Old Man Sushi.

It’s Christmas Eve Eve and I’m chilling with my pops on the couch.

It was an eventful day: we had ugly sweater day at work. Violet and I had dinner with our friends Jess and Leah (Violet went as Minnie Mouse and yelled at a stranger for calling her “Minnie”. “I’m not Minnie, I’m Violet!!”). We got home and put on our jams (pajamas) for a little bit of relaxation. Then my parents came home. And they both fell on the porch. Yes. Both of them. Tomorrow we will go to Lowe’s to find out how to install a railing. Violet was very concerned. “MeeMaw, are you okay?” “Pop Pop, are you okay?” She just kept asking over and over again even when they told her they were okay. As luck, or guardian angles would have it, my mom broke my dad’s fall, and neither of them broke any bones. We live very close to a nice, strong and handsome man who was able to fly on over and save the day. (Read: I called him and he came to pick up my dad as my mom was dizzy and I’m hobbling on a “boo boo foot”). Nice, strong, handsome men are the best. Except it would have been better if he would have brought ice cream.

So here I sit chilling with my pops on the eve of Christmas Eve. He watches PBS. First it was a choir from some college. They were good. Then this show came on about an amazing sushi restaurant in Japan that is in a subway and seats like ten people and cost $350 per person. I didn’t pay attention to the whole thing because you had to read the subtitles. I’m tired after all of the events of today. Here is the part I did read.

This Japanese man is 85 years old. He has a few sons, he’s been teaching them the art of sushi making for their whole lives. The old sushi mans says that when he was five years old his father told him “you have no home to come home to, you have to work”. Let me say that again. WHEN HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD his father told him that he has no home to come home to. And he said, “that’s when I knew I was on my own.” He tells the rest of the story about his father, who had a failed business and turned to drinking. This old sushi man worked for a couple of years (age 5-7), however he could, so that he could go “home” to his dad. When he turned 7 his dad left and he never saw him again. At the age of 7 old man sushi knew he was on his own for good.

Old man sushi taught his boys that they must work hard to be successful. He helped one of his sons open another little tiny but wildly successful sushi restaurant somewhere in Japan. And when that sons restaurant opened, old man sushi told his son, “now you have somewhere to go home to”.

Work = home. The words that this man heard when he was only five years old will *never* leave him. Ever.

I understand that World War II era Japan is wildly different than my 1980’s/ 1990’s America upbringing. But children are children, so I can draw this parallel. The first five years of their lives are so so so important, and so many parents are just simply careless with the words they choose, and the example they provide. Children are people. Smaller people. People with brains that soak everything in like a sponge.

Old man sushi has perfected the art of sushi making. He will never be happy with his work, and always sees room for improvement. There are people that travel to Japan JUST to eat at his tiny subway restaurant. At 85 years of age he has no desire to retire. To him work is home. He doesn’t know any other way. It’s the only lesson his dad ever taught him.

My dad, he taught me a lot of lessons. He taught me about compassion, empathy, love. He taught me about charity, and about when to be skeptical. When I was five he use to pick me up and say, “Who loves you, baby?” And I’d say “Daddy!!” Then we’d giggle. As a fully grown woman, I work hard and I’m successful, because my dad led by example and taught me the importance of hard work.

There is more than one way to get from point A to point B. I understand that “tough love” may yield results. So does unconditional love. That’s the kind of love I choose.



Tori: Unplugged.

I suffer from “mom guilt”, as most mothers do. When Violet was a newborn I felt guilty for taking a shower if she started to cry. A few times I actually jumped out and grabbed a towel so I could scoop her up within seconds of hearing her. The worst is the guilt I feel when she just wants me to “hold you”, and I’m walking out the door to go to work. The other day she said, “But mommy, I just love you.” Ugh. I just love you too baby.

I feel guilt when I find something *so interesting* on Facebook and I sit there completely engrossed in what I’m reading that I don’t even realize that she is trying to tell me something or show me something. Usually it’s an article or meme about gentle parenting, or some scientific study about how horrible it is to let your baby cry it out, why breast is best, co-sleeping, or just something hysterical from Honest Toddler (by the way Honest Toddler is freaking hysterical). Well, isn’t that ironic? I’m ignoring my kid to read articles on how to be a better parent. Something is wrong here. The good news? I can fix this.

This morning I was drying my hair thinking about how Violet was still asleep and that I won’t see her until Sunday, so I kind of wished she had woken up early. That led to a whole other stream of consciousness that I’m not even going to try to explain, which lead to my off the cuff decision to delete the Facebook app from my phone.

I went to work, posted a status and proceeded with the plan. Delete.

I was in high school when AOL took off. I remember our computer was in the basement, and I would wait the 2.5 hours for the dial up internet to connect and my whole life depended on that computer dude saying “you’ve got mail”. That was soooooo exciting. Then the AIM part took off, that was college. The “away message” was the status update of those days. “I’m in class, leave me some love!” I’d get home from class and get a superbig smile when I saw a couple of little boxes that showed I had messages from friends. That evolved into my friend Meg teaching me how to make a GeoCity website. That was fun. And then the birth of MySpace, closely followed by Facebook. (BTW, Meg made me sign up for Facebook, too). My how times have changed.

The internet is a lot of things. This blog in particular is a great thing for me. I’d love for it to grow, and to have more time to write. I find a lot of positive inspiration online. Other moms with similar points of view, websites that educate and empower me…. but Facebook on my phone was a bad thing, a thing that needed to end.

I had one second thought: it will be harder to keep in touch with my friends. How will I clog up everyone’s new feed with pictures of my kid? Well, I won’t. So I guess what I’m saying here is this: I’m not completely leaving FB. I’m just pulling the plug out halfway. If you miss me, give me a call…or even a text if you don’t have the time to hear one of my infamous incredibly detailed stories. If you want a cute picture of Vi, ask for one. Follow my Blog. Follow my Blog FB page too, while you’re at it, because I’m sure I’ll post more there from here on out.

I recognize that this is an area of improvement. My baby deserves to have me there for real. In body and in mind. When I’m craving the internet that I’ve become so accustomed to, I’ll blog, or do little bit of FB checking. Obviously I’ll save some time for Pinterest. But all after she’s in bed. Obviously, because at 2.5 she’s convinced that she bought the iPad with her hard-earned money…so I really only have access when Violet is visiting her dad, or asleep.

Here’s to more Violet induced giggles. And a screen shot of an afternoon of selfies. My god she’s cute.


Broken record

Violet loves to share with me. On Thanksgiving, and the day after she wasn’t herself and had some stomach issues. Today: I’m not myself and I have some stomach issues. Thanks Vi!

Living with your parents really comes in handy when you’re sick. My wonderful mommy got me water and crackers and jello.

Violet shares her germs, and slobber, and hugs, and cuddles…. But not my iPad. So as she’s listening to the Thomas sing along go “chugga chugga” and “there’s no one quite like Emily”, she takes the jello out of my hand. I think: “great. She shares her germs and doesn’t even let me use my iPad or eat my Jello”. I was so very wrong. Here’s our conversation:

Vi: Momma, you want a bite?
Me: Sure Vi. Thanks so much!
Vi: Your belly is hungry momma, I feed you.
Me: Violet, you take such good care of momma.
Vi: Open up! You want another one bite?
Me: This is delicious Vi.
Vi: It’s all gone momma. You want some more? I’ll make you some more!
Me: No, Vi. I’m full. But thank you so much.
Vi: Mommy, you say please and I will get you another one.
Me: But Vi, I’m not hungry, I ask for more please if I’m hungry.
Vi: Yes you are hungry, say please momma and I give you another one bite.

I know I sound like a broken record here: but seriously! This kids does a perfect impersonation of me. And it’s usually a perfect reminder of something I can do better. Like when she tells me she’s not hungry and I tell her she is. How frustrating must that be?!

Me: Violet, do you know what I do want? Hugs from my baby girl. Please?
Vi: Okay, Mommy. (She snuggles up).

:::sigh::: I love this girl!


All of that mothering really wore her out.