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Showing posts from September, 2014

Book review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011)

My dad sent me this book "for entertainment purposes only." It's an easy read, and offers insight into the motivations behind adherents of the so-called "Chinese-style" parenting, which prioritizes high academic achievement and unquestioning obedience of authority. This is in contrast to the "Western style," which aims to inculcate independence and high self-esteem.

Author Amy Chua is quick to point out that her sweeping generalizations also include parents of other ethnic groups, and, caveat outlined, proceeds to describe her personal journey of raising her kids Chinese-style virtually alone against the monolith of Western-style influences. It's a tongue-in-cheek novel, which a lot of people missed, judging from the shrieks of horror that resounded online after its publication.

Chua's style is strict and partly based upon her fear of generational decline. Since her daughters are third-generation, she thinks they're at risk for being spoi…

Labor and Delivery: the Fragrant Elephant Experience

Pinoy food triggered my labor -- or so Fragrant Mother would have you believe. On The Day Of, we did indeed travel to Quincy to eat at JnJ Turo-Turo, where I polished off lechon kawali and pinakbet, and my contractions did start when we were walking back to the train station.

But this was after we went for my scheduled OB/GYN visit. It was two days after my due date, and I was still only 1 cm dilated. My OB ruptured my membranes, which she said had a 50% chance of getting my labor started. Then she scheduled me for an induction in a week, which calmed my deadline-focused mind.

So Fragrant Husband went into the office, and Mama and I hopped on a train because she really wanted to eat fried tilapia. Afterwards, as I felt contractions and began wondering if this was really it, she mentioned that she'd seen some women go into labor a few hours after their membranes ruptured.

Labor Pain = Hell

I took a nap as soon as we got home, only to be woken up by painful contractions. I ran a bat…

Pregnancy: the Fragrant Elephant Experience

Fragrant Elephant Junior is one week old today! We're sending him to Foxborough for training camp:


I held off on blogging about being pregnant because I wanted to complete the fetus download. Now the little guy is here and I figure I'd share a bit about the last nine months.

***Nerd alert: I made a trimester-by-trimester spreadsheet where I recorded weekly fetal development and the corresponding pregnancy symptoms.***

I had a fairly uneventful first and second trimester. In the first few months, as my body churned out a placenta to supply nutrients to the rapidly growing cluster of cells in my uterus, my boobs felt tender, I got tired at work more easily, and I had to pee more. This period was when we heard his heartbeat for the first time. It sounded wet.

Next, I swanned through the second trimester with nary a complaint, which is par for the course for most pregnant women. Fragrant Husband and I headed to San Francisco so my dad could show off his slim profile and snicker a…

Throwback Thursday: Earth (1990)

Earth by David Brin is a brilliant sci-fi novel with powerful messages about the environment, humanity, technology, philosophies, cultures, and the evolution of consciousness. The novel's many characters are strongly developed, the main plot is tense and compelling, and the author's world building got a lot of things right about current trends in tech and attitudes toward its uses, such as wearable tech (think Google Glass) and privacy issues. Considering that Brin wrote this in 1990, when the cassette-based Walkman was the pinnacle of portable gadgets, it's pretty mind-blowing.

The story revolves around an artificially created black hole that is accidentally released into the earth's core. As its creator, a young British scientist, frantically tries to recover it with the help of his mentor's connections in New Zealand, an astronaut captain is pulled into the secret project as it becomes clear that her estranged husband was somehow involved. Meanwhile, an indefati…