a children's picture book.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kid's drama begins Mom's drama

--Sun Hee Yoon

Oh, no, I hate drama.
I do not want any drama.
Please, can I be spared from it? I guess not.

A mom from my daughter's class came over me,
She said my daughter stuck her tongue out,
when the teacher was not looking.
She heard it from her daughter.
Either it is true or not, she came up to me and spoke.

How do I feel about that?
Annoyed! Aggravated to death!

What is your intention, woman?
What do you want?
Are you trying to label my daughter as a mischievous?
Oh, right, I heard you yelled out loud to everyone
My girl is a bully, when I was not around.

What's your purpose?
Does your daughter behave so well?
Is that why you come up to teach me a lesson?
You think I am not doing my job properly? Is this why?

I do my best to raise my child here,
So do you. We are in a same boat, woman.
Don't flip your finger to other mom just because of your daughter's tattletale.
I respect you as much as I want to be respected.
So why don't you drop that drama?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why the Wild Things are Mean?

When I heard this book for the first time, I thought 'hmmm..I heard about it somewhere.. oh! the movie!' And time passed. I am easily distracted just like my daughter. And few weeks ago, I came across the article about Maurice Sendak, from New York Times. I still didn't think of reading his book. I thought it would come across again if I need to read. Few days ago, I was researching children's book list, and Where The Wild Things Are was one of the must-read. I realized it was time to check it out from the library.

Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief & gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. The wild things--with mismatched parts & giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious.

 --Excerpt from Where The Wild Things Are, Goodreads

My daughter was interested in the illustrations of Where The Wild Things Are. 
"Mom," she asked, "why do the wild things look scary and act mean?" 

"Hmm..," I hesitated and answered, " that's a good question. I need to think about it." 

Can anybody answer this question? Why the wild things are mean? Does every wild things are mean? Are they born like this? Do we stereotype on everything, everyone? Is it our mere perception? Hmm.. 

What is your opinion?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Make Them Be Good!" - Tough Chicks

Did I ever mention that I love to go to the library? I do, I really do love going to the library. It's almost like I'm scheduled to a blind date. (Shhh.. my husband would not like this name calling.)

Few days ago, I checked out nearly twenty books from my library, Lincoln-Belmont. Tonight my little girl and I read a book, Tough Chicks by Cece Meng.

From the moment Penny, Polly, and Molly hatch from their eggs , the whole farm knows they are truly tough chicks. They wrestle worms, rope roosters and are often found under the hood of the tractor. All the other animals, and even the farmer himself, tell Mama Hen to make her chicks good. "They are good!" Mama Hen always replies. But could her chicks be too loud, too independent, and too tough?         
--An excerpt from Tough Chicks

It has adorable illustrations. These cute chicks kept making me laugh. My daughter kept pointing out the colorful images and funny face expressions. The message of this book was very clear to me from the beginning.

"Make them be good!", "make them be good!" call the animals. "They are good!" Mama Hen clucked. But sometimes even she worried. When I read this page, I had to pause a little and wondered if this story was about me. It made me think. It was very similar portrait of what I have been dealing with.

My daughter came up with lots of WHY questions. I tried my best to answer, but there were things I just couldn't explain why Mama Hen was worried so much. I'm worried a lot just like Mama Hen. I know my girl is good, but people keep saying "make her be good!" Whenever I'm stressed out, it's hard to communicate with others. Tough Chicks, however, demonstrated it precisely with a sense of humor and the playful illustrations. I understand why it was taped "best of best" by our local librarian. She knows good books!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blogathon is over, and now what?

The feeling of accomplishment, this is great! No pain, no gain! Easy comes, easy goes! These are what people say. Surely a pain is not what we seek for, but it is a necessary evil. Without going it through, we can't really understand the true taste of an accomplishment. 

For a month of May, I was determined to post everyday on my blog. And I did. Although I have to admit that I wasn't fully prepared for this challenge. I didn't know how to pre-write, nor did I follow the theme. In fact, I didn't know what my theme is. I was just writing without much planning. 

By the mid-May I realized the inconsistency of my blog stories. I started to compare with other bloggers. I envied the well-developed blogs with all little cute designs. I envied the two-digits followers. I admired the skillful blogging rendering. Often I wanted to leave a comment, but I couldn't carry on my courage. Once I felt like leaving a note, I worried the critical voices about my English usage. It might sound funny because I write my stories in English in my blog, but I couldn't write on other blogger's property. I didn't want to be an intruder with a broken English. A self-criticism is my own obstacle, and I often fail to jump over.    

A little by little, step by step, I am getting comfortable communicating with others in online. At least that's what I like to believe so. I start to twitter. I reach out to people, who's got the same interest with me. I long for an intellectual connections, and sometimes an emotional ones too. I'm learning new things everyday. I'm amazed by hundreds, thousands of talented people. I secretly wish I could be the one, too.

May is gone, June has come. I'm still writing, I'm still blogging. I'm still yearning to be connected. Still looking for the inspirations I am listening to others. And...I want my voices to be heard. The hope is still there, and I'm not going to let it go. Untiring perseverance will lead me where I need to be. Just tonight, I'm going to sit still and celebrate my own victory even if no fanfare can be heard. I did my best, and I made it through. Good job Sun Hee, you did it!