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9X Top Writer. Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice & leadership development. Wife & mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Love to eat almost everything

Feminist Asian American mom and wife who is a classic Type A and ESTJ. Loves to eat and is willing to travel for food.

This candid photo was taken by my husband last week as we watched our teen daughters explore the cove.

A fast walker, fast talker, and fast eater, I do everything too fast. It’s like I am always running out of time. I don’t know why I feel so compelled to be efficient and maximize my time.

I’ve tried to slow myself down — whether it’s trying to chew each bite of food 10 times, deliberately slowing down like I’m walking with a 4-year-old, or speaking slowly like I would with a grandparent who is hard of hearing. Nevertheless, the slower pace never lasts long. …

I’ve been dubbed a “Top Writer” in nine categories (but lost two in July 2021). See links to all my stories.

ParentingFeminismRacismTravel and FoodLife Lessons/This Happened To MeMy DogsMiscellaneous

Basketball taught me how to succeed off the court, too.

Photo by Islander Images on Unsplash

At an office retreat years ago, I had to play the ice-breaker, “Two Truths and a Lie.” Everyone had to share three facts about themselves, two that are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of us had to guess which one was the lie.

I think only one person accurately guessed my lie. The vast majority thought my lie was the claim about being Co-MVP of my high school varsity basketball team.

I’m Asian American and very few people think of Asian Americans as basketball players (the retreat was a decade before Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity”)…


Sometimes you get sand and sun and sometimes you get rocky cliffs and fog. It’s all beautiful.

Bixby Bridge near Big Sur (Photo by Patrick Adcock on Unsplash)

Does hearing the ocean crash onto shore lull you into a calm, contemplative mood? Does burying your toes in the warm sand make you smile? Does watching whales playfully flip their tails make you gasp with surprise?

If you answered yes, consider planning a trip to visit a California coastal town! There are so many incredible options to experience these sights, sounds, and delights on the 840 miles/1340 kilometers of the California coastline.

As a near-native Californian (I moved here as a toddler), I have taken road trips to many cities within a six-hour drive of my home in Northern…

I turned into a mushy puddle of anxiety and self-doubt. You, too?

Photo by George Zheng on Unsplash

I like to think that I’m a confident, accomplished, and kind person. I wasn’t always confident and accomplished but I’m generally happy with who I am. So what is it about a high school reunion that would transform me into the complete opposite: a terribly insecure and anxious poser scared of her own shadow?

It’s been almost 30 years since I graduated from high school so I thought of this recently. Looking back, I freaked out unnecessarily because it was all in my head.

For our first five-year reunion, we hadn’t organized anything formal. We just asked people to show…

I learned what to prioritize after many mistakes.

My favorite photo after my wedding ceremony in my in-laws’ backyard (Taken by my brother)

After almost 24 years together, we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary next summer. I don’t know that there is one key secret to enduring love, but I do think we were primed for success after having had previous failed relationships.

I believe we are more willing to compromise and are more confident about what we need in a relationship when we have already learned some lessons from past failed relationships. That’s not to say that high school sweethearts can’t figure out some of this on their own.

For me, dating helped me learn what’s important — like thoughtfulness, wittiness…

Travel. Mazatlán. Mexico.

Avoid cruise ship days and you have a beautiful city to explore.

Author, her mother-in-law, and her youngest daughter posed by the sign on their trip to Mazatlán. Photo courtesy of the author (taken by a private guide).

In early 2018, my mother-in-law offered to take my family of four on a trip to Mexico and said she didn’t care where the five of us went. Knowing that she prefers luxurious lodging, I started researching options that would make her happy but also appeal to my family.

I would have loved to visit Mexico City because my husband, daughters, and I love to eat and Mexico City has the top restaurants in the country. However, my mother-in-law does not like to eat as much as us. She also was on a doctor-ordered elimination diet at the time and…

Family Travel, Multigenerational Travel

And sometimes it all comes crashing down anyway.

With seven of us in one house, I felt like one of these goats. Photo by author’s daughter, taken at Surfing Goat Dairy on Maui.

My mother-in-law loves to travel. Before my father-in-law died unexpectedly, the two of them had been on grand adventures to the Galapagos, to the African savanna on safari, and to several European ports on a river cruise.

Unlike my in-laws, my husband and I primarily took road trips throughout California for our first 18 years together (and 14 years of our marriage). Not only did this fit our frugal budget, but we strongly prefer carefree and unscheduled trips.

When my father-in-law passed away five years ago, we were stunned. It was a wake-up call to make the most of life…

I was paralyzed with fear that entire weekend as I waited.

Photo by M. on Unsplash

About two weeks before my wedding, when I was only 26 years old, a nurse from my doctor’s office called and left me a voicemail on a Friday afternoon. The message was, “Your pap smear results came in and they’re abnormal. Please call our office back because the doctor needs to talk to you about the next steps.”

I immediately freaked out when I got the voicemail and called her back right before the office closed. “What does an abnormal pap smear mean? Do I have cancer?”

She replied, very matter-of-factly, “You’ll have to speak with the doctor about that…

Letting your friends set you up—rather than picking your dates from online apps—might help you discover that elusive chemistry.

Photo by Kirill Balobanov on Unsplash

I have been happily married for over 19 years, but I recall the frustration of my dating days. Meeting random strangers at clubs or bars was always a crapshoot. A handsome face, a nice smile, and great dance moves are all appealing, but what about his values? His integrity? His willingness to admire a confident, capable woman rather than be intimidated by one? Plus I was paranoid of predators who might slip something into my drink.

Thus, I happily agreed every time a friend offered to set me up on a blind date. If someone I knew could vouch for…

Anna (she/her)

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