Eruption Interruption

I love that Boo is old enough to do some things for himself.  At the same time, I love that he still needs my help - picking out a shirt that matches, putting on lotion, shampooing his hair.  But at 7-1/2, he can get on the kitchen step stool, pick out a glass or mug, get himself a drink.  He'll ask me if he can have a lollipop, and go in the cupboard where I keep his candy.

One morning last week, his dad found him on the kitchen step stool, looking in the cupboard where we keep bowls.  On the counter he had my box of baking soda and bottle of vinegar.

7 Years

Exactly 7 years ago, we traveled to our home in State College via Seoul, Taejon and DC.  He must have sensed we were at the end of our journey because he fell into a deep sleep, a deep sleep he hadn't known since 2 strangers took him away from his home the week before.  The journey, of course, was just beginning.

Happy Family Day, little boy.  You transformed one couple into a Family.
I love you.



I get a gurgly feeling in the pit of my stomach.  This subtle yet clear urge to, um, excuse me, but this urge to lurch.  I feel a sense of shame.  I've had it for decades now.  I should probably go talk to someone about it.  See if there's an antidote. 

It happened during the 80's, the Reagan years, the Bushes.  Now, with Barack Obama. 
Barack.  Obama.  MaMan.

Now I know for sure that I have an incurable allergy to State of the Union Addresses.


The Message

Boo has been writing little notes.  To friends, our Pastor, his dad...to me.  He'll try to talk to me when I'm ...um...indisposed.  When I ask him for privacy, I'll hear his footsteps fall away.  Then return. Then a slip of paper get shoved under the door.

As an Only, he is always seeking for me to be his friend.  To play Firehouse with him.  To play Sorry.  To play anything.  Just to keep him company.

It's easy to spoil him because he is an Only.  I may spoil him materially, but I try to keep things in perspective for him; often making him work for the toy.  I try harder not to spoil him emotionally.  I baby him because I think he needs it.  I want to snuggle, buggle, smooch and knooch him as much as possible so that he doesn't feel needy when he's grown.  Be filled to over flowing.  Saturated.  With a deep-seeded sadness that I'm not sure will ever go away, I am trying to be the fertile soil of security for him.  But demands and manipulations and whines?  No way.  No room for that here.  Zero tolerance policy.

I try not to give into his demands and make sure he respects that I have my own life and will play with him when I can.  But then I get distracted.  By the computer.  Laundry.  The messy room.  Anything.  Because I don't really like to play.  I'm a serious sort.  But then a sad little note like this will wake me up:

I got the message, buddy.


Helllo Luvvah!

I want to sleep with you; hold your round smooth warmness against me.  I want to be with you everyday, washing brown rice or jasmine rice or short grain rice...steaming pork buns...making porridge together.  I know others will say you're too fussy, that you have expensive tastes.  But.  They don't understand.  They don't know what it's like to be.  To be.  East Asian.

You were good to me, but I've got to move on. I have brown rice and porridge to consider now.  Take care, and have a nice life.  I know you'll make someone else as happy as you made me.


Pretty Poor

When I was young and idealistic, I lived in a big city.  I walked the historic cobblestone streets, walked through the public greens, attended a picturesque church.  A church painted by Arshile Gorky and Maurice Prendergast.  My leather heels would get caught between the cobblestones and my briefcase felt too heavy.  Passing by the reflecting pond in the garden, on alternate benches came the pungent smells of the homeless.  In plain view of the gold-domed state house, lined along the basement windows of this church lay huddled masses of gray rags, covered by fresh newspapers, steam rising around them from the subway grilles.

As a young professional living in a big city, I didn't make much, but certainly I had enough time and money to get some food for one poor soul.  I walked to the nearby fast-food joint and bought a sandwich and fries.  I approached one of the huddles of rags and bent down. "Here, I brought you some food."

This older woman looked up from beneath a blanket, her lovely face ashy with dirt.  Her eyes lit up, and she thanked me for my kindness.  She told me a heart-wrenching story of how she came to live on the street.  Her family owned a small diner, but one misfortune after another left them penniless.  She and her husband of 30 years moved in with their engineer son, but he died of cancer at 28 and her husband died of a broken heart.

No.  That's not what happened.  She was an older woman, yes, but her face was like dried carcass, purple and veined from weather, hardship and probably alcohol.  Her eyes glowed with hatred as she swatted at me with her rag-covered club of an arm.  She cursed and swore at me in a gravelly voice from a horror movie telling me to leave her alone and who did I think I was.

I almost fell back on my heels.  I looked around in embarrassment.  I re-rolled the top of the paper bag in nervousness and backed away.  I headed to the subway stop, on my way home and dropped the food into a city trash can.

I thought about that for a long time.  What I learned was that I can't know what others need.  Especially if I am no where near where that other person is in terms of experiences and hopes, or lack thereof.

I also learned it is easier to love the poor when they are a storybook version of "poor."  A story book version of the poor may be dusty but clean, thankful and sane.  The poor were hard working but misfortune befell them through no fault of their own.  They saved rain water so they could clean themselves and wash their clothes with bits of soap they scavenged.  Pretty children with large round eyes.  They were humble and appreciated whatever was given to them.  And they got back on their feet through the generosity of others.

When the poor are rancid, carrying around hidden bits of feces on their blackened rags?  When they laid around on side walks and scavenged in the dumpsters?  When their children are petty thieves? When they are the third generation living on welfare?  Smoking two packs a day? And damn they AREN'T thankful to you.  And chances are, they aren't going to get back on their feet.  In a month.  In a year.  Or more.

Maybe it's easier for some to give to Haiti, imagining these distant people.  Few of us have smelled them or seen them.  They believe in voodoo and do all kinds of things that decent suburbanites don't do.  But they're far away and they don't smell and we can't see if they're lazy or crazy.  But the poor in this country?  We've walked by them with their gaggle of children.  Seen them buy junk food at the stores.  Talk too loud.  Sit around.  They're not pretty.  They take up our air, eat off of our tax dollars.  But is it easier to love an idea?  The idea of the poor rather than the ones you bump up against?  The ones you can smell?

I don't know a lot about the poor.  But I think I know this:  I am not able to decide who is worthy and who is not worthy of my money and time and what it is that they need.  Maybe we need to be a bit more humble and say that we don't know what brought these people to this point - near or far - and give with a generous heart?


Old Friends

I love gadgets.  I don't mean iGadgets.  I mean basic office gadgets from thirty years ago.

I love me a sturdy pencil sharpener, a strong reliable stapler, sharp Fiskar scissors, a sleek tape dispenser.  The first, most basic business contact organizer - the Rolodex.  The almost biting sharpness of a German stainless steel compass.  Lead holders, leads of all grades, 10 different colors, lead pointers.  Those infuriating Rapid-o-graphs.  Graph paper, rolls of canary or buff, vellum, mylar.  Erasers for 20 different applications.  An electric eraser.  An. Electric. Eraser.

The list goes on.  But I loved all those gadgets.  The directness of them.  No translations through 1s and 0s.  No moving a mouse that moves a cursor that shows a line.  No Cntrl or Alt anything.  You drew directly.  Felt the weight of each piece in your hands, the edges against your fingers.  Heard it slide across your table. The leads were sharpened, then flattened to a sharp angle on a sandpaper pad so the vertical lines of each letter would be sharp as a knife slice; the horizontals sturdy like concrete slabs.  Our lettering was a source of pride.

Of course now, the main tactile experience of the architect is a mouse.  Squeak.

I recently acquired this pencil sharpener. I'm sure it wouldn't fit into anybody's briefcase.  It was made to sit, like furniture, on your desk next to your drafting table in your office.  I couldn't confirm that it worked, but I knew it would.  They were built to last.  The motor sounds like a large ride-on mower.  Probably has the same horse power.

Just today, I found this stapler, another piece of furniture that knew nothing of branch offices or mergers or international travel.  It probably weighs 3 pounds.  And yes, it works. Of course.

When I saw these old friends at a rummage sale and thrift store, respectively, it was like reminiscing about an old love.

I think I need a drink.


New Do


I hadn't had a hair cut in months.  I've been too busy to make the 50-minute drive to the salon.  A highly skilled hair stylist can do my hair, and anyone else's, but I haven't found one in this here part of the world.  They really need to understand texture and shape; the texture of my hair, the shape of my head, what complements my features.  So I drive to a Korean stylist whose clientele is mostly Asian.

The very hairs on my head are different -  each hair on my head has longer fibres, a rounder cross-section, and is about 40% thicker than Caucasians'.  I've heard that because of its thickness, our hair must be cut directionally, that it, must be combed carefully and cut at a particular angle to keep it laying properly.  (If you think about cutting pencil lead vs a pencil - does that help you envision it?)

HH and I were having a talk one morning before he left for work.  I was saying I needed a hair cut and started to cry.  I was high at the time - high on hormones.  I hadn't had a haircut in months and felt disheveled and unattractive.  I knew I should be able to transcend that and concentrate on my inner self but I couldn't.  I felt badly about myself.  Frumpy and dumpy. 

I heard about a Tom Jones song when I was younger that had a line something like,
'When your woman is feeling bad, Sometimes a woman needs a new dress.'

At the time, those words turned my blood into sour juice that shot through my veins right into my heart and head and nearly drove me to insanity. 

Twenty years later, I see that sometimes, this woman needs a new dress.  Or do



I'm not talking about Xtreme bloggers.  Those that are basically psycho misanthropes and hate everything.  There are plenty.  Really.  It's sad.

I'm talking about the educated, reasonable-in-all-appearances bloggers.

As poisonous as gossip is, so much more the written word.  So, yes, blogging is a form of diary to most but if you're going to let the public in on your private world?  I firmly believe you need to act responsibly.  Your feelings about your life, what the dog ate, problems at your kid's school -  yes.  Opinions? yes.  Opinions based on ignorance?  Umm.  As Jesus is Truth, and He is called The Word, might there be something more critical in the written (recorded) word than the ones spewed out over coffee? 

Here's what George Orwell said about the written word:
 "One ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end....The word Fascism has now no meaning except insofar as it signifes 'something not diesrable.' The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another...Words of this kind are often used in a consiously dishonest way." - George Orwell in "Politics and the Englsih Language"

I just read a blog in which a suburban stay-at-home mom/wife to a doctor with one child spouts off about healthcare reform.  She moans about how hard her husband worked to get into med school, how sad her little girl is because he's working 3rd shift and how have they 200K in student loans.  Legitimate fodder for a blog, in my opinion.  That I think she's whiney and ungrateful is beside the point.  I don't have to read it, right?  And I won't.

But the facts?  Please have SOME inkling about what you are talking about.  The other day, I made a comment on a blog about Pee Wee Herman being a child molester.  Pee Wee Herman!  My fingers don't even want to type his name!!  Bleagh!  I had to DEL key several times!  Now, I am NOT bragging.  I'm just giving you an example.  I found out he was never charged of molestation.  He's definitely convicted for being WIERD but not that other thing.  I retracted my comment on the blog.  I didn't have to, and the blogger lovey even LOL'd me.  But I felt I needed to because I didn't want to add to the floating fodder that he is, when he isn't. (As far as anyone knows.)

This blogger said 'every hospital is required to treat everyone.'  That's the law.  Rules are meant to be broken, right?!  Do you know what really happens?  The "undesirables" get ambulanced to other (undesirable) hospitals.  Undesirable might mean you, lady, if your nice doctor gets disabled and can't get health insurance.  Some even die in the waiting room.  And.  AND.  If they get treated?  THEY GET A BILL that even we couldn't, nor this said blogger could AFFORD!  And you don't think you're already paying for all this care?  You don't think these same people maybe should have a plan instead of going to the ER all the time?

There are many reasons to not like the healthcare bill.  A dear friend of mine doesn't like it because she doesn't trust the government to do a good job. OK! I accept that!  I have lots of comments about it, but I buy it!  Nobody even has to give a reason.  It's a free country, right?  But if you give a reason?  and it's in writing? and it's in the public domain?  Have some sense of responsibility.


'He's worked so hard, we didn't ask for anything, and why should I give anything away??' she says.  It's called SHARING.  It might not be in the form of a government program, but don't be so selfish and hateful.  It's called LOVE.  It's called HUMILITY.

...behold! a great multitude that no one could number, **from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,** standing before the throne and before the Lamb... Revelations 7:9

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness.”
- Psalm 69:13

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
- Isaiah 43: 1-3

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
- Psalm 82:3-4

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. - Proverbs 22:9

I wonder if she went to Kindergarten.

The Take Down



Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.

- J. Oswald Sanders
Attorney from New Zealand, missionary to China, author of over forty book


If It Ain't Broke

One of the basic tenets of Conservatism is Maintenance over Change, or, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

I just want to know who decided it ain't broke?



Up Cycle

Have you heard that phrase? An uptake on Recycle. My best girl, a real artist, also does a variety of  crafts as a small business. These are up-cycled cashmere items:

Can't you just imagine yourself snuggled up on the sofa?  or in front of the fire with your sweetie??

Henny Penny

When we were first married, we lived in what might be laughably called a small city.  Not just a small city, but the outskirts of a small city way out in the country.  It was on a knoll that used to be all farmland.  Ours was an out building that had been added to and added to, all constructed by the owner himself.  It was a house nailed and glued together with Masonite . . . and cardboard.  When he ran out of baseboard, he just . . . stopped.  Every room was covered with wood panel-look Masonite.  Each room was a different color.

For me to have moved into that house with my new husband showed the extent of my love fore him.  Me, who would go camping only at the Hilton.

The house sat on 3-1/2 acres, backed up against wooded game land with horse trails.  Every once in awhile, I could hear the clop-clop of someone going for a ride.  Having been farmland, the soil was dark and lush.  My husband spent years nurturing the long-forgotten plants and bringing back the array of plants that abounded on the property.  I would go out in the Spring and Summer to cut huge boquets of annuals and you'd never know any had been taken.

I'm afraid of being in nature.  I am sure that an axe murderer lurks out there, who will get me and leave my corpse to rot.  Let me say again:

For me to have moved into that house with my new husband showed the extent of my love fore him.

I'd rise at 5:30 am...or try.  I'd drag myself out of bed in the dark and get ready for my 48-mile commute to work.  I ran late more often than not and would come crashing out of the driveway and speed down our country road.  My hair was often damp and my lipstick not on.

One day, I patted the top of my damp head because my hair felt out of place, like it was touching the roof of my car.

It felt furry.

I SCREEEEEEEEAAMED, careened the car practically into a ditch, threw the door open and shook my head like a mad woman.  Something fell out of my hair and onto the road side.  A Wolf Spider.

You all know there's another cold spell sweeping the country, especially across the South. In Alabama, it's so cold the Iguana are falling out of trees. These cold-blooded creatures get so cold, they're dropping out of trees like popsicles.


The sky is falling.