Author Archive

Love Bites, LLC

October 9th, 2015

Olivia and I made some mean butterscotch pudding. It had real vanilla bean seeds and everything. It tastes as silky and rich as creme brûlée, but with a buttery finish.

We were very proud of ourselves and decided to create a fictitious bakery name for our mother-daughter baking team. After vetting a few ideas, we settled on Love Bites.

This became a shorthand for all activities mother-daughter, as in: "Love Bites is watching a movie!" or "What shall Love Bites do now?"

I mentioned this to my friend Kalei. "LOVE BITES?! As in, hickey?!" she sputtered.

"What? As in, small bites of delicious dessert made with love. Love in every bite," I returned.

"NO. Love bites is slang for hickey. Do you not know this???" she retorted.

"Are you serious? Really? I didn't know this! Does everyone know this?!" I exclaimed, grabbing my phone to search it online. Yep. It's there on Wikipedia.

"Yes. I told you so. You have to come up with a more appropriate company name, or people will be placing orders for cakes shaped like body parts," she lectured. "Geez. What are you teaching our kid?"

"I didn't know! Fine. Let's come up with something else. What about Love Bakes?" I suggested.

"Love Bakes???" she sniffed. I could feel her exasperation across the phone line.

"What, is that too close to Love's Bakery?" I asked.

"No! It sounds like marijuana. Now you're selling medical edibles?" she sighed.

"How is that like marijuana?" I quizzed.

"'Bakes?' People say they're baked when they're stoned," she prodded.

I didn't think I was this sheltered, but this conversation is making me think otherwise.

"Can't you just do like (your cousin) Janice (Hori) and have something simple and straightforward like Hawaiian Pie Company? Why do you have to get all creative?" questioned Kalei.

"Creative is fun," I defended. "How boring is 'Olivia & Mommy's Cupcakery'?"

"Apparently, you are inappropriate when you are creative," decided Kalei. "You are so lucky you have me."

I had to break the news to Olivia that we couldn't use Love Bites anymore because... someone else took that company name. She was bummed and made sad faces.

We are now thinking about a new fake business name that doesn't imply anything else inappropriate. Got any suggestions?

The cockroach who got to third base

October 7th, 2015

I like to hang up my clothes to dry. I like washing and hanging up the laundry. It's a bit of housework Zen.

A huge cockroach crept into Claus' jujitsu gi. Of course! What a nice, dark, moist place to call home, right?

He folded it up and put it in his car to go to class the next day. It came darting out and scurried into his car.

As he tells it, he had to scramble to chase it and flick it out of the car. He then warned me the next day to check all the clothes I take off the line for unwanted guests.

I'm totally paranoid now. My t-shirts are getting a TSA-worthy inspection.

I correct that. The Federal Courthouse guys are way more thorough.

Anyhoo, this reminds me of when I lived in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico. It was hot and humid, and we were all spending our days at the local watering hole.

My swim suit hung in the dark bathroom, and one day I was given ten minute's notice that we're going to the pool: Hurry! Get ready!

I pulled on my suit. I spent about three hours in the water.

When I got home, I went to the bathroom, and when I pulled down my bottoms, I saw this weird brown mass sitting in there. And I know that didn't come out of me. Or at least I would hope so.

After five very looooong seconds, confusion turned to recognition and I screamed The Scream Heard Around The World.

The other girls came rushing in to see what happened. I was pointing to my suit and hyperventilating.

It was a soggy German cockroach, folded in half nicely. The girls laughed so hard I thought they would pee their pants.

Now other people started coming to see what the commotion was and I'm trying to tell the girls to shut the bathroom door so I wouldn't be half naked in front of males.

Oh, who am I kidding. I just let a roach get to third base with me. What does it matter now?

Then, as if this can't get worse, the roach starts unfolding and coming back to life with the infusion of new oxygen. The LEGS START WIGGLING.

I cannot believe it's actually alive after I submerged it for three hours in water. Honestly, I didn't get out of the pool because it was so hot.

I scream and point again and this sends the girls to the ground to roll around for another renewed burst of laughter.

I felt DISGUSTING. I took the hottest shower possible. I might have used up the whole bar of soap.

Needless to say, 1) I always check my clothing before I put it on now, and 2) You'd think that roach could at least have bought me a drink first before getting right up in my business.

Aaaaand... if you have an equally horrifying roach tale I would love to hear it because misery loves company, and I've not heard a worse one yet. Oh please, oh please, I hope I'm not the only one with this kind of story.

Prom problem

October 5th, 2015

"When do kids go to prom?" Claus asked me. Disney Channel was on and prom was the topic.

"It depends. I had Sophomore Banquet, Junior Prom, and Senior Prom," I told him. "So, around 15, 16, 17."

"Is that in high school?" he continued.

"Um? Where do you think kids are at age 15?" I asked.

"So we have to buy three prom dresses for her?" he quizzed.

"Well, probably six. Other boys from other grades and other schools will probably ask her to their proms, too," I joked, knowing I was dancing on his anxiety spot.

His eyes popped, then narrowed. "No, no, no! I will make sure that does not happen," he growled, eyes scanning the room for his black belt.

I was wondering why this was such a shock to him, so I asked, "Why is this so new to you? Didn't you have prom in Denmark?"

For all the years I've been with this husband, we have never talked about the American custom of proms. I didn't realize until this conversation that proms don't exist in Denmark!

No prom for you, young man!

No prom for you, young man!

They have Sodavands Fest: soda parties at nightclubs. He dragged up photos on the Internet of kids at nightclubs at end-of-year parties that occur at 3 in the afternoon.

The girls don't dress up in fancy gowns. The boys don't rent tuxes. Limos aren't really a part of that event. It's just college, but a few years earlier and with virgin drinks.

Being American, I can't imagine high school memories without prom, but being a mother, I think I much prefer the idea of my girl drinking pop at 3 p.m. rather than partying till dawn after prom night. How can we replace prom with soda parties here in the US?!

Holly Berry bird

October 2nd, 2015

Olivia discovered a bird nesting in the holly bush outside. It goes up to the second floor of our house so she can stare at it at eye level from the balcony.

Holly Berry bird

Holly Berry bird

We named it Holly Berry because it's living in a holly berry tree. Olivia has no idea there is a woman named Halle Berry and I find the pun very cute.

Holly Berry laid two eggs, and every day we enjoyed checking on her. I'm sure every day she hated being looked at by us.

One day, the eggs hatched, and Olivia was extremely excited. We looked at them as they grew feathers and opened their eyes.



Unfortunately, after a week, winds knocked the top branches down, and the nest broke. The babies fell to the ground, and the parents never returned.

Olivia was alarmed and with her neighborhood friend Kira, ran to save the birds. We waited and waited and no mommy bird came back for them.

This is the part of the story where we became surrogate parents. I like animals a lot, but I really didn't want to foster doves. I could not be at a busier time in my life. But I didn't want to say no to that.

So we gave this a try. She and the friend alternated days to watch the birds, and when it was Olivia's turn, she would get crazy excited and do all kinds of silly stuff like put the birds in her bike helmet.


The girls would go around the yards digging for worms, or take it upon themselves to cut up fruits to feed the chicks. It made them feel responsible and heroic.

They named the birds Chirp and Fluff. Mid-week, Olivia came home and reported Chirp died overnight at Kira's house. The girls were sad, but there was still Fluff.

I felt kind of bad for Olivia because a few days later, she said, "Kira said Fluff didn't pass out last night so I'll pick it up after school today. It's my turn to have the bird."

It's so sad the girls are on death watch. Eight's far too young to be so aware of the fragility of life.

And then the saddest moment. Exactly a week after rescuing the birds, Olivia came home to tell us the second bird died. 

Kira buried it in her yard, while at home we had a short candlelight memorial service for the brief and bright lives of two birds.

Brassiere shopping

September 30th, 2015

I wanted a new bra, and I wanted a certain type. A bralette, to be exact.

We were all at the department store, and I detoured into the lingerie section. My family reacted in two ways.

My daughter was fascinated by the pretty lace, cute patterns, and different colors. My husband was uncomfortable but trying to override that with a practical attitude.

I told him he could wander elsewhere, he said he would help me (so we could get out of here faster?)

"I want a bralette like the one I use for yoga," I described, and found a tan one on the rack. "Like this one, but this is not my size."

He totally didn't get it. To be fair, there are dozens of brassiere designs. Strapless, backless, adhesive, sports, just to name a few.

He picked an underwire bra for me. I think his only reference was that it was the same color as the sample I pulled a minute ago.

"Sweetie, that has an underwire. It has to look more like a sports bra," I explained, hoping the very common reference would help draw the picture.

He searched the rack. "What about this?" he held up, which was a bra without a wire but still had the clasp in the back.

The poor man. He had the best intentions.

Finally, he actually found the correct design. "Yes, just like that!" I said. He looked like he won a prize.

Then I went over and inspected it. "This is not my size," I determined.

He looked deflated. This is not his day in the ladies section.

It was, like, a bra built for Anna Nicole Smith and I'm, well, not that. Not by a long shot.

I found what I needed and Olivia followed me in the dressing room. "How does this look?" I asked her.

She stared at me with a blank look. "I don't know what I'm looking at. Am I looking at your breasts? What am I looking for?" I remembered I can't treat my eight-year-old like my girlfriend just yet.

I bought the bralette. I also noted to self that I should not bring my family with me on a bra buying trip again.