The Ultimate Thief (#298)

Both our dogs were rescues. Our second dog, Fey, was rescued from the streets of South Central Los Angeles and never forgot it. She was loyal, well-behaved, and obedient.

And then there was Woofie. Our first dog ran away repeatedly. He went to science class at the local school. He created bizarre insurance claims. He dug up the yard. He snuck up on the furniture, curling up in Andy’s preferred recliner.

But worst of all? He was an unrepentant thief. Woofie stole socks. He gobbled up pot stickers cooling on the counter. Cookies could not be left unsupervised. Guests holding beers had to be warned that Woofie would try and knock over their drinks so he could lap up a cold one.

Woofie’s destruction decreased slightly after we adopted Fey. He stopped stealing socks. Toys lasted longer. Before Fey, he used to eviscerate even “indestructible” dog toys in under two minutes. After Fey, some lasted an hour—partly because Fey was quicker and got the toys first (even though Woofie always stole them in the end). We once gave Fey a special stuffed toy in the shape of a cake with candles that played “Happy Birthday;” she gently tossed it in the air and played with it for days, knocking Woofie down (and NOT gently) every time he tried to steal “her” toy. That cake toy lasted for almost 3 weeks before Woofie got it alone for thirty seconds and tore off the candles.

Woofie’s thievery evolved when our son was born. Baby D acquired stuffed animals by the bucketload. We’d have been grateful if Woofie had destroyed any of them, and so of course he ignored all of them. Instead, he lived to steal and eat Bob the Builder AND Thomas the Tank Engine, which sent Baby D into a towering toddler rages.

Here’s Woofie, visibly distraught that Baby D has stolen both his dog beds.

Baby D retaliated by trying to steal Woofie’s dog beds. Since Woofie outweighed Baby D by 60 pounds and could lower his center of gravity twenty feet below the earth, Baby D was unsuccessful in anything but getting his face licked.

Karma for our canine thief arrived in the shape of a cat. Boss Cat liked dogs; she especially liked smacking them in the face. While Woofie outweighed Boss Cat by even more than he outweighed Baby D, he respected Boss Cat’s formidable right hook.

We thought Woofie was the ultimate counter surfer…until we put Boss Cat on a diet. Nothing was safe. She stole cheese. She ate the yolks out of mooncakes. She ate the middle out of Thanksgiving pies. Cooling cookie carnage was constant during pre-Christmas baking. She stole rice, tofu, and even broccoli.

Screams of, “Ahhhh! CAT!” were common in the kitchen. So were yells such as: “I need to pee! Can someone guard the food?!”

We got a stainless steel breadbox. We had two squirt bottles to repel feline raids. Boss Cat’s onslaughts continued.

If food hit the floor, Boss Cat always got to it before Woofie. (Often she was the one who threw it on the floor.)

Woofie was left with no food to steal. But cat karma wasn’t done with him yet.

Boss Cat took the recliner that Woofie had rightfully stolen from Andy. He whined and poked her with his nose. She whacked his muzzle. Woofie was left to sit and stare at her with big, sad, puppy dog eyes. Unlike soft-hearted humans, Boss Cat was unmoved. She cleaned her butt and went to sleep.

Woofie retreated to his dog bed with a sigh.

Andy, who was firmly Team Dog, reclaimed his recliner from the cat. Boss Cat went to Woofie’s bed and curled up behind the dog.

“Aw, look, they’re buddies,” Andy said.

“Give it a minute,” I replied.

Boss Cat gradually uncurled, extended her claws, and pushed Woofie off of his bed.

Hard as Woofie tried, Boss Cat was the ultimate thief.

Or perhaps she thought everything simply belonged to her.

Boss Cat in mid-shove.

The Reluctant Coach (#292)

I thought that signing up my kid for recreational soccer meant all I’d have to sign up for would be snacks.

That’s how they get you.

AYSO always needed volunteers. They threatened to dissolve multiple teams unless parents agreed to coach. They promised the parents plenty of free training.

I gave Andy a hopeful look.

My husband said, “Hell, no. You’re the one who wanted him to play soccer.”

I caved and agreed to coach Baby D’s U6 team. Continue reading The Reluctant Coach (#292)

Burned (#291)

My Chinese-American husband is a fantastic cook. Andy can make any cuisine, from pulled pork barbecue to agedashi tofu.

Andy’s beef Wellington

His eggs Benedict are sublime. Pretty sure I joined Instagram just to make people envious over of his beef Wellington.

I am content to give Andy the cooking crown in our household. I focus on baking, which is my strength.

I stay in my lane.

Andy is NOT staying in his lane. Continue reading Burned (#291)

When the Days Are Long, Again (#289)

There’s a common phrase about parenting: “The days are long, the years are short.”

The days ARE long when you have a baby. Especially when you have a baby that only takes a half-hour nap. And when you have a non-napping child and no handy relatives to help?

A day feels equal to a year.

When your baby is sick?

A day feels like a century. Continue reading When the Days Are Long, Again (#289)

Outlast the Lockdown: 10 Historical Mystery Series (#288)

Science Fiction and Fantasy books are my first love. They’re also the best escapism around, literally taking you to another world.

But maybe you don’t want to go to a new world with new rules. Concentrating right now is difficult (unless you’re fellow blogger Ms. Bean’s husband). Let me offer up my favorite historical mystery series, guaranteed to take you to a different time, multiple times.

As usual, I’m listing them by the first book in the series because starting in the middle is just wrong and the name of the series isn’t always helpful.

10. The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey. Continue reading Outlast the Lockdown: 10 Historical Mystery Series (#288)

The Mask Avenger (#284)

Like a lot of Chinese-Americans, my husband isn’t into fanfare. He doesn’t make a big deal out of the delicious meals he cooks. He presents me with seedlings for my garden that I had no idea were germinating in his greenhouse.

I only found out about a huge bonus he got from work when I found it on our checking account.

Compared to all the mediocre white males who constantly tout their non-accomplishments (see the Trump Administration for hundreds of examples), Andy’s reticence seems like an excellent characteristic.

Alas. Information hoarding has a dark side. Continue reading The Mask Avenger (#284)

Easter Won’t Be Easter Without Any See’s Candies (#283)

See’s Candies at Christmas time.

When I moved to California, I discovered See’s Candies. I got really pissed that I’d been stuck with Whitman’s Samplers all my life. I also gained about ten pounds (they give out free samples).

It’s probably not a coincidence that we bought a house a few miles from their outlet shop. Our son also grew to love See’s Candies, and the sales people there grew to love him. Every holiday had some See’s, whether it was a chocolate Santa in his stocking or green shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Due to COVID-19, See’s closed for the first time since World War II in March. Continue reading Easter Won’t Be Easter Without Any See’s Candies (#283)

Breadaggedon(#279)

Thanks to the inept Trump Administration, COVID-19 is popping up all over America. It’s going to get worse, too. SO MUCH WORSE.

America is sliding into full-on, toilet-paper-hoarding pandemic mode. Yay.

Andy texted me from Costco this weekend: “They’re rationing bottled water.”

Me: “Who cares? Be sure and get all the flour, sugar, and butter you can.”

After following Marta and Jocelyn through quarantines in China, I’ve figured out what quarantined folks really need:

Baking supplies and recipes. I’ve got both! Continue reading Breadaggedon(#279)

Fun Dad (#264)

I was primary caregiver to our son. This meant that I was also primary disciplinarian, Sayer of “No,” Destroyer of Fun.

It’s no picnic parenting a headstrong, contrary child. Ideally a parent can redirect a toddler to a non-destructive activity. But sometimes, you just gotta say no. Then you have to back it up with consequences. Otherwise, you’re raising a privileged monster who flouts the rule of law and does whatever the hell he wants. (You know, your basic born affluent white man.) Continue reading Fun Dad (#264)

Autumn on the Edge (#262)

Nursing moms never sleep in. Not on holidays, and not on weekends. Even if you could sleep through a crying baby, you probably can’t sleep through aching, leaking boobs. So up you get at 4:30 AM, changing the baby, feeding the baby, and then maybe entertaining the baby if baby is suddenly wide awake.

After all, your poor partner works hard all week, providing for you and the child. There’s probably a stressful project at work, or maybe he had to travel. And since you’re already up, you take a last, wistful look at your comfy bed before closing the door and letting your husband sleep in.

You don’t know it, but you’ve taken the first step to divorce.

Or murder. Continue reading Autumn on the Edge (#262)