Friday, July 30


Work has been near-manic lately, at least inside my head. Statute of Frauds WHAT?! Not again ... I had vainly hoped that the Statute of Frauds was some strange creature that reared its ugly (and confusing and double-negative laden) head only in the first year of law school, smack in the middle of Contracts, but NO. Here it is again, bitch-smacking me over and over and over. Unfortunately, I don't face the quietest, most relaxing and restful weekend ... but it's not what my occupies my body that prevents me from true bliss.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what foreign countries think of my country, what foreign journalists say about my people, how foreign citizens regard American citizens. In particular, I've been most intrigued -- and sometimes horrified -- by the Korean reaction. My other country, in many ways my first country regardless of my birth location ... how they must hate me now for being a hyphenated American.

Koreans have always had a love-hate relationship with the United States. Most in my parents' generation, both here and back in the Motherland, seem to view Americans as saviors, rescuers, protectors. Americans are the ones who air-dropped cans of Spam and bars of Hershey's chocolate and sacks of rough flour and rice, saving the very lives of the Koreans who survived on this meager and random beneficence. Americans are the ones who kept the Communist Chinese and Russian "imperialists" at bay. Americans are the ones who help keep the 38th parallel secure from the maniacal threat to the North. Americans are the ones who set the example for democracy, even if Koreans haven't exactly gotten it right just yet. Americans are the ones who opened their borders to people seeking a new start, a meaningful opportunity, and allowed these new citizens to send their children to great colleges, buy great cars, obtain great land. Young Korean-Americans like my brother and myself have adopted many of these views. We as families are kind of stuck in the 1970s, the era when the first generation immigrated here. Our political and social philosophies also harken back to these times, and as a result, many of our views and opinions are perceived as being silly and too conservative and old-fashioned by our contemporaries in the Motherland.

Most young people in South Korea hate the United States and everything about it. We are the country that unreasonably keeps troops stationed in Korea. We are the country that bullies the South into remaining separate from the North. We are the country that imported bad, loose, immoral Western values into a pure, Confucian society. We are the country that makes up larger-than-life images of an evil, nuclear-armed, crazed North Korean leader. We are the country that absorbs citizens of other nations and "changes" them and turns them against their native lands. We are the country that made them bastardize their language, spurring a desperate campaign to return to the use of "pure" Korean. They point to the Korean War as instigated by other, stronger powers ... a selfish war motivated not by an altruistic desire to protect South or North Korea, but by a greed for preserving bases of power in the globe. All of these reasons, and more, make the United States evil, and South Korea and its citizens innocent, unwilling, "occupied" victims.


Allow me, a conservative-stuck-in-the-70s-abandoning-my-native-land-hyphenated-American to point this big finger in the face of all you radical young Korean-Koreans: were it not for America's selfish political and economic ideals, you would not have your cell phones, your computers, your precious McDonald's, your blue jeans, your imported cars, your opportunities for study abroad, your young and flawed but slowly improving democratic government, your right to vote, your fluid economy, the food on your tables, your technological and industrial development, your CASH and your fake Prada bags. Don't eat a cheeseburger, then complain that you have to call it a cheeseburger. Don't fight tooth and nail to come and study in my country, then go back and complain that we think we're smarter than everyone. Don't live off the benefits of an interdependent economy, then complain that you're a member of an interdependent economy. Don't live in peace under the reinforcements of several thousand of MY country's troops, without which YOUR country would be overrun with a military force whose power and intelligence and training and heartlessness you can't even imagine, then complain that we're occupying your land. Don't scream and swoon at the presence of Britney Spears in a stupid han-bok, then complain that your little siblings are too obsessed with all things American. You are where you are, you eat what you eat, you live how you live, you have what you have, and you haven't been bombed to all oblivion, all because America -- for whatever altruistic or sadistic reason -- chose to help you fight a war you most certainly would have lost otherwise without American reinforcements. You think you'd be better off as a unified peninsula under Kim Jong-Il's direction? GOOD LUCK, YOU FOOLS.

Yeah, it sucks when there's someone more powerful than you pushing you around. It sucks that you might be punished for standing up to the more powerful. It sucks that you haven't figured everything out yet and you need someone else's help. It sucks that things seem to be changing so quickly around you and you just can't keep up or remember the good old days when things were less complicated, even your vocabulary. And of course it sucks that people just like you in almost every way, people who are tied to you by blood and centuries, can't touch you or speak to you or be with you, separated by an arbitrary an invisible, but dangerous, line. I know that it sucks. It sucks for me too.

But reality is reality. Don't ignore it. Don't get all heated over every little thing; pick your battles and your opportunities. Don't rush forward so fast that you turn the corner and can't see history anywhere. I know my country has done lots of bad things; we continue to do so. But we're trying our best, just like you. Just stick with me, with us. We are one blood, all of us ultimately. Don't give up on us ...

Tuesday, July 27

ENVY ME . . .

I now own Super Scrabble.

Oh yes, you heard me. SUPER. SCRABBLE.


Oh yeah. You want to be me.



I hate to say it but steak when you have a cold is totally wasted. For one split second, when I took my first bite of medium rare petit filet mignon with salt & pepper and extra butter, I tasted it and it tasted SO SO SO GOOD. Oh yeah.

But then physiology set in once more and the nasal passages clogged right up. The taste of zinc tablets re-settled upon my tongue, and all that savory meat, all that creamy spinach, all that salty butter was for naught. Even my favorite Rosemount Shiraz seemed metallic and acidic, even though everyone else at the table swooned over its full-bodied sweet flavor.

Sigh. I hate an opportunity wasted.



... that I now own SUPER SCRABBLE?

About 200 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea today via another South Asian country.


Aside from the impending horror that might ensue if political forecasters are correct and this marks the beginning of a major influx of North Korean refugees who are starving in their homeland ... my next thought was "there are spies among them."

We already know that North Korean spies abound in the South. They are everywhere. They are in the schools, the businesses, the quiet residential neighborhoods, the government. They run the market on the corner, they run the commuter rail lines, and they run the country. They are that good.

Bring in a few hundred more refugees, you exponentially increase the likelihood of more espionage and more God-knows-what-else. My Korean-Korean counterparts may call me anti-Korean and conservative and stuck in the 70s, but you know what? THAT'S REALITY. The South Korean government is being stupid, opening its arms to the North and letting whoever come "home" whenever they want.  Does it not see that they are dealing with a CRAZY PERSON in the North?  Hey, I've got relatives up there starving to death too, but that doesn't nullify the fact that their leader is a CRAZY PERSON.  Stupid, just plain stupid. The Korean peninsula ain't Germany. South Korea will crumble under the weight of refugees, and it will be utterly wiped out as we know it under the weight of reunification. And THEN, the North Korean military will swoop down and bomb the hell out of everybody, and then BAM!  Another new communist regime is born.

NO THANKS. Wise up and close your borders. That's what they're there for.

AHEM . . .

The following is an actual, precise copy of an Associated Press news release:

Boy in Norway Luggage Conveyor Belt
Published: July 27, 2004
Filed at 9:18 a.m. ET

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A four-year-old boy caused chaos at a Norwegian airport this week when he crawled on a luggage conveyor belt and road it like it was a merry-go-round.

I'm sorry, but when was the last time you ROAD a conveyor belt? When was the last time you ROAD anything?

Oh, for crying out loud ... do I have to do everything around here?!

Monday, July 26


Almost a full three years later and I still can't look head-on at an image of the World Trade Center towers. A stirring tribute by the mother of 9/11 victims at the start of the prime-time portion of the Democratic National Convention moved me once more ... but I had to leave the room and brush my teeth so I wouldn't have to listen to all of it. I can't bear to listen to all of it. People holding up lighters, people with tears running down their faces, a young teenage boy playing a mournful violin rendition of "Amazing Grace" ... I can't bear it still.


ACHOO . . .

Summer colds stink. They linger longer than other colds, and you can't sweat it out because ... well, because you're already sweating and so there's no refreshing "the fever has broken" feeling to look forward to. You're always going to be clammy. And when your body is wracked with chills and shivers and you wrap yourself in a blanket, you're still going to emerge clammy. It's not so bad when it's crappy outside and you can feel justified wallowing in bed at 6:00 in the afternoon. It's downright terrible when it's a gorgeous, non-humid 73 degrees outside, the sun is twinkling and a light breeze is blowing, and you just know it would be a perfect day for a leisurely bike ride. That is, if you weren't snotty, chilled, achy and bleary-eyed. And then there's the weird sensation of drinking orange juice. I hate orange juice. I only drink -- or even think of drinking -- orange juice when I'm sick or getting sick. When you see me sucking down OJ, you know it's bad. Sigh.



I took a trip down memory lane this evening, all the way back to my college days, and rustled myself up some comfort food for dinner: black beans n' rice. Black bean soup, supplemented with chopped onions, chopped green pepper, hot salsa, garlic, salt & pepper, Tabasco sauce and scallions ... poured over white rice ... topped with a slightly undercooked fried egg. It didn't get rid of my drat cold, but it sure did make me feel better about being stuck inside on a gorgeous summer evening.



She looks good. Say what you want about her, hate her, love her, don't consider her at all, but the lady looks good. Props to her stylist. Yellow is tough to pull off. Hillary pulled it off. Props. And she's smart. She may not be smart in the way that you would agree with, but she's smart. Gotta give her props for that too, because there are lots of stupid people out there ...



My autumn schedule has, in the span of 24 hours, filled up in a massive way. Already I feel guilty about having to ask for days off, and I know I'm going to have to buckle down at work to justify my asking ... but I'm psyched! Wedding showers, camping, bachelorette parties, baseball games, Block Island with the L.O.L.'s, doctor's appointments, church retreats. I won't be getting any sleep between now and November, but that's what sludgy coffee is for ...



I took custody of Camp Capio's minivan again this evening to prepare for my trip to the airport tomorrow. Dang, that car is heavy. Check out the gadunk-a-dunk-dunk on THAT! I can't even see the back of the car from the driver's seat ... I just hope it comes along with me when I turn corners and pray for the best. Lugging that baby down the Bronx River Parkway tomorrow evening in the rain should be just scads of fun.



Watching the Democratic National Convention is interesting ... I thought I would be disgusted and ignore it completely. But as I sit here, even as part of me scoffs at the talking heads and dismisses the faux (or can it possibly be real?!) promises and passions of the politicians speaking at me, I can't help but feel and believe that this is what makes my country so great. Yeah, we are a messed-up people and we've got a long way to go in achieving a government that truly SERVES its citizens as public servants are meant to, but only in America can the two major political parties galvanize thousands of people to gather in one hot crowded arena to cheer and whoop and hold hands and jump and dance and sing and basically go nutso. I don't mean to get trite or cheesy -- politics, this election, the selection of our commander-in-chief is no minor, merely emotional matter -- but it's just great. My heart is a bit stirred at the fact that there are people out there who believe in a person, who believe in issues and resolving them, who care enough to show their faces at this Convention, as well as at the Republican Convention later on. It's just cool. (Kerry/Edwards still better win in November, though. Hee.)



Bill looks good too. His hair is thinning and is whiter than ever -- I bet being in the doghouse for the past four years had something to do with that -- but he looks good. His nose somehow looks less bulbous. Good suit, good tie, and of course, again whether you like or hate him, he's a good speaker. Charisma goes a long way. Take notes, Shrub.


CLAMMY . . .

Ugh, I'm sweating again. I need more orange juice.

Saturday, July 24


I love airports. I love going to airports to travel, going to airports to drop people off, going to airports to pick people up, and in college, going to airports to study. Rather, to "study." I usually spent the time writing in my journal or people-watching and making up stories about their lives or watching planes land and take-off. It was more calming than yoga.

Despite the mental stigma that my brain now automatically attaches to airports -- planes now being weapons of mass destruction, after all -- I still love the feelings I feel and the thoughts I think in an airport, or wondering about the feelings and thoughts of others. There's a vibe that runs through an airport terminal that is unlike any other. It's just not the same energy as that which exists in a coffeehouse, the trading floor, even a train or bus station. It's more and it's crazier and it's more frenetic and emotional than any other venue. It's the wondering whether the woman focused intently on the CNN Headline News screen is really paying attention or is stressing about the fact that she didn't pack enough changes of underwear. It's the staring at the guy who's staring at a gum stain on the floor and counting how long it takes for him to move. It's the watching those who are waiting and those who are arriving and trying to match up traveler to greeter. It's the perusing the limousine drivers holding welcome signs and wondering "are any of these guys Mafia hitmen under cover, waiting to hit the arriving innocent?" It's the seeing children reunited with parents, grandparents in traditional African dress embracing their young, jeans-clad descendants ... and being ever-so-curious about whether a kissing couple really loves each other, whether the bratty teenager complaining to her dad about her heavy backpack is really such a bitch at home, whether the biracial couple and their adorable mixed-race son have it tough out there in American society.

When I travel, I love traveling alone, knowing that my suitcase is packed just so, regardless of what the security team will do to it, that I have everything I need with me in my carry-on, including lip balm and facial lotion and the makeup that I'll apply right before the plane lands. I do everything everyone tells me to do: I drink a lot of water, I walk around the plane every half hour or so, I eat a light meal before the flight, I moisturize my face and hands. I keep close tabs on my photo ID and my boarding pass, and I always always pay attention to the flight attendants at the start of the flight, even though I've read the emergency card and have already scoped out the best avenues of exit, as well as if there are any elderly or children/babies around me who might need my assistance before I assist myself. I am never so responsible for myself as I am when I travel alone. I never feel more grown-up than when I have to get up early for a flight and sit at the gate with a cup of coffee and Bob, waiting for my row to be called for seating.

I love praying before takeoff and landing, asking God to keep us safe, to guide the hands of the pilots and the directions of the air traffic controllers, and thanking Him for a safe and uneventful flight (after we're pulled up to the gate and the front door has been opened, of course). I love the feeling of overcoming my slight fear of flying each time the plane lifts its wheels off the tarmac, and each time the plane hits the runway with a bump upon landing. I love unclenching my fists from the armrests, opening my eyes and seeing land roll slowly by. I love sitting on the plane, wondering if the circumstances are right for me to swipe the blanket that has kept me only slightly warm during the flight, but would definitely be the perfect covering for me in front of the television at home. And when I'm on JetBlue ... well, I just love everything about JetBlue.

When I assist others traveling, I love being responsible for their cars, their homes, their mail, whatever. I love making little piles on their kitchen tables -- junk mail, catalogs, important mail, packages, newspapers -- so they can easy-sort when they get home. I love helping to unload the car and seeing them off to check-in. I love arriving early to wait to greet them at baggage claim. I love feeling like one of those waiting people I enjoy observing, and wonder who's observing me, what they're thinking about me, what they're assuming about my relationship with those I greet and welcome home.

My deepest desire -- aside from becoming an FBI agent putting pedophiles and Asian gangsters in jail -- is to have someone pay me to sit in airports all day and all night long, writing about what I observe, hear, even smell, making up stories and reuniting loved ones inside my head, resolving dramas and reconciling the lost. Heck, I'd do that for free, I think ...

Thursday, July 22

BOO-HOO . . .

The Human Rights Campaign has cut Margaret Cho from its lineup at a gay political bash in Boston set to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. The Campaign insists it's not censorship; rather, they didn't want to have to censor Margaret, so they just cut her.

That just sucks, and not only because Margaret is pretty damn funny.

But, she will be kicking off the State of Emergency World Tour in New York at the same time as the Republican National Convention. Wahoo!



It's just one of those lazy days -- I can feel it already. I woke at 5:00am, snoozed once, snoozed twice, then finally lumbered into the shower to prepare myself to meet Camp Capio and take them to the airport. Why C thinks it takes more than an hour to get to LaGuardia is beyond me. Why C thinks it's going to take two hours for them to check in and get to the gate -- even with two babies and their accompanying luggage, including two very large and cumbersome car seats -- is beyond me. Why I thought I'd be late getting back to work is beyond me. But better to be safe than sorry, he always says. Rather, I always say that, but C borrowed the phrase for today.

There was less than no traffic on the road, even with construction on the Willis Avenue Bridge. Now I'm at work and it's only 8:00am. A looooong day looms ahead of me, and even after a jumbo cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, I'm still droopy. I might have to crawl under my desk and take a nap in a few hours ...

But more importantly -- I have custody of Camp Capio's psuedo-minivan! Joyrides abound ... except I look and feel like a soccer-mom driving it. Ew.


THERE HE IS! . . .

Dennis Kucinich -- who is still officially a Democratic presidential candidate -- is going to throw his support to John Kerry during an appearance with him in Detroit.

Huh. I was wondering where Kucinich went.

Wednesday, July 21

CLASSY . . .

Jenna Bush sticks her tongue out at photographers.

Nice. Classy. Mature. Great move when your dad is running for the presidential re-election.

I guess idiocy runs in the Shrubbery family.

Tuesday, July 20


I love KitchenAid. And I look pretty damn good in my ruby red helmet and blue gloves on my phat little bike. I love it. Now if I could just figure out the gear shifting without lurching forward every time ...


I just squirted peach juice in my eye. My contact lens doesn't like it onnnnnne bit.


I hate when I shop online at during their major sales, select a few cheap-o items to place in my Shopping Bag, then waffle about whether I really need to spend the money, log off for a few hours, then return only to find that other vultures have swooped in and wiped out the inventory. Oh well, I guess my waffling question has been answered: no new clothing for me.


"Trading Spouses." I love it. Why is it that the rich people are always misguided and mean and stingy, and the poor people are open-minded and kind and generous? So ironical. The wives who swapped households for this episode are so interesting to watch, though not interesting in and of themselves. I must tune in next week.


EEK. I just saw a promo for something called "Amish in the City." Starts next week. Methinks I'm going to get sucked into it.


Eh, a quiet evening at home. Lovely.

Pet peeves: adults who behave like children, making poor excuses for bad behavior and being rude for no reason and refusing to act their age or even listen carefully to those who advise them to act their age ... people who lack sensitivity about things like (1) if there are sleeping babies, be quiet; or (2) if no one else is spazzing out about a situation, then you probably shouldn't be either so calm yourself; or (3) not everything needs to be pronounced at full volume and at highest drama; or (4) just because someone doesn't say the "right" things or the things that YOU want them to say or think they should say does not mean they are misguided or immature or not thoughtful, and you shouldn't behave and emote in a way that makes them feel that they are ... women who do their makeup in the driver's seat during the morning commute ... really slow and lazy cashiers at the grocery store who throw my purchases around and don't care to pack them up carefully, which is why I now bring my own (nerdy) Whole Foods canvas bag everywhere and pack up my own damn groceries, thank you very much ... people who say they care deeply about something or some issue, but then when are invited to participate in addressing that thing or issue in some big or small way, bow out with a lame excuse or avoid the invitation altogether, making me question why they spew their hot air in the first place ...

More favorite words: devoid ... wahoo ... ambiguity ... enigma ... defenestration ...

Things my tapeworm is craving today: authentic pad thai ... one slice of medium rare porterhouse and two spoonfuls of creamed spinach from Ruth's Chris ... a big crispy salad with chunky vegetables and chopped boiled egg and grilled shrimp ... a margarita on the rocks with salt ...

Sunday, July 18


... Omma accepted my offer to try the nasty Gingermint toothpaste. As expected, she saw "ginger" and went "ooooh, sounds good!" Sigh. Wait till she tries it. I wonder who she'll try to pawn it off on next ...

... Coney Island is insane! My first visit there was overwhelming, but in the best way. Expo knew exactly where to go, knew all the shortcuts, and even knew the shortest Nathan's line to stand on for hotdogs, even though she's a vegetarian! God bless her roughage-eating soul. The Noodles held up like champs, even though one of MJ's little perfectly-shaped turds fell out of his pants onto the ground. It was so cute, I would have taken a picture of it had I had a camera, and had it not been so disgusting in reality. But it truly was a perfectly formed mini-turd. Amazing. The New York Aquarium, while not fancy, took me back to my childhood and refreshed in me a sense of awe and respect for nature, for cool and quirky animals, for the mysteries of the universe and all the squeaky, slimy, shivery creatures that dwell in it with us. The Brooklyn Cyclones play baseball worse than Little Leaguers -- I witnessed balls actually rolling through legs and players bouncing off the far field wall! -- but KeySpan Park is just too cute, as are the little games conducted every half inning. I sat there with a stupid and charmed grin on my face for three hours. And to top it all off, I consumed The Best Strawberry Banana Smoothie Ever at the game. I would make the trek out there again just for another smoothie ...

... Bike helmet, check. Bike lock, check. Bike gloves, check. I'm ready to hit the road now. The best part of it all: the helmet is my favorite shade of red, and my gloves match KitchenAid to a tee. I am lookin' SO good on this bike, it's not even funny. Forget my thighs of steel -- check out my blue gloves! ...

... My mission until November: to bring out the latent liberal in C. His mission until November: to bring out the latent conservative in me. He wants to make me a Reagan-lover, just like himself. I just want him to vote for someone not as idiotic as Bush. Someone put up a red, flashing warning sign: GOOD TIMES AHEAD ...

... Friday's care group meeting, approached with absolutely zero expectations, touched me more than I had though possible. I realized that we were former Catholics, former Korean semi-cult survivors, Methodists, Presbyterians, Puerto Rican, Filipino, 1 1/2-generation Korean-American, married and single, really young and really not-so-young, part-time workhorses, full-time workhorses and full-time workhorses at home. I guess part of me has ceased to care that we're not doing a Bible study, or that the book we're reading together is slightly contrived and overly touchy-feely. I'd rather listen to people tell me about themselves and open their hearts to me in a contrived manner -- at least at first -- than not at all. My eyes were opened to the fact that there is great value in talking and listening, no matter the topic, no matter the distractions. And speaking of distractions, we must note for the future: placing a pile of toys and books in the middle of the group, then forming a sort of fortress around them and the babies/toddlers goes a looong way towards limiting mobility and whining. Good plan, good plan. I tuned those babies out like they weren't even there. Until one crawled over to me, climbed into my arms, snuggled into my shoulder ... then BIT ME ...

Friday, July 16

Mel is sort of recovered ... except for the four spots they found on her lungs this week.  What in the world would make a healthy, energetic, vibrant, kind, intelligent, loyal, effervescent 24-year-old woman come down with cancer and go through successful treatment, only to surface with four suspicious spots on her lungs?
I have no answer and I have no power to heal Mel, but I do have the power to run 3.2 miles in the
Komen 5k Walk/Run For a Cure.  My team and I will be hitting the pavement once more in September to raise funds for breast cancer (and other cancer) research, treatment and hopefully, eradication. 
Support us!!!  We are "New Hope For a Cure."  And we join with tens of thousands of other New Yorkers and bust our butts for ourselves, our daughters, our friends, our mothers and sisters, and for strangers who need the prayers and support of the faceless ones who care about them deeply.
SUCKER . . .
I gave in.  I could take the horror no more.  I bought the toothpaste I really wanted.
I think I'll try to pawn the nasty Gingermint off on my mother this weekend.  She likes weird combinations like that that I just can't abide.  Gingermint ... it doesn't even exist in nature as one, unified ingredient.  Ginger and mint, I have concluded, do not belong together in anything.  Not in toothpaste, not in baked goods, not in anything.  Shoot me if I ever use my EMPIRE RED KITCHENAID ARTISAN MIXER to create anything containing both ginger and mint.

Thursday, July 15

BLECH . . .

I have a dilemma. It's hardly earth-shattering, but it rocks my world every day nonetheless: I don't like my current flavor of toothpaste.

I was coming down to the last drop of my favorite Tom's of Maine Natural Tartar Control & Whitening, Peppermint Toothpaste, so I decided to hit the local drugstore to restock. Imagine my horrific dismay upon discovering that while the store did carry Tom's of Maine toothpaste products, MY particular product was not on the shelf. What could I do? I am far too lazy to travel to other drugstores in search of Tartar Control & Whitening, Peppermint, so I did some quick but diligent research on the boxes of toothpaste that sat in front of me. Fennel, eh. I don't like how it tastes in real life, I'm not going to like it in paste form rubbed all over my teeth. Cinnamint, blech. I don't like sugary-sweet things, be they in pastry or gel form. Unflavored -- boring! Apricot, too weird for me. Why would I immerse my teeth in fruit extract? I finally settled for Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste With Fluoride, Gingermint.


I have this huge tube of nasty-ass toothpaste in my bathroom, and I hate it. I want nothing more than to throw it far, far away from me and never bring it near my taste buds again. But I can't bring myself to waste four dollars and spend another four dollars on the toothpaste I really want.

I know there are children starving in Africa, people dying of AIDS in China, war raging in the Middle East, pivotal presidential campaigns being run in this country. But I hate my toothpaste and I just don't know what to do about it.


SHUT UP! . . .

Hillary Clinton wasn't asked to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. People are saying she didn't ask to speak, she doesn't want to speak, it's alright that she's not speaking, blah blah blah. And now, Judith Hope, the former chairwoman of the New York Democratic Party, said she's going to urge female Democrats to boycott the Convention.


Yes, Judith, this is a f*cking FINE time to be urging Democrats to boycott political events. This is a PERFECT moment to be promoting a split in the party. This is a GREAT opportunity for the Democratic Party to be disunified. Judith Hope, are you an absolute imbecile? Shut your mouth and sit down, please, because you are giving politics a worse name than it already has, and you urging people to boycott the Convention is just the most ridiculous thing I've heard since "let's go to war because Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." Judith finally backed down, retracted her urging, but emailed about 1,000 supporters asking them to protest the decision to not ask Hillary to speak. Oh, quit your blustering, Judith. You're worse than Shrub.

Hillary may or may not speak at the Convention. Politics and behind-the-scenes maneuvering and thinking about 2008 and so many other factors will decide what her role at the Convention will be. Judith Hope, you just stop making a mess of things, alright?

Wednesday, July 14

AM I? . . .

Hey, You're the friendly neighborhood Spiderman!!!
You're cool cuz you're nice, you try to please
everyone, and above all, you are humble. Those
powers of yours are for good only. No messing

Which Superhero Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Here -- something for you to dunk your stupid FREEDOM FRIES into. Gimme a break.

AFP/HO Photo
GOOD EYE . . .

Some people, like Cheech, seem to really have an eye for a picture. Cheech takes really good pictures of things that would never occur to me need to be photographed. He seems to enjoy photographing food in particular, so I offer you totally uncopyrighted scenes from last week ...

And in case you need a preview of TROUBLE BREWING ...

Tuesday, July 13


I eschew most reality shows. I was never a true follower of the "Survivor" or "Big Brother" franchises. I can't stomach "Fear Factor" and my conscience would not allow me to watch "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." Even my love for the "Real World" series has petered out ... nothing really tops Pedro in San Francisco eventually dying of AIDS, being surrounded and supported by his roommates and friends (except for that nasty Puck). But this summer, I have been shocked at discovering myself avidly watching "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "Amazing Race" and bad reruns of "America's Next Top Model."

"Amazing Race" is really the only show with any integrity and wit. I get to live vicariously through world travelers, AND get a healthy dose of voyeuristic squabbling, fighting, competing and back-stabbing. The traveling makes up for these latter qualities, although (these things are fun to watch, but you didn't hear that from me). The other two ... I don't really know WHY I insist on making time to watch them each week. The people in these shows are alternately pathetic, annoying, only slightly interesting. The 'competitions' are vapid, without substance, totally not interesting. But I watch nonetheless. Am I merely thankful that I don't have to pose naked with diamonds, slathered in tar? Am I simply happy that I don't HAVE to find my father a new wife and myself a stepmother? Do I truly not care and just want frivolous eye candy? (Which would not explain why I actually teared up during an episode of "Who Wants to Marry My Dad" but you didn't hear THAT from me either.) Eh, who knows and who gives. It's summer and my brain is on vacay until after Labor Day.



My care group consists of five married couples and myself. I am close with two of the married couples, but the friendships that bind us don't erase the fact that they are married and I'm not. So far, the meetings have been introductory, as well as chaotic. Eating dinner and watching three infants and entertaining two toddlers while trying to maintain a serious conversation makes for an event similar to a circus whose entire cast is high on crack cocaine. This Friday could be the ultimate test, however: the membership is semi-set-in-stone, the first chapter of our book has been read and discussion questions are being prepared. I am again apprehensive and insecure about my presence in this group.

On the one hand, I probably am the only one who notices my unmarried status. Certainly when it comes to the discussions, half of each couple is occupied with their child/ren, so it is as if there are a bunch of single folks sitting around the table anyway. And don't get me wrong -- I can hold my own in these surrounded-by-couples situations. Most of my friends are married, many of my friends have babies or children, I've cared for enough babies and children myself, and I read lots of magazine articles about things that don't necessarily apply to me. If they want to talk about breastfeeding and sleep schedules and husbands who don't take out the garbage, I'm in.

But on the other hand, I know that when the evening ends, I'm getting into my car by myself. I'll talk to myself about what transpired during the care group meeting, and some little tickle in the back of my brain will always make me wonder: "is it okay that I'm here? Is it okay that I'm eating and talking and sitting and playing with these people, my friends? Is it okay that I opened my mouth to say something even though I don't know everything about the subject? Is it okay that I wish the parents would find sitters for their children so the adults could have a civilized and meaningful discussion and meeting?"

Sigh. I should just not take PEK's advice and NOT think sometimes ...


CUTE . . .

I don't know why but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Aflac duck and the Geico gekko.

We are a selfish people. Well, all people are selfish, and I think those who profess to be unselfish are selfish (and elitist) about being unselfish. But there seems to be something distinctly American (and it doesn't matter what nationality you hyphen onto the "American") about having an "I won't do this for you unless you do that for me" mentality.

New York-based Fellowship of Reconciliation has created the Iraq Photo Project, recruiting everyday American citizens to pose for photographs and include messages of peace, reconciliation, friendship and even apology to the Iraqi people. Some messages written so far include "We are sorry for the pain Iraqis suffer because of war," "Please Forgive Our Government," and "We Have Not Forgotten the People of Iraq." The Project sounds nice in theory to me, but of course there are those who are dissatisfied, asking why the Project wasn't asking Muslims around the world to apologize and seek reconciliation for the crimes and beheadings committed against Americans in Iraq.

Well, true, true ... and the Project director has expressed hope that Muslims around the world would be encouraged to condemn violence in their countries. And there is some difficulty in condemning the actions of one's government, but still feeling the need to support the troops who are fighting in your place. But that's not the point.

Why is it so difficult for us, we Americans specifically, to just do something good for the sake of doing something good? Why must every good deed of ours be reciprocated? Are we really so heartless, so mercenary, so incapable of altruism and generosity that we can't just offer an olive branch or a dollar or a smile or a service without expecting -- nay, demanding -- something in return? What is WRONG with us?

I see it everywhere around me in small scale, even among my friends and acquaintances. He won't apologize unless she apologizes first. She won't contribute any more of her precious time because no one tells her they appreciate her efforts. He won't bring food to the party because no one brought food to his party. She won't offer any of her expertise in a situation because no one strokes her ego or recognizes her wisdom loudly enough to satisfy her self-esteem. Multiply this petty selfishness by billions of dollars and international war and weapons of mass destruction (which apparently do not exist), and American selfishness just oozes out of our pores, threatening to eliminate all traces of humanity we have left.

Just give. What is the big f*cking deal? Who cares what you get back? This world is so much bigger than you and me and the things we can comprehend and demand. Just give.

Monday, July 12


To show them that not all Americans are bad, bullying, imperialistic, or war-mongering ...

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- Biology professor Safaa Al-Hamdani wasn't expecting an avalanche of books when he asked colleagues at Jacksonville State University to help his alma mater in Baghdad restock its libraries.

But donations have been pouring in from around the country.

"I never thought it would get this big," Al-Hamandi said Friday.

It all began when JSU professors Bill Hug, Kelly Gregg and others joined the effort, collecting spare books off professors' shelves to ship to Baghdad University, which has been drained by decades of brutal dictatorship, war, and international sanctions.

A story about the book drive last month in The Anniston Star was picked up by other media outlets, and books started arriving from universities all over the country.

Two chemistry professors from the University of Alabama drove from Tuscaloosa, their cars loaded with 1,000 back issues -- or 40 years' worth -- of the Journal of the American Chemistry Society.

"Rather than just sit here and collect dust, somebody can make good use out of what we've got," said one of the professors, John Vincent.

Al-Hamdani said he has received e-mails from professors as far away as Texas and California pledging support for the project. He's expecting deliveries from professors at Auburn and UCLA.

There are so many volumes now, they no longer fit under a table in Al-Hamdani's laboratory at JSU. Instead, they've taken over a storage room in the same building.

Anton Flores, a professor in the human services department at Georgia's LaGrange College said he e-mailed faculty who are away for the summer and expects to collect plenty of books to deliver to Jacksonville when they return this fall.

The drive has provided a rallying point for faculty and students who debated the need to invade Iraq, Flores said.

"It seemed to kind of defuse the hostility and the debate of whether military intervention was right," Flores said. "It gave both sides the opportunity to gather around a common issue."

The Jacksonville group now is seeking contributions to cover the estimated $3,000 cost of shipping the books to Iraq. They've raised $250 so far.

Al-Hamandi said he's been floored by the support from around the country and from his colleagues at JSU.

"I don't know these people," he said. "I never met them and I probably never will. It just makes you feel you're in a civilized place and there are a lot of good people."

Saturday, July 10


Thanks to the immeasurable generosity of my cabal, I HAVE AN EMPIRE RED KITCHENAID ARTISAN MIXER!!!!

It's so pretty. I just gawk at it every day for hours on end.

AND I put that "extra" $250 towards my bike, which I picked up yesterday.
I appropriately named her ... KitchenAid.
She's pretty.
She's nice.


Thursday, July 8


My living room furniture arrived yesterday with a crash and a boom. Well, not so drastic, but the sofa took about thirty minutes to enter my humble abode: the feet added the extra six inches that prevented a comfortable entry. And for some reason, everything looked MUCH smaller in the showroom than in my living room ... I feel dwarfed, or at least more so than usual ...

But I love the chocolate brown micro-fiber, so warm and soft to the touch. I love the big fluffy cushions, firm but perfectly bouncy. I love the decorative pillows that perfectly lift and cradle my head as I recline to watch TV from a normal height. I love the side and coffee tables which, while glass-topped and less simply designed than I had originally desired, fit perfectly in the space and are still classy. I love that my house looks inhabited now, less like a first post-college rental and more like a home.

I don't, however, love that I have furniture. I know it's not "clutter" per se, but all of a sudden, I miss the wide empty space that was my living room. I miss the ratty blue beanbag and the little lap table upon which I read magazines, ate dinner, played on Bob, catnapped. I miss the ability to roll around on the huge swath of carpet, laying in whichever position felt most comfortable in the moment. I miss the wanderlust to walk in whichever direction, unconstrained by tables and seating arrangements. I miss the freedom of not worrying about stains, scratches, cup rings on wood, dirt on fabric.

That is not to say that I did not smile a little smile this morning when I walked out of my bedroom and saw a section of my loveseat out of the corner of my eye. In fact, when I sit on the toilet with the bathroom door open, I can see part of the furnished living room, and from that angle, my place looks quite stylish, if I do say so myself.

Call me schizophrenic, call me a waffler ... I like my furniture but I don't like it. I just have to get used to it. I have to play around with the arrangement of it. I have to not worry about it so much and just enjoy it. Right?


RIDE ON . . .

My bike is here. EEP!



C helped me put my closet doors up yesterday. What an ordeal. Glad I didn't have to do it. I do, however, still have to put the doorknobs on. And I do still have to put the old ones to the curb for the next bulk garbage pick-up, which means more swiveling and being thrown off balance and gouging big chunks into the walls. If the doors don't kill me, it will be a good day.

Sigh. Will I never be finished with these damn doors?

Monday, July 5

A NEW LOVE . . .

I've fallen in love ... with the Whole Foods Market.

Granted, I would never purchase half the things there: I don't drink soy milk, and I have absolutely no problem buying unrecycled paper products or drinking processed coffee or eating bread with preservatives in it. I'm alright with unorganic fruits and vegetables (wait ... aren't they ALL organic? Doi.) and I enjoy really greasy potato chips that are bad for me.

BUT. I like Whole Foods because if I wanted to eat these "healthy" items and live this "healthy" lifestyle, I could. Also, they have more and weirder products than your average grocery store, and of course, I love to ogle weird things.

AND. I got suckered into buying a Whole Food canvas bag. This, however, is not a fluke. I actually DO bring my own canvas bags and backpacks when grocery shopping. I can usually carry more items more comfortably, and I get to pack the grocery bags myself, which is actually a big deal because a type-A nerd like myself absolutely cannot stand it when the supermarket clerks put one bag of potato chips in one plastic bag, but turn around and stuff another plastic bag with a jug of milk, a loaf of bread, a bag of grapes, a carton of eggs and a box of fabric softener. God forbid the potato chips get crushed, right? I pack incredibly well, whether it's a suitcase, an overnight bag, a box of books and supplies, or a canvas bag of groceries. Leave it to me.

So, see -- I'm not TOO much of a poseur. But feel free to shoot me if I ever ingest a tofu-dog.


BACK OFF! . . .

Have people gotten meaner, or is it just me?

I remember the days and weeks right after 9/11: the times when we as a society stopped saying the trite words "don't waste a moment" and "you never know" and actually started LIVING these words. People smiled and said "excuse me." They let the elderly sit down on subways and buses. They tolerated long lines at the airport, the market, the McDonald's drive-thru. They let other drivers cut in front of them, with a smile and a mutual wave.

Three years later, we're back to our bad selves.

Twice today, I was called "a f*cking bitch." In my fervent defense, I must say that both times, I DID NOTHING WRONG.

The first incident arose when I loaded my car with my Whole Foods groceries (see above), then, in a burst of good citizenship, turned away to return the cart to the market's entrance. The crowd had thinned out and the rate of cars exiting was far greater than that of cars entering the parking lot. Nonetheless, some crazy person decided she HAD to have MY parking spot (instead of the one across from me. I swear. There was an open spot across from me. I'm not kidding.), and incensed when she saw me walking away to return my cart, she rolled down her car window and screamed "WILL YOU LEAVE, YOU F*CKING BITCH?!" Stunned, I could do nothing but ... smile and stick my tongue out at her. It's so hard to gauge maturity these days, I figured I couldn't do any worse than she ...

The second unsolicited "f*cking bitch" came when I left the parking lot and took a right turn to get to the highway. I had a green arrow; all pedestrians had "DO NOT WALK" signals. Regardless, some jerk decided he HAD to cross the street before anyone else did, and tried to ignore his signal. Dude, take it from me: man vs. 4Runner = man loses. Why even bother? Outraged that I would obey my green arrow and commence movement into his crosswalk, he smacked the passenger side of my car and yelled "GO, YOU F*CKING BITCH!" How many more times could I be stunned in the span of fifteen minutes? How many more times could I be gratuitously insulted? How many more times could I be just doing my thing, according to the green arrows directing my path? And why the hell did he think he could spank my car? What is up with THAT? What else could I do?

I slowed down to a pathetic roll and flipped him the bird with a broad smile on my face.

Then I lamented the state of humanity all the way home.


NERD . . .

I have lots of books. I finally unpacked my boxes of books this afternoon, and realized ... I have lots of books. More jarring is the realization that what I brought with me to the condo constitues a mere third of the books I own. Lord knows where the other two-thirds are festering ...

Eyeballing and arranging and placing the books on my built-in and free-standing shelves, I felt like an artiste. Do I place the books according to size, author, theme, alphabetical order, readability? A place for every book, every book in its place. The fact that I have about forty books still without a place, lying on my study floor, dismays me.

On the other hand, I rediscovered a few books that I would like to re-read. "The Aeneid" ... Montaigne's "Essays" ... "Anna Karenina" ... "Little House on the Prairie" ...

Sunday, July 4

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America, my home sweet home.


It doesn't matter how old you are or how many times you've seen them: fireworks are just so cool. Standing on top of the garages in J2's co-op complex, we ogled four sets of fireworks, ooh-ing and aah-ing and squealing with glee. It's not necessarily that we regressed back to our childhood days. It's just that sometimes, fireworks cause us to be in awe of something, something colorful and booming, something fiery and spectacular, something bright and illuminating. I stood there with my mouth agape and a huge smile adorning my face, shivering in the slight breeze, bouncing up and down in joyful anticipation. It was awesome.


Ironic that on Independence Day, I felt nostalgic for the days when I was not so independent. I spent such a busy weekend with friends, trekking to all sorts of faraway places, eating all sorts of non-home-cooking ... when I got in my car to come home tonight, it occurred to me that I hadn't spoken to my parents in two days, hadn't seen them in over a week, and when I came home ... there would be no one to ask my how my weekend was or if I was hungry and wanted something to eat. There would be no one to offer me aloe for my sunburn or a cup of tea for my sore throat. There would be no one to whom I could relay recent happy news or with whom I could share some juicily harmless gossip. There would be no one to persuade me to go to sleep and rest instead of watching old reruns of "Law & Order: SVU." Sigh. I want my mommy.


I done been burned.

I knew it would happen. I never tan so much as I burn, then have it fade INTO a tan. Saturday was no different. Seven of us hit the road at the near crack of dawn, at least for a weekend morning. We arrived at Robert Moses beach, with plenty of room to build a trench and moat to protect our perimeter. We were fully stocked with food and drink and baby toys to occupy the youngest members of our troupe. We slathered ourselves with sunscreen and settled back for a relaxing few hours of sun, surf and breeze.

I, of course, forgot to re-apply. Rather, I forgot to reapply around and under the edges of my bathing suit. As a result, I have lovely maroon-red outlines, delineating exactly where the straps and edges of my bikini lay. Red and white ... I look like a damn candy cane. Bathing is a chore, as is sitting on the toilet and lying on my back and wearing a bra and stretching and driving.

And naturally, I felt like a bigger dork when I went running outside this morning with J2 and the Famille Alien, only to return home with a knee brace tan around my right leg. The knee FEELS fine, but looks kind of stupid now. I swear, my dorkiness knows no bounds ...

Thursday, July 1


The Yankees won.
Swish, swish.
The Red Sox done been swept.
Now get out of my town.


The doors are inside.

Thanks to C and his "this ain't so heavy" good attitude, the hateful doors are now lying inside my apartment instead of smooshing the inside of my car.

Tonight, I even had the balls to open the packaging, bust open the can of paint (which thankfully contained the exact shade of white I needed ... I was worried because you never know if "white" really means "white." Kind of like how white people aren't really white. They're kind of peach-colored.), and PAINT them. Just the first coat -- I'm not so skilled a door painter that I can get away with one streak-free, blotch-free coat. But I painted them nonetheless.

It's interesting and insightful how small tasks become very significant to me, and how I derive great pride and a great sense of accomplishment from performing said small tasks. The two doors took me under an hour to paint in their entirety, yet just looking at their streaked glory makes me so happy. I did it -- I painted these doors. Granted, I will need assistance getting them into their tracks, but I painted them.

I think I like the doors now.


Greg Fisher Tassajara GS Female Specific Design, Size 13, Color Powder Blue.

It floats just a little outside my stated price range, but C and M and Tony The Bike Guy assure me it will be worth it even if I ride once a week, only during nice weather, and mostly on pavement. I trust them. Well, I trust M and Tony The Bike Guy, and I'm mostly just bullied mightily by C.

(I'll be fasting for the next few months to justify this purchase.)

But I'm excited to own this bicycle. I haven't owned a bicycle since my early middle school years. In fact, until last year, I hadn't ridden a bike since my early middle school years. However, there is definitely a freedom and a joy to be felt when the wind cools your skin as you whizz through it, and there is definitely a triumphant sigh to be let out upon overcoming a small, medium or even large and mostly walked hill. There is an ego boost to be had to look upon new thighs of steel, and the pain ... well, it's a good pain. There's something fantastic about not frittering away a weekend morning, when the sun is shining and people are in a good mood, and even the folks in passing cars smile and wave at you pedaling next to them. I won't be venturing onto the trails soon, nor launching myself over rocks and logs (except involuntarily) ... but I can't wait for after-work jaunts to my local library, weekend rides up and down the North County Trailway, general improved health and yes, thighs of steel.

Now, if I could just think of a decent name for it. Maybe when I see her, it will come to me ...


I think I'm developing an intolerance to pasta. As you might expect, this is devastating to me.

The last few times I have eaten a pasta dish, I have been beset with a sudden urge to poo (no diarrhea, thankfully) extreme gas pain and even more extreme lingering, unidentifiable intestinal discomfort that goes away after several hours and much burping. Tums, flat soda, warm water, cold water, stretching, deep breathing ... nothing helps but pooing, burping and more burping. And even then, I feel vaguely nasty. The worst part is that the constant discomfort and slight nausea makes me PISSY and GRUMPY. I can't banter with Hooch because I don't want to move in my chair at work. If the Boss asks me to do something for him, it's a Herculean effort to stand and not feel sick or feel pain. I can't interact properly with friends after work because I'm in a foul mood. All I want to do is go home, lie down and hope for the best.

What the hell is this?!

If I am developing some weird wheat intolerance or allergy, I'm gonna be REAL MAD. The bread and cake, I don't really care about -- I remove the bread from my sandwiches and burgers anyway because they get in the way of the good stuff (I'm no Atkins dieter. Please.). But if I can't eat pasta ... oh, man. I think I'm going to cry.

On the other hand, the optimist in me says MORE ROOM FOR STEAK. Hmm. Am I really deserving of any pity if my only alternative is more steak? MRS.G, LET'S GO!!!


I often have very realistic dreams, where everyone is the right color and we're all speaking the same language, conversing about something real and rational. These are freaky.

These dreams are even freakier when my dream-mind and conscious-mind communicate with each other, and when reality and my dream-life become one and the same. In other words, have you ever had a dream in which you were sleeping and your alarm was going off, and you woke up to the sound of your alarm actually going off? What came first, the dream alarm clock, or the real alarm clock? Does your mind anticipate the alarm clock actually going off, so it allows a dream in which an alarm clock is ringing? Or does the actual ringing of the alarm clock trigger a dream about a ringing alarm clock? Hard to say ...

I query because the other night, the night of a severe but quickly-passing thunderstorm, I dreamt that each town in my county was being systematically bombed, in alphabetical order, and all of the towns' citizens were being murdered in this fashion. The enemy was unseen, and is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the enemy, the bombers, would hover their bomb-dropping aircraft over each town and village, and announce that town or village's name over bullhorns. When your town's name was called, you knew that a bomb was seconds away. You also knew that certain death and annihilation were seconds away. In my dream, the bombers announced and eliminated town after town after town, until they got to my town. They announced it. In the dream, I braced myself for impact and death, and wondered about the afterlife and what it would be like to finally see God Face to face. The bomb dropped and my dream went black and I heard a massive, shattering, deafening, horrible boom.

I sat up in my bed, completely awake. I realized that it was not a bomb that had dropped on my town. I was alive. There were no bombs. No, but at the exact moment that my subconscious was dropping a bomb on me, thunder had crashed outside my window. It was pouring. Lightning was flashing. The storm had just arrived in my town, and the first boom of thunder had coincided with the boom of my town's bomb.

It took me several minutes to clear my head, to sort out what was what and what was happening where and in which reality. It took me several more minutes to fall asleep, as I wondered which came first: real life or my dream life? And how and why do they intersect and keep tempo so well together?


Holiday weekend coming up. What to do? Beach, BBQ (Banana loves it when I say that), sleeping in, dreaming about my new bike, not eating pasta, painting the second coat on my newly-likable doors, a potential round of golf that lasts longer than it should because I don't golf ... the possibilities are endless ...