Even part of a day away from the work grind makes an enormous difference.

It helped to invest part of that day in an evening of recollection where I met someone who happens to be from my parish; that helped lift me out of the spiritual funk I’ve been in since COVID happened, and I’m deeply grateful for that.

Nunc coepi – I begin again. Always, I begin again.

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After a minor vent session this week with a manager at work, I took her up on her offer to cover for me today. I put in an hour this morning and called it a day.

As challenging as things have been lately, I’m grateful for the generosity of colleagues when things get tough.

I’ve always had a lot of issues with the nation of my parents' origin. But I’ve never been so embarrassed about the place as I am now. And after the past six or more years, that’s saying something.

And thank you, John Oliver, for your praise of adobo (at 7:40 in this video) AND the wonderfully ridiculous Jollibee mascot.

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Needed this. And I need more video for when I am feeling “Quiet and Numb.”

It’s a depressed Wilco kind of day.

I crave
Crazy times again
Our nights, our nights
Would never end
I’m ashamed
Of who I am
When I’m in pain

So I strive
To the nearest star
Street light
Over an idling car
Move across the seat
I’m going to need
You to drive these last few miles
‘Cause I’m tired of taking it out on you

The use of “family” as a metaphor for one’s workplace increasingly annoys me. Joe Pinsker addresses the “dark side” of all this in The Atlantic ($); emphasis mine:

But as a journalist covering work and families, I can’t help but notice another, entirely unintended meaning in this common corporate metaphor: Work is like family—in many unhealthy, manipulative, and toxic ways. When I hear something like We’re like family here, I silently complete the analogy: We’ll foist obligations upon you, expect your unconditional devotion, disrespect your boundaries, and be bitter if you prioritize something above us. Many families are dysfunctional. Likening them to on-the-job relationships inadvertently reveals the ways in which work can be too.

(I’m also impressed by how well he captures the nature of actual [dysfunctional] families.)

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic ($) rounds up a wide variety of views on abortion (and is of course rather top-heavy with pro-choice views). But this statement from an abortion opponent states far better than I could my view of faith’s role in the public life of the individual (emphasis mine):

I am a devout Christian in a culture where it seems everything except my faith is considered a part of the public domain. My sexuality, I am told, is public but my faith is to be private. This constitutes a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. My faith is not a weekend hobby that I indulge within the confines of my private life for the purpose of emotional comfort. It could be argued that my sexuality is exactly that. Rather my faith is a way of ordering the whole of both my private and public selves. To exclude my faith from the public debate is to exclude me from the public debate.

Nuance, people. Why can’t people grasp this? From a Pew Research survey published this month:

There is evidence that many people are cross-pressured on this issue. For example, more than half of Americans who generally support abortion rights – by saying it should be legal in “most” or “all” cases – also say the timing of an abortion (i.e., how far along the pregnancy is) should be a factor in determining its legality (56%).

The same share of people who generally support legal abortion say abortion providers should be required to get the consent of a parent or guardian before performing an abortion on a minor (56%).

And about a third of Americans who generally support legal abortion (33%) say the statement “human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person with rights” describes their own view at least “somewhat” well.

As for those on the “other side” …

At the same time, large shares of those who generally oppose abortion say it should be legal in certain situations or say their position depends on the circumstances. For example, among those who say abortion should be against the law in most or all cases, nearly half (46%) say it should be legal if the pregnancy threatens the health or life of the woman. An additional 27% say “it depends” in this situation, while 27% say abortion should be illegal even in circumstances that threaten the health or life of the pregnant woman.

More than a third of abortion opponents (36%) say it should be legal if the pregnancy results from rape, with 27% saying “it depends” and 37% expressing opposition to legal abortion even in this situation. And four-in-ten abortion opponents (41%) say the statement “the decision about whether to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant woman” describes their own view at least “somewhat” well.

Sadly, algorithms don’t capture nuance very well.

What is right is very rarely what is convenient.

Matthew Walther, “Overturning Roe Will Disrupt a Lot More Than Abortion. I Can Live With That.,” The New York Times ($)

I’m honestly not a big fan of this pro-life piece. (If you want a far more thoughtful pro-life essay in The Times, Tish Harrison Warren came through with one on Sunday.) But Walther’s kicker may be my quote of the day.

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There is dignity in Dementia if we say there is. There is wisdom and humor and radiance if only we can see it. I make the effort because my mother does and because it is what she deserves after a long life well lived, harming no one.”

First Mother’s Day since Mom died almost a year ago. To be honest, it was hard to really celebrate the past several years, when she was at the group home and deep in the fog of dementia, so in a way, this doesn’t feel that different.

That doesn’t make today any less sad, though.

Excited to see Jason Benetti anchor MLB on Peacock for a half-hour before we go to 11:30 Mass. Was thinking of taking F to an earlier service next week so I can watch Padres-Braves live then, but she didn’t think that was a good enough reason to change our routine.

Frannie’s only been official for a couple of weeks, and she’s already a better Roman Catholic than I am.

(Postscript: Just learned that my favorite Padres color guy, Mark “Mudcat” Grant, won’t be on the Peacock game next week with Benetti. Instead, the game will have alternate Padres color guy Mark “Human Wallpaper” Sweeney. It’s just as well, I guess, that I won’t be seeing the game live after all.)

Taking cues from my husband the former COVID screener, who says that I should actually be okay to go to Mass tomorrow.

I’m generally feeling better — well enough to go out masked if I need to be out. I get a little fatigued here and there, but I’ve largely been fine.

Honestly, I’m more worried about pro-abortion crackpots who are making noise about protesting at Sunday Masses.

My husband the self-declared atheist just told me that God will prevail. Annoyance aside with the horrific Twitter yammering, I’m inclined to believe him.

Found on our front yard this morning.

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Can’t decide whether my sense of taste is off because of COVID or because of plain old sinus congestion. Either way, I’m not used to nacho cheese Doritos tasting like corn flakes.

What a great piece Justin Chang has written in the L.A. Times ($): “From ‘Turning Red’ to ‘Everything Everywhere,’ the Asian (North) American mom goes mainstream.”

As Mother’s Day nears – my first since my mom’s passing – it kind of hits me in the gut in a sad and complicated way. These paragraphs (with my own emphasis added) especially linger for me right now.

Maybe you too were raised by an Asian American (or Asian Canadian) mom with some resemblance to Ming, a mom who only ever wanted the best for you and never let you forget it. And if you will allow me to generalize further, in hopes of getting more specific: Maybe she wanted you to enjoy the material benefits of a Western upbringing while still upholding the strict cultural traditions of an Eastern one — and to that end, she rigorously policed your academics, your extracurricular activities and your sorry excuse for a social life. Maybe she skimped on verbal and physical affection, favoring a love language that expressed itself in steamers full of dumplings or plates of sliced fruit.

Maybe she didn’t mind embarrassing you in public since your family, being of Asian descent and therefore of perpetual outsider status, didn’t really belong to that public in any meaningful sense. And maybe she’d blanch if anyone dared call her a “tiger mom,” a term popularized by Amy Chua’s 2011 memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” and disavowed by many as offensive. Then again, if she’s anything like my mom, maybe she embraces the “tiger mother” label and wears it proudly. …

Asian American moms, in other words, are not a mom-olith. And it’s been gratifying to see so many recent mainstream movies arrive at that conclusion, several of them by way of richly imaginative premises that happily dispense with realism in favor of fantasy, science fiction and even horror. And why not? (Whose Asian American childhood wasn’t, at some point, a horror movie?) In “Umma,” Iris K. Shim’s muddled but intriguing ghost story, [Sandra] Oh plays Amanda, a quietly anxious Korean American mother whose lengthy estrangement from her emotionally abusive mother has sinister implications for her relationship with her own teenage daughter. Shim’s attempt to meld parental trauma and boogey-mom shivers isn’t entirely successful, but Oh’s performance sounds a resonant echo of her very different work in “Turning Red”: In both movies, a cycle of generational pain can be broken only when a controlled and controlling mother learns to relinquish her tight hold on her own kid — and, ultimately, herself.

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Whether you like baseball or not, here's the kind of viral stuff we all need

I really needed a good kind of viral moment lately, and two baseball fans in Toronto gave me that.

And it led to this moment earlier today.

The Toronto Star spoke with the guy who caught the ball, who seems to be as cool as you hope he’d be. Also a great back story about the kid, who emigrated to Canada from Venezuela with his family and was named after Derek Jeter.

I just really hate that a Yankee made me cry in a good way.

(Also, the Blue Jays' George Springer gave the ball guy two signed jerseys for his kindness. Lots to love about this whole thing.)