Things I Love Thursday 12.1.11

I love that I live in this century.

I know.  We're in a recession.  Kids are more distracted and more disrespectful than when Aristotle complained about teenagers.  There are more horrors than I want to bring up here.

I'm not sure, though, that things are any worse than at other times in history.  Have you read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett?  In typical Follett fashion, he describes in incredible detail and accuracy, what life was like in the Middle Ages.  [They've made a mini-series of it.]  If in modern warfare, it is horrible that we can drop one bomb and annihilate an entire city, then it is just as horrible to imagine that you had to look at a person in the eyes while you dug a sword into his throat.  Each day, you couldn't be sure if you'd be hungry or full, if you'd have a bed or not.  Or fresh water or not.  If a Lord would chase them into the wilds or leave you be.  If your child would get a wound that would fester.  And kill him.

I am glad that I don't have to go foraging for food every day.  That I get heat and light and water when I want.  I am glad I can go to the hospital, that I can get a CT scan, an UltraSound within a week.  I am glad I can call 911 and have people show up at my door.  I'm glad I have glasses, and contacts.  I'm glad every time I take an aspirin or an anti-biotic.

I can go on and on and on.  Maybe I am just a wimp.  But when I lay my head on that soft pillow, and pull the warm blanket over me, in my war house, I am thankful that I live in 2011.


Things I Love Thursday 11.24.11

Thanksgiving Edition: I'm proud to be an American.

Don't touch that dial!  Don't roll your eyes; give me a chance, here.

The other week, we were in Washington DC and Boo was given the choice to what to visit.  He chose the Air & Space Museum and the Capitol.  I have to say I was a little disappointed that he chose the Capitol.  It sounded a little boring to me, but the trip was for him, not for me.  As part of the tour, we had to watch a 12 minutes video.  I was internally rolling my eyes.  God can see my heart but fortunately my son can't.

Guess what?  It was terrific.  It took me outside of the nitty gritty ugliness of human behavior and made me look at the United States as it was meant to be.  It reminded me of the basis on which this country was built: freedom of religion, all people are equal, we can say what we want.

I know, I know.  Things are ugly right now.  And depending on who you ask, things are ugly for different reasons.

But really, where else would you want to live?  May God bless America.  Please.

I pray that you will zoom out, put aside the gritty ugliness of all human beings for one day, and honor whatever good and beauty there is.


Things I Love Thursday 11.10.11

I love to drive.
I love the adventure of looking for, and finding new places.
I love looking around me, letting my mind wander to different places.  (As if I needed encouragement for that!)
I love having my son, or my husband, or friend with me so we can chat without interference.

Today, my son and I are going into Centre City.  We're going to visit my friend, who is a Federal Judge.  He's going to show us his office, the courtroom, the holding cell and the sally-ported elevator that brings the accused up to the courtroom.

Then we're going to Chinatown and get some "Viepamese" food, as he calls it.  Then we rode the subway, all the way from one end of the line to the other, where it becomes the Elevated.  [Where we saw a lady drink Thousand Island dressing, from the bottle.  We could smell the vinegary dressing smell, which when, you smell it on the subway, smells rancid.]  Where my son didn't know to be afraid of anyone and held the doors open for anyone and everyone, of every color, class and odor.

I know people who are afraid to go into the city.  Who are afraid to, or don't want to drive more than 30 minutes at a time unless forced by job or hospital appointment.  I am blessed to have a reliable car, a husband who supports my plans and the money to buy the gas.

Drivin' in my car with the radio on.....

zoom zooom!


"What I Wore" Wednesday 11.09.11

This has been a crazy week!  We were in DC, usually a balmy place, and met up with 34 degrees and icy rains.  I was completely unprepared mentally and wardrobally.

What: Here's one of my favorite outfits: animal print tunic top layered over Victoria Secret Body lycra top and Simply Vera Wang leggings.  Accessories: statement wood & bone necklace refashioned by Jessica Buchtel, artist, satin gold watch from NY&Co, satin gold bracelet from the Sackler Museum of African Art.  Vintage black suede cowboy boots Via Spiga.  Bronze leather handbag by Talbot's.
Where: Seeing the Air & Space Museum.

The next day was much nicer, so I ventured out in something a little more Springy.  I'm writing an article for my friend Jo-Lynne, about what is appropriate attire for a 50-something.  I think I'm on the verge of being inappropriate; I don't know, just a little too "cutesy."
What: Sleeveless dress by En Focus Studio from Ross, with a melon shrug from Dress Barn, worn over black leggings.  Patent black wedges by Me Too.
Where: Touring the Capitol.

What: Eggplant front-zip fleece by Champion, purple and burnt orange down vest by Land's End over jeans.  Brown suede athletic shoes by Privo.

Where: Doing some architecting - roof inspection of the local public library.
I got this new gray cotton knit tunic by H&M and wore it two different ways:
What: With this aqua silk/wool scarf, over black leggings and knee-high boots.
Where: To a meeting at my son's school. 

Then a bit more casual, ironically, to church: over denim leggings and my vintage Via Spiga cowboy boots. 
I layered all my silver necklaces to get this look:

Finally, this is my dressy winter coat that I had to get out the other day.  This was my Christmas present a couple of years ago - cashmere coat by Fleurette bought at Last Call Neiman Marcus.

Join the adventure at All Things Chic!


Cleave, 2

Our Boo is very attached to his father.   It may be at age 9, he is starting to see the world from beyond the film of childhood.  We hear that it's around this age that children begin to see aspects of this world that were merely distant imaginings, like illness and death. It may be that he is just now able to begin processing the fears and pains of having watched his father felled to the floor.  His mother weeping and screaming, trying to get a response.

If you do not already know, our little guy has Asperger's Syndrome.  One of its symptoms is the inability to understand others' nor even his OWN emotions.  He has watched his father go off in an ambulance.  Over. and Over.  Something like 13 times in 12 months.  Through it all, this little guy never shed a tear.  I so distinctly remember, as I was tending to my fallen hero, then desperately going to the phone to call 911, seeing this little guy walking along the edge of the room.  In my mind, he is surfing on a board of denial, sweeping his hands along the walls, the doors.  Several years ago.

Several weeks ago, he started saying, "Oma, daddy, remember when daddy was in the hospital and I gave him my baby bunny?"  Yes, dear, that was very kind of you.  We didn't think much of it.  Then one day, little guy was laying with his dad, their heads nestled together.  Once again, "Dad, remember when you were in the hospital and I gave you my baby bunny to hold?"  But this time, his dad felt a tear trickle down little guy's cheek and land on his own, the rivulet continuing.

What is it like to not know your emotions?  [Alright, cut it with the comments about your husbands, okay?]  What is it like when you can barely recognize happy, sad, angry, let alone the more subtle satisfied, suspicious, or dismayed?  When you have to be shown flashcards of facial expressions and associate them with a word that may or may not make a connection?  It is stepping out of yourself, and looking at yourself, recalling the flash cards you've seen in therapy and see if one matches with your own psychic face.  Like recalling a spelling word.

But then again, we get some unique perspectives from our Boo.  And sometimes, it's spot on.  Like when recently, his dad was away on business.  They've been such close buddies lately.  Boo is in the back seat of the car, and we are driving away, leaving dad at his conference.  This time, the tear is not a rivulet but a watercourse, running over, under and around him.  Swept away, and little guy says,

"I feel like he's right next to me, but he's not here."

Is that not the essence of emotional pain?  being cleaved but then cleft?  Amazing, clear thinking from a boy who doesn't understand emotions.




Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  - Genesis 2:24 (NASB)

I just read Little Bee.  We is thinkin it be bout goodies and baddies.

There is a horrific scene of g*ng r*pe. This isn't a spoiler because as soon as you start the book, an ominous valance of doom hangs over you.  Like a cloud which lovely fullness turns gray at the horizon.  It's just a matter of how and when the story unfolds.

Cleave isn't a word you hear much these days.  Except on the Food Network for cutting meat. Isn't it odd that a word would have a meaning and it's opposite? The word that means
to adhere closely; stick; cling.  to remain faithful.
also means
to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
It made me wonder why r*pe is so traumatic.  Such a deep, primal wound that seems to even overshadow beatings.  Why children, who are barely aware of their body parts are almost irreparably damaged by it.  Not just the physical pain and physical trauma but there seems to result in a knowledge of deep betrayal.  A knowing.  
She also gave some to her husband....and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.  - Genesis 3:6b - 8 (NASB)
When sin entered, why did Adam and Eve know they were naked, of all things?  How did they think to cover their loins of all things?  Could it be that their cleaving physically represented their cleaving psychologically, emotionally...primally?  And that something deep, at their very core, had been irreparably broken?

God is a poet.  God is Poetry.  Would He create us with this Cleaving which does not reference His own Cleaving to His trinity?  I cannot help but think that for  us to Cleave is to see a little glimpse of the Trinity.  Separate but Whole and Equal.  At His earthly end, it was not hanging by nails through his body, cleaving his sinews.  It was the agony of the cleft between Himself and The Father.

Perhaps the r*pe, the forcing, the tearing, perhaps it is essential humanity cleft to the core.  Left broken and shattered down the primal human grain.


"What I Wore" Wednesday 10.19.11

Once again, I thought I'd join the "What I Wore" Festival hosted by The Pleated Poppy.    Come check out the fun at All Things Chic, too!

Last week, I went to my son's school for the first meeting of the chess club I started.  I wore my new, A-line, button-front denim skirt by NY&Co with a taupe tee by Ideology. I wore this skirt last Sunday for a house tour, and I noticed the tee I wore was too long.  This one is shorter and goes better with the skirt.  I wore an old pair of metallic bronze slingback by Bandolino and a bronze and ivory statement necklace.  I kept the earrings small by wearing bronze hoops
Every single piece, except for the earrings are from a thrift store or yard sale!

Saturday evening, my husband and I went to a dinner party with some friends.  I am in a book club with an amazing group of bright and kind women and this is the annual Autumn dinner where we bring our spouses and NOT talk about books.
I wore a new top by TRAMP, a racer back, black/white tent tank with asymmetric hemline, worn over a black tank by Alfani from Macy's.  Black leggings by H&M.  Vintage black suede & leather embellished cowboy boots by Via Spiga.

For church on Sunday, I decided to wear this new navy sweater dress I got at Ross.  Although I love navy, it can be a bit tricky not looking like a school uniform or too preppy.  I wore a 3/4-sleeve, basic white blouse from J.Crew, and denim colored capri leggings  Kohl's. I wore red patent leather wedges and carried a mustard patent leather bag to add color and "zap" to the outfit.

 What did you where this week?


What I Wore Wednesday

Is it still Wednesday?? Whew.  I decided to join the What I Wore Festival by The Pleated Poppy.    Come check out the fun at All Things Chic, too.

On Saturday, we took a family trip out to Crystal Cave, which is way out in the countryside.  I was all dressed and ready to go in the outfit you see below left, when I stepped out of the house and the weather, unbeknownst to me, had turned to winter.  Not really.  But it was cccooold!  So I ran back in the house, threw off my fuchsia jacket and threw on my thick brown knit cardigan.  I should have put on a belt too, which I didn't think of until I started writing this post.  So thanks to Polyvore and a little Publisher magic, I added one in.

I wore a white shirt, GAP flare jeans, brown Privos, and silver jewelry from various places including Target and Silpada.  I've been carrying this chocolate brown leather tote by Ann Taylor LOFT.  At left, I had on a fuchsia cotton jacket by Christopher & Banks.  At right, a brown wool cardigan by Jones & Co.

Sunday, I had this hankering to wear my new khaki pants.  It was a task of shopping my closet and finding a stylish combination.   I'm not sure I succeeded, but this is what I wore to church:

Khaki flares by Banana Republic, animal print tunic top by Curves (of all places!) tie-waist denim jacket by i.e. relaxed, which used to be available at Macy's.

Accessories: Sterling chain necklace in a pewter finish & sterling bead bracelet by Silpada.  Chinese character for Ram, which is my mom's zodiac sign.  Tortoise/silver earrings, silver bangles, and watch with pewter strap bought years ago and don't remember where.

I came home and thought the outfit would look better with dark pants.  Here's the same outfit but with chocolate brown flares by The Limited. I think this is a more flattering look, but I just wanted to wear my new Banana pants!

Monday, I had errands to run then attend a funeral in the evening.  I changed outfits but wore all the same jewelry:

Khaki pants in a classic cut by Gap, peacock feather design ombre long-sleeve tee by One World Live & Let Live, worn over a wine camisole.  Calvin Klein over-dyed denim jacket and Talbot's brown leather ankle boots.

Blue, gray, black & purple “watercolor” print dress with empire waist and tie detail by connected apparel, black circle cardigan by Willi Smith,both bought at TJMaxx.  Black lycra stretch boots by Nine West, similar to these by Annie, the only kind that fit my calves.

This Fall's poncho craze is all about sweaters and outerwear, but what about a blouse?  I wore this to run errands and then to a doctor's appointment.

Poncho blouse by NY&Co, long-sleeve tee in Aubergine by Ann Taylor, flare jeans by GAP, chocolate brown suede/patent "Claudie" boots by Bandolino.  I was flouncy enough; I kept jewelry to a minimum with the wood statement piece necklace.

What did YOU wear this week?


The Racist Button

A classmate in grad school was recounting her semester in Seville, Spain, where she met up with a group of American guys.  They invited her to an island for the weekend and she went.  With these strangers.  I was a bit shocked and asked if she was in the least bit afraid, to which she batted her long lashes and replied in her wispy voice, "They were really nice and they were American!"

Lest anyone judge her as being shallow and foolish, I find there are many who associate superficial appearances with deep character traits.  "Character flaws" like being a rapist, or murderer.  We want our crazies to look like Ted Kaczynski, not Timothy McVeigh. We want our crazies to be unkempt, rambling incomprehensibly; not like the nice young man at the Sunoco down the street. 

Most of us have learned that looks can be deceiving, but it seems when faced with it in our lives, we forget.  Maybe we want to forget.  We want life to be simple and worked out for us.  If you are bad, you will look scary.  A scary "badge," as it were.  It's almost an urban lore to have the murderer/rapist/molester's neighbor say, "He was pretty quiet.  Seeemed like a nice guy."

I think we have a primal instinct to identify people that are like us, and therefore deemed safe, while we look at others dissimilar to us and automatically get our guard up.  I talked about this with respect to race before.  But we have evolved, haven't we? And being in an integrated culture, don't we have to think a little harder?  Maybe just even think, for a minute, instead of going to the automatic place?

Sin knows no racial, ethnic, class, gender, or national border.

When the Nazis were rounding up Jews, the neighbors watched.  "Neutral" countries turned their heads.  We'd like to think those German neighbors were hate-spewing, racists sneering at what was going on.  Some were, to be sure.  But I'm betting they were neighbors and merchants and just like you and me and your aunt and your neighbor.  The one that is so nice.

Because you know, no racist thinks they're racist.  They consider it Truth.  Guised in Right and Wrong.  Some dare to base it on the Bible.  The Europeans who ruled Africa did not see themselves as racist.  They just knew that the black natives were lazy, not to be trusted and violent with no rule of law.  It was a Truth.  And to rule over them and force European Law on them, to make them work the land to benefit Britannia was a matter of Right and Wrong.

Do you find people that are a little too quick to believe a story about an angry black mob attacking an innocent white man?  Shake head, "Those blacks...."  They're a little too quick to believe the myth of the "urban single mom," who sucks our taxes by popping out babies for welfare money.  [I grew up in central Pennsylvania and I saw a lot of women with food stamps at the grocery store and none of them were black.]  Do you know someone a little too vehement about illegal immigration?  Now don't be accusing me of approving the breaking of the law. I'm talking about the heart, here.  Have you heard a contempt in their voice for the illegal immigrants themselves, instead of the laws and processes?

Racists(and murders and rapists) don't all live in southern Georgia.  They don't wear uniforms, although there are some that wear those sheets.  Or Nazi paraphernalia.  They don't wear a button.  They wear Dockers and polos and live down the street.  They play with their kids, attend a house of worship.  And seem like a nice person.

...behold! a great multitude that no one could number, **from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,** standing before the throne and before the Lamb...                                                               - Revelations 7:9


Bad Enough

I've drastically altered how and what we eat in our household over the years.  I believe what we eat is really important, which may sound really obvious.  But if it's so obvious, then why don't more people eat healthy?  I have faced many crossed-arms of closed-mindedness and sardonic looks of disbelief, verging on the eye roll whenever I bring up the notion of Real food or Slow Food, as if I were some far-out Birkie-wearing crunchy granola.  WHICH I'M NOT!  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Anyone who writes for a fashion blog by definition, can't be!!

It's not just about whether the food is organic or not, because it's about more than that, but for argument's sake, or a brief blog post's sake, let's say organic food vs. industrialized food.

I realized it's not just that people have to believe organic is better, because I think people do.  It's that they have to believe the industrialized food is bad, or bad enough to make the extra trip, make the effort, pay the extra.  Otherwise, why change?

Why fix somthin' that ain't broked?

I had a long talk with a friend today.  She's seriously considering breaking up her very serious relationship.  He has a serious, congenital health problem that can be dramatically improved by lifestyle changes.  But he won't.  Seriously.  I guess he wants to keep cheating death, but he has to buy into the notion that the lifestyle he's living now is bad, or bad enough to make the change worthwhile.  Right now, he doesn't believe that it's bad enough - for his children, for my friend, for her children...for himself.  It makes me wonder if he values himself.

A former boss wanted to write a little book on change.  He wanted me to do some reseacth and thinking about it.  I was really stumped.  Within the context of Christianity, long-lasting change with regard to the essense of who we are, is impossible without Christ.  We have a Genesis-borne tendancy to deny God's importance in our lives and do what is good in our own eyes.

Change, in terms of day-to-day habits that do not go to the core of our Nature, can be accomplished,  because WE VALUE OURSELVES over all else.  If we believe that what we are doing/saying/living/eating is bad, or bad enough, we will change, to survive..  Maybe it's just the primal survival of the fittest.

These are my thoughts of the day.  More to come...

Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend.  Be positive, be useful, be safe.


Fashion Friday: Blackbelt Summer Action

This is the time when all the stores are desperately trying to clean out their summer stock, right?  Well the same is true for thrift stores.  Yesterday, even though I barely had 10 bucks to my name, I stopped at one of my haunts and SCORED!

Fun watercolor tank by Lucky.  Lucky for me, since these are pretty pricey!  I love how it fits, I love the little ruffle embellishment and the fun colors.

Here's an Old Navy black embellished tank, which I am sure has never been worn!  I'm not sure how long this flowers and ruffles thing is going to last, and I'm already getting tire of it, but I like this because it is subtle and flattering on me.  If I get one summer out of it, it's still worth what I paid!

I love love this t-shirt.  It's so simple and casual, clean and fresh.  It's Faded Glory, sold at WalMart, which is funny because I never go to WalMart.

And look at these adorable shorts I got for Boo!  Not always easy because he won't wear anything that even has a speck of orange or red.  Don't ask me why!  I have no idea!!  I'm determined to have him dress better this school year - instead of gym pants and t-shirts every day - so wish me "bon chance!"

 So.  Tahdah!!


Bedtime Butterflies, Birds & Bees

Butterfly kisses on his damp cheeks.  A long, rough day for my 9-year old.
A punch from a camp-mate.
Too much sun.
Too much fun.
Too much of everything today.
He fought my hugs, wanting to fight the world.  A bed time book, a long, long prayer and lots of hugs brings him to sleep's door.

Little flutters of oma's eyelashes on his baby skin.  Butterfly kisses.

"Is that what butterflies do when they get married?"
I chuckled and said, "I don't know. "
He ponders, "They don't have weddings because they're just insects."
Then concludes, "They just mate - like snakes."

I hope I'll remember this night.  These moments...these moments? They're what make up our life.

Good night, sweet one.


A Shard of Eden

Every Wednesday afternoon, Boo and I make our trip to "The Farm," as we call it.  It's a place about 7 miles from our house, where's we've joined as CSA members.  Every Wednesday, we get our share of vegetables and fruit that are organically grown, bio-diversely farmed, sprouting from non-GMO heirloom seeds.

Boo says hello to the chickens
and walks around with me and Farmer Heather as she gets us our share of greens.  This is in addition to the tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, plums, peppers and the rest of our share of what is currently flourishing.  We also get a dozen or two of healthy eggs, some Farmer-made jams, pickles and such. 

I enjoy finding out, by email, what will fill our cupboard each week.  I love that Jinsok knows where his food comes from.  I love he knows who grows his food, that she works hard, that food comes in cycles and seasons, that sometimes they grow well and sometimes they don't.  But that each time we make our 7 mile trek, we're getting something really fresh - like 1 minute fresh - and that no chemicals are leeching into the waters.

I was hoping that joining a CSA would inspire me to cook more at home.  And it's working!!  Fortunately we like a variety of greens and we like our food rather simply prepared.  Tonight we had (grass-fed) beef and sage sausages, beans, Swiss shard (chard) with some Ezekiel bread.

Make sure there are no bugs in the shard!
Cook the stems first in raw coconut oil and garlic; add the leafy parts and add soup soy sauce to taste.
Feed child.


July Vacation 2011

I watch my son grow.  In inches and pounds.


But also in love and joy and even grief.  I see each year, that he loves his extended family more and more.  And as such, his grief is bigger each time we part.  For a mom who never saw her child grieve, it is a beautiful thing to watch big rivulets of shiny run down his ashy, tanned cheeks.  Tears were fears and cries were for old traumas. 

The pure, salty sadness of tears is delicious to my soul.

Who Cares About Organic Clothing??

Whether you see it the earth as God's creation and gift to us, or as Mother Nature brought on by evolution, let's take care of what we have:  the earth and the people that do dwell.

Come read my post on All Things Chic.


Step by Step

She cried, remembering the pain of the dream.

Her first waking sense was the smell of her own tousled hair, and the damp, wrinkled cotton on her face.  It was only then that she felt more than saw the white light of morning.

Her nights were shot with dreams - of chases, abandonments, of her lover just beyond her reach.  He was leaving her and he was cold to her, oblivious to the gnawing, churning inside of her, the pleading that refused to come out of her, locked inside, choking her.

He came in gently to raise her, as he always did.  "I had a bad dream," she whispered.  Then she cried, remembering.  He sat, silent, sympathy on his face but not understanding.  He knew about her dreams, and how she would cry 3 and 4 tissues' worth, even after she was awake and knew it had only been a dream.

"Don't leave me," she begged.
He chuckled, "I'm not planning on it, sweetie."

It was a phrase that never sat right with her, never comforted her in the way she wanted to be.  This time, this time, she challenged him, "I know you're not planning on it, but will you?" she asked with emphasis on the verbs.

He was silent.  His shoulders twitched as it always did when he was uncomfortable.  He was the kind of man, like many men, who felt disingenuous talking about his feelings.  But that discomfort could sometimes look like a person caught in a lie.  Slowly, as if confessing something embarrassing, he said, "Well, it takes steps."  He paused.  "Those things don't just happen."

And in that moment, she understood everything he was trying to tell her:

"I'll never leave you," is the phrase young women want to hear, a romantic ideal of someone's emotional response, eschewing the inevitabilities the future will bring.   "I"m not planning on it," acknowledges the real world temptations but says "I'm committed to you and I will keep my vow to you no matter what I face."

And in that moment, she was comforted in the way she needed to be.


Crossing the Line

Germans are known for their sense of orderliness.
Hispanics for their passion.
American for their "frontier" spirit.

In my last post, I shared that my mother advised me against marrying a Japanese man.  She actually preferred I marry an "American," meaning White, of course, over a Korean man.  This is pretty amazing for back in the day.  She believed that Americans had a more egalitarian view of women than their East Asian counterparts.

Clearly not every white American man treats their wives well.  But there is some cultural understanding and acceptance in America of what constitutes a good or bad husband. Roses on your anniversary, doing the dinner dishes, rubbing your wife's feet: Good.   Having a mistress, going out with an escort, being a couch potato: Bad.  We can name philandering politicians, and we ran to the side of Diana when we found out about Camilla.  There are other cultures whose determination of a Good Husband and Bad Husband differ from ours, right?

When you make an informed characterization of a people, considering their history, age, class, and/or ethnicity, you make generalities, right? whether you're a blogging mom or a Cultural Anthropologist.

When does a sociological characteristic of a peoples turn into prejudice?

Nobody wants to be considered liars, or adulterers, right?  But there are cultures that consider side-stepping to be the correct and appropriate behavior.  There are cultures that consider mistresses a part of male behavior, or even, a right. Is that calling a Spade a Spade, or Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

Everyone knows Asians are good at math, right?  Is that racist?  As a culture, East Asians are good at math.  There are tests of school children to prove it.  My own personal experience indicates that East Asians are much more math literate than their American peers, and this has been confirmed in a book pointing to this alarming condition called Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy & It's Consequences.

So that can't be prejudice, can it?  What's bad about being considered smart?

When does a sociological characteristic of a culture turn into prejudice?

I thinking you cross the line when you take one tendency, good or bad, and apply it to every person of that group.  Conversely, when your observation of one person (or two or three or ten,) in a certain time, a certain place, of a certain class and group and turn it into an observation about the whole ethnic group.

I'm thinking it's when you white-wash an entire group, when you can no longer see, or are no longer willing to see the individual, to consider the person in front of you.  Whether being smart or lazy, precise or dull, that individual is dehumanized, cast in plaster, and made into something of your own imagining.