All the Emperor’s Men

The other day I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store watching a fish slowly gasp it’s last in a plastic bag as the conveyor belt lurched forward so it’s dead body could be scanned along with the soy sauce and toilet paper. Gingerly I placed my items on the moist rubber, [...]

Cooking School

This morning Seth said, “Chase and Porter, we’re making stew that usually takes all day, but we’re doing it in thirty minutes, come peel this garlic.”  Chase looked up from his jam bread and Porter tore away from his Indian chicken curry over rice, his hair fanned straight up in the back like a peacock’s [...]


Several years ago my stepmother sent me an email from India where she and my dad were serving as missionaries.  On their morning walk they happened across a group of children combing a garbage pile for their breakfast.  The oldest girl carried the baby, and when she found a bit of discarded food, she fed [...]

Spa Day

China is all about manicures, pedicures and massages.  Spas abound, much to the delight of expats who might not have the chance to indulge in such luxury at home.  Although, there ought to be a small skull and crossbones at the entrance of every provider, a subtle warning that a fifty minute massage may include [...]


Two days before Christmas Eve, we flew into Xiamen, a small resortish island of 3.5 million people on the southeast coast of China.  Owing to a stunning bit of bad luck, our driver suffered a bout of Alzheimers just fifty yards outside the airport.  Imagine the odds, inside the airport he was born on the island [...]

Knockoff Christmas

Porter says “Christmas is kind of a knockoff Easter,” and he’s absolutely right.  Christ, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all tumbling together, coated in so much sugar and glitter that it’s hard to tell which foot is sticking out of the meringue; is that a sandal, a boot or just a really long ear?  Who [...]