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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


A happy goodbye

Between the Christmas and the New Year's Eve parties; the holiday-inspired eating; the last-minute shopping and wrapping of presents; the phone calls to family and friends; the cleaning, baking, cooking; and--yes--the relaxing, I have found some time to think about my blogging.

After much internal debate, I have decided to stop writing in this particular online forum.

The reasons are many and varied, but most have to do with a growing awareness on my part of an intense desire for more privacy in my life. I have shared a lot of things on this blog: some mundane, some meaningful, some existentially profound (I hope), and some potentially damaging. The Internet never forgets, and that fact has been bothering me more and more lately as I watch my babies grow into children who soon will be online themselves. I can't say that I feel good about everything I've written in this very public arena; I also have the sense that I'm quitting while I'm ahead.

I have received many comments and emails about the things I have chosen to share on this blog. Most of the feedback has been amazingly supportive and kind. My favorite emails were the ones that came from people who had found some kind of strength of their own from seeing me get help for my alcohol addiction.

We all have our weaknesses and our flaws. I've always thought one of the best things about the momosphere--and the writings online by moms--is the honest admittance and discussion of the foibles women tend to discover about themselves when faced with one of the most challenging roles of our lives, the role of mother. In our online confessions and ensuing discussions we find solace from our pain and insecurities. Time and time again I have noticed patterns in the mom-centric blogosphere. We are neither alone nor unique; the struggles that surface are universal. There can be the most wonderful sense of community in this online world, and I have received much satisfaction and benefit from being a part of it for the past several years. I thank all of you for that.

Aristotle wrote that "there is no time without change." It's time for a change, and I know that my closing the door to blogging will be allowing another door to open.

P.S. If you see the February issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, check out my essay "The Valentine Box." (I think that's what they're calling it.) It's based on this blog post that I wrote last February. Hey, there's nothing like going out on a high note, huh?


Monday, December 17, 2007


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I've decided that I need a vacation from blogging so I'm going to take one. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'll be back in 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Santa Mommy reporting

[Updated: I don't know what I was thinking but it's actually only 8 days until Christmas. Oh my! Maybe I should be panicked after all.]

T minus 11 days! I'm feeling good about this Christmas season. I'm done shopping for the kids and for Mike, and the remaining items on my to-do list aren't keeping me up at night -- always a good sign.

Out of town family members -- Most things got in the mail last week; a couple more packages will hit the counter at the post office tomorrow morning.

Kids -- I'm done shopping for them unless I see some must-have item on deep clearance. They're getting some simple toys, doll clothes, and art supplies. Nothing too fancy. I've been tossing things into a closet for months; I still need to go through everything when the kids are both at school to make sure one child doesn't have a disproportionate number of gifts.

Mike -- I got him a gadget for the geek who has everything. I think he'll get a kick out of it. I'll reveal more after Christmas! I also got him some items of a more practical nature.

Teachers -- I got a small something for each of the head teachers. At Emily's school, a bunch of parents are going in on a present. Thomas is giving each of his teachers a Starbuck's gift certificate.

Holiday baking -- I'm reducing the number and kind of cookies this year. Honestly, it's too much work, plus most people face a plate of cookies with a groan and a frown. This year I'm baking mini loaves of banana bread for the neighbors on either side of us and chocolate chip cookies for the kids's classmates.

We're off to a holiday party, followed by a birthday party at a jump house party place. I have a feeling I'm going to be overdressed at the second party, but that can't be helped.

Friday, December 14, 2007


'Tis the season to be teary

I don't know what's wrong with me. The other day I was taking the kids to art class when the holiday classic Little Drummer Boy came on the radio. Before I could sing, "pa rum pum pum pum," I was crying so hard I could barely see to drive.

Have you ever listened to the words of that song? It's so sad!

Then Mike sent me a link to this video. In his email he described it as "almost funny." Funny?! Is funny supposed to make you cry? Maybe tears are the new laughter.

Gee, and I haven't even watched It's a Wonderful Life yet. I'm not sure my holiday-stressed hormones can handle it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Close encounters of the caller ID kind

"This bottle of champagne is for my hairdresser."

"Is it customary to give your hairdresser a Christmas present?"

"Well, I really like her and I think we have a friendship. Like today when I called to make an appointment, she knew it was me on the phone."

"Oh, you mean she has caller ID?"


"Well, maybe you do have a psychic connection. Otherwise, welcome to the nineties."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


A perfectly pleasant place

I was out to dinner with some friends recently and we started talking about the suburban paradise in which we live. Our city, San Mateo, is a suburban town located 20 miles south of San Francisco. It boasts a population of about 92,000 people. It's nice here, certainly a nice place to raise a family. But sometimes it can seem lacking in something that might make it interesting or exciting or anything other than a nice place.

That night we brainstormed some taglines for our pleasant little suburb. I remembered a couple and came up with some more this morning while I was walking around our local indoor mall. Feel free to use these if they also apply to your town!

San Mateo -- A perfectly pleasant place.

San Mateo -- You won't get shot here.

San Mateo -- A nice place to die of old age.

San Mateo -- We're dull on purpose.

San Mateo -- Smile!

San Mateo -- Where people sleep.

San Mateo -- We've had an indoor mall since the 50s.

San Mateo -- A place where grandparents come to visit their grandchildren.

San Mateo -- A perfectly acceptable place to call home.

San Mateo -- A ghost town after 10:00 PM.

San Mateo -- It's nice if you are.

[P.S. Yes, I like living here.]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Hair of the Ruffles

MOM is just WOW upside down
Originally uploaded by marytsao
Is it possible to get a hangover from too many chips smothered with French onion soup mix dip? If so, I had one this morning after pigging out last night while watching Tivo'd episodes of What Not To Wear. I was tired, my head was throbbing, and my mouth was dry from complete and total salt-based dehydration. Yuck. Not a pleasant way to wake up.

Maybe that's why I was crabby all day, yelling at the kids for being... well, kids. I just wanted to be alone in my chip and dip-induced misery, but today was not a school day. Therefore the kids were at home, and I spent most of the day alternating between picking up toys and screaming at them to help me pick up toys. Finally, around 4:00, when their high-pitched screams of joy woke me up again from the nap I was trying to take on the couch, I made them put on their pajamas with the idea that I was going to send them to bed without their supper. Good riddance!

By 4:30 I realized the error of my ways. Mike had a welding class tonight and wouldn't be home for dinner. I could make something at home out of a frozen chicken breast and half a can of corn (what was in the refrigerator since I didn't make it to the grocery store today). Or I could go out to eat, thereby not having to cook or clean up afterward. But going out to eat meant that I would have to retract my "to bed without supper!" declaration. Decisions, decisions.

Of course, it wasn't like the kids were in bed. Ya, they had their pajamas on but they were doing a whole lot of bouncing off the walls and not a whole lot of sitting quietly while contemplating their sins. Deciding they were too young for that particular punishment--and that I was too lazy to try and drum up dinner at home--I asked them to put their clothes back on; we were going out to dinner.

Not surprisingly, the kids started behaving a lot less like animals and a lot more like well-behaved little people once we were out in public. I felt better, too. Even though in theory I like spending some days at home, the reality is that being inside with the kids for hours on end drives all of us crazy.

After dinner we even went on a Target run. The kids were a little freaked out to be in Target at night, but they quickly got used to the idea and sat nicely in the two-kid train cart while I got the cookie sheets, laundry detergent, and personal hygiene items that I so desperately needed.

The day was saved, but the next time you see me with a bowl of chips cradled in my lap, can you please remind me that eating crap makes me feel like crap? Thanks.