See a list of all my essays categorized.

RACE, GENDER, AND JUSTICE

PARENTING


Five reasons why we stay even after the tech bros invaded.

Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area (“Bay Area”), some of my earliest memories as a child are taking out-of-town visitors to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley.

I recently read Sara Benincasa’s hilarious essay New Jersey Is Perfect and felt inspired to write an ode to my home. Reading about her love for her home state prompted me to try and capture in writing what my home state is like. I won’t even try to be funny as I can’t match her wit and humor.

California has been both the butt…


I wish I could figure out how to do it again.

There is no secret map to “Viral Land.” Photo by Sergio Rodriguez - Portugues del Olmo on Unsplash

I’ve been writing on Medium for less than two months, since the end of March 2021. I woke up one day to see that one of my recent essays had more than 100 views. That was a surprise as most of my essays usually only garner 40–60 views.

Hours later, it was over 1,000 views. Then the number kept steadily increasing until I realized I had unexpectedly hit the lotto — one of my essays was viral and bringing in over 5,000 views per day.

If you looked at my stats, you would see that 47 of the 49 essays…


We just wanted our ice cream, but she needed to police strangers

Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

“Karen” seemed perfectly nice at first. An older white woman in her late 60s or early 70s, Karen asked if we were waiting in the right line before she stepped into the “express” line for those ordering gallons of ice cream to go.

I replied that yes, we were in the right line as we were going to order cones. We weren’t sure which flavors we wanted yet anyway. This particular ice cream shop is a long-time institution with unique flavors. We needed time to think.

My family and I were celebrating our older daughter’s birthday with our first trip…


Love like no one is watching.

Marriage requires balancing two people’s needs and wants. If you’re lucky, you find that sweet spot so both feel like they’re giving the same effort. Photo by Norbu Gyachung on Unsplash

Next year will mark my 20th wedding anniversary and the 24th year since we started dating. I adore my husband and know that we have each become better people and supportive partners because of the other’s influence. We have built an incredible life together, weathered some challenges, and still laugh at each other’s playful antics.

I thought of him and smiled as I read Denise Jonesessay, “I do know the secret to a long marriage, actually.” I loved her observations about how a successful and enduring marriage is largely about showing up.

Remember when you were a child, and…


I was so exhausted after my first outing, I fell asleep at 9 pm.

Like owls, I have learned to be hyper-vigilant and keep my head on a swivel. Photo by Dirk van Wolferen on Unsplash

I have had the great privilege of hunkering down during this pandemic. I was able to keep my job and shift to working full-time at home. My kids each have their own device and stable internet to pursue long-distance learning fairly successfully (although they desperately miss their friends).

I worry about my husband seeing patients but I know he is taking all precautions and tracking new clinical studies outlining how to stay safe.

In the meantime, my daughters and I limited our interactions to minimize any exposure to anyone else, especially before I was vaccinated. …


But I made sure my lawyer vetted it first.

I wanted to just focus on us, but there were big-picture issues at play. Photo by Anna Vi on Unsplash

I was the second person in my group of friends to get married, a fairly young bride of 26. I didn’t really have anyone to ask about wedding planning on a budget as my friend who married first had an elaborate big-budget wedding. Yet I soon found myself focused on something else entirely. Shortly after the engagement, my then-fiancé dropped a bombshell. His dad insisted that I sign a prenuptial agreement (aka “prenup”).

A prenup is a legal document that is loaded with so much emotional baggage. Many think that its existence means the parties don’t trust one another, that…


I just thought it was part of aging.

Photo by Jeferson Santu on Unsplash

I am a middle-aged woman. I’m not ashamed of my age or sad about it. I’ve had a great life so far. I enjoyed my youth, found long-lasting love, and am now watching my daughters come of age. I figured part of aging means dealing with fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, muscle weakness, higher cholesterol, memory loss, and myriad other symptoms.

But when I was 43, my doctor ordered a thyroid test in addition to my normal blood tests as part of my annual exam. My TSH level was double what it was 5 years earlier. …


We ate so many specialties and can’t wait to return!

Photo by kofookoo.de on Unsplash

My family of four took a trip to Tokyo almost two years ago in 2019 and enjoyed visiting restaurants that specialize in only one type of food. It’s such a different experience compared to restaurants that offer a range of options like those we tried on our trip to Northern Italy. It was exciting to see how each Japanese restaurant has mastered its particular type of food!

Our ten-day trip included eight full days of meals in Tokyo (we lost a day in transit and then left early on the last day). …


You might share them in your toast at their wedding!

Kids say the silliest things! Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

Kids say the funniest things without even trying to be funny. But if you don’t write them down, will you remember them?

A friend of mine once shared with me, “I write down funny things my partner says all the time. She has some of the most unintentionally hilarious comments and observations!”

Once she told me this, I realized I wanted to do this for my kids as they also have unintentionally funny observations. Sometimes they don’t even understand why I’m roaring with laughter!

I started to jot them down on my phone, which I almost always have nearby. My…

Anna

Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice and leadership development. Wife and mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Oh, and I love to eat almost everything!

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