Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Top Five Searches

Yahoo! recently released a list of their Top Searched Questions in 2010. They are:

1. How to tie a tie
2. How to lose weight
3. How to kiss
4. How to write a resume
5. What's the world's only immortal animal
6. Which city has the best tap water
7. Which natural disaster shortened earth's days
8. What is love
9. What causes lightning
10. How to boil an egg

Some of these make perfect sense. For instance, I wish more men would search for 'How to tie a tie' and maybe they wouldn't show up at formal events looking like they just got in a bar fight. Also, it would finally put an end to bolo ties, thank God. But then there's 'What's the world's only immortal animal.' What does this mean? Who was searching for this? I'm not sure I want to know the answer.

And of course, 'What is love' which is totally understandable. Everyone's looking for love on the internet. I'm wondering if Yahoo! returned "Baby don't hurt me," as the answer, which would have been awesome.

This got me thinking about a hypothetical situation: What if I was a search engine, and as a mom, what would be my Top Searched Questions asked by my kids. It's a strange thought, I know, but just go with it. Hey, it's only half as strange as 'What's the world's only immortal animal.'

Also, because this is my hypothetical situation, there will only be a Top 5.  I don't have a lot of time – I just found out the answer to 'Which natural disaster shortened earth's days.'

My Top 5 Searched Questions in 2010

1. Do I have to 
Doesn't matter what it is, I get asked this about almost everything from cleaning their room to feeding the cat. Also, more disturbingly, it's becoming the standard response from Kiyomi when I tell her to put on more clothes.

2. Where's my
Again, this proceeds a long list of things, from shoes to sunglasses to 'that five dollars I left on the couch three months ago.' It's usually followed by me asking, sometimes out loud, "Where's my gin."

3. Can I go to a movie
When Kira was around 2, we were watching TV and a commercial for a Disney movie came on. Before it even got halfway through she shouted out, "Available on DVD and video November 4th!" It was a precursor of things to come - now she knows the release date of pretty much every movie made, and wants to go to opening weekend of half of them. I've started answering with, "I don't know, can your friend's mom take you." Coincidentally, that's also what you get if you search it on Yahoo!

4. Are you going out again
The girls are finally old enough to stay home alone, and Rigel and I are taking full advantage of the situation. Late dinners, after-work drinks, even a trip to the dry cleaners are all opportunities to get out of the house and do something together. They're just hitting their teen years, though, so soon the situation will be reversed and we'll be making that same query. When that time comes, I plan to roll my eyes and wag my Wii controller, too, just to get back at them. 

5. Why are teachers so cruel
Homework taking longer than five minutes, pop quizzes, rules against starting fires in class – a variety of situations bring on this question. My standard response to this query is, "And you thought I was mean." Doesn't really answer their question, but makes me feel smug and vindicated which is the best you can ask for as a mother.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Kira Won Some Tickets, I Talked To Ryan Seacrest, Then It Stopped Being Fun

Kira's been trying for weeks to get tickets to Jingle Ball, the annual holiday concert put on by KIIS FM. This year Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Nelly and B.o.B. are going to be there and I'm sure everyone is going to have a grand old time and party like it's 2999. So every morning on the way to school Kira's been glued to her Blackberry calling in to the station, and this morning she finally got through and was told she was the winner. Hallelujah! What a great day we're having! What could go wrong!

Since Kira isn't 18 she had to hand the phone to me, and I had to pretend I was the winner. I woot-wooted and high-fived all around when I got on the phone with Ryan Seacrest, and said how excited my daughter was to be going to the concert. Did you hear me on the radio? Did it make my butt look big? It was over so fast I didn't get a chance to ask Ryan all the questions I've been saving up all these years, like if he and Simon really fight and who counts all the American Idol votes, and does he need a cover for his toaster. That last one may or may not have to do with a Christmas present I'm crocheting for him.

If you did hear me on the radio and I sounded a little more stressed out than usual, it might have been because at that moment I saw the red blinking lights in my rear view mirror of the Highway Patrol man who was pulling me over for talking on my cell phone while driving. Unfortunately neither my sparkling personality nor the wad of hundred-dollar bills I keep in my glove compartment for such encounters could convince him not to give me a ticket. Talk about harshing my mellow! One minute you're talking to Ryan Seacrest and the next minute you've crossed the threshold into life as a criminal. Don't laugh - I've heard that cell phone citations are the 'gateway crime' and I'm just one step away from stealing babies.

I don't even know how much this citation is, since the officer said I would find out when I got the actual ticket in the mail. It was so ominous when he said, "You'll see," in a tone that sounded more like, "It's so sad you won't be taking that vacation this year." Now I'm thinking these 'free' Jingle Ball tickets are going to cost me a small fortune, although I'm trying to tell myself that it'll be worth it for Kira to wave her hands in the air like she just don't care while she sees Katy Perry singing 'Teenage Dream' live and in person. In fact, I'm going to crochet her a tank top to throw on stage.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Spam: It's What's For Dinner. No, Really.

Today I’m going to talk about Spam. I’m not talking about the kind in your mailbox, I’m talking about the canned meat.

Hey, where’d everybody go?

Now that everyone, save for a few adventurous souls and the Asians, have left the room let me tell you about one of my favorite family traditions, Spam musubi, (pronounced moo-soo-bee), a kind of sushi concoction made out of spam, rice and seaweed.

Hey look – now only the Asians are still here.

Sure, being Japanese-American, it’s kind of expected that my family tradition would be along the lines of a complex fish recipe handed down to me from my grandmother and featuring eyeballs and fins, or some sort of elegant cake concoction made from the delicate leaves of a young cherry blossom tree. Ideally it would be something that was created by my ancestors and whose ingredients were painstakingly written down on piece of parchment and residing in an antique carved wooden box that smells like memories.

Instead, it’s a meat of questionable origin, plopped out of a rectangular can along with it’s glistening, quivering coating of gelatin. Then it’s sliced, sauteed and sandwiched between some rice and wrapped in seaweed. It doesn’t so much smell like memories as like ham.

Here, see for yourself:

More than a tradition, it’s a constant presence whenever my huge family of 25 gets together. Unlike my mom’s lime-green jello that only makes an appearance at Thanksgiving, Spam musubi shows up at birthday parties, Christmas dinner, picnics, graduation celebrations and Easter brunch. Usually my mom makes a platter of Spam musubi, but since its recipe is universal anyone can step in and whip up a batch. Unlike other more glamorous, gourmet holiday dishes, sister-in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles all possess the culinary skill to bring these beauties to the table. Take that, white-truffle-oil fingerling potatoes.

(It’s not just my family tradition – Spam musubi can be found at many Japanese restaurants and all over Hawaii, where they even sell them at 7-11. Being able to walk into a convenience store and pick up a Spam musubi and a Big Gulp might just be the best reason I’ve ever heard for moving to Maui.)

So if you’re ever lucky enough to be at one of my family gatherings, look past the turkey or the Easter ham or the platter of sandwiches and find the Tupperware filled with Spam musubi. Now there’s a dish steeped in tradition. And gelatin.

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This post was written as part of my involvement with the Yahoo! Motherboard. Read about other family traditions on the Yahoo! Motherboard page on Shine.

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