Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The California Court of Appeals recently came down with a decision that may place parents who home-school their children at risk for prosecution for teaching without credentials. Tom and I were also listening to an NPR program about it last night via podcast.

I don't know very many people who home-school their children nor am I the parent of a school-aged child, and I'm sure arguments could be made on both sides, but I know that I, for one, will not home-school my children for two reasons:

(1) I do not possess, or profess to possess, all of the knowledge that I want my children to learn. Because I am not a teacher by profession, I want to leave this job for someone who is.

(2) Not only is the interaction between peers and adults crucial in one's development, I also think it important that my children see my role as their mother, and not mother/teacher, although I am inherently both.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Indicator of Good Husbandry

Like a new parent or a new aunt, I think I'm entitled to some bragging rights about my new husband.  Tom is a lot like his dad - he can fix almost anything mechanical without a manual.  A few weeks ago Tom noticed that my shift gear stopped lighting up.  (You know, the thing in automatic cars where it tells you what gear you're in.)  Having never done this before, he experimented by taking apart my whole middle console, found the burnt out light bulb, and replaced it for a total cost of $1.97.

This week I commented to him about how my gas gage light was dim compared to the others on my dash board.  Again, he did the same thing. He took my whole dashboard apart, figured out which lights were dim, replaced 5 of the bulbs for the cost of $3.98, and then put everything back together.  

I am most impressed with this act because (1) he saves me a lot of money, and (2) his inquisitive nature of taking things apart, figuring out what is wrong, and then fixing it with such enduring patience is markedly different from myself.  When I see a problem that I don't know how to fix I throw my hands up in despair, whine, and hope that it will magically fix itself one day. I guess in this manner we complement each other.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Yup, it's true...I'm addicted to coffee. But the good news is, I'm very indiscriminate when it comes to coffee. I do not need award-winning coffee beans imported from a special region in Guatemala that costs $60 dollars for a 12 oz. bag (true story). I will drink coffee from Starbucks, McDonald's, Denny's, Dunkin' Donuts, Stump Town's, or even off of a coffee cart. Furthermore, I will drink coffee that comes in a can, bottle, iced, hot, and I have never rejected a free cup of java from anyone.* (*See Comment)

Like any addict, the smell of coffee and the sight of a single coffee cup excites me. But my favorite coffee is from a diner - any ole' diner. There's something about the water-downed coffee they serve in diners, along with the fairly generic ceramic mug that they serve it in, that I love. Maybe it's the fact that diner coffee usually comes along with a big hearty breakfast or a T-bone steak and baked potatoes. Either way, I find diner coffees to be just right.

Lately, thanks to my friend Cat who is on a dairy & soy-free diet, I've started adding vanilla flavored rice milk in my coffee, which tastes great (plus less fat!). I am also very blessed that I have my very own barista at home. Tom brews our coffee every morning and puts them in matching thermal bottles for us to take to work/school. Now, we can stay awake while doing stupid things faster!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Curse of Globalization

Sure, it's nice to fly over to Taiwan and get your favorite specialty drink from Starbucks, but honestly, globalization has made it more difficult to give gifts to relatives who live abroad.  My mom and I moved to the U.S. in '89 and every time we made the trek back to Taiwan, we brought suitcases full of American goodies.  This practice stopped, however, since the time when we brought these huge bottles of Pantene shampoos and conditioners and were practically laughed out of the house. How were we suppose to know that you could now buy Pantene at your corner convenient store?

The trick of this gift-giving is to buy something uniquely American, yet something with brand recognition as well so people don't think you just picked it up at the local Wal-Mart or Sears. But the real problem is this something "American" must be 1) sold only in the U.S.A., and given our increasingly globalized world, this is getting more difficult to find; and 2) by default, this item some kind of kitsch (i.e. no Americans would be caught dead sporting, like T-shirts that say Levi's on it or something).  And because I am inherently American, I cannot for the life of me figure out what to gift people.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Omg...what have we done?!?

Tom and I are not impulsive people, especially when it comes to major purchases. It is for this reason we have not gotten AppleTV yet even though Tom deeply yearns for it.

But tonight...oh tonight was a different story. We attended the 19 annual PILP auction because it's a fun evening spent getting dressed up and seeing your fellow classmates and professors all dolled up as well. People meander, munch on mozzarella balls, and oogle over the ambundant number of silent auction prizes.

One of the live auction prizes was accommodations for 1 week in Disneyland or 1 week Williamsburg, VA (where Thomas Jefferson is from). The available dates for Williamsburg were from 8/3 to 8/10. We took this for a sign because our wedding is on Aug. 2 and we do not have honeymoon plans since Germany was scrapped for being too expensive. Anyway, we were outbid by another couple who wanted to go to Disneyland but we were called back by the auctioneer when we started to walk away; she offered us the trip to Williamsburg. With everyone's eyes on us and cheering us on, we had to cave in. Ok, so Virginia and Washington D.C., here we come!