First Night

On the first night of 2019 I went to bed crowing with happiness. I waltzed into the bedroom to find my husband, already recumbent in bed. I found myself crooning an impromptu love song to him…My simple hymn of jubilation had only two phrases, sung over and over again in a sing-song lilt:

“We got our car inspection done! We finished the FAFSA form!”


We gave each other a high five and went to bed…me, still aflutter with the victory of long-dreaded and onerous administrative tasks checked off my list, he, dreaming of the weighted blanket he had just ordered for himself.

Bring on 2019! Bring on the second half century of my life! Clearly, I’m primed and ready to go!


Happy 2018!

Yesterday afternoon, we managed to record a song for our annual holiday video, just before hitting the road to spend New Year’s Eve with my family in Arlington. Like a lot of things my family does, it was thrown together at the last minute, the process was rather stressful, and the product imperfect. Still, we did it together, and despite some grumpy moments, we did it with love. My son contributed one of his compositions to finish out the video.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful, wonderful 2018 full of peace, love, and not too many grumpy moments!


The Other New Year’s Tradition…

We drove up to Arlington on New Year’s Day. Like all good Koreans do, we came to pay our respects to our elders. We came to have New Year’s Soup. We came to start the year off right, by spending the first day of 2015 with the people we love most in the world. Most importantly, we came to play the annual, cut-throat, no-holds-barred, winner-take-all, fight-to-the-death Monopoly tournament.

This year’s winner, and our very first two-time champion, has made a career of shrewdly buying up the slums of Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues and studding them with a lavish and deadly combination of houses and hotels. With this winning strategy, he once again systematically and ruthlessly picked off his sister-in-law, wife, and children one by one to win the highly coveted trophy:

New Years Past and Present

For years we rang in the New Year with friends of ours who have daughters close in age to our boys…Our kids have grown up with each other. Every year we would have a sleepover so that the kids could hang out until their bed time, and the parents could play after the little ones went to sleep…

Although the two-year-old was busy taking important phone calls, we still managed to include her in the annual New Year’s photo.

We were finally able to prise her away from the phone to have some cake…

For one reason or other, this cherished tradition fell by the wayside. We were delighted to be able to have our friends over to celebrate the New Year together again this year.

We prepared with a thorough cleaning – inside and out!

My husband made his famous lasagna…

and we ordered a galette des rois from MarieBette, the new French bakery in Charlottesville. Délicieuse!

Look what I found!

I got to wear the crown!


…and games until it was time for the countdown to 2015!

Get ready, kids, because next time we’re going to recreate the pajama photos!

Holiday Roundup


Today is the birthday of two women I adore. Happy Birthday to Annabelle and Laura, my wonderful, wonderful and out of all whooping sisters!

I’m beginning the year with one last look back at 2013 and photos from the holidays…

We spent Christmas with my family in Princeton. We arrived just in time for the candlelight Christmas Eve service at my sister’s church:

Back at my sister’s house:

Christmas Eve dinner at the kids’ table:

My son gained a few new fans of his music:

Very demonstrative fans:

The next morning the kids opened their gifts:

It wasn’t the same without Auntie Laura, my nephew, and my parents’ 9th (soon-to-be-born) grandchild, who couldn’t join us for Christmas…Hooray for Skype!

My brother recently heard his son counting up to 14.

“Who taught you how to count?” he’d asked him.

“My grandpa.”

“Which grandpa?”

“My grandpa with white hair. Who doesn’t talk,” he replied.

That evening we had our second annual Christmas talent show:

And then an even newer tradition…As a special request from my dad, (the one with white hair, who doesn’t talk), we sang Christmas carols:

It was a Christmas full of music, love, and laughter:

The next morning, this happened:

My daughter landed in the ER with a virus that ripped through my family, taking people down one by one like some Biblical plague. We drove away from Princeton armed with prescription-strength anti-nausea pills and ziploc puke bags for the road. Fortunately, the plague ran its course quickly. I’ve been telling everyone, “The holidays? Well, despite the fact that 10 out of the 15 of us got violently ill, and even though my daughter ended up in the ER, it was thoroughly delightful.” I had convinced myself that this meant that my family was so super special that even the plague couldn’t ruin our holiday, and then I sheepishly realized the blindingly obvious: it’s easy for me to say this, as one of the 5 who didn’t get sick!

We got back home to Charlottesville, and had a visit from my friend Amanda and her kids:

And then it was back up to Arlington to spend a quiet New Year with my parents and sister:

A round of our new favorite game, Telestrations (thanks, Janel & co!):

New Year’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without Dduk Gook:

My parents:

2014. I’m ready!

Happy New Year!

The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

IMG_1103Many say this is a poem about Hardy’s pessimism and turn from faith and it’s easy to see how it could be read this way.  But it’s also possible to see this as a poem of hope. Against a bleak landscape, an “aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,/In blast-beruffled plume,/Had chosen thus to fling his soul/Upon the growing gloom.” Even if there is “little cause for carolings,” the little bird’s “full-hearted evensong of joy illimited” rings out through the night with “Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew/And I was unaware.”

My resolution for this New Year is to be a little more like this “blast-beruffled bird” and to “fling [my] soul upon the growing gloom” with a song of Hope even when it seems like there is little cause.

May each and every one of us experience moments of “joy illimited” this year.

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