A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays … Continue reading A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

On Patriotic Parfaits and Competing Loyalties

The picture shows a perfect patriotic parfait: blue jello, white whipped cream, red strawberries. Above the perfect parfait was a sign that read "Patriotic Parfait. These Colors Don't Run!" Click the mouse and there's another version - blueberries, whipped cream, strawberries, more whipped cream. Red.White.Blue.Red.White.Blue - the colors echo through the dessert. And indeed, it is gorgeous.  … Continue reading On Patriotic Parfaits and Competing Loyalties

#OnlytheGood – Christmas 2017

It's Friday and I'm sitting by our Christmas tree. I could sit here all day, just writing, thinking, dreaming, and reading. I know that December 25th is a constructed holiday, that most probably the birth of Christ did not happen in winter, yet I am so grateful that we have this joy to brighten days … Continue reading #OnlytheGood – Christmas 2017

Christmas on Beacon Hill

Just a short walk from my workplace is Beacon Hill, a historic Boston neighborhood with narrow brick streets, antique gas-lit lamps, and row houses. Beacon Hill is beautiful and quintessentially Boston. Visitors from around the world walk through the streets, finally making their way back to the red-bricked Freedom Trail that winds through the city … Continue reading Christmas on Beacon Hill

The Season for Candle Time

This is the time of year where morning comes slowly and evening quickly. I feel melancholy as I wake up far before the sun rises over the Atlantic ocean, just a few miles to the east of us. As much as I want to embrace these days and all they hold, I am a woman who … Continue reading The Season for Candle Time

”I’m not from here…wherever ‘here’ is.”

I’m from the edges of the map the edges of the Pacific I’m from the edges of the room the outside looking in I’m from Southeast Asia unless you mean my nationality I’m from the U.S. unless you mean where my heart is I’m not from here wherever “here” is by Cindy Montgomery Wyneken A … Continue reading ”I’m not from here…wherever ‘here’ is.”

Thanksgiving for the Broken-hearted

Robynn and I were recently texting about Thanksgiving. This year both of us will fill our houses and hearts with people who are hurting. These will be the tables of the broken-hearted, chairs of the grieving, glasses of the bewildered, and dessert plates of the deserted. What do we do when our tables are filled … Continue reading Thanksgiving for the Broken-hearted

The Eclectic Nativity Set

I’ve been a little lazy about Christmas this year. I did most of my shopping on the Internet (something I’ve sworn off of in the past). I delegated all the wrapping to our oldest daughter who seemed to actually enjoy it. I let the girls do most of the decorating this year too. We’re leaving … Continue reading The Eclectic Nativity Set

When the Elephant in the Room is Bigger than the Turkey on the Table!

We here at Communicating Across Boundaries know that this might very well be an awkward holiday season for all of us. Families divided must now come back together around the Thanksgiving table. What on earth are we going to talk about? Here are a few suggestions to promote pre-Christmas “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill toward … Continue reading When the Elephant in the Room is Bigger than the Turkey on the Table!

Summer Fun Ideas that Promote Sanity and Potentially a Wider View of the World

These are ideas for (mostly) free stuff that can happen anywhere in the world. Teenage daughters should take note. Go for a walk. Create a scavenger hunt in your house, backyard or courtyard. Make playdoh. Play with playdoh. Brainstorm strange flavours of pancakes…make the top three strangest even if it means making up the recipes! Make window … Continue reading Summer Fun Ideas that Promote Sanity and Potentially a Wider View of the World

About Mother’s Day – aka Holidays Out of Control

Of all the negative traits of capitalism, the co-opting of holidays is one of the most insidious and destructive to our bank accounts and our relationships.  It's almost mother's day - and what was started in the United States during Civil War days to bring honor to a mother deeply loved by her daughter has become … Continue reading About Mother’s Day – aka Holidays Out of Control

On #GivingTuesday – Will I Follow a Star or a Mannequin?

I belong to the early morning crowd. The group that gets up at 5 and is fully functioning by 6:45. The group that is still mostly groggy while on public transit. I used to hate the silence of this group, feel alienated that everyone was in their own world in these early mornings. Now I … Continue reading On #GivingTuesday – Will I Follow a Star or a Mannequin?

Take Off Your Heels and Stay Awhile!

"Mom, you have your heels off!" this from my daughter. She turned to her friend "That means my mom is really relaxed. She usually has her shoes on." It's true. Practically the minute I get out of bed I put my shoes on. It's a thing I do. I have to be ready for what … Continue reading Take Off Your Heels and Stay Awhile!

Who Do You Want to Like You When You’re Eighty?

With fireworks and champagne or sparkling grape juice (depending on your preference) my guess is you ushered in 2013 with a celebration. The obligatory kiss caught on camera  in New York City, the ball dropping, the "Happy New Year'" heard around the world - they all come in with pops and bangs, with excited anticipation. … Continue reading Who Do You Want to Like You When You’re Eighty?

The Third Friday of Advent: What if I’m the Grinch who stole Christmas?

Ok… I’m sort of sick of it all! I’m weary of the pressure and the competition. Who’s house has the prettiest outside decorations…who’s tree is the most elaborate and glamorous…. Who has the most gorgeous holiday ensemble…. I’m worn out by the mass frenzy to track down stuff! I’m tired of the ridiculous notion that … Continue reading The Third Friday of Advent: What if I’m the Grinch who stole Christmas?

No one Wants to Eat Baby Jesus!

We make sugar cookies every year. It's a sweet, messy, sticky, yummy tradition. The after effects are sugar highs, gritty floors, and creativity to make your eyes pop. Sugar cookies are our favorite. One year we decided to make the Nativity Scene. So proud were we as we painstakingly cut out Blessed Mary, Joseph, angels, … Continue reading No one Wants to Eat Baby Jesus!

The Magic of Sinterklaas

Earlier in the fall I asked readers for submissions on Christmas traditions around the world. I am delighted to offer you this post on Sinterklaas by Annelies Kanis who wrote the popular post The Trunk That Traveled the World. Bright December moon is beaming boys and girls now stop your play for tonight's the wondrous … Continue reading The Magic of Sinterklaas

Live from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade I Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving!

We're here where it all happens! The heart of Manhattan and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is a bucket list idea come true as we squeeze in tight with people we don't know and strain our heads to see the parade. It is so fun ... We're talking to total strangers, screaming at celebrities, and … Continue reading Live from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade I Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving!