Monday, April 28, 2014

Motivation Monday: A Solid Family Name

Cambodians' last names are a direct correlation to one's grandfather's first name. Therefore, one is not known specifically as a line as it is with the rest of Asia, or even the rest of the world. Cambodians want you to know where and who you come from. This is the norm in Cambodia... but upon moving to a western continent, this is not so. This is the case for S, R, L and myself. The boys have our grandfather's first name as their surname and the girls have our dad/great-grandfather's last name as our surname. It caused real confusion in grammar school and the like- are we half-siblings, step-siblings, adopted? Nope, our parents are our parents and they're one in the same. (My uncle later explained that the boys should have the correct, traditional surname because their last names will never change. And they figured us girls would eventually marry and take on the name of our husband, so it didn't matter.)

Puerto Ricans, on the other hand, have two last names in distinct correlation to one's father's paternal last name and one's mother's paternal last name. This is enforced in the country and you are never expected to give just one name when asked for your familial name. (Even me, apparently, when asked by MIL. She prompted for both my parent's last names. "Uh... I'm Asian. My mom's last name is the same as my dad's. My mom has a maiden name- is that what you're referring to?") Cristhian's family dates back to Spain and has therefore kept this tradition. As the only sibling born in Puerto Rico, he is without a middle name, yet has his father's last name AND his mom's last name as two names, both of which are depicted on his birth certificate. (His siblings were all born state-side and only have one last name, originally their father's, but this has changed through no fault of their own, but through the fault of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his parents. I will get to this story another time.)

As a child whose family (for the most part- sorry S and R!) shares a similar last name, I have come to conclude a sense realization and happiness that a single family name possesses. Crissy and I, although hyphenated on my end, share a last name that we can share with our children. With all the issues Cristhian and I have had with my last names and his last names, I've come to relish a solidarity in names.

For the longest time, I wanted my kids to share my highly superior last name, but I've finally decided otherwise. Therefore, Eggroll and/or Empanada (hopefully two Empanadas- so Empanada and Empanadita) will be named FirstName MiddleName Middle Name HisLastName. Zorro, Otie and Kuro have Cristhian's last name anyway. Their siblings should have a name to match! I think it's sweet.

Names are annoying, aren't they?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tanning Controversy: Why I Tan

Asian aunties aaaaalways tell me how pretty my light (for Cambodians!) or horrible my dark (Vietnamese/Cantonese) skin is.. How/Why am I so light/dark?! Do I bleach my skin? Let me tell you: I'm close to NC25 (late January-February) naturally, but, ideally, I like when my skin is around NC35 (late July-August). To keep balanced, I usually try to maintain a NC30 color or golden/olive medium tone year 'round. I tan; I fake bake; I stay outside (and wear sunscreen!). I think I look healthy (vs when I'm naturally pale); I like the look of being bronze.

January 2014

March 2011

For the past two years, I apply self-tanner on my face once every 10 days. It doesn't help my acne (which is an ongoing issue), but it really helps my face look healthy. I also make sure to apply a gradual self-tanner every 3-5 days to ensure my face matches my body. I also find that tanning helps my overly yellow skin look more neutral.

Both pictures are from July 2011

With this in mind, I'm not light and fair (like my mommy), but I'm not dark and night-like (like Uncle Josh). I'm light-medium, if you will. Generally in Asia, it's a fact that the lighter your skin, the more attractive your skin. Asians in Asia love the look of a ghost-like, pale face. Many times (in real life and on TV), I'll see a woman with foundation that is 2-3x lighter than her actual skin color. I would think that matching one's skin color overall would be ideal.. but nope.

Yes. I think this model's beautiful and her makeup is well done, but you can obviously tell her foundation is too light!

Yo. They be Cambodian Purdy, mang.

I have moments where I think I should just go au naturale.. but then I remember that I tan far too easily. For over 20 years, I never fake baked or tanned outside (with the exception of playing outside!)... Any time of the year, you'd find me polka-dotted with dark or light splotches all over my body. I never burned... I just tanned so well. That, paired with my acne, made me so incredibly self-conscious. So when I found makeup, I took to liking a more even, dark appearance (which is easier to maintain than keeping my entire body light!).

What are you feelings on tanning?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kuro vs Neighbor: Part II

Like I mentioned in a previous post, Kuro was attacked by a neighbor's dog earlier this month.

Kuro had a followup with the vet who surgically affixed his ear and stitched him up.. and he did well overall. His stitches are healing up nicely and his tube was slightly secreting liquid. From there, Dr. Hokpinson decided that we should leave the drain for another week to ensure everything inside of Kuro was doing fine also. .. Well that didn't last for long. My left-paw dominant buddy scratched the hell out of his tube (because it bothered him while sleeping and playing) and only 1/4 inch of the tube remained on his head. The good doctor ended up removing the tube and Kuro was left with a hole the size of a dime! My poor boy.

On Thursday, our neighbor left a check with me to reimburse us for the damage that was done to Kuro. Thank goodness! I was honestly scared to think that Crissy and I would be left with such a disgusting bill for a long while.. Ya just never know, right?

Thank you all for your kind thoughts, prayers, visits and phone calls!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prenatal Vitamins During Pre-Conception Phase?

Starting a family was something I always knew I'd go through. Admittedly, as I grew into adulthood, I dreaded and feared it. I don't want to give up my freedom, or my love for alcohol. (Maybe that's my problem as the youngest of the FOB generation.. It seems like most kids nowadays feel a certain closeness, a sensitivity, to children.. Yeah. I don't have that.) Alas, I am nearing my late 20s, have spoken with my OB/GYN and GP and have that daunting sense of overwhelming fear that: if I don't start planning now the little feckers may never come (which I'm totally ok with actually) and I'll make my family heartbroken. What? Heartbroken? Well, yeah. Given the fact that I'm the one (other than MY siblings) who can't stand small, whiny kids, who would prefer to NOT hold or be around them, etc.. As I'm the one who's been in a stable, committed relationship and I'm the oldest of grandma's grandchildren, Ming and Om are so looking forward to a grandchild from me. Gosh. Pressure. That, and Cristhian would make such a wonderful father. Really, all the maternal/paternal instincts from this relationship are awarded to him. I have none. Seriously.

Welps, after speaking with OB/GYN in regards to my womanly history, etc, etc and conversing with my GP about my health.. They've decided that if I plan to conceive in 1-3 years, I should start prenatal vitamins. What? Yeah, I'm shocked, too. I've heard of women going on prenatal vitamins prior to conceiving, but I never figured I'd be one of them. Especially considering I won't be having any kids ANY time soon. Interesting, no?

The doctor recommend I take any prenatal drug, but she prescribed Vitafol-OB+DHA. Why? Because my private health insurance is absolutely amazing and covers prenatal drugs at no cost to me. Soooo... yeah. Conceiving will be difficult, but I know God will put in my path what He wills. Cheers!

Any tips? I'd love to hear 'em!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kuro vs Neighbor: Part I

My life pretty much revolves around four #$@)ers. Zorro, Otie, Kuro and Crissy. It's sad, but true. When something happens to one of them, my barely-there-somewhat-existent maternal instincts kick in and I need to do everything in my power to make things better.

On Thursday, April 3, Cristhian took Kuro out for a quick walk and wee like he always does when I'm out of town. Another day, another walk. Yes, dogs live in our building.. it's not something we think about since, generally, all the dogs get along. That day, for whatever reason, when Cris opened the door, he must've startled the scotty because guess what- Kuro was bit. Yes, a Scottish Terrier/Corgi/German Shepard.

I was thinking, a scotty mix? How bad could the bite be! At first glance, with the first picture Cristhian sent me, the wound didn't look so bad. … Well, when he went to the ER vet that idea quickly disappeared. Upon further inspection and shaving, you could see the damage the scotty did to Kuro.

The cost of care and surgery was over $1k- aka something Crissy and I can't afford on a whim. We KNOW we want the scotty's owner to foot the bill- but how long would that take? Ugh. Kuro needs care NOW. We wanted to get Kuro the best care possible, but we needed to get the funds together. So the vet suggested stapling his ear and wounds- basically putting a bandaid on something that needed serious care.

After regrouping and after being helped by kind family members, Cristhian was able to bring Kuro back to the ER and get Kuro the care he needed. Kuro's surgery took all night and he did really well overall, per the vet techs and vet. In total, Kuro's ear was severely lacerated and was more than 3/4" was flapping, he had deep flesh wounds on his neck and his head as well. Kuro ended up with 31 stitches and a tube to drain the pus, mucus and blood that seeps from his body.

Kuro takes antibiotics twice daily and is also on pain management. His energy is still low and he's understandably lethargic (we know this because he's usually excited to see mommy or daddy...). Every now and then, he'll whimper because he wants to sleep on his left side (as Kuro is a lefty and prefers his left side)... and that's when we know he needs his pain meds. Moreover, we apply a warm compress on his drain three times a day and clean his wounds with hydrogen peroxide- which he HATES!

Per Cristhian and the vet, the scotty latched on real well and would not let Kuro go. //supersighandsob

At this point in time, Kuro will be getting his tube removed the following Monday due to the continual seepage from his drain. Moreover, his stitches are still to be removed the Friday after. Also, we've called Animal Control and the ACOs have been mediating between both parties. Cris has tried knocking on the neighbors' door and showing them the bill that incurred due to their dog... but to no avail. They have not answered. I will update y'all with Kuro's recovery and our ongoing "suit" with our neighbors.

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