How Do You Do It All?

Yikes, it’s been far too long since I posted. I’m clearly not a dedicated blogger! Anyway…I could make excuses for my absence, but instead I’d rather re-direct your attention to the title of this post. Hmmmm. What an interesting question.

Truth be told, hearing this question makes my heart hurt a little bit. It makes my heart hurt because usually when someone asks me this question, I can hear a soft note of self-judgment in their voices, comparing themselves to their image of me. And usually the person asking me this question is a person that I love and admire and respect. I don’t want to be the basis of comparison, and I definitely don’t want to be a reason that someone thinks that they should be doing more. Should is sometimes a ridiculous word. We’re all doing our best here on this funny ol’ planet, okay? So despite living in a culture that’s obsessed and deeply invested in showcasing our inadequacies, let’s stop comparing ourselves to each other. It’s not really that productive.

Truth be told, I sure as hell don’t “do it all.” And I can’t emphasize this enough.

On most days, I’m doing a combination of these things that are pretty recognizable obligations: working, writing, reading, being a graduate student (whatever the heck that means), planning for post-grad-school endeavors, and volunteering/being involved in my community. I also try to squeeze in a couple of these personal, private obligations: exercising, riding my motorcycle, meditating, practicing music, relaxing, reading a novel for fun, drawing, sewing, and cooking. But I absolutely, unequivocally do NOT accomplish all of these things every day. I’d explode. We’ve only got 24 hours a day, y’all.

On any given day, I’m deliberately choosing NOT to do any of these other things: cleaning my house, sorting the mail, returning voice mails/emails/text messages, preparing balanced meals (know what I ate for lunch today? half a bag of popcorn), spending time on unnecessary grooming rituals (shaving legs = waste of time), comparing myself to what other people do, spending time working on my career, managing my finances (thank goodness for autopay), thinking about building wealth and my retirement investments, repairing broken stuff around the house, and doing yardwork. Oh, and writing appropriately frequent blog posts.

What I’m very clumsily trying to say here is this: I don’t do it all. I don’t even come close. There are deliberate trade-offs: I will never, ever, ever have a spotlessly clean house, because it’s rock bottom on my list of priorities. Then there are inevitable trade-offs: while I’m in grad school, I will not have a lot of time to spend with family and friends because eventually finishing my Ph.D. is very, very high on my priority list.

So – next time you start to compare yourself to someone else, next time you think I should…stop. Give yourself a mental hug, and remember that we all have much more complicated and opaque lives than appear on the surface. Nobody does it all, and that’s okay.

Love, peace, and non-judgmental kindness,
Sumiko

Confessions of a Struggling [PhD Student] Writer

I’ve come to the conclusion that we (go ahead and formulate that ambiguous pronoun to suit your own ends) don’t talk about the process of writing as much as we ought to. Of course, this isn’t news to writing teachers and professors or those who conduct extensive research on writing. I have fairly frequent conversations with people who doubt their writing abilities and hold others’ writing abilities in high esteem, as though a well-written essay is something of a genetic gift, much like being beautiful or having a photographic memory. So I thought maybe this would be a good thing to talk about (and I really do welcome conversation on this particular topic, since I spend a good deal of my time writing, thinking about writing, or reading the products of many hours of writing labor.

Nobody expects to be brilliant at the violin, or racquetball, or painting, or cooking without any practice. So why do we expect ourselves to be great writers without decades of practice?

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Exhibit A: I wonder how many hours worth of writing went into these?

One of my favorite quotes about writing is from Hemingway, who despite his many flaws, was admittedly a hell of a writer. It goes something like this: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” I think he may have also compared writing to bleeding into a typewriter – thank goodness we don’t have to use those behemoths anymore. My wrists hurt just thinking about it. And while there may be some truth in those analogies, they are both irritating because they make writing seem effortless. For me, it is anything BUT effortless. So here are some things – confessions, lessons, what-have-you – that I have figured out about writing for myself.

  1. There are some things that I am really terrible at writing. And by this, I mean that there are some genres or formal conventions of writing that I struggle with mightily, to the point where I avoid them if I can. For example, the academic literature review makes me want to stick myself in the eye with a pencil. It’s like slogging through thick mud for miles on end, and when it’s over there isn’t even a shower to wash the mud off.
  2. There are some things that I am less terrible at writing. Such as academic theoretical pieces on some arcane topic. I get nerdily excited at the chance to speculate wildly, erm, I mean theorize seriously, about stuff like radical heteroglossia or rhetorical subjectivity or mediated representations of domestic violence. Everyone (I hope) has things that they are naturally drawn towards. And usually when I’m drawn towards something, I am better at it than I would be if I were forced to do it (see #1).
  3. There are plenty of “rules” of writing that I am bad at remembering. Commas are one of these; apostrophes are another. I have to look up the rules for plural possessive its’/its all the damn time. (Fortunately, hilarious writers like The Oatmeal have given me illustrated comics by which to remember this stuff. Or at least give me a laugh while I’m looking up the difference. Why are the shortest words in the English language the most troublesome?) Luckily, humans have produced the internet and many websites on grammar to save our asses when these things come up.
  4. The difference between a shitty piece of writing and a good piece of writing is time and drafts and editing and revising and proofreading and maybe some more coffee, please. In no particular order.
  5. Spell check < proofreading. Point in case. At the end of #3, I had originally written “to save our assess” instead of “to save our asses” and spell check was supremely unhelpful. Of course, being able to proofread depends on setting aside time for it…which leads me to…
  6. Although last-minute “panic inspiration” the night before a deadline is helpful as far as adrenaline goes, it’s not really a sustainable writing practice. You know what is a sustainable writing practice for me? Writing. Even if it’s dreadful and terrible, the act of pounding out words on a keyboard is something that somehow (magically, I suspect) leads to decent work. And then of course, there’s all the stuff in #4.
  7. Sentence structure is still a bitch. Something that makes perfect sense in my head sounds grotesque when read aloud. I frequently find myself going back and revising tortured sentences. There’s some perverse part of my brain that apparently really loves multiple clauses in a sentence.

It only looks easy from the outside when nobody talks about their writing processes! During my time in grad school I’ve received the most beautiful gift of honest feedback from my fellow writing group members, and I’ve learned to be a better reviewer and commenter on other people’s work in progress. Just simply SEEING other people’s drafts was a revelation at first. When I learned that one of the people whose writing I really admire was once an outline/prose mix studded with “write about XYZ here” and “need something else” and “this is a terrible word choice” I was immensely comforted. Suddenly my works-in-progress, replete with phrases like “blah blah blah” and reminders to “CITE THIS!” didn’t seem so shoddy, so unintelligent, so unworthy.

I’ve also learned to do a word search for “blah blah blah” before submitting any drafts to professors.

Love, peace, and honesty in writing,
Sumiko

P.S. In an effort to be honest, I must also admit that as I write this, I’m procrastinating a research project proposal that is due in less than 24 hours. I am also terrible at taking my own advice. I’m going to rationalize this by saying that I’m following my advice from #6 instead…and now that I’m done pounding these words out on a keyboard I will go back to my other work. No, really. I totally will.

September in Utah is Awesome: A List

September in Utah is awesome. Even though it’s a bit on the hot side this week, there are plenty of things to make up for it.

One: The SLC Fall Farmer’s Market is open on Tuesdays, and there are SO. MANY. PEACHES.

There are Angeles peaches. These gorgeous things have a beautiful red heart, and they are so bold and so scrumptious I can’t even stand it.

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And there are Lemon Elberta peaches. If you’ve never had a Lemon Elberta peach, I am so, so sorry. Because thees peaches are quite plainly the most delectable thing on the planet, and they are only here for two or three precious, rare, golden weeks of late summer and early fall. They are so delicate, so light, so juicy, and so sweetly tangy that it’s impossible to believe even if you are eating one. I’m in love with Lemon Elbertas.

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Peaches also remind me of the story of Momotaro, which my mama used to read to me when I was little. Momotaro was a boy who came to an elderly couple who were unable to have children, and he floated to them down the river in a peach.

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Two: Speaking of good stories, my mama’s birthday is in September! That’s definitely something good in Utah. If you don’t already know how amazing my mama is, you can hear about why she’s a total badass and why I’m super-duper glad that we got to celebrate this birthday with her.

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Three: The only herb I grew in my garden (okay, my weed-patch) this summer was basil. But you know what? Basil’s all I need. Exhibit A:

 

 

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Four: sunflowers. They’re everywhere, man. How can you see a sunflower and not be happy about it?

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Love, peace, and September happiness,
Sumiko

 

Got Stress? Put Food On Your Face!

Since this is the first day of my 22nd year of being in school, I am thoroughly accustomed to the stress of each semester as it comes and goes. Between work, school, and dealing with the rest of life, sometimes friends ask me “How do you do it all?”

Well, first of all – I don’t. I don’t even come close to doing everything that I tell myself I should do. But I have a few tricks for dealing with the madness. One of these tricks is to treat myself to regularly scheduled Homemade Spa Days (or Minutes). I wanted to share some recipes with you in case you are also in need of some inexpensive and easy-to-make relaxation.

Herbal Facial Steam

This is probably the easiest and one of the most relaxing things I can think of. All you do is boil a pot of water, then add some herbs. I personally LOVE lavender and rosemary, but sometimes fresh lemon slices are wonderful too. Take the pot off the heat and let the water cool for a couple of minutes. Set the pot on a hotpad, drape a towel over your head and shoulders, and put your face above the steam for 5 – 10 minutes, breathing deeply.

Desert-Face Hydrating Mask

I don’t know about you, but summers in Utah do a number on my skin. Add motorcycles to that mix and sometimes I feel like I have a lizard’s face. My favorite solution to this is simple. Take some raw honey (maybe 1 teaspoon or so) and mix it in the palm of your hand with a little bit of organic coconut oil. Smear it all over your face (or any dry area of skin, really) and leave it for as long as you can. I often do this in the evenings while I’m doing homework or housework. In fact, I’ve got honey and coconut oil smeared on my face right now! I usually let it sit for at least a couple of hours before rinsing it off with a microfiber cloth and warm water.

Avocado Face Mask

Blend together (or mash with a fork) 1/4 avocado, a big spoonful of full-fat Greek yogurt, and raw honey. Smear it on your face and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes. This one usually feels kind of tingly when I do it, so I usually do about 10 minutes.

Sugar Scrubs, Two Ways

You may have noticed that I’m not really big on measurements…and this one is no exception. I keep two sugar scrubs in the shower at all times – one of them is a scrub with large crystals and one is made with fine brown sugar. Both of these keep pretty well in sealed jars.

Version 1: Rough Grit
raw/turbinado sugar
coconut oil (you can also substitute other oils – Dawn Michelle over at Minimalist Beauty has a great list of oils high in linoleic acid if you have acne-prone skin)
juice from 1 lime
Combine and mix until it’s a consistency that suits you. Scrub gently over your skin – the coconut oil is amazingly moisturizing. No lotion needed!

Version 2: Fine Grit
brown sugar
coconut oil
Same deal – mix to a good consistency and use as needed. I prefer this one for a face scrub because after a few moments, the brown sugar dissolves, so it’s easier on the delicate skin on your face.

So, if you are in need of some “you” time and don’t have a lot of time, try some of these (or all of them)! They are all quite wallet-friendly, too.

Love, peace, and smearing food on faces,
Sumiko

Bad, Bad Blogger.

Happy July! Yes, I realize that it’s been seven months since I last posted. I’m a bad, bad blogger. But since I do enjoy breaking cardinal rules, I’m just going to go with it. I also have a good excuse in the form of this watertight pseudo-mathematical proof:

marriage
+ grad school
+ work
+ teaching part-time
+ occasionally sleeping
zero time for blogging

So, here’s a quick update post.

The Year of Not Buying Things

The Year is almost over! I have failed on several counts – such as buying myself a lipstick for my birthday (it was so red and so pretty, and I had a terrible moment of weakness – and was also goaded on by my sister-in-law). I also purchased a UV shirt for riding my motorcycle, because skin cancer is really not on my to-do list. I have also had to make a few necessary purchases for work and school (matron of honor dress for my sister’s wedding, whiteboard markers for teaching, and required books that I couldn’t find at the library).

But overall, The Year has helped me to accomplish what I was hoping to do. I was able to take a step back from the habit of buying stuff just because, and to really carefully consider WHY I wanted something, and if I actually needed it. And because I have not been consuming at anything near a frantic pace, I’ve been able to inspect the ethics of my consumption as well. Supporting local businesses is really important to me, as is supporting craftspeople and the overall slow/quality movement. So when I needed a (very specific shade of blue) dress for my sister’s wedding, I was able to pay an extremely talented friend to make it for me, keeping my money in the local economy.

In fact, it’s been such a good year that while I may relax my restrictions a little bit, I think I’m going to keep to the same path. Being able to re-focus on what’s really important to me – my people (you know who you are!), learning stuff, stretching my creativity – has been an incredible gift for the past 11 months.

Summertime, Traveling, and Motorcycles!

I’ve been bouncing around a lot this summer, too. In May, a trip to San Antonio for the Rhetoric Society of America conference…

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And then in June, a trip to Sacramento, where I saw this magnificent piece of artwork and also got to spend some quality time with my (seriously) cool family-in-law…

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    …and to Massachusetts for some beach time and my little sister’s wedding (awww!)…

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…left me pretty wiped out. I was seriously excited to get back home and to my own kitchen! Which I have barely used at all because it’s been near 100 degrees since we got home. (Ick.)

Despite the wretched blistering heat, I really love riding my motorcycle (as you may recall). I haven’t been riding as much this summer because I’m enrolled in two pedagogy classes and totally geeking out over that, and also teaching part-time in addition to my regular full time job. BUT! This weekend I got to go for a little ride with my totally excellent mom.

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Mama’s helmet hair is infinitely cooler than mine. Thank goodness for motorcycles and family. And now, it’s back to homework for me (see item #2 in my watertight pseudo-mathematical proof, above).

Peace, love, and hopefully less than seven months until another post,
Sumiko

10 Awesome Things About Snow

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10. Cute dogs playing in the snow. Oscar spazzes out whenever there’s snow!
9. Closely related to #10 – playing fetch with snowballs. Oscar gets very confused when he catches the snowballs.
8. The stillness and the way snow muffles sound. Walking through campus on my way to class this evening, I couldn’t hear anything except my own footsteps.
7. BOOTS! As if I need an excuse to wear boots…but seriously. Winter footwear is the comfiest, fluffiest, coziest, and all-around best.
6. The quiet happiness of drinking hot cocoa while watching the snow fall.
5. Donuts! Not the edible kind. The fun kind you do in your car in an empty parking lot when it snows. Hehehe.
4. Sweaters and coats and hats and gloves. Did I mention that winter clothing is the best?
3. Sledding. I haven’t been sledding for a while, but you need only watch this to be reminded of how great sledding really is. I rest my case.
2. Here in lovely Utah, we really need snow…because a snowy winter usually means a not-sucky summer.
1. It’s part of living with the gorgeousness of seasons! Snow makes everything more magical.

2012-12-27 13.25.00Love, peace, and snowy (but safe) pathways,
Sumiko

A Complicated Relationship, or: Why I Wear Red Lipstick

I have been in the same complicated relationship since I turned 14. It was early in the morning, on my birthday (unfortunately, a school day), and I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom. My  mom interrupted my usual routine and presented me with a Clinique bag shaped like a sunflower, containing mascara, light tan eyeshadow, and a stick of brown eyeliner. I probably squealed with delight, and then promptly asked for help because I had no idea what to do with those particular implements. That was my first memorable experience with the breathless thrill of being able to change my physical appearance, albeit temporarily. The exhilarating rush of feeling that I was somehow more beautiful, and more worthy of attention or affection or whatever my teenaged brain was feeling, was new to me.

I have struggled with makeup not only in the literal application, but in what it means to me, how my identity is or isn’t changed by wearing or not wearing it, and how I perceive myself without and with it. I’m still struggling with this – it’s something that I consider on a practical level (how much time am I willing to take up with it), a professional level (will I be perceived as credible without it?), and an intellectual level (am I contributing to my own devaluation every time I put on makeup?).

Furthering this confusion is the fact that my face-paint of choice is bright, fire-engine red lipstick. It’s not exactly what you could call subtle. Red lipstick has a bit of a history in the west – if you’ll allow me the license, maybe even a bit of baggage. Associated variously with formal self-presentation for women in the 1940s and 1950s, sex workers, burlesque dancers, and their famous counterparts like Grace Kelly, Dita von Teese, Marilyn Monroe, and Gwen Stefani (and many more), red lipstick has signified sexuality and flirtation, passion and provocation. Women who are “taken seriously” are rarely known for wearing bright red lipstick.

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Enter Dr. Lindsay Kite and Dr. Lexie Kite – two brilliant and engaging women whom I respect and admire. Their research speaks to my struggle in many ways. Their project, Beauty Redefined, looks at media subjectification/objectification of women and girls and the impacts those processes have on us and our development in all spheres of life – health, education, happiness, and pretty much everything else. Reading their amazing work for the hundredth time, I suddenly felt like I needed to write this down and get it out of my head. I needed to understand this relationship better for myself.

Practical matters first: with 24 possible hours in the day, I am willing to spend .003% of my time on my appearance every day. That includes brushing my hair and putting on makeup – roughly 5 minutes. If I put on makeup every work day for an entire year, that adds up to a rather whopping 21.6 hours – basically a full day every year. Granted, there are plenty of days that I refuse to put on any makeup at all, but even so, I consider that a lot of time. That’s time I could spend studying, playing with my dog, spending time with my beloved, reading, drawing, enjoying a cup of coffee, writing, or about a zillion other things that are arguably more valuable to who I am becoming in the long run. In this dimension, red lipstick is a really fast way to bring my normal appearance to a slightly higher level without feeling like I’m completely caving in to vanity.

Professional neuroses next: I started working in my first professional-level position when I was 20 years old, and I had so, so many doubts about whether or not I was remotely credible in the position of authority I’d suddenly found myself in. Even today, I still have doubts about whether or not people will take my advice seriously based on my appearance. This insecurity drives me NUTS! I am a competent, smart and creative professional, but I still feel like I need to look a certain part. To some extent, bright red lipstick is a shield.

As a ‘professional student,’ I know the currency of looks in the academic world. Time spent on appearances is often assumed to be a sign of inner shallowness, a symptom to diagnose a lack of worthwhile ideas. The plainer I appear, the deeper my thoughts. There are most certainly those who dismiss such ridiculous stereotypes as just that. Nonetheless, physical appearance remains something of an issue in some academic circles. Ironically, it’s “appearing” to spend time on one’s appearance that seems to count, rather than any actual metric – how many beauty blogs have tutorials demonstrating a detailed seventeen-step process to looking like you aren’t wearing any makeup at all? In this capacity, red lipstick is a polite way of saying “Don’t be silly.”

To my mind, bright red lipstick is a reminder and a challenge. It’s a reminder to me to always aim for vivacity. It’s a challenge to one-dimensional ideas about femininity (particularly when paired with less ‘feminine’ elements of physical appearance like short hair and a biker jacket), a challenge to assumptions about intellectual strength and rigor (as in, I can wear lipstick and still be serious about learning), and a challenge to everyone I see to be blazingly, exuberantly, sometimes messily and smudgily, fiery in approaching life.

As with all good relationships, my complicated relationship with makeup is always unfolding as I am always in the process of becoming. Ask me again in ten years and I might have a very different answer for you, but right now, I’ll stick with the boldness and the vivacity of bright red.

Love, peace, and complications,
Sumiko

What I’ve Learned in Grad School

To celebrate surviving the first two and a half weeks of my 21st year of school, here is a post about what I’ve learned in grad school! No, this is not going to be about anything actually academic, but I love writing lists and I think all of these things are pretty funny on some level.

  1. Not only is “dissertating” a word, it’s a word that inspires envy in those of us who aren’t even thinking about comps yet.
  2. Also, “comping” is a word. And it has nothing to do with comp time.
  3. Many people go for days at a time without reading or responding to emails.
  4. A few people go for weeks at a time without responding to emails.
  5. Pretty much everyone in grad school agrees that there’s a special place in hell for the person who drinks the last of the break room coffee without starting a new pot.
  6. Having a department mailbox and checking your mailbox are two vastly different things.
  7. If you want grad students to attend (anything), you’d better have free food there.
  8. Grad students will spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about things that only they (and perhaps fifty other people in the world) care about.
  9. Hanging out with your fellow students is not only fun, it’s necessary to survive. This goes double if you’re in a PhD program.
  10. A Clif bar is a perfectly acceptable dinner when you have the 6 – 9 pm class and you’ve been at work/teaching since 7:30 am.
  11. Everything you ever read on PhD Comics is actually true.
  12. Despite all the madness and the sleep deprivation and the stress and the pressure, the chance to study exactly what you want to study – in nauseating detail – with brilliant, passionate people, is an amazing opportunity.

Love, peace, and thanks to all my fellow U of U Comm grad students for being amazing,
Sumiko

What Really Matters

Starting August 1st, my beloved and I are going to attempt a year-long experiment. We’re not going to buy stuff. I am expecting this to be very difficult, particularly for me, because I love all of these things:

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Truth be told, I’m a bit of an impulsive shopper. If I’m having a crappy day at work, I go shopping on my lunch break. Feeling overwhelmed by balancing the demands on my time? Quick trip to Nordstrom ought to sort that out! Is it a cloudy day when I really wanted some sunshine? A new red lipstick will cheer me up.

Clearly, this isn’t a terrific habit, emotionally, financially, practically…and it leads to having WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

In the beginning of July, my beloved and I were just getting back into the swing of things after vacation and being sick for a while, and we realized that our lives are far too cluttered with stuff that we don’t need or even use. So this month, we’ve been going through our house room by room, and de-cluttering. See exhibit A: one room’s worth of stuff, boxed up and bagged to be donated to charity.

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Obviously, there are some exceptions to the “not buying anything” rule. Like food. And soap. Required items for school and work will be somewhat unavoidable. We also have a “safety clause” – if something really important needs replacing, like the brakes on the car, we’re going to buy new brakes.

We’re also okay with spending money repairing things, like having shoes re-soled if they are worn through. For clothing, if it is damaged beyond repair and we actually need it (for example, clothing for work), we can buy a replacement item, but there will be no “yay, it’s summertime, let’s go shopping!” benders. Instead, I’ll be trying to upcycle things as much as possible. (Cue the sewing machine…) For gifts, we’ll try to give experiences rather than things.

Ultimately, we want to focus this year on what really matters.

what matters

We want to focus on people, and traveling, and places we love, and sharing the experience of being human with those we care for. We’ll be checking back in from time to time to report on how the experiment is going. So, starting Thursday, the Year Of Not Buying Stuff will begin.

Wish us luck!
Sumiko and Sean

My Rockin’, Badass, Wise, Beautiful Mama

Yeah, I’m going to do a cheesy Mother’s Day weekend post. My mom kicks ass. She’s been a drag racer, a teacher, an activist, a motorcycle mama, a caterer, a small business owner, an environmentalist, a model, a nurse, a student, and the parent of me and my hellion siblings. The least she deserves is a shout-out on the interwebs.

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I’m pretty sure it’s been said a billion times, but moms are always teaching, intentionally or otherwise. Fortunately for me, my mom was very intentional about her teaching, and she taught by example.

She taught me to be confident in myself, and to be proud but not cocky. She taught me that rules were sometimes for bending, sometimes for breaking, but always with verve. 

She taught me how to change a tire, change my oil, drive, ride a motorcycle, cook and bake, and dance around the kitchen and laugh. She taught me useful phrases like, “I didn’t know they stacked crap that high!” and “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit.”

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She taught me how to dye my own hair, that I really ought not to cut my own bangs, but that a woman’s hair only needs to fit the way she sees herself and shouldn’t be for other people to judge. And that, in fact, a woman doesn’t need to have hair if she doesn’t want to.

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She taught me dignity and courage in the face of terrifying odds. She taught me not to underestimate myself and that a person can come back from anything.

She taught me that laughter and trust are the most important things in a relationship.

She taught me how to strike a pose. She is will always much better at this than I am.

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She taught me humility. Repeatedly.

She taught me that things like work, and chores, and other people’s expectations, will always bounce back at you when you drop them, but if you neglect the important people in your life, something beautiful will be irreparably lost.

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She taught me how to put on makeup, and that when in doubt, red lipstick is the way to go, and how to walk in high heels. She is still much better than I am at that last one.

She taught me how to read maps, and how to love road trips, and the value of getting lost.

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She taught me not to care about what other people think of me, unless I choose to value their opinions. She taught me that sometimes you have to make the really, really hard decisions to save yourself and the people you love.

She taught me how to make great fried rice, eggrolls and sushi. And how to make friends. (These two may be closely interrelated.)

She taught me the importance of learning and curiosity, to respect the common humanity of all people, and to question everything.

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So, on this Mother’s Day weekend, I just want to tell my Mama that it’s not just today that I’m grateful for you and everything you did to raise me. It’s every single day when I wake up and try to navigate the world with what you’ve taught me.

Love, peace, and gratitude,
Sumiko

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