Sunday, October 31


They did it. They did the unthinkable. It has never happened before in the history of NHF. But the run has ended, and they finally did it. They threw a successful surprise party.

And I was the big sucker at the receiving end of it! ARGH!

PIcture me thus ....

... I am having a normal Saturday. Well, mostly normal. I sleep in late after an evening of faux-debauchery with my parents. As I'm stepping out of the shower -- literally, just stepping out of the shower, my doorbell rings. Omma is passing through the neighborhood and decided she wanted to check out my latest furniture additions. She proceeds to plop herself on my sofa and watch The Golf Channel. I continue to get ready for a busy afternoon of running errands and attending a baby's first birthday party.

... I head to Bloomingdale's and return $196 worth of pantyhose. Unworn leftovers from Banana's wedding. Don't ask. The saleswoman looks at the stack of unopened pantyhose packages. Looks at me. Looks at the pantyhose. Looks at me. "Was there a problem with these?" she asks. "No," I reply plainly and succinctly. She looks at me. I look back and smile. Hey, the return policy dictates merely that the pantyhose be unopened.

... I desperately need a cup of coffee and am quickly starting to feel the effects of withdrawal (scary -- caffeine is a drug), but I'm already late for the par-tay, and I have no idea how to get there. Thankfully, my pals have come through for me, so I slowly navigate my way to the correct set of condominiums. The baby is cute, the food is good, and the hostess serves coffee! Hallelujah!

... At the close of the party, JKA states that she's going to the mall. Facing a quiet evening alone, waiting for Ha and Dr.Y to return to me from Boston, who am I to say no? I just have to be home by 9:00pm. We head out into the fog, and JKA suggests that we stop by my place first so that I can leave my car and we can travel in one vehicle. Feeling extremely sleepy and lazy, who am I to say no? We spend a leisurely evening at the mall, and decide to finally leave to grab a bite to eat. I am so thankful, for I am hungry and thirsty and nearing grumpiness. We hit the highway and we pass the first possible exit that would lead me towards home or food. We continue on the highway and pass the next possible exit that would lead me towards home or food. This horrendous pattern continues for about three more exits, before I realize we are nowhere near my house or food. And JKA shows no signs of stopping.

... I am now utterly confused. And hungry. And thirsty. Sadly, I am so easily distracted that I am vastly entertained by JKA's extensive trove of stories. Heck, even her normally taciturn husband is chattering away at me from the back seat and keeping me entertained as well. Between chuckles, however, I continue to look out the passenger side window to wonder "where the HECK is she taking me?" My attempts at obtaining an answer to this question are met with "so then, my MOM was telling me ...." Who am I to say no to a good story?

... We finally pull onto Camp Capio's street. My normally wily mind, now numbed by caloric deprivation, finally starts to think "Oh. Maybe J2 and Camp Capio are doing something for me. A nice, quiet dinner would be nice. How nice." That, and "FINALLY I GET TO EAT SOMETHING." Imagine my absolute shock when our climb up Camp Capio's driveway culminates in a massive gathering of all the cars of almost all my friends from NHF. WHAT THE!!!!!

... My first statement upon getting out of the car: "Take me home. I don't want to go in there." For I am instantly embarrassed. And my embarrassment deepens upon entry into Camp Capio, for there they all are, part of the only successful surprise party in my short memory at NHF.

And the best part?

THEY ARE ALL IN COSTUME. And good ones, at that! We've got The Man in the Yellow Hat with his son dressed as Curious George. We've got a monk ... wearing a humongous Afro that jiggled as he walked. We've got a Chef and a Bloody Doctor with their baby, a French cow (only because she wore a beret). We've got Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell with their twins, the mini-pirate and a little red devil. We've got a set of M & M's, and a karate master, accompanied by Friday the 13th's Jason and a Care Bear who looks more like a pink piglet. And Halloween just wouldn't be complete without a cheerful orange pumpkin, nicely filled out by Nan's lightly-pregnant belly.

And then there was me. After I picked my jaw off the floor, blinked away my tears, let my blush subside and sipped my first birthday drink (for which they purchased the most enormous bottle of Grey Goose I have ever seen in my life, they put me into my costume.

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
Yup. This is me. They did this. They made me be the foul pole from Yankee Stadium. Sigh.

Friday, October 29

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
THE WEDDING OF 2004 . . .

The whole big cabal, properly buzzed on champagne. Yeah, we clean up okay.

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
Just some girls who don't look like they normally do. Gasp! Makeup!

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
Just some guys who don't look like they normally do. Gasp! Shirts are tucked in!

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
The deed is done ...

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
Honeymoon baby? We thinks not ...
YAY FOR ME! . . .

I discovered today that although my Judge would love to have me return to continue my clerkship, that will have to happen after the woman to whom he offered a one-year position starting in the fall of 2005 leaves. That means I have to putz around for at least one year, perhaps two. What should I do? Can I conceivably enter another legal position, only to leave after such a short period of time (although taking into account burnout, one year = a lifetime)? Maybe I can try something totally new and leave law completely for a year ... work at the local library? Apprentice with a baker? Take classes at the Culinary Institute of America, or Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, or NYU Law, or the Institute of Culinary Education? Be a nanny for a year (with commensurate salary and benefits, naturally. I have a lifestyle to uphold. [Oh, please.])? The possibilities bounced around my brain all day long until I was dizzy.

Or that could have been residual codeine.

But then I came home to find that my precious Elsa Peretti sterling silver cross necklace -- that which was lovingly given to me upon the occasion of my birthday several years ago but then was brutally ripped off my neck by a clingy Noodle -- was fixed and in an inconspicuously-wrapped box, waiting to lay its coldness and warmth against my collarbone once more. I am complete.

But then, my family and I went to Baden-Baden in New Joisey, in the heart of weird New Joisey Korean-ness. The land where "no smoking" is greeted with (a) looks of confusion; (b) disbelieving guffaws; or (c) "f*ck you"s. We gorged on Korean-style fried chicken, perfect white cubes of pickled turnips, sliced jalapeno peppers (I don't really know when and how jalapeno peppers became part of Korean cuisine, but I can dig it), spicy stir-fried squid and vegetables, and white noodles in savory sauce. And a cosmopolitan. And a pitcher of cheap beer. And lots of second-hand cigarette smoke. (Incidentally, our waitress carded me when I ordered the cosmo and beer because, as she later said, "I thought it was weird that with three adults at the table, a fifteen-year-old was ordering the drinks." I'll be thanking her when I'm fifty.)

But then, we talked about golf the whole time. I, slightly buzzed, made Omma recount to Appa my perfect (ok, near-perfect) form, my long drives, my intense putting concentration, my quickly-improving short game, my ability to listen to directions and do exactly as instructed. Then, still slightly buzzed, I made her do it again. Then I lectured Appa that he should keep his right arm stuck to his side during the follow-through, that he should keep his eye on the ball and not be so intent on watching it fly, that he should not rush through his putts, and that he should listen to my golf tips.

But then, I drove my parents home -- it's my birthday dinner, but I'm still the designated driver -- and ordered some new EZ-Pass tags for all of us. After all, only APPA would get two speeding tickets for zipping through an EZ-Pass lane and get all of our tags -- which share an account number with his -- SUSPENDED.

But then, Omma handed me my new Calloway 7-wood -- the one with the shiny metallic blue big head -- and of course, I had to grip it and start swinging it around my parents' foyer. And naturally, I gouged an inch-long wedge into our newly-painted hallway wall. Naturally.

But then, I departed my parents' place and went to the local Mobil station, where I pumped an absurd FORTY DOLLARS worth of gas. That was just stupid. Drivers shouldn't have to pay for gas. Or parking. And the passenger of the Volkswagen Jetta in front of me danced around the vehicle as gas flowed into his car. DANCED. ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

But then, I came home, and proceeded up the steps leading to the building's main doorways. I nearly had a heart-attack as I looked up to reach towards the door handle and saw that SOME IDIOT had placed a ghoulish wolf's head on top of a stuffed body wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, and SAT THE DAMN THING on a folding chair right by the main doorway. WHAT THE!!!! I looked around to make sure no one had heard my terrified squeak, and I tempted fate to lean in and make sure the ghoul was fake (what would I have done if it moved?!). And then, to my utmost chagrin and embarrassment ... I BACKED IN TO MY BUILDING so that I could keep my eyes on the seated ghoul at all times. It would really have sucked if it had been real and it jumped me from behind while I was opening my mailbox.

But then, it occurred to me that my crazy neighbor -- the bunny lover -- might have placed that ghoulish decoration at the entrance. It's just something she would do and think was charming. I stuck my tongue out at her door and scowled as I walked by.

But then, I'm now home and thinking "in a couple of days, we turn the clock back one hour and gain an hour of time, so I could pretend that I have one more hour of time now, and putz around do something and watch another hour of TV and lounge for one more hour and wake up late tomorrow morning because 10 o'clock will really be 9 o'clock. Right?"

Weirdness ... you can't chalk it up to the full moon, because that spectacle (which, naturally, I missed) is long gone. Nay, my friends! It's my birthday weekend, and it just doesn't get any weirder than this!

Yay for me!
HELP ME! . . .

I need a decently-paying attorney position (with benefits) for ONE YEAR, in the metropolitan New York area.

24/7 . . .

Considering and lifting up those of the Soybean variety ...

Interesting -- or rather, "INteresting" -- article in today's New York Times about the no-longer angst-ridden Boston fans.

They who can no longer whine and bitch and complain about being the underdog team with no World Series championship in eighty-six years. Wah, wah, wah, moan, moan, moan. What is wrong with them? Now they're complaining about not having anything to complain about?! Oh, kiss my Yankee ass.

But here's a bone I'll throw to you misguided Bostonians: I have full and utter confidence that you will have to wait another eighty-six years for any sort of baseball satisfaction. So there. Now go and complain in peace. Jeez.



Another tidbit from today's New York Times, this time discussing the lose-lose situation Europe faces in the upcoming American presidential elections.

If Shrub wins, he still won't have Europe on his side (and Europe can forever scoff at our collective stupidity in voting him back into office).

If Kerry wins, he will ask Europe to be on his side, and Europe will still say no, and America will still hate Europe and refuse to eat French fries in the Congressional dining hall. And Europe can still scoff at our collective stupidity for it knows that French fries are actually of Belgian origin.

And we will still be stuck in Iraq because ain't no way we're getting out any time soon.




Ocean's Twelve
I Heart Huckabees

Thursday, October 28


From today's New York Times ...

PUBLIC LIVES: Tough and Capable (Even of Spelling Habeas)

Just about everywhere you look these days, there's Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general, starting a swordfight with yet another industry. He's drawn blood from securities analysts, investment bankers, mutual fund managers, insurance brokers and, on behalf of restroom attendants, restaurateurs. Next up, the wind has it, are some major record labels. The very mention of his name rattles chief executives (and gladdens the hearts of white-collar defense lawyers).

What you don't see is the very smart, very tough and rather short woman who's got Mr. Spitzer's back.

That would be Michele Hirshman, whose name rarely appears in print and who is Mr. Spitzer's first deputy. Since 1999, she has been the person whose office adjoins his, who is briefed with him or in his stead and has complete license to argue with him. She's the one who challenges, advises and signs off on the investigations that catapult regularly into the headlines. For the 600 lawyers in the state attorney general's 15 offices, Ms. Hirshman is gatekeeper, teacher and moral and legal authority. She even double-checks the news releases for accuracy.

So what kind of person can we expect from a woman whose pre-Spitzer career was spent mostly as a high-level federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, nailing corrupt police officers and politicians? Whose résumé, at 46, still says of her B.A. from Rutgers College: "Summa Cum Laude with Highest Departmental Honors in History, Rank 1/1564, G.P.A.: 4.0"? No-nonsense, buttoned-up, careful, humorless, possibly even dour?

But here's Ms. Hirshman, in her Lower Manhattan office, giving a tour of her tchotchkes. "I'm a little superstitious," she is saying, holding up engraved beads. "My mother-in-law gave them to me during the Transit P.B.A. trial" - involving union officials and lawyers at New York City Transit who were charged with racketeering.

"I call them my 'girl beads,'"she says. "The first one says 'clarity.' I used to carry my girl beads in my pocket every day to court, and on the days when my suits didn't have pockets, I'd lend them to the female F.B.I. agents. Once in a while the male F.B.I. agents got to play with the girl beads, too."

Now she's pointing to an inscribed photo of Pierre N. Leval, who was then a federal district judge, for whom Ms. Hirshman clerked fresh out of Yale Law School. Ms. Hirshman, who turns out to be warm and even effervescent, talks quickly, with highly animated hands and features, abbreviating sentences with "buhbuhbuhbuh" rather than "yadda-yadda." She recounts that during her first week with Judge Leval, he said to her gravely, "This is how you spell 'habeas.'" Laughing at herself, Ms. Hirshman seems unusually self-effacing for someone whom even defense lawyers grudgingly describe as extraordinary. "You know how I had spelled it? 'Habeus.'"

At this moment, Mr. Spitzer, a thin, angular man who all but shoots off electrical sparks as he bursts in, borrows her for a consultation, tossing off, "Michele is the one and only indispensable person is this office!"

Who better to run the office of an elected state attorney general than the inimitably capable Ms. Hirshman. She has respectable credentials - in her final years as a federal prosecutor, she was chief of the public corruption unit, leading, among other cases, the exposure of 19 New York City police officers in the 30th Precinct in Manhattan for narcotics and extortion offenses - and no apparent desire to enter politics.

SHE has her priorities. During Mr. Spitzer's investigation of stock analysts, "I was interviewing Sandy Weill" - that would be Sanford I., the former chief executive of Citigroup - "and I had to leave early to take my son to Hebrew school for a special event. It's very bad not to show up when your kid is expecting you!" (Ms. Hirshman is married to Russell G. Pearce, a professor at Fordham Law School, and they live in Brooklyn with their two sons. Because of conflicting schedules, she says, family dinners don't happen, but around 9:30 Monday through Thursday nights, the four of them gather for what they loosely define as "Torah study.")

"People always say, 'How do you feel with him as a boss?'" says Ms. Hirshman, referring to Mr. Spitzer, a seemingly constant presence in local and even national headlines. "Hey, he's smarter than I am, he works harder than I do, and he treats me well."

Oh, come on!

She relents. "I give better summations than he does."

In Ms. Hirshman, Mr. Spitzer found an extremely bright and hard-working lawyer with a longstanding commitment to (as her father, a college administrator, and mother, who ran laboratories for Planned Parenthood, taught her): "Leave the world a little better than it was before."

As an investigator, prosecutor and supervisor, she has long maintained: "You must believe the person is guilty, that you can prove it, and you do prove it. And those questions should keep you up at night. And if you can't sleep, then you shouldn't prosecute that person. People who exercise power should do so carefully, fairly and sensitively. Because you are ruining that person's life, so you better be right."

And what of the occasional criticism that Mr. Spitzer's cases gallop onto turf that belongs to other authorities, like the Securities and Exchange Commission?

"I believe that if you have evidence of wrongdoing and the law authorizes you to address it, you should," Ms. Hirshman says. "And you don't have an obligation to tell the S.E.C. about it first."

Wednesday, October 27


... just kill Leo off of "The West Wing"!!!!

The arrogance and self-absorption of some doctors -- nay, some medical STUDENTS -- never cease to amaze me. And the worst part is, she didn't even have the balls to give me the honest reason why she wanted all that information from me. Who's making ethics jokes now?

I am gripped by a cold.

But more importantly, thanks to Hooch and the pull of the Motherland still alive in me, I am gripped by "Lost." I refused to watch for a few weeks because the first episode I watched freaked the living daylights out of me. The second half of the premiere episode was spooky, eerie, confusing, violent and contained almost zero background music. Moments like that is when I hate living alone, although come to think of it, if I had someone here with me, he probably would have found my freaked-outedness very funny and would've tried to scare more of the living daylights out of me by doing something like jumping out at me from the shower stall when I sat down on the toilet to pee during a commercial break. That's just not funny.

In any event, the fact that each character is further developed in each episode (clever, people, very clever) and the fact that two of the main characters speak Korean in the show -- mostly sans subtitles -- now have me totally hooked. But aside from those two elements ... the other thing that has me hooked is the fact that the Korean man speaks Korean very strangely. He has clearly learned Korean just for this show, and his inflection is weird and stilted. He still speaks Korean more fluently than most of the Korean-Americans I know, but compared to the complete fluency and fluidity and nuance spoken by his female counterpart ... well, he just makes me laugh. And in a freaky show like this, I need some laughter. (Oh, also, she's a great actor and he is not.)

Back to my cold. The best thing about being a pharmacist's daughter is the ability to get the good stuff. Now, now, don't freak out. I'm no drug addict. I haven't even ever inhaled -- not that I'm a prude about it because I've surely done other stupid things in my life. But I sure have indulged in a little codeine-laden cough syrup now and again, and tonight was one of those "agains." Hee. I am so, so woozy now. Even typing on Bob right now, I am unsure if I am making sense. But who needs to make sense when my cough will be gone in the morning, right? (And I think I'm saying "but" too many times. This is why they say to not operate heavy machinery.)

Oh wait, back to "Lost." May I also say this ... I love that there are Korean or Korean-American actors on the show. It's such a small statement to most of the nation, really -- an ensemble cast, characters who don't speak much, unknown names. But to me, it's huge. People who look like me and talk like me. People who are in a place where someone like me could never have imagined being, even five years ago. People who are not considered "fringe" or "indie" -- nay, this is mainstream broadcast television. It's pretty cool. Reminds me of a conversation I had with DYC a long while back ...

Thursday, October 21

IDLING . . .

I am so idle right now. I'm watching Audrey, the meteorologist on CBS News at 11, and noticing that she has very 50's-ish helmet hair. Weird. Just gave props to Banana for a seating arrangement well done. I do believe that is an art. You want people to have fun at your wedding, but if you put everyone with just their friends, then you inevitably end up with the "random person" table, and they know it. That's just not nice. Having all the wedding party at two tables is so cliche, and it's only by luck, anyway, that many of us in this wedding are already friends. You want the right people to be sitting near the bar (like I said, Banana did well). You want to mix ages and backgrounds, but make sure your guests are sitting with someone they can still talk to. So difficult, but as ever, Banana did a good job. Two snaps in a circle. I had a small box of orange juice for dinner, for I was still bloated and slightly gassy from my enormous linguine with garlic and oil lunch. ENORMOUS. And gassy. My TV stand was delivered this evening. It's much simpler than I thought it would be, but after five hours, it's like it was always here. I like it. Lots of storage space. My cookbooks finally have a home (don't ask why my cookbooks are in my media unit. They just are.). My living room does look ultra-Korean now, at least when you're looking at the unit head-on. Must be the low profile, the enormous television, the chrome-toned electronics and the bamboo plant. I like it though. It's me. People may not think so, but it's totally me. I don't know what to do with myself. I have a very busy day -- weekend -- ahead of me, and I should be going to sleep so I can get an early start, but ... why is there no baseball on television? Why am I not watching an eleven-inning game with one eye barely open? Oh right. The season is over for the Yankees. Riiiight. Omma told me that she picked up my birthday present today: a Callaway Big Bertha 7-wood, the beautiful one with the humongous shiny metallic blue titanium head. Titanium. The frames of my glasses are titanium. I think. Or some other really light-weight metal. I better hit the ball better, the head is so big. I'd be a fool if I missed my shots with this huge thing. Gary Sheffield just spoke the phrase "the situation we was in." Sigh. Boston and St. Louis in the World Series. For the next ten days, I am a Cardinals fan, for I want to see Boston crash and burn as never before. I worked out, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, threw out all my garbage and recycling. I rolled the three pounds of cold cuts and cubed the four packages of cheese for us to chomp down between camera shots. They, along with mini-gherkins, Wheat Thins, brie and two bottles of champagne, merely await transport into JKA's capable hands. I've packed for my brief night in Hackeysack with Soy-o-rama. I wrote a precise list of everything I need to do tomorrow. Now I'm here. Idle. I'm so idle.
IT BE DONE . . .

Well ... what can I say. I feel strangely mellow and philosophical about the Yankees' blazing loss, the spectacular fizzle, the pathetic blow. What good is a three-game lead when the fickle gods of baseball decide things upon their own whim and fancy?

I hate Boston. They suck. They will forever suck. They will never have a "rivalry" with New York, because there is simply, logically, no comparison between the two teams. Not in numbers, not in wins, not in championships, and certainly not in players' levels of cleanliness. I hate Boston fans. I hate them all, and not a single fan is exempt from my deep and utter hatred. They all suck too, and perhaps they suck even more than the actual Boston players, because they insist on the "rivalry" with New York, not even having the intelligence necessary to know that a "rivalry" assumes parity between two parties. No parity here. Boston sucks.

But. But. BUT. They won the ALCS this year. They took the pennant. I can be facetious and say that this is a tease for them, for they will lose the World Series, and they will never be back in this position again, not for another nearly twenty years. But that would be unfair, as unfair as the unfair baseball gods. No, they won it fair and square. They pitched well, they hit well, they played well. They drove us to the very end, forced us to play hard, and we ... I don't know what we did. We lost.

The season is finally over for me. At least until mid-December, I can now save my money and let it accrue for application towards future games, $20.00 parking spaces, $7.00 Premio sausages, $6.50 Beck's, $4.00 cheese fries, and perhaps next year, I'll even try those strange things known as Dippin' Dots. Next year, I'll be back, and I'll let Steinbrenner rip me off all over again at the concession stands. And I'll be cheering harder than ever, for my pain runs deep and vengeance soothes my Yankee-lovin' soul.

Wednesday, October 20


My agita, heart palpitations and shortness of breath have reached new heights. On the one hand, I LOVE that I can hear "Who's your daddy!" even over the voices of the stupid Fox announcers. On the other hand ... is a seven run lead by the wretched Boston Red Sox really necessary? Even more, can it be possible?

I suppose anything is possible, and I am a great believer in things that are outside the realm of possibility ... but this, I cannot abide. Thankfully for my blood pressure, my boys are still in the game. The comeback kings, they who have come back from behind in more games than any baseball team in history ... they're still here, they're still playing, they're still on the board. (Incidentally, "Who's your daddy" is getting louder, and I think -- I swear -- I hear C's voice screaming the loudest, just because he thinks it's hilarious.)

I don't care that Johnny Damon looks like Jesus but I hate him anyway. Lord knows, Jesus didn't have some stupid Neanderthal look about him; nor did He have weirdly groomed womanly hair. Ick. I shudder to even conjure up Damon's image in my mind. I don't care that David Ortiz is a boil on the butt of Yankee fans everywhere. I don't care that we have five more runs to tie it up, and if we do, this game could go on forever. I just don't care.

My boys are still on, they're still fighting. No, they haven't been the best team all season, and no, they haven't been as stellar as they've been in the past. No, they haven't always warmed the cockles of my heart, and no, I don't think Steinbrenner always uses his money wisely. But here they are and they're still fighting. They're looking nappy, slimy Pedro in the face and spitting in it. I LOVE THIS GAME.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ladies, check your boobies! Quit smoking! Stop drinking so much! Exercise, or exercise MORE! Take your supplements and eat lots of dark, leafy greens! Go to your gynie and get examined! THIS AIN'T NO JOKE.

And if you (and you men, too) want to do more, check this out, excerpted from October's SELF Magazine ...



If you want to fund scientific research ...
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (
The Breast Cancer Fund (

If you want to fund help for a specific group of women ...
Young Survival Coalition (
Breast Cancer Resource Committee (
American Breast Cancer Foundation (

If you want to fund patient-support programs ...
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (

If you want to fund prevention and education programs ...
National Breast Cancer Foundation (

If you want to fund it all with one donation ...
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (
Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade (



Information ...
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (
FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (
National Cancer Institute (
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (

Support ...
American Cancer Society (
AvonCares Program (
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (
Young Survival Coalition (www.youngsurvival org)

Empowerment ...
Facing the Mirror With Cancer (
National Digital Mammography Archive (
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (

Laughter ...
"Humor After the Tumor," by Patty Gelman
"Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy," by Geralyn Lucas


I WANT TO SHOP! $25 for bonbons; 20% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation $95 for a pet carrier; 10% to City of Hope $250 for a wool tote; 20% to the Komen Foundation $35 for soothing shea butter; 15% to the Komen Foundation $275 for a choker necklace; 50% to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $69 for rainy-day wellies; 10% to Ralph Lauren's Pink Pony Fund $60 for sneaker slides; $5 to the Komen Foundation $55 for a pearl charm bracelet; 5% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation $12 for a 'One Cause One Cure' baseball cap; $5 to the Komen Foundation $44 for a 'Courage' tank top; 20% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation $69 for a shoulder bag; 10% to the Komen Foundation $30 for limited-edition sneakers; 100% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation $5 for a bottle of white Zinfandel; $1 to select breast cancer charities $18 for pink ribbon tweezers; 50 cents to breast cancer research $80 for hiking boots; $5 to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston

Ferragamo: $135 for a key chain; 15% to the Komen Foundation
Burberry: $995 for a water-repellent silk trench coat; 40% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Jimmy Choo: $495 for a pair of stilettos; 15% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Cartier: $3,900 for a Cartier Tank Divan watch; benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Nanette Lepore: $340 for a fur stole; 100% to the Young Survival Coalition
DKNY: $39 & $18 for camisole and panties, respectively; 20% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Estee Lauder: $22 for shimmer lipstick in Elizabeth Pink; 100% to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Coach: $398 for a mother-of-pearl watch; $100 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Lacoste: $60 for Touch of Pink fragrance; benefits the Young Survival Coalition
Wilson: $13 for 15 Hope golf balls; benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Hallmark: $6 for a set of 'Cards for the Cure' note cards; 10% to the Komen Foundation
Avon: $3 for a bottle of pink nail polish; 80% to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
Wacoal: $58 for the Awareness Bra; $2 to the Komen Foundation
Bloomingdale's: $35 for the Lilly Pulitzer scarf for Ford; 100% to the Komen Foundation

Tuesday, October 19


Damn, a security issue at Yankee Stadium. Yankee fans are throwing baseballs and debris onto the field in disgust. The umpires are afraid for their lives. They're conferencing with the heads of security, the police chief, the head of the grounds crew. Francona wants to pull his players from the field so they won't get hurt. Cops in riot gear are coming out, kneeling all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed around the perimeter of the diamond. It's a police state in the South Bronx tonight, my friends.

Jeez, Yankee Stadium is full of thugs tonight.


Baseball is officially giving me an ulcer.

Monday, October 18


I HATE DAVID ORTIZ. I mean, I hate all of them, really, but I hate David Ortiz the most.

Fourteen innings. Five hours and forty-nine minutes. FOR THIS?


Alright, alright, that's ok.
I'd rather kick your ass on MY TURF anyway.



The American League Championship Series is going to be the death of me. Fourteen innings ... is this truly necessary? My heart can't take it. Rapid beat, shortness of breath, inability to sit still. The getting on base, the getting off base, the leaving them stranded, the caught pop-flies, the nick-of-time double plays, the strike-outs, the empty bullpens. Gentlemen, you are NOT good for my health. Even knowing that the stupid, STUPID, Boston fans are sitting out in the 42-degree cold suffering greatly and hoping vainly for a miraculous comeback does not soothe me.

And yet, like a besotted lover, I can't look away, I can't leave, I can't even freakin' go to sleep.

Even more unsatisfying to imagine ... after the past three exhausting days, should my boys clinch tonight (and Lord, PLEASE let it be to-NIGHT), I can't even picture them celebrating much. Rather, I imagine them weakly soaking each other with champagne before deciding to all go take a nap and postpone the celebration until they arrive back in New York.

Besides. Everyone knows the nightlife sucks in Boston anyway.

Boston sucks. Everyone in Boston (except for the COS and SC) sucks. All the Bosox fans suck. Stupid Fenway Park sucks because it always runs out of hotdogs around the sixth inning. All the stupid Boston players with their stupid ugly nappy hairstyles and narly facial hair suck. I despise you all. AND I'm not getting any sleep because of it.



Errr ... the heat works.
With a vengeance.

Dang, it's hot in here.

Saturday, October 16


Senior Judge's portrait unveiling, celebrating thirty years of service, occurred this afternoon. Such a moving ceremony, unexpectedly so. In my three and a quarter years in the Courthouse, I had heard passing comments about SJ's smarts, integrity, kindness, humility. But to hear such personal, reverential and even loving tributes from former and present colleagues before a stunning portrait was revealed was truly moving to me, both as a person and as an attorney.

Two things from this afternoon persist in my memory. First, one of SJ's former law clerks related an anecdote in which a plaintiff's attorney, moments before his medical malpractice trial commenced, frankly informed SJ that he had not even looked at his client's medical records. SJ, the former law clerk recalled, responded not in rage and frustration, but in some deeper emotion akin to pain and sadness, saying to the plaintiff's attorney merely this: "How could you do this to your client?" Certainly we all have moments, whatever our industry, of laziness, petulance, indifference ... but my fervent prayer is that I would never hear those words, from another person ... or from my own conscience.

Second, a colleague, speaking glowingly and humorously about SJ, ended his comments with the simple and true acknowledgement that SJ "has done so much for justice." Oh, to be one who has DONE SO MUCH FOR JUSTICE. Not to enact it or enforce it, and certainly not to suppress it. Simply committed his life FOR justice. Thirty years from now, will someone be saying that about me, that I did so much for justice? ...


WHY . . .

I had a moment of clarity, responding to JWu's recent blog post regarding his ambiguous and conflicted feelings about the upcoming presidential elections. I had to share because there is no other way I can explain why it is important that we vote and speak forth, no matter what or who our choices are. After all, how can we Americans, the most opinionated people in the world, NOT express our opinions by voting?

I wrote:

It doesn't matter if we have to choose b/w the lesser of two evils. At least we have the ability, the right TO choose. Consider those in other countries who are marginalized and unable to vote. Consider those who are slain for expressing or attempting to express their choice. Consider those who live in nations where there IS no choice.

It is unrealistic to think that a perfect candidate will appear before us this year, or perhaps even in the future. But to give up and turn away is not an option, unless one wants to give up and turn away from the entire process, our country's entire history, and the potential that our voices have to effect positive change and do justice in this nation.

Vote your conscience. Vote with knowledge and confidence and edjumacation. Vote prayerfully and with hope. Do not flip a coin, b/c you won't be happy about it afterwards, knowing that you spoke out with zero conviction.

Wednesday, October 13

FULL OF IT . . .

Hooch and I were just talking about how stress and stressful people make me poo and keep me more regular than usual. When things and people stress me out, I don't eat as much, but nor do I require my daily dose of Tang-tasting Metamucil, because whatever fiber pre-exists within me gets revving.

Then she called me a Wheatable.

It's interesting to me to notice one thing in particular, the more people I interact with, the more I grow and mature (no giggles from the gallery, please): those who have no self-control over their emotions lack self-control over other areas of their lives. S/he who, as an adult, behaves like a child, also cannot stop eating when s/he is full, cannot control his/her temper, cannot get out of bed in the morning, cannot exercise the discipline to do things s/he knows are good for him/her, and cannot be unselfish and generous towards others.

I've always known this, or at least heard about it. Our society is so imbued with psychiatric and psychological concepts that we've all heard about things like this by now: a psychosis in one area of one's life often means a psychosis in another area. But I've never seen it acted out in real life until recently, and it's so fascinating to watch, even as it enrages me to my core.

And as I delve deeper into "The Journey of Desire," (John Eldredge) I become more and more curious as to how to reconcile the many conflicting concepts entering my humble brain. How, first of all, are we to live passionately as God wants us to? Even the word 'passion' arouses a negative reaction from most Christians, as if to have 'passion' is to think only of raunchy sex, and of course, that would be WRONG, right? Or not right? Then, if we are to live full and passionate lives, full of every good and amazing thing and experience that God originally wanted for us to have, then how can we also be called upon to control ourselves, to suppress, in a way, the very basest emotions that we often want to express? If we suppress, then how are we living passionately? Is the difference merely a question of intent: living passionately and expressively because God calls us to, versus being expressive in a demeaning and offensive manner simply because we are too immature or too stupid to grow out of it? How much of our offensive and boorish nature can we chalk up to personality? And can Christ change our personalities?

Ow. My brain hurts.



Cheech is going to kill me, but ... I'm giving up ALCS Game 2 tickets tonight. Loge, Section 22, Row A, Seats 1-4. Gone. Buh-bye. See you never.

And I never thought I would say this, but ... I don't feel too terrible. For one thing, the ticket would have been a gift, not borne of my own hard work and hours spent trolling the Ticketmaster site, watching the little timer go inexplicably from "1 minute remaining" to "16 minutes remaining." And, I'm still a bit sick, never having completely been cured from last week's wretched cold. Sitting out in 45-degree weather would have been a great hindrance to my enjoyment of the game, even if the concession stands didn't run out of hot chocolate as they normally do. Moreover, I'm tired and lazy. Finally, well, I have other duties to perform; ladies who are actually counting on me to show up and do my part. And frankly, to shirk such duties ten days before a wedding would be simply very very bad.

Of course, this just means that I'll have to listen to C go on and on about how awesome the game was and Cheech ranting at me about how stupid I was to miss this opportunity. I will also have to wrestle five other bodies for dominion over the remote control in someone else's house, but victory shall be mine.

Rather, victory shall be the Yankees'.



So I cut gymnastics class all semester long. I was too busy doing fun things, like planning for the jewelry show in which NHF members were participating. Along with Missy Elliott. Missy and I hang out a lot in my subconscious.

The day before the final exam -- yes, my gymnastics class had a final exam -- I decided to show my face, just to see what I might have to do. Perhaps a written test, detailing the dynamics of tumbling? Or a juvenile dance set to 80's music? But horror of horrors, NO! Students were required to do a floor routine, three lengths back and forth on the mat, with no tumbling move to be used more than four times. And everyone would be watching. WHAT THE! The instructor chose another student -- one who had attended every single class, naturally -- to demonstrate what a proper routine looked like. I was toast.

As I dejectedly left the school to head to my jewelry-making appointment, it was pouring rain outside. The FDR southbound was flooded, but I managed to get through to the city to the warehouse where the NHF team was meeting: C & M, Mama Alien & Alien, Dr.G & famille, and of course, Missy Elliott. Assuming that everyone would be delayed by the rain, I stepped into a lounge next to the main factory area and started to frantically practice whatever gymnastics moves I might have left in my nearly 30-year-old body. A somersault landed me into the legs of a coffee table. A cartwheel tilted me awry into an industrial sofa. I practiced airborne splits and finger-flutterings, a la "spirit fingers." I wondered if anyone in the history of the school ever actually failed gymnastics.

I entered the main factory only to discover that no one had had trouble with traffic; they were all there, pissed off to high heaven that I was so late. Missy Elliott wouldn't even look me in the eye, and the Alien and the Melon had already fallen asleep in their mothers' arms. Because not all of the members of the NHF jewelry-making team were present, the team had not been allowed to enter their work station, and had been pushed back in the line, watching team after team pass them and proceed to start their projects. I was in DEEP DOO-DOO. I tried to explain my situation, only to have M respond that because she had been a gymnast back in the day, she would have no problem passing the class, even though she had cut class right along with me all semester long. The others, including Missy, would not even talk to me.

I sat down on the cold, wet and muddy concrete floor, facing my team members' backs, closed my eyes, and tried to imagine what my desperate gymnastics routine would be, and what I could do for extra credit just so I could pass the damn class and graduate on time.

And then I woke up with a big crick in my neck.

Moooose ... my golden boy. Posted by Hello

Mo ... my more golden golden boy. Posted by Hello

According to today's New York Daily News ...

Rivera's day was draining. After the funeral, he flew for nearly five hours, emotionally spent. But when he arrived, he immediately told pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre that he could pitch. He rode to the bullpen in a golf cart through the tunnels underneath the Stadium in the fifth inning, like he does during every game and when he saw backup catcher John Flaherty, his usual riding partner, he said, "Let's go, buddy."

"I knew what was going to happen when he got to the bullpen, with the fans and everything," said Flaherty, referring to the huge hand Rivera got from the spectators nearby. "It was incredible."

Rivera gave up two hits in the ninth and the Red Sox had their final chance, but the righthander got Bill Mueller, who had beaten him earlier this year with a two-run homer, to hit into a game-ending double play. Rivera shook his teammate's hands and Derek Jeter gave him an extra squeeze at the end.

"I've been with Jeter so many years, since the minor leagues," Rivera said. "We have the kind of relationship that nobody can break. He's my friend, my teammate and I love him."

Rivera stressed that he wanted to pitch and told his family his teammates needed him.

"I was coming here to pitch," Rivera said. "I came here and my friends, my teammates treated me like a king and that was something special and I appreciate that."

They treat him like a king because he IS one, and I'm NOT just being mushy.

Tuesday, October 12


Despite the fact that I am in red plaid flannel pajamas, with Bob on my lap, my hair up in a haphazard ponytail, a Crate&Barrel mug of decaffeinated coffee on my side table, and the Yankee game blaring in front of me, I feel strangely cultured and sophisticated.

It's the beautiful violin playing seeping across the hall, crawling under my door and entering with graceful fluidity into my ears.

I don't know who it is. I've heard that an older woman lives there with her high-school aged son (another son away at college). Is it he who is practicing for an upcoming concert? Is it she who is honing a hobby?

It's so lovely ...



A productive dinner and extended coffee meeting with PEK tonight, and still so much was left unsaid. NHF needs so much, it can be so much, it can do so much ... and the question was unasked, but if PEK had asked me what, at the start of 2005, do I want to do at NHF, I would have said ...

... I want to galvanize people into action. I want to cause people to look away from themselves and to look outward, into their communities, their neighborhoods, their cities and states, and their political systems. I want people to come with me to hold crack-addicted babies needing a human touch at Westchester Medical Center; build houses with Habitat for Humanity; run or walk two 5k cancer fundraiser races a year; do the Loaves & Fish ministry more often than merely once every six weeks; and deliver meals to homebound and ill neighbors. I want to open people's eyes to the fact that being a believer doesn't mean insulating oneself among other believers. I want to make people realize that we have an even greater duty to vote, to serve, to be proactive in our communities. I want us, me, to stop being comfortable and being thrilled with how comfortable we are. I want us, me, to stop being so boring and stupidly pleased with how boring we are. I want us, me, to stop talking about our lofty faith and start DOING AS CHRIST DID. I want us to be what we are, and I want the community around us to always, ALWAYS, know that we are there, doors open, arms outstretched, to accept, to serve, to give, to help, to listen, to befriend.

THAT is what I want. And if no one else is going to do it ... sigh, I might have to do it myself. PEK said I could, so there! (Actually, he said I have a knack for "mobilizing people into activity" and that my organizational skills were "excellent, and much needed," but I think that was diplomatic code for "you're good at bullying people into doing things" and "you are so much more ridiculously anal than anyone else at church." Whatever. I'll take it and run with it ...)

Monday, October 11


If I ever get married, I will NEVER hurt my single friends' feelings by betting -- or even joking about betting -- on which of them will get married first.


FORE! . . .

I am officially a menace to society.

Sprain Lake with Omma, C and some guy named Vinny who encouragingly said "nice shot" even when I was scrounging in the woods for my nice Nike ball that also curiously had "Cole Haan" printed on it. It was a perfect day for golf, albeit incredibly breezy and allergen-producing. Not to be totally gross, but one time, I bent over to address the ball on a second shot, and watery snot just dripped out of my nose onto the ground. EW! I was so distracted by my own disgustingness, I hit a perfect shot onto the green.

At the eighth hole, having spent almost two hours being totally fed up with myself and my constantly right-leaning hits, I approached my third shot with a heavy sigh. C stood about ten feet in front of me, slightly off to my right. Mom was behind me, spewing her litany of coaching tips (rendered before every shot I make, in the exact same order, before she walks off to find her own perfectly-hit ball): "Keep your eyes on the ball. Swivel your hips hard. Push your right shoulder down on the follow-through. Plant your legs. Don't dance your left leg around. You want to make a divot. Don't brush the grass. Hit with your arms, not with your hands. The ball is the bunny, so hit the bunny in the butt, not in the head. In the butt. Hit the bunny in the butt. Now, DO IT." I had the perfect form, I was set, my arm swung back, my right arm perfectly stuck to my side. Down-swing, ball strike ... "OWWWW!" and a big guffaw of laughter from Omma. I look up to see what happened.

I hit C in the wrist.

I laughed so hard, my nose stopped dripping for a while.

Of course, for the rest of the afternoon, I didn't hear the end of it. C would help me move faster by raking the sand bunkers after I whacked the ball out of them, and he would moan, "Oh, my wrist. Raking hurts my wrist." C would slice a ball and moan "Oh, my wrist. I can't hit straight because my wrist hurts." C would miss a putt and moan, "I missed that putt because my wrist hurts."

And naturally, what goes around comes around. After our round was over, C bought Omma and me hot chocolate and we sat outside reviewing our day, sipping our cocoas and unwinding. And then, a tree branch fell on me.

Oh, another Note to Self: don't let Omma and C have a conversation without me present. They almost successfully conspired today to pack me off to golf school in Florida. It's bad enough that Omma is buying me a club for my birthday. The days of cash and Barnes & Noble gift certificates are looooooong gone.


ZEN . . .

I can see now what the charm of golf is. Yes, people can say it's a game of leisure for fat rich folks, but as my parents and I -- and even C -- are none of the above, I don't subscribe to that theory of jealousy.

Instead, I find golf -- especially these days, because I'm not particularly skilled at it yet -- to be a very therapeutic way to spend one's day. For one thing, the weather is usually beautiful when I go out. After all, I'm not SO loving the game that I would purchase hundreds of dollars worth of rain gear and brave the elements to be really bad at golf while soaking wet. But on a holiday like today, I know that I would normally sleep or loll about in bed until noon, then crawl out of my room to eat and plop myself in front of the TV before running out to go grocery shopping and squint into the fading sunlight. What a waste of space I would have otherwise been!

For another thing, being humbled is good for me, and I know it. I'm bad at relatively few things, and pretty good at most things I attempt. The counterpoint to knowing this about myself is that I rarely attempt things at which I am not confident I will be pretty good or great. Golf is an anomaly. I can hit a perfect drive off of one tee, then stroll over to the next one and shank it badly to the right. I can have perfect form and an accurate back-swing, but miss the ball completely on the down-swing. I could feel awkward and tight and totally off-balance, but land my ball on the green mere feet from the tee. A club could feel like butter in my hands one minute, then 70 yards later, feel like a dead steel weight. Or better yet, I could be playing with someone as good as Omma, and she could be shanking balls left and right, and losing balls in the woods. It's such a strange game. Practice will sometimes make perfect, but one never knows; I never know. And so I can never get too cocky, but neither can I give up just because I'm frustrated, not with six more holes to go and no easy way off the course. If nothing else, golf will discipline me. Not too much, but just enough.

And of course, it's just fun to soak in some Vitamin D, eat Korean finger food, feel the breeze on my face, and yak with people with whom I love spending time. Of course, I can't speak for C enjoying spending time with me anymore. After all, I shanked him in the wrist.

Oh dear, I'm still laughing.

Sunday, October 10

?!?! . . .

I am officially the ONLY single person I know in my immediate world. Even my wacky knick-knacked 45-year-old neighbor downstairs with the strangely stretched, peeled and Botoxed face and the curly 80's hair has a boyfriend! WHAT THE!

Speaking of wacky knick-knacked neighbor ... the "Spring is Here!" wooden bunny with no eyes greeting guests (and other tenants) by her front door is long gone, and has now been supplanted by a black plastic witches' kettle filled with plastic bones and some pumpkin-y Halloween-y thing that says something like "Halloween is Here!" The assortment of faux bunnies and electric candles along her windowsill have been swept aside and replaced with rotating glowing plastic skulls and other assorted spook-related items, none of which are bunnies. AND, when her BOYFRIEND was leaving tonight (just as I was entering, as my ever-fortunate luck would have it), she picked up her anorexic Jack Russell terrier (whose name I have long since forgotten), waved its paw at her BOYFRIEND and cooed repeatedly, "Say bye-byeeeeee, say bye-byeeeeee, say bye-byeeeee."

Seriously. Is it me?
PIT STOP . . .

I have to head out in a couple of minutes, but after a weekend away from Bob, it was all I could do to not hug and kiss him until oblivion the moment I stepped across my threshold. I have returned from the Red Sox Country, where the ferry loads up with scads of the elderly discussing the differences between the Block Island Ferry and the ferry between Tangiers and Corsica (or something like that), where nobody drives or revs their little rented mopeds faster than 25 miles per hour, where weatherbeaten grey-shingled houses stand proudly and defiantly against the eroded yet still graceful bluffs, where a small package of no-name bacon costs $5.99, where "the water is warm this time of year" means it's 45 degrees cold, where a one-bedroom shanty sells for nigh on a million dollars, where the tap water has that lovely retreat-center chlorine-y sulfur-y stank, and where none of a home's windows have shades on them because the sunlight is just too beautiful to even think about blocking out. But truly, Block Island is so fun, and you should all give it a try. I tried to convince my Ladies to put down a deposit NOW for a house NEXT year, but no one was biting ...

Then, on the way home, I hit traffic on I-95 between exits 15 and 11, just about when my morning orange juice and large coffee started to catch up with me. I tempted fate and thought I could make it home, but no. Had to stop at the local Super Stop & Shop and scurry pigeon-toed to the ladies' room, which naturally was located in the farthest corner from me. And what is it about holding pee for an hour that makes it come out slower? Someone once told me it's a muscle thing, but I think it's like when you buy one of those big Poland Spring water dispensers, and you have to poke a hole in the top to make the water come out faster from the bottom.

Fortunately, I arrived with enough down time to unpack, sort my mail, put up my feet and clean out my inboxes. Why I keep getting advertisements for Viagra, I'll never know ...

N.B.: I am often facetious, but truly, Block Island is beautiful. Don't go there, because you'll just make it crowded for the rest of us, but I and mine might have to become snooty B.I. addicts. The beaches, the people, the horizon, the sky, the quaint ferries, the breeze, the sunshine, the fish n' chips, even the overpriced groceries ... there's nothing not to love. Except for the fact that it's Red Sox Country. BRING 'EM ON. We'll kick your collective asses again.

Saturday, October 2

HOW ODD . . .

Sometimes, I don't have to try so hard to be unique, different, set myself apart from the crowd.

Other people do it for me.