“The Book of Delights”

First Son: Ross Gay? Is that his real name?
Me: Yes. He’s a former classmate of mine from grad school.
First Son: What is grad school.
Me: It’s the school you can go to after college if you want.
First Son: Oh.
Me: This book is pretty big, this guy is successful.
First Son: Are you jealous?
Me: I think I would have been, like a year ago, but not anymore.

The “Book of Delights” is a delight, a salve in these trying times. The author notes simple pleasures of being alive and sometimes when life is unbearable and overwhelming, it’s helpful to keep your focus on the small and everyday. It is a lovely book. That has won heaps of praise feels irrelevant. Its help is intimate and personal, so the fact that has garnered a global recognition has nothing to do with my experience of the book. I recommend it.

comforting words from old white men on suffering

It ain’t easy but here are some comforting quotes I’ve heard lately.

“Tragedy plus time equals comedy.” — Lenny Bruce

“You know, when I look back of periods of my life that were so incredibly painful, I now see them as periods of tremendous growth.” — Ethan Hawke.

And a freebie quote from my friend Becca

“No one cares as much as you do.” –“Alexa Rose, Schitt’s Creek”

Hamlet’s father’s ghost

Part of my recent stress is due to one of my mother’s recent decisions that has led to a whole world of trouble. I’ve been sad about it, furious, and then I thought of that scene in Hamlet, when Hamlet’s dad’s ghost comes by. Hamlet is laying into his mom, who married the uncle very soon after dad’s death, like suspiciously immediately, but she’s shocked by his accusation, which is when Hamlet’s dad sneaks in and says, “Ease up, son. She’s innocent. Look at her, she has no idea what you’re talking about” or some such nonsense.

I thought of it during this recent trouble with my mother. I dream of my father whispering me to give her a break, that she’s innocent, and that I have to take care of her. It makes me take note and it eases whatever anger I have towards mom. I think of dad often during various times, but particularly when I’m called to take care of her. It’s funny because he was the one we were all looking after, but prior to being ill, he looked after all of us and now that he’s gone, that’s the spirit that visits. That is how I remember him.


I was in Boston for 24 hours for a gig and went to CVS three times. Walked past Boston Commons on the way to the gig, and I think that might be the only historical tourist site I managed to observe. Funny, it’s a different experience being alone in a new city. At home, I need gobs and gobs of alone time, but in a new place, I felt more alone, unsure of what I would experience in this new environment. Where I was in Beantown was entirely white people, maybe one Asian person at the hotel, one Black/Brown Lyft driver, but my hotel was near Chinatown and everyone I met was fine and friendly.

The gig went fine, not amazing, but just fine. And given the nutty pace of my work/personal life, we were all blessed I was remotely coherent. I am in a season where multiple things are going wrong, but small and profound, eg, last weekend, the apartment doorknob came off in my hand, the power in the building went out for the day during the Wonder Twins Bday party. This gig itself had hiccups — a nor’easter, a postponed date, the co-presenter getting sick, a messed up flight that had me sprinting and boarding a 6 pm flight at 5:59 pm. It’s been a period of tremendous stress, but there are still some little silver linings.

Despite the stress, I find it always helpful to change my normal, and visiting new places, I get to see new people in their own orbit, commuting, grabbing lunch at local places, preoccupied with their own conundrums and problems and obsessions, and it just makes me realize how big the country is and how I’m just one microcosm of the whole set-up and that maybe, it’s okay. Maybe there’s no need to get so hung up on the things I feel are do-or-die and I relax. I stood in front of about sixty people who don’t know me and don’t care about me, and I don’t know them or have to care about them. We are all kind of just existing on parallel planes. I don’t get this sensation when we are visiting family out of town, only when I work with people for the first and last time, spending two hours of intense time together and then never seeing them again.

It was so cold, I missed the family terribly even though it was one night, and the timing of this out-of-town excursion could not have been worse, but I have returned stronger and restored, albeit also physically and psychically drained. Very interesting.

Tom Ford cape dress

You know, because I regularly look at gossip rags and see what celebrities wear for their red carpet looks, certain outfits begin to look normal. I ordered a royal blue version of the Tom Ford cape dress — but it was like polyester and a no-name brand. I thought I could wear it for work formal events. When I tried it on, I was shocked. I looked like a Star Trek character, a cosplay wannabe. I was completely expecting to look EXACTLY like the celebs I see online! But of course, I’m shorter and lumpier, and my torso is longer than any of these skinny mavens. Hollywood people wear cool, weird clothes, but regular life is actually not that weird.

All is well. I could not stop laughing. I returned the dress.


I sometimes end up seeing more plays than movies. That’s been a nice change! After years of a creative desert focused on the pioneer days of keeping the children alive, I just get more invites for shows! I tend to see trash when I go to the movies though. I have no preference to being artistically stimulated or maybe I have zero standards? My friend Alex J (I adore him) will sometimes post “Movies I Don’t Want to See” and they’re sometimes kids movies that are on their sequel three! I mean, trash. We saw “Puss in Boots” today and I think it’s either third one? The fourth one? Who knows. It’s not like you’re lost when you go to these sequels and it’s well done. There are stakes and characters changing, shifting relationship, a nice tidy moral lesson at the end, jokes that only I laughed at aloud today. And really, it’s about getting to hang out with the kids while they are still comfortable with being seen with us in public. I got to snuggle with Wonder Twin Girl, her hair smells great. I bought the crew popcorn and lemonade, and everyone enjoyed themselves and each other. Confession; I was pretty down today so I took comfort in this outing. Stephen King said you just need to make enough money to live and take your family out to the movies once in a while. While he himself makes a BOAT LOAD more than that, I like that advice. Can I content myself? Can my present be enough? Enough is enough.

As I age, there is less striving. Less clarity in terms of what I want to do with my work life or writing. Husband is encouraging me to pursue hobbies where I have zero professional designs, so that I can just enjoy the fun of it. There is something to that. But writing is something I have always done. I have done not a bad job with it, but I have to keep returning to enjoying it. I love to write. The voice inside who wants the writing to result in something — that voice may always be there. I will just have to negotiate it.

I’m not sure what my point is. I think that I was formerly someone who didn’t need to see cat movie sequels, who despised them, but now I’m someone who doesn’t mind it. (And this is no shade to my good friend, b/c there’s no earthly reason to see a cat movie for $16 unless you have children. I’m dying to see “Tar” after his review.) As I age, I adapt. Some adjustments are easier than others. 🙂


You know what? I think I have to give the notion that I can speak Spanish. Did I take it from 7th grade through senior in college for an easy A? Yes. Have I practiced? No.

These past few months, I have broken out the Spanish 2-3 times with strangers and the response was zero, (or nada. Hardy har har). This is what I say “Hace muchas anos que tengo opportunidad para hablar. El estado de mi espanol esta tan pathetico.”/”It’s been many years since I have had the opportunity for speaking. The state of Spanish is very pathetic.” (You will have to imagine the accents and the missing “en-ya” squiggle over the “n” in “anos.”) Or some such sentiment. If I’m feeling particularly free, I might add “Cuando bebi cerveza, hablar es mas facil porque no tengo verguenza.”/”When I drink beer, speaking is much easier because I’m not embarrassed.”)

It used to be I got a huge reaction, since people are not generally used to Asians speaking Spanish. But the last two times? Total crickets. I must be dropping words here and there, I’m definitely remembering fewer and fewer words with each foray and there is not response because it is clear that I would not be able to hold a conversation. Sigh.

So I let this go. I let go of the idea that I am someone who can speak Spanish. I let it go because it’s embarrassing and it puts the other person in an awkward situation.

(On the same topic, I bought First Son and me a proper 88-key keyboard. He’s been learning on a 60-key keyboard and since I just recently bought “Creep” by Radiohead piano music, I’ve been trying to play and it’s weird to have keys missing! But again, I played from 5th grade to senior year in college. I could sit down one in a while and play Bach, Rachmaninov, the same level I stopped at. No more, man. Today, I was trying out a piece and I could remember a lot of the base notes and wasn’t even sure my hands were in the right spot. EEEEEEK!)


This is mean. I’m sorry in advance. But it is difficult to listen to actors talk about their clown work. I have heard over the years about how “clown work really blew my emotional work wide open” or some such similar sentiment. And then listening to the specific clown name they came up and then retelling a workshop story from the point of view and in the voice of their clown. I hear the name “Chris Bayes” a lot, who apparently teaches clown work at Yale and other workshops in the city. (Husband and good friends have taken classes with him. He’s also taught like Lupita L’uongo and other famous people.)

The thing is I believe them, and I am fully committed to not being cynical. I want to embrace being positive and promote possibilities and not focus on what can go wrong.

But this is too much. Too personal. Keep this to yourselves. Or better yet, let the work speak for itself. And I’m sure, should I ever find myself in a clown class, I will fully disregard this advice and share, share, share.



I’m off this week and vacation can sometimes mean a beach getaway, a setting so breathtaking that it makes your Instagram followers weep, and sometimes (in my case), it just means dealing with fewer challenges at a time.

Today, Wonder Girl Twin and I tackled her essay due on Monday. By far, she is my most emotionally mysterious child. I keep mentioning what I’ve observed about her behavior, hoping someone will respond “oh my god, that is totally like my Samuel, and here’s what you do!” etc. But so far, I have not had any bites.

She’s unusual, at least in this family. While the boys and Husband are “Party of Five”-level verbal in terms of their feeling (so much emoting, people. So much verbal expressions of feeling. It’s exhausting, but also helpful.) Wonderful Wonder Girl Twin is different. She prefer no one look at her when she cries. She’d rather not discuss what she feels. If she’s furious or depressed, she goes to her bed and falls asleep — the ultimate in shutting down. You cannot yell her into submission, as tempting as that path is. You can not greet her stubbornness with your own stubbornness. That only results in a stand-off of ill will and everyone feels terrible.

Today, she threw everything she could to avoid the work. We got through it, but it took multiple stages, and I want to note one thing I learned so that I remember — when she’s flails and says how much she sucks, she hates life; how we don’t love her, how much she’s stupid — it is extremely tempting to argue with her and refute these horrible claims. (I mean, ugh, seriously.) But that’s just a storm. It’s like she’s throwing grenades to derail you from the task at hand — which is to finish this homework assignment that she’s so in her head about and that’s causing her relentless anxiety/worry/stress. Like believe it or not, the best thing to do is to finish the homework assignment. (I think. I may change my mind).

So since I was off today, I could joke her out of bed. Took her outside for air when our attempt number one failed. When she threw up resistance again, I made cookies and got her out of bed, and for some reason, oh my god, she found her groove and finished the five paragraph essay. It is DONE!!!

I am wiped but I can’t help but think about how this would have been impossible if I were working today, so this is the vacation. A simpler to do list.

incredible hulk

I told Husband, “you know, out of all the MCU superheroes, I am the Incredible Hulk.” It’s true. I’m always like rumbling inside and battling with an inner beast. He nodded, because he gets it. “Know who else you are? Wonder Woman.”

Said it without missing a beat. Pretty good, non?

(Although technically, Wonderwoman is a DC Comics character, not MCU, but I wisely decided to not correct him in the moment.”

Ha ha ha