Wednesday, June 30

SAY WHAT? . . .

OUCH . . .

Remember Lisa Steinberg? Even if you lived outside of the New York metro-area sixteen years ago, you might have heard about her: the little 6-year-old girl, abused and neglected and near-starved. Half a girl, really, for she never really grew to the size of a normal 6-year-old.

She was illegally adopted by an attorney, Joel Steinberg, and his common-law wife Hedda Nussbaum. Steinberg beat Hedda too, and the news photos of her misshapen face linger in my memory still. The trial was sordid and sensational: he said she did it out of jealousy about the attention he paid to Lisa; she said he beat the hell out of Lisa because the kid was "staring at him." Does it matter? She got immunity and a new life in Westchester, which she has now fled out of fear of running into the paroled Steinberg. He got a little over sixteen years in jail, and now a new lease on life, complete with a free apartment on Central Park West and a job offer in cable television.

Lisa was the first time I had ever become aware of child abuse as an issue. After all, I was never abused. I don't think I knew anyone who was abused. It was never something that concerned me. It took Lisa's malnutritioned, pathetic half-grown face to show me the pure evil that motivates one to hit, strike, neglect, beat on, put cigarettes out on, starve a child.

The newspapers are abuzz once more. Steinberg walks out of Southport Correctional Facility within the hour and it's just about the biggest deal this side of the Hudson River as anything else ...

I don't really have anything else to say about it. It was horrible then, it's horrible now. Hedda Nussbaum has gone underground, Lisa Steinberg is still buried six feet under, Joel Steinberg walks the streets of New York once more and God knows what will happen to him. The New York Daily News has a suggestion for how we can treat him:

Her name was Lisa and she was 6 years old. Sixteen and one-half years ago, when she died of the bludgeonings her crack-crazed daddy gave her, she became an emblem for us in the City of New York, a tiny, frightened Snow White who had been shut away in a wicked, unspeakable place.

She trusted us to hear her cries and we closed our ears. She trusted us to see her bruises and we looked away. In guilt and grief and remorse, we gathered at her doorstep to throw down flowers. And all of us hated the odious Joel Steinberg as we pretty much never hated anyone else.

Let Lisa be remembered. Joel Steinberg walks free from prison today, his release mandated by law. He has formally paid his debt to the State of New York. But he has not paid his debt to humanity, nor to Lisa, nor is he welcome in this city, where he intends to live. He must know that.

Stare at him.

Wherever he goes, stare at him.

Up the street, down the subway, into the corner deli - stare at him. Unflinchingly and unrelentingly and unforgivingly, stare at him. Let him feel every New York eye burning straight through his rotten soul.

Joel Steinberg doesn't like to be stared at. That rattles him. That's why he broke apart a baby girl with his bare hands. She was staring at him, he thought.

So stare at him.

Do not touch him. Do not do him harm. Do not spit on him. Do not curse him aloud. Say nothing. Just stare.

Just stand back, give him room, and stare at Joel Steinberg, every hour of every day.

Let him never forget how much he is despised, forever.

Tuesday, June 29


Cheech is really good with kids, which is handy given that he will most likely become a pediatrician and have to spend 24/7 with the little anklebiters. (By the way, they DO bite ankles, and I have the scars to prove it. The nickname didn't come from out of thin air, you know.) Note how MJ reclined on Cheech's lap at the Yankee game tonight (Go Yanks, Boston Sucks) and gazed adoringly at his face with a slightly-drunk grin on his face.

Four adults, two babies. Not a bad ratio for a nighttime, loud, raucous, violent-but-not-in-our-section Yankee game against the Boston Red Sox (suck). The only emergency happened when C went to the concession stands for a bottle of water to mix with powdered baby formula ... and returned with two cups of beer and some ice cream. M and I shared the same expression: "What the ..." We were rendered speechless. So we sent Cheech off for the aforementioned, desperately-needed water ... and waited two and a half innings for his belated return. Thankfully, he came back also armed with cheese fries. Even the Noodles forgave him.

No one puked, no one had a poo emergency, no one fussed beyond the means of management, no one threw Cheerios in the hair of the people sitting in front of us, no one accidentally ashed cigarettes on the Noodles' arms, and no one showed any alarm at the increasingly loud chants and insults being hurled about. Even Cheech had to ask: "are they always this chill, or is something wrong with them?" Chill, indeed. Those kids are troopers.

But now I'm all wired. Sitting in one frozen position, chained into place by a sleeping 18-pound child, makes for very sore and restless bones and muscles. Were it not 11:48pm, I would go for a run. As it is, I'm restricted to some light yoga and stretching and wondering if there's anyone awake at this hour who would want to shoot the breeze with me until I got drowsy ...

Or I could turn my attention back to Harry Truman. He and I are now in 1939, and the world is on the verge of war. He's having a rough go of it in the Senate and I, for one, am very sympathetic. Yes, I think I'll go hang with Harry now ...

Listening to: one of JC's praise mixes
Daytime reading: "Me Talk Pretty One Day," by David Sedaris
Nighttime reading: "Truman," by David McCullough
Planning: to buy a bike and 20 mini-souffle cups for the desserts I am going to bake next week

Monday, June 28


"We want a free, democratic Iraq that will be a source of peace and stability for the region and the whole world. ... We would like to express thanks to our friends in the coalition for their efforts and dedication. ... We want to tell them all their sacrifices will not go in vain. ... We are determined, we are committed, there is no way to turn back."

So speaketh the new Iraqi president, Sheikh Ghazi Yawar, as the Iraqi flag flew over the former headquarters of the United States occupation headquarters for the first time today.

My most fervent prayers that President Yawar's vision bear fruit ...

You heard it here first: I'm buying a mountain bike.

I have been assured that I don't have to choose between a mountain bike and other worthy purchases. I have also been assured that I can mosey the long three miles to my parents' place three or four times a week to run on their monstrously large and strong treadmill, thereby negating the need to spend more money on buying a small and weak one for myself. I have been persuaded that I can purchase a more-than-decent bicycle for a more-than-reasonable price. I have been encouraged that I can find a helmet that fits my (not that large) head. I have been instructed that the purchase will be worth it even if I bike a mere once a week, and only when the weather is nice, throughout the spring, summer and fall. I have been given a mini-lesson on what is good, what is bad, what is middle of the road, what is absolutely necessary, what is an utter piece of crap.

So I call upon you, my faithful readers, once more:
Question: Do I get (1) a Cannondale F400 Feminine, (2) a Trek 4500 WSD, (3) a Cannondale F300, or (4) a Gary Fisher Wahoo (the latter two available in super-small sizes, though not female-specific)?
Supplemental Question A: If I get Selection (1), can anyone find it for me for $500 or less?
Supplemental Question B: Which bike LOOKS cooler? Hee, hee. I'm a girl after all. Girl's gotta look good on the road.
Supplemental Question C: Where can I find someone to throw in free gloves and a free helmet? Man, I'm such a cheapskate, I kill me sometimes.



I went to Home Depot over the weekend -- one of my new-homeowner-needs-to-take-care-of-her-home excursions. I had to pick up some specialized lightbulbs (experiencing major agita at the prospect that buying a brand different from what was previously in the socket would cause the light fixture to no longer work properly), a fire extinguisher (HOOCH HAD A FIRE IN HER KITCHEN AND YOU ALL BETTER GO OUT AND BUY FIRE EXTINGUISHERS BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED ONE MAYBE, THOUGH HOPEFULLY NOT, AND THAT WAS A VERY POORLY WRITTEN SENTENCE), and two bi-fold interior closet doors.

Those doors broke my spirit and damn near killed me in the process.

The prior owners of my condo apparently gerry-rigged the living room storage closet doors, unbeknownst to me. My only clue to something being amiss was that the two bifold doors didn't really hang correctly and kind of bounced against each other when closed. Imagine my utter dismay when one afternoon, the right-hand side door FELL OUT. It just fell off its track and onto the floor with a great emphatic "BOOM." Man, was I pissed.

Neither Home Depot nor Lowe's sells pre-painted bifold doors. So at the local Home depot, I spent about twenty minutes trying to figure out exactly what shade and type of white paint I needed to pick out. The non-English speaking gentleman, heading up the paint department, and I had a hard time communicating. I just don't know how to say "matte or semi-gloss?" in Spanish. I just don't.

I moved onto the "Doors" section of the store. I gazed longingly at the "we install them for you" displays. I came upon the bifold doors and placed my hands on my hips in triumph. I found them! They were right where they were supposed to be! They are the exact size they are supposed to be! AND, I also discovered, THEY ARE FREAKING HEAVY. My woman's center of gravity came to naught in this circumstance. Those doors had no center of gravity to speak of. One side always seemed markedly heavier than the other, even after I flipped the ends around, and I spent a good portion of my hour in Home Depot swaying back and forth in rhythm with the uncooperative and extremely larger-than-life doors. I knocked against one wall, then another. Then I undershot the height of my shopping cart and sent it careening down the aisle away from me. I did that TWICE. TWO Home Depot employees passed me as I tangoed with the doors, and greeted me with a happy "good afternoon." "NOT REALLY!" I wanted to shriek at them.

How I got the doors into my cart and through the aisles to check-out, I'll never know. Not even hypnosis would unearth that memory from the depths of my memory. The cheesy cashier -- "Haven't I seen you at that bar in my town? Isn't your name Michelle?" "NO AND STOP TALKING TO ME, YOU SKEEVY GUY." -- helped my foul mood not one whit, and it was all I could do to not scream obscenities at him about the stupid heavy and UNPAINTED doors his stupid store stocked. I held my breath and my temper and released myself into the breezy sunshine of the Home Depot parking lot. Liberation, somewhere to sit, hope and happiness were all within my reach. Except that I had to get the damn doors OUT of the unruly shopping cart and INTO my car.

I dinged my car. I dinged the doors. I sent the shopping cart spinning into the path of an oncoming car, one of the doors still precariously perched inside it. I sweated off about eight pounds. I nearly sat on the asphalt and burst into tears, in the throes of complete self-indulgent whining misery. "Why meeeeee? Why do I have to own a hooooouuuuse? Why aren't I maaaaarriiiiied so my husband can dooooo this? Why are these doors so heeeeeaaavy? Why are they unpaaaaaainted? How come they won't fit in my caaaaar? How the hell am I going to get them insiiiiiiide? This suuuuuucks! I hate my condooooooo! I hate these doooooooors!"

It was so pathetic. Me. Crying in the parking lot of the Home Depot next to my abused car and my super-abused unpainted bifold interior closet doors. What a life.

The doors are still sitting in the back of Good Girl. I never want to touch them again. Also, I'm afraid that if I try to bring them inside, I will shatter the glass in all the entrance doors and/or knock holes in the walls of the hallway, or that the doors will fall on me and kill me. Damn doors.



I am a big fan of the gas stove and rangetop. Indeed, the only thing that truly might have kept me from buying my condo was the fact that its cooking appliances were electric. The stove is all new, but it's still electric. SHUDDER!

My biggest aversion to electric heat is my inability to bake in electric ovens. For someone like me, who used to be somewhat of a baking connoisseur before The Great Bundt Cake Fiasco forced me to focus on cookies, electric ovens are nothing but headache and burned edges. There's no flame height to tell you what's too much or too little. There's no comforting eau de gasoline fuel. There's no sizzle of fire touching butter.

However, I can't let my electric oven be a virgin forever. Next week, I'm going in! (Apologies for the graphic analogy.) Cakes, cookies, maybe even a dreaded partially-broken bundt cake shall be back in production, for better or for worse ... If all else fails, I can close my eyes and delude myself into thinking I'm reunited with my E-Z Bake Oven ...

Sunday, June 27

SO TRUE . . .

What you don't know won't hurt you.

Truer words never were spoken.

Friday, June 25

FOR MEN? . . .

I got back from Care Group tonight -- another night of manic babies alternately weeping in misery and cackling hysterically in glee, WJZ speaking really really fast and putting me in more rhythmic trances, and eating too much -- and surfed the channel guide on my egregiously large television. Imagine the nerdy thrill that coursed through my entire being upon seeing the almighty words "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" scroll up the screen.

I immediately selected this channel, and discovered that "CSI" is being run in syndication ... on SPIKE: NETWORK FOR MEN.

I am sitting at home on a Friday night, watching SPIKE: NETWORK FOR MEN.




I love how men can't keep secrets.

Because of a man, I know a secret. You think it's your secret, but I know your secret. It's not a secret anymore, but I'm going to keep the secret. You're going to think I don't know your secret and you're going to think it's still a secret. But it's not a secret anymore.

And when the secret comes to light, I'm going to pretend I never knew the secret. Because that's just the way it needs to be sometimes.

I love it!



"CSI" is over. I can switch away from SPIKE: NETWORK FOR MEN now.

Except that an advertisement just informed me that "CSI" runs five nights a week on SPIKE: NETWORK FOR MEN.

Oh, dear.

Thursday, June 24


My latest hobby is this: find something I love love LOVE in the Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel or other semi-high-end catalog, then embark on a lifelong dedicated search for the exact same thing but at half the cost. Because everyone has wholesalers, and I just know I can find them.



I love how a few questions about KitchenAid mixers vs. mountain bikes brings all my ladies out of the woodwork, and even ladies who aren't mine!

See, if the world can come together over a MIXER, the possibilities really are endless. Iraqi women bake too, I bet ...
THIS N' THAT . . .

It's been a long time since I've had a Thursday night at home. Reminds me that even though it's the summer television season, there's still some quality programming available for consumption: "CSI" and "Without a Trace." I love these shows.


My place is slowly coming together. The larger furniture pieces have yet to arrive, but my new laundry basket from BedBath&Beyond is serving me well, the sugar, flour and brown sugar canisters sitting on my counter are chock full, and a bright red runner adorns the front entryway, protecting the carpet from muckety-muck. I almost like the bare hugeness of my living room, the ability to plop in Cheech's beanbag to be on perfect eye level with the TV which is currently also sitting on the floor, the opportunity to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling if I want. The little things that might be taken away when the big things arrive ...


I love


Question: do I buy a bicycle or a KitchenAid stand mixer?

Supplemental Question A: If I buy a bicycle, do I buy a mountain bike or a hybrid?
Supplemental Question B: How much should my ideal color choice matter when buying a bike? (No answer necessary. I think I already know the answer.)
Supplemental Question C: If I buy a bike, will I actually ride it?
Supplemental Question D: If I only ride my bike on relatively flat terrain, does that still constitute cardiovascular exercise?

Supplemental Question E: If I buy a KitchenAid stand mixer, do I get the 6-quart Professional, the 5-quart Professional, or the 5-quart Artisan?
Supplemental Question F: Should I get a particular mixer because it comes with a plastic pour shield?
Supplemental Question G: Should I get a particular mixer because its head tilts back for easy access to the bowl?
Supplemental Question H: Should I get it in Red, Imperial Grey, Imperial Black, or Pink?

You would think I'd have other, more pressing issues, but as I am in denial about the wretched state of the world ... no, I don't have other, more pressing issues. But I'd still like to reform the New York City public school system.

Also, it's been too long since I've baked, and I need to get my kitchen humming again ... roll out those cookies and cakes once more!

Wednesday, June 23


This is what your senseless, meaningless, whose-dick-is-bigger war in Iraq is doing to the world:


Are you happy now?


AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, STOP THINKING YOU'RE GOING TO GET RE-ELECTED IN NOVEMBER. I despised you when you were "elected" in 2000 (and I hope it tears you up before you go to sleep every night that the majority of the populace of this country DID NOT WANT YOU AS THEIR PRESIDENT). I despised you every time you opened your mouth and your squeaky, lazy drawl oozed out, offering incomplete sentences and words that don't exist in the English language. I despised you every time you smirked into the camera. I despised you when you came to New York after 9/11 and offered your smarmy condolences and tried to own MY city as your own. I despised you when you used 9/11 and my friends' deaths as a false foundation for an unjustified war. I despised you when you lost your focus and your promise to represent ALL people in this country and fight on OUR behalf, and pushed forth the asinine Patriot Act. I despised you every time you bullied the rest of the world to fight this war with you, probably because you knew it wasn't enough to fight it yourself. I despised you when you joked about not finding weapons of mass destruction, you know, because sending your troops into danger to look for something that doesn't exist is real f*cking funny. I despised you when you spoke empty words of determination and continued to offer up OUR men and women as lambs to the Iraqi slaughter. I despised you so, so much over the last four years, and I didn't think it was possible, but I despise you more than all that hatred combined NOW. I can't WAIT until November so you will see how much everyone ELSE despises you too.

Tuesday, June 22


They threw his body from a vehicle, with his head nearby.

Shrub says "that's what they're trying to do; they're trying to shake our will." Well, hear me and hear me well: MY WILL HAS BEEN SHAKEN. How many more grown men do you need to see wail on television "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!" Enough is enough.

There is no end to this.

I was telling Hooch today that I feel there is no hope.

Now, I am somewhat a pessimist, largely to save myself from disappointment or regret in certain situations. But I can't remember one point -- not ONE SINGLE POINT -- in my life when I have felt HOPELESS. Today, I feel hopeless. We are way past the point of no return in this war, this conflict, this extreme game of Chicken. It's too late to pull out our troops, any troops. It's too late to say "I'm sorry for invading your country and thinking I know better." It's too late to reinstate diplomatic relations. It's too late for educational or cultural exchange. It's too late for this generation of Iraqi children who have lost parents, siblings, relatives, loved ones, homes, schools, neighborhoods, childhoods. It's too late for American children who have lost parents to war and beheading. It's too late for tourists to see the rich lands of the Middle East. It's too late for peace, or even hateful but inactive coexistence.

We are now rushing headlong into mutual elimination. Even if we were to pull out now, even if all our troops were to leave, even if we let the Iraqis do whatever the hell they want with their own country (it IS still their own country, is it not?), even if we apologized. They, for whatever reason, hate us and everything about us. We, for whatever reason, hate them, even though we say we don't and put on a mask of benevolence and democracy. We have turned this world into utter chaos and anarchy. There are no more rules of engagement. There is no more negotiation or talking. There are no more truces or agreements. There are only savage beheadings, blustery words and misplaced determination to keep up the good fights. There is no turning back. Our only alternative now is to completely destroy each other. The hatred is too intense and too ... hateful. It burns and burns and BURNS and will burn across subsequent generations, and God's world will come to an end.

That is how hopeless I feel and at no time in my life thus far have I ever felt so desolate and sad. I want to kneel and pound the ground and ask my God WHY WHY WHY and lament for my nation and my world and my people and mourn the end of His creation.



On the way home from dinner tonight -- a dinner which, while delicious and fun, seemed too misguided and unseemly in light of the horror that surrounds us -- it occurred to me that I am not one to be hopeless. That is not my calling. It is not up to me to have hope or not, for myself, for my loved ones, for my neighborhood or my world. That is not a decision that I can make, for the decision has already been made for me by One who died on the cross to save me and to save anyone who would simply have faith and believe.

Many people commented after the most recent Communion service that the Communion song was particularly lovely and touching. Not by our own strength or talent, but by His grace alone, we sang words that are strangely appropriate and comforting now:

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

They did it, the bastards.

Monday, June 21


There are many things in this world with which I disagree, but which I try, try, try to understand. Republicans. Religious extremism. Racism. How airplanes fly and cruise ships float. Why corn kernels come out whole in your poo.

But one thing I will NEVER EVER understand is how a parent can kill his or her child or children. I look at my friends now who have children of their own, and I can't picture any of them, no matter the tearful, frantic lengths to which they are driven, harming their children. For one thing, I guess I just assume that my friends are modern, rational, educated, intelligent, information and resolution-seeking adults who would never turn to violence or murder as a solution, and who would know better than to harm someone smaller and more defenseless than they. For another, I know that my friends are surrounded by an intense and strong network of family and friend support. Lord knows, I myself would drop everything and run over to someone's house if the baby was wailing and my friends could no longer take it. And on a very basic level, we all know right from wrong (I assume). We know that even if we wanted to harm or eliminate ourselves, there is no sense in harming or eliminating a child, one's OWN child.

So what is it about these parents who decide to kill themselves and take their kids with them? Or those who use their children as an emotional weapon, deciding that a child's murder is the best way to wreak revenge on a former spouse or mate? Or those who are simply mentally ill enough to think that God, Satan, the little elf in the corner of the room, is telling them to murder their children, or else? Or those who have absolutely no support network whatsoever to help them get through each day?

I just don't get it.



Human behavior and expressions of affection are interesting to observe, especially among those in my immediate circle. My friends run the gamut of expression, ranging from all-consuming bear hugs to warm but distant waves.

I have girlfriends who are snugglers, bunny rabbits, burrowers. If there's a blanket or plushy pillow nearby, they're on or in it, regardless of whether I also am on or in it. If there's a greeting to be done, it's a tight hug and maybe a smooch on the cheeks. We share chairs, beds, lights-off-whispering-in-the-dark, face lotion, bottles of water and cups of coffee.

I have guy friends who offer hugs like enormous bears and kicks on the butt just because they can. They always nudge me to share an inside joke, rub my back when I'm feeling sick and acting like a baby, ruffle my hair to annoy me and engage me in all sorts of inane and serious conversations, whether we're huddled forehead to forehead on a couch or arguing in the open in a crowded bar.

I have girlfriends who are like sisters, but of the more modest sort. They don't give out hugs and kisses for free, but their care is evident in their words and looks and compassionate gestures. They tend not to snuggle but the distance is mere space, not a gulf. We dive right into deep conversations, then smoothly segue into the virtues of celebrity rags and how accurate they are.

I have guy friends who would never dare muss my hair, but aren't above a well-timed verbal dig or two. They remember the wittiest jabs and the funniest back-and-forths. They mentally file away a story to tell me, then grab my attention when we finally are face-to-face. They treat me as a mental equal or a colleague, but when push comes to shove, their loyalty is contagiously affectionate and physically manifest.

I have girlfriends who are closer than close, or at least getting there, but won't put an arm around me until we're standing side-by-side for a photograph. I have guy friends who won't take a photograph with me unless they are bothering me in some way. I have girlfriends on whose legs I would automatically recline. I have guy friends who would automatically recline on me, whether or not my breathing is cut off. I have girlfriends who are my sounding boards, guy friends who are my walking Kleenexes.

It's so weird to consider each of them right now. Friends who are like siblings to me, who show their affection in such myriad ways ...


TITS? . . .

I'm watching the AFI Tribute to Meryl Streep tonight. For a cheesy tribute show, this isn't half bad.

But the highlight thus far (almost an hour into the broadcast) is without a doubt Tracey Ullmann's introduction of one of the film segments. That woman is hilarious.

I left my cell phone at home today by accident, and I'm all in a tizzy about it.

B.I. (before independence), I was able to call home -- if I realized my forgetfulness before about 9:30 a.m. -- and ask Omma to drive my cell phone by the courthouse on her way to work. I would run out and grab it from her with a sheepish and embarrassed "thanks," and Omma would shake her head at me, saying "you're lucky this is on my way to work!"

A.I. (after independence, naturally), I have no one to call. Ironically, I spoke with Omma on the phone this morning, as she prepared to leave L.A. to come back home. I told her about my poor phone, continuously charging on the floor at home. Omma laughed -- almost evilly! -- at me. "Ha HA! And who's going to drop your phone off for you NOW?"


My poor phone.

Poor me, without my phone.

Not that anyone ever calls me.
But of course, today, they will.
BIG DOI . . .

Shrub keeps Saddam Hussein's pistol, mounted onto a plaque, in his office in the West Wing. A psychoanalyst calls this "the phallic equivalent of a scalp," the clearest sign of revenge wreaked for Saddam's attempt to assassinate the elder Shrub in 1993. Ahhhh, I feel much better knowing now exactly why Shrub waged war in Iraq in the first place. I knew there was a reason -- we just had to wait for it to come to light. Sigh.



Both my countries' men are under attack. First went Nicholas Berg. Then went Paul Johnson. Now here kneels Kim Sun-Il, a South Korean translator, perched in a familiar position, flanked by familiar hooded and cloaked figures, being threatened with the familar litany: "Get your soldiers out of here or he loses his head."

I thought I couldn't be made sicker or more heartbroken or more angry. I am. I guess that's good -- I haven't turned into an uncaring zombie yet. But I'm angry at so much more than the stupidity of Islamic fundamentalists who use murder as a faux-political tool. I'm angry that no one is safe. Not Americans, not Koreans, not anyone wearing blue jeans or speaking English or with yellow skin. I'm angry at the pride of governments who will not negotiate with terrorists to get their citizens home safe. I'm angry at the terrorists who won't release their hostages anyway, who know no rules of engagement. And in a small way, I'm also angry that they're picking on South Korea, the little guy, the country that is sending recontructive troops, not combat troops, the country that is still struggling to firmly establish its own democratic, political roots, the country that, in my mind, doesn't deserve this.

Come to think of it, I guess no one really does.



There are only a few good things about being bullied into going biking with C:
1. It's usually a nice day.
2. There's usually at least one other person whose thighs burn as much as mine do after the first hill, so I don't feel too wimpy (never mind that the other one was also lugging a baby behind him and I had no such weight, but really, minor detail).
3. My thighs are like steel the day after.

Yes, my friends, today, my thighs are like steel. I have to gloat about my steel-like thighs right now, because they might not be here tomorrow. But today, they are here. My steely thighs. I love them.



Omma comes home tonight. Could Appa BE more excited?

Friday, June 18


Camp Capio is the place we go to unwind, relax, gorge on food and drink, play with babies, mill around, shoot the breeze, kick our feet up, put our feet up, be ourselves. In the winter, we warm ourselves by the gas fireplace. In the summer, we shiver in the glory of its central air-conditioning. Every season in between, we utilize open windows or huddle in a mass of fleece blankets. We are fed, nourished, overstuffed. Camp Capio IS camp, but without counselors, whistles, mosquitoes and enforced swimming lessons.

But today, Camp Capio failed.
It was felled by no water, no air conditioning and barely any electricity.

Accordingly, Camp Capio has relocated temporarily to the Refugee Camp. That is, my condo. Without furniture, my place certainly is spacious enough to house some refugees, so I was happy to offer it up as I hied myself back to my parents' place to keep Appa company overnight and to rustle up another nutritious meal for him.

The irony slays me -- the most generous and perfect and selfless hosts now need to be hosted, be it ever-so-gladly. But I kid you not, C and M needed to bathe big time, and the Noodles needed to be kept cool while the fire inside their increasingly toothy mouths blazed on.

So here I sit in my parents' office -- formerly the room where I used to "study" for the SAT while holding a novel under the desk in case my mother came in with another cup of tea to help me stay awake -- in air-conditioned comfort, wondering how the refugees are doing tonight. I hope the Noodles sleep alright in unfamiliar surroundings. I hope C and M don't feel weird about sleeping in my bed. I hope that if they do, they shower first. I hope they feel welcome to grab a drink or a yogurt, or even a slice of Spam. I hope that car that was in my parking space earlier realizes s/he is in a RESERVED ASSIGNED spot and gets out of there. And finally, I hope spending a night at my parents' place doesn't make me feel homesick again when I return to MY place tomorrow ...


PUKEY . . .

I really was going to puke earlier.

The act of beheading doesn't sicken me. I saw "Braveheart." I didn't have to turn away at any point of it. I can take it, alright?

But for the first time in my life, I was physically sickened at the reality that people can be evil. I suppose that's the idea of The Fall: God created two people to be His perfect creations, and they turned away from Him, and thus humanity ceased to be godly and with God. But knowing the idea and seeing it played out before my very eyes are two different experiences.

To take my new knowledge to the extreme, I wonder if I am surrounded by people who would kill their neighbors for whatever reason. The Nazis did it, and neo-Nazis do it now. White supremacists in this country did it and continue to do it. Religious zealots of all faiths did and do it. Al Qaeda does it. Basque separatists in northern Spain do it. Mercenaries in South Africa do it. Sickos with AIDS who want to infect others so they don't have to suffer alone do it. Drug dealers and rapists and people who took an anti-depressant for too long and went off it cold-turkey, not realizing their minds are all messed up, do it.

People go crazy. People take an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God or Allah and distort Him into madness and mayhem and bloodshed. It is crazy to me that people are willing to serve a god soooo great and soooo worth serving, but believe that this same god tells them to KILL other humans. What the hell kind of god is that? How small and how weak and how insecure and how idiotic is YOUR god that he would not be able to tolerate someone who is a different color than you, a different faith than you, a different nationality than you? Is your god that shallow? Mine isn't. My God condemns and hates -- yes, HATES -- what you are doing, all of you.

And as long as I believe in my God, I will allow the bile to rise in my throat and be horrified and have my heart ripped to shreds and have my faith in humanity questioned. Because once those things stop happening to me, my God forbid, I might turn into YOU.


PUKIER . . .

Of course, all the media outlets have latched onto the beheading of Paul Johnson. For crying out loud, leave it alone.

Hooch and I just received CNN Breaking News Alerts in our Lotus mailboxes: "Al Qaeda militants behead U.S. hostage Paul Johnson."


We both feel like we've been punched in the gut with a boxing glove the relative size of Missouri.

We've received CNN Breaking News Alerts before. We've been horrified before. So maybe it's because we just ate lunch ... but this time, we are sick to our stomachs. I feel like I'm going to puke, and not just because I'm imagining people chopping off the head of another human being. After all, news accounts of Nicholas Berg's beheading detail the screaming that came from Mr. Berg's mouth during almost the entire time it took for the al Qaeda militants to SAW OFF HIS HEAD -- painful, wretched screaming that continued until Mr. Berg's vocal chords were finally and mercifully slashed all the way through. No, I don't get sick to my stomach about mere things like that anymore -- blood and guts and pain doesn't scare me anymore. No, my stomach is roiling at the absolute inhumanity that exists in this utterly fucked-up world.

I don't care about your politics. I don't care if you're a militant Islamist or a fundamentalist Christian or a pot-smoking hippie wanna-be or a white-supremacist anarchist. I don't care if you hate my country and want to destroy me. I don't care if you think Allah is going to reward you for your bullshit. I don't care if you think God is going to reward America for this bullshit war.

All I care is that I'm sick of it. I am SICK OF YOU thinking that beheading another human being gets you into heaven. I am SICK OF YOU thinking that killing someone makes you a hero. I am SICK OF PEOPLE dying in this war for no fucking reason anymore. I am SICK OF BUSH waxing poetic about citizens -- CIVILANS -- giving up their lives for this nation. I am SICK OF PEOPLE thinking that war and killing people and CHOPPING OFF SOMEONE'S HEAD FOR FUCKING CRYING OUT LOUD gets anything accomplished.

THIS IS BULLSHIT. I'm sick of it.

I think I'm going to throw up.

On June 19, 1865, the people of Texas finally found out that the Confederate army had surrendered two months earlier to the Union troops. The black slaves in Texas were finally freed, and on that day, slavery effectively ended in the United States.

Blacks, and others, in this country commemorate that day, celebrating it as Juneteenth, on the third Saturday of every June. Like Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, the event is meaningful for black Americans. But unlike the MLK holiday, Juneteenth is a day for celebrating life with joy and cheer.

Juneteenth caught my eye because of something Comptroller Bill Thompson mentioned last night at the KALCA dinner: John Liu, the first and only Asian-American New York City Councilperson, is the only member of the one-member Asian Caucus of the City Council. But after he arrived on the Council, the other Council caucuses joined together to form the Black, Hispanic AND Asian Caucus -- a larger coalition of which Liu is a member, and not the ONLY one. As Thompson was telling this story, it occurred to me ... minorities don't know how to play nice anymore. Each group has its own agenda, and for some reason, we assume that the agendas of the different groups can never merge and meld together and be shared. We never assume that the different caucuses can work together, pool resources and manpower, present a unified front. We assume that our respective agendas are in conflict with each other, and that one group's goals can only be met at the expense of the goals of another group. We never assume that slow and steady headway can be more easily made when people work together, instead of trying to edge each other out of the way. To hear that blacks, Hispanics AND the Asian on the City Council are at least MEETING together is an encouraging sign that our leaders, those who represent us, even at such a local level, are changing or trying to change their assumptions. Our goals are the same: civil rights, human rights, social and political activism, raising awareness, training leaders, improving the lives of our citizens. It's idealistic and trite, but that doesn't make it any less true: we can do these things together.

"You'd think the end of slavery would be a holiday for all Americans," says one Juneteenth reveler. You WOULD think, right? So live it up on Saturday, and be thankful that there is a day we can all celebrate together.

Thursday, June 17


I'm not exactly sure why, or at what point in my life I started making this distinction, but second-generationers like myself are "Korean." First-generationers like my parents are "KO-rean." I think it was funny at first, and my Korean friends got it. Now, it's just habit.


The 4th Annual KALCA Dinner was interesting and mostly fun. On a serious note, it was sombering and meaningful to see a sizable turnout for a group that has only been in existence for four years, and has only had a full-time Executive Director (my law school and Legal Follies mate!) for two and a half months. I used to think and even assume that Koreans and KO-reans on this Coast didn't care about civic action, voting, raising up leaders, political and social activism. Even seeing the couple of hundred people gathered in the banquet hall tonight, I'm not sure that we DO care. Not, at least, as much as we care about other things, like attending the right school, getting a hot job, driving a cool car and being loaded with sparkly and/or electronic bling-bling. But tonight was a start -- a beginning to the change in my own attitude towards my fellow Yellows, as well as a kick in the pants to the Korean/KO-rean community at large.

On a not-so-serious note ... Koreans are weird. I've been to As-Am events in the past, for APEX and Project-By-Project. Somehow, it's not so bad when the gathered crowd represents the wide spectrum of Asians. But tonight, with so many different kinds of Koreans in the room, my mind was spinning. I was comfortable ... yet not. I was social with people I knew, totally closed off to people I didn't. I looked askance at young men in nice suits, thinking "do they have altruistic reasons for being here or do they just want to scam on Korean girls?" And then of course, there was the Korean Mafia. Oh please, relax -- I speak facetiously (I hope). I refer simply to the cabal of first-generation Korean men seated at the table to my left. About ten rugged, red-faced (Remy Martin was a generous supporter of tonight's event), fifty-or-over KO-rean men sat at the table, receiving guests and shaking hands with New York City Councilman John Liu and New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson. It was very "Oh, Bill, you better come here and shake this man's hand, or else." Both Liu and Thompson were very solicitous. I was very suspicious.

I think it's because I know (or think I know) how first-generationers operate: most of them are in a cash-oriented retail business. Most of them are still obsessed with status and making a good show of things, even if they preside over a broken home or drink too much or beat their wives or stress out their children or kick their dogs. Most of them don't vote and don't need to because anything they want done in their community, they can buy. In cash. Because that's how it's done in the Motherland where democracy and the non-use of bribery as an advocacy tool are still fledgling concepts. Most of them still have a patriarchal mentality where young women like me must grovel to them and pour them drinks and let them leer at me. Most of them wouldn't care enough to show up at a Korean American League for Civic Action event ... unless they were going to appear in the Korean newspaper the next day so they can show all their friends what good citizens they are. Most of them leave an event right after the meal because after all, they got what they came for: food and face-time.

I know I am being so cynical and I really hope I am wrong. I hope those ten men care deeply about the Korean-American community in New York and the rest of the country. I hope they don't think things will get done in our community by paying people off and wielding undue influence. (I hope their wives weren't with them because they were out having fun elsewhere and not because they weren't asked to come.)

I was also amused at how much they drank. Sheesh. Purple Remy Martin? Are you serious?


On another frivolous note: when serving dinner to a room almost completely full of Korean people, bland chicken cordon bleu is probably not the wisest choice. We Koreans weren't brought up on cheese or ham or even that much breaded chicken, and certainly we have limited exposure to mashed potatoes piped into the shape of a small castle. Frankly, no matter what generation we belong to, a little sticky rice and spicy kimchi and hot bulgogi is still our food of choice.

I realize this preference makes things very difficult for young Koreans wishing to marry in this country: do you go for the ubiquitous Korean buffet at the big Korean reception hall, or do you go for the chicken/steak/salmon selection that all the KO-reans will complain about when they go home? Hard to say. But really, unlimited kimchi just makes everyone happy, even if you drop some on your wedding dress.


OK, pay attention here.

Did you know: Asian-Americans make up TEN PERCENT of the population of New York City, but there is only ONE Asian-American person on the New York City Council? Did you know: he, Councilman John Liu, is the FIRST Asian-American New York City Councilperson EVER?

WTF?! What are we DOING out there? Get your cigarette-smoking, cognac-drinking thumbs out of your Armani-clad asses, and DO something for your community! (Errr ... did I just promote several stereotypes there? Eek. But I was just trying to make a point.)


I'm glad I went, as surreal as the evening was. I love having my thoughts provoked and my mind's behind given a swift kick now and then. I love thinking of how I can make an impact, how I can "give back," how I can galvanize my friends and family to care about more than themselves, how I can do something very small to help make Asian-Americans feel at home and empowered in our country.

Tonight, I attend The Korean American League for Civic Action's Annual Benefit Dinner. This is all fine and good, but ...


Now, I am not a crazy shopper. In fact, I mostly dislike shopping, unless it is for home goods. I can spend hours in places like The Container Store and BedBath&Beyond. Clothes and shoe-shopping, however, are the bane of my existence, and I need to go in, get my stuff, and flee in as minimal a time period as possible. Whenever feasible, I shop for these items online. Even the Coach store ... as much of a handbag and wallet sloot as I am, I can really only spend about eight minutes in Coach before going bonkers.

But silent auctions ... now THAT'S a whole different story. First of all, I am drawn to the idea of the "silent" aspect of it. Although experience constantly proves me wrong, I allow myself to be misled into thinking the browsing and the bidding will be silent, peaceful, calm. Of course, I'm always jostled by some unaware woman with lots of jangly bracelets that catch on my shirt-sleeve or scratch my upper arm, but like childbirth, such pain is easily forgotten. Secondly, because silent auctions always take place at charity or benefit events (and I really only attend the ones I believe in because I can't affort to go to any more than that), I delude myself into thinking: "any money I spend is for a good cause." This is how I ended up with a basketful of Cargo makeup, 75% of which I never opened. And finally, there is a small part of me that, for some stupid reason, thinks auctions are glamorous. I read about auctions and benefits in the Styles section of The New York Times. I see people in nice outfits and dangly earrings giving their resources for someone or something else's benefit. Sure, they're spending $25,000 a pop, but if you scale everything down to my level, my measly $200 seems glamorous too.

Of course, as I'm writing this, I realize I've left my checkbook at home, so I don't know if I'll even be able to pay to uphold my seat reservation. Sigh. Perhaps that will curtail my silent auctioning ability. Actually, I better just leave the plastic in the car, too, just to be on the safe side. I don't have room in my new place for more unused makeup.

Wednesday, June 16


I just got a "CNN Breaking News" alert in my email inbox, and it says: "Commission reports 'no credible evidence' that al Qaeda and Iraq cooperated in 9/11 attacks on United States."


Ugh. I'm utterly disgusted. Can I vote more than once in the presidential election without being arrested for fraud?

Tuesday, June 15


Every major purchase I make, I experience the same sensation: "I WILL REGRET THIS PURCHASE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE."

When I was researching and buying Bob last summer, I went through this for TWO MONTHS, until C finally barked "HIT SUBMIT! HIT SUBMIT! HIT SUBMIT!" at me over the phone as I sat poised over the mouse, staring at the order screen at

When I was buying airplane tickets for my annual trip to L.A., I went through this for ONE MONTH, utterly convinced that the moment I clicked on "PURCHASE," the cost of the ticket would drop by $200.

When I was handing over the cash for my new bed, with my mom's eagle eye beside me making sure I was counting accurately, I went through this, absolutely sure that the moment the store had my money, they would close up shop and flee the country, leaving me with no bed whatsoever. Or dumping me with a faux bed, like made out of plywood or something.

When I was signing the papers for my condo, I went through this, wondering if I would hate my new place, if I would ever feel at home there, if I really wanted to move out and away from my parents (albeit a mere three miles away). I kept psyching myself out, telling myself that my first night there, the roof would cave in and the bathroom would be infested with waterbugs the size of a baby elephant.

When I was paying for my living room set, I went through this, questioning whether I was getting a good deal for the price, whether the furniture would last longer than a month, whether the springs in the sofa would withstand my bony little butt (not so bony right now, but we're working on that), whether some unsuspecting guest would put his feet on the coffee table and shatter the glass insert.

And now ... I'm on a quest for the perfect, small, light-weight, durable, inexpensive, foldable treadmill. So many issues to grapple with: I'm small, but I have a heavy tread when I run, so the machine can't wobble and shake or it will freak me out and I won't use it. It can't be too loud because I live on the top floor of a multi-story building after all, and old-style cement construction is still no match for an annoying humming sensation. It can't break because I won't know how to fix it, I assume. It has to be foldable AND movable -- what's the point if it folds up and stands there in the middle of the living room like a sculpture? It needs to come with white-glove delivery because ain't no way I'm lugging it up two and a half flights of stairs by myself. It has to have a wide-enough belt because I'm clumsy and my feet tend to flail all over the place, Phoebe Buffet-style. Free shipping would be great, no tax would be greater, and the ability to choose a delivery date and time would be the tops.

Of course, JUST when I think I've found the one I'm going to purchase ... I can't. Because I KNOW something better will come along within the five minutes after I make my buy.

Three things I learned this morning during my newspaper-reading ritual:

1. Liberals have morals TOO. DOI. Read this book, which basically says (I think): liberals have morals too, and instead of letting the conservatives (whoever they are -- these labels confuse me) stake morality as their stomping ground, liberals should take up the cause and the responsibility of living a moral life in a moral society. Amen.

2. We CAN all play nice. DOI. Read this article about the unveiling of Bill & Hillary's portraits at the White House yesterday. The lesson to be learned: everyone just tell a joke, have a good chuckle and get over yourselves.

3. There IS something good to watch on TV during the summer. DOI. Lisa Ling, venturing further into her attempt to be a serious journalist, presents "China's Lost Girls", about the declining female population and increasing 'emperor's syndrome'-afflicted male population in China. Check it out.


Reading during the day: "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," by David Sedaris
Reading during the night: "Truman," by David McCullough
Paying: My first mortgage bill. Ow. Like a sucker-punch to the gut.

Monday, June 14


Appa is alone for ten days. Dum, dum, DUUUMMMMM!!!!

Omma and Gran went to L.A. to visit my aunt and uncle, Omma to golf her brains out in the non-humid sun of the southern Wrong Coast. They left good ol' summer food in the fridge for my dad: a little marinated beef here, a little cabbage and cucumber kimchi there. A couple of packages of ramen noodles in the pantry. Instructions on how to soak the rice for a couple of hours before pressing "cook," and when to put out the empty Poland Spring bottles for the delivery guy. Drawers full of clean boxers, undershirts and socks. A listing of the week's commitments and appointments, including an upcoming weekend full of East Coast links.

But thirty-one years of marriage has done my father in. The man who until he was thirty-five could go head to head with my mom in culinary skills, the man whose taste buds are more acute and accurate than any trained chef, the man who is more organized and responsible than any father or husband out there, is nothing without my mother. The man left the keys to the pharmacy at home this morning, for goodness' sake; they didn't open until 11:00 a.m., by which time Appa had driven back and forth to the store twice. Doi.

So tonight, as a combo exercise-taking-care-of-dad routine, I headed back to my parents' house. I phrased it as "Appa, I want to have dinner with you;" it was really "Appa, I need to keep an eye on you."

I put the rice on. Threw the laundry in to wash. I set out the spicy pork to defrost. I changed the water in the tofu container and took out the two lumps I'd use for dinner. I replaced the empty Poland Spring water bottle. I made my parents' bed. I sorted the mail. I laughed at the spew of socks spilling out of a half-open sock drawer. I cleaned out the moldy vegetable drawer in the fridge. I soaked more rice for tomorrow night's meal. I discovered a discarded BedBath&Beyond coupon in the garbage. Men! They don't know what's valuable! I rescued it and stashed it in my bag. Then I changed and ran a couple of miles on the treadmill.

By the time Appa came home, the house smelled delicious, dinner was on the table, the clothes dryer was humming along, and he was so happy. We had a conversation about old friends he had run into, the fact that one of the KCW pastors had married a near-juvenile, Appa's forgetfulness this morning, and sigh -- even golf. We shot the breeze, and Appa even helped clean up!

Right after dinner, Appa called Omma in L.A. God knows the two of them can't stand to be apart -- I don't know what she was thinking going off and leaving him for ten days alone! Appa went downstairs and perched on the last step of the staircase whispering Lord-knows-what to my mother. As I stood at the top of the stairs and attempted to eavesdrop, Appa turned around and waved me away. "This is private!" he hissed, much like a teenager speaking to his crush. Cute. Not cute were the two discarded socks lying on the bottom-most stair. As I scrunched my nose at them, Appa caught my eye. "Don't move them! I just took them off and I'm going to take them upstairs when I come up! Don't move them!" Don't worry, dad. Consider them totally untouched. (I fully expect them to still be there when I make my next drop-by.)

A cold glass of water by my dad's bedside. A note reminding him to take his morning medicine and to not forget the pharmacy keys this time. A quick hug and reception of a kick in my butt, and I was out.

Mission accomplished. Appa is saved from utter bachelorhood for one night, and tonight, at least, he didn't have to have ramen for dinner.
FOR REAL? . . .

Virginia is launching a state-wide ad campaign aimed at dissuading adult men from having sex with underage girls.

Am I the only one kind of laughing at this? Do people out there really NOT know that sexual contact with childen is illegal? Do people really need to be REMINDED of this? Am I being intellectually elitist in thinking this is INTUITIVE?

Weird. I don't know whether to laugh ... or laugh.

Sunday, June 13


I love being part of a blogging community. Most of us have comment trackers (or other trackers) which allow us to see at least the general IP addresses of our faithful and not-so-faithful readers. And most of us, through one avenue or another, are led to other blogs, written by faceless folks around the country, if not the world. Often, I have caught myself laughing out loud, or crying heavily, or thinking for long hours about something I read on the blog of someone I don't even know. I have seen their wedding photos, celebrated their triumphs, accompanied them on their vacations and waited out their writing droughts. It's a strange, strange world ... and kind of creepy if you think about it for too long. But if I don't, it's pretty cool. As evil as the Internet can be sometimes, at other times, I feel more comforted and grounded by these strangers' existence in my on-line life. Common ground, compassion, empathy, witty repartee, humor, respectful disagreement ... all these things passed through tiny fiber-optic cables ... amazing.


For the second week in a row, I was quite moved by PEK's sermon, notwithstanding the fact that when Jaime asked me what the sermon was about, I blanked momentarily. Today, PEK emphasized the need to live with conviction: either God is alive, or He isn't. Either I believe, or I don't. Either I hope in Him, or I don't. Either I serve His Kingdom, or I serve the world. Either or, either or, either or. It was a harsh sermon, a blaring wake-up call. But one concept stands out in my mind: to hold tight to the Word with white-knuckled fists, because if my grasp loosens, the Word might fall out of my grasp.

I also discovered that PEK is not flaky. I mean, the man can barely tell time and has a cell phone he never answers and doesn't remember anything unless he writes it down five times and then tattoos it on his body. But he's not flaky and he's not your typical "I only know Christian things and won't have anything to do with the non-Christian world" pastors. The guy will tease you mercilessly about one minor slip-up you might have made months ago (I wonder if he and C didn't go to the same School of Tormenting Your Friends). Some of his jokes are cheesy enough that you can only respond with an eye-roll; some of his wit is sharp enough that you have to sling it right back. He reads the newspaper and listens to 80s music and has a crazy hooked-up 17" PowerBook G4 named Matilda. He preaches about the inner city and feeding the poor and stepping outside our comfort zones and racial reconciliation and friendship. My personal feelings about care groups and church development aside, our fearless leader is not a flaky man.


Margaret Cho's new concert film "Revolution" airs on The Sundance Channel on Saturday night. I don't think my ridiculously expensive cable package includes Sundance ... so I'll have to find someone to tape it for me. I'm too cheap right now to buy the DVD. Or a DVD player.


Two movies I could watch over and over again: "Finding Nemo" and "The Sound of Music." No chuckling allowed.


Family is a strange thing. More and more often lately, I have noticed the male half of J2 mentioning that certain of our gang are "family" so we can do whatever: come over to their place when it looks like a tornado hit it, eat their food, make ourselves comfortable, witness their arguments, etc. It makes me think about who my family is right now, aside from the obvious.

I look at my L.O.L.'s and Ha, my first non-sister sisters. They are the epitome of "distance and time-lag makes no difference." No words are minced, no love is withheld, no opportunity for food and drink and laughter and tears overlooked. I look at my NHF ladies -- the six little women to whom I can bare my soul, and by whom I will perhaps be judged but not too severely and meanly. With them, I have an equal relationship, as if we were sextuplets: all of us are different in the most myriad ways, yet so similar in the most basic ways. We each have something to teach each other, and something to glean from each other. I look at the husbands of my ladies. Men whom I have come to know quicker than normal by virtue of my closeness with their wives. Men who have become like older and younger brothers to me, sounding boards for serious opinions and bad jokes, men from whom I can learn things about the kind of man I might want to be with. I look at C, with whom I share a brain. Eight years between us doesn't make him any more mature, or me any younger, but it sure does make for some good old fogey jokes. How different my world and I would be were it not for C's half of my brain inside my brain. I look at all the little babies, my little nephews and nieces. They who have drooled gallons' worth on me and scaled me as if I was Mt. Kilamanjaro. They who have presented me with poopie diapers and goopy eyes and slimy fingers. They who have etched a permanent place on my heart as ones I must love and protect as if they were my own.

I think I know what family is. It's having people you would lay your life down for, people you would take a bullet for. In my mind at least, I'd take a bullet for Omma, Appa, Cheech, Gran. I'd take a bullet for my L.O.L.'s and Ha. I'd take a bullet for my NHF ladies. I'd take a bullet for the Alien's dad, for Heemy and Jaime, for Dr.G, for JWu. I'd take a bullet for C and his family. I'd take bullets for the bebes. They're my family.


I'm still agita about the NHF care group situation. Beh.


Watching "Chicago" right now ... what a glorious spectacle of a film. Catherine Zeta-Jones kicks butt.

What is it about women, that those who for all intents and purposes have the most in common with each other, instantaneously butt heads and put up walls against each other?

Case in point: this month, NHF is launching its care groups. (I shall write a long dissertation about the futility of the launch and the ridiculousness of the drama preceding and following it later. It exhausts me to even consider it now.) The care group that I have tentatively decided to join -- after determining that it can only be good for me to join one despite my initial misgivings and pessimism -- is led by two couples. One couple I know slightly better than the other couple (whom I don't know at all) -- the husband is a funny man, but well-respected and certainly faithful and knowledgeable and a constant source of humor and endearment. The other couple is new to NHF -- they have only been with us for two months or so. The female half of this unknown couple, a capable, intelligent mother, wife and attorney, is the root of my ponderings.

She and I share the same name, spelled the same way. Our first introduction to each other, at the preliminary care group meeting, ensued as follows:
ME: "Hi, I'm Churchgoer."
HER: "Oh. I'M Churchgoer."
Shaking of the hands. She turns and walks away. I'm like "what the ..." Then she turns back to me.
HER: "Do you spell Churchgoer with a C?"
ME (smiling, because I've already been instructed to give her a chance): "Yes."
HER: "Oh."
Again, she turns and walks away, this time permanently.

I know I am hypersensitive in most of my emotional responses, and that I have an imagination fed by years of literature both trashy and worthwhile, but at this moment, I felt mightily rebuffed.

Later that evening, sitting around Camp Capio's dining room table discussing care group logistics, the other Churchgoer looks pointedly at me and states:
"If you think you might feel more comfortable at another care group, say, the Southern one, please feel free to go try it out. We will not be offended if you choose to join that one."

Now, there are myriad possibilities for this pointed remark:
1. It wasn't pointed, and her eyes just happened to rest on me during this statement.
2. She thinks I'm actually, like, twenty years old (not an impossibility given that movie theaters do still ask for identification when I go to see R-rated films), and believes that I would not have much in common with a group full of newly-married and newly-parental folks.
3. She knows I'm older than just twenty years old, but thinks I don't belong in a group of married and parental people because I am neither married nor a parent.
4. She just doesn't want me in the group.

To all of these possibilites, I offer a full-bellied, whole-hearted BEH! Complete with accompanying scowl and scrunched-up nose.

First of all, why would she -- a woman who turned away from me after finding out only my name, who has made no effort to have any sort of frivolous or serious chat with me, who is as cold as cold gets and who has left a bad first impression on more than a few people at NHF -- assume anything about me? Her assuming anything about me, without knowing me, is like me sitting here thinking she's a cold bee-yatch who can't possibly care for our group as a family. I look forward to having this assumption of mine be broken. Or breaking it myself.

Secondly, so what if I AM twenty years old? I might be a very mature twenty.

Thirdly, given that I AM twenty-eight and single and childless ... what is the big f*cking deal (aside from the BFD that I make it inside my own head)?! Am I threatening to her because I have a life that isn't necessarily tied to taking care of a husband and/or children? Does she assume that I don't care about my dearest friends who have either/or? Does she assume that she has nothing to learn from me, or that I have no desire to learn from people of her marital status? Does she think that because I am unmarried and childless that I do not have other interesting life experiences to share with the group? And finally, IS HER SELF-IMAGE AND SELF-WORTH SO TIED INTO HER HUSBAND'S AND CHILD'S THAT SHE HAS NO IMAGE OR WORTH TO CALL HER OWN, AND CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT IMAGE OR WORTH I MIGHT HAVE OF MYSELF?

I think I'm digressing, so I'll digress some more as I consider my response to the fourth possiblity, that she just doesn't want me in the group ...

Mr. Pepsi offered some insight yesterday during brunch into the psyche of female attorneys, with his wife, another Korean-American attorney, offering more analysis. On Mr. Pepsi's hand, female lawyers, perhaps because of their legal training or natural inclination (which led them to lawyering in the first place) or social pressures, are opinionated and it comes across in a negative way to those who are on the listening end. On Ms. Nice Attorney's hand, maybe the other Churchgoer is one of those "women lawyers with a chip on their shoulders and something to prove." Ick. Bad combination. Ergo -- and this is quite a stretch of an ergo -- the other Churchgoer can't prove what she needs to prove if there's another one of her in the room who seems to have it all together, and maybe even more, because the other one is without husband or child to worry or care about.

So does this petite, Korean-American, educated, female attorney not want me in her care group because I, too, am a petite, Korean-American, educated, female attorney? Is it that nefarious? Or does she really think that for my own benefit, I should be with my own demographic instead of playing with the big married kids? (Which, incidentally, would render her a complete hypocrite given her emphatic statement that "we need to become a FAMILY." Last time I checked, MY family has members of all ages, all sexualities, all faiths, all genders, all educational, social, economic and marital status.) Or have I just read too many books and watched too many episodes of "Days of Our Lives" during my formative years, leaving hard scar tissue on my brain?

OR ... to digress even further into my own psyche ... as I was telling Alien's Mama yesterday: perhaps I'm merely tainted by my parents' negative experiences with the church. Church authority leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and it's all I can do to not buck against it every open chance I get. Seeing the agony my parents went through certainly has shaped me, and though their faith in God, Christ and His redemption is strong, their faith in the church institution has been rocked again and again, and not without leaving battle scars. Am I merely my parents' daughter, rebelling against even my care group leader because I actually like my pastor and don't feel the need to rebel against him?

Juicier yet ... maybe I'm simply a product of how my parents raised me: I am special. I am smart. I can do anything I want. I can be anything I want. I am intelligent and responsible and capable and strong. So when I come across someone who is like me (or who my parents think is me), I butt heads because ... because I don't like it? Only I should be that way? Ugh. I thought I left all that behind me and grew up a little ...

Dang. Time to go to church. The irony slays me.

Thursday, June 10


This from Jeff Veen's blog:

"You have one job," Bryan told me. "Follow the Secret Service van as close as you can all day. But, um, don't hit them."

We were on the tarmac at SFO waiting for Teresa Heinz Kerry's plane to touch down. She was attending a couple of fundraising events and Bryan was the lead advance organizer for the day (he does this occasionally, in addition to running our company, coordinating our events, and never sleeping.) He asked if I'd help out, and I jumped at the chance. Especially when I found out I'd get to be driving the staff van.

The plane rolled up to our motorcade, the candidate's wife and all her people dashed into various vehicles, and we all sped off onto the freeway. It was a blast. Although we didn't have a police escort, we really didn't bother obeying many traffic laws, either. The dark Town Car and Suburban of the Secret Service would flash their hidden police lights and tear across the lanes of traffic. And I hung on at the end of the line driving as fast as I could. Apparently the staff is quite used to this, as they kept encouraging me to drive faster, faster, faster. We were having a lot of fun.

At one intersection, my van bogged down a bit for some reason when the light turned green, and a 15 yard gap opened up between us and the Service Suburban. It was just enough room for a young guy in a sports car to dart in between us. I stomped on the accelerator, swerved around him into oncoming traffic, then pinched the van back behind the Suburban. It felt a little reckless to me, but the staff applauded my aggressive move.

The young man did not. He flashed his lights, honked his horn, and darted up next to us. I glanced over at him and it appeared as if his head were about to explode as he screamed all manner of obscenities at us. I was still racing to catch the Secret Service, and now he was too. The Trip Director sitting next to me was editing Ms. Heinz Kerry's comments on her laptop, talking on her cell phone, and yelling over to me, "You're doing great! Faster! Faster!"

At the next intersection, I had a lead on the lunatic in the sports car. Everyone hit their brakes, I did too, and skidded into the back of the Suburban. ("You have one job..." echoing in my head.) Mr. Sportscar decided it was time for action. He let us know that we were not taking his place in line, no matter what, and nudged his car into the van and started rocking us back and forth. At this point, the woman next to me said, "Um, yeah, better let him know that he's about to have a really, really, bad day."

I rolled down my window to a barrage of obscenities and said, "Please back up right now. Please." I was pleading with him. More obscenities. Extreme road rage.

"Really. You have to back up. That's the Secret Service and you're making a very bad mistake right now."

"Secret Service?" he screamed. "Oh, c'mon! Kiss my..."

And then all the sirens and lights and everything came on all at once. He froze, mouth open, gawking at what he now realized was a motorcade. He looked back at me, slammed his car into reverse, and was gone. The staff was really laughing now.

Afterwards, over a beer, I told Bryan that the hardest part of the whole day wasn't the confrontation. No, the hardest part is getting back on the highway and having to follow the laws now. I had Legal Jackass status for a day, and I already miss it.


Cheech got off the waitlist into a D.O. school he loves! Wahoo!


NOW I'M SAD . . .

Ray Charles is dead, at age 73.

Rest in peace, musician, artist, desegregationist, pioneer, a man who saw everything with his mind's eye more lyrically and creatively than most.

Wednesday, June 9


For reasons completely unknown, I am utterly moved by this week dedicated to the late President Ronald Reagan. For a man I never knew, for a President I hardly agree with in hindsight, for a leader whose political, economic and social legacies are still criticized and which I do not fully understood, for a personality whose biography I haven't even read (yet -- I just put it on my list), I grieve deeply.

As far as I can tell, it's the mere process of dealing with the fact that a man larger than life, a man whose careers spanned all spectrums, a man who for all intents and purposes dedicated the latter part of his life to service to his country and countrypeople, is dead. Almost everything I read about President Reagan now tells me he loved this country and had the most optimistic, idealistic goals for this nation. I find that ... well, I find it admirable. Politics is so political. There is almost no room for optimism or idealism. President Reagan seemingly had both. I don't see anyone these days who has either. The end of an era, indeed.

But it's also the visual and aural effect: the sweeping view of thousands of people thronging Constitution Avenue as President Reagan's flag-draped coffin slowly rolls forth on a single horse-drawn caisson. The perfectly straight lines of military personnel accompanying the cortege. The hooded and riderless horse, with backwards-facing boots in its stirrups. The silently flickering red and blue lights of the police escorts. The long line of black cars carrying the family, who must be gazing out at the crowd in awe at the turnout. The crowds politely but warmly applauding the motorcade, trying to send greetings to Mrs. Reagan and her family. The Air Force flyover, with jets in the missing man formation. The slow walk into the Capitol Rotunda, in the people's house. The members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the current administration, diplomats, guests standing at attention throughout the evening ceremony. Mrs. Reagan sitting, surrounded by all of these people who have come to honor her dead husband. Mrs. Reagan leaning on the arm of her military escort for support. Mrs. Reagan running her hand across her husband's casket. The Armed Forces Guard of Honor keeping continuous watch over the President, through the night, into the morning, until Friday.

It's also the observation that people are willing to put aside their differences when it matters, when it is more important to honor one person together than to dishonor each other disparately, when it is more significant to remember one's excellent qualities than to emphasize the points of difference.

I am utterly, utterly moved.
CARRIE! . . .

I'm not ashamed to admit it: I'm a "Sex and the City" sloot. I love that show and am so sad that it is no longer churning out new episodes. ('Clean' versions on TBS don't really do it for me.) Thus, as soon as I'm done with my more important purchases, I'm buying all the DVD's of all the SATC seasons. As per C's suggestion, I might even get them used.

But until then, here's a tidbit to tide all of us over: Sarah Jessica Parker is selling her clothes. She, along with other New York City denizens, are participating in Real Simple's Get Organized New York and cleaning out their closets for a 2-day tag sale in Central Park in October. Net proceeds from the giant tag sale will benefit The Fund for Public Schools, headed by Caroline Kennedy.

You can donate, volunteer or buy, so check out the sites and consider being part of another good cause. I'm not much for see-through tops and big fat flower pins, but I'm definitely keeping my options open ...

Tuesday, June 8


(That reminds me of a praise song we sang obsessively during my first IVCF New York City Urban Project: "And step by step You'll lead me ... and I will follow You all of my days.")

Tonight, before and after a quickie Blue Pig ice cream run with the Noodles' parents, I organized my office. Well, I organized the important parts of my office: my desk, my financial files, and my filing cabinet. I am such a nerd. My books and knick-knacks still lie packed away in boxes. I have no idea where I'm going to put them, but the boxes look much neater closed and taped up than open and spewed forth. But step by step ...

My kitchen is largely organized as well. Of course, in the middle of preparing my first dinner at home, I realized: I have no knives. Aside from four butter knives, I have nothing of any sharp worth at all. Another thing to put on the list ...

For some reason, though, my clothes still are spilling out of boxes and a suitcase. I hate hotel living ... I don't know why I can't bring myself to unpack and put clothes away ...



Stupid and not-so-stupid movies I want to see: "Saved," "Dodgeball," "Mean Girls," "The Stepford Wives," "The Terminal" and "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Bad television I got sucked into tonight: Bravo's "Blow Out," a reality series about a hairstylist-to-the-stars opening his own salon.

Good television I'm watching now: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." I love it when the straight guy gets all emotional about his transformation and tells the Fab Five he loves them.

Books I need to read when I'm sick of cleaning and organizing my home: "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," by David Sedaris; "Anna Karenina," by Leo Tolstoy (again); "My Life," by Bill Clinton.

Monday, June 7

WORD . . .

It's on. Summer Restaurant Week 2004 is upon us. I can't afford it, but who cares? LET'S EAT.



Today, I was very closely tailgated down a stretch of a local highway by two jerks in a tan chevrolet. At a stop light, we both stopped, and the passenger in the other car called out to me through my open driver's side window: "Hey, do you like white boys?"

At this point, my brain stopped mincing words. WHAT THE FUCK? My first instinct was to laugh, but instead I smirked and said, "NO."

Then, as the light turned green and I stepped on my accelerator, I heard words that made my blood boil almost to bursting: "Yeah, well I don't like Chinese girls either."


FIRST OF ALL, I am not fucking Chinese.

SECOND OF ALL, why are you asking me such a fucking stupid question, you doughy asshole? Would you like me to say "yes, I love white boys who dominate me and make me feel submissive as we all know all Asian women really are?" WHAT THE FUCK? NO WAY. If I have anything to say about it, I'll be prosecuting idiotic assholes like you in the near future and I'll be cackling with glee as I watch you be hauled off in chains to go to jail to see who ELSE likes white boys.

THIRD OF ALL, don't be asking me that question because it just emphasizes what a complete dick you are.

FOURTH OF ALL, don't be asking me that question because it just makes me do this: TAN CHEVROLET 4-DOOR SEDAN, NEW YORK STATE LICENSE PLATE AJM-8860. The doughy white-boy driver and his doughy white-boy asshole friend are ASSHOLES. Be warned.

FIFTH OF ALL, my answer is STILL "NO" and it will forever emphatically be "NO" because you, asshole, are one in a loooong line of assholish white men who have completely ruined your ilk for me. You have constantly proven yourselves, with very limited and few exceptions, to be bigoted, racist, condescending, immature, utterly stupid, frat-boy-ish (which is NOT a good thing, asshole), uneducated (yellow don't automatically mean Chinese, asshole) and totally unpleasant to be around in any fashion, even when sharing the road together.

I hope you, Tan Chevrolet 4-door sedan, New York State license plate AJM-8860, get your just desserts in the ugliest and most humiliating way possible, because with a few simple words, you ruined my day and emphasized for me why people like you SUCK.

I know, I know ... there will be those of you out there thinking: "but she's Christian and she uses such foul language" or "how can she say she believes one thing and then express such hatred and anger at another thing?" Well ... thus is my constant dilemma. All I know right now, seeing nothing but red flow across my eyes and feeling the sting of humiliation and anger at not having gotten the last word, is that I'm sick of taking this shit lying down. It is NOT ok to humiliate me just because I'm a Christian. It is NOT ok to be an asshole just because you're not. Tan Chevrolet 4-door sedan, New York State license plate AJM-9960, you are NOT ok. You suck.


I sat stunned in church yesterday, as I heard, for the first time in my life, the words "racial reconciliation" come out of the mouth of an Asian-American pastor standing and preaching before me. It was amazing.

During college, I was involved with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship-USA. IVCF-USA is largely a college ministry focusing on world missions and reaching and connecting students of all races and backgrounds for the purpose of Christ. This group also emphasizes urban ministry, and as a result, I became very involved in that aspect of it, participating in an urban missions project one summer, then being a co-director of after graduating from college. Our group in college did so much and committed ourselves to so many things ... and it was easy then, because we were ALL into it and we were ALL devoted to the missions and goals of IVCF-USA. And of course, attending school in the city, it was easy to see that Heaven, the ultimate kingdom of God, would also be a city, albeit one without crime, grime and sirens wailing down the streets every three minutes. No, it would have streets paved with gold, with banners fluttering from every building and trumpets sounding from every corner, and all its citizens rejoicing and singing and dancing, their faces representing every ethnicity, every culture, every race and color, both genders.

Having passed happily through the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship network in college, I was shocked to graduate and enter the larger Christian community to find that ... well, people in the real world didn't care about ethnic ministry or racial reconciliation or world missions or doing something about the fact that at no time in this country is racial segregation greater than on Sunday mornings. I felt so disappointed in my fellow believers. When I talked about racial reconciliation, about the kingdom of God being the City of Zion -- yes, I said CITY, about Jesus loving the poor and the young and the female and the unlovable, about God caring about those suffering from AIDS in Africa and those who can't read in rural China and the drug addicts in American prison who aren't receiving the proper treatment, people looked at me like I was crazy, or too liberal, or too idealistic, or ... something. This reception was even more severe from other Asian-Americans, we who as a group tend to be more exclusionary, more racist, more complacent and socially quiet than any other ethnic group growing in this country. I felt so disappointed in my fellow Asian-Americans.

But then yesterday at 3:40 p.m., Korean-American PEK stood in front of me talking about those very issues as if to say "DOI, of COURSE we should be concerned and passionate about these things. You dare call yourself a follower of Christ and NOT care about these things as He did?" I was SO PSYCHED. Here was at least one other Asian-American who would NOT look at me funny if I talked about the things I was passionate about, like urban ministry and serving the poor and racial reconciliation and making our church a true haven for people of all ethnicities; who would NOT think I was strange and overly idealistic for wanting to DO things instead of just TALK about them; who would NOT think I was delusional for thinking God had a bigger heart than just for us complacent, suburban, privileged believers.

So our community better watch out. Habitat For Humanity, Big Onion Walking Tours of Historic Harlem, Komen Foundation Race for the Cure, Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, BigBrother/BigSister, mentoring, feeding, caring, delivering ... I want to do it all and now PEK wants to as well. NHF is going to get a big ethnic kick in its pants, and I can't wait for us to explode as a result ...

Sunday, June 6


Not that I purport to call myself mighty, but ...

I'm all moved in, and had a few of my lovely pals over to inaugurate my first evening at HOME with some pizza and yellow Fanta (which is VERY hard to find, and at this point, is the ONLY soda I will drink). I even swept and mopped the kitchen floor, which thankfully is quite minimal, and set out all my things: toiletries, soaps, lotions, etc. My home feels less like a hotel and more like a ... home.

But I'm still feeling kind of weak from my weekend of food abstinence, plus I think I'm constipating myself because of the fear of something running out of me when I go to do #2, so I thought I'd come back to my parents' place for some sympathy, to say a proper goodbye, drop off something of theirs, and pick up something of mine. And wouldn't you know it -- no one's home.

To top it all off, Cablevision dumped a messed-up cable modem on me, so I have no Internet access at my HOME yet ... so here I am in my parents' study, alone when I didn't want to be, checking my email and desperately blogging because I know I won't be able to when I go HOME. Well, at least I can scrounge their medicine cabinet for some cold tablets and cough drops. I think I'm coming down with something, damn weakened immune system.

Eh, there must be more to life than this ...

Saturday, June 5


As tired as I am, I can't sleep.

Tonight is my last night in this house.
Tomorrow, I sleep in MY house.

I like those apron strings ...
A TIME TO . . .

Ronald Reagan, our country's fortieth president, died this afternoon. I am immensely saddened by this, not because I know so much about him, or because I knew him at all. But he was the first American president that loomed large in my memory. Sure, I have very vague memories of seeing political cartoons in my parents' newspapers depicting Jimmy Carter's broad smiling face in caricature, but Reagan was really the first President I heard or read anything about, at an age where I could formulate coherent thoughts. Reagan was the President that was with me through the Challenger explosion, Chernobyl, the Cold War, glasnost -- all events that only people in my generation can recall with any affinity or a sense of "ahhh, where were you when ..."

The man had an incredible life. Sure, as President, he saw the national deficit triple ... but aside from that major boo-boo, didn't he have a life and career (or careers) that most people would die for? Born in 1911, he was a radio sportscaster, an actor, a state governor, then President of the United States for eight years. He was old, that's for sure, but he was funny and well-liked, and honest, as far as politicans go. He was eloquent, thus dubbed "The Great Communicator," and even a quick reading of the personal letters he wrote to his second wife Nancy are enough to bring the small sting of tears to my eye. He had a gravelly little voice that could go from extremely tender to frighteningly firm. He was loyal to his party and loyal to his country above all things. I'd venture to say that despite all the ways in which I would disagree with him politically, economically, socially, he bent over backwards to render service unto his country and his fellow citizens. It doesn't seem like they make Presidents like Ronald Reagan anymore ...

I'm moved not simply by the singular loss of Reagan. I'm moved by what he stood for, the feeling of "they don't make them like they used to," the thought that I and we don't appreciate people, events, moments as much as we should. I commented to C last night, as we rose for the singing of the national anthem: no matter how down I am about the Iraq war, no matter how much I deride The Shrubbery, no matter how much I wish this country could be better, do better, do more, there is no place I'd rather be, and everytime I hear or sing the anthem, or view our flag up against a sky's horizon, I remember that. Yeah, a tripling of the deficit sucks, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else. Yeah, I hate being hypocritical and sending troops to bring democracy to other nations when we have such a hard time practicing it ourselves, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else. Yeah, I'm embarrassed that some of our bad seeds went to a war zone and started abusing prisoners of war, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else. Yeah, I hate that our history includes segregation, race riots, marginalization of women and internment of citizens, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

Only in America can I even hope for an end to racism. Only in America can one even hope to start with nothing and make something grand of him or herself. Only in America can one make a national anthem about a flag and set it to the tune of an old popular drinking song. Only in America can the idea of democracy actually take root, even if it's in little pockets here and there, even if it's really slowly. And of course, only in America can a nobody born in Illinois be a sportscaster, an actor, a governor and the President of his country and leader of the free world.

Rest in peace, Gipper.

I puked yesterday.

I hate puking. I can't figure out if it was a stomach virus that got me -- possibly transmitted by any number of babies and adults who have had the bug lately -- or if it was just a bad combination of indigestion and bad Chinese food. But I puked, and it was horrible. It was made worse by the fact that I had spent the seven hours prior to puking sitting on the toilet letting everything in my body simply run out of me. One would have thought there was nothing left to let out the top end ... but there was, and it was painful, given the fact that my stomach was already sticking to my spine by that point.

I don't know how bulimics do it. Puking is just nasty.

But of course, I slept the whole day and rested so that I could go to the Yankee game at night and get my YANKEES ICE CUBE TRAY!!! And yes, the ice is frozen into the interlocking N and Y shapes. I love it. I was practically comatose the entire game, and I needed a foam finger to keep my hands warm. But the ice cube tray makes it all worth while. I am a nerd.

Luckily, I found myself with a free Saturday morning, which I studiously spent sleeping. I believe I slept straight through to 11:17am. It was glorious. Upon waking, however, my list o' things to do came rushing at me inside my head: pack, shop, unload boxes at the condo, run errands for Omma, greet parents' guests at home, rush off to a late-night Praise Team practice. I decided to at least try to get some food into my body, so I shuffled down the hall to the kitchen and made some weak tea and dry toast. Bleh. Nasty.

Every box I pack requires me to sit for 5 minutes to regain my energy and make the world stop spinning. Now I sit here at Bob, looking at the open suitcase out of the corner of my eye, ready to receive the last unpacked articles of clothing. I don't know when that suitcase is going to be filled. I don't know how I'm going to drive to BedBath&Beyond and back. I don't know how I'm going to get all this stuff up two flights of stairs into my apartment. I don't know how I'm even going to stay standing in the shower later.

It's amazing what one puke can do to a person. I hate puking.