Friday, March 31


The past several days have been perfection: spring hit like a doozy, and hit us with sunny, slightly breezy 69-degree days. I'm still reeling from it.

What is one to do on such nice days but trek into the city for quick (but hilariously bizarre) errands, drive around with the windows open and sunlight streaming in, take two-hour-long rambling strolls in a nearby park preserve, eat at outdoor cafes with sunglasses on, explore a local sustainable working farm/barn, and just generally slow down and take it easy, soaking in the joy with loved ones?

Yup, I did all those things. I feel so invigorated and joy-filled. My muscles and I have long forgotten how wonderful it is to be outside, to be active, to be breathing in fresh clean air, and to be hearing the singularly rustly sounds of the out-of-doors. Lo, spring!

Monday, March 27

TO DIE FOR . . .

There are many reasons I will never run for public office. One reason is that I never stop waffling, and I will never be able to proclaim a stance on some public issue, without also partially, maybe, sometimes, agreeing with the opposite stance, because truly, for real, and not just because I'm indecisive -- I passionately believe that in some things, there's just an awful lot of grey area. In other things, I know what is clearly wrong and right, but I struggle with proclaiming that at somebody, for the purpose of imposing a legal binding upon them. I am still trying to figure out my own role as a Christian Korean-American female attorney who wants to help those who need help but am constrained by my own intellectual, cultural, physical limitations. Please don't ask me to figure anything out for anybody else!


You hear me, Afghanistan?

I shared with some friends yesterday: I have no idea what it is to be persecuted for my faith. Frankly, I only have a vague idea of what such persecution might sound or feel or look like. Even reading the news about this Afghan brother, Abdul Rahman, I feel so detached, and yes, even disbelieving. It's like a movie. I have no concept of religious persecution beyond some curious friends and acquaintances skeptically asking me, "so what EXACTLY do you believe and why?" I know. So persecuted, right?

Hundreds of Muslims in Afghanistan are protesting the potential release of Rahman from custody -- he's on trial for having converted to Christianity sixteen years ago (no statute of limitations on that, I guess), and he faces the death penalty, after all. I guess it's sort of like if in the United States, Judge Brinkema just decided to let Zacarias Moussaoui go free while an investigation into his alleged involvement in 9/11 continued. (But ... forgive me ... I just don't see the comparison.)

I'm a big fan of abiding by the law. I enjoy the legal process. I'm all for political pressure being used to correct wrongs and to guarantee rights. I am the number one fan of the International Bill of Human Rights. But right now, I can forget about all those things, and just react from the gut, from the soul, from the very core of who I am and who I have been made to be: IT IS WRONG TO PERSECUTE OR KILL SOMEONE FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN, FOR BELIEVING IN GOD, FOR LOVING JESUS CHRIST.

It just is.

Rahman says this: "I am serene. I have full awareness of what I have chosen. If I must die, I will die ... Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us."

Jesus died because He had to, for you and for me, and for all of creation, for all of eternity. Rahman doesn't have to and it makes my righteous blood boil that he might.

I am beginning to understand better how it works, this odd thing called the brain.

I often have thought that it's so nice in theory: to keep your mind clear and alert and healthy, even to ward off age-related dementia, it's good to keep your brain active. Do a crossword, talk a lot with different kinds of people, read a variety of books, change up your daily routine to keep your mind on its toes. It all seemed like good theoretical sense.

But people! It's TRUE! I am living proof of it, I think. I'm sure of it, in fact.

I have spent the past several months forgetting a great multitude of things. This has been particularly disturbing and traumatic for me because I never forget things. I don't say that arrogantly, as if to imply that my brain power is somehow greater than anyone else's. No, in fact, I largely think that the strength of my memory is mostly tied to my personality and not the capacity of my intellect. Maybe that's why it's so traumatic for me, to have this very integral part and extension of my personality be so radically changed; to have this part of me be so unlike me.

I thought I would chalk it up to stress. Being single among a gaggle of married friends, being childless among a host of mothers, owning a home that costs money to maintain, finding a job that seems most elusive at times, dealing with family, friends, church, bills, neighbors, cars, the weather. Whatever. It's all stress, and it all has the capability of addling my mental processes.

But no. I think it's more simple than all of that. I think I am losing brain power and the airtight seal around my memory because my brain is not being exercised. I am not waking up as early as I used to, causing myself to be alert for a set number of hours (and my, how the human body thrives on routine and steadiness!). I am not turning my attention to a variety of tasks, a diversity of people and personalities. I am not reading and writing in analytical ways that cause all sorts of synapses to fire and connect. I am not expanding my knowledge on a regular basis, nor am I learning new vocabulary words, nor am I being forced to respond to people and situations in a moment's notice. I am not conversing with a bunch of different people, I am not reading arguments against arguments, I am not problem-solving, I am not engaging in the fullness of the intellectual life that my brain, that any brain, should be engaging in.

And so, I think my brain is getting lazy. I don't think I'm getting stupider, but I think I am getting lazier mentally. Certainly, I am ashamed at how lax my memory has become. It's one thing to forget what I've said to another; it's entirely embarrassing and guilt-inducing to forget what another has said, has entrusted to me.

Aside from becoming productively employed pronto -- which, unfortunately, is completely out of my control -- I don't know what else to do. Vitamin E? Fish oil? Daily crossword puzzles? A Word-of-the-Day calendar? Sudoku?

Just this morning, I thought to myself, "Man, I had a great week last week. A GREAT WEEK." And I thought, "I should blog about what a GREAT week I had last week, how superb it was, how great it was, how perfect it was." But I ran out of time before I headed out for church this afternoon, and so I didn't.

And now, I'm thinking, "Already, I can tell that this week is not going to be as great. It might not even be remotely good. It could be downright bad." It's amazing what a difference seven days can make.

Which leads me to other thoughts.

"These are not right thoughts to be thinking. They are neither beneficial for me or for the ones about whom I am thinking."

"These are thoughts from Satan, trying to get me down, trying to make me second-guess and doubt the good things and the good people in my life."

"But maybe not. Maybe they are thoughts from God, warnings that I relied too much on the goodness of external things and not enough on the internalness of Him dwelling in me. I made other things more sufficient for me than Him."

"But no. God wouldn't want me to be thinking the things I am now, would He? Or at least He would speak to me in a more loving and constructive and not demeaning manner, right?"

"Yes, this is definitely the enemy trying to drag me down and move my eyes off of God and off of the goodness God puts in my life."

"Regardless. What if these thoughts, no matter who plants them in my brain, are real and this week is going to suck and I'm going to be down and depressed and sad and feeling unloved, not special, alone in the world? The bottom line is, that sucks."

"Get a hold of yourself, woman! Stop going around in circles! Let God take control of your thoughts and give you rest! Stop wallowing! Stop imagining! Stop creating situations and speaking conversations that do not yet, if ever they will, exist! Just shut your brain up! For heaven's sake, go to bed!"

Thinking. Nobody ever tells you what a dangerous thing it is.

Monday, March 20


I didn't know: nine million African children have lost a mother to AIDS.

Saturday, March 18


Sometimes, I fear my body is aging before its time. I have been fortunate to always have been healthy. My blood pressure is low, I exercise regularly, I eat healthfully, I take vitamins (even though Juice says I don't have to), I do yoga and stretch morning, noon and night, I sustain a mostly healthy and steady spiritual life, and I surround myself with loving and generous family members and friends.

But none of these things can ward off excruciating back pain and bum knees.

Every year that passes, it seems that my knees feel worse and worse. It used to be that they only twinged before rain or snow events. Now ... it feels like they twinge at everything. A brisker wind. A sunnier day. One more cloud in the sky. Too many hours in heels. Too many laps in sneakers. A few more minutes of sleep. Too many minutes of sitting with my legs crossed ... or extended. They are feeling less and less stable, and whereas before, they would hurt independently of each other, more frequent are the days when they hurt together, in tandem, as if in conspiracy against me. An x-ray seems inevitable; I fear what might come afterwards.

And lately ... my Lord, could I sound more like a whiny elderly lady ... I've been having the most debilitating twinges in my left lower back. Shifting in my seat while driving ... standing from a normal sitting position ... turning my head and upper body to answer someone calling out to me ... holding one of my precious little babies or picking up one of my precious little toddlers ... in heels, flats, sneakers, socks ... straightening from a bending position ... stooping from a standing position ... turning over in bed while sleeping ... reaching across the table for something ... receiving something that a person hands me ... through each of these things, and more, I suffer quietly, not wanting to wince aloud each time, lest I look utterly and stupidly fragile.

I keep stretching and massaging myself, in the hope, the vain hope, that the pain will go away. Maybe I just pulled a muscle. Maybe I just have to crack my back one more time. Maybe I need to sleep on my stomach, or my side, or my back, or sitting up. Maybe I need to walk instead of run, run instead of walk. Who knows?

I feel elderly. I feel fragile. I feel in pain about 80% of the day. I never know when I'm going to be reduced to holding my breath until the severity of the twinges pass. I hardly ever enjoy a self-pity party ... but the invitation is getting harder and harder to ignore.



I'm so happy to be having a rare, relaxing night in alone, despite multiple invitations otherwise -- entirely different but equally as pleasurable as a rare, relaxing time with the L.O.L.'s or the AJA's -- and after a full day of cooking and eating, I still have food on the brain. Here's me; tell me about you:

What is your signature dinner dish? Oh dear. Not that I'm some kind of uber-chef but I don't think I can name just one, because it all depends on the cuisine, the need, the time ... but when all else fails, I pump out a mean spaghetti with garlic, spinach and andouille sausage in a thick, sweet and spicy tomato sauce.

What is your signature dessert? I love to present an uncracked chocolate-swirled cheesecake (often unsuccessful), or a batch of crunchy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside cranberry-toffee-bittersweet chocolate-oatmeal cookies (often successful).

What is your signature drink? I am told that I make some euphoric coffee.

What food/dish holds the most meaning for you? Lately, crepes. Dinner crepes, filled with sausage, zucchini, garlic and tomatoes; or dessert crepes, filled with Nutella and bananas, topped with Edy's vanilla ice cream.

What food/dish would you be happy to never eat again? That cow's-blood stew (hae-jang-gguk) that I was suckered into eating during my second-to-last visit to the Motherland. I appreciate its cultural meaning and that it invigorates the body, but ... omigosh, I'm gagging at the memory.

What food did you dislike as a child, but now enjoy very much? Sushi and sashimi. I used to not be able to tolerate anything raw and fishy. Only in recent years have I enjoyed experimenting with different sushi rolls, and my repertoire now includes sushi rolls that do indeed contain raw fish. And my 2004 trip to Whistler and the sashimi that melted in my mouth ... oh, yum. It's not the same out here, but occasionally, I'll partake of sashimi or hwe-dop-bab and really, really enjoy it.

What food did you love as a child, but cannot tolerate anymore? I used to love marinated and sauteed anchovies. (Or at least, I think they are anchovies. I know the English translations of VERY few Korean dishes.) Now ... the saltiness and crunchiness and the eyeballs I used to savor just grosses me out.

What is your favorite street or fast food? You can't possibly ask me to pick just one ... dirty-water dogs anywhere in Manhattan ... pork fried rice eaten straight out of the carton ... McDonald's french fries ... anything purchased at a Manhattan street fair.

What is your favorite restaurant dish? The corn chowder at Xavier's ... the fried zucchini blossoms at Payard ... pad thai at Thailand Restaurant ... the sour-cherry cobbler at that place in Florida (L.O.L.'s: what's it called?) ... the coffee at MoMA (no, it's not a dish, but it's good enough to be).

What is/was your greatest restaurant experience? I feel fortunate to have had many, and doubly fortunate that the factors that made the experiences so great were NEVER the food (which only enhanced the meal), but ALWAYS the company.

What is/was your greatest restaurant disappointment? A pesto pasta dish at Il Buco, attempted about eight or nine years ago. I nearly broke teeth trying to crunch through the pasta; the waitress insisted THAT was al dente over my protests and the protests of my L.O.L.'s. Finally, she took it back, and I just KNOW that all they did was take the same pasta, rinse the sauce off, boil it some more, toss some more pesto in it and SPIT IN IT before they sent it back to me. Yucko.

What is/was your most upsetting culinary experience? Anytime someone hasn't fully enjoyed something I've prepared: the pasta that was too dry, the steak that was overdone, the cheesecake that cracked down the middle, the key lime pie that was too runny, the curry that was too spicy, the coffee that was too weak, the bundt cake that wouldn't come out of the pan even when I threw it against the outdoor patio floor at my parents' house ... how depressing that the list could go on and on.

What is/was your most satisfying culinary experience? Most recently, I've got to say it was making those two huge lasagnas for care group (thanks to Charlie for lending me the biggest pans ever known to exist; I don't even know where one would purchase those minivan-sized pans). I had the exactly right amount of ingredients, everything tasted exactly as I wanted it to, everyone enjoyed it and had seconds ... and thirds, and there was plenty to send home. AND the pans fit in my oven.

What is/was your funniest culinary experience? It would have to be a tie between the time I threw the bundt cake pan against the outdoor patio floor at my parents' house in a desperate effort to dislodge the cake (only chunks fell out, so my family ended up eating the rest of it straight out of the damn pan), and the above-mentioned lasagna evening, when foolishly unattended red pasta sauce exploded ALL. OVER. THE. KITCHEN. And then, all over me, when I ran to see what all the plopping noise was. Too bad I was alone -- it was really funny, and I wish I had had someone to share the hysterical (and desperate) laughter with.

If you had to eat the same dish for dinner every night for the rest of your life, what would it be? Again, I'm gagging at the thought, but I'll venture the following: Omma's kimchi jigae over rice.

Thursday, March 16


Two more of our baby doctors found out this morning that they'll be leaving us come June and heading to their respective residency programs. (Watch out, Maryland; beware, SoCal!)


Is this what parents feel like when their kids graduate high school and go off to college? Don't I just want to keep them snuggled up, right next to me ...



Made a cheesecake today for dinner with the L.O.L.'s tomorrow evening. Damn thing cracked all over the top of its middle section. And I think I need new or additional lighting in my kitchen: I couldn't tell exactly how "lightly browned" the top of the damn thing was, so I let it sit in the oven some more. Now, it's a little more than "lightly browned" and it might end up being more cakey than cheesy.

Good thing we're not exactly the slice-n-serve kind of gals -- that only creates more dishes to wash. Better to eat right out of the pan.



Understood: saying, "S/he knows I'm just kidding" and "S/he knows I love him/her" does not make a joke or teasing right, funnier or less hurtful.

Resolved: I will try harder not to encourage or laugh at an unfunny joke made at someone's expense. I will try harder to stand up for the person being backhandedly teased. I will try harder to stand up for myself when I am made the butt of someone's tasteless teasing.

Wednesday, March 15


Has Blogger gone mad? My most recent links are disappearing ... Must. Find. Them. ...



The title made me stop in my tracks as I was heading out of Borders this afternoon (yes, stop short enough to make the man behind me trip over my boot): 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, by Peter Boxall.

I resisted the very, very, very strong urge in me to buy it. I know that if I buy it, I will drive myself mad trying to read every single book listed. And then, I will feel bad that I can't or that I went blind from trying.

I did not, however, resist, the urge to peruse the 1,001 titles listed at the front of the book. I only got through two-thirds of the books that begin with "A." I was totally discouraged by the fact that I had not read A SINGLE ONE of those books.


I'm probably going to buy this book and torture myself with it until I die.



What does it mean when your body craves tofu? Fried tofu. Scrambled tofu. Spicy tofu. Boiled tofu. Tofu with kimchi. Tofu over rice. Tofu stir-fry. Tofu fried rice. Soft tofu. Firm tofu. I crave tofu.

Monday, March 13

HOME . . .

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
(I) just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
"Son," he said, "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."

To keepin' silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho' my life was in a rut
'Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey," he said, "Grab your things
I've come to take you home."

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey," I said, "You can keep my things,
they've come to take me home."

When people ask you what's going on, do you ever say "nothing" even though something is going on, because it's just easier to say "nothing" than to say "everything," because if you said "everything," you'd really mean a list of about 1,853 things, and when people ask "what's going on," they rarely, if ever, really want to know?

Me too.

(But then do you ever come across that one rare soul to whom you can say "nothing and everything," and they understand exactly what you mean, and so then you sort of feel like the "nothing" is less heavy, and the "everything" is just a tiny bit reduced by that one longed-for glimpse of empathy and care?

Me too.)

I guess all of us just want to be heard.
SHUT ME UP . . .

Do you ever just feel like throwing every ounce of maturity, knowledge, logic, dignity and faith right on out the window, and just whining at the top of your lungs:


Me too.

Sunday, March 12


What a 180-degree turnaround: it's still sort of warmish, but it's also grey and wet today. I derive no small amount of comfort from hearing the pitter of raindrops arriving on my deck or spraying occasionally against my windows when the breeze decides to direct them thither. Half of me is charmed by the sensation that spring is right around the corner, and there is really nothing as satisfying and fresh as a spring's rain. But the other half of me ... is the exact same colour as the sky: grey.

Sometimes, I think I'm just too sensitive, and I wonder how I got this way. Occasionally, I'm sensitive in a good way, able to intuit how people are feeling, able to care for them, able to pick up on things that others don't, and able to fulfill my friends' needs without being asked. I can turn a bad situation around with a smile or a gentle word. I can be moved into compassionate action and service, picking up the slack or being proactive and thus helpful. Most times, though, I think I don't reign myself in enough, and I end up reacting to things, letting things hurt me more than merely move me, allowing people to pin-prick me in spots that are overladen with nerves, too soft. When I share about the things that hurt me, 99% of my friends don't understand; they don't know why I can't get over it, why I was hurt in the first place. It's usually no big deal. Are they right, or are they just thick-skinned?

In recent months, I have been taught a great deal about trusting people, about being open and real, about taking down fences that I knowingly or unknowingly have erected against those who are not in my inner sanctum. I haven't always wanted to trust, to be open, to be fenceless, but I've tried, because I've been instructed that it is "right." But now I'm questioning the rightness of being those things, and the wrongness of self-protection. What, exactly, is the inherent value of laying yourself bare for the world to see? What, exactly, is the virtue in being open to everyone, no matter who hurts you, no matter who takes advantage of your trust, no matter who doesn't care about you enough to put their own selfish motives aside?

I always bounce between these two extremes, I think: wanting so much to form deep connections with people, or being hurt by someone's betrayal -- great or small -- and thus withdrawing into wariness to lick my wounds. I have moments where I'm really open with a new friend, and then almost inevitably, I am kicking myself a few days later for having given too much of myself. It is a hard realization to understand that people are fallen, they are selfish, they care only about themselves, what they say is different from what they do, they seek to undermine you and make you feel bad so they can feel good, they are immature and young even when they pretend not to be, they are self-serving and self-aggrandizing, they are lacking in common sense and social mores, they are searching for ways to insinuate themselves into your life so that they can take what they know and use it against you. It is a harder realization to see these very true, very real characteristics in a woman, a woman I might once have called "friend," a woman I might once have thought I could eventually call "a close friend."

But it is the hardest realization to look at myself and know that I have been suckered once again. I don't know who to be angry at more: she, the immature backstabber, or me, the unwitting backstabbee.

... I love looking at rain. I love hearing it. I even love waking up to the sound of it. Today ... I wonder what its effect on me will be. I don't necessarily want to be grey all day, but maybe some wallowing and pensiveness will be good for me? Or maybe it will wash me clean, scour out the darkest and dirtiest and most bitter corners of my heart. Maybe it will flow me towards the friends in whom I have great security, and towards the Christ in whom I have the utmost of redemption and understanding?



Dr. Cheech comes home in four months!
It has been ages since our family was "whole," excepting the occasional major holiday.

Saturday, March 11

A TASTE . . .

... left the gym, stepped outside, raised my arms, faced up towards the sunshine and twirled 'round and 'round in the parking lot, not caring who saw me.

... ate lunch outdoors, with the sun on our faces, outdoor noises in our ears.

... drove through town with the windows down and the breeze flowing in and out.

... perched on a bench in the park and watched children play, families picnic, loners read.

... sat by the river, a book open on the table before me, and gazed across the shimmer to the other side, soaking in the pleasurable assault of beloved memories.

... drove home slowly, letting the sun warm my hair and shoulders.

It's fading now and evening's chill is nigh, but I am still full from the day. Spring can't come soon enough.

Friday, March 10


Caught an episode of "What Not to Wear" with Mabel today. The makeover victim stood 5'1", a self-described "petite" woman. For a petite woman, though, she had a lot of curves -- big breasts, an accentuated and slender waist, wider hips and short, roundish legs. I could see why she would have trouble finding clothes that fit perfectly, and I was so happy that she ultimately found clothes that brought out all of her beautiful parts and made her look really stunning and confident.

But the one thing I couldn't get over was that this simply petite woman looked UTTERLY SHORT AND SMALL, especially pre-makeover, and especially standing next to the hosts, Stacy and Clinton. I had to ask Mabel, "Is this what I look like? Am I this short and squat compared to the rest of humanity?!??!"

I seriously think that I am taller than the 5'2" that I am. I've been told by various people that they also view me as being taller than I actually am (that is, until they stand next to me, and can rest their elbows on my head). They say it's because of my "tall" personality (whatever that means), or the fact that I nearly all of my footwear are heeled, or that I wear flattering clothing, or that my body is mostly proportionately balanced. Blah, blah, blah. There is definitely a premium placed upon being tall, and it's supposed to be comforting and complimentary to me that I am viewed as being taller than I am. It is not good to be short.

But I wonder why I think I'm taller than I am. It often surprises me to look at photographs and see the height difference between my companions and me. It often confuses me when I have to look up at someone I'm talking to. I often give inaccurate estimates of other people's heights because I compare them to myself ... and to myself, I do not stand 5'2". I am at least 5' 5". What am I thinking?!?!? Where did I get these three extra mental inches?

Anyhoo. I told Mabel that if I ever look squat and frumpy, she is to throw me a code word so that I can promptly go home and burn the offending outfit. Short, I can take. Squat and frumpy? No way.



I am so, so sorry to all of you loyalists ... but New Jersey sucks. It just does.

I have an impeccable sense of direction. I can find my way TO anywhere, FROM anywhere, and OUT OF anywhere. I always know where the river is, where the mountains are, where home is. I can read signs from miles away, even the vandalized ones hidden behind overgrown shrubbery. My gut feelings while driving are never wrong, and I NEVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER get lost.

I got lost today, IN NEW JERSEY. It was supposed to be so easy, too: take this Route to that Route, then hop on the Parkway and go whee, whee, whee all the way home. An easy, breezy, thirty minutes, it was supposed to take. But NOOOOO, the evil forces of New Jersey conspired against me and made me take some random and lengthy tour along all these streets of all these towns that were RIGHT NEAR the Routes I was supposed to take, but never spit me actually ONTO these Routes. And did you know that you're not allowed to take a left turn in New Jersey? EVER?! So of course, I did because I was just so fed up, and by that point, I figured that at least if I get pulled over by a State Trooper (and New Jersey's state troopers are also notoriously sucky -- how appropriate), I could ask him for directions. And did you know that no car with New Jersey license plates will ever let you merge or change lanes in front of them? EVER?! So of course, I bullied my way into any space I could find because by that point, I figured that at least if I was in a car accident, the police would come ... and I could ask them for directions.

Well, I finally found my way home, without a ticket and without an accident, but I am still bitter, for the worst part was that the whole time, I knew exactly where I was. I just couldn't get to where I needed to go ... because New Jersey wouldn't let me!

It's good to have old friends. I mean, literally. I don't mean elderly, necessarily, but ... it's good to have in one's circle of friends one person -- or two, if one is particularly lucky -- who knows him/herself well, who is secure and confident in the things s/he values and knows and feels, who is so rooted in who God has made him/her to be that it is easy, smooth and effortless to give of his/herself to friends. I have much to learn from my old friend, and I can't believe my great luck in being in this friendship. I have every fear allayed; every reassurance given; every care provided; every prayer prayed; every insecurity dashed.

Even as I write about my own luck, how grateful I feel and how I feel so blessed and loved ... my next thought is: how can I give this to someone else. Assuming that I reach this place of security and self-knowledge and maturity myself, I surely can't hog it. Pay it forward ... bad movie, great life philosophy.



... old friends, thanks to the Wonger for some nighttime blog-candy. I'm too wired to sleep, so I'll plod away at this for a bit.

1. What is your full name now? Oh please. Like I don't give enough information away in this blasted Internet.

2. What are you wearing right now? What I like to call my "Little House on the Prairie" pajamas: pink, red and white flannel, from Eddie Bauer.

3. What are you listening to now? Silence. It's sweet.

4. What was the last thing you ate? A slice of Asian pear.

5. Do you wish on stars? No. But seeing them causes me to be awestruck and pray.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Brick red.

7. How is the weather right now? Well, earlier, I know it was hella-warm. Right now, it seems sort of humid and it's seeping into my home. My flannel is not feeling cozy as much as it's feeling ... sort of damp.

8. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My old friend.

9. How old are you today? Thirty.

10. Favorite drink? Coffee in the morning; water the rest of the day; a Black Russian with Grey Goose when it's just too much.

11. Favorite sport? To watch, baseball. To play ... well, I'm horrible at actually participating in sports.

12. Favorite hobby? Reading, writing, cooking.

13. Hair color? Dark, dark brown. And two wiry strands of white!

14. Siblings? Yes.

15. Favorite food? Korean, preferably made by Omma.

16. What was the last movie you watched? "Crash."

17. Favorite day of the year? Thanksgiving. It's when my family is guaranteed to be together, and Appa prays aloud over all of us. *Sob.* Gets me every time.

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Legos.

19. Summer or winter? Winter. It's snuggly soft.

20. Hugs or kisses? I shall be greedy and say BOTH.

21. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla.

22. Do you want your friends to email you back? Always.

23. When was the last time you cried? Two hours ago, but it was all good, really.

24. What is under your bed? The carpet.

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Nan, whom I've known for over twenty years.

26. What did you do last night? Indulged in Thai and conversation with Boms.

27. Favorite smell? Clean man, kimchi jigae, freshly-brewed coffee and sauteed garlic. Totally independent of each other.

28. Favorite TV show? "Lost."

29. Happy in life? Becoming more and more so.

30. What are you afraid of? Being ineffective, being complacent, being forgotten, being useless, being faithless. And clowns.

31. Butter or salted? Salt it up, baby!

32. Favorite car? I remain loyal always: Toyota 4Runner. (Although, if I were permitted to betray Good Girl, I'd say "Audi A4" in a heartbeat!)

33. Favorite flower? Dark red gerber daisies. Pure white calla lilies. Bright yellow sunflowers.

34. Number of keys on your key ring? Seven.

35. How many years at your current job? Omigosh, I am SO unemployed right now. I have been busy doing everything but paid work outside the home for six months! Thank God for this break ...

36. Favorite day of the week? Monday.

37. What did you do on your last birthday? The Saturday before, I was kidnapped for an alleged brunch with The Girls, driven through the Lost Lands of Tarrytown, and dumped in some random factory parking lot on the riverfront for an outdoor tailgate lunch -- awesome! It was so cold, but I couldn't stop laughing! Then the gang loaded onto a Hudson River tour/cruise up to the Buchanan area and back -- what a luscious autumn day and what a fresh, chilly breeze. The actual day of, I had lunch with the family of a sister suffering from breast cancer, then visited her in the hospital, recuperating from a mastectomy. Then a walk with my old friend in a riverfront park and a quiet afternoon of coffee and giggles, before heading home for dinner with the fam.

38. How many towns have you lived in? Six.

39. Do you make friends easily? Depending on the meaning of "friends" ... no, not really. But it's me, not you.

Okay, now you go.

Wednesday, March 8


It's too soon to be thinking about mortality. Dang, what a naive statement, if ever I made one! But it's true, I think.

She broke her ankle the other day and was surgerized (not a word, I know, but it's so fun and efficient to say) this evening. I have never seen her in a weak state before ... it boggles my mind to imagine her under anesthesia and having to recover from something, having to rely on others for strength and service she has always offered without complaint.

He is having heart trouble. He's been shaved, sedated, prodded, poked, stented, x-rayed more in the last month than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime. I have never seen his spirit tested this way before ... it pains me to see him being weakened thus in order to be strengthened later.

Car accidents, strained muscles, busted knees, persistent headaches, slips and falls, miserable colds, stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, forgetting to eat.

I felt tempted to feel like things are out of control, in my life and in the lives of thoe I love. It's bad enough when I grip tightly to my own days and find the hours slipping out of my grasp; I hate not being able to contain the days of those around me and hold their lives and bodies together as well. But this temptation, unlike others, is easy to put aside. Because I was reminded tonight that God IS in control, and His control is neither suffocating nor strangling; neither condescending nor misguided. His control is precise, benevolent, gentle, true, heavy in the way a favorite winter comforter is weighty and warm upon my body. Best of all, these reminders came to me via the hearts and mouths and email accounts of those upon whom I rely most, even when it's hard for me to take off my armor and ask for a friend to lean on. Especially when. Thank you.

Sunday, March 5


Is it not January 1st anymore? Hmmm, time flies.

I woke up feeling like today is my New Year's Day. Hard to explain coherently, as are most things rooted deep within one's soul ... it's not that I've been asleep for the past two and a half months, but I feel more engaged, more capable now, today, to cope with life and all that comes with it. Many doors closing, many more doors opening from now on. A longer, more intense workout. A change in my diet. A clean, vacuumed, dusted, Clorox-wiped home. A resolved misunderstanding. A renewed devotion. A job interview. A viable route for a career change, if I wish. A new understanding of the word "family." An adoption of commitment to flexibility and openness and constant reinterpretation of love. A daily attempt to surrender and be led.

It is so good to feel this hopeful. Being out of work has been soooo great ... and soooo demeaning at the same time. Seeing all my friends get married and have babies has been soooo great ... and soooo painful at the same time. Having the time to write, think, create, pray, drive and wander has been soooo great ... and soooo tedious at the same time. In so many things, I have ridden a roller-coaster ride of extreme highs and turbulent lows. In just a short span of time, I've been led to question so many things about myself and the people around me, and it has been way too easy to forget the foundational things that are every-important: the constancy and love of Jesus Christ, my family, my friends. Somehow, in all of this, I've forgotten how to hope and I've let go of the joy of hoping and looking forward with a wicked smile on my face.

I feel the wicked smile coming back. The fenceposts being dug up and cast aside. The charming naughtiness (if I do say so myself) percolating again. The trust being rebuilt. The heart being made willing and able to accept all the good things given to me. Watch out ... my year has begun.

Friday, March 3

WHY IS IT . . .

... that you can't leave your pets in the car -- even with the window cracked open a bit -- on a super-hot day, but you can do so on a really cold day? Is that allowed? Will the pet be alright? Because if it's not allowed, and it's not alright, then the police dog sitting in the backseat of one of the patrol cars of my local police department is in biiiiig trouble.

... that every car I've seen with the "Merry Maids" logo on the side has been a complete mess on the inside? I mean, from my perch pulled up at a red light next to it, I can look into the car and see: random articles of clothing, fast-food wrappers, beverage bottles, assorted crumpled tissues and napkins, buckets of cleaning supplies, and other everyday detritus. The irony. It slays me.

... that I often seem to have these far-removed and vague interactions with people who later appear in the news for one reason or another? An attorney at a big white-shoe Manhattan law firm was arrested on child molestation and prostitution charges. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I did a couple of errands for him back when I was a paralegal there. Yucko.

... that some people are really bad at keeping secrets, and others aren't? I used to be really bad at keeping secrets myself, until I realized I didn't want people knowing my own. Now, my strategy is to forget other people's secrets, and to never tell my own. Sadly, it has become easier and easier for me to forget other people's secrets -- not because I don't care, but because ... I just forget. And also sadly, it has become easier and easier for me to not tell my own secrets -- not because I don't want to, but because ... people are hard to trust.

... that I can publish my life online for all the world to see, but I still harbor bitterness in my heart that I can't control who reads me? I would love to be able to block out certain people, for I feel they are living vicariously through me -- which is just annoying -- and/or they think they "know" me now because they read these snippets -- which of course they don't, but you can't tell them that because they are neither socially adept enough to realize the difference, or they are in denial. Do I sound harsh? I am. And now these people will think I'm a bitch.