Changes Are Happening


Well, we’ve had a good run on this little blog, you and I. But greener pastures are beckoning, and the time has come for a big change.

A new website!

If you’d like to continue reading my desultory blatherings, please head over to Striped Pineapple where my new posts will be published. I’m excited to say that Rosie will be guest posting sometimes, and let me tell you, her writing is a treat to read. We are planning to post about books we’re reading, food we’re eating, adventures we’re having, and thoughts we’re thinking. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to read, let me know and it will be taken into consideration. If you’re itching to sponsor an adventure so you can read about it, you can donate at

Thank you guys for reading my posts, and for your comments and feedback. You’re the reason I do this!


Dirge in an Airplane Aisle


Guest post by Philip, written from a tiny airplane seat.


Dirge in an Airplane Aisle

Ladies and gentlemen, we gather here today,

To put this large and awkward duffel bag away,

That young man struggles with vigor and vim.

Note that he is trying, and be patient with him.


The audience grows, the crowds in the aisle,

Behind the dimensionally inept boy begin to pile.

Work harder, young lad, if you push hard enough,

Your duffel bag just may turn into a duff.


A larger space is found by an audience member.

The show’s over now, but this day we’ll remember,

As the time when a boy wouldn’t trust his eyes,

When his bag wouldn’t fit in a space half its size.


Me, From Rosie’s Perspective

Rosie messaged me and asked if she could write a guest post for my blog. I happily agreed, having no clue what it was about. When she sent it to me, I may have blushed a bit before being prevailed upon to post it anyhow. So without further ado, here you go.

To all of Rachel’s faithful readers who slogged through all 23 posts about her family members, wouldn’t you like to hear a little about her, too? Since she’s 25, here are that many things about her.

PC to Gretta

1. Rachel was born sixth in a family whose ages were spread generously out over the years, so she had plenty of older siblings to dote on her. But unlike the proverbial last child (even though her position as the last child was usurped by a surprise baby boy five and a half years into her life, she somehow was still a last kind of child) her cheerful disposition failed to take notice that last children are supposed to be spoiled rotten. Instead she was charmed by life and all the doting did to her was turn her into the biggest, smiliest giver of us all.

2. Somehow she outgrew all of her sisters, and she makes tall look good.

3. No, she doesn’t play basketball. But yes, she can reach that thing on the top shelf for you.

4. She’s proof that being taller than average shouldn’t stop you from wearing heels.

5. In this world of bare, stern, cold minimalism, her apartment is a perfect, cozy retreat. There you can sit surrounded by books overflowing their shelves, and cozy throws and pillows and cheerful striped pineapples on the wall, and COLOR. Her walls and clothes aren’t all hopelessly grey, even though that’s what’s cool now. Her free spirit is her own fashion guide, and she does it well.

6. Despite her maximalism, she’s an organizer to the core. I’ve heard that she’ll come organize your closet for a reasonable fee, and not in the way that involves 1 dumpster full and an empty closet with a sad, lone light bulb shining dismally on the empty hangers. Oh wait, there wouldn’t be hangers, because they’d be in the dumpster, too.

7. She’s known to rearrange the furniture in her room at least once a month. If you plead nicely and maybe promise an affogato, she’ll come to your house and throw things around in a manner that appears haphazard. Somehow, when she’s done, it looks cozy and thoughtful.

8. Rachel is a good friend. Despite being introvert-ish by nature, she’ll gladly give up her evenings to come talk with you over some tea.

9. Have I mentioned that she’s a good friend? She has a way of keeping up with people who cross her path, but not in a demanding way that involves weekly emails to keep the friendship alive.

10. I used to try to be the favorite aunt in the family, but gave up. Rachel always wins.

11. She’s the best at finding small, useful gifts for people and giving them unexpectedly. While the rest of us sit here and wonder what to give a newly five year old boy that has all the Legos he’d want, she pulls out a small headlamp that makes his week. This may have something to do with why she’s always the favorite aunt.

12. She’s determined. Never plan to train for a 5k together unless you want to be thoroughly beat.

13. She has the best closet to borrow from, ever. And she’ll let you freely borrow from it, too.

14. Rachel is not what I’d call a naturally independent, fearless person. Yet she continually does big, scary things, like moving halfway across the country to teach in a community where she knew exactly one person.

15. She’s empathetic, and quick to believe the best about a person, especially those that everybody else wants to look down on. When she was quite little, she had too many dolls to count, but her favorite was her Darling. It was a pathetic little beast with just a flat head and a dress sewn to her neck, but Rachel saw through all it’s ugliness and loved it best of all.

16. While she’s empathetic, if you complain about something that’s in your power to fix, or a boss you don’t like because you’re lazy, or rules you agreed to but still kick at, don’t complain to her. She’ll let you know very kindly to grow up and stop it. Trust me, I know.

17. She’s that friend who will tell you that your deodorant isn’t working and you have poppy seeds in your teeth, rather than letting you suffer unknowingly.

18. She makes a good bridesmaid. She’ll play her part well, and make your whole bridal party look better than average. I know this by experience.

19. If you ask her to help at an event, she’ll do her part, plus stay and clean up once the party is over.

20. She loves books, which in itself is a start to being a good kind of person. If you need a book to read, ask her. She’ll know just what to recommend for every mood.

21. She’s naturally good at music, and uses her talents even though the stage life isn’t her favorite. She’s the person you want on your worship team.

22. She’s a good cook. Ask her to invite you over for butter chicken sometime.

23. Sometimes though, if you’re her sister, she won’t feel obligated to cook for you. Instead she’ll make an amazing meal out of peas and popcorn, and it’ll be just perfect for the occasion.

24. If you want to compliment her, please do, she’s worthy of them all! Just try not to use the words “sweet” or “sunbeam”.

25. But since I’m her sister, I’m allowed to say it. Rachel is a sweet sunbeam.

Lakelyn Danielle

Lakelyn brought the score to an even five nieces/five nephews, and she has been such a fun baby. She is not a year old yet, so there’s still much to learn about her personality, but she already has a great sense of humor, and I look forward to hearing what she has to say when she learns to speak. 

 She grew herself four little bunny teeth, and they make her cheesy grin completely heart-melting. Lake is energetic and bouncy and vivacious, and she’s a dork, in the best way possible. 

PC to Melissa

Alyssa Serene


Alyssa was born in the yard, too anxious to see the world to wait on the ride to the clinic. The winter she was an infant was a crazy one for her family, involving multiple moves, and fights with house mold and pneumonia. But she was the most serene baby you could have wished for through it all.

She is not too quick to make friends, but when she deigns to grace you with a smile, and even better, when she trots across the room to you and wraps her arms around your legs and calls you mama, you’ll be smitten. She’s learning to talk now, along with her cousin triplets, and one of her favorite words is “funny”, usually used after she thinks she’s done something humorous. She’s also a tough kid, and keeps up with her brothers just like her mother did as a child. She is also a sweetheart, and she may have me wrapped around her finger just a teeny little bit. 

Leilani Skye

PC to Merry

When Leilani Skye was born, the second of the cousin triplets, I fell in love with her name before I even met her. Leilani means “Heavenly flower”, and if you’ve met her, I think you’ll agree she is aptly named

Ani is delightfully sweet, and just as adorable as can be (in my completely unbiased opinion, of course). She is also beginning to talk, and is at such a fun stage- repeating words in her tiny little voice, and spouting gibberish which sounds like English, but isn’t. She is a seasoned traveler, and a friendly soul, which is fortunate, given her parents’ love of adventure and people. If a sunbeam ever took human form, it would be Ani.

PC to Merle

Hudson Istenes

Can you believe they’re first cousins?


Before Hudson was born,  I knew Roman and Mimi’s children would be completely darling. I was not mistaken.

Hudson is serene and placid and super laid back, seldom getting his feathers ruffled. He makes friends easily, and if he takes a fancy to you he might come running up with his arms outstretched, as if you’re his best ever friend. He also loves dancing to music or to the sound of the KitchenAid mixer- whichever is available. Basically, he is a mini Roman in personality, only more so (not that I’ve ever caught Roman dancing to the sound of the mixer). He’s just learning to say words in English and Chinese, and he has a wholesome sturdiness you just can’t help squishing. 


Given the way he looks at French pastries, I think it’s safe to say we’re kindred spirits.

Judson Anthony

He was as pleased as punch with his “Birthday Girl” pin

Judson got a rocky start, as a fussy baby, but has made up for it since then with his hilarious personality. He refused to speak for a long time, but made his meaning clear with his personal tonal language. His lack of speaking never deterred him from being a complete dork though, taking after his father. He cracks me up constantly.

He has strong opinions about clothes, which include wearing pants backwards, and mixing prints. He’s adventurous and sweet, rambunctious and cuddly, and I wish I could freeze him at three years old for a long time, because he’s just that much fun. 

PC to Rhoda

Alannah Grace


I think Alannah must have been born into this world for the purpose of spreading beauty into all the corners she can, and I have to say, she’s done a pretty good job of it already. She was a pretty baby from the moment she was born, and she hasn’t ever stopped since.

She is petite and graceful and easygoing, and full of the kind of questions only a three-year-old could dream up. I think Alannah can best be summed up in two words- she sparkles. From her sweet personality to her big eyes and brown curls and charming smile, she’s a delight.

Declan Isaac

PC to Merle

If you ever need entertainment, just listen to Declan “read” the book “Make Way for Ducklings”. Once you’ve heard all the ducks “querwacking with their little querwackers just as loudly as they can querwack” you’ll never read the book quite the same way. His memory is amazing, and he can sing obscure songs and quote whole books just like his Uncle Philip could.

His imagination is lively, his personality is quick to make friends, and his red curls and freckles and elf ears are adorable. He travels like a pro, and has seen more countries than I have! Lately he’s taken to running up to me when he sees me, exclaiming “I haven’t seen you for SO LONG!”, regardless if it was two days or two weeks. Needless to say, I melt.

PC to Merry