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I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

This is an exercise in self-praise without apology. So, I do not apologize whatsoever for how conceited I might sound, because I pretty much never do this, ever.

What's Awesome About Me (in no particular order):

I'm smart. I was that irritating friend in high school who would do maybe half the reading, try REALLY hard not to fall asleep during class, study a little bit, and still end up with a B+ in the class. Some things come really easy to me. I wasn't always lazy though - I just got really good at figuring out what my priorities were, where I needed to place my focus, and where I could let things slide a little. That said, I have spent countless hours in my life sweating it out over writing essays and papers, and reading, reading, reading. I'm not a quick thinker, but I'm an analytical thinker, and a reflective thinker. I can't recall facts very well at all, but I can synthesize and analyze and reflect like nobody's business.

I'm doing a good job with Jolie. Jimmy and I both deserve the praise together. We have a lot of help, yes, but when it comes down to it, it's still the two of us the vast majority of the time. Our baby was 7 weeks early and weighed a little under 5 pounds when she was born. Now, at 6 1/2 months, she's pretty much completely normal and caught up, and weighs just over 16 pounds. And she's easygoing and happy, and laughs at everyone. And her hemangioma is going away. That deserves kudos, I think, considering how many people were doubting our abilities to start with.

I have awesome legs! Seriously, have you seen them lately? They are strong from all the running (that I used to do) and all the skating (that I'm doing now). If you could figure out how to pop my left leg out of my hip socket like you would a Barbie's, you could totally bludgeon someone to death with it. (Note: I'm not actually recommending this.) And to go along with this...

I'm strong. Don't let the flab fool you... I'm muscley. Jimmy doesn't call me "Brock Lesnar" for nothing. And on the inside, I'm no weakling either - I'm brave and tenacious and resilient.

I am successfully reaching out to students. Now, students may lie about certain things ("I'm going to the bathroom!" they'll say, and come back 20 minutes later with a bag of chips and a Gatorade), but what they don't lie about is how they feel about their teachers; in fact, they're brutally honest. And even if they don't say anything particularly mean, you can tell they don't much like you by how they behave in class sometimes - they don't ever ask you questions, they don't say hi, they just hand in their work and leave as soon as the bell rings, and they never smile at your jokes. That said, I've had lots of kids come through who are not embarrassed to greet me around campus, who come into class wanting to ask my opinion about whatever shows were on tv last night, who want to tell me about their families or their SOs, who even come right out and say, "Ms. Ngo, you're my favorite teacher!" or "This is my favorite class, I love this class!" or ask if there's any chance they could be in my class next year. For all my doubts and feelings of futility, I have to remind myself that there are actually lots of kids I've taught who like me and respect me and would count me among their favorites. And that's awesome.

I'm pretty handy with the eyeshadow. I can't paint, I can't draw, I can't sculpt... but I'm pretty good at doing a smoky eye. Also, I'm really glad that my eyes are fairly large for an Asian person - I have a definite crease :)

I'm fairly techy. Not an expert, but smart enough to do most of my own troubleshooting. Ever since I was a teenager, I've been into webpages and HTML and whatever the latest trends are on the Internet. Whatever I don't know, I learn fast - I'm never "that person" in a computer class who's like, "I go where? Then I click what? What's scrolling?" Also, my Google-Fu is strong.

I have good taste in music. I'm not as much of a snob as I used to be - it just takes too much time and energy (and money!) to go chasing the latest obscure band. But I've got respectably good taste in music. I could just as easily blast Phoenix as I could CCR. As I wrote in my bio, I'm one of THOSE Radiohead fans, who can recognize allusions to their b-sides and who remembers when "Big Ideas" sounded completely different. I'm fairly up-to-date on the styles of music that I don't usually listen to (enough to recognize names and such).

I'm crafty. Not crafty like how Jolie is crafty, when she reaches out to touch your face really gently and then all of a sudden takes a swipe at you with her nails, but crafty like, I love to knit and crochet. I have done the odd bit of sewing, jewelry-making, and paper crafts, and I like to bake sometimes. I like making things, I love taking the time and effort to put something together with my own hands.

I'm compassionate and empathetic. I have to turn off movies if there is a scene depicting a hate crime or mob violence. I will passionately defend gay marriage to anyone who chooses to argue with me, even though I am not gay, because I believe in equal rights for all. I get really upset at the idea of kids bullying other kids, to the point that I would step in and fight them myself if it wasn't such a bad idea. I am a deeply feeling person, and I do not feel only for myself.

I have a pretty nice complexion. I have the odd blemish once in a while, but for the most part, I'm really lucky that I can get away with not much more coverage than maybe some lightly-applied tinted moisturizer (WHAT UP, Stila Sheer in Medium!)

I observe. You know those people who run their mouths off about everything without stopping to think before they speak? Yeah, that's not me. I'm a big proponent of "watch and learn." This makes me generally quieter than most people, but it doesn't quite mean I'm shy - it means I'm assessing what's going on before I say anything.

(Let's see, that's 12? Let's see if I can make this an even - well, odd - 15.)

I have an irreverent and unusual sense of humor. I don't laugh at the same things most other people laugh at - I hate off-color humor, and I'm not really amused by physical comedy. I laugh at clever wordplay, obscure references that (I guess) only I would catch, and at very subtle jokes. I love wit and cleverness.

I am a feminist. Yup, and proud of it. I define feminism as the fight for equal rights for members of all genders to live as they choose, in "the pursuit of happiness," without being confined by the restrictions placed on society by gender roles. That means I am in favor of working mothers AND stay at home mothers (and stay at home fathers!), wearing makeup when I want to and not wearing makeup when I don't want to, being in control of my own body (rather than someone else being in control of it), and the general idea that we should all be free to express ourselves as long as we are not infringing on others' freedom. Considering how many people automatically asked me how old my SON was, because I was holding a baby in a blue shirt, I think we've still got a long way to go. But I'm there, and I'm fighting.

Lastly... I'm very determined. When there's something I want to do, there's no stopping me if I decide that I want it badly enough. Whenever I DON'T achieve a goal, I know it's because I DIDN'T want it badly enough, and that's the truth. There are very few things that I've failed at where I put in 100% effort. (I just find it exhausting to live at the threshold of my abilities for everything I do.)

So that's 15. I hope I didn't sound too terrible. (But like I said, even if I did sound very terrible, I'm not going to apologize! =P) I will make myself re-read this entry every time I'm feeling down, and I will remember that there are good things about me.