Friday, April 29


Sometimes, I surprise even myself with the depths of my capacity to be nerdy, and the fact that I get excited about things like the new Apple G5 and Tiger, the latest Mac OS-X version.

But it's all just so preeeeeetttttty.



If you were pretty darn sure of wanting something -- really, really, truly darn sure, and I mean praying-for-it-every-day-every-moment and thinking-your-life-would-be-simply-grand-if-it-came-to-fruition and unable-to-think-of-anything-else sure -- but felt like it might not become yours anyway, what would you do?

What would you do if you felt like if it became yours, it would be too good to be true and that's scary to you?

What would you do if you felt like you could move God's heart with your constant petitions, but were still not completely positive about that because you feel sort of bad about constantly bugging Him about it?

What would you do if you were on a constant roller-coaster because the positive signals you receive, indicating your wish might come true, are sparsely interspersed with negative signals, dashing any hope you might ever have harbored?

What would you do if the consequences of getting what you want are as scary as the consequences of not getting what you want are devastating?

What would you do if you became tired and ashamed of asking God for this thing that you want because you just think He stopped listening weeks ago?

What would you do if you want this more than you've ever wanted anything in recent memory, but still can't tell if you really want it, or if you just want to win?

What would you do if your heart felt pure about wanting this, but still feel sort of foolish for your longing?

What would you do if you felt like you would bank your future on this one thing, but feared being left in the dust because you put all your eggs in one basket?

No, seriously, what would you do? What am I to do?



(OK, I'm not writing this to be arrogant or snotty or all up into myself, and I'm NOT NOT NOT fishing for compliments from those who know what I look like. It really is a weird phenomenon for me, and there's no one I can really talk to about this in a serious way, so I express myself in song. I wish.)

The other day, one of my dearest friends asked me, "haven't you been told before that you are beautiful?"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I wanted to burst out in wild, hysterical laughter. "Are you freakin' kidding me?!" I wanted to screech. But I was at work, and we do try to maintain a minimum of decorum here.

No, I haven't really been told that before. But in the last week, more people have said that to me than in the last twenty-nine years of my life combined. Alright, so 99% of those offering me compliments were total strangers, friends of my parents whom I met at a huge Korean wedding, couples who all wanted nice, Korean-speaking, church-going, professionally-employed, clean, "beautiful" me to marry their sons and give them many, many grandsons. (But I take it where I can get it, you know what I mean?) Then last night, during dinner, my parents said I looked particularly lovely (only a parent could say such a thing when I have my bangs pinned up with big shiny clips, kimchi jigae dribbling down my chin, grains of rice stuck to my sleeve and meat juice grimed all over my fingers, God bless them).

It's so weird. When I look back over my physical appearance and how I felt about myself over my life span, these are the words and sentiments that come to mind: frumpy ... short ... frizzy-haired ... not Caucasian ... not Korean enough ... dorky ... clumsy ... too plump ... too skinny ... square-faced ... pointy-chinned ... flabby ... awkward ... too pale ... over-dressed ... always a season behind ... invisible ... boyish ... klutzy ... spastic ... insecure ... utterly uncool ... dumpy ... uncouth ... ugly.

What a strange journey I've taken since January to the present, from learning that God made me wonderfully and beautifully in His image, to developing confidence that He wants me to stand tall and walk facing forward with no burdens, to being encouraged by friends and family that the good qualities of my heart -- as few and feeble as they might be -- exhibit themselves in a lovely way in my outer appearance, to being told by strangers and loved ones alike that I look good and am behaving nicely.

Part of it is that I now let my hair stylist do whatever she wants when she cuts my hair. Part of it is that I can now afford to buy clothing that fits me properly, and have ceased caring about what others think of my fashion sensibilities. Part of it is growing up and realizing that if I'm short, oddly-shaped and not Caucasian, ain't nuthin' I can do about it. Part of it is growing in my faith and realizing that if God thinks I'm beautiful, I don't have to give two hoots what anyone else says. Part of it is stretching into myself and learning to receive compliments graciously. Part of it is being encouraged by friends and family who want the best for me and believe that I can be and do whatever I set my mind to. Part of it is the experience of getting my eyebrows shaped for Banana's wedding (Soybean can back me up on this one -- that was WEIRD). Part of it is allowing myself to be loved by people other than just Omma, Appa and Cheech (who would still say that I'm the biggest dork he knows, and would I please STOP wearing that awful hooded sweatshirt?!). Part of it is going out on a limb for crazy reasons, things, people, and coming out unbroken and strong. Part of it is being healthy (mostly) and reaping the benefits of full lungs and flexible muscles. Part of it is being satisfied.

Lots of parts to make up one beautiful me. I confess, I still can't say it without feeling self-conscious, being worried that I'm standing on the verge of extreme hubris or indulging a delusional ego. But I figure, there are enough things in life to get me down, to make me feel bad about myself, to make my shoulders turn inward and my face point down to the ground ... girl's got to learn to say a nice "thank you" and let her ego be boosted sometimes ...



According to the evil beings at WebMD, I could be suffering from a pinched nerve, internal swelling, an injured blood vessel, or peripheral neuropathy in conjunction with an autoimmune disease, like lupus. GREAT. I detest WebMD, but I just can't seem to stay away.

I do not, however, detest Dr.Wu, who, while not being completely alarmist, has nonetheless instructed me to "call your doctor." Yikes.



I dare you to tell me you don't love this:

The Law

And if I could create a little gallery in my home, I'd add these:

Signs in Yellow

Lady Apart

Blue Night

Flora di Roccia


F-F-F-F-FRIDAY . . .

What is your favorite…?

1. …Cold Remedy?
Day and Night Comtrex.

2. …Thing to do when you’re sick (lay on the couch, stay in bed, etc)? Gather everything I might ever need -- snacks, carton of orange juice, box of tissues, extra blankets, books, magazines, Bob -- and lay in a prone position in front of a softly-humming television set to something I don't have to pay attention to -- The Learning Channel, HGTV or Bravo! -- so that I can sleep on and off throughout the day.

3. …Item of clothing to wear when ailing? My loose grey cotton lounge-pants, a long-sleeve cotton shirt and my big fluffy grey hooded sweatshirt.

4. …Person to comfort you? Mommy.

5. …Food to eat? Kimchi jigae and room-temperature water.

Thursday, April 28

AWWWW . . .

Dang, I love my parents so much. They are so damn funny.



Calling all doctors (and wannabes, because I know there's lots of you out there too): diagnose and cure me, please.

On Sunday morning, I did a difficult power yoga routine for an hour. Much stretching and balancing was involved. I felt great afterwards, if a bit perspirational.

On Sunday afternoon, I went running and walking on a really comfortable, bouncy high school track for about 2.5 miles. It felt great except it was really freakin' cold outside and I caught a chill. I stretched in the cold afterwards, then again at home that night when I was a tad warmer.

On Tuesday after work, I was feeling a bit better in the lungs, so I went for a run and walk on a paved trail near my home. I wore long pants this time, so I felt the coolness hardly at all. I stretched before and after, and drank plenty of water, and had a hearty dinner later on.

On Wednesday evening, after care group had ended and the masses had gone home, I sat on my couch and realized: I have no feeling in my left leg and foot.

This is not normal, is it?

I tried stretching. I tried massaging my leg and foot. I tried drinking more water. I tried elevating the leg and foot. I tried sleeping on my right side. I tried sleeping on my left side. I tried sleeping on my back, then on my stomach. I slept hardly at all last night. I tried removing my shoes at work. I tried rotating my ankles and stretching and doing desk yoga. I tried not to cross my legs or sit in cross-legged position as I worked throughout the day.

And now, I stretched again, I drank more water, I straightened my legs and am resisting the comforting urge to sit on my feet as I normally do.

My left foot is still numb, particularly along the outer edge. I can stab myself in the pinky toe and feel nothing. It reminds me of an episode of "Little House on the Prairie," and I wonder if my TV history is coming back to haunt me.

My hip joint feels fine. My knees are hurting, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. My ankle does not hurt. My foot does not hurt. Nothing is swollen. Nothing is red or inflamed. Nothing hurts. I just can't feel anything. Occasionally, the left foot tingles, as it's doing now. But even the tingling is vague; I can't really feel anything. It's just numb.

Just tell me true, doctors and wannabes: am I going to lose my leg?

Look, two more people in the world I simply cannot bring myself to have compassion for, even if they are victims of their own stupidity and ignorance:

Transcript of "The Jersey Guys" on the Edison Mayoral race on NJ 101.5

Below is a partial transcript of "The Jersey Guys" Radio show on April 25, 2005
Craig Carton and Ray Rossi ( )
New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio PO Box 5698 Trenton, NJ 08638


Craig Carton: "Would you really vote for someone named Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice]?"


Craig Carton: I’m using Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice] as an example of a larger problem.

Ray Rossi: and you know…

Carton: We’re forgetting the fact that we’re Americans.

Rossi : You know that he’s going to get the… whatever that vote is

Carton : And here’s the bottom line... no specific minority group or foreign group should ever ever dictate the outcome of an American election. I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an election, Americans should.

Rossi: Americans should, exactly

Craig : And it’s offensive to me… not that I have anything against uh Asians…I really don’t… i don’t like the fact that they crowd the goddamn black jack tables in Atlantic City with their little chain smoking and little pocket protectors..

Rossi: Now now now..that’s an issue with me..

Carton: I’m just saying, now that’s all Asians, not just Koreans…you know… you got Pai-Gaw poker playing.

Carton: My point is on a much larger stand..

Rossi: I understand… but you see you had to put that out there…

Carton: We’re bending over backwards to cater to fringe groups of people and I don’t like it!

Rossi: As long as we understand where you’re coming from… with the, uh poker table group...

Carton: Well go to AC for one week and try and get a table… ‘ching chong, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent..] hehe you hit it on 17 you stupid bitch… the dealer’s got a holding an 18…what’re you hitting for… you know? They do it all day and night…they got their little beady pocketbooks with the little beads on it… they take out wads of 100s… ching chong ching chong [accent] they don’t know how to play the game… eh, honey i got a 13 and I’m playing against a 6…

Rossi: Hehe, their money is green too!


Carton: There should be like Asian-only rooms in casinos… but just to be fair, I have nothing against them…

Rossi: No, of course not


Carton: Very good people… very nice people...

[Commercial Break]

Carton: Asian Americans factoring in the Edison race, Korean native and mayor both court the growing segment… uh I’ve said it about the Arabs about 4 months ago, I’ve said it about uh… you name a group that’s suddenly important in politics, other than Americans as a whole and I got a problem with it… I’m not nitpicking any one specific group... I don’t like… like when Corzine came out and said…I’m counting on the Arab community to get me elected… right then and there you lost my vote!

Rossi: Well, but… you see what it is…

Carton: He was over at the Nordic lodge of Rhode Island… cuz I go to this place where its like 60 bucks for all you can eat… and I thought he was lying to me

[Unrelated Topic]

Caller: Good, hi are you guys?

Carton: Doing good, babe.

Caller: It’s government for the people of the people and by the people and as long as you guys became American citizens and now have the right to vote, why not have them vote for someone who they feel comfortable with and will take care of their issues…

Carton: Well… I’m glad you called with that… god-forsaken disgusting liberal viewpoint, uh mickey…

Caller: I’m not a liberal at all… it’s by the constitution of New Jersey…

Carton: Well, you are a liberal by definition… by definition you are a liberal….if they’re here legally and they’re Americans, I think they ought to vote for… [mocking falsetto voice] no no no…that’s liberal by definition… so let me explain to you what the problem is with it mickey so you can be a little bit brighter at the dinner table tonight, ok?

Caller: Ok

Carton: They are Americans, they have every right to vote. I will never deny them that, you know my grandparents came over here, they wound up with the right to vote and they’re very proud of it… same with Ray’s and most of our listeners’… they also have the right to run once they become Americans, and I don’t begrudge them that either, my problem is this: when we start focusing our campaigns on the minority of people and not the majority of people, I find that to be problematic… anybody running for office, whether it’s the Mayor of Edison or the Governor of New jersey, the focus should be what’s good for the breadth of people, what’s good for everybody, and its obnoxious to me, although I understand it’s a business, and its how you can get elected, if you say out loud, well if I can simply get the Asian vote I can win the election..

Rossi: Now that’s what it is…

Carton: And that’s what problematic to me… much as like we give DMV exams in Spanish, and French, and in Swahili, we’re getting away from what our core is and that is America..

Rossi: Which is true…

Carton: And I’m troubled by it… and I don’t wanna hear a candidate, whether they’re Chinese, or white, or black, saying oh if I can only get the Chinese vote I can win… well what about me? I’m… see… I’m the average guy, that’s why we’re successful, Ray and I represent the average guy in NJ, blue collar white people…

Rossi: There you go.

Carton: And no one gives a damn about us anymore…

Rossi: That’s right.

Carton: And if we cry about it… you know what’s brought up? Slavery... or if we cry about it… well you know, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent] you bombed us [Chinese accent] you know? The fact is, I don’t care if whites are a minority, it doesn’t matter to me, there’s no voice of the average blue collar white guy anymore, cuz all these politicians are worried about the fringe groups.

Rossi: Well that’s the thing…

Carton: God forbid you offend an Asian, really! And I hate it… god forbid that a politician was out here and offends Asians, or blacks, or old people… but at the end of the day, I’m the guy that’s gonna get them elected…

Rossi: There you go.

Carton: And they don’t give a damn about me!

Rossi: Nope.

Carton: Well the second Thursday in May they will… cuz Ray and I are hosting the only in-state debate amongst at least the Republican candidates…

Rossi: That’s right

Carton: Almost all of them confirmed, is that right, C-dog?

C-Dog: That’s right.

Carton: It’ll be myself, Ray Rossi and Bob Ingle of the Gannet newspaper chain and every guy running for uh... governor on the Republican side will be here in studio because you know… we care! And were not gonna let these guys cater to minority groups simply cuz it makes them look good.

Rossi: Exactly

Carton: You have to cater to me, bitches.

Rossi: Hmmm, that’s it.

Carton: I’m the rain maker.

Rossi: Look at that, the rainmaker

Carton: Well, that’s a little cocky though

Rossi: Well, no, that’s a tad on the cocky tip but that’s alright, that’s okay.

Carton: It’s May 12th by the way, 4pm… If you’re running for governor, you’re invited but you have to go through C-dog cuz I don’t know want weedman showing up… ‘No, you guys said I was invited, I’m running… Typical keeping it brother… No he’ll wanna ask some of the questions… [Mimics voice]

Rossi: Right


Carton: All right… here’s Sharon in Edison NJ on 101.5. How you doin’ Sharon?

Caller: Hi, I love you

Carton: Thank you.

Caller: You just said it all, the last couple of … callers, I guess they don’t know that they live in America and we’re being overrun. I had just moved out of Edison because of what has happened in the past 10 years… Orientals are all along, the whole complete route 27. And Indians have taken over Edison in north and all over.

Carton: Damn Orientals and Indians.

Caller: I..i moved out..36 years I’ve lived in Edison

Carton: And what was the biggest problem you had with the Orientals and the Indians ?

Caller: I can’t handle them! There’s no American people anymore.

Carton: Eh..

Caller: There shoving us the hell out!

Carton: It’s like you’re a foreigner in your own country isn’t it?

Caller: You go to own store and you can’t even see American people, you don’t see our own kids, American kids, working in stores anymore…

Carton: Like the next time you see an American, you think you’ll probably hug him or high five him or something?

Caller: Oh, that’s why where I moved too, that’s all I have, thank god for now anyways.

Carton: Yeah I’m with you… Sharon, we’re just the voice of the people, and I appreciate your call.

Caller: Keep up the good work.

Carton: All right, you got it baby… I think the quote was damn ‘Orientals and Indians.’

[Child rendition of American anthem on and fades into background]

Carton: That’s right baby, who wrote this, a white guy did!

Carton: By the way, did you see the girl singing the national anthem in the Canadian/US hockey game over the weekend?

[Unrelated Topic]

Carton: Listen I love my country, I’ll never make any excuses for that… and I think the majority should be catered to, not the minority

Rossi: Correct That’s how I feel… ["America, The Beautiful" song on and fades into background]

[Commercial Break]

Carton: Alright, in Edison, this is just another example of us losing our own country…the uh… Asian American candidate "Jun Choi" [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice] and uh… he’s capitalizing on the rapid growth of the Asian community in Edison, but so is his uh… I guess so is his competitor…

Rossi: Well, his competitor is doing the same thing.

Carton: Spadoro says " I’ve got the Asians on lockdown."

Rossi: Right exactly

Carton: Now if I was an Asian I guess I don’t know I’d vote for the Asian. Well I mean haven’t you done that before?

Rossi: Who knows my needs better than…

Carton: Haven’t you?

Rossi: Yeah, I used to vote for the Italian…

Carton: You know what?

Carton: Yeah, thinking that his corrupt ways would benefit me in the long way run.

Rossi: So did I, when I didn’t know what the hell they stood for I just say (phh) go Italian.

Carton: Look how good that did us. Look at the hole we’re in now. Nice move jack ass thanks.

Rossi: Well what do you want me to tell ya, I tried.

Carton: You da one responsible for Florio




Alright. I must disclaim that I'm doubly fired up because I just started reading "Arc of Justice," a true story about a black family who moved into an all-white neighborhood in Detroit in the mid-1920s and whose lives were turned upside-down by the sheer hatred and ignorance that greeted their arrival. I am amazed that humanity was so depraved and idiotic back then, and I'm amazed and -- even more than that, so, so, so, so saddened and discouraged -- that such depravity and idiocy still runs deep within us. Even the fact that I just got a haircut and feel like a hot mama does nothing to dispell the rage and feelings of hopelessness that well up in me over and over in dismaying waves.

So now, she rants.

First of all, if you're opposed to foul language, don't continue. Because these guys, Carton and Rossi, are total assholes.

Secondly, why do they distinguish between the Asians they're so derogatorily referring to and "Americans"? Why don't they just say what they mean: WHITE PEOPLE. Gawd, they're not even smart enough to pick the right terminology for the stupid ideas they are trying to express.

Thirdly, they refer to Asians as "fringe groups of people." Nuh-uh. Do your math, assholes.

Fourthly, they insist that the Chinese should not determine the outcome of American elections. The Chinese are doing no such thing, assholes. American citizens are. Dumbasses.

Fifthly, the languages and dialects spoken by Korean and Chinese people do NOT sound like "ching-chong, ching-chong," assholes. What, your brain is too dense for even sound to travel accurately through it?

Sixthly, they launch into a discussion of the definition of "liberal," and how politicians should run their campaigns. Assholes. They don't know anything. And you know what? If politicians are campaigning to attract the vote of members of minority populations (NOT fringe groups, you assholes) because those minorities happen to make up the majority of their constituency, that is called SMART POLITICKING, not CATERING. Assholes.

Seventhly, Sharon, you asshole, Oriental is an outdated term. Get into the 21st century and stop acting like an 18th-century "Western" imperialist. Asshole. And stop saying stupid things like "there's no American people anymore." Oh. My. Gawd. That is just too stupid for me to even address.

Eighthly, they kept saying that the "majority" should be catered to. Heads up, assholes, WHITE PEOPLE are no longer the majority in the United States. Not only should you stop equating "American" with being WHITE or ARYAN (which you two aren't EVEN, and any analysis of your BACKGROUNDS and LAST NAMES should TELL you that, assholes), you really should stop calling yourselves the majority. Ain't no such thing anymore, assholes.

Ninthly, at the end of the transcript excerpt, they suggest that when they don't know what the heck the politicians are talking about (not surprising, given their apparent IQ levels), they just "go Italian" because that's what they are. Gee, assholes. Why aren't you voting AMERICAN? Assholes.

Tenthly, Eric Johnson, the assholes' station manager, defended the show, saying that these assholes do other ethnic accents too. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENTS, ASSHOLE. Get a clue.

Eleventhly, this is the same station that got in trouble a few months ago for making on-air jokes about the governor's wife's battle with postpartum depression. Yeah, real funny, assholes.

Lord, what a bunch of assholes. Please, won't You have compassion on them and don't be TOO mean to them when You send them to hell, because if I were You, I'd drop-kick them into eternity.
HOME RUN . . .

Dr.J is about to propose to his Dollface soon ... and all the guys I know are (jokingly, I think ... I hope) egging him on to do it via the JumboTron at Continental Arena during a Nets game. When we ladies protest the sheer stupidity of that idea, they concede ... and suggest he do it during a Lakers game instead.

In response to my total vehemence against the JumboTron proposal, this is the counter-attack I get: "what if your dream man, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Ever-So-Right-For-You, proposed to you via the announcer-guy at YANKEE STADIUM?"

Alright, I confess, I had to pause for a moment.
Yankee Stadium.
Now that is totally different from Continental Arena.
Hmmm ....

But the point is: I'm me and Dollface is Dollface, and who knows what would move her heart to say "yes"? Dr.J says it would be a day she'll never forget. Still ... I say it will be a day she'll never let him forget.


ICK . . .

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are dating. I suppose this doesn't matter anymore in this day and age, but he's 42 and she's 26. That's like ... a lot of years' difference.

TWENTY-SIX. Do I even remember being 26?


But aside from that ... I am so NOT a Tom Cruise fan. He's trite, trite and trite, and squints far too much. And all I know about Katie Holmes, other than tidbits from her "Dawson's Creek" days, is that every single Korean-American man/boy I know thinks she's simply the cat's meow. Oh, that and the fact that C.o.S. looks like her.

What an odd couple. Odd and icky.



(By the way, I think that's the title of a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode.)

Last night during our care group meeting, the question arose: why does Jesus act with compassion so many times during the Gospels, as opposed to any other emotion, such as love, or mercy, or kindness, or generosity? Why, of the entire gamut of nice, apparently godly emotions, do the Scriptures seem to emphasize His compassion the most?

I've never studied this, and I have no idea what the original Greek or Hebrew or whatever says on the issue, but I suspect it's because He is He and we are we. Jesus was and is the epitome of everything we are not, and I think this is especially the case when it comes to having compassion for people. We humans are awfully good at saying (and actually following through with the idea) that we love people. We're also good at being nice to people and feeling bad for them when they suffer tragedies. We as a human race are particularly good at being angry with others. Humanity is good at feeling and exhibiting almost every emotion that exists.

But we as a whole are not particularly good at feeling compassion for people -- as Ed defined it, "with passion," feeling with the other person.

I think of myself and the people for whom I am, in my own pathetically limited way, able to feel with passion. I feel with passion when Hooch is hacking up a lung. I feel with passion when JKA is exhausted. I feel with passion when C is stressed out. I feel with passion when Soybean's eyes are swollen nearly shut from allergies. I feel with passion when Cheech has to pull an all-nighter. I feel with passion when my gran is injured. I feel with passion when Ed's gran passes away. I feel with passion when Omma and Appa are burdened. I feel with passion when Nan worries for her son. And as I think over the people for whom I feel with passion, it occurs to me that these are all people whom I love with my whole heart.

It also occurs to me that for those whom I do not love with my whole heart, I do not and cannot feel with passion. The shrill and annoying one I see too often for my own comfort and who makes me see red every moment because she is so annoying ... the loud and obnoxious one who always seems to butt in even as I move further away ... the emotionally fragile one who subjects everyone around her to her unstable fragility ... the repeat offenders who walk through our courtrooms ... the oblivious one on the cell phone in the car in front of me clearly having a fight with someone while driving, creating a hazard for every other commuter on the road ... I feel no compassion for these. Any I manage to muster up during particularly harmonious times seems fake and contrived, and is far too short-lived.

Compassion is hard. It's nearly impossible to have and to give. I suspect that's why, or that's one of the reasons why, God-breathed Scripture speaks of compassion so often. The depth of Christ's compassion speaks volumes of the difference between Him and us, and how far we must crawl on our hands and knees to overcome this vastness and to even approach the state of being like Him in heart and soul. That's why only Jesus could offer compassion, because He was and is He, and we, sadly, are simply us.



The cult of "Napoleon Dynamite" is slowly and steadily putting down deep roots at NHF. Bomma-lomma-ding-dong and I have made quotes from the film part of our everyday dialogue. More and more people have been exposed to The Dance Sequence, and I suspect many of them are secretly practicing it in the privacy of their own homes, as of course, I am.

But the icing on the cake really came last night, when Ed showed me this: The Napoleon Dynamite Bible Study for Teens.

He claims it was for my amusement, but I know in my heart of hearts that he really wants to do the Bible study. I just know it. Why else would he have even gone through the effort of locating this awesome product on the Web anyway? I know he's one of the legions already practicing The Dance Sequence. The Bible study can't possibly be far behind ...

(By the way, I love the disclaimer: "This Bible study is not an endorsement of the movie by Christianity Today International. Before watching this film, please get advice and guidance from your parents or youth pastor.")



Sooooo ... it's been three days since my marathon interview. At what point do I start getting ants in my pants?



Omma and Appa just keep on going. Dang.


Finished: In the Absence of Sun ..., by Helie Lee
Reading: Eating My Words, by Mimi Sheraton and Arc of Justice, by Kevin Boyle

Wednesday, April 27


Rain or shine (or damp miserable chill), we're doing it!

Support us in the Revlon 5k Run/Walk for Women, happening this Saturday morning, no matter what.

I and my team thank you in advance for caring.



What a terrible occurrence, a commuter train jumping the tracks as it speeds around a curve, ramming directly into a residential apartment complex. Frankly, I can't imagine it, much like I can't imagine war and mass devastation and entire countries being wiped out by waves of ocean water. (Ironical, given all the other unimaginable things that I imagine all the time.) Over seventy people dead, over four hundred people injured, an expensive infrastructure damaged, citizens rendered homeless, families and friends in mourning.

Events like this often cause a sudden wave of soul-searching. In this case, the result is this statement: "There is no flexibility in our society; people are not flexible, either." The driver of the train is to blame, certainly. Why in the world would you take a train full of people and take a 44 m.p.h. curve at an excruciating 62 m.p.h., just to make up for a sixty-second delay from a prior station stop? But the Japanese people -- or at least some of them -- seem to also be blaming themselves. For being obsessed with punctuality. For being inflexible. For striving for unattainable perfection. All at the expense of safety, and mental and social health.

I wonder at these cultural characteristics. Japanese citizens point to the United States and nations in Europe where being late really is late: six minutes or more. Sixty seconds is ... well, it's cake. It's a blessing, really. You don't see any American subway drivers beating themselves up for being sixty seconds late to the next station. As IF, right? But I wonder if we don't have our own forms of national emotional and mental baggage. What about the focus on the American dream? JKA and I were just talking the other day about The Ultimate Goal: home ownership. Why do people drive themselves into poverty and extreme debt, just so they can say they own a home? Or what about the fact that some American families can barely feed themselves, but by God, there's a television set in every room of their ramshackle rental? Or the obsession with money? When you die, you can't take it with you, but everyone wants more of it anyway, and what we have is never, ever enough. Jaime told me a few weeks ago that when I start making the big bucks, I'll unconsciously adjust my life accordingly. Lord, will that be true? And what about the American sense of individuality and independence? Is this not just a little bit overrated, and creating an entire land of people who do not know how to depend on each other, who do not know how to care about others, who are not able to be sensitive and open and moved by the plights of those less fortunate, who are not able to ask for and receive needed help or support or even friendship?

I wonder at my blood people, from The Motherland. For most of recent history, South Korea has been at the mercy of one colonial power or another. Has this not created some deeply-rooted sense of insecurity and inferiority among my people? Do we immigrant families not exhibit these feelings in different ways, by being passive-aggressive, by feeling constantly torn about how to reconcile the traditional Confucian way with the modern American way? And why are we still so lagging in public service, in law schools, in government positions, in political and social activity? Do we simply not care yet, or is it more nefarious: do we not think we are able to be strong and loud in these venues? Have 21st-century Ko-REAN Koreans not advanced economically and technologically in leaps and bounds, leaving cultural and social advancements confused and lagging in the dust?

I don't know. I'm just speculating and doing some multi-cultural soul-searching of my own. You know, just thinking about what forces I am allowing to affect me, what kind of legacy I am building for myself, what sorts of values will become so much a part of me that I will willingly or not pass them on to my next generations ...


JUMPER . . .

The other afternoon, a man climbed up the Tappan Zee Bridge, which spans a major commuter thoroughfare, and threatened to jump. He hung out up there for about three hours, and thankfully, local authorities eventually talked him down, preventing yet another tragedy. Unfortunately for everyone else, this man bent on suicide closed Bridge traffic for three hours, pretty much destroying the evening rush hour.

That sucks, but I think what sucks more is that people wanted him to jump. MORE people wished he had jumped after learning he was a convicted sex offender. First question: why would anyone in their right mind encourage someone else to commit suicide?!?!?!

Second question: if this man had jumped, would a commuter's life have been made that much easier? NO. The answer is NO. For then, emergency crews would have had to come onto the bridge to fish the man out of the water; police would have had to come and do a complete workup of the scene; and the ensuing rubbernecking would have been a MUCH bigger pain in the rear than that which already existed.

Yet some people persist. Some people joke: "Jump! Jump!" My God, how wretched, encouraging someone to jump. I wonder why they do that? Is it because it's a juicy story? "Mom, on the way home from work today, I saw a guy jump to his death from the Bridge and it was AMAZING!" Is it because we really get SO mad that we are late getting to wherever we need to go that we would prefer that the cause of our delay just eliminate himself? "Selfish jerk, he should know better than to try to kill himself right before the evening rush hour!" Is it because we think a sex offender doesn't deserve to live? "Dirty bastard, he deserves to die anyway, the pervert!" Is it that we as a society are so inured to the seriousness and gravity of violence and death and tragic events that some dude jumping off a bridge is less a cause of concern and sadness for his soul, and more of a spectacle to be enjoyed, and if not enjoyed, then heckled?

Yeah, I would have been ticked off too, if I were languishing on that bridge, stomach rumbling in anticipation of dinner, wanting nothing more than to go home, change out of my work clothes and lounge the evening away. I probably would have also craned my neck up to see exactly what was going on, to see if I could catch a glimpse of the man high above me. I probably would have thought, "what the HECK is this guy DOING?" But would I have wanted him to jump just to make my own life easier? God, I hope not ...



I thought I was long past this stage of my life, but NO. I have an ENORMOUS and enormously PAINFUL pimple near the corner of my mouth. It makes opening my mouth to eat extremely painful; flossing is downright torturous. This is NOT my idea of an ideal weight-maintenance regimen.

Tuesday, April 26


Still recovering from my THREE-HOUR interview (a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour) yesterday afternoon/evening ... by all accounts, I should be pleased that three high-level partners each wanted to spend one long unbillable hour with me. But they were all such great story-tellers, I can't tell if their willingness to talk with me was due to my impressive resume and magnetic personality or their own congenial natures. Time will tell ...

But for now, thanks to The Unlimited Mood, a distraction:

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

35% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


ABOOT ME . . .

Which brings up an interesting point. I don't think I speak English like anyone else I know. Having grown up in an only-Korean-speaking home, possessing a particular ear for foreign languages, having the ability to absorb other people's accents as if they were my own, and having lived in the 'burbs, New York City and Boston for extended periods of time has made my speech into one weird amalgamation of all sorts of verbal and aural oddities.

I say "y'all" a lot because of Jack, from North Carolina, whom I met during a summer trip to The Motherland in 1992. A Korean-American boy with a Southern drawl = WEIRD.

I say "aboot" instead of "about" and "oat" instead of "out" because ... I don't really know why. That's just how my mouth shapes itself when forming that word and words like it.

I say "air-con" instead of "air conditioner" because that's how my Konglish-speaking parents say it and some habits are just too hard to break.

I say "cay-unt" and "stay-und" and the like instead of "can't" and "stand" because of Debbie, a sweet girl from WisCAHNsin who was really too nice to be in law school but tolerated the rest of us anyway.

I say "word" instead of "yes" because Cheech and I sometimes like to pretend that we're not from the leafy-green upper-middle-class suburb from which we actually hail.

I say "Mos-coe" instead of "Mahs-cow" because my Russian teacher told me the latter is totally incorrect, and now it makes me cringe to hear newscasters, especially the nasally ones, say it wrong.

I say "ttaccosssss" instead of "tah-coes" because that's how Sr. McKenney drummed it into me at a very young and impressionable age, and the latent Spanish woman inside me won't allow otherwise.

I say a lot of archaic words I find in 19th-century British novels because I think it's a shame that no one uses those cool, meaningful, emotion-laden words anymore. But then no one knows what I'm saying and they all think I'm being pretentious, which I'm not. I just wish I was Jane Austen.

I say a lot of other weirdly-pronounced things that make many people believe I'm from California. Southern California, to be exact. Alright, alright, I've been called a Valley Girl multiple times. AS IF!

I also add -al onto words that end in -ic, because those words tend to sound too short when spoken as they were meant to be pronounced. Something is not nearly "dramatic" enough until it is "dramaticAL." "Ironic" doesn't begin to describe the situation as well as "ironical" does. We've got "heretical," "magical," and "fantastical" -- so why not "genetical"?

Saturday, April 23


I bought new bedsheets the other day. Awesome high thread-count, slightly damask-patterned bedsheets. I washed them tonight, to prepare them and soften them up enough to sleep upon for the first time. I was very excited, for I am currently seeking anything that will help me sleep better and more comfortably at night.

I pulled the warm, fresh-smelling sheets out of the dryer. I shook them out, and carried them into the bedroom to place upon my naked bed. I was very excited for I love the way newly washed bedsheets stretch across the mattress and fit so snugly and cutely on the bed. No bunching, no loose wrinkles. Just pristine smoothness worthy of a military academy. Goodness, I love a neat bed.

It normally only takes me one try to figure out how to lay the bedsheet, but tonight, it took me a couple of tries. The pockets seemed equidistant from each other, but "no," I thought to myself. "I must just be tired and unable to gauge distance correctly." So I proceeded to stretch my beautiful, soft new sheets across my queen-sized mattress.

After a couple of tries, placing the pockets here, then there, then back here again, I had to check the packaging. QUEEN, it read. How odd. I went back to the bed and tried again. Something was wrong.

The fitted bedsheet is a PERFECT SQUARE. I am not joking. No matter which way I attempt to fit the fitted bedsheet, there is about a foot and a half leftover on one side. I turn the sheet 90-degrees. Same foot-and-a-half overhang. And around and around I go, until I have come full-square.

But it gets better, for just as I tuck the extra hang of the bedsheets further under my mattress (doing my best to ignore the oddly placed sheet-pocket nipples -- yeah, you know what I'm talking about and it annoys you just as much as it annoys me), and turn my attention to my beloved pillows, the unthinkable happens. The pillowcases are TOO SMALL for my pillows. Shoving the pillows into these suddenly-miniaturized pillowcases takes me back to freshman year in college, when I insisted on squeezing myself into jeans that were two sizes too small, and looked at my reflection in the mirror and tried to ignore the odd and inappropriate bulges staring back at me. I shove and shove and flap and flap and smoosh and smoosh. Fluffing the pillows afterwards is nonsensical -- they are too tightly packed to fluff. I fear the pillows will turn into diamonds overnight, they are being squeezed so hard.

What can I do? I am far too lazy to go back to the store to return the sheets, complaining that they form a perfect square unfit to fit snugly upon my non-square mattress, and that the pillowcases are about a half size too small for my standard-sized pillows. Far, far too lazy.

So I pray to God that the extra, tucked-in bedsheet won't come loose during the night and make me wake up in a tangle of sweaty cotton. Lord, I despise that sensation. And I pray that I won't injure myself tossing my head on my rock-hard pillows. And I pray that the next time I buy bedsheets -- it might be a while, for this experience, while mildly amusing simply because of its sheer stupidity, has traumatized me a bit -- they won't be perfectly and ridiculously square.

Friday, April 22


"Elected officials shouold not be portraying public policies as being for or against a people of faith," saith the Reverend Clifton Kirkpatrick, a top official of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

Senator Bill Frist, Senate Republican leader, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and Rev. Kirkpatrick doesn't like his shenanigans -- trying to eliminate the filibuster of judicial nominees by claiming that those who opt to filibuster conservative judicial candidates are against the people of faith. Rev. Kirkpatrick thinks it's entirely inappropriate for Senator Frist to be submitting a videotaped statement for "The Filibuster Against People of Faith," a telecast sponsored by conservative Christian groups to be shown this Sunday -- a day weirdly labeled "Justice Sunday." (The funniest thing about the premise behind Justice Sunday is that Republicans and Christian conservatives are saying that Democrats who want to block judicial nominees who oppose abortion rights on moral and religious grounds are discriminating against those nominees. Oh please. Don't you talk to me about discrimination.)

Dr. Bob Edgar, who is the general secretary of the National Council of Churches, further states that "[t]o say that some group of Christians has a monopoly on the ear of God is especially an outrage to Presbyterians." Well, I don't know what Presbyterians as a group have to say about that, but I would certainly personally agree. The hubris that some believers exhibit ... dang, have we learned nothing of humility from Jesus?

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the organizer of "The Filibuster Against People of Faith," says if people are going to be offended, they don't have to watch the telecast. (Don't worry, I won't, and thanks for the permission to ignore it, Mr. Perkins.) He also says that when it comes to judicial activism, "we are talking about issues that people of faith care about deeply." Well, in that one point, I have to agree with him. I, as a person of faith, DO care deeply about the issues that come before our nation's courts. I just happen to not close my mind against the reality that 'conservative' judges are JUST AS ACTIVIST as 'liberal' ones. DUH.


TAKE ME . . .

I want to see "The Interpreter", starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn.

The United Nations, Secret Service agents, international intrigue. This movie is my latent dream come true.



Remember back a few years ago when little kids in Japan were having seizures while watching some kiddie cartoon on television because of all the flashing lights and stuff? (I have to confess, I laughed and laughed when I heard the story, imagining vacant-eyed children, mouths hanging open, staring stupidly at the boob tube, then falling over with the shakes because of some brightly-lit animated action sequence.)

Well, I just heard something even more bizarre, and am wondering if it's ever going to happen to me. Apparently, somewhere in France, a whole host of people fell over in similar seizures, and no one knew why. After some amount of investigation, officials determined that a most unusual occurrence had transpired: these people had all been exposed to particular rooms (conference or other common rooms, if I remember correctly) where the rays emitted from some halogen-type bulb had interacted with the pigmentation in the particular color of paint on the walls, and triggered some weirdo brain activity that caused the seizures.

What the ... and the best part is, they named this bizarre interaction, and decreed that those people had suffered from (or are suffering from) Fluoro-Chroma Syndrome, a/k/a FCS.

Seriously. What will they think of next?

Thursday, April 21

YUM . . .

Even in the middle of mourning, my stomach growls. Oh, how my body betrays me! Red velvet cake: who am I to say no? And an opportune reminder as well ... it's next up on my list of Cakes to Attempt.




Nine days left until Team NHF Fights Cancer pounds the pavement to raise funds for cancer research. Support me or my team.


DANG . . .

I wish it was Friday already.



Running in my head, nonstop, for the last two days: "Pass the Dutchie," by Musical Youth.

Pass the dutchie on the left-hand side.




"In the Absence of Sun: A Korean American Woman's Promise to Reunite Three Lost Generations of Her Family," by Helie Lee.

It makes me cry. It makes my heart clench. It makes me think of my family, my aunt, my dad, my grandmother, my deepest, darkest wish to venture out and glue my family back together again and fill in the big gaping hole upon whose precipitous edge we constantly stand ...

Wednesday, April 20


And this is how we mourn together ...

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD


And ...

Romans 8: 31-39

What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.

Who is he that condemns?
Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life -
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine
or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;
      we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, April 19


Why, in all the newspaper articles I've read about the new pope, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedictus XVI, has no one mentioned the fact that Ratzinger, in his early years, was a member of the Nazi Youth Party?

Sure, he renounced his membership and participation -- I suppose one would have to if one were to lead Christians with any credibility -- but still ... if you're talking about the upbringing and past and context of the next powerful leader of the world Catholic church, I would think that would be worth a mention or two.
GET IT . . .

Read this book NOW: Still Life With Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother, by Helie Lee.


Sometimes, I have a really difficult time feeling sympathy, or even pity, for others. The people so needy that they need to repeat story about themselves after story about themselves so that they can hear continued affirmation and praise. The people so insecure that they need to scream virtually every comment and question so as to ascertain that people are hearing them. The people so afraid of being invisible that they lose all concept of personal space and invade everyone else's so as to make sure that they are seen and noticed. The people so hating the possibility that someone else might be smarter than them that they use big vague vocabulary words to convey concepts that they think are lofty and intelligent, and will be viewed as such.

My wall goes up and my heart hardens against these people, probably because I recognize seeds of these characteristics in myself and wish I could build a wall against myself too. It exhausts me to plumb my mind for one kind thought to think of these folks.

But other times, my heart melts for others, and I melt along with it until I'm a big puddle o' sympathy on the floor, mixing in with my own tears. The people so faithful but who have yet to see with human eyes the fruits of their faith. The people so heartbreakingly prayerful but to whom the Lord says "wait on Me ... no matter how long." The people so devoted to their children but who must suddenly prepare for long days away from them. The people so honest and trusting but who must suddenly deal with betrayal and disillusionment. The people so pulled and frayed already but who must take on added responsibilities with no bonus rewards. The people who speak plainly and speak truth but who just can't get through to their loved ones for whom they simply desire boundless joy. The people who give and give of all that they are, but who never seem to catch a break in return.

I get so embroiled in the maze of these people's lives that sometimes, it's all I can think about. My dreams consist solely of worry, anxiety, hope, anger, longing, and wishful thoughts for them. I wish I was a magical FEMA fairy, able to put out fires, heal wounds, build shelters, hand out low-interest loans, perform miracles of the body and soul, restore trust and faith. Or, in the alternative, I wish I was at least eloquent enough to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, and bring a smile to someone's face and a touch of comfort to someone's aching and burdened heart.

But lo, I am merely human, and worse than that, I'm just me. Siiiiiigggggggghhhhhh. What's a girl to do.
9:03 A.M. . . .

168 seconds for those who died in the Oklahoma City bombing ten years ago.

Wow. Ten years ago.

Sunday, April 17


How can I be so bothered by one person? How can one person be so incredibly annoying? How can one person be such a broken record? How can I just not show grace to one person? How can one person encompass all that is shrill and bothersome? How can I simply not overlook the shrillness? How can I protect my ears? How can one person just not get a clue? How can I remove myself from the situation? How can one person make me want to tear all my hair out? How can I just not DEAL?

No, seriously. HOW?

Forgive me, because I can't forgive.



There's nothing left to do tonight.

I just have to take, like, eight Tylenol and try to lull myself to sleep, being thankful for those who remind me to be patient and remind me to show grace and on whom I can rely when I'm about to go out of my mind.

Early-morning yoga. YUM.
That hasn't happened in several weeks, and what a relief it was today.

Sunlight streamed in through the windows; I moved the coffee table aside to make more room. Popped the low-impact video in (it just wasn't a day for power yoga, for some reason) and got to work. Stretching this way and that. Taking deep energizing breaths. Feeling the pull of muscles and the release of tension.

A couple of eggs, tossed with scads of vegetables.
And tater-tots on the side!
I loooooove tater-tots.

A quiet morning.
A blinding sun.
Endless possibilities lie ahead.
AND my body is flexible enough now to handle it.

Saturday, April 16


What are your three worst habits?
1. Picking at my lower lip during times of anxiety, fear, or even boredom.
2. Jumping to negative conclusions waaaay too fast.
3. Expecting too much from others, but simultaneously forgetting all the things I expect of myself.

Name three secrets about yourself.
1. I'm not nearly anything good that people think or assume I am.
2. I want to be a librarian.
3. Talking to strangers on the phone -- ordering food, rebuking telemarketers, making appointments -- scares me.

In the morning, are you a coffee or a tea drinker?
Oh puh-leeze! Coffee.

What's your favorite body part?
The small of my back, because I love being touched there, because it is strong from exercise and yoga, because a little pressure in the right spot makes all my troubles melt away, and because a hand of warmth and affection placed right there from a friend or a love can carry worlds of meaning.

What's your least favorite body part?
My legs, because my knees are always troubling me, my ankles are always turning on a whim, my thighs never quite turn into the steel pillars I'd like them to be, and they never seem to move me at the speed I'd like to be moving. All in God's time, I suppose.

When was the last time you couldn't stop laughing?
A couple of nights ago. It was just so damn funny.

When was the last time you cried?
Last night, hysterically and woefully.

What do you sleep in?
In warm weather: errr ... nuthin.
In cold weather: errr ... everything: flannel top and bottom AND socks.

Are there any life lessons you still need to learn?
Oh please. Too dang many to count.

What do you most fear people saying about you?
"Eh, she didn't do much."

Finish this sentence: "MC Estoppel is ..."
"... curious."

Friday, April 15


Okay, I'd like to apologize to everyone for my vehement anger of earlier this morning. My rant, my rave, my rage, my bloody fury. I apologize. Bill Frist and his cohorts still astound me. All of the Congress astounds me, actually, and I wonder if government has always been corrupt and twisted. Probably. We're mere humans, after all. But I was doing my own share of name-calling, and that was not nice OR proper OR mature, so I'm sorry. I still strongly disagree, and feel strongly disappointed, and strongly disturbed about so many things. But I'm still sorry. The Scorpion's tail swung out too soon.



Ems came up with the term first. I adopted it, and my boyfriend in law school hated it whenever I said it. Schnickety-schnack. Sometimes, that's the only way to describe exactly what your taste buds are craving.

What is your favorite…

1. …Bedtime Snack?
I don't really eat before bedtime. This doesn't count as a snack, and I'm going to get lots of "booooo!" and "hissss!" and "you utter nerd" for this, but I'll say it anyway: water. (Oh wait. On retreats, I always have spicy cup ramen before bedtime. You just can't stay up until 3 a.m. with a gaggle of friends and NOT have spicy cup ramen that makes your intestines protest all throughout the night.)

2. …Broken Heart Snack? This is not a snack either, but everytime my heart has been broken, I have had the good fortune of living in my parents' home. And whenever I am home, there is a big vat of kimchi jigae constantly simmering on the rangetop. Accordingly, I was oft found comforting myself and soothing my innards with a small bowl of spicy, hot, soul-cleansing (and brain-exploding) Korean comfort food. The next heartbreak, I fear, lurks around the corner ... and I might just have to pack up for a few days and be homeward bound ...

3. …Healthy Snack? I love carrots. Carrot sticks. Baby carrots. Whole carrots chewed to pieces bit by bit. I also love water. Room-temperature water. Put the two together and I am utterly refreshed. (Did I ever tell you about the time in high school that I ate carrots all day every day for about two months and my extremities started turning orange? True story.)

4. …Unhealthy Snack? Potato chips. Salty, greasy, crunchy potato chips. Dipped in ketchup.

5. …Snack Obsession? (the snack that you tell no one you like) What? This is a weird question. There is no such thing in my life. If I like it, I eat it, and I tell people about it.



Change hurts. Good change hurts; bad change just happens to hurt more. Transition is hard. Adjustments are difficult. I'm getting old and set in my ways. I'm becoming more specific with my needs and wants. My desires are coming into focus. My goals seem finally reachable ... but the whole process of walking the path is so ... dangerous.

Land mines are everywhere. Friendships become more complicated. Family becomes more demanding. Lovers leave and circumstances change. Time becomes more precious, but less available. What is one to do? How does anyone get through life, one big fat changing change? How have generations of humans survived flux?

It's a wonder to me, really.



My boob hurts. My back aches. My temples throb. My joints are sore. My thirst is unquenchable. My sinuses are swollen. My heart breaks. My worries abound. My prayers seem feeble. My jaw clenches. My eye twitches and stings. My eyebrows furrow. My neck tenses.

Lord, heal me.



Is to spend good times with good friends celebrating good things in life. And good babies.

La Melon turns one. I ran out of cute wrapping paper, and am shamed by the surface of my paltry offering. Hopefully, the family won't notice and La Melon will adore what's inside.

But oh, how I crave the company of those whom I love and who love me in return. How I seek the comfort of welcoming hugs and running jokes and knowing giggles and hearty guffaws and commiserating stories and unbelievable tall tales.

I can't wait for Canada.



Seeking His protection over a Floridian vacation for two ... May 2nd ... nannies ... second trimesters ... a job interview ... a precious grandmother ... a beloved mother ... trusting hearts ... weekend celebrations.

C.o.S. is going to looooove this: a story on the making of Venezuelan beauty queens.

Now THAT's entertainment.



No, I'm not making up words, like I did with "ironical" (which, much to my chagrin, is listed as an entry in

I don't really know why, and Hooch and I are in lengthy discussions regarding the logistics of the event, but a wholphin -- the offspring of a love affair between a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin -- has mated with another bottlenose dolphin and given birth to yet another wholphin. The new wholphin is now one-quarter killer whale, and three-quarters bottlenose dolphin.

The first wholphin's parents were a fourteen-foot-long killer whale weighing 2,000 pounds, and a six-foot-long bottlenose dolphin weighing a mere 400 pounds. THAT coupling, as Hooch might say, must have been awkward, to say the least.

Ah, but who are we to question the mysterious ways of love.
WHAT THE (*&*(&^$*&!^$-ING (*!^@&^?! . . .

Sometimes, I get so, so, so, SO mad that I can't express, much less formulate, a single coherent thought. This happens rarely, but when it does, I see red. I really do. It washes over my eyeballs like a flood. My heart starts to race, my eyes bulge, my palms start to sweat, and worst of all, I can't type without making tons of spelling errors, for my brain is moving too fast for my fingers, and I just can't keep up with my own fury.

This morning, for all intents and purposes (not "intensive purposes," as some are wont to write), was a beautiful morning. UNTIL I READ THE PAPER.

Stupid Bill Frist. Stupid Christian conservatives. Stupid labels. What the hell is a Christian conservative, anyway? Stupid people who just can't get along and choose to distort history and reality to serve their own means, not realizing that THEY WERE ELECTED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE, ALL THE PEOPLE, NOT JUST THE WHITE CHRISTIAN MALE PEOPLE. DAMN YOU ALL!!!!!

Stupid Bill Frist, unfortunately our country's Senate majority leader, is going to join "a handful of Christian conservatives" in a telecast which will portray Democrats as "against a people of faith."

WHAT THE F*CK!?!?!??!


Stupid Bill Frist and his cronies are all kinds of mad because the Democrats in the Senate don't like the folks that the Republicans support for judicial posts around the country, and are threatening a filibuster during these candidates' hearings. Look, Stupid Bill Frist, it's bad enough that you and your stupid cronies wanted to CHANGE THE RULES to make life convenient for yourself and your stupid candidates. Now, you want to go around saying DEMOCRATS ARE AGAINST PEOPLE OF FAITH? ARE YOU F*CKING OUT OF YOUR MIND?!?!?!?!


Stupid Bill Frist's spokesman Bob Stevenson says the Stupid Senator "is doing everything he can to ensure judicial nominees are treated fairly."

BULLSHIT. You don't try to change the rules of filibuster if you want things done FAIRLY. You don't go around falsely accusing an entire group of people of being something they are not if you want things done FAIRLY. Stupid Bill Frist (and spokesman), YOU ARE A LIAR.

As Wise John McCain points out, "[b]y the way, when Bill Clinton was president, we, effectively, in the Judiciary Committee blocked a number of his nominees." Yes, Wise John McCain, because THAT is how this country WORKS. All you all in that dumb ivory tower, after conveniently forgetting that you SERVE THE PEOPLE, disagree and argue and compromise and converse, and THAT is how things get done in this country, for better or for worse. Stupid Bill Frist would do well to remember that what goes around, comes around. I can't WAIT until Democrats are back in 'power' and at the rate Stupid Bill Frist and his stupid cronies are going, it won't be long, God willing. MY CHRISTIAN NON-PARTISAN GOD WILLING.

You know, it makes me really sad when I have to disagree with my fellow believers. But -- as my rights are protected by humanity AND the United States Constitution -- I have to say, sorry, Tony Perkins, but we Americans do NOT have "a Christian heritage." You would do well to refer back to your early American history books and recall that the Founding Fathers were VERY careful about SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE for they seemed to have foreseen that PEOPLE LIKE STUPID BILL FRIST would warp "Christianity" and forget his secular, governmental service to the American people. ALL AMERICAN PEOPLE. And sorry, Tony Perkins, but you speaking in this context about preserving "religious freedoms" makes me LAUGH SCORNFULLY. You and Stupid Bill Frist don't want religious freedom. You want Christianity to pervade the land.

You know what? I do too. I would love nothing more than to see Christ's freedom to dwell in the hearts of every single American. Nay, every single HUMAN. I would love to see God's creation turn their heads up and worship Him and give Him the glory He deserves, and to relish receiving His power and His mercy. I would love to see all of us being kind to one another as Christ taught us to be. I would love to see the end of suffering and selfishness, and an overgrowth of generosity and humanity.

But it ain't gonna happen with the SENATE shoving "Christianity" down the throats of Americans. It ain't gonna happen with the SENATE choosing "Christian" judges to sit on federal benches and spouting legal decisions. It ain't gonna happen with "US" telling "THEM" what to do and how to live their lives and what they can and can't do with their own bodies. It ain't gonna happen with SENATORS telling OTHER SENATORS that because they are DEMOCRATS, they are against the people of faith.


Thursday, April 14


Erasure's new CD, "Nightbird" ... after a preliminary scan, it's hard for me to describe.

As an initial matter, I'm just so pleased they're back! In a strange way, they are like old friends, having seen me leave elementary school, move to a new home and start middle school, grow through high school and all the accompanying angst-ridden phases, and work my way through my college years ...

"Love is a Loser" made me schizophrenic, bopping my way along to the happy beat, but wondering at the lyrics.

"Sometimes" was a song I didn't understand, and maybe at that age, I shouldn't have anyway, but that didn't stop me from strolling the house, wailing "ooooooooooh, sometimes!" (And Omma would say, "sometimes what?!")

"My Heart, So Blue," one of those tunes I didn't enjoy that much, but with which I sang along nonetheless whenever I popped the cassette into my pink radio as I settled down to do my homework.

"Blue Savannah Song" sees me staring out the car window on my way to piano lessons.

"A Little Respect" conjures up clear-as-day memories of a church ski trip and a really horrid small group skit.

"Piano Song" rumbled my stomach with the vocals, and made me want to sing for people ... and senior year in high school, I finally got to do so.

"Siren Song," I sang along with as if it were my own heartsong, loud and selfless.

"I Love Saturday," a tune I loved just because I agreed with the title, a tune that Becky and I blared out the window the night before prom.

"Stay With Me," a rarity in that simply listening to it can make me weep, weep, weep. And I often did.

"Moon & the Sky," a weird, weird song that I still can't decide if I like.

And now, "Nightbird" ... I worry that I want to cling to my blissful and comedically drama-filled past. I'm sure Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have evolved and grown in the last twenty years (oh my Lord, that sounds so ... vacant a comment), and I wonder if I've evolved and grown along with these non-friend friends of mine. I want so desperately to love "Nightbird."


Read: The Queen's Fool, by Philippa Gregory; The Simple Truth, by David Baldacci
Reading: The Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant
Next up: Still Life With Rice, by Helie Lee
Listening to: "The Diary of Alicia Keys," by Alicia Keys; "Nightbird," by Erasure

It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.

You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla



For PEK's gran . . .


HOORAY! . . .

For C's new job (and steak!) . . .


WORRY . . .

For JKA's mama . . .


WAHOO! . . .

For my first corporate job interview . . .


To borrow a phrase from our Schapiro-12 days, "like sands through the hourglass ..."

Tuesday, April 12


Watching "American Idol" and being so ridiculously happy that the contestants are singing (well, and not so well, unfortunately) some of my secret (now, not-so-secret) favorites, some of my guilty-pleasure pop songs: "Let's Hear It For the Boy," by Denise Williams; "Love is a Battlefield," by Pat Benatar; and "Bohemian Rhapsody," by Queen.

I'm stupidly giddy right now.



"To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else."

-- Emily Dickinson



Britney Spears is pregnant.
My God, she's spawning.


SHE CAN'T BE . . .

Is Paula Abdul drunk? Did she just slur her speech? Did she just scream and start jumping up and down? Did she almost fall out of her chair trying to sit back down?

Oh, Lord. She's wasted.

Monday, April 11

ICK ICK ICK! . . .

With C.o.S. newly added to my iChat buddy list, we commenced our first Mac-to-Mac conversation. I love technology. (But not as much as you, you see. But I still love technology. Always and forever. Always and forever.)

Had we had this powerful resource at our fingertips in the late 90's, our pageant-watching experience would have been SO different (and MUCH less expensive). And had we both the patience and time to watch the Miss USA Pageant tonight, iChat would be our long-distance connection of choice. However, in our many years of pageant-spectating, we have learned one very valuable lesson: it just ain't the same without those nutty South Americans and their big hair. With no Miss Venezuela, Miss Argentina or Miss Ecuador, there is just no reason whatsoevah to watch a beauty pageant.

All these wannabe Miss USA's are so ... the same. They are all equally frighteningly teensy, their shoulder bones jutting forth and daring to stab you in the eyeball. They all have the same length hair, and all their hair is FLAT, even for the African-American women. Oh wait, Miss Texas has a bit of southern pouf going on. But her fake teeth are blinding me. They all LOOK alike, and thus, there is no drama, no flair, nothing interesting at all about Miss USA 2005.

Sigh. I'm going to have to sit this one out and finish the book I'm reading. Sorry, C.o.S.. Sorry, L.O.L.'s. You'll be getting no pageant commentary from me this year, not tonight anyway.

(But before I go, let me add one -- no, two -- things: (1) fluorescent yellow satin looks good on no one, Miss California; and (2) a bikini top paired with a skirt does not an evening gown make, Miss Pennsylvania. Okay, a third thing: I'm glad the lady with the boobs so pushed up her chin rests on them didn't make it into the top ten. She kind of scared me.)

And now, I'm off to attempt to be a little more edifying.

Sunday, April 10


Speaking of sheep, which reminds me of sheep bloat: my stomach has been so weird lately.

Back to sheep. Sheep rhymes with sleep, but who needs sleep? Given the pattern of my nights, sleep seems to be much overrated in this world. Who needs sleep when you have a pile of books to read, darkened windows to stare out of, imagined shadows to follow, small thoughts to magnify into humongous mental dramas?

I'll tell you who needs sleep. I need sleep. I need sleep so bad, it hurts.



So much inertia. I am a block of inertia. (Can one be a block of inertia, or is inertia actually the force that would move or not move the block? High school science seems so long ago ...)

Tonight, unlike most Sunday nights, I want the weekend to be OVER. O-VER.

No more sickness. No more sleeplessness. No more difficult thoughts to parse through. No more guilt to weigh. No more burdens to carry. No more worries to worry. No more grating voices to tolerate. No more hiding behind flippancy and sarcasm and the coolness of not caring. No more waiting for the right time. No more blaming somebody else, just to have someone to blame. No more regretting. No more snapping and ignoring and turning away. No more wishing and hoping and longing for the impossible (or even the improbable). No more wasting time. No more coy games. No more replaying history and creating "what if" conversations that will never come to fruition. No more playing forward conversations I wish would happen and intimacies I wish would develop. No more faking the smile. No more holding up the head on a neck too weary to be stable. No more losing focus and looking up to see that the moment has passed. No more pridefulness. No more of any of this bullsh*t.

I want the week to start and my inertia block or whatever it is to fall away. I want to be rejuvenated and focused at work. I want to be a good friend to those I love, and at least loving towards those I don't. I want to have hard conversations that will build us both up. I want to be honest without crying like a big baby. I want to be heard without being judged. I want to actually be IN the sunlight and not just stare at it through a window, or even worse, exit into the impending darkness. I want to give love without being questioned. I want to find love without hiding. I want to be happy for people without detracting from my own happiness. I want to feel joy even when I'm prostrate on the ground. I want to be healthy and strong. I want to be free of worry and anxiety and the stupidity of trying to exercise control over things I can't even put a leash on. I want to forget the weekend and everything preceding it, and start anew, putting on new lenses and new armor, pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside.

Thank God it's Monday.

Saturday, April 9

EASE UP . . .

Alright, I'm admitting it: I was a huge, huge, HUGE Princess Diana fan. HUGE.

But I'll also be the first to say this: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Consort-to-be, whatever, looked nice today. The feathers in the hat, I dunno about, but everything else ... dang, I mean, the woman was happy for once! Happiness makes anyone attractive, no?

I'm embarrassed to admit I even paid attention.
But not as embarrassed as I'll feel after telling you all that I think Prince William is ... sizzlin'.
(Sheesh. At least he's over 18 now, and thus, legally ogle-able. Plus, I have a thing for British men in morning suits.)



What a scrumptious day.
God is surely in the sunshine and the breeze and the scent of freshly blooming buds.

Friday, April 8


Sleepy, not sleepy, sleepy, not sleepy, for the evocative stirring in my heart spurred by the scent of spring in the daytime and the cool warmth of the night ...

Baby, it's alright
Stop your crying

Nothing is here to stay
Everything has to begin and end
A ship in a bottle won't sail
All we can do is dream that the wind will blow us across the water
A ship in a bottle set sail

Baby, it's alright
Stop your crying, now

There was a weakling man
Who dreamed he was strong as a hurricane
A ship in a bottle set sail
He took a deep breath and blew across the world
He watched everything crumble
Woke up a weakling again

Some might tell you there's no hope in hand
Just because they feel hopeless
But you don't have to be a thing like that
You be a ship in a bottle set sail

Baby, it's alright
Stop your crying, now
It's alright
So stop your crying, now
Be a ship in a bottle set sail

- "Baby (It's Alright)," by Dave Matthews



I am always surprised and deeply touched when I feel my mind and heart are being read in the most intimate, but gentle, way. I am always moved to tears and humbled by the insight that others have into me, knowing that I can be so impenetrable and unyielding in most circumstances. It's not pride, really. I just hate taking up people's time. They've got better things to think about. And so when they think about me, undeserving me, and seem to know my heart before I know it myself, before I reveal it to anyone else (if I do at all), I am amazed. It's a gift, and they bestow it upon me though I haven't asked for it, and I certainly have done nothing to merit their consideration. God's army of angels in human form abounding around me and fighting my battles when I'm ready to lay down and sleep.

I will put on a brave front, paste a smile on my face, and allow myself to feel intermittent comfort and rest in the coming weeks and months. But I will also reserve a knowing look and a grateful smile to those who reach into the very heart of me and show me grace even though I am broken and weak and sick. My soul overflows with love and trembling affection, and I give thanks.



Conan O'Brien. Sigh.

Boob pain's back.

Same boob. Same pain.

I swear, if they send me for another ultrasound, I'm going to Flip. Out.
That ultrasound goop is soooo nasty.


I FORGET . . .

Sometimes, I forget that my parents are people too. For almost thirty years now, they have been my demi-gods: people who could do no wrong in mine eyes; people who accomplished so much from so little; people who live lives of seemingly impenetrable integrity and honesty and faithfulness; people whose strength and capabilities are untouchable.

So it always surprises me just a little bit when I discover they need help, when I find out they are in pain, when I hear they are preoccupied and don't know what to do. And I am dismayed to look inside myself and see that I am ill-equipped to help them, to hear the words of comfort coming from my mouth, and to feel disgusted at how trite I sound.

There are others to whom I can guide them, others more qualified and able than I. And as always, we turn to our God. But still ... to feel that I am sitting idly by fills my stomach with a weight the size of that boulder that rolled down a California mountainside and planted itself in the middle of the freeway during the winter storms. (That boulder was very, very large, by the way.) For all that my parents have done for me ... and now I can't lift a finger to help them just a little bit ... I feel like an emotional quadriplegic.



Life is cyclical, and so is my reading list. Two and a half years of non-fiction has given way to a return to fiction. The key, my friends, is finding good fiction, and that is, sadly, much harder than it seems it should be. Recently discovered treasures:

"The Da Vinci Code," by Dan Brown
"Angels & Demons," by Dan Brown
"The Simple Truth," by David Baldacci
"The Queen's Fool," by Philippa Gregory
"The Birth of Venus," by Sarah Dunant

But fiction only lasts so long, so in the non-fictional batter's box:

"Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life," by Mimi Sheraton
"Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise," by Ruth Reichl
"Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation," by Lynne Truss
"Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell
"Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books," by Azar Nafisi

Thursday, April 7


The mysteries of the human body abound.

How can I be hot-flashing and sweating buckets one moment, then shivering and chilled the next?
How can I be healthily hungry one moment, eating with gusto, then nauseous and convinced the stomach pains are going to kill me the next?
How can I be laughing and talking and coherent one moment, then miserably wishing the headaches would just put me out of my misery the next?
How can I be perfectly vibrant and capable one moment, then totally incapacitated the next?

And above all, why do the next moments always have to happen when it's an enjoyable and balmy 72-degrees outside?



Ancient dorm rooms. Communal dinner. Ziploc baggies filled with leftover peas and canned corn. An overstuffed refrigerator with no room for the leftovers. An elevator that only goes from the seventh floor to the eleventh floor, and back again. Getting off at the wrong floor and having to walk back up to the tenth. An office building. Running down halls, walking up stairs, hiding in alcoves, then running again. Making sure the lights are turned off in the room we're not using. Hatching a plan to hide her guitar so the monks won't get it. Taking inventory of my books. Trying to figure out to whom I lent which book. Trying to figure out how to get the book back without being murdered, for the danger is great. Thinking to myself, "I'm never going to get out of this office complex." Wondering if the others saw him reach for my hand as we ran. Reminding myself to ask him about it when we get out of the office complex with the book, the guitar, and the leftover canned vegetables. Asking Appa about the meaning of life.

Wednesday, April 6


It's 12:33 a.m., and the old me has inexplicably returned: I can't sleep.

Never mind that I woke at six o'clock this morning to have a thorough workout at the gym. Never mind that I only had one cup of coffee at 8:30 in the morning. Never mind that I put in a full day of work, complete with a hearty lunch. Never mind that I drank plenty of water throughout the day and night. Never mind that I had a satisfying dinner, then a long night of bowling (don't ask). Never mind that I was nearly lulled to sleep in the car on the way home by the strains of Sarah McLachlan, staring into the weird electric-blue lights of PEd's car stereo. Never mind that I dragged my nearly-snoring self up the stairs to my apartment, and fumbled with my keys for endless seconds before managing to get my door open. Never mind that I sleepwalked through changing into pajamas, brushing and flossing, washing my face, peeing.

The second I lay down, my brain went into frenetic overdrive, my stomach started cramping and my eyes popped open, apparently never to be shut again. So here I am. This bites.

A.D.D. moment #1: en route to the bowling alley, we drove through a neighborhood in which I had never been before in my life. Yet I recognized it, for the very same two blocks, the very same street, the very same Tudor apartment complex, and the very same gas station and traffic light had appeared in a dream I had dreamt several months ago. A dream so vivid, I can still remember the very words I uttered in it, and to whom I uttered them. Say it with me now, people: creepy.

A.D.D. moment #2: people like me should not read books like "The Da Vinci Code." But I did. And people like me should not then pick up and devour books like "Angels & Demons." But I did. And now, as expected, everywhere I turn, I see cryptograms, symbology, Masonic icons, mundane items turned into curious shapes, innocent utterings transformed into meaningful code words. Conspiracies abound (as I always suspected they did), and I am evermore determined to unearth them all.

This might be why I don't sleep.

Tuesday, April 5


Sometimes, things in my life move so, so, soooooo slowly. A week left until leaving for vacation seems like a month. The days before a long holiday weekend seem to be comprised of 28 hours each. Thirty minutes on the treadmill drag on like double-length law school tax code lectures.

And other times, one event hurtles towards the next at the speed of light, so fast that I can't tell when one occasion ends and the next begins. My job search started out like molasses, and has suddenly turned into deadly mercury. Okay, not deadly -- that's just me being dramatic. But I meant to convey speed. Did you get that?

This time last week, I was thinking, "Hmmm. I should really get this application packet together. But what if I get the job, and I feel compelled to accept the offer, then I have to work waaaaaaaaay downtown, dealing with all manner of statutes and people with which I am totally unfamiliar? Dang, I'll put this off one more week." Or I was thinking, "Eh, I'll send out some more resumes later this month and see what bites." Or I was thinking, "I need to go to cooking school and just forget this whole thing."

In less than seven days, I have in my possession a completed application packet, ready to be sealed and mailed (I'm taking bets now on how long I can push that task off); I have a team of headhunters seeking law firms who hunt my head (and calling me every other day to keep me abreast of their progress -- and there is progress, praise the Lord!); I have one fortuitous connection snooping about his law firm (and I can say "his" because he just made PARTNER) on my behalf; I have transcripts and writing samples floating about in places I never imagined.

I feel less fear, now that that ball's roll has begun. Things are generally out of my hands now, and I am assured that I'm a good candidate, highly desirable, personable, charming, articulate and clearly intelligent. (Or do headhunters say that to everyone?) My only concern now is (and I'm not just saying this because my pastor found my blog) making sure to go where God leads me to go. It would royally suck the big one if He wants me to go midtown and I end up downtown. (The commute would also suck, but I suppose that's secondary.) It would royally suck if He wants me to litigate, and I end up in mergers & acquisitions. It would royally suck if He wants me to prosecute, and I end up in white-collar criminal defense. It would royally suck if He wants me to work long hours, and I sucker up to 'lifestyle' firm. It would really suck if He wants me to preserve oodles of time for my friends and family, and I hit the grindstone full-steam. It would royally suck if He wants me to work with people I don't know, and I end up in a firm where I know everyone. It would royally suck if He wants me to be in the public sector no matter what, and I bow to the private sector because I need to pay a mortgage.

(Why do we say that something that is bad "sucks"? Sucks what?)

Now my brain is moving faster than it needs to, anticipating the suckage before it has even really begun ... sloooooow doooooown ...



I haven't slept in days. What up with dat?

Two months until my next blood test. Can you believe I can't wait?

My pastor discovered my blog. (Yeah, I'm talking about you.)

Yes, I know, I know, it's on the Internet, it's open for public consumption (but it's still copywritten, so hands off), anyone can find it, blah blah blabbedy blah.

But still ... as I so delicately stated on the phone with him just now: shit.

(And yes, I did immediately think, "Oh my God, I just said "shit" on the phone to my pastor. Oh my God, I just took the Lord's name in vain. Oh shit, I just did it again.")


Monday, April 4

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
Oh, it's on. There they be, the lean mean pinstriped machine. It might be a brisk and damp 39-degrees outside, but that don't mean a thing. Not when there's ball to be played. Not when my extracurricular time for the next six months has been so preciously preordained. Not when my boys are back in town, when TINO is back in town. BRING IT.

photo by Vincent Laforet, The New York Times