Friday, February 24

POO ON YOU . . .

Screw you, betrayers and gossip-mongers. As long as the world turns, there will always be people like you: people who jump to conclusions, people who make up stories in their own heads, people who always want to be in the know even about things that have nothing to do with them, people who would perpetuate gossip for their own pleasure and game, people who feel no qualms about putting others on the spot and making them uncomfortable, people who have such little lives that they must live the lives of others along with them, people whose curiosity will kill them. But you know what? Screw you. I can't get rid of you, so I might as well co-exist with you. And frankly, all of these above qualities ... ultimately, they make you deserving of my pity, not my anger.

'Sides. I gots me things to say.

(And a BIG FAT HIGH-FIVE to all you who encouraged me and kicked me in the butt to keep writing. Rock on.)



It has been a long, loooong week. FOR THE SAKE OF PROTECTING OTHERS -- gosh, I hate having to do this -- I won't go into details, but suffice to say ... I am damn exhausted.

A lot of my securities were shaken this week, some shallow, some very deeply-rooted. Am I attractive? Am I smart? Am I a productive member of society? Am I a good friend? Am I loved? Do I love sufficiently and care-fully? Do I have a future? Will I ever get married? What will my next job be? When will my next job be? Where is all my money going? Do I give generously and selflessly of myself? How can I protect those I love? The questions went on and on without end.

A lot of my securities were rebuilt this week. Thank you, friends and loved ones, for your emails, your hugs, your blog comments, your company, your understanding looks, your prayers, your hugs, your trust and reassurances, your proving to me everything I needed proof of.

Tonight was singular. I feel like I was in the company of Jesus, manifest in the bodies of my friends. Relaxing with them, eating with them, providing bad Olympics commentary with them (no, we'll never get hired by NBC, will we?) ... in all of these things, I felt heavy and warm the presence of God, His comfort, His friendship, His love, His fire that melts even the coldest of brick walls. I then spent some time praying with a friend about the upcoming retreat for NHF's men ... what an amazing brotherhood they are, to me, and hopefully, increasingly, to each other. I am almost as excited for this retreat as I was for our own. There is nothing like ending an evening in prayer, for where two or more are gathered ...

I approach the end of my week with thankfulness being heaviest on my heart. I am still tired, I am still worn down, I have long roads to travel in healing and restoration, I still have much to continue to lay at His feet, I have much security to still receive and believe. But mostly, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 22

THE END? . . .

(So many things are ending these days, it's hard to keep going without stumbling ...)

But that might be the last personal thing I say in this forum.

The unthinkable, but not entirely unexpected, has finally happened: I've been betrayed by my blog.

Someone read something in what I've written, and has used it to question me, the things I write about, and most importantly to me, the people I write about. I don't care if I'm the one being misunderstood or misinterpreted, or if I'm the one whose life is being questioned, used as fodder for gossip and tall tales. But when I can no longer protect the loved ones I write about -- these beloveds whom I describe and share with you because they are so integral to my life and my well-being that I can't imagine living and creating without them right next to me -- then ... I shouldn't be blogging. Not in this forum anyway. Not for your eyes, not even just to share something, someone great in my life. When these who are closest to my heart -- and such people are very, very few -- are ambushed by nosy people who can't control themselves to know better than to snoop, I'm thinking it might be time to shut down, so that I end up sharing only verbally, controlledly, carefully.

Tomorrow, I might wake up and think that I overreacted. After all, this is a public, Internet web log. Anything I put up here for mass consumption leaves my control the instant I hit "publish." I reserve no right to dictate how you should read and receive these words. But maybe that's the problem: I trusted too much the social wisdom of some of my readers (how strange to even say the phrase "my readers!"). I should have been wilier, or more reserved, less open to sharing myself and the amazing qualities of those I love. I should have known better. The control freak in me let go of a bit of control, and it came around to bite me and my friends in the ass.

No, thanks.

Thus commences a period of reflection. Do I shut myself down, or do I shift direction, or do I rebel against the stupid, insensitive and careless people in this world and carry on as usual? After all, I do hate being censored; I especially hate being censored by idiocy. Hmmmm ... I'll have to think on this a bit more.

As for you ... you think upon this a bit more too.
And for crying out loud, GET A LIFE.
Quit living vicariously through me and those dear to me.

(You know what the worst part is? I don't even know who "you" are. There, does that make you feel better and less guilty, and now you can hide behind anonymity? I know who you might be, but I am not sure, and so I won't accuse. And the worst of the worst part of all of this -- as if I could feel worse than knowing that my friend must convince himself of my loyalty and respect for him and his privacy -- is that any suspicion and distrust of people, even my "friends," that had melted away is frozen back up; any walls that had fallen between all of you and me are rebuilt; any wondrous belief I had in the goodness and purity of people's hearts and that people I would call friends would NOT fall prey to the lure of gossip and wanting to be "in the know" has vanished. I'm back to my old self. So you better sleep with one eye open from now on, and yes, you better walk on eggshells around me.)

Saturday, February 18


Nan told me about a quarter-marathon (about six miles, apparently, right?) coming up, and invited me to run it with her husband and Jimbo. She, after all, can run actual half-marathons, if not an actual marathon. "Six miles," I thought, "I can totally do that." So I asked when this quarter-marathon would take place. "October," she replied. I was elated. after all, only I would relish having eight months to "train" for a quarter-marathon.


TinyCricket and I have begun 'firming up' our plans to head to London for a long weekend soon ... maybe in June or July or so. This is my dream come true. The accent. The tea. The clotted cream. The history. The churches. The British mentality and worldview. The irony. The literature. I can't wait. I am a bit worried about one small thing ... what if it's not all I imagined it would be, and more? What if I land in this place I have long considered my soul's home, and I discover that ... it sucks? That would be horrible.


I am finding it difficult to express myself these days. Even last night, hanging with the girls, there was so much I wanted to say, but every time I opened my mouth, nothing of any worth came out. Except for sighs. I was really full from eating continuously for an hour and a half, and I had to sigh periodically to relieve the pressure in my belly. I can't tell what my blockage is. It could be denial of the fact that I'm still unemployed and increasingly poor. It could be my brain having become dull from bordeom and lack of substantive activity. It could be fear that no one will understand me, or worse, that even my friends will shun me for being a little too weird, a little too intense, a little too not like them. It could be the laws of physics -- so much wanting to come out at one time, that only little droplets can be squeezed out through a limited-sized opening. I feel stifled, restless, unsatisfied, insecure.


I like to think that I'm a pretty well-adjusted and self-assured woman. And so, it surprises me to see myself be utterly insecure and completely disbelieving of people who would offer me uninhibited security. My disappointment in my own failings, the way I let people down, the way I misunderstand and misread folks, is so great at times, that I can't believe anyone would forgive me, or even think that there is nothing to forgive. I've lost count of how many times I've been told in the last two weeks that I'm too hard on myself, and that I take on faults and responsibilities that are not mine to carry. And so I wonder if it's some sort of sickness, that I carry these things and place these burdens on my shoulders when they don't belong there. Or are my friends lying to me? Are they just being nice and telling me falsehoods to make me feel better? Grace and unfailing love ... such difficult things to understand and accept ...


TiVO and DVR are great, great inventions. At the Alien's Spaceship last night, we were all over the crashes and the wipeouts in the downhill skiing and the snowboard-cross events. If people were in the kitchen or the bathroom and missed the sight, even better! "Rewind! Rewind! I wanna see the wipeout!" We watched Lindsey Jacobellis -- showoff -- wipe out over, and over, and over, and over again. And each time, our groans got louder, more dramatic, more emotional, more angry. "Oh." "Oh!" "Ohhhh!" "OHHHHH!" "OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!" And of course, "SHOW IT AGAIN!" We are sick, sick people.


I crave the company of my friends these days. I think I need my insecurities to be alleviated, and since I can't do it for myself, I need my friends to do it for me. I need someone to laugh at my jokes. I need someone to hear my stories. I need someone to give me advice, a chuckle, a knowing smile. I need someone to exchange witty repartee with. I need someone to tell me about her life. I need someone to eat with, play with, watch TV with, snuggle under a blanket with. I need someone to be in the same room with me to make me feel sane and warm and welcome and real.


I love team relay sports. They make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I like to imagine the affection and reliance and trust that flows between and among the team members, the unspoken words that pass easily from mind to mind, the reality of all-for-one-and-one-for-all being lived out in training, dining, exercising, maintaining a lifestyle. I often think of my spiritual life as a team relay. I understand that any relationship with Christ is personal and individualized. But without my church, my small group, my girls, my deacons, my co-leaders, where would I be? If Christianity was an individual life-sport, then who would catch me when I fell or tripped or injured myself? Who would nurse me back to health, who would run a little harder and faster for me to make up for lost time, who would put me back on the right diet and training regimen? Who would give me that hard push, like in the speed-skating relays, that I need to get into the right rhythm, at the right speed? Who would I slap high-fives with at the end? I think that's what I crave -- not just the company of my friends, but teammates. I crave the feeling of relying on my team, of loving them and being loved by them, of trusting them and being trusted by them for the purpose of staying alive. This craving ... it's like a big lion's roar building inside me, waiting to come out. Who are my teammates who will respond to this roar?

Friday, February 17

MEMORY . . .

Things I have to remember:

-- true: "I heard every word you said."
-- true: "I am not pulling away."
-- true: "You have every reassurance."
-- true: "This is me being true and self-controlled."
-- true: "It's not your fault."
-- true: "It's okay."
-- true: "I'll see you soon."



Last five books I read/bought:
1. The Future of Freedom, Fareed Zakaria
2. Grammars of Creation, George Steiner
3. Gravity and Grace, Simone Weil
4. Don't Try This At Home ..., Kimberly Witherspoon, et al.
5. Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard

Last five CDs I bought:
I haven't bought an actual CD in a very long time, but here are the entire albums I downloaded onto iTunes:
1. "Extraordinary Machine," Fiona Apple
2. "Life in Slow Motion," David Gray
3. "Illuminate," David Crowder Band
4. "Spem in Alium," Tallis's 40-part Motet sung by the Kings' College Choir
5. "Suite Bergamesque for Piano -- the Complete Solo Piano Works of Claude Debussy," Michael Beroff

Last five songs I bought on iTunes:
1. "Just For Now," Imogen Heap
2. "Hide and Seek," Imgoen Heap
3. "Headlock," Imogen Heap
4. "The Wings" from "The Brokeback Mountain Soundtrack," Gustavo Santolalla
5. "Snow" from "The Brokeback Mountain Soundtrack," Gustavo Santolalla

Last five DVDs I bought:
1. "Emma"
2. "Sex and the City, Season Two"
3. "Sex and the City, Season One"
4. "Pride and Prejudice"
5. "Madagascar"

Last five items of clothing I bought:
1. dress
2. pair of jeans
3. pair of jeans
4. pair of yoga pants
5. pair of argyle socks

Last five tickets (movie/show/etc) I bought:
1. "Nanny McPhee"
2. "Rent" on Broadway
3. "King Kong"
4. MoMA
5. "Munich"

Last five food items I bought:
1. lunch at a mall food court
2. groceries for a curry dinner
3. Beard Papa cream puffs
4. McDonald's french fries
5. bottle of water

Thursday, February 16


I missed the Koreans winning the short-track speed-skating events, and so I feel I have fallen in the ranks of my slootiness.

BUT, I'm back with a vengeance tonight for the men's figure skating.

That is, I was until I opened up the Internet -- my Safari homepage is set to The New York Times -- and found out that the Russian dude already won the gold.

Damn time zones.
Damn Internet.



We seem to be everywhere these days. By "we," I mean us pesky Korean-Americans.

We as a class have not been in this country very long. Even on the West Coast, the bulk of us have only been in this country for a maximum of about three generations. Four, if y'all got here real early. I feel like I, and many Korean-Americans I know and have met and have discoursed with, struggle -- consciously or subconsciously -- with feeling at home here. This is where I was born and raised, and I would not dream of picking up and putting down roots elsewhere, Shrubbery nothwithstanding. But there has always been something in me, something in us, that has not yet let us become fully integrated socially, politically, economically. Huge strides are being made, and I can't wait to be part of this wave of home-ness. Feeling like I belong here. Feeling like I am accepted here by the soon-to-be-no-longer-white-American majority. Feeling like I, like we, have a voice in society, in politics, in academia, in every sector of this great nation we all call home. I long for that.

And so it's incredibly gratifying to see faces like mine everywhere, all of a sudden. Not the least of whom is Hines Ward, he of the Super Bowl MVP award. Folks like him continue to be reviled back in the Motherland for being not only 'merely' half-Korean, but half-black, and half-the child of an American G.I.. Well ... they were reviled. Now, it cracks me up in a sad and bitter sort of way to see how my people are lauding him and offspring like him as being "Korean heroes." The irony. Slays me every time. But here, in my country, it warms the cockles of my heart -- really, truly, deeply -- to see his face, to hear his story, to see his name.

And of course, just the other day, Korean-adoptee Toby Dawson gets on up there and brings home a bronze medal for the United States. He's on the lookout -- driven by curiosity, he says -- for his birth family back in Korea. I had to do a double-take; we can recognize each other anywhere, and I'm often asked, "how can you tell Koreans apart from Chinese apart from Japanese?" I dunno. We just can, mostly. And so when I saw him up on that podium, I knew, and I was proud. And I was glad for his family here, and for his birth family back in the Motherland, and for all of us who can look at people like him and think, "now, it is beginning to be true: anything is possible."

It's such a small thing, really. Some will think I make too big a deal of it, this whole race thing, this whole assimilation thing, this whole "am I or aren't I a real American" thing, this whole culture and Motherland thing. But it is a big deal, and it should be a big deal ... until it ceases to be.

Originally uploaded by chaesq.
A lovely hostess gift from my bro JC, self-proclaimed King of the Lemurs. What a beautiful thing to waking-waking up to every day ...

Wednesday, February 15


If this is not among the most sweet engagement stories you have evah heard, then you are a cold, dead soul. Mister Man, I have only the vaguest ideas of who you are, but two snaps in a big fat circle to you!

And because it shouldn't be restricted to just one day a year ... Happy Love Day Again, folks. Be lovely to someone today.

Tuesday, February 14


Okay, I don't want to brag, but I will, because I'm having a really good self-confidence day for the following reasons:
    * I'm really capable, speedy and productive in the kitchen (thanks, Omma, for the good training)
    * the edible products that come out of my kitchen are generally of good and tasty quality
    * I'm efficient
    * I get ready in record time (for a girl, that is)
    * I am able to make my friends feel comfortable in my home
    * I can read and understand difficult reading material
    * I am a good driver
    * I have lost my voice due to my recent cold, but when it starts to come back, I will have a sexy husky voice
    * my guitar callouses are coming along very nicely
    * my family loves me
    * my friends love me
    * it is real to me that Jesus loves me

Take a look at yourself -- do you love what you see? Do you love what you can't see? I hope so.

Know also that Jesus loves you, died for you and His love is enduring and unshakeable. Would that our love for ourselves and for each other could be the same ...

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13


(I am such a lazy bum. I have checked my email three times. I have checked everyone's blog twice. I have responded unnecessarily to two emails. I have made a second cup of tea. I have eaten a bowl of cereal. I have gone to the bathroom. I have read every online newspaper. I have gotten up for a throat lozenge. I have washed the dishes. I have made the bed. I have done everything except sit down and start working on more cover letters. I am such a lazy bum.)

Sunday, February 12

SLAYED . . .

The irony slays me, it really does.

How is it possible that I could spend an entire day and evening, soooo glad for the chance to be snowed in, to rest, to just lay around, to give into tiredness and sleepiness, to allow my body to slowly recover from this wretched cold ... but then, when it's time to take a night-time cold tablet and drop off into sleep, I DON'T?

I wonder -- horror of horrors -- if I've built up a tolerance to night-time Comtrex. GASP. I live and die by night-time Comtrex. For my entire life so far, whenever I have caught a cold, all it took was one, maybe two nights of being felled by one wee night-time Comtrex and sweating it out under heavy blankets to recover fully and bounce back to my old peppy self. The last two bouts of sickness, however, I have discovered that instead of falling deep into sleep (albeit riddled with the most bizarre dreams evah), I have remained WIDE AWAKE. For HOURS. Into DAWN.

What the ...

I don't know how to face life with a cold without an effective night-time Comtrex. I feel slightly betrayed, actually, by this normally trusty pill. (I feel even worse because I tout its glories to everyone I know, and now, if it doesn't work for me, why the heck would it work for them? And if they end up staying up all night because of this wretchedly faulty formula ... oh, I can't bear the guilt.)

Of course, it doesn't help that I'm simultaneously thinking of: finances, jobs, writing cover letters, wondering when I will get married so my parents will be happy, how hard the snow is going to be to clear off of my car in the morning, how long it's going to take me to get through Grammars of Creation, why I find myself always in the position of caring for others more than they care for me, how I can better love this person I have a really hard time loving, if I want to switch careers and go into teaching, how long the night is and how much better tomorrow will be ...

And then there's this eternal problem: the blankets are too hot. But if I kick them off, I'm too cold. So I gingerly replace them upon my body, and it's a furnace again.

Seriously. What is a whiny sick girl to do?

MIchelle Kwan has pulled out of the Olympics. Oh, my aching, aching heart.

I'm not being facetious. I feel and have always felt a great affinity and care for Michelle Kwan, a 25-year-old woman I have never met and probably never will. No, I'm not going to start stalking her or anything like that. But I have always been a fan of hers. Maybe because she's Asian? Maybe because she's an immigrant's daughter publicly living out an American dream? Maybe because she just seems like an intelligent and nice person who deserves great things?

Whatever it is, I am deeply sad for her. At the same time, I'm also glad for her. The world is full of people who are not humble and realistic enough to let go of something when it's just not going to work out for them. Michelle Kwan skating through injury and pain -- that would've been dumb. Giving up her Olympic slot for Emily Hughes, who might be a medal contender for the American team -- that's smart, and gracious, and humble, and just the right thing to do.

Still ... the Olympic sloot in me will miss Michelle Kwan terribly when ladies' skating night rolls around on the 21st. She had something that hasn't been seen on the ice in a long time. Sarah Hughes had that great exuberance, Sasha Cohen has an aloof sort of grace, Emily Hughes has a youthful vigor, Nancy Kerrigan had pure strength ... but Michelle Kwan had it all. My Winter Olympics experience just won't be the same.

I love that word: fluffy. We got about 16 inches of fluff so far, with another 2-4 inches slated to fall. That's a lot of fluff.

Church is cancelled today. This is wise, given that a large bulk of our congregation arrives from a good distance away, some driving upwards of an hour just to join our familial gathering each week. Hmmm ... just writing that sentence, I am made to pause and ponder the wonder of it. That we are so connected to each other, that we love each other so, that we need each other enough, whether we recognize it or not, that we would come from near and very far, just to be part of the same congregation each and every Sunday. It is truly humbling to recognize the unique and special family of which I am a member ...

I'm bummed that church is cancelled, though. Not just because I love driving through inclement weather in Good Girl and feeling completely invincible when I arrive at my destination. But I also love the "Little House on the Prairie" feeling that is evoked within me whenever I have to do anything in heavy snow. Traipsing through the banks of snow to stumble through the church doors, shaking myself off like a giant collie, undoing my scarf and hood to reveal a completely reddened face with my eyebrows and lashes fringed with snowflakes, greeting others who have been through the same amusing ordeal ... it's very Ingalls family, don't you think? (I'm also bummed because going out would have given me an excuse to stock up on orange juice, which I am suddenly and desperately craving, damn my sick self!)

Still, the words of truth and wisdom are correct, especially for me, especially at this time: "He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labour." (Job 37:6-7) I am stopped from my labour. Heck, I'm stopped from everything -- I'm still bleary and achy enough to not want to go anywhere, even if the roads were clear and I could. But truth rings loudly ... I am glad to have this day of rest, a real day of rest. I am glad to have this day to have my own church, to be forced to be still -- without meetings or greetings or practices -- and to think upon His work. Rare is this opportunity, even on Sundays.

(And of course, after I have my own church, I can tune into women's speed-skating.)

Saturday, February 11

SUCKER . . .

I am a bigger sucker than I thought.

First, some background. My body just ain't what it used to be. Time was, I'd catch a cold, pop some Comtrex, sweat it out through one night, then bounce right back the next day. Over the years, that "one night" has turned to two, then three ... and now, I need a whole week to kick a cold. And of course, it goes in waves of feeling fine one day and being completely felled by exhaustion the next. Today was an exhaustion day. I sat down on the couch after breakfast, just to rest, you see. And next thing I know, it was five hours later and I found myself groggily rolling over on my side to open up a whole day's worth of important emails. Of course, replying to said important emails when you are half awake and sweating feverishly is probably not the wisest of things to do ... but bygones.

So after I shook myself fully into consciousness, I slapped on the television to do my daily Olympics sloot check. An hour later, I thought to myself, "my mind and heart just are not what they used to be," for lo, I had been utterly sucked in by the men's Nordic combined individual race. Yes, my friends, CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING. A whole bunch of men, none of whom I can tell apart from the other, just sort of ... skiing. And there I was, sitting up straighter and straighter, my heart beating faster and faster, my bleary eyes opening wider and wider, wondering with bated breath, "is the German going to win or will the Norwegian overtake him in the last few seconds?!?!?!?!" Well, the German won, and my heart rate returned to normal. Never thought I'd see the day that cross-country skiing got my blood moving ...



Thank you, area sanitation workers. I still don't believe that it's going to snow that much. In fact, I won't believe it until I step out of my home tomorrow and right into a humongous snow bank. But even that ... I don't believe it's going to exist for me to even step into. And I'm not going to look out the window during the night, because I firmly and delusionally believe that if I can't see it, it's not really there. But still. You men and women are out there already, spreading preventative rock salt and sand, and y'all are going to be up all night in this crazy cold and awful weather. You do this because it's your job and because you need the overtime pay, and Lord knows, y'all would rather be home sleeping, or at least warm. And I wonder if anyone ever thanks you? Probably not. So I'm thanking you. You guys work hard and you keep us safe and for that I am eternally grateful. Be safe tonight, y'all.



The American ice skating pair of Inoue and Baldwin just landed the first ever throw-triple-axle in Olympic competition. "Like butter," one commentator, Sandra Bezic, stated rapturously. "Olympic history!!!" exclaimed Dick Button, tears colouring his voice.

I, of course, got verklempt, and had to reach for another Kleenex. I choose to blame my overworked tear ducts on the overload of cold medication and feverishness ... but you and I both know it's just because I'm a big Olympics sloot.


I love watching the luge competition ... but I just don't understand it. Luge and skeleton are among the most counter-intuitive sports, to my mind. Who was it that was sitting around one day and thought, "Let me lie down on something the size and relative weight of a large cutting board, and hurtle myself down an ice chute at speeds of up to 85 miles an hour"? And the inventor of the skeleton -- that genius decided to face the racer head-first.

Of course, I don't have to understand something to viscerally enjoy it. And the awful, sadistic part of me wants to viscerally experience something else: a major crash. I keep hearing the commentators talk about these awful crashes that the racers are involved in during their training runs, but I have yet to actually see one. I know, I know, this is deeply sick ... but it just seems to me that if you're going to chat about it, you should at least show me what you're chatting about.


I'm watching, through increasingly droopy eyes, a Chinese pair skating together. These are a powerful lot, these Chinese atheletes, for sure. But there's just something a little off about a skating pair where the woman and the man are the same height, same frame, same build, and apparently the same weight. I recognize that this is an utterly superficial and vapid observation ... but I know C.o.S. would agree with me. It's just an extension of how we both felt about Suriya Bonali back in the day ... remember her?! Powerful, yes. Dainty, no. Definitely no.


Must. Stay. Awake. For. Speed. Skating.
SLOOT! . . .

The unthinkable has happened: I have turned back into a huge Olympics sloot.

Yes, I watched the Opening Ceremonies last night. NBC advertised it as starting at 8pm. NO, NO, NO, my friends. Their bizarro telecast of all things cliche and sappy began at 8pm. The actual coverage of the ceremony (which, incidentally, was long since OVER by the time prime-time rolled around on the East Coast) started at 9pm, but I'm the big bonehead who didn't figure this out until it was too late, so I was stuck watching ridiculous interviews with Bode Miller who is just as sullen as sullen can be and Michelle Kwan who now is supposedly going to quit the Olympics because of injuries and I just think that's too sad. Because I'm an Olympics sloot.

So finally, 9pm rolls around ... and I can't help but determine to attend an Opening Ceremony one of these days, because no matter how grand and expensive and culturally significant and well-planned these things are, they just look dumb on television. I think the ubiquitous close-up camera shots and trite voice-over commentaries just ruin everything for everyone. I don't need or want to see every dancer flub every step, and I don't need or want Bob Costas explaining the symbolic importance of dancers wearing cow-spotted costumes. I want my imagination to take flight and I want the child in me to be stunned at the visual cohesiveness of what I'm seeing. This, I believe, can only be achieved if I'm actually in the stadium itself, seeing with my own blurry eyes and hearing with my own non-commentated ears.

I was bored. Sorry. I hate to say it, but I was. Still ... isn't it amazing that heartstrings can be pulled, even through boredom? When those Olympic rings went up white and transformed into the five colors of the world ... alright, alright, I teared up. I always do. It's just what I do -- the Olympics begin, and I start to cry. Even in this jaded, terrorized, politicized and polarized world, does it not mean anything anymore that human beings of all manner of differences can come together for two weeks of peace and pure competition (French ice-dancing judges notwithstanding)? It still means something to me.

I stuck around long enough to see the two Koreas march in as a united team. Buzz has it that in upcoming summer games, North Korea and South Korea will even compete as one country. The prospect both frightens and thrills me. What a perfect underscore to the concept of the Olympic Games.

Then I had to turn it off. I'm sick, after all, and my fog-filled brain can handle only so much visual stimulation. I didn't even watch the torch being lit, because ... well, it already happened and I already read about it in online news. Damn the Internet.

So now, I find myself eagerly awaiting the chance to watch some of this competition. Speed skating, downhill skiing, and yes of course, ice skating. Oh, gotta love that ice skating competition. I wish C.o.S. was here so we could judge the competitors together ... but I don't think our standards would be the same as those for international competition: "Her outfit was horrendous!" "What was that expression of straining on her face when she did that jump?" "Are his pants too tight?" "And what is WITH the overload of sequins?"

Friday, February 10


It's a draggy day today. Fridays always are, for some reason. It is hard for me to be motivated to do the things I needed and wanted to do today. It doesn't help that the first thing I did this morning was slice my index finger wiiiiide open on a knife that was hidden in the kitchen sink. Blood and guts don't make me sick or nauseous ... but they do make me feel entitled to sit here and gaze stupidly at the Band-Aid on my finger, unable and unwilling to do anything else worthwhile.

"They" say a major winter storm is going to come swooping into the area tomorrow, into Sunday. Well, what the heck ... there are things I wanted to pick up at the grocery store, but now the anti-establishment rebel in me is refusing to step foot into any sort of food market, because I know that there will be hysterical storm-watchers in there stocking up on water and canned goods, because you KNOW that when the snow passes, there will be no more water or beans left in the world so you best get them all now! And I just refuse to be that person. Of course, I could just nonchalantly stroll on in there and buy one single Snickers bar, just to rub it in the noses of the people in the non-express checkout lane whose carts are chock-a-block full of gallon bottles of water. But I don't want candy and that would be a waste of my lame energy today.

SpiderBat and Mabel will be working together soon. Well, not together, but mostly together. They'll be in the same building. That's so cool; I am somewhat envious. I've made great friends in my different past workplaces, but I wonder what it would be like to work with, or in the same place, as long-established pals. Weird. But fun. It would be difficult to call in sick when you're not really sick, though.

Do I want to be a teacher?

Or would I rather be a student-for-life?

I have begun reading three books at once: The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria; Teaching a Stone to Talk, by Annie Dillard; and Grammars of Creation, by George Steiner. Talk about intense. Yesterday, after five hours of reading these three books, my brain was a-jumble, and I came home and turned on the television to untangle the jumble, only to find that the TV was just too loud and just too stupid. There is nothing stupider on television than your local evening news. Seriously. I had to turn it off and let the brain jumble about in silence.

What do you do when you want to ask someone lots and lots of questions, just to figure some things out, just to clear the air, but you don't feel you can, because you don't want to face the consequences of (1) rocking the boat; and (2) receiving an answer you may not want to receive?

Momentum ... I feel like momentum is being lost. This impending snowstorm, be that as it may, is like a sudden brake on so many inspired things. A long-awaited M/O team meeting on Sunday morning ... might have to be cancelled. The W/M meeting on Sunday evening ... will women even come if the roads are slick and icy and they'd rather be home sipping hot cocoa with their kids? My cover letters are sounding lame and trite and fake again. I am torn, because for once in my life, I face too many opportunities, instead of just the one that I am confident God put before me to grab ... and I see how true it is that having too many choices can be paralyzing sometimes. I'm still young -- I'm not supposed to know what I want to do next year, two years from now, five or eight or ten years from now. Do I take this job or that job? Do I commit to this or that person? Do I go back to school or just take some classes? Do I save up for this trip or that trip? It's too much; it's easier to sit here and stare at my Band-Aided finger -- not my guitar finger, thank goodness. And so, the momentum is lost.

Flacon says I don't talk much when I'm with him. That's not true; I'd just rather listen to him most of the time that we spend together. He says it wasn't an attack on me or my ways; I took it as such. But I talk so much with and to other people who need me to respond to them ... I just need the break to listen and absorb and let myself rest and be spoken to and trusted without feeling the pressure and social burden of responding. And some things are too precious to respond to; the best I can do is receive them in silence and try to convey my own gratitude for being the one receiving.

I really should get out and about, and face this Friday head-on. Confront if before it confronts me. What's my motivation?

Wednesday, February 8


I am overloaded with thought lately. Thoughts about church, jobs, careers, friends, family, love, hate, faith, God. It's too much to write about just now ... even my most private journal is a jumble of non sequitur phrases. It will take me weeks to iron these things out. So for now, I occupy the surface of my mind with senseless quizzes.


MY FACE . . .

What Your Face Says

At first glance, people see you as warm and well-balanced.

Overall, your true self is reserved and logical.

With friends, you seem thoughtful and interested in ideas.

In love, you seem mysterious and interesting.

In stressful situations, you seem cheerful and optimistic.


MY MAJOR . . .

Your Scholastic Strength Is Deep Thinking

You aren't afraid to delve head first into a difficult subject, with mastery as your goal.
You are talented at adapting, motivating others, managing resources, and analyzing risk.

You should major in:

Foreign language



Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.



You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

Tuesday, February 7


And totally NOT self-inspired, so here's a questionnaire to occupy my muddled thoughts:

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says.
"But he said to them, 'Do not detain me,..."

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?
Nothing but air.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
An iTunes downloaded episode of "Monk," from the fourth season.

4. WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what the time is.

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
Not bad: 1:11a.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
A friend washing his hands in the bathroom.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
An hour ago, returning from "Nanny McPhee."

8. Before you came to this website, what did you look at?
The Unlimited Mood -- thanks for the inspiration.

9. What are you wearing?
Grey yoga pants, lavender camisole, dark grey cardigan, and a rubber-band in my hair.

10. Did you dream last night?
Several times, about cooking, about eating sushi, about decorating and painting a friend's house, ...

11. When did you last laugh?
A few minutes ago, when my friend made a funny.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Three framed Kandinsky prints: "Untitled," "Counter-Gravitation," and "Frolicher Aufstieg (Merriment Rising)."

13. Seen anything weird lately?
Always, for my attention is drawn to weirdness. Most recently: a video display at the movie theater of cartoon popcorn popping. It was mesmerizing; I literally stopped mid-sentence to stare at it with my mouth open ("ooooh, look at the popcoooooooorrrrrrn") and I literally had to be led away from the screen.

14. What is the word most often used in your vocabulary?
"Oh, crrrrrrap."

15. What is the last film you saw?
"Nanny McPhee." One of the most charming, sweetest, warmest movies I've seen in recent memory.

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?
A condo for my parents. Then, Cheech's medical school tuition. Then I'd get to work on the list of books I've been wanting to read. And then a new Springform pan so I can make square cheesecakes. And then ... a pair of J.Crew jeans.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I have an Oscar award acceptance speech all written out and ready to go.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would it be?
Make everyone receptive to at least hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

19. Do you like to dance?
Oh yes. Yes, indeed.

20. Do you like to sing?
Oh yes, very much.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
I never thought I would, but more and more, the thought is not repulsive to me ... but I am a baby. I would prefer to go to an English-speaking country (my "native" England always beckons), or someplace where the language will be easy for me to pick up: Russia, Spain, or Italy.

Thursday, February 2


(Pssst. Pitchers and catchers report in fifteen days!)


Sometimes the greatest "hardship" (yeah, I know, my life is so tough that I would actually term this a "hardship") about going away for a bit, either on business or pleasure, is the shower situation at the place to which I am going. My shower at home has incredible water pressure, and the water quality is such that soap suds are quickly rinsed away and I'm left with that nice, squeaky feeling. (What is that? Hard or soft water? I always get confused.) Wherever I go, usually, the shower just is not the same, so I am either in the shower for hours trying to get all the suds out of my hair and off my body, or I'm walking around the whole day feeling like I have a layer of soap scum coating my entire self.

Not at C.o.S.'s place. Her house is like my house. Her shower is like my shower. So enjoyable.


I dropped C.o.S. off near her workplace, then headed back to my old 'hood to loiter at Starbucks until it was time to meet up with Ems.

The 'hood is the same. My wine shop, my takeout Thai place, my bookstore, my CVS, my stationery store, my gourmet deli, my bagel shoppe (yes, with the extra 'pe' at the end), and lo, my old Starbucks. Starbucks outlets look and are the same wherever you go -- it's really an amazing feat, if you think about it.

I grabbed the cushy seat in the corner, the perfect vantage point from which to look out and see the entire interior of the store in one glance. And next to me .... ahhhh, it took me back. A young woman dressed in a suit, pored distractedly over her Constitutional Law textbook. Girl, I feel that.


I almost ran over a pedestrian on Longwood Ave this morning.


After seven long years ... Ems!

Don't you feel like there are people in your life whom you don't have to see all the time ... but then when you do finally see them, you find out they are living the exact life you always imagined they would? Thus were Ems and her husband and their two kids.

She looked the same, except for two very stylish streaks of white framing her face. Her mannerisms, her sayings, the lilt in her voice, the direct way she looks at you -- all the same. Her house was exactly as I thought it would be: small, cozy, homey, comfortable, green (the kitchen, anyway) and filled with healthy foods and a supply of red wine. Her kids were exactly as I thought they'd be: precocious, smart, witty, wriggly, laugh-inducing, round-facedly adorable. And good ol' Dr.Phil ... I have such vague memories of him, but I'm so glad to have made these new ones.

It was strange, though. I often experience deja vu and I often daydream about days, events, people in the past. But I don't often feel the past so viscerally, in my gut, and I don't question my own vision and wonder if I'm seeing something from the past before my very eyes. Chatting and laughing over a bottle of cabernet with Ems and Dr.Phil, I felt completely and bodily transported back to our college days, when wine and laughter and looking directly and honestly into each other's eyes were a consistent part of our collective diet. Putting our memories of commonly-shared experiences together, I remembered so much of what has made me the woman I am today. It was, in a word, a breathtaking evening.

Ems and Dr.Phil might take their clan south to New Orleans for the next few years. That's good, because that's just one more place for me to plan to visit. But that's bad, too. I have just rediscovered Ems. It will be hard to let her go.


I didn't know whether to laugh or feel offended.

Dr.Phil proclaimed himself to be a Lostie. I was, naturally, immediately excited, and wanted to go over every single episode, every single passing comment, every single incidence of Black Smoke, and every single theory with him. But then I found out the truth, because these were the next words, more or less, out of Dr.Phil's mouth:

    "So, there's that rodeo guy [hand movement imitating a gunslinger] with the long hair and drawl and he's in the water with that Korean dude who's all up in handcuffs or something, and the black guy with his son WALT who was taken by the pirates ["THE PIRATES?!" I interrupted with a shriek.] And so the pirates take Walt and the black dude is all mad and stuff. And then there's the Latina girl with the big lips, you know ["Yeah. ANA LUCIA." I stated sullenly] and she's got her own squad, and she's all thinking this one guy in the pit is the bad guy and she all kills him, but then goes up the mountain with this other guy and she knows he's the real bad guy so she [insert hand movements imitating stabbing someone], you know, with a big stick or something and then he's all dead and stuff. And then there's that big tall black guy who doesn't talk and isn't he something? And before that, I saw this one episode where that Korean chick lost her ring or something and she's all [insert loud weeping and moaning sound] but then Locke says something really wise to her ... dang, I wish I had written it down; it was really deep. Something about not being lost because he wasn't trying to be found or something like that. And then oh yeah, I saw the hatch, basement, whatever, and that muscleman who's all working out and stuff. And the numbers on the wall with the really old DOS computer and those bizarro numbers, and he's all got a gun to Locke and the sexy girl's head and then Dr. Matthew Fox jumps on down in there and he's all, "What do I do? Where have I seen this muscleman before?" But then the muscleman freaks out [insert frantic movement of arms above head] and runs away and Dr. Matthew Fox has to handle everything. So see? Now I'm all caught up and know everything."



The greater Boston area is ... cozy and charming. In my less-than-24-hours with Ems, we walked to a garden, an arboretum, and the grocery store (selling, of course, all manner of health foods and organic/natural products). This morning, Ems walked Junior to his elementary school bus stop and back. I just love all that walking. It's like living in Manhattan all over again ... but cleaner and nicer and crunchier.

I really envy that. I'm lucky enough now to live in an area where I can walk everywhere, too -- the grocery, the cafe, the library, the post office, the deli, and if I was really ambitious, the video store (I'm never that ambitious). But it's just not the same. There isn't the same feeling of houses sitting up against each other, neighbors knowing each other, that friendly granola/nearly-Oregonian healthiness. I can't explain it; you have to witness and live it for yourself.

I would never relocate up there ... and New York will never turn out like that, unless you live in the chic-chic parts of the Village or Brooklyn (and please, like I'll EVER live in BROOKLYN) ... but the idea is charming enough for me to dwell upon it and admire it the whole drive back.


There is something wrong with society when you're already driving 85 mph in the middle lane of a major highway, and (1) you are being passed on both sides; and (2) the cars coming up behind you are honking and flashing their highbeams at you to get out of the way.



I crammed so much into the past three and a half days. Three home visits, and none of them were nearly long enough for my taste (can't speak for my hosts). I long to spend more time with all of them. All of our lives, simultaneously, are in such flux right now. What I would give to be able to talk more, laugh more, cry more, pray more, hug more and generally more often be in the presence of these beloveds ...

Wednesday, February 1


Listening to a friend talk about some of his many fields of expertise the other night, it occurred to me very strongly and woundingly: I place waaaaay too much of the weight and significance of my identity in the confidence (or sometimes the lack of confidence) in my own intelligence, and I am waaaaaay too emotionally tied to what people think (or what I think that people think) of my intellectual capabilities.

He was talking about literary theory, linguistics, philosophy, hermeneutics, psychiatry. All areas in which I have little or no knowledge or expertise, or even exposure, but all areas in which I have great interest. If I could, I'd go back to school to study all of these things (and more) at length. Given my current situation and understanding of the reality of my current circumstances, I must instead settle for reading whatever I can and hearing whatever I can about these subjects from less direct sources.

I expressed my continued interest -- piqued and encouraged even more after my friend's long verbal dissertation(s), actually -- and received in response what was meant to be a kind and supportive statement, something akin to: "I don't mean to question your intelligence at all, but some of this stuff might be a bit much to simply read about, without devoting years and years of study to the background and history and classic languages that preceded it." This was and remains obvious to me. Of course I just can't KNOW literary theory after reading just one or two books about it. Of course I just can't KNOW linguistics or hermeneutics after reading a primer on them. I KNOW this. But the kindly and true statement took my piqued interest and growing excitement about learning something new, and deflated the big balloons both had become. It took along with it the big fat head that had grown from the roots of my own ego and belief -- exaggerated or not -- in the strength and competence of my own intellect.

I don't really think that I can read one book on a subject and be rendered conversant in it with someone who has made the subject his life's work. I promise I don't think that. But I guess a very large and unconfessed part of me did defensively think this: "Well, you don't have to point the obvious out to me." I felt so discouraged. I felt so questioned. I felt he condescended to me. I felt like MY expertise and MY experience were so paltry, insignificant and unimportant compared to the wide, grand, unintelligible world (at least to the average-minded such as myself) that had been explored and conquered by my comparatively-highly intelligent friend, he who had spoken kindly and innocently and knew none of the things roiling through my thoughts. I felt like he had taken the seed of something that I believed I could accomplish with a certain degree of integrity and respectability, and had tossed it into the wind. I felt he didn't believe in me. I felt utterly and humiliatingly stupid, as if I hadn’t been educated and groomed in one of the best high schools in the country, as if I hadn’t graduated from an Ivy League college, as if I hadn’t earned a law degree from a top-tier law school, as if I hadn’t acquired a variety of skills honed by years and diverse experiences and hardships and incredibly talented and smart colleagues, as if I hadn’t been raised by brilliant parents who placed a premium on learning and education and knowledge and street- and book-smarts.

I know none of these feelings are true or real, at least not in the source that I would impose upon them. I KNOW THIS. I KNOW -- in my head -- how my friend views me and how he thinks positively of me. Still ... my heart twinges and my indignation rises and I react poorly to being told, in essence, what I can and can't do, what I can and can't handle. I so wanted, in that instant, to say, "I can handle it," or worse, "Don't you tell me I can't understand this stuff; you don’t know." That would have been horrible and wrong and so, so childish. But that's me: a thirty-year old child, I guess. And the thing is, I understand … he did know, which is why he said what he said.

I'm over the comment; I really am. What I'm not yet over is the understanding of myself: the harsh realization that I place my self-worth and root my confidence not in Christ, not in the way that God created me, not in the way that He moves in my life and reigns sovereignly and lovingly over my life, not in the fact that He delights and sings over and because of me, and not even in the truth that whatever I know and whatever I am capable of is because of His grace and His provision ... but in my own miniscule capabilities, in my own meager intelligence (be that as it may), and in other people's perceptions of me, positive or negative. I wish and pray that I could and would be grateful, humbly and deeply grateful, for the intellect, the education, the knowledge, the skills that I have been given and have been able to hone, by the grace and providence of God alone. And then have done with it. Use what I am and what I have for His glory, and just let it be. And not always wish for what the other guy has -- his intelligence, his expertise, his background, his knowledge, and most of all, his esteem for me. I wish I could let go of this false reliance on my intelligence and my intellectual abilities, and rely on true things instead. I wish I had the heart and will to defend my faith and my God as fervently and feverishly and passionately as I would jump to defend my brain power.

(Psssst. I’m going to read those books and primers anyway. Not because I’m going to, or even want to, become an expert in linguistics or literary theory or post-modern philosophy. And not even for the purpose of entering into another conversation with my friend about these things, although that would not be unwelcome. It’s just interesting to me, is all, and since I know I can at least read words and understand them … I just might as well.)