Friday, January 30


Tonight, I told NRL how much I loved being surrounded by so much new life: the Little Alien, the Noodles, Jonathan, the soon-to-be completely ripe Melon. These kids whom I love so much, my goddaughter to whom I already feel so much responsibility and in whom I already place so much care and expectation, represent to me all the cliches that people say that children are: the future, the backbone of our country, our hope, everything we wish we could be but can't anymore, etc. Yet even as I think on these new additions to my extended family, I am also made to think upon those who are on their way out, leaving me and us behind ...

This afternoon, I learned that Caro's grandmother is on the verge of dying. Now, this is not one of those bizarre "she was 98 years old and passed unexpectedly" types of situations at which Hooch and I raise disbelieving and mocking eyebrows (I mean, really, who dies UNEXPECTEDLY at age 98?!). Caro's gran, a very very elderly lady, has been in a nursing home for the past several years, frail, unable to move by herself, and not completely there mentally for a long, long time. I can't imagine what she looks like now, and I'm certainly glad I can't, because my memory of her is as a surrogate grandmother, short but spry, ornery but plying Caro and I with food every other moment, slender and angular but stronger than steel, possessing a stern glare occasionally interrupted by a loud and raucous laugh.

Caro and I were best friends -- BFF, if you will -- for the longest time, for most of our childhoods, until we were well into high school, mainly because our dads were best friends, since their high school days in The Motherland. Sleepovers were Caro's and my staple, us sharing books and flashlights under the covers waaaay past midnight and trying to keep our voices down so we wouldn't get yelled at at 2 in the morning. We made a mess of our kitchens baking Toll-house chocolate chip cookies a la Julia Child, complete with high shaky voices and gratuitous flour spatters. We choreographed elaborate MTV-style dance routines to Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" in our respective basements. We traded "best friends forever" necklaces and charms. We wrote long, long letters to each other, even though our families got together at least once a month, and we coordinated outfits so we'd look alike but not too alike when we did meet up. We styled each other's hair, practiced piano duets, tormented our younger brothers, and sprawled on our bedroom floors exchanging grandiose dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up -- she an ophthalmologist, me an astronaut. And Caro's gran, reigning with my own paternal gran, oversaw all of this with her sharp but adoring eye, just as she oversaw Appa and Caro's dad when they were young men about to embark on the rest of their lives.

Caro was my first sister; her dad was like a brother to my dad; her brother just like my own pesky Cheech; her home just as open and accessible as my own. Her gran was to be feared and revered and adored just as my gran was. In fact, Caro and her family were my first lesson in loving those not related to me by blood as though they were my own. So knowing that right now, Omma and Appa are sitting vigil with Caro's Omma and Appa, waiting for the inevitable, my heart is breaking into tiny little bits. For Caro's parents, who have to let go of someone who was the backbone their family for decades ... for Caro's dad, who like my own dad, will finally have to be completely on his own with no parents left to care for or turn to ... for Caro, who probably can't really remember her gran before the bad years ... and for my dad, who might feel like he's losing his mother all over again.

Perhaps they are sitting quietly, murmuring to each other, each afraid to break the solemn mood. Perhaps Appa is attempting to tell funny stories and be generally entertaining, in an attempt to distract Caro's parents as well as himself. Perhaps they are rationally discussing how the end was coming for Caro's gran, how it's just better this way, how relieved they are that the fight is finally over. Perhaps they are being philosophical, weighing the pros and cons of living such a long, but ultimately lost, life. Perhaps Appa and Caro's Appa are off on their own, clinging to each other as brothers, and thinking of their own past and the forty-plus years they have traveled to get to this point. Whatever the case, I go to bed with a heavy heart tonight, mourning the life of someone I didn't even know very well, but who, I realize now, too late, left a permanent and loving thumbprint on the path of my life ...

No, seriously. It's been a long week, a stressful week, a week of ups and downs and big highs and super lows, a week of doubts and insecurities, a week of extreme happinesses and new experiences. And I'm glad it's over. Sometimes, I could handle a bit of bordeom and emotional steadiness. But to help me achieve that perfect state of non-Zen Zen, I give you another survey, courtesy of TinyCricket, the Giver of All Cheesy Surveys I Love Because They Help Me Waste Time:

I am: an enigma, baby!
I think: too much, and not always productively.
I know: that I am loved.
I want: it all, but mostly right now, a condo.
I have: almost all of it. =)
I wish: things were just a little bit clearer, a little bit easier, a little bit better timed, a little bit more secure and a little bit more manageable.
I hate: crazy drivers who weave in and out of traffic and almost clip parts of my Good Girl.
I miss: the summer and the people I want to see the most.
I fear: ending up alone.
I feel: pensive, insecure, happy, excited, slightly headache-y, slightly bloated, hungry and eager.
I hear: my coworkers chatting and my space heater blowing.
I smell: nothing in particular.
I crave: Thai food and a bottle of red wine, shared with a beloved friend.
I search: for the best bargains anywhere, at all times. Because most of it just ain't worth it.
I wonder: about my life ten years from now.
I love: God and all my beloveds.
I always: brush and floss.
I can't: stand having everything you want right within reach, but still be not quite have-able.
I dance: like a dork on purpose to make people laugh, especially during praise team practice. Nothing like a good hoedown to get you going!
I sing: even when it's time to stop.
I cry: at everything, because of everything, for everything.
I win: the occasional game of Scrabble.
I lose: weight during the summer months.
I confuse: my friends with the random and winding thoughts that spew forth from my brain to my mouth and onwards.
I can usually be found: wedged into a corner of a sofa with Bob the Laptop or a good book.
I am scared: of losing people I love.
I need: a massage ... today ... everyday.
I am happy about: the people in my life, the job I have, the church I attend, and the fact that the sun is shining today.
I expect: kindness, success and productive deeds from myself, understanding and care from my friends, unconditional love and support from my family, great and amazing things from NHF and its members, respect and consideration from my colleagues, an end to racist and sexist jokes thrown in my face from people who should really know better, Cheech to be a great doctor who does the world a lot of good, miracles from God, and a juicy flavorful steak tomorrow night with some kick-ass side dishes and a smooth bottle of wine to wash it all down.



Your Friday Five:

You have just won one million dollars:
1. Who do you call first? Cheech.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself? A stack of all the books I've ever wanted to own and/or read. I know ... such a nerd.

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else? A retirement condo for my parents, somewhere warm but not too warm, and near a golf course but not too near.

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom? Of course! I can't take it with me when I kick it, you know. UNICEF, American Red Cross, Cheech's medical school fund, The Fresh Air Fund, AALDEF, Susan G. Komen Foundation, NPR and NHF with the provision that it be used to find us a new home!

5. Do you invest any? If so, how? Always: my UPromise account could use a little boost, as could my IRA. I'm too afraid of playing the market, but maybe if I find a broker I can trust ... and real estate, baby! It's all about real estate!

Tuesday, January 27


It's supposed to snow like a mo' fo' today, tonight, into tomorrow. (Apologies for the juvenile not-truly-literate street slang, but that's really the only way to describe the potential of 14 inches of snow being dumped on my poor little metropolitan region.) That's fine -- who cares that we're all already sick of winter, slick roads, freezing temperatures, lingering illnesses, dirty and salt-ridden cars, grey skies? What's another few inches of snow on top of what's left over from the last storm?

The only thing is ... I wish I were going to be snowbound with friends. Nothing against my parents or Gran, but there's something about being piled on a couch with a bunch of friends that makes the constant snowfall less of a drag. For example, two storms ago, J2 and I got snowbound at Camp Capio over the weekend, and we spent our two days there eating, eating, watching television, eating, dozing, eating, laughing, chatting, playing with the Noodles, eating -- it was fabulously lazy. There's something about scrounging for food in someone else's house that is much less pathetic than scrounging for food in one's own home. Plus, Fox is airing another set of "American Idol 3" auditions tonight, and really, one shouldn't experience that alone.

Ah well ... I'll just have to sucker Omma and Appa into watching that atrocity with me tonight ...



I am an awards-show sloot -- if there's one on television, I will watch it. Back in the day, I used to tape them, just to see the dresses and hear the acceptance speeches. I will even say "Hey, can I come over to your house to watch the Emmy's with you?"

So you know I'm all over the February Oscars. Those nominations were announced this morning. It's a very diverse and interesting group, with some unexpected names (at least in my humble and not-that-knowledgeable opinion), so check out the list ...



Mrs.G was taunting me last night for being a Kerry-lover. It's not really my fault -- she lured me into taking a quiz, and we all know how much I love useless quizzes. Anyway, President Match asked me a bunch of questions, all of which I answered completely inconsistently, and it determined that John Kerry was the best president for me. He was followed by -- in no particular order -- Dean, Edwards, Clark and Lieberman. Mrs.G laughed at me, but at least I didn't have AL SHARPTON on my list of potentially best-matched presidents. Yikes.

In any event, the unreliable circus known as the New Hampshire primary is occurring today, so go out there and have fun, people ...



Dude. You went to college, so I know you can read. You have a lawyer who presumably went to law school and can also read. You are a professional baseball player and have been for six years. SO READ YOUR CONTRACT AND DON'T PLAY BASKETBALL.



Can anyone suggest a good book about Ted Williams? And can anyone lend me $160 so I can purchase Ken Burns' documentary "Baseball"? Thanks.

Monday, January 26

GREY . . .

I am a touch morose today. On top of experiencing some PMS, I just looked at my calendar, crossed off another day, and realized that the month of January 2004 has almost completely flown by. This makes me sad because in many ways, I don't feel like my life has really gone anywhere in the last month. Nothing has really changed; everything is the same. Can I say things in my life are stagnant? Not really, I guess ... I mean, I've done stuff and it's not like I've been sitting at home staring at the wallpaper ... but things are just the same. I guess today is just one of those days where I sit around mulling, "Another day older and what have I done with myself?" Sigh ...

Saturday, January 24


With Cheech stowed away in a teeny "two-bedroom" apartment in NYC somewhere (I put "two-bedroom" in quotes because anyone who has lived in NYC post-college on a limited budget knows exactly what I mean), it's just me, Omma, Appa and Gran at home, in the house we've lived in for the past seventeen years. But my parents and I work full-time jobs and have active social lives, and Gran keeps busy with her Korean soap operas and knit scarf orders; as a result, my family and I live very independent lives.

Sometimes, I can go three or four days without seeing Appa. He plays saxophone in a Christian concert band that rehearses in Queens once a week; those nights, I'm usually asleep before he gets home. I'm out gallivanting with my friends at least two evenings a week ... okay, we don't really gallivant as much as we sit in front of a television with massive amounts of food and desserts and vegetate. Omma does her rounds of golfing with her lady friends, or runs errands on behalf of the office or home. Gran knits like crazy, trying to keep up with the demand created once the public got wind of her cashmere scarf-making abilities (you provide the cashmere, suckas!). My parents have all sorts of alumni associations that they keep their thumbs in, and most weekends are occupied with making those social rounds, while my Saturdays are normally spent being bullied into doing something I typically would not do. We all go to church in the same building, but at two totally different times; our cars don't even pass each other in the church parking lot as one service lets out and the other begins. You would think I'm merely a rent-paying roommate to my parents and Gran.

This morning, inspiration struck Omma with a vengeance, and she prepared a lavish diner-style breakfast for all four of us. It was Appa's off-Saturday, so he was home, practicing the saxophone in the basement. I drifted awake to the smell of eggs and potatoes, and the smooth sound of Appa playing a hymn on his tenor sax. The four of us sat down at the kitchen table -- the first time all four of us have been gathered in one room for one meal in ... God knows how long! -- prayed, and ate our breakfast, sipping our teas, engaging in random conversation. We admired our new kitchen (which, miraculously, after one week, is still relatively new and clean-looking), stared out the window at the sparkling snow, talked about the wretched condominium market and how amazing it is that someone actually bought the ugly 2-bedroom we saw two weeks ago, then sat back and burped in appreciation and relaxation.

I'm back in my room now, having taken a shower (alright, alright, it's past noon, but it's Saturday, for crying out loud! And I know for a fact that Mrs.G is still in her pajamas!). Appa has just finished another round of lyrical practicing in the basement; Gran is plopped on the sofa, a Korean soap opera on the television as background noise, knitting away on another person's request; Omma is putting on her jacket and gloves. I'm getting ready to go out and start my busy weekend with friends; Omma and Appa, those crazy folks, are going to the range to hit some golf balls (ahhh, never say addiction is not a disease).

So we go our separate ways again. But it's okay ... we had breakfast together.

Friday, January 23


Sometimes I scare myself with my ability to be angry and keep on being angry. I jokingly justify me by saying "Oh, I'm a Scorpio" or something stupid like that, but really, I'm just flawed and immature. Just in the last few months, I can point to at least two things that have filled me with rage (controlled, but rage nontheless) and which continue to enrage me. Whenever I think upon these things, my stomach clenches in extreme agita, my heart starts racing from the adrenaline pumping through it, and I just want to hash and rehash and rehash the hash again with my friends who are probably most sick of hearing about how enraged I am. But of course, given my Scorpion nature (har har), no amount of rehashing truly alleviates my heart or gives me relief.

Shrub fills me with rage. Down, Secret Service, down! I have no desire to hurt him -- I don't even want to be NEAR the man. I just don't want him to be MY President anymore, representing MY country and pretending to do good things for MY fellow citizens when I see him only serving special interests, merging church and state, and meddling in places he shouldn't be. I wanted to take consolation in the fact that perhaps he was surrounded by smart people: Colin Powell, Condi Rice, even Dick Cheney -- who, while being a total nutcase, probably is quite intelligent. But what is one to do in the face of someone who is vacant AND stubborn? Those two qualities in one person are impenetrable.

Shrub would support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Now, I'll be honest with you. I don't know what my stance on this is. But me being undecided does NOT mean Shrub can decide it FOR me. Why is he even in a position where he can SAY something about the issue. Stupid Florida. I could go on and on about Shrub: the fact that he blew a budget surplus in less time than it takes me to wipe out on a snowboard ... the fact that troops are STILL in Iraq, doing what exactly? ... the fact that OSAMA BIN LADEN (remember him?) is still out there and we have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and so what was the war about again? ... the revelation that he was 'planning' to attack Iraq at least a full year before 9/11 happened -- please don't use the deaths of my friend and my friends' friends as an excuse for your pathetic vendetta ... the fact that he's willing to devote massive amounts of money to this and that and the other thing that his friends are involved in, but PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE STILL FAILING AND CHILDREN STILL DON'T HAVE HEALTH CARE ... but wait. I'm becoming angry again.

Deep breath.

Even people less removed from me fill me with lingering, festering anger, and when the situation involves someone that I actually know, that anger is mixed with hurt, and stings all the more for it. Particularly in situations where I have made efforts to be someone's friend, listened to someone and 'been there' for them, tolerated all of their idiosyncracies and annoying habits, tried to understand how they could possibly be who they are and accept them despite qualities that would normally drive me away, defended them when no one else wanted to give them the time of day, been unjustly attacked and accused by them, and basically been backstabbed by them ... I am left not only angry and hurt, but completely reeling from the fact that I have no idea what happened. And this confusion makes me even more angry.

Who they heck do they think they are, thinking they can go around being the way they are and assuming they don't have to apologize for it? I'm sorry, but sometimes, people's personalities, their very beings DO suck and they DO need to apologize for who they are and they DO need to make conscientious efforts to change. Why do they think they have done no wrong, but conversely believe that everyone else is seriously flawed? On top of that, why do they think that they are rightfully the ones to point out these flaws and inarticulately, hurtfully, bluntly, insensitively and inaccurately suggest ways to correct the flaws? Why are they -- grown adults -- still so unable to be still and look inside themselves, even if it hurts, even if they don't like what they see? Why do they take out their own insecurities on others, in the classic "I don't like myself so I'll make someone else feel bad to make myself feel good" fashion? Why do they have serious mental and emotional issues, but refuse to get much-needed and useful professional help in dealing with them? Why do they put on a front of being nice people and how do they successfully trick others into believing this?

And the thing that makes me MOST angry: why do i even care?!?!?!?!??!!? How many times do my friends have to affirm for me: they are not worth your time and energy; you cannot resolve their issues so don't even try; it is not your responsibility to be everyone's friend; they are jerks so why do you even want to be their friend; rise above and let it go; ignore them, etc.? I know my friends are right, I KNOW they are. But I cannot let go of the anger and the resentment and the hurt. It feeds upon itself within me and I make up conversations in my head -- brilliant, cutting, witty, truthful things I would say to these awful people in my life had I only the nerve, the opportunity, and the duct tape to shut their mouths so I can rant uninterrupted. Why do I do this? Don't I have better things to do?

I do have better things to do. And most of the time, I go about my life doing them. But once in a while, a news headline, a stupid State of the Union address, an inopportune and faux-friendly advance, or a smarmy smile through which I can see the evil (and yes, I think some people ARE evil, just in different way) sets me off again, and I can stew stew stew for hours. And that makes me angry too because stewing is bad for my innards and messes up my regularity! AAARGH, I HATE THESE PEOPLE!!!!!

And that brings me to a subject I was discussing with C the other day: what role does forgiveness play in all of this? I am a self-professed Christian; I have publicly committed myself to living a Christian life, according to what God teaches me and how He leads me. And doesn't He tell me, pretty darn plainly, to love my neighbor? Isn't one of the basic foundations of being a believer rooted in the fact that Christ forgave ALL my sins, and don't I pray for Him to continue to forgive me just as I forgive those who wrong me? What do any of my beliefs, any of the words I pray, mean if one of my favorite hobbies is holding onto anger and resentment and not letting go of it?

I think I resist forgiving people who have wronged me because it makes me feel like a doormat. In essence, I feel like I am saying "you TOTALLY did me wrong, but I'm going to turn the other cheek and wipe your slate clean anyway." That is sooo not me; that is sooo not any human being I know!!! But is that what forgiveness is? Turning the other cheek so I can be slapped upside the head again? Christ was taunted and flogged and persecuted again and again, in ways I cannot even fathom ... does that mean I have to be too? Well, I know that to live a Christian life, I have to endure things that non-believers wouldn't. But ...

I don't believe I need to be a doormat. I believe I would be fully within my rights to forgive ... and FORGET (assuming I could or didn't take such sick pleasure in remembering). I think I could say "I forgive you for being a total jerk to me, but you are bad for me, you are not a constructive presence in my life, you make me and my friends unhappy, and I do not want you in my life anymore." As long as I forgot, as long as I didn't unreasonably and ungraciously hold onto my anger, as long as my forgiveness was sincere, wouldn't that be alright and sufficient? Surely my calling as a Christian doesn't mean I have to be unhappy, or bizarrely and masochistically surround myself with bad elements, or tolerate the constant presence of awful people in my life? Does it? DOES IT?

I don't know the answer to any of my own questions. I know what I feel, I know what the Bible says, I know what I'm taught ... and I need to pray and figure out how it all comes together and what I'm supposed to do and how I'm suppose to live it out, exactly. I need to ask for the ability to show grace as I have been shown grace, the maturity to forgive as I have been forgiven, and the emotional depth to let go and not be weighed down by anger and hurt and live pursuant to the freedom that I have been granted as a believer. I know all that. So I continue to mull the issues ... why do I enjoy being angry? ... why can't I forgive AND forget? ... what does it mean to truly forgive? ... and how exactly do I go about doing that in the face of someone or someones who do not ask for my forgiveness, much less acknowledge that there is anything to repent of?

Any insights from you NON-Scorpios out there?

At this moment, what is your favorite...
1. "Hear Our Praises."

2. Steak, medium-rare, with butter, and a side of creamed spinach ... and kimchi. Always the kimchi.

3. show? It is a close tie between "American Idol 3" and "CSI." I kid you not.

4. ...scent? Origins Grapefruit Body Wash. If it wasn't bad for me, I'd eat it.

5. ...quote? "Well done, good and faithful servant." Matthew 25.



I have two very serious requests of you, my readers (I'm assuming there are more than, say, five), so take heed:

1. If you know of any elementary or middle school level teaching positions (English, Language Arts, Reading) in the Westchester County, New York area, please leave me a comment with details, or pop me an email.

2. If you know of any job openings in Bergen County, New Jersey -- any position that doesn't require years and years of specified experience, but comes with health benefits -- please leave me a comment with details, or pop me an email.


Monday, January 19

AND SHE LIVES!!! . . .

C took me snowboarding today.

That should be "enuff said," but I feel some context is necessary.

The last time I skied was in early high school. I wasn't bad, either -- I could manage most intermediate level trails and survived one run down a black diamond trail at Killington (don't ask me which one because I have effectively blocked it out of my memory). But my last ski event ever saw me hitting a patch of ice, skidding horribly off the trail, being launched through the air and the tops of small trees, and landing flat on my back on the top of a sawed-off tree stump. I had lost both skiis, a boot, both poles and a glove. I opened my eyes, saw the sky and the tree branches above me twirl and swirl, and thought -- much like Dory in "Finding Nemo" -- "Am I dead?" I was not dead, but I was severely bruised and I knew that I had narrowly escaped serious injury. How I landed so hard and flat on my spine and didn't break it is a miraculous mystery I ponder to this day.

Needless to say, I gave up winter sports after that. But even an unreasonably stubborn bitch like me can give in when bullied enough, and if there's anything C is particularly good at, it's bullying. So in an effort to shut him up, I agreed to be his snowboarding minion today.

My first boarding experience was much like my first experience mountain biking: I'm not particularly good at boarding yet, but I'm not totally horrible at it either. My form isn't great -- I stick out my butt too much to try to overcompensate -- but it's not too ugly. I can't get off a ski lift without some major assistance, but at the end of the day, I felt pretty comfortable with a snowboard latched onto my left foot. Riding regular, I can't successfully complete a toeside turn to save my life, but I can manage a heelside turn just fine AND keep skidding down the hill on my heels. I can't ride goofy at all. My first major wipeout, I propellered my board, just like they told me to in C's dorky little snowboarding book, and C had a good laugh. My second major wipeout, I landed hard on my butt -- thank goodness for C's hockey pants, which while effectively blocking the sun from hitting Earth, also prevented me from injuring my tailbone -- and saw stars. It took me a few moments to shake my head clear and get rid of the ringing in my ears, but it wasn't that hard to get back up again. I didn't even whine today, as I had threatened C I would do if he was mean to me. He wasn't mean to me, and because I was having too much fun, no whining was necessary. I only got tired after about 2 1/2 hours, when the board started to get really heavy, and I couldn't even flip myself over anymore. In any event, boarding is waaaay easier than skiing, and eventually, I'll look cool doing it. Or at least not stick out my butt too much. I made C promise to take me at least one more time before introducing my Betty-fied self to the public. And I'm going to perfect that toeside turn if I have to propeller a gazillion more times in the process!

So another lesson learned: if C says it's going to be fun, and it's not illegal, then it probably will be fun and I'll most likely enjoy myself. He says golfing is next, but the very thought puts me to sleep. I'd rather learn to sail, despite my deathly fear of deep water.

Speaking of sleep ... my body is only slightly loose from a hot bath (my first bath in, like 12 years!), so I'm going to pop some super-strength Motrin, grab a fluffy blanket, and lie in front of the premiere of the new season of "American Idol." After an hour of that, it's really a coin-toss as to whether or not I'll be able to crawl to my bedroom so I can dream about ski lifts and perfect boarding days ...

Sunday, January 18


Courtesy of TinyCricket:

1. Picking my lower lip.
2. Jumping to conclusions about people without giving them a fair shake.
3. Thinking I can multitask with 7 tasks instead of realizing that I can only realistically do 4 things at once.
4. Overreacting.

1. A home of my own.
2. A man to love passionately and freely.
3. Season tickets to the Yankees ... despite George Steinbrenner.
4. Money to give to my parents, my brother, my family in North Korea, starving children and cancer research.

1. Clean man with a mere hint of deodorant or aftershave.
2. Kimchi jigae simmering on the stove for hours and hours.
3. The grapefruit body wash I just started using.
4. Gasoline.

1. HaYoung
2. C
3. Cheech
4. Omma

1. Legwarmers
2. Bright red lipstick
3. Laura Ashley
4. A necktie

1. How annoyed i am ...
2. How interesting tonight's Bible study was ...
3. I can't believe this bullshit ...
4. Will I sleep okay tonight? ...

1. Helped NRL cook for tomorrow evening's dinner.
2. Attended Bible study at WJ's home.
3. Laundry ... finally.
4. Drove frantically all over the place for nothing.

1. Bottle of Bacardi rum
2. Gift certificate from Borders
3. Two pounds of cookies
4. A skim vanilla latte with lunch

1. Outkast
2. Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott
3. N'Sync
4. Fiona Apple

1. Water
2. Coffee
3. Cranberry juice
4. Ginger ale

"Fine, I'm going home."

"On Top of Spaghetti" ... in cat voice.

One of the Laboys ... can't remember which one.

JA snoring in the back seat.

Earlier this afternoon.

Just now.

Miles Davis ("Love Songs") and Fiona Apple ("Tidal").

I'm barefoot, baby!

Nothing. I have a platform-style bed, with drawers underneath the platform. So ... technically, clothing. And a platform.

3:12am to go to the bathroom ... 5:43am because of a bad dream ... 7:48am to go to the bathroom ... 8:21am because of a bad dream ... 9:03am because the electrician knocked on the door ... 9:57am because I was sick of lying in bed staring out the window.

To redo the last twenty minutes.

Omma's impending surgery and my inability to sleep.

Circumstance and my own stubbornness.

Eyes, nose, shoulders, forearms.

Snuggled in my rabbit hole or any place I can turn into my rabbit hole.

On the road surrounded by luxury SUV drivers who speed, weave in and out of traffic, high-beam you when you're already going 80mph in the middle lane, and basically think they own the road.

The one who just can't deal.

Friday, January 16


A. If you want insight into me, the kinds of things I'm interested in, the things I spend some of my time doing, the people and issues that are special to me, you can check out the links to the left of your screen. I assume that you do browse on your own, so I won't pander to you and tell you to go read things. But I just have to suggest that you go check out today's Camp Capio. Do not be afraid. This really is the kind of person I get along best with. (And note: I will do everything humanly possible to NOT eat the cheese.)

B. Poor Michael Jackson. Do I think he molested that adolescent boy? Yes. I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty, but I was asked today, "if you had to make an assumption right now about his guilt, what would it be?" and I told the truth. And if he did molest that boy, or anyone else, he should go to jail for his crime(s). But that doesn't negate the fact that I think he's very sad. I don't think one can rely on one's past to justify or explain one's behavior, but I think he had a very very bizarre life. I think it has turned him into the freak show that he is now. I think he had so much potential, so much charisma, so much talent, and so much public appeal ... and it all just went awry for some reason. I think he could've been a living legend, an inspiration, a trend-setter, a musical dynasty in and of himself. And that that is all gone away from him, and that he is now in this situation, that he felt he had to build this weird world for himself so that he could feel human ... I find it very sad.

C. And for once, I have your Friday Five on an actual Friday. Enjoy:

1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails? At work, I have my full name, job title and the name of my boss ... only because I couldn't think of anything wittier that would also be appropriate within the federal judicial system. (They are so humorless sometimes, you know.) For my personal email address(es), I have no signature because everyone I email gets their own special sign-off from me!

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be? I had a few ... one of my favorite Bible verses: Proverbs 2:10 (For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul) ... random quote stemming from my irrationally feminist days (All men are created equal; all women are created superior) ... and an inside joke (Don't go anywhere without the Deep Woods OFF!). I was such a dork.

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say? I don't believe in vanity plates and find them to be a colossal waste of space, metal, paint, money and brain cells.

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say? My brother and I received a joint gift of a sterling silver picture frame engraved with the date of our Christmas 1995 trip to L.A. to hang with our cousins -- our first and only Christmas away from our parents thus far. Not that exciting, but pretty meaningful ...

5. What would you like your epitaph to be? OK, don't freak out, but I actually have thought about this extensively in the past, and I have reached no definitive decision. I'm torn ... "Her father's daughter." ... "She did good." ... "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9" ...


1. It is pretty damn cold outside. DANG!

2. Our kitchen is done! All y'all, hold your horses ... I'll have you all over for dinner soon. Just keep your grubby paws off the walls or my mom's gonna git you.

3. I finally found my humidifier. Then I discovered there was lots of dried schmutz in it that I had to clean out. Luckily, our kitchen is done, so I could use our extra-deep stainless steel double-wide sink and the handy pull-out faucet-head with the button that switches the flow to a light spray, to clean out the schmutz. And now I am going to be sufficiently ... humidified.

Wednesday, January 14


I'll say this for the Yankees: they might have a bumbling fool for an owner, but Derek Jeter speaking on their behalf almost makes up for it ...
READ IT . . .

Because it's just a nice story.

Tuesday, January 13


When I look back over the last 28 years of my church-attending life, I am often surprised and heartened. Surprised, because statistically speaking, as an American woman in her 20s, I technically shouldn't still be a believer; I should have "fallen away" at some point in college or soon after graduation. Heartened, because I haven't, and though it hasn't been easy believing or living a life of belief the whole time, I'm still here. I still believe in God; I still believe in salvation; I still believe in loving Him and loving my neighbor; I still believe in grace; I still believe that I am forgiven; I still believe that God so loved the world, He sent His only Son to save it.

So looking at my church life now, it's not my faith that is wavering; instead, I find myself questioning my place in the church, particularly at NHF.

We are a small body -- our core group probably totals no more than 50, although our numbers have been increasing in recent weeks as friends and people in the community hear of PEK's arrival. There are probably about eight couples in their forties or older, most with two or more children; probably about six couples in their thirties, some with children, some with babies, some just loving life on their own. There are a few couples in their twenties, and just a small fraction of them have started to expand their families. There's a varied assortment of single folks in their twenties and thirties, myself included. No babies for us yet, I don't think, but who's judging, right? The last three groups of congregants is bizarrely and collectively referred to as "the Young Adults." And then we have the high school kids -- just four, I think. We are, for the most part, a tight-knit group. Everyone cares for each other, though not everyone is the best of friends, and we have worked hard over the past several years to create this motley but loving family.

So the question that has been pushing at the walls of my heart since Sunday afternoon is this: how come we don't play together? Or more precisely, why don't the Young Adults play with ... the Older Adults? And why do we complain about them not playing with us, when we don't ask to play with them? And why do we even need to ask to play with them? Can't we all just ... play nice together, even without asking permission? Isn't that the point of a church, to just be able to BE, without worrying about how we are be-ING?

I ask these questions because this past Sunday, during the fellowship hour (more like two hours, given the increasingly extravagant meals that are being served -- Hallelujah!), WJ came over to the table at which many Y/A's were sitting (because of course, we sit separated according to our age and friend groups and almost never intermingle) and extended an open invitation to the Bible study at his house this Saturday. Now, I had heard about these Bible studies. Actually, let me offer a revision: C told me about the amazing FOOD offered at the Bible studies held at WJ's house. Apparently, WJ is a true connoisseur of the barbecue method, and orders his wood chips special-like from North Carolina. I happen to be a sucker for good barbecue. Even for bad barbecue. Or I might just be a sucker, period. But I digress.

I've never been invited to the "adults'" Bible study before. I was never UNinvited, and of course, I never asked to attend myself, but that's not the point. The point is that it never occurred to me that I might even be welcome at "their" Bible study. Even while we Y/A's, or at least us Y/A women struggled to put together our own Bible study groups, it never dawned on me that I could join one that already existed. In the hidden depths of my heart, I always felt that the "adults" had their own thing going on, and the rest of us had to find our own way to do "our" own thing. But I now find this silly and counter-productive for a few reasons.

First, this whole "us"-vs.-"them" or "us"-exclusive-of-"them" mentality is simply misplaced in a church setting, or at least it should be misplaced in a church setting. It's not like one of us is Shrub, and the rest of us is the Axis of Evil. We are a CHURCH, for crying out loud, and we should be one body, with Christ as the head. Of course, the church's members have different needs, and there's certainly nothing wrong with organizing separate and distinct activities to try to meet and serve these needs. But shouldn't this be done with the purpose of strengthening the whole unit, instead of dividing the unit up into distinguishable and segregated portions, who inevitably end up misunderstanding and miscommunicating with each other, as distinguishable and segregated groups are wont to do? Second, while NHF does have a Women's Group, a Young Adult Group and a Couples Group, it also has a "Bible Study." Just that -- a Bible study. It's not the "People Aged 40 And Over Only" Bible study, or the "Only If You're Married With Children" Bible study, or the "Open Only to People Who Always Act Mature and Adult-Like" Bible study. As C told me, it's just a Bible study ... so why do some of us automatically impute to that the preface "Adults Only"? In doing so, we Y/A's exclude ourselves ... and then sit around and grouse about it, even though the subject of our grousing doesn't really exist! See? Silly. Finally, JJ brought up a good point on Sunday evening: how long can most of us continue to call ourselves "Young Adults," at least when categorizing by age? Many of the "Young Adults" are now 30 years old or over; I'm going to be 30 myself in two years; most of my 20-something friends are not that far behind. Is this going to be some weird mental thing where we're going to call ourselves "Young Adults" even into our forties, as long as there are people older than us in the church? Isn't that just ... strange and slightly Michael Jackson-ish? At what point are the Y/A's going to stop clinging to our church childhoods and say: "We too are adults. Please treat us like adults. Actually, let's act like adults. Let's stop asking to be coddled. Let's be pro-active. Let's make friends with other adults. Let's be role models and sources of encouragement to those who are younger than us, those who actually will be young adults soon. Let's stop feeling like we have to ask permission for everything. Let's stop being passive-aggressive. Let's be brave enough to expand our circle of friends. Let's do things together and play nice as a family. Let's stop complaining about "them" and start to do something about the things we whine about. Let's be unafraid to take responsibility for ourselves and for NHF."

So where do these recent revelations leave me? Well ... I think about this coming Saturday's Bible study at WJ's house and C's encouragement to "just go." (I also think about the barbecue dinner to be served, but I promise, that is a minor consideration). If I attend, I am fairly certain that I will be the only single "young" woman there. I can also be assured that there will be some minor hubbub: "WOW!!! You're HERE! You've JOINED us! WELCOME!" (Which I guess isn't totally a bad thing -- I'd rather be welcomed than not, right?) Though I will want to lay low and listen and just soak in the new scene, there will also probably be some "And what do YOU think? PLEASE speak up. In fact, what do ALL the Young Adults think?" Some of the older ladies might pull out the old stand-by line: "When are you getting married?" It's just inevitable. And when my Young Adult friends discover my plans to attend the Bible study, I might hear "you're going WHERE?!" But if don't attend, I think I will regret it, especially since I was invited, and especially now that the idea has taken firm root in my head. C says it would be the kind of study and discussion I would enjoy -- he knows me pretty well and I can safely take his word for it. Plus, with the coming of a new pastor and the start of a new year, I've sort of made a commitment to myself to not be afraid of so many things at NHF like I used to be: to not be afraid of branching out, of making new friends, of drawing closer to the friends I have, of being a more active and responsible member. At some point, I have to truly make NHF my home, instead of just a place I enter every Sunday, where others make decisions on my behalf and of which I can wash my hands come Monday morning. And finally, there are just some really cool people who attend the study: WJ, who is so encouraging to our Praise Team; C&M -- self-explanatory; S4, who are so fun and interesting and who groove in the aisles and who are home makeover mavens; S&C, who are like surrogate parents to so many of us younger folks. I like hanging out with them; I wish I could hang out with them more; I wish I could get to know all of them better; this Bible study would be an easy transitional way to do all of the above.

Putting on a new attitude is scary, for me and probably for most other Young Adults. It might mean opening ourselves up to people we assumed we had nothing in common with. It might mean a shift in the friendships -- some very close friendships -- that already exist within the Young Adult group. It might mean coming to a realization that we were wrong -- no one was excluding us, we were marginalizing ourselves. It might mean suffering through some growing pains as we take on new roles and responsibilities at NHF. A true concern for me, certainly, is that I wouldn't want any of my Y/A friends to feel that I'm "moving on up," or ditching them to make new friends. But my deepest hope is that we could all "move on up" together, or develop new friendships together, or embrace the older folks at NHF who might be able to better guide, encourage and teach us than we are able to guide, encourage and teach ourselves, together. In doing so, we Young Adults might learn to be better friends to each other, and we might be spurred as a stronger group of younger folks to do great things at NHF, not simply for our own satisfaction, but for the good of the whole church family. As it should be.

So ... I'll keep you updated. Will I invite any of my cohorts to go up to WJ's barbecue fest -- I mean, Bible study, with me on Saturday night? Will I be able to sustain my new attitude and new commitment for longer than just a few days? Will I, one young, single woman, make any difference at all in the hearts of those around me? Will I be any sort of encouragement to any of my friends, or allow myself to be encouraged and taught by those older and wiser than myself? Will I be able to break out of my "I'm still young and childish" rut and stand on my own as an adult member of the church? Stay tuned ...

Monday, January 12

BLECH . . .

I just read a New York Times Magazine article, which mentioned in passing the proliferation and distribution of silly little blog quizzes like the following ... but I take them anyway. And of course, I end up with a result which is normally anathema to me. Ah, well, life IS like a box of chocolates ... though I really do prefer only the dark kind sans caramel or anything else that is gooey ...

You're chocolate. You're the old soul type, people
feel that they have known you their entire
life. Many often open up to you for they view
you as thoughtful and trustworthy. Although
people trust you, you have a hard time trusting
them. You prefer to keep your feelings bottled
up inside, or display them very quietly. It is
alright to open up every once in a while.

Which kind of candy are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, January 10


. . . your contact lenses freeze onto your eyeballs. NOT a pleasant experience.

. . . even the "cool" kids who insist on loitering by the town pizzeria are bundled up like their mothers insisted: big fat boots, dorky wool hats, grandma's knit scarves, puffy insulated gloves, five layers on top and bottom and bright green earmuffs.

. . . your car won't warm up ... after 20 minutes on the road.

. . . you buy a cup of freshly-made coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, and it becomes lukewarm the instant you step out the door onto the street.

. . . you stare up at the brightly shining sun and it appears to be mocking you with its distance from Earth. Or that could just be my own overactive imagination.

. . . the steam rising from the local sewers creates a shield of fog you can't see through.

. . . you're wondering: "How many layers of naebok (Korean long underwear) can I wear to my social events tonight without appearing bloated or being a total nerd?"

. . . your allergies are acting up, but everything freezes before you can blow it out. Then there's buildup. And that's just ugly.

. . . you drink coffee continuously to try to stay warm, but then you have to go to the bathroom, which involves exposing some amount of skin, which would result in extreme cold exposure for your nether regions, so you try to hold it and hold it until the last possible moment, and then you just have a stomach ache, so you are left cursing the cold, because really, it's all the weather's fault.

. . . you take a big book and go read on the dusty floor in the boiler room just because it's the warmest place in the house.

. . . you have the epiphany: "I wouldn't even step outside right now to hie myself to a SPA."



Funny thing happened at my realtor's office today. She put me in touch with a mortgage broker who, as it turns out, graduated from the same law school as myself, and who has a son with whom I attended high school. I love stuff like that.


AND NOW . . .

I need to start my round of weekend socializing, so I'm going to go sit in a hot shower for a long while and try to bring my body up to normal temperature. Stay warm and safe, folks.

Friday, January 9


Next week, Shrub is expected to announce an initiative aimed at eventually sending humans to settle on Mars. Is this weird to anyone other than myself?

My gut reaction is that the idea is comical. People bouncing around in big puffy spacesuits, speaking to each other in breathy muffled tones magnified by the echo inside their enormous Plexi-glass helmets, tethered to the ground or their cars (space cars?) by oxygen tubes. Tall, imposing Star Wars-esque structures with landing docks for the floating cars jutting out the sides. The utter lack of produce and fruit, given the barren and infertile nature of the surface of the Red Planet. It's just too bizarre for words, really.

But my next thought is: are we asking for too much? I mean, it seems to me that there's a reason we've settled and evolved here on Earth and not anywhere else. I'm not dismissing the possibility of viable life anywhere else, but it may not be life as we know it, and besides, why do we need to go meddle? Haven't we done enough meddling with the natural resources of this planet and messed it up sufficiently? We're not satisfied with our ability to ravage Earth, so now we have to go to Mars to continue our vacuum-sucking of whatever is there to use and eat up? And poor, misguided Shrub ... if we should discover that perhaps an alien tyrant rules Mars, is His Grand Shrubbery going to wage war on him too? I know I'm being melodramatic -- settling on Mars is the stuff of every child's wild imagination and every Hollywood director's blockbuster summer movie -- but think about it. Is Mars really necessary?

Besides, I kind of like it here. And Mars is ever so long a commute.

Thursday, January 8


Sometimes, at work, I'll leave my desk to go to the bathroom, return to my desk and sit down and feel a hand grab my ankle -- Hooch hiding under my desk, waiting for the right moment to freak the bejesus out of me. Sometimes, at home, I'll be walking down the hall and see a little lump of poo on the tiled floor -- dad going through his April Fool's collection of fake toys that look lifelike. But nothing that I've seen or experienced so far can top what I read in the paper today. This is simply brilliant and of course I am envious because I wish I had thought of it myself and, as per Hooch's suggestion, done it to Camp Capio while they were in Florida:

Filed at 11:57 a.m. ET

OLYMPIA, Was. (AP) -- What kind of friends coat your apartment -- and nearly everything in it -- with tinfoil while you're away? Here's a hint: One of the only objects that escaped the shiny treatment was a book titled "Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends.''

Chris Kirk found his downtown Olympia apartment encased in aluminum foil when he returned home Monday night from a trip to Los Angeles.

The walls, ceiling, cabinets and everything in between shimmered, after the prank orchestrated by Kirk's longtime friend, Luke Trerice, 26, who was staying in the apartment while Kirk was away.

"He's known for large-scale strangeness,'' Kirk, 33, told The Olympian. "He warned me that he would be able to touch my stuff, but it didn't sound so bad.''

Trerice, who lives in Las Vegas, and a small group of friends draped the apartment with about 4,000 square feet of aluminum foil, which cost about $100.

Not surprisingly, the idea was hatched on New Year's Eve.

"It was just a spur of the moment thing,'' Trerice said. "I really don't even consider it art. I consider it a psychology project. ... He seems to be upbeat, so I consider this a success."

No detail was too small or too time-consuming. The toilet paper was unrolled, wrapped in foil, then rolled back up again. The friends covered Kirk's book and compact disc collections but made sure each CD case could open and shut normally. They even used foil on each coin in Kirk's spare change.

And to sweeten the theme, they left silver Hershey's kisses sprinkled throughout the apartment.

"The toilet was hard. The molding around the doorways took a very long time,'' Trerice said.

Aside from "Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends,'' which doesn't include this particular trick, only a portrait of his girlfriend, the bed and a bath mat were left unfoiled.

"He took special pains not to move anything,'' Kirk said.

A foil-encased picture hanging outside his apartment was Kirk's first clue that something inside was amiss.

"I heard him open the door and gasp and start laughing,'' said Beth Kelly, who lives in an apartment down the hall. "I love the quarters. It's almost more funny realizing the things that were left unwrapped.''

Andras Jones, who lives on the same floor, became curious about what was transpiring in Kirk's apartment as he noticed "a parade of strange characters'' going in and out.

Since Kirk's return the entire building has been buzzing about the transformation, Jones said.

"There's a party atmosphere down by the room,'' Jones said. "Of course, everyone has their favorite part. I think the kitchen is just amazing.''

Kirk's awestruck neighbors and friends kept him up until late Monday night. He hasn't started unpacking his belongings and isn't sure when he will.

"As I was trying to sleep last night, I realized that, actually, it's creepy,'' Kirk said.

And as for whether Trerice will ever be allowed to stay again at the apartment unsupervised, Kirk said: "I don't know. We'll see.''

But Trerice hopes Kirk will find a way to get him back.

"I'm going to be insulted if he doesn't try,'' Trerice said. ``It's kind of a challenge.''

Tuesday, January 6


It hasn't been the most eventful first six days of the year ever, but it'll do ... some highlights so far:

... JKA scolding me for not blogging for six days. "What's wrong with you?" she asks. Okay, okay, here I am. Tonight, I helped her and her hubster transport their new mini and cute treadmill from Sears to their apartment. First laughable fiasco: finding the Sears Merchandise Pick-up dock. I drove around and around and around, backing in and out of places I shouldn't have been backing in and out of, in an effort to find it. I finally did, and those poor folks were waiting for me the whole time, looking ever so forlorn in the Sears Merchandise Pick-up Waiting Room! Second laughable fiasco: driving around with an extra 130 lbs in the back of Good Girl. On the one hand, she was weighed down so she didn't bounce so happily over each and every pothole. On the other hand, she was weighed down. Third laughable fiasco: getting the humongous box out of Good Girl into the apartment. I can't yet tell if JKA and I were any help to JA or not ... I like to think we were, but it could just be that JA was the epitome of grace and patience. Final event was just laughable: JKA and JA standing by my car, arm in arm, waving and bowing as I drove off, in a parody of the cheesiest Korean couple greeting their departing guest. Please, spare me! ...

... we have a PA-STOR, we have a PA-STOR! Finally. PEK joined us for his first sermon as senior pastor at NHF (the only pastor, but who's counting) this past Sunday. The collective relief, excitement, rejuvenation, anticipation and sheer joy was tangible in the chapel. It's more than just having a leader; it's having a leader who is unafraid to lead, unafraid to challenge us to do hard work in rebuilding the spirit of NHF that might have been battered over the last year and a half, unafraid to befriend us and laugh at us and step on us, if necessary (Soy was in the way, he says), unafraid to take initiative and be creative and rally for more funds for music, unafraid to give an honest sermon and to exhort us to be honest with ourselves and with God as well. Yes, this is what I've gleaned from one day spent with PEK. I don't purport to know people, or have the ability to see into the future, but so far, I've got good vibes; NHF has good vibes, and it's been a long time coming ...

... I'm sick. I think I'm sick. I think I was getting sick and I'm fighting it. I think I might succumb. I think this has been a chronic part of my life since right before Thanksgiving or so. I don't think it's the flu. I think I'm just tired. I think I just need to sleep more. I think I have too much to do to sleep more. I think I can fight it some more. I think Comtrex will kill it, as it usually does. I think I'll take some cough syrup preemptively. I don't think I'll get sick ...

... the entire time that Camp Capio was in Florida, I've received daily weather updates from C. "It's 78 degrees and sunny, and it's only 10 in the morning!" "Today is a little humid and a tad cloudy, but it's 81 degrees and I'm in the pool." "I'm golfing today because it's a beautiful and sunny 75 degrees." "It gets down to about 65 degrees at night so I have to wear a fleece when I walk the dog." "It's 78 degrees again. I'm never coming home." "Tell your parents to retire here because it's 76 degrees and sunny. And there's lots of Koreans here." "My infant son is tanner than you because it's 80 degrees today and we went to the beach!" But Camp Capio had to return home sometime and when they drive into New York tomorrow, it's going to be a nice and airy 26-degree afternoon that greets them. Muhahahahaha! Let's see how long MJ's tan lasts now! Grrr ...

... speaking of vacation: I know I just had one, but I need another one. Anyone want to go somewhere with me? ...