Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pacman Power Pellets, a First Communion Mass, and a Dream in the Petrol Station


Thanks for hosting, guys!

Bring back memories?

image from pendriveapps.com

This Sunday was the First Communion Mass for the 2nd graders. There was no parking at the Church, and overflow parking was at the shopping center. It was drizzling. I half drove home. But at the last minute, I drove back towards the Church. It’s the second time I’ve done this in the last few days, where I’m deliberating not going to Mass, and then change my mind at the last minute. On Friday, I was not planning to go to Mass after dropping Olive at playgroup as I usually did. I intended to go straight home and go for a run instead. In my mind, this justified going to playgroup looking like a dog’s dinner. I had washed my face, brushed my teeth, and pulled some random bits of clothes on. Hadn’t bothered combing my hair. Just pulled it into a quick ponytail. After dropping Olive off, suddenly, I decided I’d go to Mass. I was so happy that I did. Afterwards, I dropped by the Parish Office to pick up some envelopes for sending invitations to the children in my catechism class for our year-end Mass. Rolf, our catechism coordinator, was unusually jolly as he helped me stamp the envelopes. I felt so good about having gone to Mass. Sometimes, I feel that God’s graces are like the pellets in Pacman. They’re all around us, ripe for the picking. And going to Mass was like eating a Power Pellet. Power Pellets gave Pacman super powers and gave him immunity from Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde. I floated on my Power Pellet high from having gone to Mass until I caught a glimpse of myself in the elevator mirror when I got home. I looked absolutely frightful. Straggly bits of hair all over the place, shapeless rain jacket thrown over a wrinkled cardigan and a faded pair of jeans. Perhaps that’s why Rolf was chuckling. I was mortified and vowed never to go out so carelessly again.

I dressed more carefully this Sunday. I was still wearing a faded pair of jeans. (I hate shopping for jeans, so all of them are faded.) But my hair was combed and I had some lipstick on. The rose-shaped coral earrings Ross brought me from Erice matched the floral motif of my scarf. I had my favorite red suede ballerina flats on. I didn’t want to get my shoes wet and I didn’t have an umbrella. When I got turned away from the Church parking lot, I thought it would be most practical to simply go home. After all, the overflow parking was a ten-minute walk away, and I would arrive late anyway. And it looked like rain.

But then, like last Friday, I changed my mind at the last minute. I was well on my way home when I did a U turn and headed back for Church. Perhaps it is Fear of the Lord kicking in. I had finished a 9-day Novena to the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. It is my favorite Novena. “Please send me some of those Gifts, Holy Spirit,” I had prayed. In particular, I prayed for more of my particular favorites: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, and Knowledge. To me, these represented qualities of strength. Oh, I could certainly use some of those. I wanted to be strong and fierce, like I imagined St Paul was. I hadn’t been particularly praying for either Piety or Fear of the Lord. They struck me as weaker qualities, and I was weak enough already. In particular, I was not too keen on Fear of the Lord. I don’t like the word “fear”. I had already confronted and struggled with so many different flavors of fear in the last two years and did not feel like asking for any more, even if it was a good kind of fear.

However, if I gave some thought to why I made those U turns to go to Church, I realized that it was indeed Fear of the Lord. I felt that the Holy Trinity would be disappointed in me if I had a chance to go to Mass and chose not to. I didn’t want to disappoint them. My first reaction, on the realization that perhaps I was had been granted an extra dose of Fear of the Lord was, “Aww, come on Holy Spirit. Why that one?” But then, one should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Later, I came across Psalm 111:10. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” So perhaps I just have to be patient. Perhaps Fear of the Lord is a necessary foundation and prerequisite for the good stuff. I trust that God heard my prayer, and that if it is for the good of my soul, He will grant it, and that He knows what He is doing. In the meantime, my heart sings songs of praise and thanksgiving to Him.

After finding a parking spot some blocks away, I was 15 minutes late for Mass. It was packed. On a normal Sunday at our parish, there are about 5o-70 people at Mass. Today, for the First Communion of the 2nd graders, there were about 500 people. I tried several entrances, and I could not make it through the doors. It was standing room only, with people packed shoulder to shoulder. Again, I thought about going home. I thought, perhaps it is the more generous thing to do, to go home and leave the families of the celebrants to their occasion. I thought I’d just drop by the little chapel on the side where the weekday Masses were held. Perhaps I could spend some time in prayer there before going home. When I got there, I found that they had removed the partition such that the little chapel opened into the main hall. It was also full, but there was just enough room for me to squeeze in. By chance, in a tiny random pocket of space framed by heads and shoulders of the people in front of me, I had a perfect view of the altar. I loved how Don Piero, our parish priest, told the children that when Jesus prayed the Our Father, he addressed God as Abba. Or Papi. And that we should think of God not as a distant father, but as a loving and affectionate Papi.  I could not make it through the crowd to get to the line for Communion. But I was thankful for the spot I was standing on and prayed for the First Communion celebrants. I think God must have been pleased to see His house so fully packed.

On the way home, I stopped by the petrol station to pick up our normal Sunday treats. Plain croissants for Ross, chocolate croissants for the kids, and a loaf of bread for lunch. I was under strict instructions to buy one chocolate croissant for each of the kids this week. (Last week, I had bought two to share among three kids, and it caused a lot of tears.) As I pulled out of the parking lot, I had a strange dream. (What do you call a dream when you are wide awake when it happens?) This is my body, which I give unto you. I had the impression of a man robed in brilliant white offering me a Host from a golden bowl. (I didn’t “see” it with my physical eyes. My eyes were looking at a normal scene of a petrol station on a Sunday morning.) It was the sound of my own voice saying “Amen”, as I received the Host and reflexively made the sign of the Cross that jolted me out of the dream and made me think that perhaps something out of the ordinary had transpired. Did that just happen? Where did it happen? In my car? In my head? I looked around me. I was driving my car out of a parking lot. How strange, I thought. I remembered that I hadn’t received Communion at Mass. I couldn’t make it through the crowds. But now it somehow came to me in a dream.

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1)
                                                                        *
I contemplated whether to post this on my blog, or to keep this experience to myself. In the end, I feel that I am meant to share such experiences with others, for the greater honor and glory of God.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Reminiscing About a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela


Thanks again for hosting, RAnn and Chris!

My favorite photo from Santiago, taken on my iPhone.
Our Lady of Fatima with St James
(Do you see St James with his pilgrim's hat?)

I woke to the sound of old ladies singing. It was a familiar sound, like my grandmother and her lady friends from her Block Rosary Crusade were on procession outside. But I wasn’t at Mama’s house in the suburbs of Metro Manila. It was the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, and I was in a hotel room, on my last morning in Santiago de Compostela. After spending the last week with a group walking the last hundred kilometers of the French Way of the Camino, I was flying home to Zürich in a few hours. A glance at my phone told me it was 5:06. Too early to be awake. I rolled over to go back to sleep. Perhaps I was dreaming. I saw a pure, bright, dazzling light, in the shape of a woman with a veil with her palms outstretched. I could not make out any features, just her silhouette. I jumped awake. 5:13 am. I could still hear the singing. Brushed teeth, showered, dressed, out the door and on cobblestones of the Fuente de San Antonio by 5:20. I was going to catch up with that procession of grannies. Old ladies tend to walk slowly. They couldn’t be that far ahead of me.

Following the singing, I ran through the cold streets of Santiago  -  up Rua Das Orfas, past the Igrexia de Sta Maria Salome, up Rua Nova – towards the cathedral. I would have put money on the procession ending at the cathedral. Two days ago, I had knelt in front of the cathedral and placed my hand on the scallop shell in the middle of the Plaza del Obraidoro. We had arrived. The square was full of people, university students, mothers and sometimes fathers with babies in their carriages, nuns, school children, monks, souvenir hawkers, police, musicians, and pilgrims at various stages of acquaintance with the town. The newest arrivals would still have their backpacks and walking sticks. Their heads swiveled to and fro, wanting to take in everything about this moment of arriving, and having a hard time deciding what to look at first. They were sweaty, sun-burnt, tired, and very happy. Those who had been there longer – even by just a few hours - looked calmer and lighter. They had shed off their heavy backpacks and hiking boots in their hotel rooms. They smelled of soap and shampoo and wore sandals to air their blisters. They simply sat, some in the middle of the square, others under the arches of the Palacio de Raxoi across the cathedral. They gazed upon the cathedral, the people, the square, but the scenes that played before their inner eyes were of those of the infinitely varied ways in which God’s hand had led them there.  

Running past the walled convents, the monastery gates, the closed cafes, and boarded up souvenir shops, I had imagined that I’d arrive at the square and find the singing grannies wrapped snuggly against the cold. They would be accompanied by their younger folk, perhaps their children, long grown-up with their own children in tow, bearing candles, flowers, and banners. Six monks would be maneuvering the float carrying Our Lady. The padre would open the cathedral doors and they would enter singing. There would be an enterprising soul setting up his stall for selling churros and hot chocolate. People were always hungry after Mass and he would make a tidy profit. Or so I had imagined. I was surprised to arrive at the Plaza del Obradoiro and find it silent and empty. Where did they go?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Thank You God and St Expeditus for a Petition Granted


This post links to RAnn at This That and Other Things' Sunday Snippets and Chris at Campfires and Cleats' Memoir Mondays. Thanks for hosting, RAnn and Chris!

St Expeditus' feast day is celebrated on April 19.
Image from www.molossia.org 

St Expeditius and I first met by the petition table at our parish a few months ago. There he was, with his generous head of tight dark curls, wearing a wide red cloak and Roman soldier uniform, holding high a Crucifix with his right hand, and a palm frond in his left, stepping on a black crow, on pocket-sized prayer cards arranged neatly in a fan. I love freebies. Whether it’s sachets of Nescafe at the train station, or shampoo samples in a magazine, or prayer cards of a new saint I want to recruit into my holy posse. Trying to read the prayer on the back, it took me a second and a half to remember that I don’t any know Portuguese. I slip a card into my purse, where it slowly drifts down the dark, murky depths, promptly forgotten.

On a Friday afternoon several weeks later, I empty my purse on the dining table, determined to figure out, once and for all, why it is so heavy. I find the old batteries meant for the recycling bin, 14 receipts of varying lengths and degrees of crumpledness, 6 rocks and 2 1/2 twigs from Olive, 2 Polly Pocket dolls (one brunette, one redhead), 18.75 Swiss Francs in coins in my wallet, Ross’ missing glove, a shriveled French fry, and St Expeditius.

On the internet that evening, I find out that, like St Judas Thaddeus, St Expeditus is called on for urgent cases, and is the patron saint of students, examinees, and success in lawsuits. I wish that I had known about him earlier. Two weeks earlier, Luke had taken a terribly important, life-or-death exam, the results of which would dictate whether he entered the university- or vocational-track high school. (I still think it’s cruel that the Swiss school system imposes this exam on the kids at 6th grade. They’re only 12 years old!) The results had come in the mail that very morning. Luke was devastated that he hadn’t passed, as were Ross and I, though we made sure not to show it. One of the St Expeditus websites had a petition page. I wrote a petition asking for St Expeditius’ help in making sure that Luke turned out alright, despite not getting into the university-track high school, as well as for help for my mum, who was has been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with a former employee who had robbed her company blind.

The following Monday, we were allowed to view the exam papers. Ross, Olive, and I spent four hours that afternoon at the high school, attempting to make a case for the two additional points that Luke needed to make the cut. (Luke himself was at home, too despondent to come.) We managed to wrangle an additional point in the math exam, conceded very grudgingly by the instructor. There was not much we could do with the German parts, as neither Ross nor I (nor Olive) could claim any degree of proficiency. We queued up three different times to ask for Luke’s German essay to be re-evaluated. Three different instructors said that he received a fair grade, and they could not justify any additional marks. And while she was a good sport at the beginning, around two hours in, Olive is writhing around on the floor, in the death throes of boredom, sobbing, “Why are you doing this to a little child? What kind of parents are you? I’m only 4! This is not a place for little children!” (And indeed, she is right. We are bad parents. There are no other 4-year-olds there.) We went home quite deflated.

Ross and I arranged to meet with the headmistress at Luke’s primary school. She reminded us that Luke would have a second and third chance to test into the university-track school, in two- and three- years. While she reassured us of the quality of the vocational high school, she did recommend that we look into a private Catholic school that had a curriculum tailored to helping students test into the university-track school in 8th and 9th grade. I immediately liked the idea. Ross, who tends to view anything remotely religious with great suspicion, was also surprisingly onboard with it. The “only” question was cost.  The monthly fees for private school in Switzerland are as much as the rent on our apartment. In my mind, I decide that I’d go back to work if that’s what it took.

On Easter Sunday, I receive an email from Uncle V. He’s wishing all of us a Happy Easter. He says he had an inner discernment that we should look into private Catholic school for Luke. It would offer a more structured and controlled environment, which would suit someone of Luke’s temperament. That’s really amazing, I think to myself. Those were the words of the headmistress, verbatim, and Ross and I hadn’t told anyone anything about that. Don’t worry about the cost, Uncle V says. The Lord will sort that out.

I spent most of the following Wednesday morning (Easter Monday was a holiday, preparing for catechism class takes most of Tuesday) painstakingly writing a letter in German to the rector of the private Catholic school, requesting an interview.

Maeve had a play date with a classmate of hers that afternoon. On coming home afterwards, I peered into our mailbox as we went into our apartment building. Strange. I could see there was a letter. I had already picked up the mail in the morning. Did the post come a second time? I could see that it was from the high school. I didn’t have my key, so I rang the bell for Luke to buzz us in. The girls and I went up, I fetched the mail key, and went back downstairs.

We were expecting the school to send us an updated grade for Luke, to reflect the additional point we had wrangled that afternoon at the high school (which we already knew was still not enough to get him in). Just before I turned my key, I prayed, “Lord, I trust in the goodness of Your plan for Luke. Your Will be done.”  Of course, in the natural, prayer at this stage of the game is not going to do anything. The letter sitting in front of me was printed 3 or 4 days ago. My praying at that moment wasn’t going to change what was written in it. But God’s ways are not our ways. As Joel Osteen says, we serve a supernatural God!

Monday, 11 March 2013

A Dilemma Resolved


to Chris at Campfire and Cleats' Memoir Mondays. Thanks again to RAnn and Chris for hosting!

Eastern Orthodox icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
 from http://theologyofandrew.blogspot.ch/2011/11/good-shepherd-iconography.html

For many weeks, I had been pondering a particular question. I have a “difficult” child in my catechism class, who ends up getting most of my time and attention, to what I feel is the detriment of the other children. Our catechism coordinator, Rolf, had offered to allow me to exempt this child from attending further catechism classes. In some way, this was a very welcome development for me. I had been struggling since this particular kid joined us just before Christmas. On the other hand…

Me # 2:  It’s the practical thing to do. Rolf is okay with it. What exactly are you hemming and hawwing about this time?

Me # 1: Well, what about what St. Paul said about all of us being the body of Christ? Am I cutting off part of Christ’s body by taking M out of the class?

Me # 2: When he’s in class, it’s not as if you are really teaching anything. Do you think you’re being an effective teacher for the other children when you spend most of your time chasing him around and disciplining him? Be practical. Letting him go is what’s best for the other children.

Me # 1: What about the good shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep to look for that lost one? That’s not practical. Perhaps the good of the many does not always outweigh the good of the one. I wish I knew what God’s will in this was. God, please tell me what to do.

Me # 2: There you go with your hero complex again, always wanting to be a martyr. You are so selfish and self-centered. It’s not all about you. Perhaps it is God’s will for you to let this boy go. God has better instruments than you for working His deeds.

Me # 1: Jesus was not practical. Perhaps He’s calling us to move beyond practical motivations…

Me # 2: Let me tell you what’s going to happen. It will be the same as before, and will just get worse. You’ll eventually go back to Rolf with your tail between your legs. He’ll just say, I gave you your chance before. You compromised the good of the group for this one kid, to no good end. Ross will tell you that you were being stupid and stubborn as usual. Told you so. Told you so. Also, as for Jesus’ example, remember, Jesus was the Son of God. He was Divinity embodied, worked miracles and all that stuff. You’re just you.

Me # 1: I just don’t feel right …

Me # 2: You are so crap at making decisions. Why do you make every little thing so complicated? This is what happens when you don’t have a real job and don’t have real problems. Get a life! Letting M go makes no difference to anything, it’s not going to save the world.

Me # 1: Dear God, if I knew what Your Will was in this situation, I would do it. But You have to tell me what it is. Please, Lord, tell me.

Me # 2: Are you really going to run to God for every little decision? He gave you a good brain, so use it. You’re an adult capable of making your own decisions.

Me # 1: Aaarrghh…

Voice from Within: Daughter, you know exactly what I am calling you to do. Why do you keep doubting?

Me # 1:  Lord, is that You? I think I know what You’re saying. But I don’t know if You’re really You. What if You’re really just me? What if #2 is right? Please, could you please spell Your Will out loud and clear? I am terrible at interpreting subtle inspirations.

Round and round we went for weeks. Finally, on Saturday, March 2, I skyped in to my Uncle V’s Cenancle Hour. Uncle V is a good, long-lost, recently-refound friend of my mum’s. In our culture, blood relation or not, as a sign of respect, we always address the older person as auntie or uncle (or older brother or sister, depending on the age difference). I still expect to be struck by lightning whenever I call my in-laws by their first names, which is their stated preference. In any case, Uncle V is my teacher and spiritual director. He is based in Los Angeles and leads a congregation called the Spiritual Army of God the Father. Once a month, Uncle V leads a Cenacle Hour as part of their congregation’s First Saturday Devotion. They have a Skype connection set up such that devotees from the Bay Area and Las Vegas (and me in Zürich) can participate. As I listened to Uncle V’s discourse on Skype, I thought, why don’t I send him an email afterwards asking him for his advice. Uncle V has a gift. He is a locutionist. If we make use of a TV reception analogy, my connection to God is like the reception one gets from those old-school rabbit-ear antennas, often garbled and fuzzied up by doubt and worry. In contrast, Uncle V’s connection to God is a ultra high-definition premium cable subscription, with HBO, Cinemax, and all the other fancy movie channels. My faith is a young, timid, fledgling faith. Uncle V is fierce and fearless in his. He is a roaring lion in his love for God. In any case, after I signed off from the Cenancle Hour, I composed and sent off my email to Uncle V, asking him to help me discern God’s Will in this situation. Keep M or let him go. I breathed a sigh of relief. Uncle V would answer in the next day or so, and it would be resolved. I wondered why I had waited so long to ask him. By then, it was quite late on Saturday night for me. Before I went to bed, I thought I would read the Gospel readings for Sunday, in preparation for Mass the next day.

I could not believe my eyes when I read the Commentary of the Day from St. Asterius of Amasea. I had implored God for a less subtle indication, and here it was, written by a 4th Century saint from what is now Turkey, on a website. How amazing is that? All my questions answered. “Will you now believe who I am, Daughter?” asks the Voice from Within. All glory and praise to God, Almighty and Loving Father, who listens to the pleas of his children!

The next day, I receive Uncle V’s reply. “It is hard work working for God’s glory. Fight like an angel for whomever God or the evil one sends into your fold, “ he exhorts. Fight like an angel. I like that.

And so, dilemma resolved. I’m keeping M. I’ll fight like an angel for him until the end (which is actually only 6 more Tuesday afternoons away).

This I share with you, dear readers, as part of my witness, for the greater glory of God.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sportferien! / the obligatory so-you-think-its-a-piece-of-cake-being-a-housewife rant


This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets, hosted by RAnn at This and That and The Other Thing, and to Memoir Mondays, hosted by Chris at Campfires and Cleats. Thanks for hosting, RAnn and Chris!

If we were going for the authentic Swiss experience, this should be what we are doing right now.


It’s the Sportferien! <big sigh of relief> “Sportferien” literally translates to “sport holiday”. All schools in Switzerland have two weeks off in February, when Swiss families traditionally go skiing. Switzerland is very organized. The dates for this holiday are staggered across the cantons, so that the whole country is not heading for the Alps at the same time. It’s mostly the Swiss who go skiing. Most foreigners, especially the ones like us who didn’t have snowy backgrounds, just sit at home and veg. “Why do you care whether it’s Ferien (holiday) or not? Isn’t it all the same to you?” asks Maeve. “Aren’t you on one continuous holiday?” asks Ross. You’d think it would be difficult to laugh (at Maeve) and growl (at Ross) at the same time. I manage, though it’s not pretty. “That sounds like a hippo eating a hyena,” says Olive. “Hippos are vegetarian,” shouts Luke. I can laugh when Maeve says it, but I don’t find it so funny coming from Ross. He really thinks I sit around drinking coffee all day long. I do drink 3 cups of coffee a day, but I drink pretty fast. I have one to wake me up properly at the start of the day, a second to reward myself for getting the kids out the door and off to school in the morning (one must celebrate small victories), and a third to reward myself for getting the kids out the door and off to school in the afternoon (one must celebrate small victories). The kids come home for lunch, and go back for 1.5 hour afternoon sessions 3-4 times a week. Luke and Maeve have different days when they have afternoon school. In August, Olive will be starting kindergarten, adding her own twist to things. Needless to say, it makes for a complicated schedule. I think “they” do this on purpose to try to keep the mums at home. And it works (at keeping mothers at home). After 6-1/2 years of trying to solve the most complex optimization problem I’d ever faced (maximizing work hours while minimizing childcare costs, factoring the kids’ school and after-school schedules), I threw in the towel and quit my job. There is a long story there, the telling of which I’m still trying to figure out. It took a few months to settle into my new role. I was a tad devastated the first time I wrote “housewife” as my occupation on some visa form. I couldn’t look the immigration officer straight in the eye. But I can now honestly say that I have never been happier. (So perhaps “they” had it right after all, though I still resent the System for forcing my hand.) I do miss my reading time on my commute, the nanny who also did most of the housekeeping, and that little bit of extra income (not much, as most of it went to the nanny). Of course I’d read enough mommy-lit and watched enough Mrs Doubtfire-like movies to have known before taking the plunge that staying home full-time with the kids was a full-time job. However, I am the stubborn sort. There are some things in life that one has to see to believe. And for me, this was one of them. In any case, the reality of being a full-time housewife hit me rather quickly. Washing, ironing, mopping, cooking, cleaning, taxi driving, grocery shopping, recycling, bill-paying, bum-wiping, more taxi driving. All in a never-ending cycle. I’ve had to discipline myself to view the ironing pile with equanimity. Allowing myself to be too happy when I reached the bottom would mean that I would be conversely not-happy when it was full, which it is most of the time. So whenever I see the towering ironing pile, I remind myself to slowly breath in and out. An ironing pile a meter high does not make me a bad wife or mother. (Though perhaps my mother-in-law would think it does... ; ) Breathe in, breathe out. No judgments. From Sunday through Tuesday, my mind is always half thinking about the coming Catechism session on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday evening is my most relaxed time. It is then that I am furthest away from the next Catechism class. (No matter how fulfilling it is and how much I get out of it, if I am honest, it does stress me out a bit/a lot.) From Wednesday onwards, my goal is to get the flat sparkly in time for family movie night on Friday evening.  The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that systems spontaneously evolve to states of maximum entropy. One doesn’t need fancy complicated experiments to empirically verify this law. One simply has to observe how our flat goes from “perfect” on Friday evening to “a big fat mess” by Saturday lunch, thanks to our 7- and 4-year old perpetual Barbie/Polly Pocket/PlayMobile/paper-doll/princess-dress-up mess-generating blessings (Maeve and Olive).  To carve out time to blog, I’ve had to switch to a 26-hour day. My husband insists that it is all a piece of cake, and often asks “why are you tired?” at the end of the day. I am very lucky though that he loves cooking and insists on making dinner most nights. Like the children, he is also afraid of my meals.  I want the kids to eat healthy and try to include veg whenever possible, which make my meals quite unpopular. (Yes, I’ve done the Jessica Seinfeld puree thing.) Today, after yet another unsuccessful home-made-with-love lunch, Luke said, “They should make a reality show about your cooking. How you make a big effort and a big mess in the kitchen and then the ones with no taste buds (indicating the girls) don’t want to eat any of it and then you get really mad. It would be so funny.” He might find it funny. I just want to tear my hair out.

What a granddaddy of a tangent that was! Where were we? Oh yes, making like a hippo-eating-hyena at Maeve/Ross’ questions about why I am relieved that we’re on holiday. I’ll let Maeve slide this time, but am going to give it to Ross. I take a deep breath, square my shoulders, draw myself up to my full height of 5 foot 3-1/4 inches, and am just about to launch on the list of all the things I have to do when school is in session, but his eyes have already glazed over. He is already in another world, watching Arsenal lose yet another match, this time to Bayern Münich. I think I’ll just go make myself another cup of coffee.


PS. What do y'all think of Marisa Meyer of Yahoo banning working from home? (I was very lucky that my former job was so flexible about working remotely. It was the norm for most scientists to work 1-2 days every two weeks from home. This was a big help for dual-career families.