Friday, November 30, 2007

We treat this world of ours as though we had a spare one in the trunk.

Oh no! Did I just get a sanctimonious fortune?

I recycle. As a matter of fact it drives my family nuts that I go after them saying things, like “if you rip it you can recycle it”. I have engaged in long conversations with them about a paper napkin being paper one can rip versus one that cannot be put in with the paper recyclables. I also have spent countless hours labeling and re-labeling garbage cans to train my family to do the right thing and put the containers in the right place. I get it!

And I do drive an SUV because we have three kids one of them requiring a fat car seat and then there are two adults and then of course we have gear. So we drive a big gas guzzling car. I don’t see too many choices in that matter. I would have more fun in a BMW 325 series stick-shift in one hand, dark sunglasses zooming down some German autobahn in pursuit of some criminal or at least, a good cup of coffee. That would be my preference, but I have a lot of kids and lots of their stuff and a fat car seat, so I have a big SUV. I also go around turning lights off in the house the minute someone makes a move that looks as though they are leaving a room. I get a lot of “I am still in here” cries but I remain undeterred. I am energy conserving.

Dear fortune cookie wisdom. I come to you for the kind of enlightenment that I get no where else. Could it be that supermarket bought fortune cookies Ty Ling individually wrapped cannot be bothered to prophesy in the traditional way of the cookie? Please! How can I live my life following your instruction if you are now Al Gore’s mouth piece? I am all for saving our planet. I do my best, I just don’t need to hear it from you, fortune cookie. I am disheartened and questioning my blind faith. Plus, you should know that you tasted a little off, kind of kerosene and vanilla like. Not sure what that was about, just thought you should know.

Yours truly. Not sure if I believe in you any longer.

Oh, and how do you say RIP OFF! in Chinese? There is no word for me to learn or lucky number because, guess what? Blank in the back of the fortune, that’s what! I am angry cookie. I am so trying La Choy tomorrow. Only because if I go to my restaurant stash I fear I might get the greedy cookie fortune again.

Might as well just use this and do my own wisdom fortunes

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This just in from my husband

This just in from my husband- Apparently he’s more enlightened than I am. Check this out:

him-why are you baffled by the greedy fortune?

me- because it makes no sense!

him- It means "don't start new projects till you finish what you have on your plate"

Apparently he made the connections using greed, food and plate as a starting point. I still don’t think that is what the wise cookie meant, although his interpretations makes a lot of sense.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Da Vinci Chinese Code: Mastering the language

Today I will try to make a sentence with the Chinese words I learned. Maybe there is a secret extra wise hidden message.

Here is the message using the words in order.

Hopeful joke around. Don’t matter! Boyfriend very busy. Thank you, no he good weather.

Here are some variations:

He don’t matter! Hopeful good weather? No joke around very busy! Thank you!

Thank you no joke around. He hopeful good weather. Boyfriend don’t matter thank you, very busy.

Boyfriend hopeful he very busy. Don’t matter good weather. Thank you no joke around.
What does it all mean? I need to decode the numbers next. My brain hurts too much for that right now.

Instead, here is an entry from wikipedia on Chinese fortune cookies. I learned that many people do not use fortune cookies as a oracular device (whatever) and that much money can be made by using the numbers to play the lottery. Guess where I am headed later?

Linked from wikipedia entry is a good article about negative sounding fortune cookies! For shame.

Here is another article.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Your happiness is before you, not behind you! Cherish it.

This one is Fortune Cookie Philosophy 101. Don’t dread the future and don’t get stuck in the past (grasshopper). Look forward to the future is a great attitude builder, because regardless of how miserable you are you can always make yourself think it could get better tomorrow. Except of course when your husband’s ex-wife is a sour unhappy person that knows only conflict and hate. But I digress, my point is, that sometimes some things in the future one can look forward to because they don’t change. This means you don’t have to worry about them sucker punching you in any way.

The past is gone. There is nothing you can do about it so might as well refuse to go back and lets say relive the moments in your youth when you had a fast metabolism. I tried looking at the past for the happiness of fast metabolic calorie burning days, but it only left me sad and hungry. So if I should look towards the future for my happiness instead of behind me (where I can only see the shadow of my rear end) -which reminds me it is going to be a very cold winter- In my future I can see a new pair of jeans a bit bigger than the ones I have now, and also shoes to go with them and of course some new t-shirts and a purse to ‘tie’ my new look together.

I feel better already.

Thanks fortune cookie!

Here is my word in Chinese Good Weather which is made of three characters.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Going with the flow will make your transition ever so much easier.

Fortune cookie: My transition into what exactly? Another life form. Look, I know I am a little high strung and need to have a lot of structure, but what are we talking about? A more enlightened and transcended being? Why can’t you be more specific with me? I hate that you don’t just tell me things in some direct way.

How about telling me that today I should go with the flow and let my toddler put ketchup on her pear because she’s just experimenting and not really getting addicted to ketchup like I fear she is. That would be helpful.

Does this mean cookie that this morning when I found I had put the remote control in the refrigerator I should only laugh instead of being concerned for my mental state. Same goes when I answer the remote control instead of the phone I should laugh it up.
Ha ha! Look at me I am going insane, no big. I am just going with the flow.

Nonetheless, even as your message is vague and open ended I will go with the flow and try to go with the flow. See what I did there? Well, that just means that no matter what catastrophe presents itself today I will brave it with shoulder shrugging singing “Que sera sera”.

My word for today is: He which is ta in Chinese. One character.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This is an ideal time to water your personal garden.

Dear Chinese cookie,

Thanks for the timely message because today I am going to take this literally. I am bringing all my plants inside and try to find ideal places for all of them to live comfortably because it is way too cold for them outside.

The huge gorgeous geraniums made it to the living room without incident and I only broke a couple of strong stems on the green and purple plant which name I don’t know.
I moved my herbs and those made it in one piece.

After all of the moving and the sweeping it was time to water. I forgot a couple of plates underneath the plants and the water ran over, but that was fine. I cleaned it all up and nothing was damaged.

When I look out the window and see the leafless trees and then I look inside and see all the green and the flowers I feel happy.

Oh, and I love my word today. It is the word No (not) and it is only one character.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finish your works on hand. Don’t be greedy

Again with the greed and finishing works. I don’t get this one and I refuse to give it any time. I told you cookie, I am not enlightened enough. I had to go to the back of the previous fortune to deduce it didn’t apply to me, but now this again? What kind of sick twisted game are you playing with my destiny. I didn’t know fortune cookies were supposed to torture people. Thanks a lot!

Oh, my word in Chinese today: Thank you. And guess what? I didn’t even need for you to tell me that because my kid’s see and say toy of languages of the world says thank you in Chinese. Even my toddler can say it, so thanks for not a whole bunch.

PS. Here is a blogger who encountered a particularly evil fortune. She also found another site that has evil fortune cookies. What is the world coming to?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Your battle between impatient and pragmatic rages on today.

This is a tricky situation because the cookie has given me this message twice in the same pile. The cookie’s message itself must be based in some sort of ying and yang philosophy because I always feel like it gives out these mixed messages. It is exactly the same thing that happens when you deal with passive aggressive people. You never quite know which is the truth that is coming out.

The fact that I got the message twice in the same pile must mean that I should pay special attention to the fortune. Recently I have been contemplating getting rid of a bunch of excess stuff around my life. The stuff is all beautiful, and except for some very specific things that have sentimental value to me, it is just stuff. These objects take up space and weigh me down because these things require an ecosystem of their own. Mainly dusting, labeling, moving around, rescuing from a flooded basement, moving again, reminding me that they exist thus causing me mental brain drain.

I don’t have a problem with getting rid of stuff. Actually, it comes quite naturally to me. The only attachment I have to things are with photographs and old letters. Anything that rekindles or preserves a memory the way a photograph does or a letter does, is sweet to me and necessary. The same goes for some of the objects which might have been part of a photograph like a baby outfit or a toy. My kids love piecing this complete picture together of an image with something else they remember but are holding at that same moment.

The thing is while I don’t have a problem getting rid of stuff, I am conflicted about how to do it. The impatient side of me wants it gone now, today and at this moment. This would mean setting it out in the front walkway with a sign that says: free stuff. Another way, which I normally default to is to call a charity organization to come pick it up. The pragmatic side of me says I should carefully save it for other friends or the ultimate one: Make a killing on Ebay. I in fact, have come to this same crossroads a couple of times and always err on the side of impatience.

Dear cookie, you are trying very strongly to tell me something. And it is not like you are playing a cheap parlor trick. Your back messages of words and lucky numbers are completely different. I take it from this that I should do things in a more pragmatic way, which in this case means, Ebay. Before I thought pragmatic meant get it out of here. Today I think pragmatic means, make some cash out of it. So I will.

Long live the wisdom of the cookie.
Here are my Chinese words:

Boyfriend and Very Busy. The word for boyfriend sounds has three characters which at first glance seem to have the words pain on you. ( nan pun yau). Very busy has two characters and made of two characters. I think it is great that it takes two words in English and Chinese to say the same thing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finish your works on hand. Don't be greedy.

Are you kidding me cookie? Tell me that this is a bad Chinese into English translation we get to hear about every once in a while.

But if it isn’t a translation gone bad then what is the message for me today? Look, I have trouble finishing my works on hand but hardly because I am off getting manicures watching television all the time, gossiping on the phone (when I do I am productive).

Greedy would be: living in the world plotting to ruin people’s lives while looking perfectly styled, manicured and coifed, or sleeping in and maybe even going alone to the movies more often. The things I am greedy about like certain cakes or things are never things that keep me from finishing my works on hand. I eat greedily while I do other things.

Everything I do is about finishing my work(s) on hand. Give me a break cookie!

So I am baffled by this fortune and I will admit, a bit upset by the mixed message it gives me. Maybe I am not enlightened enough to follow forth in the wisdom of the cookie, but maybe later I will.

Yay! I got my message of enlightenment anyway. The Chinese word for me today was:
"Don’t matter," which my cookie says means "not related." This word is made of four characters and all I take from this cookie is that I shouldn’t care just yet about what I can or cannot get from its wisdom, because it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t relate to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be careful or you could fall for some tricks today.

I read this fortune in the morning. I picked it randomly from the stack I had amassed. Something about the fortune seemed too cautionary and I began to worry. I remembered some story that a friend had told me about. She read some novel in which a shaman tells a boy of the death of someone very close to him and gives him the initials. The boy begins to worry over the realization that the initials belong to his father. In fact he worries so much that he forgets to eat, can barely speak or take care himself. In a matter of months he was so ill and frail he was at the brink of death. When he was falling asleep into death he noticed a handkerchief his mother had embroidered for him. There were the initials the shaman had told him about in the death portent. They were in fact his own. The boy died that night.

The cookie sounded a little bit too much like that story. Like, there is something so obvious that is going to trick you in such a severe way, you need to watch out for it.

So I did. I counted and recounted my change at the store. I double checked my receipt when I had the car serviced. I double checked my daughter’s homework log meticulously to ensure she had not turned into the kind of child who thinks nothing of duping her mother into thinking she’s done with her work. My change was correct, my receipt paralleled the work on the car and my daughter was as straight with me as she always is. So far so good.

Still I worried. Maybe the cookie had a more profound meaning of the phrase ‘old tricks’. I mentally reconstructed some of my old and most hateful patterns. I love to eat wafer cookies and can polish a whole container of them, immediately feeling so sick I wish I had never seen one of those wafers again. I looked at the tin in the pantry and passed right by them ignoring them completely Ha! I didn’t fall for that trick. I saw my kid’s toys out of order, and by that I mean out of categories. This drives me nuts. I spend what seem like hours, categorizing all her toys in a very specific and aesthetically pleasing way. Before I know if I am running late and feeling like I did something really dumb. But guess what? I walked by the toys and nothing. I just saw them there and walked by just leaving them in disarray. I wasn’t tricked.

Now I am feeling bold. I have dodged a bullet and all will be fine. It is night time and I am trying to train my little one to sleep on her own. She wakes up constantly and not matter how cute and warm she is to hold umpteen times a night, we have decided that it might be good for her to learn how to just sleep with a lot of intervention. She of course, is resisting and I am mush. It all goes well at first and she follows the routine we have set up for her. She does this happily and turns on me the minute she realizes that it is time for sleep.

She cries, I hold her. She stops and I let go. She wants my hand and I tell her it is time to sleep. She cries some more. She asks for a tissue and it sounds so cute when she asks that I wind up stroking her cheeks and encouraging her to blow harder all the while marveling that she can blow her own little nose. She still resists and cries some more. She’s in the middle of a loud crying session and stops suddenly. “Potty’ she cries out excitedly and then goes into what seems to be a very long explanation of the acceptable terms by which she will use the potty. I say fine and follow her instructions because she sounded so cute and she’s having such a difficult time. We go potty and then she says: “No sleep!” “No sleep in baby’s bed. Mama’s bed!” I softly explain to her no, that she has to sleep in her bed. And as I am walking back to her room with her in my arms, I have a moment of déja vu. I have done this same thing the whole week! Anything from the tissue to the crying and the hand holding or the no hand holding and the potty thing. I guess I did fall for some tricks after all.

The Chinese word I learned today was: Joke around. Another 3 character word.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do you feel like you're walking in mud? Take your time today.

The fortune cookie read my mind. No sooner had I put the half-eaten parts down that I remembered I was feeling like I was in a swamp. The mud sploshing with every step, the gunk getting inside the shoes soaking the socks, the squishy sound the mud made inside the wet socks and shoes. The way the cleaning would involve gallons of waters or tossing the shoes right out This was at night though, which is when I feel the most exhausted. Take my time? With what? All I do is rush through everything so that I can actually feel like at some moment in my day, I will be able to take my time.

I couldn’t possibly take my time with dinner because it was way to close to the time the kids get to bed and frightenly close to the time the 2 year old would wake up again. I could take my time with the dishes but no way was that going to make me feel like I was not walking on mud. Still, the cookie had spoken and I was being cynical about its wisdom and not taking it to heart.

Instead of putting the fortune into the pile from which I pick randomly, I decided to study and mediate slowly on the ideas of walking in mud and taking my time.

I had covered the visualization of walking in mud and that made me so tense I felt my shoulder blades touch my earlobes in one muscle spasm. I turned to taking my time. How about if I just didn’t have time? Time is the one thing I am always longing for or needing to have more of.

The frenetic pace of the sponge underneath me was telling me that I was worked up. I stopped and turned around and looked at the way I had left three pots and pans soaking for the next day and the sponges in complete disarray. I had thrown the dishtowels around the stove and fridge handles. Right there and then I decided to take my time.

I washed the pots and pans, dried them and put them away. I cleaned the counters more carefully then I did before and stacked the sponges neatly on top of one another. I programmed the coffee maker to wake me up to brewing coffee. I put away a couple of errant things that didn’t belong in the kitchen and neatly folded the kitchen towels into long narrow shape that fit nicely into the stove and fridge handles. I looked at my worked satisfied. I took my time to notice that I had taken the time. More than anything, the next morning when I went in to get my coffee all made for me magically by the coffee maker, I really was able to see the fruit of the cookie’s advice.

The word I learned today in Chinese was: hopeful. You have to take your time to say it in Chinese because it takes three characters to make up the word.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Story The Cookie Foretold

Holidays make us do things that we otherwise wouldn't the rest of the year. Any store is beckoning that anything orange and black must be something to own. Later with other holidays we will send cards we think we should or wish someone a sentiment we might have might have never shared with coworkers or family. The holiday industry is into mind control and I am the most subservient minion.

If I am this absentminded and ungrounded in reality and living subconsciously, I might as well be listening to anyone who tells me how I should live my life. Just the other day my husband and I were driving back from a family outing. We were stopped at a longer than usual light and he turn to me and said "Fire your boss."

I said "what?" He pointed me to a flyer stapled on to a pole. This was an advertisement to work from home. "I should take more career advice from a telephone pole."

It was funny but the phrase stuck with me. (I have already warned you that I am easily affected by the world.) The phrase was so cute, that fire your boss thing. I kept imagining my husband going to his boss and saying to him, "Yanno what? I am firing your ass!"

My husband's boss would turn to him incredulously pleading: "Why? Why?" and my husband would turn and say to him, "Because I have a future in working out of my own home being my own boss, that's why!"

The boss, still supplicant, would say: "Please, you are making a big mistake" then my husband walking out triumphantly would add 'How can I be making a mistake? I took career advice from a telephone pole!"

I wondered what would happen if I subjected at least a chunk of my life to a kind of mindless participation with outside pearls of wisdom entering my psyche like a bolt of self actualizing enlightenment. Where could that knowledge come from? What would be the medium that sage and trusted and (here is the key word) ancient perspective and advice come from?

Enter my life, as prescribed by the Chinese Fortune Cookie. My life for the next month.

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