Friday, February 28

More tributes to Mr. Rogers.
Oh, the things you'll find whilst surfing the television channels . . .
Do all you New York residents receive the MetroTV channel? If so, then be sure not to miss "To Live and Date in New York" and "Bridezillas."

"To Live and Date in New York": follow young women in their pursuit of love in a city where women outnumber men 3 to 1. It occurs to me that there is a very good reason the women featured have a hard time in this pursuit.

"Bridezillas": follow brides in the last months, weeks and days leading up to their respective dream weddings. Any marriage in which the prospective groom has to wonder to himself (on television!), "Why am I marrying her again?" is not off to a good start, I'd say.

Disclaimer: I watch these shows not for selfish enjoyment, disdainful amusement or a feeling of moral and emotional superiority. I am merely conducting my own private sociological study. Yes, that's it.
Yesterday, I learned that M, a lawyer friend of mine had died.
I am sad, not just because M is gone, but because we had lost touch over the last three years, and all my good intentions of tracking him down again are moot; I wish I had done better. I am also sad because M was young -- probably just about 35 years old -- but had lived a life that was so full and so tragic all at once.

M was born with hemophilia, contracted HIV during a blood transfusion, was handicapped and had to walk with arm braces most of the time, engaged in a years-long class action suit against the blood-processing companies, graduated from a prestigious law school, took loads of pills every day for the hemophilia and the HIV, landed a plum job in New York, and got married. Yet none of his great losses, burdens or successes altered his character -- every day, he was, without fail, kind, witty, clever, smart, helpful, comedic, self-deprecating about his "bum leg," compassionate, tongue-in-cheek, encouraging me always. I was his paralegal, performing daily administrative tasks for him, as well as submitting written work for him to edit, and it was the easiest job I've ever had: he did all his own copying and filing, read through my work the moment I handed it to him, and even walked the edited version back to my little cubicle instead of calling me into his office to go over the corrections. He appreciated the exercise, he said.

I assume M died of complications from AIDS. That makes him the first person I personally know -- knew? -- to die of AIDS. I don't count his death as something for me to chalk up to experience. But I do place M and his life on my list of "Reasons I Am Who I Am Today," and his death on my list of "Inspirations For Trying Harder to Make the World Better."

Thursday, February 27

Mr. Rogers died of stomach cancer early this morning. Some thoughts:

I think he was my first friend.

For the longest time, I didn't know what he was saying, because I couldn't fully understand English until I was about 6 years old, but I liked him because he smiled nicely at me.

My 4-year-old Korean-language-only brain didn't yet grasp the concept of previously-recorded programming, so I thought Mr. Rogers actually DID live in his TV house, DID have a TV camera in his living room recording his every move, and DID have a cool mini-train leading to the puppet wonderland of King Friday (which I thought was a European country).

I wanted one of those trains and one of those wonderlands in my house, but worried that once I was transported to that alternate universe, I wouldn't be able to make it back to my family.

I also felt really bad for Mr. Rogers because he always had only one cardigan hanging in his closet - I thought he was poor and couldn't afford clothing.

I wondered how he always managed to catch the shoes he would toss back and forth between his hands. I figured it would be disastrously embarrassing if he dropped one, and I held my breath each episode until his sneakers were firmly on his feet.

Everything I saw, read and came to know about him indicated that he was a great man on all fronts.
Certainly, he cheered and enlivened my childhood afternoons.

Thank God for re-runs.

Wednesday, February 26

Today is the 10th anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing.
More attention to Toni Smith's silent protest in The New York Times and our local paper, the Journal News...

Also, does this little blurb from the New York Times, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein, freak anyone else out? Law professors hate it when you rely on this argument, but all I can think is SLIPPERY SLOPE:

"Senator Peter G. Fitzgerald, Republican of Illinois, was quoted by The Daily Herald of suburban Chicago as saying that Mr. Bush told him he would revoke the executive order banning the assassination of foreign leaders if the United States had a clear shot at Mr. Hussein."

Monday, February 24

It never fails to amaze me how journalists can report seriously on incidents such as this.
Where did all the warmth go?! I was not prepared for the forceful blast of frigid air that body-slammed me as I walked out of dinner and a movie last night ("Old School" = good old-fashioned low-brow toilet and sex humor, and Vince Vaughn is brilliant, as always).

Nor did anyone warn me about the icy roads . . . my icy driveway, in particular. In essence, I slid down my driveway straight -- and hard -- into a snowbank that had drifted up against the outer wall of my house. Several thoughts then raced through my dizzy head:
1. Did I just ruin my front bumper AGAIN?
2. Am I stuck here?
3. And if so, do I have to sleep out here, because there is NO WAY I am walking out onto that ice.
4. Shouldn't I just stay here, because if I try to reverse and go somewhere else, what else will I hit?
5. I should've worn sturdy boots instead of dressy boots.
6. If I call my dad, will he come out and help me, or will he slip and fall and break his hip?

I tenderly extricated myself from the snowbank, and managed to slide down a different part of the driveway. I decided to reverse back up the way I came, and park at the top, so I wouldn't have to deal with this in the morning. Once again, the ice totally interfered with any well-laid plans of mine, so I had a whole series of other thoughts to contend with:
1. Oh my goodness, I DO have to sleep out here.
2. My poor car! My poor car! The wheels! The wheels!
3. C'mon, GRIP! C'mon, GRIP!
4. Am I waking up the neighbors?
5. Do I smell smoke?
6. I have to go to the bathroom.

Well, my plans all worked out, and I parked at the top of the driveway. One thing I had failed to consider, however, was the fact that I now had to walk ALL THE WAY DOWN the driveway to my front door. Now, I'm no Kristi Yamaguchi, so this did not sound like a rollickin' good time. The big fraidy-cat I am, I clomped across my front LAWN (still covered with safe, non-slippery snow) to get to the door. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House in the Big Woods, knee-deep in snow, anchored by my boots but swung about like a rag doll by the wind, blinded by my hair, scarf covering my whole face but for my dried-out eyeballs.

Sigh. Thank goodness for long underwear and flannel pajamas.

Saturday, February 22

R & R
And I don't mean the legal kind. This morning, some ladies from church and I hit a local spa for some much needed kneading (their pun, not mine). I opted for a Dead Sea salt scrub (essentially sea salt in a tasty-smelling oil vigorously rubbed all over your body) and an hour-long massage. I didn't notice the little sign in the lounge until I was all finished with my morning: "Spa hour = 55 minutes." Oh.

It was still quite lovely. A couple of years ago, I went to Red Mountain after I took the Bar -- my first pampering experience ever, and a perfect one it was! -- and decided that I could use some pampering continuously sprinkled throughout my days. Tranquility Spa is nice because it's local, down-to-earth, and relatively inexpensive. I don't have to tell myself anymore that I should receive massages just because they're good for my health.

But two strange moments from my spa treatments that I experienced whilst peeking out at my scrubber/masseuse from underneath droopy eyelids:
1. My scrubber never looked at my body while scrubbing me. It was like she was in a zone. "OK," I thought, "she's really into her work; that's cool."
2. My masseuse ONLY looked at my body while massaging me. "Huh," I thought, "he's really into my leg; is that cool?" Did I mention that he was old enough to be my father and that fact creeped me out a little bit?

On a downbeat note, Jesica (the heart-lung transplant girl) was taken off life support and died today; and the death toll in Rhode Island is up to 96 - NINETY-SIX - people. I can't - won't - even imagine the agony of not understanding, then understanding, then attempting to breathe clearly or flee, then dying. It's too sad for me to wax inane about. Sigh.

And now - try to keep up with my random Wheel-O-Thoughts - I turn to a movie: "Notorious C.H.O.," starring Margaret Cho. I will watch this recording of one of her stand-up shows tonight, and hopefully enjoy it as much as I enjoyed I'm the One That I Want. Poor Margaret - she's so underrated. I am attempting to spread the word about her to my friends, and I don't think they all believe me yet when I say that Margaret Cho is smart, funny, witty, and worth more than just a look. She's cool.

Friday, February 21

Why my coworker and I were just singing "boom, boom, chaka-laka-laka boom," I will never know. But in case you're curious, revisit the One-Hit-Wonderland of Was (Not Was).
Some of this morning's headlines deserve some added attention, even if it is just my own inane commentary:

MISPLACED ORGANS: the 17-year-old girl who got the wrong blood-typed heart and lungs a few days ago received a new set of organs of the correct blood type. Unfortunately, her brain is swelling and the situation is now "grave." Why this happened in the first place - at DUKE UNIVERSITY - is a mystery to me . . . I don't even know this girl, but I hope she pulls through.

DISASTERS EVERYWHERE: on a shuttle that never landed . . . on an Iranian plane . . . on the subway in Daegu, South Korea . . . in a nightclub in Rhode Island (although I have to say, GREAT WHITE, of "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" fame?!). I can't help thinking that if some nefarious soul wanted to truly terrorize us, what better way than to disturb our everyday lives? There's almost no need to exact such punishing measures upon us like 9/11 (God forbid anything like that ever happens again). Just prevent us from traveling, commuting, hanging out at a bar. Why?

PATRIOTIC ANTI-AMERICANISM: check out this local basketball player. This is her way of protesting not only the impending war, but some of the things that the U.S. seems to stand for (or against) in her eyes. On her online profile, she says, among other things, "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." The article concludes with an excerpt from her recent statement: "Patriotism can be shown in many ways, but those who choose to do so by saluting the flag should recognize that the American flag stands for individuality and freedom. Therefore, any true patriot must acknowledge and respect my right to be different." She sure isn't popular right now, but is what she says absolutely wrong? Hey, don't get me wrong - I love my country. This is the country that gave my parents new life and the ability to successfully raise a family and run a business within the very ideals of prosperity and hope. I work for my country, and gladly! So, what does bashing people like Toni Smith accomplish for anyone?

Thursday, February 20

This is a true news post from today's New York Times on the Web, about the power of genies.

Now, I'm all for exploring different cultures, etc. but this... this made me laugh for a long, long time.

I Am English

No, I'm not, but sometimes I think I should have been. I look good in empire-waist dresses, and I can totally see myself traipsing through fields of English grass, a pert little bonnet covering my perfectly braided hair, as I walk down the lane to see my neighbor, Lady This-n-That, for afternoon tea and gossip about the local handsome gentlemen. That's when I'm in my Jane Austen/Charles Hardy/I am Jennifer Ehle in "Pride and Prejudice" phase.

Lately, I've been immersed in 12th and 13th-century England and Wales. Johns, Henrys, Edwards, Eleanors, Joannas, Llewelyns, Owains, Gruffydds, etc. Eating meals out of stale bread trenchers, spearing meat with huge knives (the idea of forks having yet to be imported from mainland Europe), laying seige to rebel castles, wearing extravagant emerald green velvet wedding dresses and veils, etc. What a world. I'm glad I'm not living it, but I wonder if it was fun for them at the time, even for a moment . . . I'm coming up on my last Sharon Kay Penman book. If she doesn't write another one soon, I don't know what era I'll move on to next . . .

Wednesday, February 19 was down all day, so everything I had planned to work on, all the random thoughts I had had in my head - poof! Gone.
Ah, well.

So, before I leave my super-fast computer for the day, let me leave you with this thought instead: read Sharon Kay Penman's books. They are superb.

Monday, February 17

We are completely snowed in. Completely. We're referring to the snowfall in FEET; inches fell by the wayside hours ago. I thought I was totally sick of snow by now - it has snowed several times this winter, and it got drearier each time. But the novelty of feet and feet of snow hasn't worn off, I guess, and there's something fascinating about the concept of the world - my immediate world, anyway - utterly shutting down. It's comfortably silent outside, the 3-foot drifts of snow muffling any sound that any activity might make. But then again, there is no activity. One can't go anywhere because the roads aren't anywhere close to passable. Even if one could manage to get the car running, there's no place to go. On this shopper's paradise of a sale day, NOTHING is open. Instead, it just keeps . . . snowing. I feel cozy, and not restless - yet.

It helps that CourtTV is running a marathon of old "Profiler" episodes (check out Profiler)...

Sunday, February 16

OK, first of all, some unfinished blogging business: I thought I added the HTML language (or is that redundant?) to include a counter on my page. It's not there. Odd. Frankly, right now, the only person who knows this blog exists is my brother, so the counter would only be counting him. But still. I put it there. Where is it?

Moving on...

Today, at lunch, I heard - for the very first time in my life - a group of young heterosexual men (friends in their late 20s-early 30s) discuss SHOPPING. Not the macho car or electronics shopping. I'm talking "I need to buy shoes - you wanna go to the mall?" shopping. Granted, the conversation neatly segued into sneakers, then Air Nikes and Converse, then Michael Jordan, then basketball, then baseball . . . but I promise you, there were about 7 VERY INTERESTING minutes of pure retail talk. It was such a stunning moment that myself and the three other women who were sitting interspersed among these men stopped eating, stopped talking, and just LISTENED. (We didn't want to interrupt and have them realize what they were talking about.) It will never happen again, I'm sure, and who knows if our friends even went to buy the shoes, but it was a worthy spectacle.

This evening, my parents had just left to go to a friend's house, when my mom called back on her cell phone. They had just gotten onto our local highway when they noticed humongous plumes of black smoke drifting over the area of our neighborhood - she wanted to know if our house had exploded. Uh, no. But of course, the first thought is: IT'S BEGUN. The war has started and they - whoever "they" are - are attacking us, in the SUBURBS, of all places. "Strange," I thought to myself in the moment before rationality set in, "I always thought they'd go for a major city first, before they hit my poor little sleepy town in the hills." I hate being scared like this: the kind of scared that you can't cry or scream about, or work off running on the treadmill, or take proactive measures to circumvent (uh, duct tape isn't gonna cut it); the kind of scared that makes you grind your teeth in your sleep and have nebulously terrifying dreams; the kind of scared that makes you worry around the clock about your little brother, living in the city, taking the dreaded subway everywhere; the kind of scared that makes you look up in apprehension every time a plane flies too low; the kind of scared that leaves a permanent crick in your neck and an uneasy wariness in your eye. It's not nice. But sadly, I can't remember a time when I didn't feel this way. The only thing I can do is fall back on these words:
Be strong and take heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

Friday, February 14

Well, I'm pooped.
This whole HTML thing is way above my head.
I think my fonts are too small - large print makes me feel . . . goofy?
(Think ARIAL, Hooch!)

Oh, God, I just Blue-Booked the ellipses two sentences ago . . ..
Hmmm... Now that I've begun, I hardly know what to say, and I'm not normally one who is at a loss for words. Also, I have slight paranoid tendencies - not in a manic, needing-therapy kind of way (though I'm a firm believer in therapies), but in a "if I reveal myself, will someone use it against me" kind of way - so I surprise myself with this new little project I've undertaken...

However, I've been inspired by my little brother (well, not so little, I suppose), and I have too much random stuff going on inside my hamster-wheel brain to NOT let out, so I will take it upon myself to share it all with you, in the hopes that I can at least amuse you ... or give you something to do other than work, study, pay attention in class.


And, once again, taking inspiration from my bro:

10 years ago, I...
1. was a freshman in college
2. accordingly weighed 15 pounds more than I do now (thank you, Dynasty)
3. thought I wanted to work for the UN

5 years ago, I...
1. was a paralegal in the Manhattan DA's Office (GO, APPEALS)
2. was studying for the LSATs ("serenity now!")
3. gearing up for a dear friend's wedding - she was only 24!

1 year ago, I...
1. was preparing to be sworn in to the New York State Bar and the Southern District of New York
2. was making friends and becoming involved at my church
3. was afraid to fly for the first time after 9-11

Yesterday, I...
1. took care of my sick mom
2. watched 2 taped episodes of Buffy, Season 4: "Pangs" and "Something Blue" (see Buffy)
3. chatted with the mom of my best friend from high school, whom I haven't seen/spoken to in YEARS

Today, I...
1. had a margarita with lunch
2. sang lots of disco songs in a cat voice with my coworker ("we got the funk...")
3. prayed for my coworker who is going through some stressful times

Tomorrow, I...
1. have Praise Team practice - I love to sing!
2. am taking my mom to The Container Store for her first visit ever
3. will watch more Buffy reruns
4. will probably think about what else I want to/need to say on my blog...

5 top locations I'd like to run away to...
1. New Zealand, but only if Legolas is there to show me around
2. a hiking spa in British Columbia
3. Bar Harbor, Maine
4. San Francisco (never been)
5. Taos, New Mexico

5 things I'd do with $1000...
1. Give it to my parents
2. Pay for my parents' anniversary golf trip
3. Invest it
4. Give it to breast cancer research
5. OK, I'll admit it: SHOP FOR CLOTHES and MAKEUP I will never use and BOOKS I will

5 bad habits I have...
1. picking at my lips
2. being judgmental before knowing what I'm judging
3. being unnecessarily argumentative... but I'm a LAWYER!
4. road rage
5. being contrary just for the sake of being contrary

5 TV shows I like...
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. CSI
3. Law & Order (and L&O: SVU)
4. Good Eats (on the Food Network)
5. Will & Grace

5 biggest joys at the moment...
1. I love my job!!!!
2. I'm reading a great series of books by Sharon Kay Penman
3. My car is out of the shop (after my first, and hopefully last, minor car accident)
4. New treadmill at home! Now I just have to USE it...
5. My church friends - and one of them is having a baby in August!