Why Santa Comes to our Home and Brings my Kids Crap

Back in 2004, my first-grade daughter had to write a “book” on famous people for homework.  She threw the papers on the kitchen floor and wailed, “I can’t do this!  I don’t know any famous people.”The 2004 election was just weeks away so I said, “There’s John Kerry or George Bush.”“I don’t WANT to do George Bush!”  She stomped out of the room.Awhile later, she came back happy.  “I figured it out.  I can do Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, and Mickey Mouse.”“Do the famous … [Read more...]

Tricks to Slow Me down, even as I need to Step it Up

"Slow down!"  Ren whined as we walked the mile downtown."Nope, I got to walk fast--this is my exercise for today." I picked up the pace even more.Thursday was my physical.  Can you believe my PCP called me on a Saturday to chastise me for being overdue on my physical, mammogram, and pap smear?  I warned her as soon as I walked in that I've put on weight in the past 2 months.  She even let me strip naked.  But there I was--3 pounds heavier naked than a year ago clothed. … [Read more...]

Almond Macaroons and the Curse of a Tradition

Someone else's macaroons, butthis is what the plain ones look likeI have a special cookie--do you?Every Christmas for the past 15 years, I've baked Almond Macaroons, a recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  I make them 3 ways--plain, fudge and sometimes pine-nut crusted.  These cookies are actually relatively healthy because their only ingredients are almonds, sugar, egg whites & almond extract (plus cocoa powder for the fudge ones and pine-nuts for the pine-nut crusted.)The funny thing … [Read more...]

Singing the Down on Myself Blues

“I’m feeling sad,” I said to my 13 year old daughter when she asked why I heaved a deep sigh.“Why are you feeling sad?”“Because I feel like a failure as a daughter and a mother.”I had just dropped my parents off at the airport.  Even though I wanted them to come, even though I miss them terribly when they’re in Hawaii and I’m in Boston, even though a good Chinese daughter should selflessly serve her parents and declare there’s always room for family. . .It’s been a tough four weeks.You can’t … [Read more...]

Why I Got Soap in my Mouth Yesterday

Yesterday I got soap in my mouth.It’s been rough around here lately.  Between too many activities, squeezing my parents for 4 weeks into a house that already felt slightly too tight, and the general emotional chaos of raising a 15, 13 and 11 year old, the words that have been flying in our house are way too salty and way too rude.Of course, apples don’t fall far from the tree, so what should I expect?Sometime in my own tweenhood, I paged through my baby book, a white cracking leather album t … [Read more...]

God in the Disguises

Today in my Richard Rohr Daily Reading that comes via email, Rohr quotes Paula D’Arcy God comes to us disguised as our life.Hmmm.  That's deep.  He quoted D'Arcy as he reflected on Mary:The events of life are themselves Mary’s guide and teacher. She does not need to figure it out and plan accordingly; the plan will be given by God through life’s ordinary events and encounters. Reality itself is her teacher. That is why she could hear angels. And that is why she … [Read more...]

Post-Weekend Away, Thanksgiving and Christmas Party Blues

As of this morning, I'm the fattest I've been at any time of my life other than when pregnant.What's sadder is that several of my friends have heard me make that same statement about 6 times in the past month as the scale kept inching higher in .2 increments.What's even sadder is that the culprit was one wonderful weekend alone with my husband and a slowing metabolism that needs about one lettuce leaf a day to survive. And I hardly gorged compared to how much gorging was possible!  Scott … [Read more...]

Welcoming Advent or the Necessity of Cheap Chocolate

“It’s so unfair, how come the Advent chocolate calendar doesn’t start on the first day of Advent?” one of my kids whined.  “And how come you’re too cheap to buy the Whole Foods calendar instead of the Trader Joes one?”What I wish our Advent wreath looked likeAdvent, the season of waiting for the coming of God, officially began this past Sunday on November 27th.  I’m thrilled because this year’s the longest Advent season possible with Christmas on a Sunday.  But my kids had to go ch … [Read more...]