How Facebook almost Broke Really Bad News: Technology’s Unintended Side-Effects

I learned about my father-in-law's death through a text message.  He died while I flew to Los Angeles, my husband presented at a conference in New Orleans and my kids studied in school. Yes, go ahead and heap judgment all over us—believe me—we already have.  My worst nightmare happened, that both parents were out of town when my father-in-law passed.When the wheels hit the tarmac, I texted my husband “Landed."  A second later, a note popped up that he'd left a voicemail.   A bad harbinger.  A … [Read more...]

Still Mourning: Be Gentle

When my father-in-law passed away 2 weeks ago, he was the first of our parents to go. I had no idea how his death would affect us.  The answer so far?  Scott is really really sad.He said his goodbyes, he fulfilled his responsibilities, he did everything he could to work out difficult issues, and Dad was 91 years old—one who’d lived quite a few more years than the expected life-span for his generation.  The death was not a surprise.Yet Scott’s still really really sad.Because he lost hi … [Read more...]

Remembering my Father-in-Law

3 weeks ago, for the first time, I told my father-in-law, Philip Eugene MacLean, that I loved him, and he told me he loved me too, also for the first time.  And then Thursday morning he died after a 5 year long journey with 2 forms of cancer at the age of 91 and 10 months.Dad was a character.  A man who’s always looked 20 years younger than his age, he was vigorous and bull-headed and opinionated.  After his cancer diagnosis at age 87, he decided not to seek treatment because it didn’t make s … [Read more...]

Does God Care What College You Attend?

This post follows last week's Confessions of a Tiger Mom Failure post.Growing up, I got a double message about college.  Mama would regularly announce, “You’re going to UH.”  The University of Hawaii, where my father taught physics, sat 1.5 miles from my home.At the same time, my parents sent me on college tours my junior year when we happened to live in New York.  I visited Harvard and Brown, then flew out to the Midwest and visited U of Minnesota, U Madison, Northwestern and U of Chicag … [Read more...]


Tonight I started on my 2012 taxes.  You might think I’m so responsible—after all I’m over a month ahead of deadline!  Butthis year, I’ve hit the natural consequences of not keeping on top of our finances—and I may be lucky to turn in our taxes on time.For the first 8 years of our marriage, Scott took care of all the money—paid the bills, balanced our checkbook, took care of our taxes—and I was completely happy with that arrangement.  After all, I figured he was the one who majored in enginee … [Read more...]

Confessions of a Tiger Mom Failure

Several weeks ago, Ling and I attended our first college application orientation at her high school.  We learned the high school’s policies and heard from 3 local college admissions reps--all very informative and helpful.  And then I lay in bed that night filled with panic that I’ve failed my child by not being the Tiger Mom I should have been.I couldn't help feeling wooed by the lure of helping my child get into an elite college where learning can be amazing, doors can open, networks can be … [Read more...]

How LL Bean Boots Mirror my Marriage

For his first official Christmas present, my soon-to-be fiancé gave me LL Bean snow boots.  Or actually, he gave me a photo of LL Bean snow boots.  The practical type, Scott didn’t want to lug snow boots to and from Hawaii during his “meet the mom and brother” trip.  After Hawaii, we flew to his home state, Maine, where he bought me a pair at the flagship Freeport LL Bean store along with beeswax to waterproof the leather.  If sunshine and Chinese food welcomed Scott to my family, LL Bean boots u … [Read more...]

Should I go to Saudi Arabia?

In April, my husband has the chance to get an all-expense paid trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in exchange for giving a talk about health care IT management.  He wants me to go too, mostly so we can spend some alone time together.At first, I thought “Absolutely not!”  My overweening sense of responsibility balked.  After all, it would mean leaving 3 kids home alone (again after my jaunt to Paris in September) and either relying on friends to watch them, or letting them watch themselves.  I also … [Read more...]