Toilet Paper Distribution, or how Equality and Justice aren’t the Same Thing

At our church, once a month, I get to serve on the set-up team.  One of the most important tasks for set-up is examining the toilet paper in the ladies room. When Kathy (a brilliant financial analyst with graduate degrees) trained me in toilet paper inspection, I was amazed at the thoroughness with which she had thought through this challenge.  In each stall, a large industrial toilet paper dispenser sits attached to the wall and holds 2 rolls of toilet paper, each about a foot in … [Read more...]

The Chinese Problem with Hugs

I am not a touchy sort of person.  Physical affection is most definitely NOT one of my languages of love.As with so many things, I blame this all on being Chinese.In my family, we didn't really hug, kiss or say "I love you."  That was the American way of showing love, like the Brady bunch or the Cosby family.  I didn't think there was anything strange because growing up in very Asian Hawaii, most of my friend's families seemed even less affectionate than mine. I realized my … [Read more...]

A Guest Blog by Kai-Kai: My Agitating Kinfolks

 For the first time ever, I'm featuring a guest blogger, my daughter Kai-Kai, who wrote this essay based on "The Outsiders" for school.  I thought it was hilarious and an apt picture of our family.  I also don't remember the chicken drumstick incident.  Enjoy!            My Agitating KinfolkMany times in life, humans encounter events that they believe unfair, bothersome, and angering. I have felt this way many times in my life. One of the … [Read more...]

Fierce Conversations

Back in February, I borrowed Fierce Conversations, written by Susan Scott,  from my friends Jeff and Tara.  They used the book at their church's marriage retreat, and to prepare, had engaged in their own fierce conversation about their marriage.  Because I'm Jeff's supervisor as well as friend, they sent me their notes from their conversation. Whew!And "Whew!" was what folks at their retreat said as well after they shared from their experience. A week ago, I went through … [Read more...]

Real Leaders, Real Bosses, Failure Parents

Dad, as we drive to church while I'm ripping the kids for not cleaning the kitchen the night before:  If you grow up and don’t meet your expectations at work, you get fired.Kid:  At work they have real leaders and people that actually care about you--unlike you two.Ouch.Of course, this statement was so ludicrous on so many levels that the 4 other members of the family burst into laughter and laughed the rest of the way to church.  A good thing too, because before then I was in a v … [Read more...]

Sports Mama. . . Not

In so many movies and novels, a wounded, emotionally-stunted protagonist (maybe even a serial killer) tearfully blurts out, "My father never came to one of my games. . ."  The implication being that not attending one's kids' sports events is at the very least child neglect and at the most child abuse. Guilty.I can't believe it!  There's even jewelryfor the moms I'm not!In 15 years of parenting, I've managed to miss the vast majority of kid soccer, softball, baseball, swimming or track … [Read more...]

Annie, Shoot your Gun Already!

SPOILER ALERT!  Don't read if you don't want to know what happens at the end of Annie get Your Gun!"That's the worst movie I've ever seen," Ling announced after we watched Annie Get your Gun, the Irving Berlin musical about Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter with the Buffalo Bill Wild West show.Today, Kai and Ren auditioned for the play, so we watched the movie as part of their research. It's a fun story.  Annie Oakley, a spunky, illiterate hick gets discovered when she joins a … [Read more...]


Last week, the whole family watched the movie Parenthood to celebrate Labor Day Eve.Friends recently saw it and raved.  So when I noticed it was a a streaming video on Netflix, and remembered that the last time I watched the movie I was not a parent (in fact, I hadn't even met Scott), I thought it would be a good chance for Scott and I to laugh and commiserate.Problem #1, the movie's rated PG-13, and we have an 11 year old. Problem #2, what to do with kids? With a day off the next … [Read more...]