Sunday, December 31


It's not right, I don't think, to say that I'm turning over a new leaf. To my ears, that implies that I'm going to become, or live, or be something else, other than what I actually am. And I don't want that. For all the ups and downs of 2006, I don't want 2007 to be a year where I am someone other than who I am or was. Rather, I will say that I am turning over another leaf. Revealing, learning and becoming another layer of my person and my being, another facet of my personality, another development of me.

I stopped making resolutions long ago. In recent years, I've started to state hopes. They're easier to hold onto (most of the time), and they make me acknowledge that my life is not written by me, about me, for me. Hoping turns my eyes, even when they don't want to be turned, towards God, and makes me talk to Him, even when I'm feeling surly on my end. And hope, by His grace, is often transformed into joy, sometimes muted, sometimes transcendent, sometimes explosive, mostly inexplicable. Right now, just hours from another turning of the calendar, my hopes are weak and wobbly, and there's not much firm footing to be found no matter where I look around me. But the joy transformation is proven and true, and so I wait for it anyway.

Thus, in faith, for the coming year, I hope for:
    - sustained good health for Gran
    - safety and health for Omma and Appa
    - protection over Cheech
    - continued revitalization at NHF
    - further deepening and intimacy in my friendships
    - peace with B
    - focus, diligence and determination
    - increased faith
    - a community understanding of and hate towards poverty, warfare, injustice, and the armor with which to fight these evils
    - the ability to fulfill my promise to live all out for God

Just a little bit from now, I'm on a plane to Ukraine to serve with six others from NHF at a local church in the middle of that country. Just for ten days; I'll be back before you know it. This trip fills me with trepidation, not because I'm going to a foreign country where I barely know the language and where it's going to be soooo cold -- seriously, who goes to the middle of Ukraine voluntarily in the dead of winter?! I'm not afraid of the traveling or the complicated logistics, the busy schedule or the unfamiliar cuisine, the work we have to do or the the possibility that our work will be fruitless. I'm afraid of me, and how I'll be, that I'll be useless, ineffective, not the ambassador of Christ that He envisioned when He sent out the faithful. I'm afraid of getting sick in my body and wearying the team for having to take care of me, or of getting sick in my mind and confusing the team who has no idea how to take care of me. I'm afraid of letting down my team and my God. After what He has been bringing me through in these last weeks and months, I can't even begin to describe what it has taken me not to pull out of this trip, to hand over leadership of the team and hibernate in my bed for the next two weeks.

But no, hope doesn't go to sleep, or succumb, for that is not hope at all. Hope speaks the truth, and in the spaces between speech, hope allows for grace and humility to seep in and teach wisdom. So I wait, too, for that wisdom, placing my trust in God alone, and in the compassion of His people.

Happy New Year. May His grace and wisdom seep into you throughout 2007, and give strength to your hopes.

Wednesday, December 27

38 . . .

President Gerald Ford, 1913-2006, thank you for your service.

Tuesday, December 26


Life goes on; we have no choice. I know this. But I still think it's not right that the gander gets to have a life.

Me, I need to have a life so that I can keep my head above water, so that I can know that love in its many wonderful forms still lives and breathes, so that I don't isolate myself and just weep all day and all night long. But the gander ... shouldn't there be mourning? Shouldn't there be some measure of locking oneself in one's room and weeping and not wanting to see anyone or go anywhere? Shouldn't the misery and loneliness be the same on both ends?

I wonder if the gander feels relief. There are people out there far more normal, far more stable, far more rational, far more entertaining and interesting, far more relaxing than I am. If I were a gander, I'd prefer to be with them and avoid me too, I guess. That would make the gander a liar, for all the sweet promises and hopeful words spoken before the fissure, vows not to avoid and vows to miss and mourn. But he's been called worse things before.

Still, it's not fair. Suffering shouldn't be endured alone, and I'm no sadist, but ... I wouldn't mind if what was good for the goose was also good for the gander.


WALL . . .

Holding my ground is becoming harder and harder. I have my own sweet words I want to say, alternating with fury and rage that wants to be ranted aloud. But when one vows to take the back seat and throw the ball in the other's court ... how long does that vow have to stand, exactly?


BASICS . . .

They keep telling me to eat and sleep. I do, I really do. It's just that it's not pleasant, is all ...

Monday, December 25


(OK, I know I promised I wouldn't dwell, but I just realized that today was Monday and that just stabbed my heart because I sure do miss Mondays and everything that Mondays were. And there were words that I needed to read again, to remind myself of when times were good and our hearts were full, and so I just spent some time reading through the past, and it just makes me long all the more for the love that there was. I want to send all those messages and replies back, not to throw them back in spite, but to remind, to ask -- are they still true? Or has too much changed? There was a promise that the embrace wouldn't be the last ... and if everything in those words from months gone by is true, then I can believe the promise. But if I'm the only one who remembers those words ... then what?)

I am so happy right now. Joyous, even. Eh, alright, let's not stretch it. We'll put aside the joy for a moment and I'll just settle for really, really happy.

Christmas was wonderful. I had really been anxious about it, for holidays in my household lately have been fraught with all sorts of topical land mines, the biggest mine being my unmarried status. No matter how the dinner conversation starts out, it always ended up at, "so really, there's NO ONE on the horizon?" Last time The Topic came up, there was even a discussion about my soon-to-fail eggs that might not produce any children at all if I wait any longer. It got to the point where I did not want to be with my parents, and did not want to spend any time alone with my mother, my best friend, my closest confidante for my entire life. Laughter was seldom heard, relaxation was a near-impossibility.

But God was gracious to our family this year, allowing peace to flow with ease between all of us, and filling our home with the best of days past. I was brought into the house in a flurry of hearty hugs, and settled in for a late dinner around the old kitchen table. We tossed jokes back and forth before deciding in a frenzy of childishness to open our gifts on Christmas Eve instead of waiting for Christmas morning. Everyone received exactly what they wanted, for the first time ever, I think. Then we snuggled under the heaviest Korean mink blankets to watch a DVD together -- the first time we had done that in years, easily. Cheech had an early morning to rest up for, so Omma, Appa and I sat up for another couple of hours chatting, easily, even about my unmarried status. They could not have been more understanding, more loving, more committed to making an effort to put me at ease. That's not something Korean parents often put their minds to -- putting their children's hearts at ease -- but I know that's what makes my parents different from most. They are truly special.

Today, we went to see "The Pursuit of Happyness" -- enjoyed by all (and the movie theater was so crowded! I never knew folks went to the movie theaters on Christmas Day!), before returning home for naps and an early dinner. Peace and aase all around.

I'm really grateful for this Christmas. I had really been dreading it, actually, anticipating the worst of the worst, and girding myself for the deepest of hurts, five people circling each other in isolated bubbles of resentment. But no. My family proves to me that if you try hard enough and love each other enough, then understanding and grace and love come easily, and peace doesn't cover as much as it lives and breathes.

Only one darkish cloud over the past two days ... I've been wondering if the withdrawal of love is punishment. Punishment for past sins, punishment for me not being a good enough person, punishment for all of my heart's deficiencies in caring and loving and understanding others. Maybe there is something to this thing called "karma." What goes around comes around, and Lord knows I've caused plenty of isolation and meanness and rejection to go around. Maybe now it's swinging back my way, and taking from me true love.

There are those who will say otherwise. I like listening to them, because they say things like, "This is a time that God is drawing you back to Him, to refine you for something better, to prepare you both for a better result." I hope that is true. I don't dare believe it, but I hope it. And I believe they are right, even if God's "better" and my "better" are not the same thing. Surely, He knows better, doesn't He? But still, I can't help this nagging thought that I am reaping what I have sowed. And that makes me sad. It makes me long for a sort of moral time machine, where I could go back through my life and right every wrong I've committed, heal the heart of every person I've wounded, restore every broken relationship and clear up every misunderstanding. Then maybe today, I wouldn't be abandoned and left cold.

Ah, well. I have long days and nights to torture myself with these thoughts. For tonight, I dwell on Christmas and my family, whom I love and who I know loves me.

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the joy of the holiday -- that is, the miracle and undying loving sacrifice of Christ, the power of God and the mercy of the Holy Spirit -- surround and protect you, and cause you to be happy.

Sunday, December 24


It is Christmas after all ... and after everything that's passed back and forth, it seems cold and unforgiving to not even reach out enough to say "Merry Christmas." An email, a note on the door, even a ring of the doorbell to speak it face to face would be better than carrying the weight of this cold rock in my gut. Wouldn't it? Wouldn't it? I can't tell if pride should trump Christmas, or Christmas should trump pride. Who gives in first? Is it a matter of giving in? Can't "Merry Christmas" be an equal-opportunity, boundary-less sentiment? My ego smarts already, knowing there won't be a response. My heart hurts already, knowing that an offering will be taken as giving in and acquiescing to a wrong result. But can't "Merry Christmas" just be what it is, a wish for a merry Christmas?

What would Jesus do indeed ...

Saturday, December 23


The storm is back. How I longed for it, and how much I want to avoid it, all at once.

But, in the calm before the storm, there is the old holiday standby, the one thing that can always, always draw me in and put a smile on my face and peace in my heart. From the early days of huddling under winter blankets with Omma and Appa while eating boiled chestnuts ... to the childish summer days of visits to the Motherland with all four maternal cousins sprawled lazily about the living room ... to the current days where nostalgia is sometimes enough to get me through the night in peace ...

There's just nothing like The Sound of Music, starring the radiant Julie Andrews and the dashing Christopher Plummer.

Friday, December 22

OUCH . . .

My heart hurts.
Pang after pang after pang.
There's just no end to this, is there?

So, in a few weeks, I have to find another position, preferably full-time (although I have developed a serious liking for the part-time "consulting" position). And I recently got my resume critiqued again and damned if my time off didn't come back to bite me in the butt. Never mind that I was up to my curly hair in work for NHF -- it was all unofficial and volunteer and I just didn't know how to explain it to anyone.

I finally inserted a paragraph about my "work" for NHF into my resume, and then immediately started to experience all sorts of pangs of guilt and immorality for doing so. After all, isn't church service supposed to be on a volunteer basis (unless you're on staff, I suppose), and isn't it supposed to be for God's glory, not my own? To put my "work" on my resume seemed like I was using what I had done out of the love I had for God and for the folks in my church family for my own benefit, to advance and serve myself. Yes, I spent a lot of woman-hours doing things, but I enjoyed it so much, it didn't feel like work. To qualify it as "work" and list it as a "job" and expect recognition for it, even from outsiders, seemed so ... base.

But this is why you have friends like the friends I have:

    hold up! Do not feel an ounce of guilt! Just because you write your work at and with NHF on your resume does not all of a sudden change any of it... God gave you time to serve Him like that and He will use that time to honor Him... think about every time you'll have to explain what you did during that time and how you can glorify Him in your description of that time and how you can possibly bless someone who interviews you... how you can play a part in planting a small seed in someone's heart or opening the door for someone to ask you more about Jesus...

    Lady... this is not about serving yourself - it's about glorifying Him... if you need to describe what you did for NHF on your resume... do it well and make it so that everyone will ask you questions about that time... do not be ashamed of that time rather let it be glorifying to Him in every way...

    sorry for the preachy tone - I just can't believe that you feel badly about writing your service on your resume... it absolutely shows a lot of your talents, passions and skills... any job interviewer should want to see that and know that about you... it sets you apart from others and makes them say "wow we want her to work here."

Her words have given me reason to pause and reflect on the last year. Indeed, it was such a unique and special time, both personally and for me in relation to church life and service. It certainly does seem true that God gave me these past months on purpose to do specific things, to grow in particular ways, to receive unique and amazing blessings and happiness, to endure especial hardships and pain, and to become the woman I am now. I'm not too different from who I was a year ago, but changes took place and I am different. All because I had a full year to change and grow and live. I am so thankful for it.

And she's right. People are going to ask me questions about that year, about what I did, about church. People might even (inappropriately for a job interview) ask me about my faith. (Heck, I might not even get to talk to some people because they'll think I'm weird and churchy, which is too bad, because I'm really fun to work with and I make good coffee.) And if I profess that I want everyone to know Jesus and live in His life-giving love, and if I profess that I want to live my own life all out for Him ... then it's time to start putting my resume where my mouth is.

So thanks, lady, for the uplifting and refocusing words.

I hope all of you are surrounded by friends like these. Else, how would you get by?

Thursday, December 21


All proceeds from the Kim Family Benefit Art & Craft Auction will go to the Kim Family Fund, assisting the surviving members of James Kim's family.

Check it out. Buy a lot.

Wednesday, December 20


I really thought I'd hear word first. I really did. This really hurts a lot more than I thought it would. And I'm not particularly confident that I can bear up under it.


I've been so preoccupied with my silly self that I totally didn't even realize that Yul Kwon won the most recent season of "Survivor." I don't watch the show, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good win by a good winner. Represent, my brother.


I am selfish, I know, and so when I think about the myriad reasons to have children, one of the first that pops immediately to mind is this: they entertain me.

I just think life is a touch fuller when you have a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler picking a piece of lint off your carpet and insistently asking, "Whose IS this?!"

Or when a three-year-old girl waves you over to her and makes you bend down so she can whisper in your ear, "Why don't I share my food?" And when you respond, "I don't know, but you don't," she responds back, "Why?"

Or when a little boy playing under your brunch table tugs on your finger and states very cheerfully, "There are monsters under here, so your feet have to be careful, ok?"

Or when you make a one-year-old imitate everything you do, including opening his mouth wiiiiide when it's full of food so that everything in there falls out. And then, when his mother turns around to scold him, you slink away quietly.


I'm going on the trip of a lifetime in less than two weeks, and I'm just not ready.

I am so clearly not ready. Yes, I have the prayers and good wishes of dozens of people around me holding me up ... but me, for myself, I'm not ready. It's really wrong how unready I am ....

It's a terrible thing: the state I'm in physically, mentally and emotionally, all I can think about is landing back at JFK Airport on the evening of January 10th, going home and sleeping. Goodness, I anticipate that if no one and nothing woke me up or needed me to be awake, I'd sleep for several days without stirring.

The prospect both thrills and frightens me.

God help me.

Tuesday, December 19


I hate Christmas music. Most of it -- minus a few select Christmas hymns -- fills me with rage and makes me want to (i) stab myself in the eyeballs with a sharp object and/or (ii) stab someone else in the eyeballs with a sharp object. Many people lately have been wanting to analyze me and figure out this weird Grinchiness. I don't think I'm being Grinchy. I love everything else about Christmas -- being with my family, people mellowing out and lovin' on each other the way they should all the time, celebrating love shared among friends, celebrating Jesus Christ's birth. But maybe that's what makes me feel Grinchy. People gettin' their panties in a knot about Christmas displays and religious icons and being all obnoxious at the mall and in the parking lots and acting all stupid about video game consoles and holiday sales.

LIKE IT OR NOT, PEOPLE, CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST, so just deal with it, and shut up about the manger scene set up in the middle of town. It's HISTORY. It HAPPENED. JESUS CHRIST, and NOTHING ELSE, is the meaning of Christmas. So unbunch your panties and turn off that awful Christmas music. Global warming ain't never gonna let it snow again, so you can forget about walking in a winter wonderland!

Yeah, maybe people's ignorance (and it really is ignorance, for they are IGNORING the TRUTH) is what makes me want to stab them in the eyeballs with sharp objects. Vapid girls cooing "Santa Baby" over the radio just adds to the fury.

But I'm also Grinchy this year because I am highly, excessively, acutely depressed. Not because it's Christmas; I'm not one to be depressed by the holidays, although I am stricken by the winter doldrums as much as anyone else. No, not because it's Christmas-time ... but just because life happens and people happen and then bad things happen, and well ... what can I do? When one is balancing a wide smorgasbord of rejection, heartbreak, hopelessness and anger, one gets a wee depressed.

And so, I'm easily distracted. Thanks, Unlimited Mood, for the distraction ...

1. My uncle once: had to administer a 24-hour IV drip into my arm because I got sick during a trip to the Motherland.

2. Never in my life: have I known such pain as I am feeling now.

3. When I was five: I ran around the house with aluminum foil wrapped around my wrists pretending to be television's Wonder Woman.

4. High school is: one of my fondest memories.

5. I once met: the violinist Isaac Stern.

6. There’s this girl I know who: is really enjoyable to talk with and constantly makes me laugh.

7. Once, at a bar: I had the best cheeseburger I have ever eaten in my life.

8. Last night: I jumped up and down, waving my arms and chirping like a fool, to get a two-month-old baby to smile. Ultimately, he sort of ... smirked. A little.

9. Next time I go to church: I don't think it will be any easier.

10. When I turn my head left, I see: an architecture-inspired lamp that I really enjoy except it's hard to dust.

11. When I turn my head right: I see the matching lamp, equally hard to dust and equally enjoyable.

12. How many days until my birthday?: 315.

13. If I was a character written by Shakespeare I’d be: Katherine, from "The Taming of the Shrew." (Hey, you can't say I don't know myself or that I can't be honest with myself.)

14. By this time next year: I hope there is love between us again.

15. A better name for me would be: anything that doesn't create the natural diminutive of my real name. I really hate the current diminutive, but I have no other alternative.

16. I have a hard time understanding: how airplanes stay in the air. No, really. They tell me it's about this thing called "physics" ... but c'mon. Seriously.

17. If I ever go back to school I’ll: come out with a Ph.D. in English Literature, an L.L.M. in International Criminal Law, a Master's degree in Christian Counseling, a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts Management.

18. You know I like you if: I give you anything of me: my food, my home, my clothes, my money, etc.

19. If I won an award, the people I’d thank would be: everyone who got me there because for sure I didn't get there on my own.

20. Take my advice: there is such a thing as true love, but it ain't pretty.

21. My ideal breakfast is: A cup of coffee from MoMA and a McDonald's Sausage Egg McMuffin with Cheese ... or a bowl of miyuk-gook with rice and kimchi.

22. If you visit my hometown: you have to take a walk through the residential area downtown and check out the gorgeous old Victorians.

23. Why won’t someone: knock some sense into him and make things right again?!

24. If you spend the night at my house: truly make yourself at home. I'm not one of those people who just say that to say that.

25. I’d stop my wedding if: and only if I really had to.

26. The world could do without: this strange and inexplicable disbelief and hatred of Jesus Christ.

27. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: eat it.

28. My favorite blonde is: RM, my favorite non-Asian third-year medical student. Kobey comes in at second.

29. Paper clips are more useful than: staple-less staples.

30. If I do anything well, it is: by the grace, talents, skills, ability and intuition given by God.

31. And by the way: I'm not blind -- I believe in God and His promises, and I believe there will be a better day.

32. The last time I was high: it was on a Vicodin-based cough syrup, and I spent hours in nauseated agony. Never again.

Sunday, December 17

R.I.P. ...

October 10, 2005 - December 16, 2006.

Friday, December 15

RING, RING . . .

You know what's too bad? It's too bad that it's so hard to make prank phone calls anymore. It all started going downhill with the advent of caller-ID. But with cell phones and all that ... you just can't prank call anyone anymore. And it's just really fun! Too bad.

Wednesday, December 13


I'm not one of those folks who go around carrying a large (or even a healthy-sized) sense of entitlement. I don't assume that people are ready to celebrate my birthday, or pay attention to my accomplishments, or have me on their Christmas gift lists. I don't think it's because I think I'm worthless or easily overlooked -- my big mouth often prevents the latter. It just doesn't occur to me that I am on people's minds enough to be on the receiving end of goodies.

So I was really touched to receive a small and cheap gift that isn't even a gift, not for an occasion anyway. It's just something the giver thought I would like but would never purchase for myself, something the giver searched for because he really just wanted to get me something and wanted to find that perfect something. I'm more touched that the giver was thinking of me, had been thinking of me, and reminded me that he's always thinking of me.

Sometimes, these nuggets of care and love, these reminders that I am on the forefront of somebody's brain, are just enough to carry me through the hard and uncertain times.

My little goodie, given from a huge heart, is nothing grand. It certainly is small and inexpensive. But cheap? Never.

Friday, December 1

FUNK . . .

Why am I in a funk?

Because my normally vivid, exciting and colourful dreams are compressed and grey and shadowed. Because everything around me is dark, even when all the lights are on.
Because every person I look at and talk to is a reminder to me of how badly I fail them and let them down.
Because the days are passing and my life is not what I thought it would be at this point.
Because I don't have all that much hope that things will change.
Because I can't sleep a decent night's sleep.
Because my joints ache, and the headaches are worse, and my boob pain is back, sharper than before.
Because I still seek pain because at least then I'm feeling something.
Because I can't be everything to everyone at every moment.
Because I am not who I used to be ... and I like who I used to be.
Because he just can't decide.
Because I am misunderstood, and I don't know how to make myself clearer.
Because I speak harshly, even though my heart moves softly, and I end up hurting people's feelings.
Because I am no longer interested in food, or grocery shopping, or cooking, or baking, or feeding people with love.
Because Christmas music fills me with rage.

It's just a phase, I know. A season. Here's to wishing the season passes quickly.



The shadows don't prevent me from seeing reality. And the reality is this: you all are generous and loving. Sometimes so generous and so loving and so selfless that you take my breath away, make my heart actually skip a beat (it's a weird feeling), and make me have to sit down to stop the dizziness.

It's not a platitude or trite nicety when I say that I am taking you with me, that your generosity and love sustains me, that it is a manifestation of Christ in the flesh.

Nor do I say it lightly, in passing, without deep thought, when I tell you: God bless you and keep you and reward you for your faithfulness.

Thursday, November 30


Nobody likes a dumb and lazy man. Bill Clinton, thankfully, is neither dumb nor lazy. You can say what you like about him as a President, politician, husband, Christian, whatever. But the fact is, the dude and his Clinton Foundation just brokered a deal with two Indian drug companies to create nineteen anti-retroviral drugs to treat children afflicted with HIV/AIDS. These drugs will be made available to 62 underdeveloped countries, and will cost a mere 16 cents a day, $60 a year

There are 2.3 million children worldwide who are infected with HIV. TWO MILLION OF THEM LIVE IN AFRICA ALONE. This Bill Clinton ... he is doing a very, very good thing.

Wednesday, November 29


I am sick and tired of, and disgusted by, bullies. People who think they are right, no matter what unfocused blather comes out of their mouths. People who refuse to hear truth, or even a differing opinion! People who lose focus and just go with it, not caring that others wish for focus and a meaningful discussion. People who are insensitive to others, blind to themselves. People who talk just to hear themselves talk. People who lecture not with wisdom, but with condescension. People who get to speak just because they're louder and more insistent, without regard to whether they are correct or not. People who just bully the conversation and stomp on those who wish to speak something else. Worst of all, people who profess to wish to make it all about God, but always, ALWAYS, end up making it about themselves.

I am sick of them. I am sick of having to tolerate their blindness and insensitivity and uncaring hearts. I am sick of having to coddle their egos and indulge their self-absorbed perspectives. I am sick of being trampled on because I'm right, for once, and I am sick of watching others be trampled over because they aren't loud enough, insistent enough, argumentative enough, egotistical enough, to keep on speaking what they know is right and true. I am sick of the unjustified and thoughtless attacks. I am sick of the majority-rules conversation because half the time, the majority is wrong, and it's just a bunch of people complaining together because they finally have an outlet.

A time comes when folks, we all, just need to suck it up and take some admonishment. When we're wrong, we're wrong. When we've lost focus, we've lost focus. Accept it, deal with it, embrace it, then let go of the wrongness and let some truth come in, for Christ's sake. We are not so great and so wise that everything we say actually has merit. Not everything that someone says in disagreement, or even in an effort to focus back to what should be the main focus, is an attack. And just because someone disagrees doesn't mean they are wrong. Sometimes -- gasp! -- the one being disagreed with is wrong. And don't go getting all defensive. The reason folks get defensive is because something triggers inside them that they are wrong. And then ego takes over. Smash your ego. Throw away your defensive posture. If you're going to profess to care, then care and place others above yourself. And stop attacking those around you just because you know you're cornered and in the wrong. You don't always say what is right and true and helpful, and when someone points that out, you should be grown up enough to take it like a man or a woman. And if you can't muster that maturity, then at least open your ears and HEAR. Shut your mouth, and open your ears.

Enough is enough. Me, I'm with the underdog. The quiet one. The one who becomes afraid to speak up because of all those who will jump down her throat for speaking truth. The one who prefaces all of his statements with "I dunno, but ..." or "I'm sorry, but ..." From now on, I'm going to support her speech, and take away the sorrow for speaking one's mind. I root for the underdog, and even if no one else cares, I'm going to care and TAKE care of those around me.



On a less rage-filled note: some movies, especially those containing penguins, are worth seeing twice. Even with the overly-green and totally disjointed ending. The waddling alone makes it worth it.

Thursday, November 23


Did you have a good day today? I did.
Did you give thanks today? I did.

God bless and keep each of you.



1. Good TV programming.
2. Soy chai lattes.
3. Flannel pajamas.
4. Cheech, with the wool turban on his head.
5. My new sweater.
6. All of my Apple products.
7. A cozy cocoon of a car in which to embark together on many adventures.
8. Pretty floweres.
9. Omma and Appa dancing the salsa.
10. Lap blankets.



1. Jesus Christ, my Lord & Saviour.
2. My family and my home, where peace and love is always priority, no matter what.
3. Being able to nurse the beloved sick back to health.
4. A properly functioning heating duct.
5. Quality time that is really, actually, normally, hilariously, intimately, meaningfully, satisfyingly, hopefully, quality time.
6. God being more than I could ever imagine or hope for.
7. My sister, my girls, my LOLs, and the special brothers interspersed among them.
8. A paycheck.
9. My health and strength.
10. Hope.

Monday, November 20


Thoughts abound from yesterday's sermon at church: PEK was telling us about the massive anticipation and hysteria (and murder) over the new PlayStation that was released on Friday. People stood on line for SIX DAYS in the hope -- the HOPE, not even CERTAINTY -- of being able to purchase it. And all I could think was: "It's a machine, for crying out loud. It doesn't do your laundry, or wash your dishes, or watch your kids, or do your homework. It doesn't fight wars, or create peace, or find a cure for cancer. It's a TOY. An overpriced, overhyped, useless TOY." And I kept on thinking, what else would people stand on line for? Or rather, what would people NOT stand on line for? Would people not stand on line to meet Jesus? Or even someone who KNOWS Jesus? What would that be worth: one day? Two days? Six days? Just a couple of hours? A lunch break? Seems to me, Jesus is a whole lot cooler (and less expensive) than a PlayStation console.

But then I got to thinking about me. I haven't stood in line for much. I have neither the attention span, nor the tolerance for crowds, nor the ability to go without showering for more than 20 hours. But I have gotten awfully excited over an awful lot of things. Billy Joel tickets. The new MacBookPro. The new iPod Shuffle. An eagerly-anticipated movie. Shoot, I even waited outside a Joann's craft store for thirty minutes before it opened because I needed to pick up some more YARN. How long would I wait for Jesus, to see Him, to meet Him, to talk with someone who knows Him? One day? Two days? Six days? Just a couple of hours? A lunch break? Seems to me, Jesus is worth a whole lot more, on all accounts, than a ball of yarn, or the latest Apple product, or even a hot shower.

Saturday, November 18


I feel invisible lately.

It's awful and surprising how much I need validation, recognition, an acknowledgement that I was heard, an expression that someone cares, a statement of understanding, a reach of sympathy, a commiseration that what I'm going through and feeling and struggling with is important, just as important as anything else that anyone else is going through and feeling and struggling with.

And when I don't get those things, I feel and become invisible. And this just makes me want to hide more.




I don't know what made me do it ... but I just watched the entire first season of "Grey's Anatomy" in one sitting. I don't feel parts of my legs and buttocks anymore, and my back needs a good week in traction.

But of course, even as we speak ... I'm downloading Season Two ...

Friday, November 17


I'm disturbed by the latest trend all over Europe to rid Muslim women of their head-coverings, burqas. Say what you like, but I believe these coverings, whether head-to-toe, or just the head and face, or just the hair, are expressions of a Muslim woman's faith. Maybe she doesn't want to wear it and does because she is afraid -- of her parents, her husband, her religious leaders, or of being exposed when she had never been before. Maybe she finds it comfortable. Maybe she is proud of her religion and proud to abide by its restrictions and teachings. Whatever -- I don't know; none of us know. But to have a government say you can't wear them ... I just don't like it. I know there are lots of alleged reasons for these proposed bans: security (you never know what these women are hiding underneath their cloaks!), better interpersonal and professional relations, etc.

Still. I don't agree with the tenets of the Muslim religion, but that doesn't mean I think a government should tell you how and how not to abide by the religion's traditions. People just gotta butt out.

I fear the day someone is going to tell me not to wear this cross around my neck.

Thursday, November 16


To my pity party. For these are the things I want to shout today:


In the place of shouting, and the pity party (which is not that thrilling), I express myself in words. Thanks to TinyCricket and whoever else these questions belong to ...

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The big picture: Living a full life, with a full God, in the fullness of all He's given to me.
The little picture: Good rest; tasty food; B time; being reminded that I am loved; a thrilling book.

What is your greatest fear?
Being alone.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Bags and Apple products.

What is your greatest regret?
Always, always: not thinking before acting.

When and where were you happiest?
At the Eagle Scout lodge (1991); Schapiro12 (1995-96); Nyack State Park & Beach (2005); playing nurse in February (2006).

Where would you like to live?
Manhattan, or anywhere within its reach.

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to pick up a guitar and play it like I know what's what.

What is your current state of mind?
Confused; exhausted; hopeful in a discouraged sort of way; sad; wishful.

What do you consider your most overrated virtue?
Organization. If they could only see the cluttered state of my inner self, I'd be exposed for the type-A fraud that I am.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would love to be slow to anger, slow to jump to conclusions, slow to be pessimistic. (I have to say in my defense, though -- I used to think being judgmental was a totally horrible, unfair characteristic to have. But as I get older, I think I'm starting to see that being judgING is a good thing. To have beliefs, standards, boundaries. Yes, I must be judicious and kind in how I judge me and those around me. But this judging is not an entirely bad thing. Anger, incorrect assumptions and pessimism, though ... yeah, I'd love to get rid of those, or at least convert them into something useful.)

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I would love for my family to realize that their happiness and joy does not depend on me being married. Otherwise, they're all pretty great; I'd keep them just as they are.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I haven't achieved it yet.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"You know ..." and "I feel like ..."

On what occasion do you lie?
When I'm desperate to protect myself or someone I love.

What is your most treasured possession?
The cross around my neck; Bob and his family; my 12-year-old Bible and all my journals; my books.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Having God turn His face away.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I multi-task. A lot.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Thoughfulness towards and about everything and everyone. Faithfulness. Fearlessness in standing up for his beliefs and for what is right. Humility supported by strength. Also, a nice smell.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Confidence in her uniqueness. Warmth. Intelligence. Unrestrained laughter.

What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to trust myself in them, and to have them trust themselves in me.

Who are your favorite writers?
Jane Austen; C.S. Lewis; Annie Dillard; David McCullough.

Who is your favorite hero(ine) of fiction?
Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird; Elizabeth Bennett, from Pride and Prejudice; Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My father.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Jesus Christ, and ... hee.

Which living person do you most admire?
My father.

Which living person do you most despise?
Kim Jong-Il.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Selfish, closed, inwardly-turned eyes and heart. This seems to be the root of everything else deplorable, doesn't it?

What is it that you most dislike?
Rudeness, exacerbated by an unawareness of that rudeness or an unwillingness to care to remove the rudeness.

How would you like to die?
Having lived a life of honour, integrity and joy.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Well, now, you know I don't believe in things like that. But if there were such a thing, I think I would like to come back as ... well, me again.

What is your motto?
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." (Ps. 31:24)

Sunday, November 12


When you're so tired and exhausted and your brain can't function to full capacity anymore, that you arrive home after a 10-minute drive and realize you have no idea how and when you got to your driveway. Thank goodness for latent memory.



When really good dancers and rappers on "Showtime at the Apollo" have you so jacked up that you can't go to sleep.



When you normally really hate pizza, but the day before a scheduled pizza dinner, your taste buds are craving it.



When you have to finally clean your house after a tornado-y two weeks in anticipation of guests. I thought I would suffocate from the mess, but had no energy to tidy up for my own benefit. Good to know I can still be shamed into cleanliness.

Friday, November 10

AS IF! . . .

There are people out there who would just LOVE it if I could say ANYthing in a mere two words. Well, this one's for you, and you can thank Unlimited Mood for constraining me to two-word answers to the following questions.

1. Explain what ended your last relationship.
Saw light. Much better. Happier now.

2. When was the last time you shaved?
Yesterday morning. Smoother legs. Stubble already?

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
Headed out. Working girl. Falling asleep. Commuter train.

4. Were you any good at math?
Notoriously bad. Not stupid! Just unskilled. (Hated algebra. Failed trigonometry. Geometry bit. Loved Calculus.)

5. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
Watching movie. Knitting hat.

6. Your prom night?
Such drama.

7. Do you have any famous ancestors?
Allegedly royalty.

8. Have you had to take a loan out for school?
Of course! Grad school. Worth it.

9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?
MySpace evil. Stay away!

10. Last thing received in the mail?
Store coupon. Clothing catalog. New book. Annual report.

11. How many different beverages have you had today?
Cool water. Dark coffee. Diet Coke.

12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine?
Hate phone. Never talk. Emergencies only. Prefer email.

13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?
High school. Billy Joel. Yankee Stadium. Best concert.

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
Never ever. Dislike beach. Grainy sand. Unpredictable ocean.

15. What's the most painful dental procedure you've had?
Wisdom teeth. Big needle. Gag reflex. Aching gums.

16. What is out your back door?
Outdoor deck. Neighbor's deck. Blue sky.

17. Any plans for Friday night?
Competing engagements. Totally undecided. Perhaps neither. Me time.

18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
Hardly ever. Too wilty.

19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
Totally gross. Never yet. Thank goodness.

20. Have you ever been to a planetarium?
Yes indeed! So pleasurable. Good company.

21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?
Of course. Who doesn't? (Ha, ha! Mabel answer!)

22. Some things you are excited about?
My Mondays. B's company. Successful events. Girls' time.

23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?
Hate Jello. Gags me.

24. Describe your keychain(s).
Conference souvenir. Mostly functional.

25. Where do you keep your change?
Various jars. Must redeem. Need bills.

Thursday, November 9


This afternoon, I went to the bathroom, and when I got back to my cubicle, the ENTIRE FLOOR had vanished. Gone, in the mere 36 seconds that it takes for me to walk to the ladies' room, pee, and return. It's like The Rapture happened, and I got left behind.

Note: apparently, they all left for some massive company-wide meeting off-site. Understandable, then. But still: the stealth and mass-exodus nature of the exit, completed in a mere 36 seconds, is miraculous and super-natural to me.

Tuesday, November 7


Election 2006 is finally over, thank the good and merciful Lord. Happy (or unhappy, depending on where you stand) results notwithstanding, has it not just been a miserable year for all of us? I mean, could the advertisements and campaign tactics be ANY worse, ANY lower, ANY meaner, ANY more worthless when it came to actually advertising the candidate?! B and I were shaking our heads over this last night, and we came to the unhappy conclusion that there is to be no "regression" -- no return to clean campaigning, no return to a forum where the issues take precedence, no return to a place lacking mudslinging, no return to an honest fight.

And the worst part of it all? So many campaigns used the President of the United States against their opponents. There was so much hatred, so great a disdain, so little respect for the leader of the free world, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, that to have his name attached to a candidate was to be considered a CURSE. I disagree with Shrub on so many counts, and I am counting down the days to January 29, 2009. But at the end of the day, the man is still my Commander in Chief. He's still the leader of my country. He's still my President. I would still preserve some shred of dignity for him. It's a sad, sad day in a sad, sad nation where no one else feels that way and rather use his name as a talisman against winning.

Deep heavy sigh.

On another note, it's sort of funny watching people's concession and victory speeches. There's always the obligatory glorious nod to the family members and loyal spouse. If the victor is speaking, we also have the obligatory victor-walks-over-to-the-spouse-to-kiss-said-spouse. It's so ... cheesy. And in the case of Eliot Spitzer, it's even worse because he then follows all that up with saying, "Boo-ya!"

Why? Why would you do that?

Well, my conclusory statements on a political season I failed to follow with any sort of deep or committed interest: the next two years should be interesting. Forward march to Clinton/Obama 2008.

Meet the newest member of the family:

Pipsqueak Baby Mumble Shuffle Cha.
We call him Pip.
He's cute.
Apple is brilliant.



So I was sitting at Starbucks over the weekend and had a Mabel moment: a 5-year-old boy was playing with his younger brother and some Starbucks stickers. At one point, the little brother became a bit too rowdy with the stickers, so the 5-year-old declared, "He's crazy as an ox!"

The mother's head flipped up: "WHAT?"

"Crazy as an ox. He's crazy as an ox!"

It was all I could do to keep my soy chai latte from leaping out of my mouth onto the table in front of me.

Post-script: When the mother tried to pack up her kids to leave, the 5-year-old declared in protest, "I've only been here a muffin and a half!"

Brilliance is everywhere.

Thursday, November 2


I love how I complain about people who have no capacity for original thought ... and now find myself in the same exact position. I console myself by telling myself that if I had a little more sleep, or if I had not had that draining conversation the other night, or if I didn't have so much on my plate, I would be physically able to come up with scintillating, intelligent, exciting and unique things to share with whoever wants to share them with me. Who knows, though, if that would actually be the case? For now, I'm settling for quiet evenings of music and mini-camp, repeat episodes of "Without a Trace," and this:

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Cablevision. Cablevision sucks. It just does. And there's no way that what they're giving me is worth what I'm paying them.

2. What's the best place to eat a romantic dinner?
I haven't been there yet, but I'm due for a nice garlicky, dimly-lit Italian dinner in a few days. I'll let you know if it lives up to all of the expectations ... but really, it's the company one keeps, isn't it?

3. Last time you puked from drinking?
Sophomore year of college. NEVER. AGAIN.

4. When is the last time you got drunk and danced on a bar?
Never. Please, have some dignity.

5. Name of your first grade teacher?
Mrs. Gravely. All my classmates called her Mrs. Gravy and I felt so bad for her because she was so, so sweet.

6. What do you really want to be doing right now?
That which I will be doing at 10:30p tonight.

7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
The first Korean-American astronaut to take to space ... a pediatrician (thank you, Cheech, for carrying my torch so faithfully) ... a lawyer. Hey, one for three ain't bad.

8. How many colleges did you attend?
One, and sometimes I wish I could do it all over again so I could really get my money's worth.

9. Why did you wear the shirt that you have on right now?
It's grey out today and the world needed a splash of colour.

10. GAS PRICES! First thought?
I'm glad they're dropping, but I'm still going to Jersey for fuel.

11. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you...
Manhattan, and ... hee. I'm not telling.

12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
"I wish I was sick so I could call in sick and sleep some more ... oh wait, but then I'd be sick."

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Either "When is this response going to come?" or "I. Love. My. Bed."

14. Favorite style of underwear?
Nobody needs to know what my favorite style of underwear is, lest you think that is also the underwear I wear, and maybe it is, but you still don't need to know.

15. Favorite style of underwear for the opposite/same sex?
Boxer briefs.

16. What errand/chore do you despise?
Folding dried laundry.

17. If you didn't have to work, would you volunteer at an art gallery?

18. Get up early or sleep in?
Get up early -- there's too much to miss!

19. What is your favorite cartoon character?
I have vague memories of those who used to be my favorites from "M.A.S.K." and "G.I. Joe." And of course, what girl did not want to be Jem (Jem is excitement, ooooh Jem, Jem is adventure!)?!

20. Favorite NON-sexual thing to do at night with a girl/guy?

21. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?
San Francisco.

22. Number of texts in a day?
Zero. I watch people text message, and they all have their mouths hanging open, and their thumbs are cramping up, and you just KNOW that their grammar and punctuation have gone to the dogs. Horrible.

23. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or relationship?

24. Your favorite lunch meat?
Does a mozzarella, tomato and basil combination count?

25. What do you get every time you go into Costco?
I'm a BJ's girl myself, but I pick pasta, pasta sauce, and paper goods. Booooooring.

26. Beach or lake?
Lake. I'm less likely to get swept out somewhere.

27. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual that was invented by people who died at 20?
No. Don't be ridiculous.

28. Who do you stalk on MySpace?
I think MySpace is evil and refuse to have anything to do with it.

29. Favorite guilty pleasure?
Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide ice cream; buying books on Amazon; repeat episodes of "Top Chef."

30. Favorite movie you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?
I have a very low embarrassment threshold so I'm not that ashamed of any of my movie-viewing choices. But people seem to laugh a lot when I say that "The Sound of Music" is my favorite movie of all time.

31. What's your drink?
Soy chai latte (thanks, TinyCricket) and room-temperature water.

32. Cowboys or Indians?
For what?

33. Cops or Robbers?
I don't understand this question.

34. Do you cheer for the bad guy?
In movies, sometimes. In real life, never. But then again, so little is easily penned into black-and-white.

35. What Hollywood star do you think resembles you best?
Name me a Korean-American Hollywood star and there might be your answer. Oh wait, there are none. Riiiight. (Yes, that is an indictment of the Hollywood community, so read as much rage into that as you wish.) However, I have been likened to: Phoebe, from "Friends;" Monica, from "Friends;" Elaine, from "Seinfeld;" and Sarah Jessica Parker. You figure it out because I sure as heck can't.

36. If you had to pick one, which cast member of "Lost" would you be?
Would I BE? Why? So that I too can be stuck on a weird desert island that isn't actually deserted and is frighteningly bizarre and spooky and dangerous? Uh, no. But I would like to be WITH Sawyer. Cheeky grin.

37. What do you want when you are sick?
Orange juice, which I despise when I am healthy. And my mommy.

38. Who from high school would you like to run into?
My Spanish teacher, Sr. McKenney.

39. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
AM: 880 News. FM: 93.9 NPR.

40. Norm or Cliff?
Didn't watch enough episodes to know the difference.

41. "The Cosby Show" or "The Simpsons?"
Definitely "The Cosby Show." For a long time as a child, I felt that my family was the Korean version of the show.

42. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?

43. Do you like the person who sits directly across from you at work?
I don't know her at all, but she seems nice.

44. If you could get away with it, who would you kill?
Nobody. I just don't think I have it in me. Plus, it's just not right.

45. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Former President Bill Clinton.

46. What famous person would you like to sleep with?
You know, I never got into the whole fantasize-about-a-famous-person-and-wish-to-bed-them thing. I mean, I think that certain male actors are very handsome and I wouldn't mind just spending some time gazing upon them and perhaps smelling their clean fresh man scent. But I just don't get all hot & bothered by famous people. Sometimes, a facial expression or a profile shot or the shirt one is wearing will remind me of someone I know in real life, and I'll wish that real person were next to me so I could snuggle up next to him and smell him, but I have never and don't expect to ever long to be with the famous counterpart. Anyway, that's the long preface to a short answer: no one.

47. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
No, neither to extinguish a fire nor to knock an intruder over the head.

48. Last book you read for real?
"Honestly," by Sheila Walsh.



The bathroom at the office gives out FREE tampons and FREE sanitary napkins! FREE! I just think that's really nice.



Apparently, the firm is having some sort of event tonight where the employees will be split up into teams to engage in some sort of friendly competitions. So all afternoon, people up and down the hall have been coming up with team names and engaging in some really funny trash-talking. One team is going to be "The Vaders" (as in Darth Vader); another, evidently, is going to be "Chupacabra" (and just listening to people butcher the word is fun enough).

But hands down, the name that made me laugh out loud in my little cubicle here was this: "e. coli."

"Why?," the name-giver was asked. "Because it's the virus that makes you bleed from the inside out and eventually kills you," she said.


Tuesday, October 31


It's always gobs of fun when, at 12:01a, someone grabs me by the shoulders, looks me straight in the eye with all the care and feeling he can muster, and says, "Please, can I be the first one to say this year: happy birthday!"

(And then I sort of have to giggle to myself because somebody else already said it a couple of days ago just in case she missed it, but that's alright because it's just different, you know what I mean?)

So, hooray for me! Thanks, Omma and Appa for bringing me here, and thanks, God, for giving me life (and for letting today be a beautiful day, because the rainy ones are nice too, but sometimes a little sun just hits the spot), and thanks, everyone who loves me and cares for me, for making every day seem like a special day.

Sunday, October 22


Oh my gosh, I am so, so, so tired right now. And this is just the beginning. Just when I think I can put my feet up, I find myself facing a whirlwind season all over again. Do they still make Calgon? And where might it take me?



Things that frustrated me today:

1. People who don't know what's missing in their lives, and therefore don't make any effort to fill the void with good and right things.

2. People who think they know everything about something, and assume that others ascribe to the same philosophy ... without asking to see if they're just taking up space.

3. The slow progression of things, which seems to either (a) just make me crazy, and/or (b) just lay the groundwork for future confusion and muck.

4. Folks who know exactly what's wrong with themselves, but make no discernible effort to change.

5. Food boredom. My refrigerator is stocked but I can't seem to find a single thing to eat. I feel horrible that in the face of all the people starving and malnutritioned in this world, I have the wicked gall to be bored with the contents of my fridge.

6. The fact that some wonderful and significant and true things were spoken ... and the people I wish would hear it weren't around to hear it.

7. My constant nasal congestion -- it forces me to become the dreaded Mouth Breather.

8. Those who are alleged to have a good heart and right intentions, but just end up expressing themselves harshly, meanly, critically, judgmentally, and selfishly.



But of course, that was only half the day. There are also things that made me joyful today:

1. Sitting with a brother.

2. Receiving gobs of God's goodness from The Boy Band.

3. Productivity.

4. Hearing hearty laughter after an embarrassing moment. It's good to be around people who can healthily laugh at themselves. Send me a postcard; tell me about your trip, won't you?

5. A wide awake Pork Bun chugging formula in my arms, then nuzzling himself to sleep on my shoulder.

6. My warm worm.

7. Inside jokes brought into the open. Makes the secret less burdensome.

8. The prospect of a good night's rest, covered by grace and a heavy Korean faux-mink blanket.

Friday, October 20


1. A woman whose voice sounds exactly like Laura from the most recent season of "Project Runway." Every time she talks, I wig out.

2. "... I live in NEW YORK, you dumbass ..."

3. "... Jack Bauer ..."

4. "... genital warts ..."

5. "... no, you hang up. No, YOU. No, I love YOU. No, YOU hang up ..."

6. "... what should I get me for my birthday? ..."



I was at Starbucks today picking up my latest addiction, the Soy Chai Latte. The lady in front of me clarified her order to the new cashier who had not heard her correctly the first time around. He had to recalculate, using his brain and not the cash register. And so while the lady in front of me stood waiting with her palm held out for the additional change due to her, the new cashier stood facing her, not saying a word. His mouth hung open. He stared without blinking at the cash register. His arms hung slack at his sides. Seconds, nay minutes? ticked by.

And isn't it terrible that all I could think was, "Look, he can't do math either."



I'm sleeping over in Canada tonight, hanging with the G-Units so Dr.G can give me a flu shot in the morning. Is that not the most efficient way to obtain a flu shot? To drive 40 minutes north of one's home, spend the night at a friend's home, sleep in in the morning, then drive even more north to Dr.G's office? Eh, whatever. It's fun here in Canada. (And of course I'm going to hear it from Mrs.G that I brought my laptop and am lying in her guest bedroom using her free wireless access. Nerd.)

Thursday, October 19

SILLY . . .

Two quick things that crack me up:

1. I'm now the girl who wears a comfortable pair of shoes TO work, then changes into nice dress shoes AT work. Granted, I have not yet become the white-tube-sock-and-white-high-tops-wearing lady, but when I peel off my socks and boots to slip into some pointy high-heel pumps, I can't help but feel a little bit frumpy.

2. I have limited exposure to Sascha Baron Cohen as Ali G, but I thoroughly enjoyed him as King Julian in "Madagascar." Now, he's apparently bringing another one of his characters to life on the big screen. The title of this soon-to-be masterpiece? "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." That is so awesome.



Barack Obama is everywhere in the news lately, and I for one don't mind that much. I'm not usually one for hero-worship of people I don't actually know, and politicians are usually last on my list (unfortunately, because I think there was a time and a place in this country's history when politicians WERE worthy of some degree of worship from the populace ... you know, back when public servants actually served the people ... although that statement in and of itself sounds so naive too ...). But Obama seems like the real deal. (Even as I say that, I feel a twinge in my stomach, as if I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the skeletons in his closet to come tumbling out, and I hate that I have become that cynical.) He intrigues me, so I picked up the latest issue of Time Magazine, which has his head big and front and center on the cover. The magazine excerpts his latest book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, and I excerpt the excerpt here. I apologize for the length of my excerpting ... some of it was too good to put aside ... another book to add to my growing pile of To Read's ...

    ... also points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds--dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets--and coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness are not enough. They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives, something that will relieve a chronic loneliness or lift them above the exhausting, relentless toll of daily life. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them--that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway toward nothingness.

    Out of necessity, the black church had to minister to the whole person. Out of necessity, the black church rarely had the luxury of separating individual salvation from collective salvation. It had to serve as the center of the community's political, economic, and social as well as spiritual life; it understood in an intimate way the biblical call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and challenge powers and principalities. In the history of these struggles, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; rather, it was an active, palpable agent in the world.

    And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship, the grounding of faith in struggle, that the historically black church offered me a second insight: that faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts, or that you relinquish your hold on this world. Long before it became fashionable among television evangelists, the typical black sermon freely acknowledged that all Christians (including the pastors) could expect to still experience the same greed, resentment, lust, and anger that everyone else experienced. The gospel songs, the happy feet, and the tears and shouts all spoke of a release, an acknowledgment, and finally a channeling of those emotions. In the black community, the lines between sinner and saved were more fluid; the sins of those who came to church were not so different from the sins of those who didn't, and so were as likely to be talked about with humor as with condemnation. You needed to come to church precisely because you were of this world, not apart from it; rich, poor, sinner, saved, you needed to embrace Christ precisely because you had sins to wash away--because you were human and needed an ally in your difficult journey, to make the peaks and valleys smooth and render all those crooked paths straight. It was because of these newfound understandings--that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic and social justice, or otherwise retreat from the world that I knew and loved--that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized.

    When we abandon the field of religious discourse--when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome--others will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.

    Of course organized religion doesn't have a monopoly on virtue, and one not need be religious to make moral claims or appeal to a common good. But we should not avoid making such claims or appeals--or abandon any reference to our rich religious traditions--in order to avoid giving offense. Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in addressing some of our most urgent social problems. After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect 10-point plan. They are also rooted in societal indifference and individual callousness--the desire among those at the top of the social ladder to maintain their wealth and status whatever the cost, as well as the despair and self-destructiveness among those at the bottom.

Friday, October 13

NEWBIE . . .

Welcome, Pork Bun! 19" long, 6lbs., 4oz. at birth. NOT wrinkly and shriveled, Mabel says. We'll see ... and of course, I consider it the greatest joke on all of us that the one of us who has the lowest tolerance for pain is the one who births without an epidural. Very funny, God, veeeeery funny.



The 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and the bank he founded, Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. This man and his bank loaned small, even tiny, amounts of money to people -- mostly women -- so that they could start or sustain a small business. His bank funded people that larger banks would deem uncreditworthy, poor risks ... and proved that MICROCREDIT WORKS. And, as the Nobel Committee rightly noted, "attacking poverty is essential to peace, and that private enterprise is essential to attacking poverty." The possibilities are endless, and this man's successful model is admirable and so, so hopeful.


HEE-HAW . . .

On a completely different note, it cracks me up that when I use the handicap stall in the women's bathroom here at work (only when I have to! I commit a lot of social blunders, but willfully taking handicap parking spots and using handicap bathroom stalls is not one of them!) ... my feet don't reach the ground. So there I sit, my feet swinging happily back and forth, back and forth. Makes me feel like a child again, and these days, that's not such a bad thing ...



Sometimes, I have a hard time understanding things that other people seem to understand just fine. Or I find myself embroiled in some major misunderstanding about something that could and should have been very easily understood. And I guess it's just natural that these things happen most with the people I am closest to -- there is a sort of danger and complacency of closeness and intimacy, and when we start assuming things about each other, the poo hits the fan. Which is so ironic, because we both also relish not having to explain everything, and not having to say everything out loud. There is pleasure in knowing one can step away from the table because the other will know what you want to order to eat ... in completing each other's sentences, or merely ending phrases with, "you know, right?" and knowing that the other does indeed know ... in trusting that quiet and silence does not mean anger or trouble-brewing, but just means thoughtfulness, whether in turmoil or in peace. Unfortunately, base human nature and insecurity infiltrates now and then anyway, and this pleasure is tained. There is grace, still, in seeing what "progress" really is: quicker reconciliation, an adjustment to assumptions that are right and good, and a willingness to move on, not in denial but in utter acceptance.



Sometimes, when I get no sleep, I function much better the next day than if I had gotten a solid six or seven hours of sleep. Huh. Maybe it's the happy hormones.



Rock on, my man.

Thursday, October 12

IT'S A PLANE . . .

Cory Lidle, a Yankees pitcher, flew his private plane into an Upper East Side apartment building the other day, killing himself and his flight instructor (it's unclear who was actually flying the plane; I use "flew" loosely). So sad and scary. Was there a New Yorker yesterday whose hands did not shake with at least a small tremor, for at least a short while? Sad and scary, sad and scary, sad and scary. If this is our life, the terrorists are winners.



I have no basis upon which to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway: e.coli and botulism in our salad greens and vegetable juices = terrorist infiltration?

Sure, nuclear missiles and blowing up buildings are grand and horrific gestures ... but poisoning our food is certainly more insidious. Americans, we like to eat. And when our food is messed with, we freak out. And if there are people out there who relish watching Americans freak out, this would be the route to go. Sad and scary, sad and scary.

Still, I sure do miss spinach. I must have eaten spinach five out of seven days, in various forms, prior to the e.coli alerts. No other dark leafy green compares (and everything else makes my pee smell strange).



Mabel is about to deliver her son ... potentially named Jason ... probably on Friday the 13th, if the Pitocin works as planned. Not sad, but still scary!

My knitting schedule has been suddenly bumped up by about nine days. I'll be awash in wool and angora tonight.

Keeping my heart's fingers crossed and my palms together in prayer ...

Friday, October 6

BRRRR . . .

It's cold. I turned on the heat in the car for the first time this autumn season today. It was delicious.


AUTUMN . . .

We spent over an hour researching the etymology of the word "autumn." Didn't find out much, except that it comes from the Latin "autmnus." That's it. Just "autumnus." Etymology blows my mind -- it is bizarre to think of language and words and where it all came from ... and the fact that "autumn" seems not to mean anything.



In the Korean tradition, on a baby's first birthday, the family throws THE. MOST. ENORMOUS. FEAST. Bigger even than a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, no joke! And at the end of the party, right before the Korean dduk (rice cake) is cut and passed around, the parents of the baby set out on a low table a whole bunch of things: a bowl of rice, a strand of yarn, a pencil, a book, some money. Each item has a fortune-telling type significance: prosperity, long life, good grades, an intellectual life, wealth.

Me, I picked up a book, and that has dictated the course of my life in all ways. No, I am NOT an intellectual in ANY sense; I don't think an overactive imagination renders me "intellectual," although I have been called "thoughtful," but I think those people think I'm thinking logical and meaningful thoughts. But I have loved books, sometimes more than I have loved real life or loved real people ... and so this meme speaks to me so deeply. Thanks, TinyCricket.

1. Book that changed my life: The Holy Bible, obviously ... and not-so-obviously, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells. The Holy Bible taught and continues to teach me about life and truth; Divine Secrets taught and continues to teach me about the truthful things in life, like friendship, sisterhood, family, tradition, fun, healing, and ridiculous snot-blowing laughter.

2. Book that you've read more than once: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I read it faster and faster each time I go through it because I know entire passages and conversations by heart now. But it has yet to stop speaking new things to me.

3. Book you'd want on a deserted island: The Holy Bible. Is it not the food I eat?

4. Book that made you laugh: A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel. The anecdotes ... I actually spit out food at a few of the humorous surprises.

5. Book that made you cry: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. I recently finished it, and was in the company of a friend who became suddenly alarmed that all of a sudden, in the middle of Starbucks, after a wonderful dinner and coffee and chat session, I was weeping hysterically. It took five minutes to convince him I was alright ... but how can one be alright after reading a book like this? Weighty, true, piercing, awful, uplifting, desperate, reminiscent, revealing. Ouch.

6. Book that you wish you had written: The Namesake. He, Indian. Me, Korean. We coud've been the same person.

7. Book you don't enjoy: I really, really, really did not like The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen. I made myself read it and read it and read it. I finally got to the last nine pages of the monstrous monstrosity ... and then I closed the book and put it down. I just could not finish it. Not even the last nine pages. I just couldn't. I am still so annoyed that I gave in to the hype and bought the damn thing.

8. Book you are currently reading: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards. Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance, by Noam Chomsky is up next, probably tomorrow.

9. Book you've been meaning to read: The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. But rats, someone just borrowed it, and I didn't have the backbone to say "NO I HAVEN'T READ IT YET!!!!!" I just asked her to write my name in it, and am currently praying that it finds its way back to me somehow ...

10. Book you remember as a real page-turner: The Alienist, by Caleb Carr. I picked it up, along with a bunch of friends, in the middle of my senior year of college. I stayed up late every night until I finished it, partly because I wanted to find out what happened in the next chapter, but mostly because I was too scared to turn off the light and go to sleep. If the L.O.L.'s will recall, I believe I refused to read it with the door closed, and even slept one night with the door open, so people could hear if I was being brutally murdered in my dorm room.

11. Non-fiction books you've enjoyed: "The Tipping Point," by Malcolm Gladwell; "John Adams," by David McCullough; "Soul Survivor," by Philip Yancey; "Truman," by David McCullough; "The Holy Bible."

12. Children's books your family has loved: Well, my family enjoyed Korean folk tales, and I still have the huge glossy picture books to prove it. I can't wait for children of my own so I can read these books to them, too. But as for English-language books ... the first NICE books my parents bought me were the Little House on the Prairie books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I got the whole set of them in a huge box, all at once, at a book fair at my elementary school; it was a splurge for my parents at the time, because we were kind of po'. I still treasure them, and judging from how my parents never ask me to clean them off of my shelf or throw them out or give them away, I believe they do too.

Wednesday, October 4


I don't know why this is so exciting to me, but it is ... at least for now. It's only Day Two, after all. It's also exciting to me that I'm a CONSULTANT. After years and years of not knowing what the heck my consultant friends do, I consider it the ultimate irony that I have joined their ranks. As best as I can tell, consultants help people. Corporate people doing corporate things, but still people. So, go me.

And so, I'm helping a friend and her team at her office, deep within corporate America. They have rules and stuff about confidentiality, and it would just be awfully embarrassing for my friend if I were fired for indiscretion ... so I speak obliquely. Suffice to say, knowing that my consulting term is short-term and has an end in sight, I am LOVING corporate America. Well ... allow me to clarify: I love corporate America's unlimited free coffee, free Poland Spring water, free Coca-Cola beverages and free juice in several varieties. (There's also Yoo-Hoo in the huge corporate sub-zero refrigerator, but I don't touch the stuff, so it's irrelevant to me.) I love corporate America's provision of utensils and napkins, microwave ovens, office supplies and first-aid products. And most of all, I love corporate America's proximity to Grand Central Station, which gets me door to door -- walking and train-ing -- in less than one hour. LESS THAN ONE HOUR. It's just fantastic.

I'm still looking for The Perfect Public Service Position, don't get me wrong. But not before I give myself an ulcer from all this free coffee ...



People are unhappy. If there's anything you notice while sitting on the commuter train in and out of New York City, it's that people are unhappy. Some are sour, others are angry, a few are severely depressed; but they are all unhappy.

It makes me pray even harder. For them, and for me, because I'm not happy all the time either, but I have joy, and yes, my friends, there is a difference. And it would just be the cat's meow if everyone could know this Joy.

(There are also some downright straaaaaange folks out there too. I'm torn: do I catch a nap or people-watch?)


FOUND . . .

"Lost" is back tonight. THANK. THE. LORD.

Actually, by all accounts, this fall season is looking pretty good for new shows. I don't have the time or the attention span to check them out on the television ... which is why I also thank God for iTunes. No commercials, my friends, no commercials.

The thing is, though ... all the new dramas seem to be imitating "Lost." So ... I might just watch "Lost" only, because you just can't beat an original.



C and MJ went to Game 1 last night (my goodness, where did the summer go?!) and HUNG OUT WITH MAYOR GIULIANI!!!!!

So envious am I. Now THERE'S a Republican I could vote for. Plus, his lisp is just too endearing.

Rudy took a picture with MJ ... and JUDI NATHAN. I told C he should've asked Judi to take the picture instead.



I've become one of those women. You know, they who wear one pair of shoes to work, and another pair of shoes AT work. I haven't yet pulled on the white tube socks with sneakers ... but who knows what I'll look like once cold and inclement weather sets in ...

Sunday, September 24


From today's New York Times: "A stark assessment has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."

No duh.

Friday, September 8


(Been without Bob for far too long now. It's all for the best -- he's getting new guts and new brains, which will simply make him live longer, and that's all I want, because he's just the best little PowerBook G4 ever made, he really is. And I've been managing -- scrounging about and appealing to the mercy of my parents and Mabel for the use of their computers. PCs all, but they suit my needs for now. I understand the reason for Bob's absence, though. God's been telling me a bunch of stuff, including "stop browing the sale pages of -- the merchandise is the same and you STILL can't afford any of it" and "I refuse to let you send that nasty email you wanted to send, because it won't do any good and no, you won't feel any better after you send it." See, anyone who says that God isn't real or that He's silent ... you've got to be in my shoes, because He seems to bonk me over the head loud and clear all the time with His little messages. Anyhow. My parents are kicking me out of their house, if you can believe it. Computerless again, I am. Bob, I miss you. I love you. I hope they're taking gooooood care of you in Olathe, Kansas. Thank you, MacResQ, for all your hard work. Take good care of Bob. He's my first son.)

Tuesday, August 29


One year later, the work continues.

So does our care.

So many things to never forget ... don't worry; we won't.

Saturday, August 26


I'm a freelancer.

Oh yeah. I always thought it was sort of glamorous when people said they were "freelancing." It sounds so ... independent. Adventurous. Mysterious. Beautiful. Free and clear with the wind blowing through your hair.

Of course, all those people I read and heard of were freelance PHOTOGRAPHERS, or freelance WRITERS, or freelance JOURNALISTS, or freelance SPIES. Still, the allure of the word still holds for me ... even if all I'm doing is helping a friend out with some legal stuff.

Oh yeah. I'm a FREELANCE ATTORNEY. Love it.



It is nice, thought, to use my brain in this way again. Not that I didn't enjoy coordinating large events and parties, or co-leading a Missions/Outreach Team at church all year, or helping Mabel lead the women's Bible study this summer, or any of the myriad random other things I have been doing with my time. But it's just different. This is, for better or worse, what I was created and trained to do. It's wonderful to feel that I'm fulfilling my destiny.

Of course, I'm plagued by self-doubt, as always. (What is it in me, or in any of us, that so prevents us from being satisfied with our skills and intelligence and training, and confident in how we use them?) It has been so long since I've researched, analyzed, critiqued, written, persuaded. I don't want to let my friend down with my FREELANCE WORK ... and God knows, I don't want to wake up the day after I hand it in realizing I'm not as sharp as I thought I was.



I can't clean my heart out, so I cleaned my house instead.

Well, not my whole house. The living room is still a shambles, and the kitchen ... I just don't know how I accumulate so much stuff in the kitchen. But my office ... it's getting there. It's only slightly neater than it was yesterday, only a tiny bit more organized, but I sincerely believe that every little bit counts.

I did have a moment, though, where I opened up my office closet, looked at the collection of stuff inside and thought, "it's going to take me a lifetime to go through this." So ... I closed the door and left it for another day. Basically, I need a dumpster outside my office window, into which I can just chuck things willy-nilly. I can be so lazy that the mere thought of having to CARRY garbage to the garbage can outside can deter me from cleaning.

For now, it's enough that my files are filed, and my papers are in their rightful place.

(Incidentally ... my heart is still not clean. I wish the Container Store had something for that which I am enduring ...)



You'll never hear me say this again, I'm sure ... but with Sunday seemingly impossible to handle ... I wish it was Monday already.

Friday, August 25


It's been hard to have any lately. Lots going on; simultaneously, nothing going on. Could I feel more schizophrenic? (And how do I know I'm not?)


Dr.G says I'm perfectly fine -- the blood does not lie! -- but that still doesn't explain the chronic joint pain, the fitful sleep (if any at all), and more recently, the bloody noses. Is this simply what it is to get older, even by a day, a week, a month, a year? Is this the body's way of simply shutting down, minute by minute? I'm not completely dismayed; I'm just sort of amazed at the circle of life -- that it begins, it goes, and then it ends, all in its own perfect rhythm. It's so perfect and beautiful, in a way, that it convinces me more and more of God's sovereignty each day. Even as I wipe my nose again.


B didn't write or call. Am I surprised? Neither did I.


I will be making some extra cash in the next few days. This is a VERY VERY GOOD thing. I've been wise so far, but the pinch is on. I'm surprised though ... I always thought I was the poor one in the gang. But Oprah is right -- there is no more middle class. We are ALL poor. Yikes.

Whether we are single, married, married with kids, whatever ... the money crunch is always on. Omma always told me that the number one reason couples fight is money. I believe it now. I can see how stressful it can be -- having to put food on the table for your family (or for yourself), having to put gas in your car, having to pay the bills, wanting to spend time with your friends but wondering "are we really going to order bad pizza again and pay $7 a person for it?!" That sucks.

So the new resolve is on. I will (and must) be wiser about my cash flow; and I will (and must) help my friends be the same. (And is it terrible of me that I don't feel so bad and down-in-the-dumps about being the poor friend anymore? I don't want to MAKE people join me in my faux misery ... but it is sort of nice not being there alone.)


It was really dark when I came out into the living room this morning -- low clouds blanketed the sky. It felt so cozy; I sat with my coffee and stared out at the dark grey out-of-doors. But then, it started pouring like mad, and the sky lightened up. Now, I sit in a cottony haze of light grey, and my eyes almost sting from the brightness of the rainy sky. Cool.


What have I been learning lately, for one must always be learning something, I think .... Patience. Prayer. Receiving wisdom and truth. Receiving concern. Letting people take care of me. Focus. Who I am vs. who I must be. Obedience. Trust for today, faith for tomorrow. Decision-making. Personal resolve. Why being proud is not always good. That I am not always right. That God is strong, powerful, gentle, loving beyond imagination, purposeful, kind, merciful, and that He speaks loudly.


I feel like I've done this one a million times over, but it's still mildly entertaining ...


Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Madam Secretary, by Madeleine Albright is on deck.

No mouse pad; just a PowerBook G4 trackpad for me, thanks.


Real Simple; People; SELF.

Coffee in the morning; fresh clean B; kimchi jigae.

God; B; the weather outside.

To look at: red and orange.
To wear: brown and pink.

I don't like to look at royal blue, and I don't think I look that great in yellow.

Do I ever answer the phone? What the heck is voicemail for?

Oh no, I ain't telling because (1) I don't want to jinx myself into NOT having children; and (2) I don't want tensions to arise from a potential name-steal.

That which is hardest: to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbour above myself.




Cool, particularly when there's lots of thunder and wind. Tornados, on the other hand ... VERY VERY SCARY.

Seriously? My mom's silver Cadillac DeVille. OH YEAH.

My paternal grandfather.

I don't drink so much anymore, but if I had to fall back on a good ol' standby, I'd say ... Black Russian.

Scorpio. (That explains everything, doesn't it? Yeah, yeah, I know.)

It's the best part!

I can't possibly narrow my desires down! Professor of English Literature at Columbia University; federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York; high school English teacher; events coordinator for an organization like World Vision; an international legal consultant for an organization like International Justice Mission; super-with-it-and-hip mother and wife ...

Dark brown with two very thick and wiry strands of white.

Oh yes.

(Why do they ask me to choose just one?) If I must ... and I say this as the titles of all my other favorite movies flit across my mind's eye ... I'll go with "The Sound of Music."

Mostly, but I am realizing that I rarely use my pinkies. Poor neglected things.


Yankee baseball live. Yankee baseball on television.

That I will die with nothing to show for my life, and nothing to show for God.

I lifted it from Aunt Murry, whom I don't really know, but I hear she has kind things to say to TinyCricket, which makes her grade-A in my book.

What the heck is a CD? My favorite iTunes playlist is my "P&W Jams."


Ketchup for hamburgers, fries, eggs and Korean fried rice. Mustard for hot dogs and pretzels.

Definitely both.

I don't usually drink a lot of soda, but 7-UP always makes me feel refreshed and nostalgic for my childhood, and it goes with everything.

Nyack State Park & Beach with B; Block Island with the LOLs; Yankee games with Cheech; and most recently, Ithaca with the gang.

Errr ... I choose not to answer this question.

I don't read comics anymore, but I had a real faithful Calvin & Hobbes phase back in the day.