Chi-Paos, Fried Cheese and the 5-2 Diet

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10 years ago I made a big mistake.  For our 10th anniversary renewal of vows, I got a Chinese chi-pao.  Scott suggested that since I didn’t get one for our low-budget wedding, this would be the time to splurge.That was all well and fine—my 10th anniversary tailor-sewn chi-pao was and continues to be the most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever purchased.My mistake was doing Weight Watchers for the 10 months beforehand so that the dress was fitted to my body at my lowest weight since our … [Read more...]

Snow Day Tale

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Growing up in Hawaii, there are a bunch of activities I never anticipated my grown-up life would entail:Taking my own trash to the dump because our town doesn’t have trash pickup Skiing every winter Making sure all windshield wipers stick up before a snowstorm so they don’t freeze to the windshield Not being able to see as I drive in the dark to the gym because I’ve sprayed wiper fluid to clear all the snow/grime off the windshield only to form a sheet of ice so I can see even less … [Read more...]

Top Tips for the College Application Process

You might have noticed a dearth of blogging in the month of December.  Yet I spent the month immersed in a writing process—unfortunately, just not my own.Between December 10th (when Ling found out she was deferred at her early decision school) and January 1st, my daughter wrote 7 college applications—with a total of about 25 extra essays.It isn’t that we hadn’t warned her all fall.  We knew she had little chance of getting into her top choice with an acceptance rate of 9.8% (30% of its st … [Read more...]

What Cheerios and Kids Can Teach Us About Race

Our family in our White, Chinese and biracial glory

When I was in junior high, Mama threatened to disown me if I married non-Chinese.  Baba bemoaned that we lived in China for his sabbatical at the wrong time--at 14 I was too young to marry off to a nice Chinese boy.  I didn't know whether they had changed their minds until the week before my sister's wedding--to a White guy.  But the wedding seemed to be progressing, and neither parent had threatened any major action."How're you guys feeling about this?" I asked.  "What happened to I'll dis … [Read more...]

50 Years and Counting: What I’ve Learned from My Parents’ Marriage

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My parents met on a blind date in 1963 and married 9 months later.  Mama was a little “over-the-hill” at 26.  Baba had been on a bride-hunt for 2 years—as he says, “After you get your Ph.d. it’s time to get married.”  He spent all his excess salary as a post-doc and assistant professor flying across the country to meet various eligible Chinese ladies.When he walked in the door of Mama’s NYC apartment, her father took one look and said, “Are you Mao-Lan Tuan’s son?”  Sure enough he was.  My 2 … [Read more...]

Decluttering: 2014’s New Year’s Resolution

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Years ago, I pulled an all-nighter with Mama, going through all her rebate offers and throwing away expired ones.  By 4 a.m. we had managed to “earn” about 50 bucks.  Because neither of us had very high income potential, rather than seeing $50 for 20 hours of work as pretty poor pay, even back in the ‘80s, we both thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of money!”Mama looked at me and said, “See?  Isn’t it worth all my junk and papers to make $50?”I’ve finally come to see that there was something wro … [Read more...]

Welcoming Advent–and Win the Chance for a Free Advent Book!

Tomorrow marks the 2nd Sunday in Advent.  With 2 high schoolers and an 8th grader, rather than celebrating 6 times in the past 6 days, we've hit it 1 1/2.  (Yesterday I was so grumpy that no one had cleaned the kitchen and that despite leaving out the rice hinting for someone to store it in the fridge, it was just put back in the rice cooker--6 days ago. . . I didn't even sing).I'm re-posting my blog about Advent from 2 years ago because our traditions remain the same.  The good change is tha … [Read more...]

I lost My Pedometer and Stopped Walking

The infamous Statue of Liberty Fitbit day--we put in 30K steps that day!

Several weeks ago I lost my Fitbit pedometer somewhere between BJs, the Party Store, Michael’s, CVS and Marshalls—it was quite the day of shopping.   And I felt a sense of desolation that doesn’t seem appropriate for a thumb sized plastic object.  That I’m blogging yet again about a pedometer also seems not quite right—but there’s no device other than my laptop that’s affected my life more!Ever since Scott brought home that first Fitbit, we’ve had a friendly step competition with a variety of … [Read more...]


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