Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Before I begin this story, there are a couple of things you need to know:
1. I am really clumsy.
2. My mom never puts things in the same place.

Today I tried to carry too many things back into the house. Usually I know better, and I make 2 trips. However, it has been really hot lately, and I felt like just getting in the house as quickly as I could.
I dropped a glass jar in the driveway. The glass shattered all over the driveway and the sidewalk.
I hurried inside, shouting "Mom, do you know where the broom is?"

"Why do you need the broom?" she asked.

"I broke something. Where is the broom?"

"What did you break?"


"I think it might be by the trash can."

She never gets my sense of urgency until I use my loud teacher voice. And if there's anything I've learned, asking her a question turns her into a 4 year old, questioning your every move.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yup. I was one of those girls who grew up in a predominantly male family.  I have 3 brothers.  And about 11 years ago, one of them brought home Joann, and now have this amazing sister-in-law.  This may have been better than actually growing up with a sister, because we never had to fight over toys or the affections of our parents.  Years ago, Joann asked my mom if she could call her "mom" too, and she said yes.
Joann does a great job of nurturing my adventurous side.  To date, we've gone skydiving, parasailing, ziplining and rolled down a mountain in a zorb together.
Mom is constantly finding deals online for us to expand our adventure repertoire.  So last summer she financed our kayaking trip in Newport.
We talked. We paddled.  We laughed. We saw a sleeping sea lion, towards whom the waves quickly pushed me.  I struggled to put my cell phone away and continue paddling in the opposite direction as it woke up.  For a few brief moments, I thought that my brother's speculations had come true: I would meet my fate at the hands of a wild animal whose personal space I had violated.
On my Facebook, I had posted:

Went kayaking with my sister and saw this guy along the way. Thanks Mom!  
To which my mom replied: "You don't have a sister."

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Gasoline Fairy

Since my mom's car broke down, she's been driving mine whenever she's in town. When she got back from her trip this time, I told her that the car really needs gas. So she takes it to the gas station and swipes her card. The gas pump clicks off and she looks up.

Forty-one cents.

She figures something's wrong with her credit card, so she tries another. The pump clicked off immediately. She goes in to talk to the cashier, who says maybe she should just try cash.

Then the cashier was confused.  He had even come out to the pump to help my mom pump the gas.
So my mom decided to just go. And when she turned on the engine, the gas tank was full!
"Did you put gas in the car?" she asked.
"No, I didn't have time," I answered.  "Maybe Jerry did."
So when my brother Jerry got home, we asked him.
"No, I didn't," he said.
"Then WHO did?!?" My mom asked.

Thank you for the tank of gas, whoever you are. Your generosity has confused the dickens out of my poor mother.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Today Mom and I went to a bridal shower. As a single person I was asked to contribute a recipe to my friend's collection, since she likes to cook.  Mom, as a married person, was asked to contribute some good marriage advice. She was asked to read it out loud, so I thought I'd share it with you.

1. Praise him for all the good little things he does.

2. If he forgets to do something, tell him it's ok and that there will always be a next time.

3. Make him feel good about himself.

4. Never EVER say the words, "I told you so."

5. Don't make a big deal if he gets lost when he's driving.

She went on to say that she could talk forever, and then handed my friend a book called "How to Have A Great Marriage."

Monday, July 22, 2013


My mom calls me while I'm at work and says, "Hey do you have plans tonight?"

"No." This is probably the worst answer I can give, because saying "No I don't have plans," is akin to saying "Sure, I can be your slave for the day. What can I do for you first?"
I really need to have other answers prepared. But I don't.

"Oh great. I was wondering if you'd like to go with me to..."

And in my head, I'm thinking: Is she going to take me to dinner? Or one of her spontaneous shopping sprees?  Or maybe just a movie... 

"Forest Lawn Mortuary? My coworker Burt died."


I really should let her finish her sentences before I let my mind wander like that.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


About 4 years ago, I completed my credential in special education.  Excited to get to work, I started looking for a new job.  I was a little nervous and a little hesitant at the time, because I would begin working on my masters soon.  My current job at a nonprofit school had offered me substitute work until I found something.  Mom said, "Why don't you quit your job and just focus on school?  I think that it's more important for you to finish school strong. You can always work after."  This wasn't new to my ears. Mom had been asking me to quit my job for over a year.   Although she is ofen proud of my altruism, she also worries that here aren't any limits to it. 

As many people know, jobs are harder to come by these days.  Giving up a perfectly good one before I had the next thing lined up seemed like a horrible decision.  However, my mom's words had planted the seed, and I thought more and more about it.  I had been offered educational loans, and a grant would be paying my tuition.  If I lived frugally enough, I really could focus on school without working. 

So one day, I did it.  I when in to work and said that I was going to be leaving to focus strictly on school.  I was willing to possibly return in summers and when the school desperately needed a sub, but emphasized that I should probably be last on the list. 

I came home that day, proudly awaiting my moment to tell my mom what I had done.  Her forehead wrinkled and she said, "Why would you do that? How are you going to live?  You don't have a job now..."

Monday, May 20, 2013


Last October, I got to witness something truly amazing.  I had spent the day with my mom and my younger brother in San Diego for my mom's 70th birthday. We arrived  that night to our home, filled with family from San Francisco and some relatives. At about 10:45 that night we all paused when we heard screams by the front door. We all thought it might be the kids just playing and being loud, but we came to the front to check anyways.
My mom's best friend fell through the front door, shouting "He took my purse!"
Maybe it was adrenaline, but my brothers and I took off running after the guy.  One of my older brothers grabbed the guy, but let him go when he looked like he might be reaching for a weapon.
My younger brother chased down the thief's car to get the plate number while I called the police.
When this all happened, my oldest brother had thrown himself over our nieces to protect them.
Because we had all reacted so quickly, the police were at our house within minutes. They chased the car down the freeway until the man crashed and fled on foot. The K-9 unit following him released a dog on him, and he surrendered after being bitten.
Later that night, the police found that the man had a gun in his car. We all would like to assume that it was our strength in numbers probably prevented him from having the opportunity to use it.
It goes without saying, but when it comes down to it, you protect the ones you love; it's the most valuable lesson we've learned from my mom.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Foodie Love from Pennsylvania

This is late, I know. I have been quite busy juggling work, family time, and a little bit of travel. But, oh, how I do ge so excited when the doorbell rings and a package stuffed with goodies awaits me.  What can I say? I love surprises

This box came from Shelley in Pennsylvania.  The barbecue chips were tasty, and so were the coffee cakes.
There were some Hershey bars and Reese's, which had to wait until after lent, but didn't last very long after.  I have yet to try the funnel cake mix, but I have always wanted to make one.  :)

Shoo fly pie! I had only ever heard of this in books. It was delicious!

I made this pasta with mushrooms and some nutty tofu balls.  It didn't last long. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Foodie Love from Savannah

Agh! I'm late again...
February's box came from Bridget in Savannah, Georgia
 here's the lovely note she included in my box. :)

 oh man.  It's like she KNOWS me.  Spicy kale chips did not last very long, and they were the kind of spicy that creeps up on you.   Pure green protein...I used to subsist on this back in my running days. Oh and the cutest little honey bear I've ever seen.

I can never really say it enough. I love tea.
 Oh. My. Gosh. No one's every sent me a honeycomb.  I just need to wait for a few more of my fellow sugar fiends to come over so we can devour this together.
 Mmm. Chocolate.  Enough said.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I used to work at Disneyland when I was in high school. For about the first year, my parents insisted on driving me to and from work, ensuring my safety if I wasn't behind the wheel. My dad is a punctual man, so if I ended a shift at 5, he'd be there promptly at 5:20 to pick me up, knowing that I would need those 20 minutes for the shuttle to drop me off in the employee parking lot.  Unfortunately, this meant that my mom would arrive at 6:30.  My mom has never been a slave to schedules. She was a career woman who prioritized time to be a mom whenever she could squeeze it in. (By no means are things exactly the same now, but this is half a lifetime ago for me.) We live about 15 to 20 minutes away, but honestly, this is just how she operates.
Mom would arrive in a hurry, honking the horn if I didn't approach the car fast enough. So one day, she picks me up the standard hour late.
She says, "Sorry. I really was going to be on time, but right when I was getting ready to leave, I couldn't find my glasses. I went and looked everywhere, and finally just found my old pair of glasses."
I stared blankly at her and said, "Oh. And then you realized that they were on top of your head?"

"What?!? They are?"

Those were the days before camera phones.  Oh how I wished I had a picture of it to show you.  My mom's old glasses were the huge ones that covered up half your face.  And the look of surprise was priceless, as she touched the top of her head and realized that I was telling the truth.

She insisted on sharing this story with everyone who would listen that week.

Monday, January 7, 2013


It's the last day of our tour of Asia. I'm leaving tonight, but my mom will stay behind for 3 weeks to keep her sisters company; they are still mourning the loss of their brother.

My mom says, "We're running out of time. What do you want to do? Go shopping or get a massage?"

If you know me, you know I'd choose a massage over shopping any day. I'd have an empty closet, but I'd be soooo relaxed.

But if you know my mom, you'd know shopping is the only right answer to this question. It's not even really a question; it's a trick...

Rather than play our usual game of selective hearing, I decided on a third option. I said, "Do you think that maybe we could just visit the orphanage you told me about?"

She said, "Oh, that's a good idea."
We walked across the Ayala bridge to Hospicio de San Jose, which turns out to be more of a community outreach center with religious ties. The grounds contain a nursery, sleeping quarters for school aged children, and residences for aging adults.
As soon as we were within reasonable distance from the sign, we stopped to take a picture. When we got closer... I came up to the side of the nursery where there was a turning cradle.  It was like a big drawer, where women could place their babies if they didn't feel like they could care for them properly. It made me more than a little sad, thinking about what a difficult choice that must be.
Then she called my name. She got impatient when I didn't turn around right away. "Debbie! Turn around!" Her next word shocked me the most. "Smile!"
She took a picture of me. Why she wanted me to smile in it is beyond me.
So I didn't smile.

Yup. That's the face I make when she confuses me.  
I will never fully understand her. So I just laugh a little inside.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Foodie Love from Walla Walla

I am ashamed. This post is ridiculously late, but life in the past couple of months has proven more hectic than I expected.  Nonetheless, here it is: 

November's box came from Megan from Walla Walla, Washington.  You can find her lovely blog hereMegan asked me if I had any preferences. I told her that aside from being vegetarian, I love surprises. 

And surprised I was.  It never occurred to me that you could pack produce!   
Three kinds of Washington apples and an onion!  Pictures of these are lost on a chip somewhere in my house...which I will hopefully find later and post.  

The sweet onion went great with the turkey-less roast that I got from Trader Joe’s. 

And my first Thanksgiving turkey in years.  Best turkey I've ever had. ;)

Any time chocolate and popcorn get put together, I'm there.

 Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard. It's amazing on the caprese sandwiches I've been making.
 My uncle kept asking me if I had already taken pictures of these biscotti so that he could eat them.

 My family and I marveled over the crust on this bread.  It tasted so good with the spaghetti we had for dinner one night. :)  And the croutons were perfect on top of salad and dipped in a roasted garlic and butternut squash soup we devoured.

She also included some information about Walla Walla that makes me want to go up there and visit. :)
Thank you Megan! Every bit of it was delicious!