Thursday, July 31

Awesome. I didn't even cheat on this quiz...

Which [Charlie's Angels] characters are you?


Hooch and I have come up with a new title to my autobiography/autobiographical movie:

"Sleepier Than Ever"

I mean, that just IS me.

. . . compared to the chuckleheads with whom I shared an airplane flight yesterday evening. As promised, here are the results of my further adventures in unabashed voyeurism (for Character #3, I actually leaned in so I could hear better), taken almost verbatim from my real-time written journal entries (I had to write it down as it happened or else I would forget the utter charm of it all):

Character #1
Before take-off, in the window seat in the group of seats across the aisle, sits a Hispanic woman wearing a huge brace on her right leg. A young blond woman, dressed trendily with a bared midriff, with long and slightly stringy hair, wearing the slightly pursed sour, bored and snotty look customarily worn by privileged prissy bee-yatches, comes to the row. Without even a cordial for-strangers smile, she tells Hispanic Woman that she, Blond Girl, belongs in the window seat. Hispanic Woman, apparently not very comfortable with the English language, signals timidly, as if to ask if she could sit by the window, so that she could stretch out her heavily-braced and unbendable leg in the little space between the seats and the plane wall. Blond Girl, in response to the timid signaling, says "Yes, that's my seat," still without smiling. There is no emotional generosity emanating from Blond Girl AT ALL. Brrrr.

Blond Girl stands impatiently in the aisle, glancing mutinously at the passengers around her as she waits for the man in the aisle seat to get out. She then watches as Hispanic Woman struggles her way into the aisle while trying to balance her purse, a huge poster tube with the label "Papyrus" on it, and her cane. Neither the guy nor Blond Girl make any move to assist Hispanic Woman as she inches her carefully-balanced self out of the row. Certainly, it hasn't occurred to Blond Girl to just let Hispanic Woman have the damn window seat.

Without so much as a "thank you" or a tight bitter grin, Blond Girl scoots into her seat and settles in. End of story.

The kicker (I almost laughed out loud, stood up and showed Blond Girl what I was writing about her because she struck me as so ridiculous at this point): before the plane even starts to taxi to the runway for take-off, Blond Girl closes the window blind, shutting out the light and the view. It stays closed for the entire flight, and is slid open only for the landing into JFK. So much for the window seat.

Character #2
The aforementioned guy in the aisle seat directly across from me is not nearly as offensive as the blond girl, but I have to shake my head at him anyway. He's apparently a lawyer -- he sits before take-off with a sheaf of printed-out Westlaw cases from the Fourth Circuit in one hand and an orange hi-liter in the other. Minutes before take-off (after the Hispanic-woman-with-a-cane fiasco), he rushes down the aisle towards the front service area and returns with a plastic cup full of some fizzy clear liquid and a bunch of napkins. I figure he is just really thirsty, until I see him dip a napkin into the liquid -- club soda, I determine at this point -- and start dabbing frantically at a spot on his shorts on the leg farthest from me.

It seems that Lawyer Guy got some orange hi-liter on his shorts and doesn't appreciate the potential stain. Now, the curious part is that the shorts don't appear to be some kind of designer concoction that merits gentle care. In fact, they're frayed cut-off cargo shorts. I can see a prior stain -- looks like food -- on the leg closest to me. And this silly little Lawyer Guy is dabbing club soda on them to get rid of a pen mark. Jeez.

Character #3
I get on line for the bathroom at the front of the plane. As I'm waiting, a hoity-toity looking bleached blond lady takes one of the flight attendants aside into the little service nook right by the bathroom. Hoity-Toity looks to be about 45 years old (though she would probably slap me if she knew I said that), is wearing a tight white pants-suit, and has really tanned, stretched-out skin. Not the kind of stretched-out leathery skin that results from years of smoking and sun exposure, but the over-treated, face-lifted, chemical peeled stretched-out skin usually belonging to media moguls' wives. She carries one of those "now" Louis Vuitton purses -- the white leather one with the multi-colored logos printed all over it.

Hoity-Toity is showing the flight attendant what looks like a magazine or newspaper spread, covered with photos of really shiny people with big hair -- people like Siegfried & Roy and other Las Vegas types. Lots of sequins and teeth-are-too-big-and-abnormally-white smiles. (This is when I do the lean-in to get a better view and better sound quality.) These are the words coming out of her mouth at that point, and in the minutes following, as verbatim as I can recall:

"My dad owns Caesar's Palace."
"I'm in all of these photos . . . see?"
"I normally fly first class, you know, but I chose JetBlue for the television because I'm a television FREAK."
"I know a lot of famous people and have a lot of influence with society types."

Yes, she actually said all of that, and probably more, but I was disgusted and had to lean away before I snorted in her face.

Basically, Hoity-Toity was complaining that the TV monitor at her seat did not work, and she wanted to move to a seat that had a working monitor. After her mini-tirade, she pointed to a young boy sitting in the first row and asked if he couldn't be moved since he was too young to watch TV anyway. Unfortunately for Hoity-Toity, the flight attendant explained, the boy was sitting with his mother. Ultimately, a man in the first row gave up his seat for Hoity-Toity. The entire plane watched as she grabbed her Louis Vuitton purse and her little racquetball racket and moved up. Sheesh.

Then there were the two ladies who acted like rock stars, got drunk, screamed their conversations to each other during the entire 5-hour flight, flipped the bird and cursed at the people around them and the flight attendants who asked them to pipe down, and basically went nuts. But I can't stand to write more than that about them because they were so hateful.

Not that other people's character deficiencies should make me feel better about myself . . . but they do, sometimes. Sigh.

I am such a sappy cheeseball. I cry at those cotton commercials, Kleenex commercials, episodes of "The West Wing," AT&T long-distance service ads. Add to the list the "Welcome to New York" sign that greets me as I walk out of the airplane into the terminal at JFK airport. I love that sign. I love New York. I love being home, even though I was at a home away from home.

I have so much to say, including some commentary about some characters I observed on my flight back. Is it California? Is it New York? Is it the clientele of JetBlue? I don't know -- all I can say right now in my semi-pooped-out slightly-jet-lagged do-I-really-have-to-go-to-work-in-the-morning state is: there are some weird people out there. And they were all on my flight this evening. But you wait till tomorrow when I'm more coherent (and on a faster server).

C was gracious enough to pick me up and drive me home with only two big-head jokes thrown in. En route, I saw the sonogram prints of his and M's twins! They are almost 2 lbs apiece and they are CUTE, even for such tiny little things. CC2 was just lying there with her arms at her sides, with what appears to be a slight "get that sonogram probe off of me" frown on her face, eyes closed in peaceful repose. MC2 had a thumb in his mouth, the other fist up near his chin in boxing stance, all ready to fight his way out (but not yet!). Adorable. I shall teach them all I know . . . which should take just a few hours, and then I shall play with them until my arms fall off and coo at them until I lose my voice. And then I shall dance for them to make them laugh. I can still hear the sweet gravelly tinkle of Baby's laugh in my ears . . . what a great kid! Ha and Co. are super-lucky, and I bet C & M will be too.

One last note: I walk into my house and it's done! Apparently, the painters have wrapped up and left, and we are left to settle back into normalcy again. My poor parents -- while I was in L.A., they rearranged all the furniture in the three rooms that were uprooted; ran dozens of loads of all the dishes and pots and pans we own to cleanse them of the thick layer of dust that pervaded our home for the past month and a half; and started to slowly replace all our knick-knacks and valuable display things after doing a meticulous cleansing of each.

The walls are painted, the new hardwood floors are shiny, and the furniture is arranged differently. It looks like . . . a white person's house. I know, I know, that's a weird thing to say, but it's true. There's just something about us Korean-Americans -- 1st-generation Korean-American immigrants, in particular -- that makes it virtually impossible for us to keep a clean, dust-free, well-decorated, not tacky or kitschy, modern-looking, cool house that isn't over-accessorized and doesn't have boxes or crates of Korean food stuffs or other random items in every corner of every room. But our house -- our brand-new, shiny, paint-smelly, bare-bones new house -- isn't like that!

I choose to look upon this as a new beginning for our family. From now on, we shall not be tacky. We shall not be messy. We shall not leave random items in places that are "convenient" to us, even though no logical person would see the efficacy of leaving 2 pairs of scissors, a box of red pepper powder, toe-nail clippers and a case of napkins from Sam's Club in the formal living room. We shall not clutter up our display cases and table-tops with meaningless knick-knacks. We shall Swiffer the shiny new floors weekly.

Eh. I'll let you know where we stand in September.

Ahhhh, my New York bed beckons from my New York bedroom. My New York car sits outside, ready for me to hop in and get to my New York job. Tomorrow (today), I will see my New York friends and get back into my New York groove. This is not to say I didn't love being with Ha and Co. and didn't appreciate their hospitality and never-ceasing love, but . . . they should really move to New York.

Wednesday, July 30


My time here in LA is drawing to a close. I'm exhausted. I love being exhausted by vacation . . . until I return home and I realize I need another vacation to recover from my vacation. THAT is not the nicest feeling in the world . . . But I've been starting to get homesick. That's the problem with me: I love my family, my home, my bed, my friends, my car, my job, my familiar things too much to go anywhere else for too long. I know people who would LOVE to get away for weeks and weeks on end, but not me. What would I do without normal-size shampoo bottles; plates of homemade kimchi; chatting with my mom while cleaning up after dinner; watching bad TV or good baseball with my dad; the freedom to walk around naked in the house? I love traveling, and I love seeing my friends in all the varied places they live, but there ain't no place like home. MY home.

I'm pretty pooped out, so I'll do a quick rundown of the most recent days' highlights:

* Met up with my uncle (mom's sister's hubby) -- newly-minted President of a Korean-American bank whom I haven't seen in years -- and my maternal great-uncle and aunt for coffee. It was slightly stressful to have to whip out the ultra-respectful Korean and smile a lot, but it was so wonderful to see them and connect with them, if even for a short time. My face hurts now, though.

* Took a two-hour nap today, after getting up late and eating breakfast. Man, I love vacation and lazy days. The combination of the two is deadly. I do believe I could be the chubbiest, most unhealthy person alive in L.A. right now. I've got no tan, no dirty-blond hair, no ultra-defined muscles. Rather, I have sleepy eyes, East Coast office-worker pallor, and a full belly. I'm totally loving it.

* Strolled through The Grove/Farmer's Market yesterday evening with Ha and Co.. At times during my stay here, I've often felt like I was in a foreign country, and I would be shocked when I heard people around me speaking English. Last night was a prime example: I don't know exactly why L.A. seems so foreign to me, but it would jolt me to turn around and see a J.Crew store, or a Barnes&Noble, or a Haagen-Dazs stand. Weird. I felt like a tourist, but I wasn't. I felt like a foreigner, but I wasn't. Weird.

* Met a wonderfully cute gentleman tonight -- a friend of Ha and Co.. They didn't know him very well before this evening -- just had a good impression of him and thought he and I would hit it off. We sort of did, although it was hard to tell in the midst of our conversations focusing on labor and delivery, bowel movements, East Coast vs. West Coast, babies and animalistic eating habits, non-traditional healing methods, sibling rivalry and lactose intolerance. So stay tuned . . .

I can't wait to get back home. Do some laundry, see how the home renovation progressed in my absence, take a shower with awesome water pressure, hang with the fam and thank my parents for raising me. If there's one thing I've learned with Ha and Co., it's that parenting ain't easy. To do it right is nearly impossible. I think I turned out okay, and for that I shall be eternally and outwardly thankful.

New York rocks. JetBlue, fly me away . . .

Monday, July 28

1903-2003 . . .

Bob Hope is dead.

Thanks for the memories . . .


I'm not often stirred by cheesy nature photos of sunsets, breaking ocean waves, eagles soaring through the air. Even Ansel Adams, at times, fails to move me. But when I'm face-to-face with Creation, it's a whole other story.

This evening, we went for a drive up to Angeles National Forest, the entrance of which is a mere 15 minutes from Ha's home. It's hard to believe we went from plain old suburban paradise to flora, fauna and endless horizons in such a short period of time. The winding road lifted us up through dry brush, eventually leading us to the fluffy variety of trees able to grow in the cooler, more temperate climates of the mountains. Ears gently popping, I leaned my forehead against the passenger seat window so I could nervously peer over the edge of the road into the canyons dropping off below. The horrible prospect of falling and rolling down into that canyon made my stomach lurch just a little bit, but made me more eager to see just how long I could keep looking down -- we humans are such strange, masochistic beings, aren't we?

I tilted my head back and looked up, but the view of the mountains and trees was just as endless as the deepest valleys falling behind us. And then, all of a sudden, I discovered that our car had crawled its brave little way up to the top, and there was just . . . sky and us and a chirping Baby. Oh, there were mosquitoes too, and they loved, loved, LOVED my juicy East Coast legs, but . . . bygones. We took a mini-hike -- gentle, because two of us were wearing sandals -- on a gravel trail near the top. We threw pebbles off the edge of the path to see if we could hear them hit and bounce and keep on hitting. We bounced Baby in her back-pack carrier and listened to her yak at her surroundings. We ran, sort of scared but not really, through a dark and mercifully short tunnel. We posed for glamour shots against strong mountains and glowing sunsets. And then we made our treacherous don't-ride-the-brakes way back down and home again, talking about our parents' immigration experiences, marriage, in-laws, second-generation Korean-Americans, baby talk.

It was stunning. It occurred to me that some knucklehead had paved a road through all of that, and that we, now, were driving around on that road. Still, helpless guilt aside, I remained in awe of what stood in front of me. Sure, sometimes I take a moment when I return home at night to look up at the stars and take a deep, refreshing breath. Sometimes I open my sunroof on a glaringly sunny day and let the wind take my hair. And sometimes I open the windows at home to let some freshness fly through. But there's nothing like being smacked in the face with the wonder, glory, hugeness and untouched wildness of God's earth, even if it is in the middle of L.A.



My friends go to a relatively new, still-struggling and still-developing church. It started with a core group of young Korean-Americans, and now has a healthy regular group of about 50 Asian-Americans and other-Americans. They're all cool people -- very friendly, truly welcoming, and of course, mostly tan and healthy-looking. (I look pastier white than usual standing next to them.) And just as I normally enjoy going to other churches and seeing how they mix things up, I also enjoy going to church with Ha and Dr.Y.

But one thing -- the same thing -- gives me pause. The teaching at this church takes a more conservative bent than I'm accustomed to. No, it's not as though the men and women worship separately, or the women have to wear head coverings, or stuff like that. But one thing that I've heard more than once concerns the role of Christian women: their work is inside the home, they must be submissive to their husbands, they must be good role models to their children as mothers and wives.

That's all fine and good, and it is Biblical, for the most part, I think.

I'm all for women doing work inside the home -- we do it better than most men, anyway, and many women take great pride in how they maintain their home. I mean, who am I kidding -- Bed Bath & Beyond is one of my favorite stores, and I put almost as much thought into my cleaning products purchases as I do on my new fall wardrobe! And yes, in most cases, women and/or moms who stay at home work waaaay harder than I do most days at my office. But doesn't it always sound like disapproval of women who work outside the home?

I'm all for women being submissive to their husbands -- as the church is submissive to Christ, and as Christ is submissive to His Father. I think that second phrase is not sufficiently emphasized, and Lord knows, certain religious factions have latched onto that precept as an excuse to make their wives stay at home, barefoot and pregnant. Icky, icky, icky. Of course, I'm on the prowl myself for a good man who will be a strong and worthy spiritual leader in my home -- I wouldn't have it any other way and I will have no less a spiritual role model for my children. But intellectual, emotional and physical servitude -- even implied (or misinterpreted by me) -- just ain't my cup of coffee.

I'm all for women being good role models to their children as mothers and wives. Even now, as a single, childless woman, I worry about whether I'll be a good mom, whether I'll be able to raise my kids in faith, with a good and steady moral barometer, whether I'll maintain a healthy and loving home, etc. But I'd also like to be a good role model to my children -- and to my daughter(s) in particular -- as a conscientious lawyer, as a world-aware citizen, as an always-curious learner, as an independent person always seeking to serve others, not because I'm a woman, but because God tells me to.

So, why do my hackles rise when someone else tells me to be and do these things? Why do I read the relevant Biblical passages again and again and wonder and mull and argue with myself and with God and try to justify my reactions? Why are my traditional and contemporary selves always at war? Why do I immediately become defensive and argumentative, and scowl at the pastor as he delivers his message?

I have no idea.



I am a voyeur. I love people-watching. I love listening in on people's conversations. I love seeing how people interact and react. My few days here in L.A. have been no different. Daily, I've been meeting new people: Ha's mom, dad, little brother; Dr.Y's mom, dad, older brother; their church friends, work friends, extended family members. Each drive through portions of the city exposes me to the L.A. community of Latino-Americans, African-Americans, Korean-Americans, other Asian-American, and white Americans.

And without going into too much gory detail, my ground-breaking innovative thesis is as follows: we all have our own unique issues and personalities, but myopically are unable to recognize this fact most of the time, much less accept it gracefully in others. One man's adorable quirk is another man's pet peeve. One woman's easy-going nature is another woman's laziness. One child's brattiness is another child having a good day.

You know what, folks? That's just the way it is.

Okay, so where's my Pulitzer in sociology?

Sunday, July 27

WOW . . .

There are many things about L.A. that stun me just a little bit and cause me to wonder if New York and California are part of the same country. The prospect of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger aside, other things have given me pause and jolted me with a touch of culture shock: healthy toned men and women everywhere; fancy-schmancy cars and other status symbols ubiquitous on the roads; low stucco-ed bungalow-style houses; 3rd-generation Korean Americans who act like FOBs and speak not a lick of English. They sure do lots of things differently out here.

Including the dol-janchi -- the traditional birthday extravaganza commemorating a child's first birthday. The tradition is rooted in celebrating the fact that a child even lived for a full year, stemming from the days when babies succumbed to all variety of ailments and levels of malnutrition.

All the ones I've been to or helped organize -- on the East Coast, mind you -- involved the following:
. . . designate the child's paternal grandparents' home as the party location
. . . spend a couple of days cleaning the house and cooking the party food
. . . order the dduk (rice cake in assorted flavors, colors and fillings)
. . . set up a low table with traditional symbolic items on it (pencils = child will be scholarly; books = child will be scholarly; new money = child will be wealthy; bowl of rice grains = child will be healthy; spool of yarn = child will have long life)
. . . the baby and parents dress in traditional fancy Korean dress
. . . guests pig out, then watch as the family takes photos -- with baby tearfully ripping off the icky Korean hat
. . . everyone laughs and applauds as baby selects one of the above-mentioned five items.

None of the previous dol-janchi's involved:
. . . restaurant catering space rental
. . . months-long planning and arts-and-crafting
. . . three days' worth of baking, icing-making, meringue-leaf-making . . . FROM SCRATCH
. . . six homemade cakes
. . . five flower-and-balloon centerpieces
. . . party favors
. . . Armenian female clown performing magic tricks and making balloon items (can't really call them animals, sorry), all the while expressing herself in a strangely strong Eastern European accent . . . in front of a crowd of about 80 Koreans.

This is what Baby's dol-janchi was like tonight. Ha's beloved first child, a precious daughter -- she who reaches out her hand and throws a humongous toothy grin at anyone who will look at her; she whose wipsy hair flutters hither and thither and can't quite manage to grip a barrette; she who gives you a high-five or bows repeatedly or claps gleefully at her own human tricks; she who eats any and every food without scrunching her nose or turning away, non-stop; she who is the biggest flirt with the biggest heart in the making. She had an Armenian clown tonight.

I'm amazed. I'm stunned. I'm blown away. I feel like I'm not in America anymore.

But I'm also in awe. For only Ha could do this. Only Ha would pull out of her pantry a large shoebox filled with Wilton School baking items and accessories, including an icing piping-and-head set, and horizontal layer-cake slicer (see, I don't even know the official names of these tools). Only Ha could incorporate real flowers into chocolate cupcakes to make them look like little plants. Only Ha could pipe little leaves that turn into hard meringue candies overnight. Only Ha could wrap regular cardboard boxes and top them with tulle to make lovely, dainty cake-stands. Only Ha could go to Costco and purchase a helium tank to fill balloons. And only Ha could manage to do most of this humongous project by herself, feed her family, care for Abby, receive guests and be gracious, put her hair up and look glamorous, and still be good-natured and slap-happy afterwards, ready to go rent "Bring It On" for our annual viewing and cheer-fest.

So, culture shock be damned -- it was a blast. Baby ATE IT UP --literally and figuratively -- and adored the Armenian clown.
That's all that matters, right? Right.

Saturday, July 26


I haven't gone to sleep and ended my Friday yet, so here's my Friday Five . . .

1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be? Quantum of Evidence, like my band. I could be a franchise. QoE, mugs, textbook covers, binders, lunchboxes, baseball caps, t-shirts, bumper stickers, McDonald's Happy Meal toys. People will probably confuse my movie with some Tom Clancy offering, but maybe more people would see it then . . .

2. What songs would be on the soundtrack? All the songs on my top ten list, at least. Theme song for the flick: She, by Elvis Costello.

3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why? Live-action. Animation kind of creeps me out. Teddy Ruxpin, Mrs. Butterworth, the Snuggle bear = all creepy. PIXAR = cool, but so impersonal and computerized. Cartoons = too . . . shiny and colorful, and therefore weird and over-stimulating. Everyone needs a little "c'mon people, what's your motivation?!"

4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc? Me: Sarah Jessica Parker. Selfishly, I haven't thought much beyond that, but someone asked me this question years ago, and SJP was and will always be my first choice. She's a spazz, I'm a spazz. She's smart, I . . . try to be. She's cute . . . people tell me I am and I pretend I hate it, but I'd rather be cute than not, I suppose. She wears cool clothes and has her own quirky style, I would like to wear cool clothes and I'm just plain quirky. Plus, she's on the shorter side of actresses. I mean, Julia Roberts is just out of my league.

5. Describe the movie preview/trailer. Oh, it's just too late at night for me to be creative, innovative, imaginative, witty, touching, tear-jerking, emotional, hilarious, ironic, lovable . . . all the things I want the trailer to be. Oh, it would also be downloadable.

Friday, July 25


I don't think I could live here permanently, but in the last couple of years, my affection for the West Coast has increased dramatically. The prospect of studying AGAIN and suffering through THREE DAYS' worth of the California Bar Exam is probably the only thing at this point that prevents me from seriously considering temporary relocation. But should I ever need to take some time away and try something new, it helps knowing that there's some family out here, including my sister Ha and her crazy nutty family. (Baby is crazy and wild too; she just doesn't know it yet and people think she's just being cute. But I know better. I know she's wild and crazy. She'll fit right in with the rest of us.)

I've already been ragged on TWICE for Internet-ing while on vacation, but in true vacation fashion, I have much down-time. Dr.Y and Brother went to the airport to pick up the rest of the family; Ha is tidying up the upstairs and getting her life in order before the mad party rush begins; Baby is napping. I wish someone would put me down for a nap every three hours -- that would be so heavenly. But I digress. I have a few minutes, so I'll share the following, courtesy of my little Cheechster:

Section One - You
1. last place you traveled: Uhhhh . . . here, to L.A.
2. eye color: Dark brown.
3. nail color: A healthy pink.
4. height: A meager 5'2" (when I've been lying down in a relaxed pose for a while and my spine has stretched out).
5. zodiac sign: Scorpio, baby! Be afraid, be very afraid.

Section Two - Describe...
1. your heritage: Korean-American, with a little bit of Puerto Rican thrown in for good measure.
2. the shoes you wore today: I'm refreshing barefoot now, but shall wear Bandolino black sandals.
3. your hair: Dried, but probably thrown up in a hopeless ponytail within two hours.
4. your weakness: Potato chips, Killians Red, a good book, my bed.
5. your fears: That I will have lived my life and accomplished nothing to better the lives of those around me.
6. your perfect pizza: Thin cripsy crust, spinach and extra salt.
7. one thing you'd like to achieve: EITHER: the first Korean-American female federal judge; a reknowned author; a successful, honest, respect-worthy businesswoman; a really hip and cool mother of three awesome and well-adjusted kids.

Section Three - What Is...
1. your most overused phrase on im: LOL.
2. your thoughts first waking up: What shall I wear today?
3. your current worry: That I won't find a job for post-clerkship.
4. your plans tomorrow: Help Ha and Dr.Y with the party and eat lots of Korean food!
5. your best physical feature: Expressive (some would say TOO expressive) face.
6. your bedtime: Between 10:30 and 11:30pm. Sad.

Section Four - You Prefer...
1. gore or horror: Horror.
2. eastsiiiide or wessssside: WESSSSSSSSSIDE, forever.
3. money or fame: Fame.
4. planes or trains: Trains. Except for the apparently high derailment rate.

Section Five - Do You...
1. cuss: Only when I think it's absolutely necessary . . . or when I can't control myself.
2. do you think you've been in love: Yes.
3. want to get married: When I'm ready and not loving being single and FREE!!!!
4. type w/ your fingers on the right keys: For the most part, but my pinkies are woefully underused.
5. like talking on the phone: Not at all.
6. like thunderstorms: Always.

Section Six - Favorites
1. kind of fruit: Watermelon and oranges.
2. music to fall asleep to: Don't laugh but it's gotta be Fiona Apple's first CD . . . Miles Davis Love Songs is a close second.
3. time of the day: Early morning when I'm away from home on vacation or retreat -- no one else is awake and everything is new, silent and peaceful. I get to putz around looking for breakfast scraps or coffee grounds and put it on for everyone else. I can explore my surroundings, spend time with God, plan my day, have conversations in my head. I'm in the shower first and don't have to rush to get anywhere. And I can watch my friends and family wake up and join me in starting our day.
4. feature in the opposite sex: Arms, shoulders & hands.
5. thing to say when you're mad: Well, it's not very nice and it's very uncouth. And it makes me sound very uneducated.

Section Seven - Future
1. age you hope to be married: By 31 or when I'm ready, whichever comes first.
2. numbers & names of children: 2 or 3 kids and I'm not telling you their names because you will steal them (but of COURSE I have them picked out already!).
3. how do you want to die: Gracefully, in bed, with my family in the house having a good time eating and celebrating the hopefully worthwhile life I lived.
4. what country would you most like to visit: North Korea.

Section Eight - Opposite Sex
1. best personality trait: Well-rounded and diverse intelligence, curiosity and wit.
2. best height: Between 5'7" and 5'9". Tall is nice, but I want to be able to fit in his neck nook.
3. best weight: I dunno. Do I care? Just be healthy and have nice arms, shoulders and hands. Hee hee.
4. best articles of clothing: T-shirt and jeans.
5. best first date location: No place pretentious -- we can eat at nice places anytime, but how often can you go to the zoo and laugh at the bare-butt monkeys; or walk aimlessly around Manhattan ogling things in windows and people-watching; or hike in Maine. Someplace active and conversation-inducing, but you can still hold hands.
6. best first kiss location: The zoo. I don't know what my fascination is with the zoo, though. Weird.

Section Nine - Finish
1. i eat: Almost anything that tastes good. (N.B.: slimy shellfish, congealed cow blood soup, the little black Korean beans, frogs' legs, chicken feet and caviar do not taste good.)
2. i think: All the time and only half the time coherently.
3. i am: Me, all me, baby!
4. i loathe: People who are not nice or are completely inconsiderate of those less fortunate. And rapists.
5. i adore: My family, my friends, food, books, and my bed.
6. i suck at: Sports involving balls that I have to catch, kick, throw, maneuver, or hit back.
7. i can: Do anything I want with a little -- or a lot -- of practice.
8. i can't wait: To have a home and a family of my own.
9. i miss: The good days of high school, the better days of college, the sleepless nights of law school. I don't know why; I just do.

And that's all she wrote. Gotta shower. The family's due in any minute now and I want to be the clean, presentable Auntie . . .

Service Notice: still working on the comments server. I'm just gonna have to undo the one I have now and put someone else in. Hassle, hassle...
SUNNY L.A. . . .

I'm here! JetBlue transported me here in beautiful blue style: the plane was blue, the carpeting was blue, the snack packaging was blue, the potato chips were blue, the napkins were blue-trimmed, even the bathroom soap was blue (and smelled lovely, to boot). The best, cheesiest part of the over-plasticized, frozen-smile flight-attended travel experience was the captain's parting greeting: "Local time is 4:26pm; the temperature is approximately 76-degrees. Thank you for flying JetBlue, blah blah blah. And remember, be nice to your neighbor. Being nice to people makes people happy and it's what makes the world go 'round." The disbelieving guffaws of my travelmates made my day. Dorothy, we're not in New York anymore . . .

Dr.Y, Ha, Ha's little bro, Baby and I took a drive to Redondo Beach for some seafood. I now have sheep bloat in a really, REALLY bad way. Thankfully, Ha and Co. are just like family. I expect that we shall be sharing much sheep bloat together over the next six days. It's just like being home.

Ha has immediately put us all to work on favors for Baby's 1st birthday party (a humongous shindig in Korean circles). It's like being back at Wedding Camp, slaving away at JKo's favors, tying ribbons, folding boxes, packaging gifts. After all this, MY wedding and MY baby's first birthday better flow smooth like buttah . . .

UPDATE ON THE LEPROSY: hacking cough is gone. I took THREE spoonfuls of codeine-laden cough syrup before I went to sleep last night, fervently prayed to God to heal me and take the cough from me, and closed my eyes in utter faith (also because the codeine was knocking me out). This morning I woke up -- the usual desperate I've-been-trapped-inside-all-night cough never came. I stepped into the shower -- the hot-steam-has-loosened-the-phlegm cough never came. I sat in the plane for five hours -- the air-is-too-dry-and-my-cilia-are-not-happy cough never came. I walked on a pier on the Pacific coast -- the it's-too-humid-and-the-wind-is-bad-for-me cough never came. Just sheep bloat. Baa. Anyway, I feel great. But for the palm trees, I feel that I haven't even left my house. Dr.Y and Ha are always like my sister and brother. Baby smiles at me and grabs for me hand.

But! No time to dwell on how relaxed and pleased I am. I must get to work on the assembly line. Baby's party favors beckon me . . .

Service Notice: my comments server seems to be down and on the fritz. I'll have to switch over to someone else, but not until I get back to the East Coast. So if you have an urgent comment for me, just email me. Otherwise, keep it to yourself. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Wednesday, July 23

ARE WE NUTS? . . .

What is this, the 18th century when foppish gentlemen settled issues with duelling pistols?! When did it become okay -- when was it ever okay -- to rid yourself of political, social, whatever-al rivals by KILLING them? What kind of society do we live in -- have we lived in -- where people walk around thinking that you can just get rid of people you don't like for whatever valid or invalid reason? That some kind of honor is preserved, that you are performing some kind of duty, that you are upholding some sort of ideal when you shoot someone to death? And how dumb are you to think you won't get caught or shot to death yourself? Oh wait, maybe you think yourself a martyr, fighting for a cause -- or a piddling argument -- you vapidly think is worth dying for. Stupid. It's all just stupid, and good lives are being wasted in the process of you living out your stupidity. So put your damn guns away, and if you're not smart enough to at least fight with words, then you shouldn't even be setting foot in New York's City Hall.



Until I'm on a plane bound for sunny California. Everything should be peachy . . . except for this hacking cough I can't get rid of.

This is the worst part of being sick: the few days after the sickness has passed. No more drippy nose, no more aches and pains, no more chilly fevers or bleary eyes. Probably even my germs are squeaky clean. But alas for the lingering dry hacking cough. People cross the street to avoid you on the sidewalk, coworkers give you sympathetic but slightly annoyed glances, cashiers lunge for the rubber gloves before accepting your money.

And I have to get on a PLANE with this?! What if some loser looks at me and thinks I'm a SARS carrier?! (I'm not.) What if the baggage checkers think my cough drops are illegal drugs in disguise and arrest me?! What if the person next to me actually asks the flight attendant to change his/her seat?! What if the ticket-taker wrinkles his/her nose at me?! What if the icky plane air makes it worse and I spend the next week coughing all over poor Ha & Dr.Y's house and baby?!

In my mind, I am already a pariah. I'm The Hacking Cougher -- the modern-day leper. Oh, dear . . .

Tuesday, July 22


It has been one year, ten months, and twelve days since 9/11.

I hardly think about it anymore, except for when I chance to look up and see military helicopters speeding across the horizon . . . or when I'm standing outside with friends and hear the low drone of an Army cargo plane heading upstate . . . or when a CNN Breaking News alert dings into my mailbox . . . or when I read about the trial maneuvers of Zacarias Moussaoui . . . or when my anxiety is piqued by the beginnings of a news scrawl across the bottom of the sitcom I'm watching . . . or when I'm lying in bed at night and hear mysterious far-away booming sounds . . . or when I'm driving on the highway and see plumes of black smoke drifting in the distance . . . or when I wake from a bad dream and can't figure out where I am exactly . . . or when I meet someone who has the same name as my horrifically incinerated classmate and friend . . . or when the headlines announce another terrorist bombing in some other unsuspecting corner of the world . . . or when I'm driving down the West Side Highway and realize that my view to the south is no longer obstructed . . . or when my digital clock reads 9:11 . . . or when I'm one of tens of thousands of obliviously content people in a crowded stadium, arena, train station, Times Square . . . or when I'm crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge and look off to both horizons to make sure they're clear . . . or when I'm preparing to get on a cross-country non-stop flight in two days . . . or when I have a moment of silence at 8:45am and have time to allow myself to wonder "is this what it was like?"

Actually, I don't remember what it's like not to think about it . . .

I've been out of commission since Friday night, felled by a pernicious cold that I've been fighting since about mid-March. In that time, I made it through four weekend getaways, two bridal showers, two wedding rehearsals, four weddings, two baseball games, two concerts, two cooking classes, two barbecues, thirteen dinner outings, and three-and-a-half weeks of home renovation. Finally, I hit a wall. There was no major social event meriting perfect health, no adrenaline push to keep the germs at bay. So, I succumbed. That was probably a good thing. For any given point in my life -- from the truly memorable to the utterly mundane -- I can easily look back and see God's hand directing me. This time, He was telling me to CHILL OUT. And I did (I was too tired to disobey). Aside from some nominal running-around on Saturday, my weekend was easy-as-pie. AND I stayed home from work yesterday, which gave me plenty of time to think about some new things that I discovered about myself over the weekend:

1. I LOVE STEAK: and if you do too, you should go to Peter Luger as soon as possible. It's about as no-nonsense a meal as one can get, and if you take me, Soy and AW, we will duly impress you with our ability to put away steak for four, german potatoes, tomato-and-onions, and creamed spinach. AND still have room for dessert and coffee. AND not fall completely asleep in the car on the way home. AND wake up in the morning craving a hamburger.

2. I LOVE BENADRYL: and if you don't, you don't know what you're missing. After a ceaselessly drippy Saturday afternoon and early evening, I finally made the desperate run into the local CVS for a box of the little pink pills. The last time I took Benadryl was in the 7th grade for an allergic reaction to fake crabmeat. I don't remember much about that experience because, well, it knocked me out and I must have slept for days. This time, I remember everything and it was wonderful. I don't have first-hand experience with recreational drugs, but I imagine the feeling from two Benadryl tablets is akin to being high on something. Sitting in the bowling alley on Saturday "Rock n' Bowl" night with nine loud, enthusiastic friends -- their voices and cheers bouncing off the walls of my brain, echoing . . . listening to the music -- so loud, so pulsing . . . bumping into the bowling-ball return tray when it was my turn -- no pain, no pain . . . watching the rotating disco colors and shapes reflecting off the lanes -- so pretty. . .

3. I LOVE BOWLING: and if you do too, you should come with us next time. Perhaps my experience was enhanced by the Benadryl (see above), but I'm pretty sure I enjoyed myself validly. It helps when you take Terry Cloth -- he of the Tai-Chi school of bowling ("silence, please!"); or Soy -- she of the weird-lefty-grip-and-finish-with-a-flourish school of bowling; or Banana -- she of the I'm-gonna-kick-your-ass school of bowling; or Jaime -- he of the I'm-just-as-much-a-spazz-bowling-as-I-am-anywhere-else school of bowling; or JKo -- she of the how-slow-can-the-ball-possibly-go school of bowling. We were such a motley group of bowlers and pseudo-bowlers, one couldn't help but have a good time. Also, I did not get hit in the head with a bowling ball, so perhaps we're making progress here.

4. I LOVE SCARY MOVIES: but if you don't, I completely understand. It usually takes me no less than a week to prepare myself to watch a scary movie. It doesn't matter if it's paranormally scary, suspenseful, psycho-thrillerish, horrific or mind-bending -- I need to prep. But once I'm in the theatre and the lights are going down and it's clear that I can't escape without losing ten dollars, the thrill sets in. I sit up straighter in my seat (at least until the first scary scene flits across the screen, and then I hunch down as low as I can go so the scary element can't see me), tense up every muscle imaginable, and poise my hands near my face so I can quickly cover my eyes if necessary. If it's really scary or traumatic, I will start to cry just a little bit. I don't know why I subject myself to such a seemingly unpleasant thrill, but I suppose it's better than . . . extreme skateboarding?

Saw: 28 Days Later
Finishing: John Adams, by David McCullough
In the batter's box: Benjamin Franklin, by Walter Isaacson
Running through my head: Amazing love, how can it be, that You my King would die for me...

Friday, July 18


It's a good-tired this morning, as it is every Friday morning after an evening of chatting, eating, laughing, crying and ultimately praying with my Thursday night crew. We haven't met and really done anything other than hang out and eat potato chips and waste time in a really long while (at least since before J2 got married), so it was simply lovely . . .

(Unfortunately, I awoke with more sheep bloat, due to the massive amount of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Blast ice cream I inhaled. Baa.)

Nevertheless, I am utterly refreshed this morning. There is something ridiculously special about being supported by Christian friends, being prayed for, and praying for them, that does a lot to revive the soul. A swift kick in the butt to not be spiritually lazy, a proffered Kleenex to wipe away tears of sadness and frustration, a healthy and hysterical laugh at a preposterous this-only-happens-to-other-people story. I could spend days with these people and never get bored or discouraged. So I'm sleepy as all heck, but I shall doze off after lunch with a content grin framing my drooling little mouth . . .

Tangent #1: There is a sweet new Volvo S80 sedan, Ruby Red Metallic, sitting in the courthouse's secure garage. It is NICE. I covet it.

Tangent #2: This morning, Hooch read to me a headline about FBI moles being planted in white-supremacist groups. And it occurred to me -- I want to be an FBI mole. I'd be really good at it. I'd do everything the FBI told me to do, and I wouldn't eat that much or cost that much to maintain. And I'd be fun! C'mon, gimme a chance . . .

Thursday, July 17


Being a news reporter must be hard. There are deadlines, stories to scoop, competitive ladders to climb, reputations to establish.

Being an Associated Press reporter must be doubly so, because you have to chase stories with headlines like these (true, from today's

From Clark, S.D.: "Ton of Mashed Potato Flakes is Missing"

From Anchorage, AK: "Moose Tries to Jump Rental Car"

From Kingston, NY: "Train Stopped So Employee Can Get Coffee"

But this story must have been worth it, at least for the chuckle:

From San Jose, CA: "Alabama Woman Wins Worst Writing Award"

The AP writes that "Mariann Simms of Wetumpka, Ala., won $250 in the 22nd Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a parody honoring the writer of the worst beginning to an imaginary novel."

And the winning worst beginning paragraph? Read on:

"They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white ... Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently."


Wednesday, July 16

WHAT IF . . .

I'm in the middle of reading John Adams, and it is just . . . blowing my mind. Every biography I read manages to make the synapses in my brain explode with more questions, more curiosities, more feelings of amazement at the fact that people actually lived through, well, HISTORY.

I picture Mr. Adams, putzing around his little house in Massachusetts, writing the state constitution, the oldest functioning state constitution in America.

I envision Mr. Adams, hanging out in Paris with Thomas Jefferson, touring the countryside, shopping in the city, and bargaining a little thing called the Treaty of Paris, thus symbolically ending the American revolution against Britain.

I see Mr. and Mrs. Adams, sipping tea in London, receiving letters about Shay's Rebellion back home in Massachusetts.

I anticipate good ol' Mr. Adams going on to be PRESIDENT of the United States.

It's just crazy.

So I mention this to Hooch: isn't it amazing that actual human men and women and children saw history happen and didn't even know it; that people paved the road of the future without knowing where it would lead; and that individuals changed the course of history and didn't even realize how significant it would be, or how their efforts would bear fruit?

Hooch's response: "Imagine if America never declared her independence, and we were still owned by the British?"

Hmmm. We pondered.

We decided that the U.S. would probably be half the size it is now (most likely ending somewhere around the Mississippi River), France would be next door, Spain would be below us, and we would be . . . well, we would be CANADA.

That would suck, if we were just one big CANADA.
That would suck a lot.

Poor Canada.
We always make fun of Canada. After all, it's just . . . there. And they've got those damn Mounties.
I call it the Switzerland of North America (without all the culture and leiderhosen).
Hooch calls it the "Justice Clarence Thomas of North America." You know, never has an opinion of its own, etc.
Harsh. But true.
(Although if I were you, Canada, I'd be really insulted. WE don't even like to claim him.)
Poor Canada.

(So thank you, American Revolutionary heroes, for saving us from becoming CANADA.)

Tuesday, July 15


Out of left field, here are my wedding registry To-Do's and Not-To-Do's, realized after viewing a registry (nay, registRIES) yesterday evening (damn near took my mom and I all night to get through it!):

1. I will not register at FOUR different places, and place nearly identical items on all of them. This will confuse guests and make them wonder why we want 3 sets of a 10-piece $700 Calphalon pots n' pans collection. And it will make us look either scatterbrained, or greedy, or both.

2. I will register at four different places for the purpose of offering our guests a variety of choices and objects to purchase, if they wish to do so. However, once again, I will not place nearly identical items on all our registries.

3. I will not register for so many items that our guests will wonder if we are going to live in a mansion with five bedrooms, three kitchens and eight bathrooms, particularly if I marry while still in my 20s and have a lifetime ahead of me in which to accumulate all that silly stuff.

4. I will not register for things that, in traditional Korean culture, my parents, my husband's parents, or our extended family should purchase for us: really fine china (who needs Wedgewood in their 20s anyway?!), really fine silver (I would only oxygenate it and make it turn all yukky brown), really fine crystal (I would just drop it anyway).

5. I will not register for FURNITURE. I know people do. I know people feel they need to because they think they won't be able to afford it otherwise. But I just cannot burden friends with the responsibility of buying a SOFA. And I just cannot fathom sharing a marriage bed that someone else has bought. That's just weird. I will scrimp and scrounge and buy my own damn couch, thank you.

6. I will only register for things that we absolutely need to start a home (a small home, please). That means no wine tower. No four sets of bed sheets in four different colors. No three sets of bath towel in three different colors. No four different sets of dinnerware. No 10-setting placemats and napkins in three different styles. No three different sets of 13-piece Calphalon pots and pans. No two of the same iron from two different places. No eight different spatulas. No three different colanders. No two upright vacuums. No three different toaster ovens. No mini-3.6-cubic foot refrigerator. No Conair Ultra Massaging Foot Spa. No cute little trendy kitchen/house toys that we will have just to have and will look pretty but serve no other useful purpose: lobster pots, tortilla warmer, pizza spatulas, pizza cutters, butter warmers, "sushi-to-go" kits, hurricane lamps, stainless steel chargers, vermouth spritzers, and the like.**

7. I will not register for stupid things that we can purchase for ourselves: wastebaskets, Swiss Army knives, flashlights, shavers, decorative pillows, bathroom accessories, chip clips, doormats.**

8. I will not get carried away with that little registry gun. It is not a toy. Guns are dangerous.

I'm sure there are more things I could snipe about, but perhaps I'm just being ungenerous. After all, I never know when I'm going to be frying eight different things at the same time, and thus will need eight different spatulas.

**No joke. All this stuff is really on the registry/ies. I'd like to point out my absolute favorites: (a) the tortilla warmer. What is UP with the tortilla warmer?! These people are Korean, for crying out loud. How often could they POSSIBLY be eating tortillas?! (b) the Conair Foot Spa. Please. (c) the chip clips. Who registers for CHIP CLIPS?! (d) the mini-fridge. I don't understand THAT at all.

Monday, July 14


Wisdom from John Adams' hand itself:

"Daughter! Get you an honest man for a husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the honor and moral character of the man more than all other circumstances. Think of no other greatness but that of the soul, no other riches but those of the heart. An honest, sensible, humane man, above all the littleness of vanity and extravagances of imagination, laboring to do good rather than be rich, to be useful rather than make a show, living modest simplicity clearly within his means and free from debts and obligations, is really the most respectable man in society, makes himself and all about him most happy."

- in a letter of John Adams, to his daughter Abigail,
offering advice on choosing a husband

From David McCullough's John Adams:

"These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."

- in a letter of Abigail Adams, to her son John Quincy,
on the occasion of his second trip to France in 1777
PAR-TAY* . . .

C had his mega-BBQ-blowout on Saturday, and it was a blast.

We hooked in M through a web-cam at the hospital, and all of us instant-messengered with her throughout the day and night -- poor woman was exhausted from the sheer multi-tasking involved . . . never mind that she's pregnant with twins!


Their House. C & M worked really hard on their house, transforming it from a "cozy" little cape to a magnificent and comfortable home. All of us ladies drool over the kitchen when we go over there, though there are other cool things to admire too . . . but the kitchen really is the best part. I love doing dishes in their sink. I love doing dishes anywhere, but particularly in their sink. They have a really nice sink.

The Food. The spread included all manner of Filipino, Korean and American food, and as expected, we started eating at 12:30pm and kept going until the last of us left at around midnight. Oy. And there's something very strangely satisfying about BBQ fare. A hotdog anywhere else (other than the streets of NY and Yankee Stadium) is just a hotdog, but throw it on the grill and call it a BBQ -- all of a sudden, it's so delicious, I have to have three. Leave food sitting out for seven hours anywhere else and it's the grossest thing you could ever imagine, but slap it on some tables and rally a bunch of friends -- all of a sudden, you're picking through the browned and oxygenated crust to get to the warm pasta salad underneath like it's gold. Very weird. But very tasty.

Alpha-Males. The gentlemen participated in a loosely-organized 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Banana, JKo and I observed this event, along with our webcam pals, Soy and M. Had we been so inclined (and sober), we probably could have thrown together a neat little sociological dissertation on the tournament, but barring that, I offer the following thesis: among men, there is no such thing as a "casual" game of ball. There's too much testosterone, it's too hot, and there is too wide a range of the cast of characters for a ball game to really be casual. When you have I Think I Know Everything About Everything (Including Sports, Even Though I Can't Really Play Very Well) Man guarding I Have A Chip On My Shoulder About Being Told How To Play Ball Man, who's passing to I'm Just A Spazz Who Wants To Play Ball Man, who's being blocked by I'm Just One Big Mass Of Man And You Can't Get Past Me In A Million Years Man, who takes down I Don't Even Know Who You Are But I'll Elbow Your Face Man, but not before I'm Way Younger Than All Of You And Can Make All My Shots Man/Boy puts in a sweet long shot, tempers are bound to flare and true natures are bound to roar to the surface. Oh, boy. Why can't they just sit around and gossip like us genteel ladies? (I am conveniently forgetting us slouching on the couch, resting bottles of Sam Adams' Summer Ale on our bellies, with our legs hanging wide open because we're too full to sit up properly.)

Cute Boyz. You know they're cute when even a newly-married, just returned from her honeymoon JKo gives two enthusiastic thumbs-up and a double eye-brow waggle to each of them. There was The Grill Man, The Brother and The Artiste Who Knows Everything (Or Thinks He Does). The "Thinks He Does" part became a little tiresome during a sleepy game of late-night Cranium, but otherwise, all systems were go. We had enough eye candy to last us the whole day! All that male objectification was exhausting . . .

*M. There were technical difficulties. Our web-cam froze; then her web-cam froze; then ours froze again. We passed the phone around to everyone who wanted to talk to M, taking her on a nonsensical wild cyber-ride around her front lawn. We arranged random people in front of the camera, so she could see their shaky, time-delayed images grinning monstrously back at her. The quiz show that C had so painstakingly prepared to honor M was butchered beyond recognition. We couldn't even find her preferred ice cream flavor in the store to send down to her with the BBQ food we had packed!!! But we had her with us to the bitter end, and so we discovered that it's not just a trite, wishful thing to say that M was with us in spirit. Had we not had her disjointedly twinkling web-eye keeping watch over us, the BBQ would have been very boring indeed . . .

Reading: John Adams, by David McCullough
Listening to: Mile High Live, by The Freddy Jones Band

Sunday, July 13


Ah, to be fifteen years old again. That was when my best friends Doug and KSC taught me to drive stick.

Throughout that manic junior year in high school, when I thought I was a senior like Doug and KSC (and slumped accordingly), I alternated between a brand-new Audi Quattro that ran as smooth as butter and a beat-up old Volkswagen Jetta that didn't. Viciously tearing up the gears on both vehicles, I tore through the vacant parking lots and empty nighttime streets of our town, egged on by adolescent cheers and crude jokes about how I loved to "shift their sticks." Ha, ha.

Then I never had occasion to drive stick again. Fast forward twelve years to this evening.

My car was low on gas tonight, so I asked to bum a ride to post-softball-game dinner from someone. C offered . . . but only if I drove his car. Okay, first of all, no one has actually ever volunteered their 2-year-old silver BMW convertible to me before. Secondly, did I KNOW how to drive it?! (Answer: NO.) And finally, the hour was early. A mere 7:15pm. There were other cars on the road. Not an empty parking lot in sight in which I could cause the gears to screech vehemently and stall in huge violent shudders. But C has a way of using brute strength to boot one out of the passenger seat and sit in it himself so that one will not get anywhere unless one drives oneself. The ugly deed had to be done.

Route 119 never had it so good. Luckily, it was only Banana and her bro behind me half of the way, so I could breezily flip them a little bird here and there when they honked obnoxiously at my sloooooooow starts (drat red lights). I only stalled three times and bit only one fingernail down to the cuticle. By the beneficent grace of the good Lord, there was a series of three empty parking spaces in front of the restaurant -- I slid easily into the first one, with no reversing or three-point parking maneuvers required. C says I cheated; I say I had a good eye.

I anticipate that my next lesson will come soon enough. I think I should stick with vacant asphalt before moving onto bigger and better (and faster) roads, if only to preserve the structural integrity of the BMW. In the meantime, I must hone my multi-tasking skills: ease up on the clutch, press aggressively on the gas, watch the RPM until it hits 2, let go, let go, LET GO! Oh, how long will it be until my legs stop shaking from the over-exertion?!

On a side note: if I had an obnoxious waaaaay older brother who tormented me endlessly, but still bought me ice cream and acquired for me Blue Pig stickers, and had a really cool wife that I liked and admired, it would probably be C. But then, I would probably also have a really big cranium, so perhaps there would be disadvantages to that relativity . . .

Friday, July 11


Things have been just nuts at home lately.

The painters settled in throughout the upstairs, and there's dust flying everywhere, the stink of paint and wood finish soaking into every porous surface, including clothes and skin and hair. Furniture sits scattered in bizarre arrangements throughout the dining room, living room, family room, entrance way, hallway and kitchen, standing guard over our home as silent but watchful (and heavy) statues.

The family has essentially moved downstairs (thank God for the old-fashioned concept of the mother-daughter ranch), and we're eating the most basic and boring food prepared in the second kitchen, somehow managing to peacefully use the one bathroom (thanks to careful time allotment), piling mail, laundry, books, newspapers in neat but increasingly unstable stacks around the downstairs family room.

I guess it doesn't sound so bad, but going on three weeks of upheaval has taken its toll on us. My gran's blood pressure is way up, and she's so bored, unable to watch the Korean cable-feed that only comes through the upstairs television. My parents' nerves are ragged, their tempers flaring, smiles and laughs and jokes coming few and far between. Simple questions like "What are you going to do after your clerkship ends?" and "Have you met anyone special yet?" are enough to send me into an infuriated crying jag. It's enough to make me think seriously about moving out, calculate my finances and semi-seriously surf on-line for co-ops and condos that I could realistically purchase on my own. Give my parents a break from the reminder that in a year I will be a jobless, single woman, and return to myself the amazing feeling of being independent, free, grown-up and able to function on my own.

But then tonight, after almost two full weeks of evening commitments and late nights, after almost a week of not having even seen my dad's face, after saying "yes" to every social invitation extended to me just to have a reason to not be in the simmering crock-pot of stress known as my house, I decided to actually cancel an outing and stay home. Show my face. See my family's faces. Let them know I care and that I'm still their faithful daughter. That I don't want to run away from home.

And it was totally worth it. Our heads were still aching from the fumes, our breathing was still labored from the incredible combination of humidity and dust, and our conversation took a long moment to warm up as we reacquainted ourselves with each other. But soon enough, I was getting a body-shove as my dad booted me out of the way on the sofa so he and my mom could sit together. Mom was getting an air-noogie after she corrected one of my dad's pronouncements. Dad was getting an innocuous eye-roll as he insisted that he was right. And gran just sat there chattering happily, glad to have one more audience member.

It wasn't the warm ending to a "Little House" episode.

I still suspect that my parents are irritated that I have yet to bring home a nice Korean hubby whom my dad can noogie. I still wish they would just listen to me when I'm right about something -- The One will walk through my door when it's time for him to -- or just let me be when I tell them I've got things under control -- what idiot in my position wouldn't diligently be searching for a job?! Gran still wishes she could watch her Korean soaps. (They're quite good, by the way. Don't knock it till you've tried it, baby.)

But it wasn't the hair-pulling drama of "Dynasty," either.

So, maybe I won't move out just yet. I'll wait till the walls are dry, the new rugs are laid, the furniture is rearranged, the bathrooms are redecorated, the kitchen is reoccupied, my piano is retuned, the house is brought forward into the 21st century. Then maybe I'll hang out for a bit, enjoying and learning to love the "new" house with my family. We'll see . . .

A new dimension to the carb crash:
Sleep deprivation + linguine w/white clam sauce + cosmopolitan = falling asleep at my computer WHILE TYPING.

Despite my normally "I can sleep anywhere and everywhere and for however long I want to" nature, THAT has never happened before . . . interesting.

Thankfully, everyone else was occupied. No one noticed. And I did not snort myself awake. I have to preserve some shred of dignity, after all . . .

VERY interesting (to me, anyway) op-ed piece in today's NY Times about race, DNA markers, etc.

What do YOU think?

I'm on time today! Here we go . . .

1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it? Yes. Her name was Caroline, and we would: pretend to be British and speak with affected accents; choreograph elaborate dance routines to "Beat It;" stand on stools at the sink and do all the dishes from our parents' dinner parties; beg and cry and stomp our feet until our parents let us sleep over at each other's houses; fall asleep curled up at opposite ends of a twin bed while making grand plans for our joint catering/law/ophthalmology practice. Don't ask.

2. Are you still in touch with this person? Sadly, only occasionally.

3. Do you have a current close friend? A few.

4. How did you become friends with this person? college, church and work. Initial bonding almost always occurred around food. Once we digested and awoke from food coma, wonderful friendships were born . . .

5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why? Not really. Everyone that's in my life right now belongs there. It's not that I wouldn't make room for other people in my heart, but I don't feel like anyone's missing. Everything is as it should be and I'm quite satisfied with the lovelies in my life today . . .

Thursday, July 10


I just got done telling JW that I had nothing to write about, and I still don't, so I'll present something that someone else wrote . . . although it's so damn funny, I wish I had written it. Ladies and gentlemen, the best opening paragraph of any news story ever, with kudos to the Associated Press:

"In a bizarre scene during a popular mascot race at Milwaukee Brewers games, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon bopped a woman dressed as a huge Italian sausage with a bat and was booked for misdemeanor battery."

And the madness continues:
"It happened during Wednesday's human sausage races, when four people dressed as an oversized bratwurst, hot dog and Italian and Pollish sausages were racing past the Pirates' dugout. As they jogged by, Simon swatted the Italian sausage mascot, who fell. The giant hot dog stumbled over the sausage and also tumbled to the ground. . . "

The understatement of the day:
"'It was very strange,' Pirates outfielder Reggie Sanders said."

Two-snaps-in-a-circle to the writer who dared to use the following words and phrases in his or her story, and the editor who let them stay in:
"huge Italian sausage"
"human sausage races"
"the giant hot dog stumbled over the sausage"

Sigh. They don't write legal briefs like this, that's for sure . . .

Wednesday, July 9


At the Judge's daughter's wedding in Albany, this weekend, the Reverend delivered the best anti-cell-phone admonition I ever heard, in his eminently dignified and booming voice:

"JESUS is on the MAIN line!" The crowd amens in response. "So you DON'T need a CELL phone, a BEE-per or a PA-ger to talk to Him!"

Amen, indeed.

It started so innocuously and with the purest of intentions. J2 would be returning from the honeymoon in Aruba at 10pm Tuesday night, so a few of us diehards decided to tidy up their new place a little, leave them some food and flowers, and generally make their transition back to the real world a little gentler.

But oh, how quickly we regress. The horrible sequence of events . . .

. . . Banana, Soy and I have a fevered e-conversation about the wonders of the Swiffer (wet and dry). JW has no idea what we're talking about, so we enlighten him.
. . . JW promptly goes out to purchase said Swiffer, in starter pack form, which includes the Swiffer mop, several dry sheets and several wet sheets. JW insists that he has surface area in his teeny dorm-suite upon which to Swiff, but I am doubtful. Banana says that JW is the perfect consumer. I agree. I'm going to tell him about this particular handbag I've been coveting and we'll see if he buys it for me . . .
. . . Banana, Soy, JW, JC and I agree to meet around the general area of 7pm on Tuesday evening to begin our altruistic service to our beloved friends.

Tuesday, 5:10pm
. . . I decide to stop by Williams-Sonoma (heaven on earth, after Barnes & Noble) to pick up my standard housewarming gift, but am quickly distracted . . . by the Bandolino store across the way.
. . . I buy a pair of shoes. The pair that I've been hunting for nationwide for the last month. I am sated.
. . . But back to J2 . . . rush rush rush through W-S, rush rush rush to JW's place (where he hops into my car hugging his precious new Swiffer starter pack) . . . rush rush rush to J2's apartment.

Tuesday, 7pm
. . . the place is a disaster area, a war zone, a crime scene, a horrific sight to behold. We don't know where to start. We can't see the floor. Boxes, clothing, bridal underskirts, papers, RSVP cards, receipts from 1992, JKo's teaching paraphernelia, JAhn's military fetish paraphernelia (including a large gilt sword and G.I. Joe cards), approximately 300 leftover wedding programs, wedding gifts, staplers, scissors, ribbons, etc. We are inundated. I want to flee.
. . . JW starts shoving boxes into the two closets in the apartment. I think it's going to be really funny when J2 come home, see their sparkling living room, open up their closets and realize everything is in there. Oh well.
. . . Soy, Banana and JC arrive and we settle in to eat our Chinese take-out. All's well and good except that we have no utensils. Hence, "We Are Going To Hell Because" Moment #1: we delve into their Crate&Barrel gift boxes, find their shiny new flatware, and use it. Granted, we only bust open two of the eight settings, and use an assortment of salad forks, teaspoons, regular forks and soup spoons to eat our dinner, but . . . we're going to hell anyway.
. . . After washing and replacing the flatware -- as if nothing ever happened -- we resume cleaning. Shove some boxes into this closet, wipe down that counter, stock their fridge, draw a nice "Welcome Home" poster, arrange a bouquet of flowers, sprinkle rose petals on the bed, let JW gleefully dry-and-wet Swiffer the floors. We're being so mature and nice. For now.

Tuesday, approx. 9:30pm
. . . We have degenerated into juvenility. Now that everything's clean, we're bored. There's nothing left to do but . . . vandalize the place and leave our own special mark on their home. Tee-hee.
. . . First come the signs: on the ugly bedsheet-qua-temporary-curtain = "REPLACE ME;" on the wedding gown hanging in its bag = "HELP! DRY-CLEAN ME!;" on the staticky 3-channels-only 12" television = "PLEASE HOOK ME UP;" on the closet doors = "DANGER. DO NOT OPEN;" on the food left in the fridge = "EAT ME;" on the first-dance steps written down so JAhn doesn't forget them = "LEARN ME AGAIN;" on the empty display cabinet's doors = "I FEEL SO EMPTY INSIDE;" on the floors = "SWIFFERED WITH LOVE, BY JW;" on the huge black-lacquer-rimmed mirror which reeks of the 1950s in the Motherland = "I'M TACKY." It just goes on and on.
. . . Then come the iZone sticky-pics. Banana takes glamour shots of us all. Most of them innocently end up on our "Welcome Home" poster. Two of them get special places of honor: inside the fridge and on the back wall of the medicine cabinet. A little surprise for later, you see.
. . . Then come the bedroom maneuvers that will make JKo blush and cause JAhn to run for his camera: the feather boa from the bachelorette party draped over JKo's side of the bed; the Indian headress from the bachelor party draped over JAhn's side of the bed. And smack in the middle? A pair of glow-in-the-dark handcuffs, and a book entitled "Newlyweds' Guide to Sex on the First Night" (even though it's not their first night . . . I hope). And a cigar. Our work is done here, we think.

Tuesday, 10:30pm
. . . We heard they were to land at 10pm. This means they could be rolling up to their front door in a few minutes, so we call American Airlines to verify. Thankfully, the flight is delayed -- they won't be landing until nearly 11pm -- so we have a bit of time to . . . eat Edy's espresso chip ice cream.
. . . "We're Going To Hell Because" Moment #2: can't eat ice cream with our fingers, so we reopen the shiny Crate&Barrel flatware again. Unable to bear the thought of opening several settings, we decide we can share one. JW uses a knife ("it's like eating gelato," he says); I use the salad fork (good for culling out the dreaded chocolate chips); Soy dives right for the appropriate dessert spoon; Banana and JC fight over the humongous soup spoon, with Banana ending up with it and JC being relegated to the dinner fork, which leaves long delicious grooves in the ice cream itself. You'll be glad to know that we ate right out of the container. It would have been wrong to open up their dinnerware to look for bowls.

Tuesday, 11pm
. . . Ice cream is finished, flatware is repackaged, half-eaten ice cream is replaced in the freezer. Now we're officially still bored. We can't find any more surfaces to stick obnoxious signs to. We can't find anymore food to half-eat. We can't find anymore things to clean. We don't think we want to stick around until they arrive home. But we still want to hang out and have some fun. What is the Bucket Brigade to do?!
. . . "We're Going To Hell Because" Moment #3: we (collectively, despite the vehement denials of some) decide to plastic-wrap the toilet. Soy first suggests it, then demurs, then instructs us "if you're going to do it, make sure you pull it REALLY TIGHT, or else it won't work." It seems she has some expertise in this area.
. . . JW and JC struggle with the gross toilet bowl (hey, if it ain't our toilet bowl, we ain't cleaning it) for a few minutes before magnificently stretching the plastic wrap really tightly across the bowl. There is much hysterical and slightly guilt-ridden giggling.
. . . To maximize the traumatic effect and to minimize early detection, JC loosens the lightbulbs in the bathroom so there is no reflection off the plastic wrap. We have officially become, as Banana would say, Admirals' Club members on the flight to Hell. So be it.

Tuesday, 11:30pm
. . . To temper the effect of our evil ways, we put a romantic CD on repeat, leave the air-conditioning on low, turn off the lights, lock the door and make our way home. WELCOME HOME, J2.

Wednesday morning update
. . . Sleepy after a night of guilty tossing and turning ("Oh my gawd, what if the pee spatter really makes a big mess?" and "What if the boxes fall on them when they open the closet doors?" and "What if they feel violated that we were in their apartment rummaging around?" and "What if they're totally grossed out by all the half-eaten food in the fridge?"), I trudge into work and hear from Soy that contact with J2 has been made.
. . . A quick check of my cell phone reveals that JKo has indeed attempted to call me. With more than a little trepidation, I call her back.
. . . THEY LOVED IT! They loved the food (warmed it up for breakfast this morning), loved the bedroom maneuvers (JAhn did indeed run for his camera to capture the tableau), loved the flowers, loved the signs (and as predicted, JKo insists she's going to keep them up until Christmas), loved the surprise photos ("What is JC's head doing in my fridge?"), loved the Swiffer job, loved that everything was shoved into closets ("yeah, we're still looking for stuff") and even managed to find the plastic wrap funny ("except I peed on myself . . . thank goodness I was able to stop the flow in time" she says).

Another nefarious job well done . . .

Tuesday, July 8


Not much to report today. Chambers was oppressive again this morning (although I'm always cold, so "oppressive" is relative), so we migrated upstairs to the 6th floor. One of our District Judges was elevated to the Second Circuit several months back, and his former chambers lies empty (and air-conditioned), ready for us to come in and squat. Another twenty years and it's ours, all ours! Cackle, cackle . . .

It's so spacious up here. I can do cartwheels. That would be very un-judiciary-like, but I could if I wanted to.

We also now have a lovely view of downtown White Plains. Wow. Happenin'.

These DJ's have it great . . .

Oh, by the way, Hooch and I have some new words for today:

Boobocity (boo-BAH-ci-tee): the status of having boobs.
Usage: "I can't hold up this dress for my lack of boobocity."

Awkwardidity (awk-war-DI-di-tee): the status of being awkward.
Usage: "The awkwardidity of this sentence is killing me. Nay, it slays me."

Saw: Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle, with seven guys. Wow. Remind me never to do that again.
Listening to: Waiting For My Rocket to Come, Jason Mraz. Yes, I get fixated on music and listen to it until it makes me want to urp.

Fifteen days until L.A. . . .

Monday, July 7


Stated in a TV commercial this evening:

"If you haven't seen Staten Island, you haven't seen New York."


So, after spending a large portion of the weekend with Hooch and her man JS, I discovered that JS labelled me "an enigma," a/k/a "stealth," a/k/a "a Rubik's cube." JS says I reveal only what I want to reveal to others, keeping other parts of myself hidden until the precise moment and opportunity for revelation of my choosing. Hooch says he totally pegged me.

In an enlightened moment, I replied: "Well, if he totally pegged me, then I'm not so much of an enigma now, am I?"

Thoughtful pause by Hooch and I. Hmm.

And then, Confucious moment #121, brought to you by Hooch:

"Confucious say: enigma who is peggable, not really enigma."

Indeed . . .

I so need to get out of here for a while . . .
OH, POO . . .

I just found out Cheech is playing hooky today to go see my boyfriend (Mike Mussina) pitch against Pedro in the last Boston-NY matchup until September.


If my boyfriend does well today, then my back-up boyfriend (Mariano) will probably close.

Eh . . . perhaps I need a real boyfriend.
WHAT THE . . .

So, I walk into chambers this morning and it's EIGHTY-EIGHT DEGREES in here.

Hooch, D and the Judge were already melting. I wilted mid-sentence and started frantically fanning myself. I discovered that panting through the mouth does not do for humans what it does for canines.

It's now a balmy eighty-four degrees. We have three fans blowing the hot air around. I think I've adopted JC's delicate constitution and am coming down with a case of heatstroke. Nausea and a headache might prevent me from eating lunch . . . no wait, who am I kidding . . .

How wilted must we be for the Judge to come out of his office, take one look at us, and in essence declare that we look pathetic? Oh dear . . .

UNCLE SAM, IT'S CALLED CENTRAL AIR. And hiring people to maintain it correctly.

Here's last week's Five . . .

1. What were your favorite childhood stories? Korean folk tales (particularly the one about the faithful daughter who saves her stubborn, blind father from ruin; and the fables about the good/bad frogs and the good/bad twins; and some story about pumpkins); and the "Little House" series. I was Laura Ingalls.

2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children? All of the above (even if I only have sons and they can't relate to Laura Ingalls' travails), and of course "Goodnight Moon."

3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything? I love how simple the "Little House" books are. There are no frills, no stupidly big words gratuitously inserted just for effect. The reader is given just enough information to put the story together, but just little enough detail to be able to create her own images according to wherever her own imagination leads. Also, in the course of reading "Goodnight Moon" to several babysitting charges, I have always been amazed at how large the rooms are. What a luxury . . .

4. How old were you when you first learned to read? 2 years old for Korean; 4 years old for English. Eh, don't be impressed. Any brain-related talents I may have are completely balanced out by my un-affinity for math.

5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you? Once I got out of the picture books, I think I was always reading books that were "too old" for me. But I'll venture to say (without too much shame): "Remembrance" by Danielle Steele. Okay, bring on the laughter . . .

Sunday, July 6

THE GAME IS AT 4:05PM . . . OR NOT . . .

It was supposed to run like a well-oiled machine, in the following easy-to-follow four concise stages:

1. I arrive home from Albany around 12:30pm on Saturday, check my email to make sure everyone's still on board for the 4:05pm Yankees game against the BoSox.

2. Take a one-hour nap to shake off any residual tiredness, then a leisurely shower and a chance to use the chocolate bean body scrub I acquired at Hershey Spa a month and a half ago.

3. Meet JC and JW, drive to the Stadium, meet C, settle in our seats a little early, have a preliminary brewskie, sing the national anthem, and watch the Yanks trounce Boston.

4. Head out to Angelo & Maxie's, where I would eat steak and attempt to be "one of the guys at the steakhouse after a baseball game" and try to come up with the best one-liners to counteract the power of C (cue: Darth Vader theme song).

That was how it was supposed to be. This is how it was, in eight sweaty convoluted steps:

1. Arrive home from Albany around 11:25am. Even driving within 20mph of the posted speed limit (me having been recently traffic violation de-virginized and all), I make it home from Newburgh about an hour faster than anticipated. I don't know what I was thinking.

2. I check my email, and there is nothing, except for some outdated messages from the boys, with content along the lines of "see you Saturday at 4:05pm at Yankee Stadium." Oh, really.

3. I take a one-and-a-half-hour nap, because, after all, I'm tired and road-weary and missing my own bed and have -- ahem -- several hours to kill before I would have to meet up with JC and JW to head out. Riiiiight.

4. My alarm goes off at 12:45pm, and I loll in bed in my semi-dark room, flipping through a People magazine and wondering what kind of steak I should order for dinner. I decide on a filet mignon, medium, with a side of creamed spinach, and a Heineken to wash it all down, when my succulent reverie is rudely interrupted by my ringing cell phone at 1:05pm:

C: Hey.
Me: Hey.
C: Is the game at 1:05pm?
Me: No, it's at 4:05pm.
C: Are you sure it's not at 1:05pm?
Me: I'm positive. 4:05pm.
C: Then how come it's on TV right now?
Dramatic Pause
Me: What?
C: It's on TV.
Me: Nuh-uh.
C: Yeah, it's on TV. I was just watching the pre-game with M, and it's on TV.
Me: But how can that be? The game is at 4:05pm.
C: The New York Times says it's at 1:05pm.
Me: Well, they're wrong.
C: The local paper says it's at 1:05pm.
Me: Really?
C: The internet says it's at 1:05pm.
Me: Oh, sh*t.
C: And it's on TV. I was just watching it with M.
Dramatic Pause
Me: Hello?
C: Yes?
Me, looking at the tickets: Oh, f*ck. It's at 1:05pm.

And so it goes.

5. I must say that quite impressively, I sped through a 3-minute shower, dried my hair in 4 minutes, even managed to throw on makeup (going out in public, after all), found clean clothing to wear, and hopped in my car. And I even remembered money, wallet, lip balm, and the tickets. Sigh.

6. Call up JW, struggling to get out of the curve in my driveway backwards with one hand (hello, NYS cell-phone law):

JW (knowingly): HEY.
Me (as perkily as I could manage): Hi! Whatchyou doin'?
JW (with a scornful chuckle): Well, what are YOU doing?
Me: Oh, nuthin'. Goin' to a baseball game. Wanna go?

Shamefaced, but now laughing hysterically (you know, to keep from crying hysterically), I dial JC:

Me: Hey.
JC: Yes?
Me: The game is at 1:05pm.
JC (ominously): I KNOW.
Me: Oh. Okay. Let's go, then.

Thankfully, I am greeted by laughter on all fronts. God bless their precious hearts . . .

7. Completely disregarding my recent de-virginization -- so to speak -- I trot along at a merry pace to JC's, honk rudely for the boys to come on out, and we make our way to the Stadium by a not-entirely-pathetic 2:30pm. We get there in plenty of time to: see the BoSox kick our asses; watch JC flirt with some random girl who was there with her boyfriend (jeez, talk about mojo); get a respectable sunburn on the left sides of our bodies; spill an entire beer on the floor and a quarter of one down the back of the guy sitting in front of me (not my fault, by the way); make friends with BoSox fans from Joisey; tell a year's worth of jokes about sticking around for the 4 o'clock game. Ha ha and ha.

8. Being guilt-ridden about my sudden air-headedness and complete incompetence in arranging the afternoon, I buy the boys dinner. Not the luscious steak dinner I had anticipated, but dinner nonetheless. C even keeps the big-head jokes to a minimum, although he gives poor JC heatstroke by making us walk aimlessly around the Lower East Side for nuthin'.

A quick drive-by to see M, and I am back in air-conditioned comfort, being terrified by "The Ring." I am never watching a scary movie with JW and AW again, and there will be no turning off of the lights, thank you.

Ah, to be me . . .

Thursday, July 3


C just told me I am fake, contrived, boring, cliche, stupid and repetitive. He is such an a**hole sometimes.


What exactly are the ill effects of falling asleep breathing in wood varnish and waking up with a raging headache?


What should I buy for long-car-ride food? I'm really craving a burrito, but burritos and driving don't mix so well, I've discovered.


In hindsight, I think it's really weird that raspberry mousse cake was on the dessert menu at a Russian restaurant. Is there something I'm missing, or is dessert universal?


Well, I'm off to spend the next couple of days with Hooch and her man in Albany. I suppose I should have more respect for our state's capital, but . . . it's Albany. Feh. The chic-chic wedding on Friday should more than make up for it -- totally looking forward to that shindig . . .


Gotta make it back to the real New York in time for the Yankees-Red Sox game on Saturday. I shall be attending merely to babysit C, JW and JC. THAT should be interesting. Note to self: (1) must prepare external body armor so as to ward off crazy drunk Boston fans (where do they come from, anyway?!), and (2) must prepare internal body armor so as to ward off the expected taunts and low-blows from my own compadres. Oh, the anticipation is killing me . . .
continued . . .


Life since becoming friends with C has been nothing short of one big illegal adventure. I often feel like I'm living on the brink of (1) being arrested and subsequently convicted of some horrific crime that will see me festering in federal prison for the next eighty-eight years, thanks to the bizarre Sentencing Guidelines; or (2) other wretched danger.

Tonight, he decides -- since we are hostages in his cozy little convertible, after all -- that we're going to hit a late happy hour at the Boat Basin, on the River. Great idea . . . if we could FIND it. Instead, we spent a good ten minutes DRIVING his CAR on the SIDEWALK in RIVERSIDE PARK, entering all manner of VEHICLES PROHIBITED areas. Thankfully, the pedestrians C heckled ("Be safe, folks!") either graciously smiled, stared at us (probably thinking we were drunk and/or high), or waved back. And we met with no law enforcement sorts of any kind. Thank the Lord. How would I have explained to my parents: "The Riverside Park Commission police arrested me for being in a car being driven on the sidewalk in Riverside Park at 10:30 on a Wednesday night." ???

Sigh. I don't even remember what it's like to have 'normal' friends anymore . . .


34C, 34C, 33C, 35C . . .

I'm ashamed of myself. Tonight, I joined in a bet, along with C, JW and Cheech, guessing the bra size of one of C's good friends. It wasn't until after C actually asked the friend the question point-blank, then explained to her "oh, we bet on your bra size" that it occurred to me and Cheech: this is highly insulting and she is totally offended and we are wrong for having done this.

There were only two excellent things that came of this awful moment in my life.

1. Cheech told me that he was glad that he grew up with a sister because it has made him more sensitive to what women may go through on a daily basis -- catcalls, leery looks, presumptuously wandering hands -- and the ridiculousness of the need for women to always be thinking "Where should I look when I walk by that group of construction workers?" or "What can I wear to not elicit these comments and looks?" or "Am I going to be raped walking down this street?" Right on . . .

2. The Bra Size Friend threw down a challenge to the guys: go and measure your penises and tell us your sizes. I could not have toasted her any more enthusiastically than I did at that moment. Still wallowing in my shame, I recognized her gathering back her pride and saying the one thing that would show that she had a sense of humor AND a set of steel balls. Of course, none of the guys rose to the challenge . . . so to speak.



I am just so loving my brother right now. He walked into Firebird looking all grown-up, even though his hair was standing straight up in a weird little mohawk. He made nicey-nice with my comparatively old friends -- a firm handshake here, a bigger smile for my closer friends there, a kiss on the cheek for mutual friends at the end of the table. He ordered a grown-up drink and managed not to guzzle it in one fat gulp. He even managed to keep all his food on his plate this time, so as not to recreate the Crazy Wedding Fiasco.

But the best thing about Cheech, and the thing that makes me most proud of him, is his ability to be NICE. He's the first guy to admit that his first impressions of new acquaintances might be wrong and they might be deserving of a second, third, fourth chance. He's the best at making small talk but keeping his eyes on you and smiling just enough to show that he's sincere and polite but not smarmy. He's the most easy-going guy's guy, bonding instantly -- to my dismay -- with C. I bet he has the Darth Vader theme song running through his noggin right now . . . And he'll talk about anything with anyone, exchanging ideas and suggestions and jokes in a simple goal to put someone at ease or to befriend them because he knows the person is important to me. Yup. My Cheech is the best.



I am so pissy lately. I have become the epitome of the hyper-sensitive mega-bee-yatch. I have been reading everything negative into every little comment made to me; I have been wanting to cry over every perceived slight; I have been unable to take a joke; I have become unnecessarily over-protective of my heart and my self.

Who will I turn to for a comforting hug? Who will throw me the exact one-liner that will permanently turn my frown upside-down? Who will let me cry on their shoulder, though their shirt would turn into a salt lick? Who will be a true friend who won't mind my pissiness, but gently turn me back towards my non-pissy self?

Why do I even look for someone to do these things for me? Eh, just get over it . . .



The best part of the day, by far -- especially compared to the pathetically pissy start it had -- was the drive home. A steady pace with the top down, slightly cool breeze making a mess of my hair, JW in the back seat singing along to old-school Erasure streaming from C's iPod, C telling us -- with tears gathering in the corners of his eyes -- how much he loves M and how strong she is and what they went through to create their beloved Noodles, rolling into sleepy White Plains blasting AC/DC, and one last big-head joke to end the night. Yeah, those two chuckleheads are true hissy-fit inducers, but I love them anyway.



Me: 7 1/8"
C: between 7 1/4" and 7 3/8"
JW: 7 5/8"

I do not have a big head.
Thank you.