Tuesday, May 31

PSST . . .

So, The New York Times published this story about a blog devoted to secrets, where people send in postcards on which their secrets are written, printed, glued, decoupaged, whatever. It's quite a remarkable site, and it's naively stunning to see how many and how varied are the secrets that are out there. Some of the secrets are so, so funny ... and others are so heartbreaking.

If I had the time, the postcard, the cojones to send in my own postcard(s), I wonder what secret I would tell.

Maybe the one about ___ ... or how I feel about ___ ... or I wish I had ___ ... or what I would do to ___ ... or how I had ___ ... or the time I ___ ... or what happened when I ___ ... or how I wished she would ___ ... or how I wish he would ___ ...

Juicy, juicy!


WHAT THE . . .

Alright, I watched the season finale of "Alias."

This is just too nuts. The show is turning all sorts of "Days of Our Lives" on me, and I just can't keep track of who's dead, who's revived, who never died in the first place, who is whose real parents, who is whose fake parents, whose name is what, who is bad, who went good, who turned bad again. All that, and the world almost ended. All you need is Dierdre Hall with her eyes glowing green and levitating out of her bed, and you have a class-A NBC soap opera masquerading as a spy drama.

I just want the spying to come back. You know, good guys get the bad guys. Use some cool gadgets, throw some cool kickboxing moves, bang-bang, you're dead and the good guys come riding home in the sunset. Call me traditionalist, but Vaughn's real name not being Vaughn does not constitute good spy action drama to me.


BLEH . . .

I am stricken with inertia.

Perhaps it's because I've been sick for most of my recent memory and can't remember the last day that I didn't cough periodically and blow my nose to the point of nostril-crustiness.

Perhaps it's because it's 2005 and almost June, to boot, and I can't help but wonder, "where did the last five months go and what useful things have I done in that time?"

Perhaps it's because I'm nearly thirty and I can't help but wonder, "am I truly satisfied with my life right now and am I really able to trust God with it?"

Perhaps it's because I see other people having things that I want, but I haven't the first clue as to how to go about getting those things for myself too.

Perhaps it's because I feel like I'm being teased, with something being dangled just centimeters out of my reach, something that is yanked away everytime I reach for it, and all I need to do is make that one final lunge that puts that something into my fingers' grasp.

Perhaps it's because I'm just sleepy but my genes don't let me sleep well.

Perhaps it's because I'm hungry but I can't figure out what I want to cook.

Perhaps it's because I'm mentally still on the academic calendar, and AP-exams have ended, and now it's just movie-watching in class before school breaks for the summer and I can do nothing of substance for three whole months. I wish.

Friday, May 27


I have been sick for two weeks now. ICK.

You know when your nose runs so much and you blow it so much that your nostrils get all hard and crusty and sensitive, and you feel like they are covered in concrete and are three times their normal size? You know when only one nostril is operative, so you tilt your head to one side so that the other one clears up, but then the first operative nostril clogs up, so you end up having to mouth-breathe? You know when you can't fall asleep because every tickle in your nose and throat catapults you into paroxysms of coughing that make you feel like you're going to vomit? You know when you feel like such a loser and a pariah because you carry around a stash of wadded up tissues, itching your eyes, wiping your concrete nostrils, sucking on cough drops while breathing through your mouth which is completely dry and so your breath is probably disgusting too?

Yeah, I hate that.



So I finally watched the "Lost" finale. Consider me lost too.

1. Why Walt? I knew as soon as Rousseau said "they said they wanted the boy" that The Others wanted WALT and not the baby. But why Walt? Because he's black? That would be so wrong. Because of the polar bear in his comic book that came alive on the island? Because he knows about the hatch without knowing about the hatch? And where is he going anyway? Are we ever going to see him again? Is he a ritual sacrifice that the island demands every time someone crash lands there? Or is he going to come back and be all zombie and stupid-like, like Claire was after she came back from being kidnapped by Tom Cruise's cousin?

2. Is Sawyer dead? He better not be, because he's pretty hot, and I like that bad-boy-needs-glasses-to-read thing he's got going on.

3. Is Jin dead? He better not be, because we all need more Korean-American men on television ... okay, we need one Korean-American man on television ... and dang it, he was just learning to speak English (better than he can speak Korean, I hope).

4. Could Shannon be more annoying? (Answer: no. But at least she was kind enough to give Sayid a hug yesterday after he and Charlie rescued the baby.)

5. Why, oh why, did Charlie take the Virgin Mary heroin? WHY??!?!?!? How dismaying. I am ever-so-sad at his apparent return to the drugs. Very bad. Very very bad.

6. What was up with the cranking noise as Locke was being pulled away by the Thing We Do Not See? That was more frightening than anything else in the episode: the impenetrable-ness of that noise, the grinding of it, the strength of it, the loudness of it. Is it a man or a machine? I don't know! And naturally, the not knowing is scarier than anything else.

7. What is up with Locke seeing the Thing We Do Not See, and apparently not being afraid of it until the very last moment? Is the Thing We Do Not See akin to Jack-Jack in "The Incredibles," who appears to be a cute little baby, but then turns into all sorts of horrific things when necessary? Maybe it appeared to Locke as some sort of Jesus figure -- you know, since he was healed of his paralysis and all -- but then at the last second, as it neared Locke, it morphed into something evil and terrifying (I have so many issues with that if that is indeed the case)? And what is up with Locke wanting to be sucked into the ground because he'll "be alright"? Whatever. I don't ever want to be sucked into the ground, not for anything.

8. What is up with Hurley almost being killed by the dynamite? No, no, no. Don't get rid of Hurley. Do not even put him in the line of danger, because he's one of the best things this show has got going for it (aside from hot Sawyer, natch). But I definitely got the heebs when, near the end of episode, he walked down the aisle of the doomed plane, made eye contact with Walt-the-snatched, winked and gave a thumbs-up. Those two are connected and they know something I don't know and I don't like that.

9. What's the deal with the black smoke that arises from a fire that was created without leaving any footprints or tracks, and that vaporizes into itself and zips around the jungle with a primal scream? Freaky.

10. Why do I have to wait three months to see another new episode of "Lost"? I do not approve of this thing known as 'the summer hiatus.' My only hope is that ABC will air reruns, starting from the beginning, so that I can record and watch them all and debrief them thoroughly with whoever is willing to talk about the show with me.

Tuesday, May 24


We are five and complete again: Cheech is home for the summer.

When we sat down for dinner, and Appa prayed aloud for our meal, I almost started to cry. So many emotions, so many thoughts, even among the blessings we sought and the praises we raised. All the things that had been running in and out of my head and my life and my heart over the past several months, all my worries, all my happinesses, all the burdens I carried for those I love, all the hopes I held out for the future ... all of these sat on my bowed head like a precariously-balanced circus act. And I thought about our full table, how abundantly loaded it was with all sorts of home-cooked goodies, how crowded it was now that we were all finally sitting at it together, how happy it was because Gran had her cast off and Omma and Appa had their children at home and Cheech and I had not had a petty disagreement yet. And I thought about all the families out there that might not have this luxury, this sheer joy of sharing a meal together and relishing it. And I thought about the fact that this might the last summer that Cheech is with us ... no, it most certainly will be his last, because from now on, he faces a life that isn't his own to live, a schedule that isn't his own to dictate, a commitment to the lives of thousands of as-yet-unknowns that isn't his to break. Any five-person meal after August is totally in the hands of God to arrange ...

And still I was thankful and so, so happy, and so, so reluctant to leave. I want to move back home for the next three months and soak up my family until I'm big and plump and stretched and saturated with happiness oozing out of every pore.

I know there are some of you out there thinking, "omigod, like I need another excuse to go shopping." Well, yes, you do, and if you're going to spend big bucks on yo'self, you might as well do some good at the same time. Support "Shop 4 Class," which raises money to buy books for New York City public school libraries. Go to the following stores to buy something you don't need between Friday, May 20th and Friday, May 27th, and give NYC's public school kids something they do need ...

ABC Carpet & Home (www.abchome.com)
888 Broadway, 212.473.3000

Bergdorf Goodman (www.bergdorfgoodman.com)
754 Fifth Avenue, 800.558.1855

Betsey Bunky Nini
980 Lexington Avenue, 212.744.6716

Bliss Spas (www.blissworld.com)
568 Broadway / 19 East 57th Street

Blue Bench (www.bluebenchnyc.com)
159 Duane Street, 212.267.1500

Bombay Company (www.bombaycompany.com)
441 Columbus Avenue, 212.721.1417
1542 3rd Avenue, 212.987.3990
900 Broadway, 212.420.1315

Bond No. 9 New York (www.saks.com)
9 Bond Street, 212.228.1732
680 Madison Avenue, 212.838.2780
897 Madison Avenue, 212.794.4480

Books of Wonder (www.booksofwonder.net)
18 West 18th Street, 212.989.3270

Borders Books & Music (www.borders.com)
100 Broadway / 576 Second Avenue / 461 Park Avenue / 10 Columbus Circle

Brooks Brothers (www.brooksbrothers.com)
346 Madison Avenue / 666 Fifth Avenue / One Liberty Plaza

C.O. Bigelow Chemists (www.bigelowchemists.com)
414 Sixth Avenue, 212.533.2700

The Compleat Strategist, Inc. (www.thecompleatstrategist.com)
11 East 33rd Street, 212.685.3880

Crumbs Bakeshop (www.crumbsbakeshop.com)
1371 Third Avenue / 321 1/2 Amsterdam Avenue

Cynthia Rowley (www.cynthiarowley.com)
376 Bleecker Street, 212.242.3803

Daffy's (www.daffys.com)

Dinosaur Hill (www.dinosaurhill.com)
East Ninth Street, 212.473.5850

Fetch (www.fetchpets.com)
43 Greenwich Avenue, 212.352.8591

Fishs Eddy (www.fishseddy.com)
889 Broadway, 212.420.9020

Flight 001 (www.flight001.com)
96 Greenwich Avenue, 212.691.1001

Gracious Home (www.gracioushome.com)
1220 Third Avenue, 212.517.6300
1217 Third Avenue, 212.988.8990
1201 Third Avenue, 212.517.6300
1992 Broadway, 212.231.7800

J&R Music and Computer World (www.jr.com)
Park Row, 212.238.9000

Jack of Diamonds Jewelers International (www.jackofdiamondsintl.com)
52 West 47th Street, 212.869.7272

Kidding Around (www.kiddingaround.us)
60 West 15th Street, 212.645.6337

Macy's Herald Square (www.macys.com)
151 West 34th Street, 212.695.4400

Manhattan Dollhouse
428 Second Avenue, 212.725.4520

Our Name is Mud (www.ournameismud.com)
1566 Second Avenue, 212.570.6868
59 Greenwich Avenue, 212.647.7899
506 Amsterdam Avenue, 212.579.5575
Grand Central Terminal, 212.388.9559

Pearl River Mart (www.pearlriver.com)
477 Broadway, 212.925.2140

Plain Jane, Inc. (www.plainjanekids.com)
525 Amsterdam Avenue, 212.595.6916

Portico (www.porticohome.com)
72 Spring Street, 212.941.7800
903 Broadway, 212.473.6662
75 Ninth Avenue, 212.243.8515

Posman Books @ GCT (www.posmanbooks.com)
9 Grand Central Terminal, 212.983.1111

The Scholastic Store (www.scholastic.com/sohostore)
557 Broadway

Shoofly (www.shooflynyc.com)
42 Hudson Street, 212.406.3270

Space Kiddets (www.spacekiddets.com)
46 East 21st Street, 212.420.9878

Starbright Floral Design (www.starflor.com)
150 West 28th Street, 800.520.8999

Super Runners Shop (www.superrunnersshop.com)
1337 Lexington Avenue, 631.549.3006

Uncle Sam's Army Navy Outfitters (www.armynavydeals.com)
37 West 8th Street, 212.674.2222

Vivaldi Boutique (www.vivaldiny.com)
1388 Third Avenue, 212.934.2805

West Side Kids
498 Amsterdam Avenue, 212.496.7282

Atlantic Terminal / Atlantic Center Mall
The intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenue, 718.834.3400

Calabar Imports (www.calabar-imports.com)
820 Washington Avenue, 718.638.4288

Kleinfeld (www.kleinfeldbridal.com)
8202 Fifth Avenue, 718.765.8500

Wall Couture (www.wallcouture.com)
649 Vanderbilt Avenue, 718.288.2260

Queens Place Mall
88-01 Queens Blvd., 718.393.9400


BY THE WAY . . .

I still have my voice. It doesn't want to be here, but it's still here.

Monday, May 23

HEAR ME roar . . .

I am so sexy right now, I can't stand it.

Is it the Old Navy grey athletic shirt I'm wearing? Noooooo. Is it the damp hair, lying limp against my head after my post-workout shower? Nooooo. Is it the pink and white flannel pajama bottoms I have on? Nooooo. Maybe it's the granny glasses I put on after taking my contact lenses out. Noooooo. Oh wait, is it the pesto sauce from dinner stuck in various places in my teeth? Uh, no.

It's that my voice, on the verge of petering out completely, is husky and catchy, in kind of a Stevie-Nicks-gone-Asian sort of way.

I'm fascinated by the fact that I might lose my voice. It's such a strange sensation to open my mouth and force air through my stomach and vocal chords, to have absolutely nothing come out. It's sheepishly awesome to sing along to the CD in the car, and hear that cool husky quality in myself ... too bad my range has now become limited to all of three notes. Go any further in either direction, and I start to sound like a choir-boy-gone-puberty. It's just not pretty.

And losing my voice sucks. It's happened to me only twice before -- unlike the girls in high school who were always losing their voices, for whatever asinine reason -- and each time, I hated it because yes, I have that one day of sounding sexy beforehand, but being mute afterwards is miserable and NOT sexy. And it HURTS like HELL. And I have to be OBNOXIOUS to be HEARD. And then people LAUGH at me and shopkeepers think I can't speak ENGLISH. And then people STILL look at me like I have some COMMUNICABLE DISEASE, which I DON'T, I just lost my VOICE, STUPID. And then the DOGS come running because the air out of my throat vibrates at some INHUMAN decibel level. It's really quite dreadful and most lacking in sexual allure.

But until that awful day of muteness arrives, I am going to sing simple songs to myself, just so I can think I'm as cool and awesome and and sexy and eminently recordable as Stevie Nicks. Purrrrr.

Saturday, May 21


It's all about denial. And it's all about Comtrex, which, I have discovered, is particularly handy when I want to stay awake and alert for Margaret Cho on her Assassin, a/k/a State of Emergency tour, stopping tonight at the Beacon Theater in NYC.

Dang, I just appreciate her a whole lot.

I like that she's smart -- she doesn't just rant and rail in a burst of hot air. No, she edjumacates herself and does her homework makes sure that she knows what she's talking about. And she's consistent. When she puts herself forth as a proponent of gay rights or women's rights, she doesn't equivocate, or stand up for the pretty, palatable issues. She puts her whole self behind the causes she believes in, and fights for them with all she's got. Agree or disagree, I have no choice but to respect that. And she's proud. As a fellow Korean-American woman, I can say that that's a hard thing to be in this country: proud of who you are, of what you are, of how you are. She is all of those things; not without struggle, I'm sure, but she is still proud. And she's witty. She puts out turns of phrases that cut to the quick, and immediately tempers it by showing her softer side, then turns on herself with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, then invites the audience to laugh at themselves with her. She is merciful to no one, but neither is she senselessly cruel. And she's talented. She can be Bjork, her immigrant mother, a gay black man, a lipstick lesbian, a Hollywood starlet, and a clueless straight white man. She shamelessly contorts herself, and knows her audience better than it knows itself. And she's pushy. She makes me laugh hysterically until I'm wiping the smeared mascara from underneath my eyes, but then she makes me think. She makes me think about gay marriage, about women's health, about politics, about my identity as a woman, a Christian, an Asian-American, a human being. She makes me think about how I treat people. She makes me appreciate my family. She makes me think about the things that I do -- or more embarrassingly, don't -- stand up for.

She's got just a few shows left; if you can, see her. Have a good laugh. Blush at her liberal use of naughty words. Squirm at how she pins you down and makes you question yourself. Weep at her rendition of Bjork-gone-wild.


Friday, May 20


Despite conventional wisdom, it occurs to me that men are just as good at leading women on as women are reputed to lead men on. It occurs to me that it doesn't matter the man's vocation, his age, his maturity, his outward behavior. It also occurs to me that perhaps men know exactly what they're doing, and do it anyway. That's just not right.



Sometimes, I wonder how much I interfere with the fulfillment of my own destiny. I wonder, what could I have accomplished, what desires of my heart could I already have realized, what people could I have loved and what pain could I have let go of if I had been bold and made the first move? I see people around me being apparently shameless, being apparently bold and adventurous, being apparently innocently unafraid, and I am equally appalled at their shamelessness and envious of their courage. I wish I could say what I wanted to say. I wish I could invite the company of people. I wish I could wash my hands of those who waste my time. I wish I could just take a step out on the plank, and not be so filled with trepidation about how wide or long the plank is.

I think I anticipate too much, and I just want everything to be perfect. I don't want to hurt people's feelings, I don't want to push people away, I don't want to get all up in someone's grille, I don't want to overstep my bounds. But as a result, perhaps I retreat too much? Perhaps I let my inherent shyness and fear dictate too much of my behavior. I sit by and let someone else live the exciting fulfilling life that I envy. I don't just reach out and grab it like he or she does. I don't trust that people will be honest with me if I'm being pushy, and I dread the possibility of hearing that truth.

And I think the worst part is this: I'll sit idly by and make excuses for myself by saying, "God will take care of this for me." I don't subscribe to the school of 'God helps those who help themselves.' No, in my life, it has always been true that God and only God helps me and sustains me; I'm useless to Him when it comes to running my life. But even so, I find myself using Him in the worst way, as a crutch for the circumstances in my life. I don't have that soul-satisfying public interest job: is it because I assume I don't have the entrepreneurial spirit to delve into it? Right, so I'll wait for God to create that spirit in me before I even make a go for it. I'm not married to the man of my dreams: is it because I assume he'll come to me instead of me going to him? Right, so I'll wait for God to point him in my direction. I go for weeks and weeks not having a single evening to myself: is it because I don't want to say no to all my friends and loved ones and risk being left out of the loop or hurting someone's feelings? Right, so I'll run myself ragged and ill and hope that God will heal me soon.

The thing is, God ain't my garbageman. He always does, and is always willing to, clean up my messes, but that is not what He is in my life for; that is not why He is God, my God. So why do I treat Him like one? And why do I underestimate myself and limit myself, glancing jealously out of the corner of my eye at those who have everything I apparently want, while saying, "God, how come you didn't get that for me?

I'm done.
What a long week this has been, and I need a nap.
But first ...

What is your favorite topping on...

1. ...Ice cream?
Soft chocolate crumbly things, like the kind you get between the layers of a Carvel ice cream cake.

2. ... Pizza? Spinach, extra salt and red pepper flakes.

3. ...Steak? Nuthin' but that cocktail sauce-y steak sauce from Peter Luger or Flames.

4. ...Salad? Two humongous seared sea scallops.

5. ...Yourself? Index: Pear Cassis by Fresh.



Is it alright that I just entitled an article for our church's newsletter: "When You Have a Spiritual Booger, You Can't Help But Pick It"?

Thursday, May 19


Have you ever wanted to do something crazy -- I mean, really wacky, nutso, impossible, only in your dreams crazy -- no matter what the consequences? I'm talkin' streak-buck-naked-down-the-street, punch-that-person-in-the-face, lean-over-and-give-him-a-kiss-in-front-of-everyone, free-fall-out-of-a-plane, say-everything-you've-ever-wanted-to-say, throw-things-out-a-window-just-to-hear-the-crash crazy.

Oh, yeah.

Imagine the possibilities.



When everything is surreal, when the edges of the world are kind of blurry, when toilet paper bits in the bottom of the tank appear to lie in the shape of an apple pie, when time seems to be moving backwards and you could have sworn it was 3:52 p.m. half an hour ago, when memories seem like they never happened, when dreams seem like reality, and when you have Christmas songs like "For Unto Us a Child is Born," from "The Messiah," running through your head.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.


HOW OLD AM I? . . .

So, I know this attorney who's slightly uptight, even as far as uptight attorneys usually go. He's nice enough and funny enough, and certainly quite bright and capable (which, sadly, is more than can be said for most in our trade), but very proper and efficient and ... well, uptight. He got married a few weeks back, and I had an occasion to encounter him soon after his return to work from his honeymoon. He was still uptight. So, naturally, Hooch and I had a great giggle over this, for reasons which shall remain not spelled out in vulgar terms.

Earlier today, I had the occasion to speak with him again, and he was NOT uptight. He was charming and gracious and effervescent and effusive and cheerful and loose. And of course, my first, my immediate, my only thought was: Oh good, he's gettin' some.

Oh, my gutter-brain knows no bounds.

U2 at the Continental Arena: it could have been everything I've ever dreamed of, and more. But as far as dreams go, I'd have to classify it as one of those fillers that come between the first and second memorable dreams one has at night.

Not that it wasn't full of its share of good times. They played all my new favorites from the latest album: "City of Blinding Lights," "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," "All Because of You," and my favorite of favorites, "Yahweh." They busted out some tunes that transported me back to my good ol' college days: "One," "Mysterious Ways" and "Zoo Station." They threw out some amazing and pleasantly dizzying lights on "Beautiful Day" and "Vertigo." They took me back to my earliest U2 days (still not early enough for some, I know) with: "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Pride in the Name of Love." They even tossed in a snippet of a song so close to my heart, the Beatles' "Blackbird," that nearly brought tears to my eyes. And easily, one of the highlights was seeing a local garage band, The Bank Robbers, be pulled up out of the audience and invited onto the stage to play "I Still Haven't Found (What I'm Looking For)". They were pretty damn good, as far as local garage bands go, and the vicarious thrill I felt was totally worth it. To play The Edge's guitar. To share a mike with Bono. To have your voices recorded for all posterity in U2's little computers. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, that's incredible.

But. BUT. Big, big, big BUT.
They just weren't dirty enough for me.

Check that. Bono wasn't dirty enough for me. As I explained to PEd, having never seen U2 in concert before, I was mentally stuck in the 1980s-early 1990s, when U2 was gritty, rock-n-roll, grubby, soulful. When their music had me cranking down my car windows to sing out at the top of my lungs until my voice cracked and polyps formed on my vocal chords. When the guitar riffs had me stomping my feet and slapping my thighs and shaking my head back and forth to the rhythm. When the blood, sweat and tears coming forth from their voices pooled at their feet, soaking the soles of their shoes. U2 defined high school and college for me, and that's all I wanted to see.

Instead, I got United-Nations-I-hang-with-Nelson-Mandela-and-was-nominated-for-a-Nobel-Peace-Prize-and-wear-slick-shades-and-run-a-major-charitable-organization Bono. I got I-have-serious-political-opinions-and-I-want-you-to-know-them-so-I'm-going-to-run-propaganda-on-the-screen-behind-me Bono. I got I-know-you-guys-love-these-old-songs-so-I'll-sing-them-for-you-but-I-won't-really-enjoy-it Bono. I got you-should-buy-an-iPod-because-I-help-advertise-them Bono. I think I've got serious issues with Bono even though I'm sure he's a very nice person and his heart is in the right place. But for now, the only thing that truly charms me about him is his Irish accent.

I'm all about artists expressing themselves in a public forum. I'm also all about political awareness. I'm all about stopping hunger and promoting peace. I'm all about the International Declaration of Human Rights. I'm all about all sorts of good things, and I'm glad that someone as high-profile, as adored and admired, and yes, even idolized, as Bono, is spearheading efforts to spread all these good things and to make excellent changes in humanity as we know it. I just like to compartmentalize, to Container-Store my life, and when I go to hear good music, that's all I want. That's what I got with John Mayer and Missy Elliott and Alicia Keys and even Beyonce. Propaganda and preaching tainted my first and only Madonna experience, and the non-compartmentalization taint reached into my first and only U2 experience. Sigh and sniff, sniff.

Thank goodness for The Edge. He still rocked out. I love him and his bald head and his little beanie and his neat goatee and his stomping his feet and his slapping on his guitar. He saved the show.

Also, thank goodness for encores, for oddly, that's when U2 hit its stride. That's when U2 as I know them busted out and started rockin' and rollin' and performing for the joy of the music, not for the joy of campaigning. That's when I boogied down without feeling emotionally manipulated and let my feet do the stomping. That's when I went wild and my insides trembled with the reality that I WAS SEEING U2 IN CONCERT. Awesome.

Monday, May 16


I have an extremely vivid and well-rounded dream life. In the span of the last twenty-nine and a half years, I have probably dreamt everything there is to dream. I have dreamt in black-and-white, Technicolor, muted shades, and through the lenses of various color filters. I have spoken Russian, French, Spanish, Korean and English in my dreams. I have been alive and dead and killed and buried alive and resurrected. I have dreamt my own birth (albeit in another country) and watched my own funeral (while sitting on top of a playground slide, no less). I have fought the recurring nightmare and continued warm-and-fuzzy dreams from the night before. One time, I enjoyed a storyline so much, I dreamt a series of episodes in the same vein six nights in a row. I have heard God speak to me in my dreams, and I have seen Him help me run from Satan in my dreams, once even lifting me up and putting me on the back of a pigeon -- A PIGEON! -- to rescue me.

But until Friday night, I have never dreamt that I got married.

Friday night, I had the most wonderful, warm, curiously happy dream, where I married a man I didn't even know I loved until the vows had been spoken and the deal sealed with a kiss. In the moment of the kiss -- a very short, dry-lipped, no-body-parts-touching-except-for-the-lips kiss -- I knew that my life was complete and that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, with the person with whom I was supposed to be.

The strange thing is ... the wedding itself was less than ideal. When I imagine now what I would like for my wedding later, all sorts of plans come to mind. The music, the colors, the food, the guests, the service ... all of it is planned in bits and pieces in my head. I just need a cooperative groom, to tell the truth. But Friday night's dream wedding was nothing like that which I would have asked for. The service was over before it began, and only immediate family and very very close friends were in attendance. There was no reception, for my husband had to return to his work immediately, and had no time for a three-hour party, or even a post-ceremony meal. In fact, I think the few guests went out to eat by themselves! We changed out of our wedding finery into casual work clothes, and I embarked on my life with my new husband, walking shyly behind him as he returned to his work, being introduced by him to his coworkers and friends. I knew I had but one or two days to accustom myself to his life before I had to start helping him, but my heart of hearts was so, so, so happy at this prospect. And this less-than-ideal wedding fulfilled me more than anything else in my life thus far. I felt not a touch of disappointment or dissatisfaction; heck, I wasn't even hungry.

The other strange thing is ... I felt like my husband and I barely knew each other before the wedding, at least not in the "you're my best friend and I know everything about you and vice versa" way that seems ideal before one gets married. I don't think the marriage was arranged, for I felt immense affection -- akin to a lifelong crush, perhaps? -- and a good deal of familiarity with him, and he with me, as if we were great friends. Not a touch of reluctance anywhere. But nothing in my dream self -- or in my real self, upon waking -- prepared me for the overwhelming, all-consuming love I felt for him after the wedding. This feeling flooded me, to stay permanently I know, the moment we changed into our regular clothes, and I started to watch him work, giving his kind and generous self to everyone around him, not even showing a spot of weariness after our busy morning, gently taking my hand to lead me around with him, placing a hand on the small of my back even as he was talking business with others, catching my eye every now and then to shoot me a quick grin. Knowing, in my dream, that I had given up so much to be with this man, I felt nothing but hope and soul-infusing happiness and contentment, and more love than I had ever felt for any human being before, in my dreams or in real life.

And the best part is, the feeling lasted allllllll weekend. Dream wedding, indeed ...

The only hitch to this dream was keeping this overwhelming love to myself. I knew that I had never told my husband that I loved him, and I knew I had never heard it from his lips to my ears. Perhaps we never expected to say it to each other, to feel it enough to say it; we just knew we could share a life together, so we decided to do so. Thus, the only frustrating and torturous part of the day was walking around with him, knowing that I could honestly and truly and whole-heartedly express my firm, deep love to him ... and not being able to do so until the end of the long day, when his work was done, and we might be able to spend some time alone together. That, and wondering if he did or ever would feel the same towards me ...

Friday, May 13

WOW . . .

Omigosh, I'm on time today for Friday Favorites. Will wonders never cease.

What is your favorite...

1. ...Superstition and why?
Never stick utensils straight up and down into a bowl/plate of food. Back in the Motherland, when it comes time to honor your dead forefathers, you go to the gravesite (or even at home during the yearly family gathering) and set out a gourmet feast on the ground. You stick the utensils -- chopsticks and spoons -- into the food vertically, because, as everyone knows, dead spirits can't grab utensils which are lying flat on the ground, and if they can't grab the utensils, they can't eat, and no one wants to deal with the hungry and therefore unhappy spirit of a dead forefather. This is a purely Buddhist ritual, and as a Western Christian, it's utterly ridiculous (and probably sacrilegious) for me to abide by it, I suppose, but something about the purity of this superstition touches me. The moments where I glimpse serving utensils stuck vertically into food and I surreptitiously take them out to lay them alongside the food instead, allow me moments to think upon my own ancestors and consider how I might honor them and their legacy, bestowed unto me through my parents and extended family.

2. ...Horror movie (Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc.)? I can't say I'm a big fan -- did I ever tell you about the time that I caught glimpses of "Poltergeist," the scene where the little girl looks into the television screen that's all fuzzy and snowy and the television talks to her? To this day, I can't stand it when a television goes haywire and becomes snowy -- I simply won't look at it, and if I can, I'll walk out of the room. Or do you know about the time I watched part of "Nightmare on Elm Street," the scene where the girl is taking a shower and Freddy comes out of the shower stall wall with his knife-fingers and claws her back up? To this day, I'll try to keep my eyes open as long as possible in the shower so I can make a quick run for it should anything like that happen to me. And I definitely don't do well with horror flicks that delve into the spiritual realm -- I totally refuse to watch "The Exorcist," and after seeing "Fallen," I didn't touch another human being for days. Psychological trauma does not become me.

3. ...Spoof of a horror movie? The entire "Scream" series. No, I didn't enjoy the bad guy always popping back up or the creepy music or the dark corners or the something-bad-is-going-to-happen camera shots. But the hysterical one-liners and hot Skeet Ulrich made them worth it.

4. ...Urban Legend? The one where the college student is studying with friends and realizes she needs something from her room. The only problem is, her roommate is sleeping. As the student doesn't want to disturb her sleeping roommate, she quietly enters their room, does NOT turn on the light, manages to grab what she needs and leaves the room without waking her roommate. The student falls asleep while studying with her friends, and returns to her room the next morning. Upon opening the door, she finds her roommate slashed to death in bed, and written upon the wall in blood, "AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU DIDN'T TURN THE LIGHTS ON LAST NIGHT?" SHIVER.

5. ...Old wives tale? All roads lead to "keep your stomach and innards warm no matter what, or you'll never be able to have children." As a result (I think), I don't really enjoy ingesting large quantities of ice cream; I try to avoid sitting on cold surfaces, like a rock in the outdoors or a marble floor indoors; I cover my stomach with my hands after I eat to keep it warm while it does its digestive work; and even in the hottest heat of summer, I won't sleep unless I have a corner of a very heavy blanket covering my torso.

Thursday, May 12


Oh, it's me. Pardon me, I just took an hour-long spin class and managed not to die.

AND I LOVED IT. Don't listen to me when I say I'm a wimp and try to convince you that I can't handle something. Tell me to shut up and just do it.

Of course, this confidence did not develop without my fair share of sheer idiocy. Like the fact that I couldn't get my feet into the stirrups (no woman really enjoys putting her feet in stirrups) for like five minutes. But that is really so, so minor compared to the fact that it took me half the class to figure out how to pedal with my butt off the saddle without looking like a complete jackass. Seriously, I don't know what the problem was -- everyone else was doing it, so what the heck was up with me? I couldn't manage my weight distribution and I kept locking my knees straight on the down-pedal. This is painful -- I wouldn't recommend that (bad) technique to anyone. And so I kept jerking around like a mentally-impaired marionette on twisted plastic strings. And yes, once, I almost DID launch myself off the bike, for my left foot slipped out of the stirrup (grrr, I shudder at the word, even), and caught myself only at the last second, sitting back on the saddle to catch my breath and pat myself on the back for escaping death yet again.

Clearly, no matter what a powerhouse I think I am, the bottom line is, I'm still a super-klutz. So, naturally, a mere eight minutes into the class, as I'm trying to figure out how to stand and pedal at the same time with launching myself off the (stationary) bike, I'm flailing around attempting to distribute my weight in an accurate and not stupid manner to make my stand-up-pedalling smoother. And in a vain effort to restart myself and resdistribute my weight, I knock my knee into the resistance crank in the center of the bike. And naturally, I give myself a whomper of a bruise, bloody, scratchy spots and all. It's hard as a rock now, and the big bump jutting out of the side of my knee is painful to boot -- so much that it hurts to have clothing touch it, and I might have to sleep with a leg sticking out of the covers tonight. Sigh. You can put the klutz in tight bike shorts and make her sweat and give her thighs of steel, but at the end of the day, she's still a klutz, with the injuries to prove it.

But then, I had a sweaty epiphany: standing and pedalling is hard when the resistance is easy. DOI. So I cranked up the bike, pedalled to the beat, leaned forward with a fierce gritted grin on my face, ignored the throbbing pain from my crank-bruise, bent my elbows, stared at the sweat spot on the back of the lady in front of me, imagined I was going to make her eat my dust, and stood up. WORD. Down, up, down, up. Push, pull, push, pull. Slow and steady, ain't no one I need to keep up with. Plus, I didn't want to puke from over-exertion.

Now, this is not to say that I was any kind of Lance Armstrong. Please, get real. And it took me a while to build up anything even remotely resembling endurance. But, oddly, towards the end of the class, the strength really kicked in. I heard C's voice in my head urging "go, go, keep GOing." I saw Papi next to me sweatin' like his life depended on it. I saw DYC with all his tree-branch wounds in front of me and determined to catch up. And of course, I saw our instructor, her bike probably pumped up to the max, barely damp, hip-hop dancing on her bike and singing along to all the songs in full voice, yelling at me, "lookin' good! Lookin' GOOOOOOOOOD! Boo-yeah!" And so I kept going, standing, sitting, standing, sitting, increasing and increasing and increasing the crank, ignoring my burning lungs, my weakening thighs, the sweat dropping off my chin in steady rivulets of salt and water, the prodigiously annoying college kid next to me loudly heckling his friend who was using a bike halfway across the room!

I could barely get off the bike at the end. Papi had a good chuckle at me stuck half-on and half-off as the rest of the class prepared to stretch next to their machines. When I leaned over to stretch my quads, my knees locked and I couldn't unlock them. But a good stretch, a quick cold rinse of the face, and a sideways glance at myself in the locker room mirror and I felt like a meathead, wanting to pose and stare at myself and go, "GRRRRRR. YOU'RE A MONSTER, BABY."

And of course, there's one more story before I leave the gym. It's the one where I walk down the stairs to get to the exit door and my wobbly thighs start to give out. Then they give out completely, and I cling to the railing, willing my body to stop being so wimpy. Then a man going up the stairs happens to be right there and he catches me before I fall to the ground and down the steps. "Are you alright?" he asks. I look pathetically up at him, feeling much like Westley in "The Princess Bride" after he's had seventy years of life sucked out of him, and simply state, "my first spin class ever." The man nods in understanding and throws his mouth wide open for an "aaaaaah. Gotcha." I smirk at myself as I start to straighten up. "Do you need me to carry you down the rest of the way?" the man asks. "Nah, I can manage," as I wave him off. A short chuckle shared, and I slowly proceed to the exit, walking kind of bow-legged to ease the pressure on my thigh muscles.

Three hours later, I'm still alive. My lungs are still protesting a bit, and I just ate an ice cream sandwich (which, I truly believe, only replenished a mere quarter of the calories I burned today). I'm all clean and not stinky anymore. I'm full and shortly will be sleepy. I'm totally satisfied and proud and loving the sensation of my muscles still feeling hot to the touch.


Post-script: exercising my lungs as much as I did today did wonders for my singing capabilities. I was Bono on the car ride home. Check it.

Wednesday, May 11


Patience = thin. Thin as ice.
I actually rolled my eyes at her, in front of everyone.

I don't know why her in particular, now, lately, all the time.
Is it the claws? The fluttering eyelids? The constant nodding? The jutting chin? The shrill voice? The transparent desperation? The know-it-all paternalism? The trite speech? The wretched grammar? The apparent inability to form personal and original opinions or thoughts? The apparent unawareness of personal space? The too-oft-repeated anecdotes? Did I already mention the shrillness and the claws?

Argh. I need so much grace right now. I know God forgives me for my evil thoughts and my awful, awful rolling of the eyes, but I certainly don't forgive myself. In fact, I feel even worse knowing that I derive some sort of perverse enjoyment in watching her and internally scoffing at every possible moment and pointing out to myself every little flaw I notice. I feel awful knowing that if she were a man, I wouldn't care at all. I feel terrible that I can't even bring myself to pity her, because that would require sympathy and compassion and kindness on my part, and I confess: I just don't want to give ANY of that to her.

She grates on me. She annoys the living daylights out of me. I want to actually be mean to her, to her face -- I can't even bring myself to be cordial or polite to her. I can't look her in the eye, partly because I can't stand the sight of her nodding needlessly at me, partly because I know the thoughts I am thinking, and some small, conscientious fraction of small, evil me wants to spare her my venom. She is everything I hope I am not ...

And still, I know in my heart of hearts that she is a precious creation of God, and who am I to say differently? And I know that my arrogance and meanness and pettiness knows no bounds, and still I am forgiven by an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-merciful God. Why can't I give even just a little bit of that grace to her? I can't ... or I won't ... or some combination of both. And I really don't know why.



Tonight, I realized: I have been so busy and out of it that I have not even seen a television trailer for the new "Star Wars" movie.

Bommalommadingdong helped point this out. And I shrugged it off, but it's true. Where have I been? I've been everywhere, but I haven't been anywhere. Trigger events here and there have made me withdraw and pull away from certain people -- people I had thought I could trust and lean upon as a beloved friends. Self-evaluation and acknowledgement of my terrible behavior have made me ashamed to be around people in whose company I'm not worthy to be, though of course, that doesn't stop me from constantly seeking redemption. My lessening tolerance for all things annoying has made me unavailable -- I simply avoid the company of those I don't enjoy, even if those whom I do enjoy are there, fully tolerating everything that need be tolerated. I question my own motives and so, while I'm looking at myself, I don't want anyone else looking at me; thus I hide myself away, at least the inner parts of me.

I think it's just a phase. Lots of changes coming up, and girl needs a coping mechanism. After all, a touch of withdrawal and introspection is way better than binge-drinking, no? But maybe some of it's real? I just get tired of trying to interpret looks, drop hints, ask for help or friendship or clarification, playing the guessing game, seeking approval, waiting. Instant gratification is the name of my game ... but naturally, my own passive-aggressiveness doesn't help the "instant" part of the gratification. Or at least the knowing.

Don't know what I'm talking about? It's alright. You don't have to. Heck, I don't even know. Just thinking aloud and wondering if I really even want to see "Star Wars III."

Tuesday, May 10


I never, not in a million years, thought I would ever say this: Bo Bice might win "American Idol."



I generally dislike them very very much, but I am strangely fascinated with the Travelocity gnome.




The nice folks at ET Cycle pumped up KitchenAid, and I hit the road. Or, more accurately, the trailway.

Quite enjoyable. Loved the extra protein I ingested, if you know what I mean. Did not enjoy struggling with my new toolkit, trying to put my mini-pack on my saddle rack, OR realizing that I am waaaaay out of biking shape. Did enjoy the sensation of thighs-of-steel (steadily turning into thighs-of-wobbly-muscles).









I just made three medical and dental appointments ... for the same day.

Damn, I must be some kind of sucker for pain ...

Sunday, May 8

TIMELY . . .

Could my upcoming week BE any busier?
Sigh, ain't no rest for the weary.

But anyway ...

What is your Favorite...

1. …Vacation spot?
So far, it's a toss-up between (a) Acadia National Park in Maine; (b) L.A. to chill with Ha; or (c) Whistler when the crabs aren't out yet.

2. …Time of year to vacation? Autumn.

3. …Vacation Memory Staying up late relaxing and talking sleepily anywhere: on a pullout couch in a cozy condo in Whistler, at the rustic dining room table in a cabin at Acadia, around a wine-soaked game of Cranium in a rental on Block Island, outside on the warm concrete at Red Mountain while watching for falling stars, on a plush couch in L.A. devouring chocolate ice cream and sliced strawberries, over a late dinner in Tampa discussing the gas we're going to experience that night, during a gaslamp- and citronella-lit game of outdoor Scrabble surrounded by mosquitoes, on a tatami mat in Seoul listening to my family's history.

4. …Vacation Souvenir? The business cards of the lobster place in Bar Harbor, the seafood shack in Tampa, the Thai place in Pasadena, the Greek place in Montreal, the Italian place in Whistler, the Chinese place in Vancouver, the brunch place in L.A., the bar at the W City Center in Chicago, etc. etc. etc.

5. ...Vacation accessory (swim suit, pajama’s, purse, shorts,)? Cozy pajamas that are still suitable for public viewing.

Friday, May 6


Sometimes it's the little things in life that make a big difference.

Like the fact that today, along with my lunch, I packed a Turkey Hill vanilla ice cream sandwich -- arguably the best ice cream sandwich currently in existence -- for dessert.

Alright, so perhaps that wasn't the wisest idea, given the regular irregularity of our office freezer. And alright, so I had to eat it with a spoon because it wasn't firm enough to hold itself upright while I bit into it. And fine, I got more of it on my chin than actually into my mouth.

But sometimes, a completely soggy and limp but still cool-to-the-touch ice cream sandwich is all you need to get through the day, you know what I'm saying'?

So, you know how Senator Bill Frist wants to bar filibuster on Republican judicial nominees that come before the U.S. Senate? (What a dumbo -- they want to change all the rules when it's convenient for them, huh?)

Well, I don't normally tout the accomplishments of other Ivies, because I am a Lion snob at heart, but I must give two snaps in a circle to the brilliant kids at Princeton for filibustering Frist himself.

And the best part? They are doing this in front of the Frist Campus Center, financed by a $25-million gift from Senator Frist and his family. Brilliant, I say! UTTERLY BRILLIANT. Since April 26th, they've been standing in front of the Frist Center, reading all manner of materials day and night, rain and shine, wind and cold and chill, through heckling and derision, but mostly with lots of campus and area support.

It just gets better and better: they have a blog and a webcam for our viewing pleasure!

I think I just died and went to student activism heaven.

Thursday, May 5


So I thought I'd share that I'm so so ever so sad that the Yankees are in last place.

And I want to see "Crash" and "The Interpreter" and "Mad Hot Ballroom" and "Madagascar" and "The Beautiful Country."

And I have an entire day in the city coming up full of dim sum, dinner and Margaret Cho ... I might also have time to finally fit in a visit (my first evah!) to MoMA and/or the Guggenheim (shame, shame on me for living in New York for 26 years and never having been to either of these locales), or to the Met to visit my painting.

And I really wish I had had a margarita for Cinco de Mayo.

And I can't wait for summer to get here.

What is that sound, you ask?

Oh, it's my TIGER, roaring gently at me and expressing how very HAPPY it is to be living with me now.

Thank you, Janey and Morgan Stanley.


Wednesday, May 4


I used to think that song was about me. But speaking of oddities, isn't it odd that a relaxing evening can be totally UNrelaxing.

And isn't it odd that just when one knee is healing and becoming strong (or so one thinks), you bash the other one into a counter such that multiple small blood bruises form and you feel the bone(s) scraping against the inside of your skin every time you bend your leg.

And isn't it odd that when a medical student friend carefully mulls over the symptoms of your latest defective body part, you feel warmly comforted and cared for.

And isn't it odd that events you always looked forward to, you just don't look forward to anymore.

And isn't it odd to understand that there are just people in this world you simply cannot be friends with, not because you don't like them, but because it's just not meant to be, and so the wall must be built up again.

And isn't it odd to realize one day that you don't like yourself very much anymore, because you're not the person you thought you were and you're definitely not the person others wish you could be, and really, grace is harder to give to yourself in the end, even if the whole world has offered it to you on a silver platter.

And isn't it always, ALWAYS, excruciatingly odd that you can spend the whole day in a dazed, sleepy, exhausted, bone-aching stupor, then be completely and agonizingly awake the moment you lie down in a comfortable, warm, welcoming, safe bed.

So, I just had a telephone conversation with Cheech. According to my work phone dialog box, it lasted nine seconds. This is how it went:

Me: Hello?
Cheech: Hey.
Me: Hey.
Cheech: You busy?
Me: Nope, what's up.
Cheech: I have a random question.
Me: Okay, go ahead.
Cheech: What were those jackets, in the mid-80s --
Me: Members Only.
Cheech: Okay, thanks.
Cheech: So, how are you?
Me: It's okay, you can go.
Cheech: No, really, how are you?
Me: No, really, you can go.
Cheech: Okay, talk to you later.
Me: Yup, bye.

Happy times this week have been few and far between, and I'm frankly too exhausted and sleepy to do much more emoting than this ... but I just got a callback interview, so I'm willing to slap a cheeky grin on my tired face and shout WAHOO!


Monday, May 2


Damned if I never recognize the taste of my own foot in my mouth until it's stuck so deep I'm gagging on it. Nights like tonight make me wish I never learned to talk ... or that others didn't have ears to listen to my stupidity.