Tuesday, October 31


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

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

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

Sunday, October 22


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



Things that frustrated me today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

1. Sitting with a brother.

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

3. Productivity.

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

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

6. My warm worm.

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

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

Friday, October 20


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

Thursday, October 19

SILLY . . .

Two quick things that crack me up:

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 13

NEWBIE . . .

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



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


HEE-HAW . . .

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



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



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



Rock on, my man.

Thursday, October 12

IT'S A PLANE . . .

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

Friday, October 6

BRRRR . . .

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


AUTUMN . . .

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 4


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

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

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



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

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

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


FOUND . . .

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

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

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



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

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

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



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