Thursday, December 30, 2004

Happy Almost New Year!

Note: You've probably already received this in your email, but I thought I'd post the letter anyway.

My dear loved ones…

Warning: I'm gonna get smushie on you...big surprise. This is what you get for being in my inner circle, sucka...and there is nothing you can do about it. ;-)

Happy Almost 2005! May it be filled with love, laugher, joy, growth, and the realization of all your potential. As most of you know, I have the annoying habit of being far too philosophical, contemplative, and analytical…it's gotten me into lots 'o trouble in the past. But why change now?!

The beginning of the new year always excites me. Rilke wrote… "Let us now welcome the new year…Oh! the possibilities." The possibilities indeed! What does 2005 hold for us? None of us know…and that is the amazing thing…none of us know! The potential for abundant joy and excitement is limitless. Many of us are in the midst of significant life changes…new jobs, new loves, new births, new homes, re-evaluated dreams, re-evaluated expectations, rediscovered talents, rediscovered friendships…and the burden of all things new and changing can really weigh us down and dull us from the potential and joy of what these changes can bring. Personally, 2004 brought A LOT of change for me, and I know that sometimes I felt consumed by the change process…consumed by the enormity of it all…I felt tossed…a piece of flotsom whirling in an unforgiving sea. I found myself having to repeatedly step back and observe my life from the vantage point of a third party to truly appreciate the enormous gift all these changes brought to my life…the added texture and depth of my life. I mean…really…how many people can say they got stuck in a water buffalo traffic jam in Yellowstone National Park, went snow-shoeing in Tahoe, swam in the Great Salt Lake, watched Radiohead perform live at 1 in the morning in the middle of a polo field in the California desert, or visited the SPAM MUSEUM within a 13 month time frame!!! Feel sorry for my grandchildren...they'll be hearing these stories on a near constant basis when I'm old and forgetful. I guess what I'm saying (and I'm saying this more for myself than for you) is…be not afraid to take risk in 2005…be not afraid of the potential for failure…be not afraid of falling…because you won't…or maybe you will…but who knows where that falling will take you…Live on the boundaries of your life and explore how you can expand those boundaries…Don't be afraid to live boldly…the world needs more bold livers (as opposed to bold kidneys or bladders or pituitary glands…bad joke…sorry.)

I've never been a person for new years resolutions…it's not that they don't work…they do sometimes…but there is something confining about them…something prescribed, negative, fabricated and superficial. I don't set new years resolutions. However, I do set new year hopes…Hopes are optimistic and well-wishing. So, what are some of my hopes for 2005?

> I hope I get to hug you this year and play with you.
> I hope you and I laugh together.
> I hope you have a moment when you are so nervous that your stomach ties up into a knot, your face gets flushed, and you lose your ability to speak English.
> I hope you get to sit back and fall asleep watching a movie under a warm comforter.
> I hope someone cooks you a warm meal from scratch.
> I hope you and I get an opportunity to help someone less fortunate.
> I hope you and I have an opportunity to feel pain and realize that it is an aspect of life that we can't avoid. I hope we learn to fully embrace the heartache and then learn to let it go.
> I hope you get caught in a warm summer shower.
> I hope you have an opportunity to live in your body fully…feeling the pounding of your heart, the rush of blood through your legs, the tingle of wind on your skin, and the wet of your mouth.
> I hope you are enraptured by music…consumed by its celebration, consumed by its universiality.
> I hope you laugh with a loved one until tears come to your eyes and you gasp for breath.
> I hope you get an opportunity to create…create art, create a report, create love, create music, create connections, create a robot, create friendships.
> I hope you get to express yourself…realizing the strength of your voice and your intelligence.
> I hope you feel connected…connected to people, to earth, to me, to a nice bowl of chili, to weather.
> I hope you have a moment to get angry and disgusted…to the point that you are compelled to revolt, to riot, to seek change.
> I hope you eat a whole chocolate bar in one sitting...a nice big chocolate bar with a high cocoa content...marshmallows and graham crackers are optional but oh so delightful!

Above all, I hope you have a full year of experience…experience that you can't wait to share with others.

Thank you for enriching my life. Thank you for the experiences you shared with me in 2004. Thank you for being a friend. I love you. I hope I get to see you this year and hug you and laugh with you...Yeah, that's right, I mean a problem with that.

With all my love,

Bo Young

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Few Things

There are few things more magical then:

Walking through Manhattan, late at night, during Christmas weekend when the streets are barren and empty, holding someone's hand, and the snow falling silently around you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I don't even know you...

What is happening to this country? In a recent survey conducted by researchers at Cornell Univery, 44% of Americans surveyed favored restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. The survey also found that Republicans and those that described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing civil liberties.

What ever happend to learning from our mistakes? Ummm...anyone ever heard of the Holocaust...or the Japanese Internment Camps? The study is revealing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it speaks to the pervasive nature of racism in this country. Just because the KKK doesn't openly wander around terrorizing communities doesn't mean that the sentiments that fueled its original formation no longer exist. If the survey is any indication, racism is a live and ready to stick out its little ugly, deformed face. Secondly, the findings speak volumes about how short-sighted and self-involved Americans are. When American can't even be bothered to extend equitable civil liberties to its own citizens, how can the global community expect us to design foreign policy that is inclusive rather than isolationist?

This should be a huge warning sign for all of you civil liberties loving, tree-hugging, believers of equality and social justice. The country is becoming a scary place. We have to be one our toes to ensure that our civil liberties are not slowly chipped away. The gay rights movement, the pro-choice movement, environmentalism...all contribute to the safe-guarding of our civil liberties. We have to ensure that a dialogue of descent continues in the public forum. We can't just shut off the TV when something upsetting occurs. We have to exercise our voice and say things that aren't always pretty. We have to rage at times...and I'm not talking about raging in anger and fear and misguided aggression...a la faux-metal grunge testotaronie Ozzefest attendees...I'm talking about raging for social change...raging out of a place of compassion and hope. Raging for not only the safety of my Muslim-American friends but for my own safety. Some of you think I'm joking when I talk about my precarious position as a Korean-American; how I worry that I'm next on the list of "enemies against America." But think about it. What if Kim Jung-Il of North Korea was behind 9-11? It's not that big a leap of logic.

Back in elementary school, when I was first introduced to the events of the Holocaust, I remember thinking "But how could the German people allow such horrid things to happen? Didn't they try to stop it?" Yeah...I get a feeling that the slippery slope we as a country are heading down is not all that dissimilar from the ride taken by the German people.

So, the question then is, WHAT DO WE DO?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year! May you find special blessings this day. Today, when the darkness arrives earlier than any other day, it is a reminder that goodness lives. Tomorrow the day will be just a little longer, and then the next day will be even longer still.

Darkness brings great potential...the potential to go inward and reflect, to envision, to map, to explore a space hidden from the sun. It is the space where we set our intentions.

Go home today, take a relaxing long shower, cook up a big bowl of stew or chili, snuggle up to a loved one (if one is handy) or under a big comforter, turn on some good music (my current fave right now is Dean Martin - Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano!), take some time to close your eyes and think...or not, go to bed early and wake up tomorrow knowing that the sun is wait for you to announce your intentions and plans.

And if that doesn't work...there's always a big pint of Ben and Jerry's in the fridge to tide you over (well, at least at my place!) Ha!

Monday, December 20, 2004

This Woman

I wrote this about two years ago. I thought I'd share. Some of you have seen earlier versions of it. This Woman is you...Yes, you!

This Woman

This woman has learned to speak. With a voice sonorous and sexual she impregnates you with her dialogue.

This woman has learned to write. In prose that intoxicates even the alcoholic she reveals the luxury of the feminine.

This woman has learned to dance. She becomes liquid human; arms, legs, torso - all nebulous and precise.

This woman has learned to sing. Hear the stories of her ancestors in the melody, the dreams of her children in the harmony.

This woman has learned to walk. Barefoot and slow. Each step a prayer of reverence to the earth and to herself.

This woman has learned to cry. Without judgment each tear becomes her validity.

This woman has learned to weld. Constructing the broken shards into a being more exquisite.

This woman has learned to lay naked next to you, windows thrown open exposing the honesty of her belly and breasts.

The woman has learned to pray. Finding humility in the asking and the receiving.

This woman has learned to revolt. No apologies are offered, none are expected.

This woman has learned to be still, the mist rolls over her sun burnt body and she remembers the sweetness of your kiss.

This woman has learned to effort without damage, living with the knowledge of her own strength.

This woman has learned to give birth to her hope, to her promise, and to her child.

This woman has learned to play, laughing at the letting go and bowing down to kiss the feet of her beloved.

This woman has learned to be valid, realizing that her worth is not contingent on the width of her thigh, the shape of her nose, or the capacity of her logic.

This woman has learned to influence, and those she cannot reach with her hands she will reach with her voice, and those she cannot reach with her voice, she will reach with her mind, and those she cannot reach with her mind she will reach with her heart, and those she cannot reach with her heart she will reach with all the good intentions of her mother’s prayers.

When someone pays you a compliment...

Just smile and say "Thank you".

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What is this?

I think I'm going crazy...actually, I'm pretty sure I'm going crazy.
But in the most delightful way.
I'm happy...astonishingly happy.
I've never experienced this before...
It's amazing.
I feel welcome and invited
Accepted and whole.
I think I'm starting to understand.
And I have no fear...
It's bliss.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More momma wisdom

You be the judge:

Scene: Dinner table, my mother is watching Korean soap operas and I'm shelling and eating peanuts.

Mom: Oh, your lawyer called me today. (Note to reader: This would be the very FObish first generation lawyer that is working on my apartment purchase.)
Me: He called you? What for?
Mom: He wanted to know if you were single or dating anyone?
Me: He called you? Isn't he married?
Mom: Oh, he wasn't calling for himself, he was calling for his brother-in-law?
Me: Not interested.
Mom: You haven't even heard me out.
Me: Not interested.
Mom: But he's a dentist...practically a doctor.
Me: Not interested.
Mom: But you haven't even seen a picture of him.
Me: Have you?
Mom: No, but he's a dentist...and Korean...and he's not too old.
Me: Was he born here?
Mom: Well...not exactly.
Me: When did he come?
Mom: I think in this twenties.
Me: ...
Mom: Apparantely the lawyer was really impressed with you...he said you were pretty and smart and well spoken.
Me: Still not interested.
Mom: And his brother-in-law is now very interested in you too. They think it is very impressive that a woman of your age would be taking on the responsibility of buying an apartment.
Me: Still not interested.
Mom: I bet the lawyer would waive his fees if you went out on a date with his brother-in-law.
Me: Thanks you are prostituting me out for free legal services. (Note to reader: Although at $1750 in fees, I'd be a pretty expensive and ritzy prostitute.)
Mom: But he wants to meet you...when was the last time a guy wanted to meet you?
Me: Thanks for the encouragement.
Mom: Aigu! (Korean mother sound) What am I going to do with you?

At this point I took my peanuts and headed into the basement. Yeah, I really need to close on the apartment and move out ASAP. I found my Mom snooping through my purse the other day. I suspect she was looking for a business card and trying to steal my email address. Ah, thank god my parents are computer illiterate.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sleep Deprivation Causes Obesity!

How unhappy was I when I learned this little fact.

It's been such a crazy week for me. As some of you might know (especially those that have the great distinction of being a former roommate), I occassionally deal with bouts of insomnia. It's not debilitating and usually passes after a week or so, but it's still pretty miserable when I hit day 4 of no sleep. I've been having issues sleeping since last friday night. I'd say I'm averaging about 2 - 3 hours of sleep per night for the last 6 nights.

It's hard to predict when the insomnia will hit and when it'll leave but boy alive it blazes a trail of inefficiency and confusion when it strikes. I've been trying to pull together an application for a writing scholarship (don't ask) all week long. The deadline is this friday. I've amassed all the necessary writing samples but I haven't been able to complete the required essays - "What makes your work Asian American literature?" and "At a recent Workshop reading, a young woman raised her hand during the Q&A and said that she was tired of reading creative work about going home or eating dinner with a sad family. How would you respond to her if you were the author giving the reading?" The only answer I've come up with for the first question is 1) Because I'm Asian American...don't even ask what I've come up with for the second question.

The thing about being sleep deprived is that it zaps any creativity I might have and it also makes me irresponsible. The ironic thing is that I do most of my best creative stuff at 3 in the morning. Well...that's not entirely true. I do most of my best visual creative stuff at 3 in the morning. For some strange reason 10AM - noon is my best writing time. Weird.'s hoping I'll get some good sleep tonight. A sleepy, grumpy Bo is no fun to hang out with. However, bashful, doc, happy, dopey, and sneezy Bo are great fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Putting it out careful of what you wish for a while ago, a great friend and personal guru of mine gave me some sage advice.

"If you want to accomplish something in life you must have the courage to state it and put it out there for all to see."

Another teacher gave me some additional advice that seems to be in the same vein.

"Be careful of what you wish and dream. It may very well come true and you better be prepared to do the hard work that it requires."

It's kind of like dreaming about having a family and realizing after giving birth that this kid is yours're stuck with it and all the responsibilities that raising a kid entails. (Yeah...I'm not ready for that dream quite yet, thank you very much.)

So I'm putting it out there...I'm sending it out to the ethos, to the muses, and all those things great and small that help to shape good fortune.

My dream (among many others) is to:

1) Have my first chapbook (a self-published book of writing, art, and other creations) completed and published within 18 months.

2) Have my first book of poetry or my first novel published within 6 years.

Although this blog doesn't give much indication of my ability to write a coherent sentance, I do write more artistically significant stuff. Stuff that most of you haven't seen.

So that's it...I'm putting it out there. I've done this before and every time I've stated my goals clearly and with good intentions, I've always been able to realize them.

Here's another poem that was written a while ago. Yeah and it's copywrited to me blah, blah, blah, no stealing...not that I thought that you would.


She was acutely aware of
The similarity between them
That he and she, that they favored red umbrellas
And their left leg
An unconscious favoritism betrayed by
The uneven wearing of their shoes

A finger raised, once more, urgently
A button pressed, repeatedly, frantically
But here wedged, stuck
Between floors
In the nameless space
Neither up, nor down
Nor Sideways
She ignored him consciously, feverishly
In a way that only made their proximity
More ludicrous and obscene

She could actually smell him,
And not only
His shampoo and his cologne
But the smell on his shirt and pants
Unlaundered, crumpled, and overworn
She imagines instantly that scent
Mixed with hers
Embedded in her bedroom, on her bedspread, in her towels
Moist scents, accusing and unyielding
Instantly she imagines
And instantly she craves

Another lurching
And they slip some more
He and she, they can hear
The mumbled reassurances
“Someone is working on the problem”
Voices bleeding into white noise
White sound, white light, white buttons
White dress
Her white dress
Prevents her from joining him on the floor
He, ignorant or unbothered
By the hundreds of shoes that have stood on
This floor
Parquet, juxtaposed tiles

He fidgets with a button on his shirt
And in his hand,
In no time
There the button lies
Amid the creases
Life line, love line, fortune line
Death line
Without changing the shape of his palm
He turns his hand
And allows the button to fall
It lay where it fell

She, unthinking, unconsciously, instinctually
Bends to pick up the button
Her white dress rises
Above her knee
To accommodate the expanse of her hips
Swollen, inviting, beautiful to his gaze
And only after standing upright
Does she realize the absurdity of her action
And once again becomes conscious of his scent

The useless button
Now inbetween her
Index finder and thumb
Pinched, held, squeezed, tortured
She wants it to disappear to dissolve
And with it the image of her
Picking it up
Off the floor
In her dress
Waiting here
Here where there is no motion
Stuck and wedged

Here where there is stillness
As is the rule of physics
They must create their own movement
To compensate

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Conversation in my head

Feet: Psst…
Feet: Pssssst….
Me: Oh, hi. What’s up?
Feet: We’ve got to talk.
Me: ‘bout what.
Feet: I know you love me.
Me: Oh I do, I do.
Feet: Then why you always treating me so bad?
Me: Bad, bad…but I love you. I buy you pretty things all the time.
Me: Don’t I paint you pretty colors and show you off to the world in the summer?
Feet: But you’re always cramming me into those tiny little shoes, with the tiny little heels. And when was the last time you scheduled a reflexology session for me?
Feet: Well…
Me: But…but…I always get the prettiest ones for you…don’t you like Marc Jacobs?
Feet: You know me girl, don’t even question my Marc loyalties. But I gotta tell ya, I thought I was doing to die the last time you wore them.
Me: So what are you trying to tell me? Are you asking me to wear ugly shoes? I don’t think I can do that. Sneakers…Aerosoles…CLOGS!!!!!
Feet: HONEY…HONEY…slow down. I’m asking for a little consideration, not to dress like some hick from the mid-west.
Me: Oh…sorry. I got carried away. Okay, so what do you want from me?
Feet: I just want some love…L.O.V.E…love.
Me: Okay
Feet: Pick up a nice pumice stone and some of that gingery foot scrub stuff from Origins on your way home.
Me: Okay
Feet: Wait, I’m not done yet.
Me: Sorry…continue.
Feet: Also, do they still do paraffin dips at the corner nail salon?
Me: I don’t know, should I check?
Feet: Yeah…and schedule me an appointment for Saturday.
Me: Done. Anything else?
Feet: Oh last thing. You know those Pradas that are on sale at DSW.
Me: Yeah.
Feet: Me want!
Me: Oh you, you sure do know how to sweet talk a girl!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Momma wisdom

I don't know, do you think my mom is trying to tell me something?

"Don't you care about my happiness?"

"Oh, Maria from church is getting married on Dec. 5th. Her mother must be so happy."

"I take it all back. You can marry anyone you want and I won't say a thing. You can even marry someone Jewish."

"You're almost 30...what are you going to do? " (I turned 29 three weeks ago.)

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone who can't speak perfect English."

"Think short shoes...short shoes."

"You don't want your cousins to think you're an old spinster, do you?" (These would be the male cousins that are 41, 38, 25, and 23 and ALL STILL live with their parents. Yeah, I'm related to a bunch of losers. Maybe I'm avoiding marriage so that I don't have to invite them to a wedding.)

"I'll pay for your nanny."

"When you get married, I'll buy you brand new furniture. You want new furniture, don't you?"

"When you were 9 you promised me that you'd be married by the age of 23, you lied."

Do you think I should be worried?

Friday, November 05, 2004


Warning: I'm in the mood for something more positive, mushy, and thoughful. Read at your own risk.

I wanted to take the time to write a bit about my new job with Catalyst. I loathe to even call it a job because I realize that it is quickly becoming much more. Those of you who've spoken to me live and in person can testify to my rather fanatical excitment when discussing Catalyst. It's strange and wonderful to feel so fulfilled by my job. I suppose I should provide some background. Many years ago, after being nearly destroyed by my very first job out of college, I learned how to very effectively seperate my happiness from the events and progression of my career. I vowed that I would never allow my sense of self to be defined by what I did professionally. But I now find myself at a bit of a crossroad. I enjoy what I do at Catalyst. I enjoy it a lot. Damn, I love it. I am inspired every day that I go to work. My collegues are brilliant and I am challenged by their intelligence, their passion, and their commitment to Catalyst's mission. I'm one of LEAST educated people in the entire organization. The subject matter I work with, research, and present is some of the most fascinating and compelling material I've ever worked with. I spend 8 hours every day thinking about issues of diversity, inclusion, corporate social responsibility, and gender equity in the corporate workforce! I get to develop solutions that are not only good for women and people of color, but good for business at large! I'm doing something that betters society; that actually improves the quality of life for people like myself. Catalyst is not motivated by profit, we have a higher mission and will not be bullied by clients to provide advice that we do not believe in. In the 2+ months that I've been with the company, I have not worked on a single project where I was not intrinsically interested in the material. I feel I am morally, ethically, and intellectually in tune with Catalyst. It makes it really easy to go out and conduct workshops, moderate panels, give speeches, and represent the organization to the public.

To top it all off, I feel respected. Not just as a professional, not just as an intellectual, but as a whole person. Catalyst realizes that people have lives and my quality of life has never been better. Sure, I'm busy on occassion, but I'd say that I'm averaging 45 hours of work per week. The official work week is 35 hours and we are STRONGLY encouraged to try to maintain normal hours. Flexibility is not even a question. Need to work at home for a few days - no problem. Have to run an errand - no problem. Just so long as I am transparent about my where abouts, flexiblity is a non-issue. Your birthday day is an offical holiday - and you can take it off anytime after your birthday!

The ironic thing is that had I not spent the last 7 years doing jobs where I was 1) treated miserably, 2) intellectually uninterested, 3) micromanaged, 4) had no quality-of-life, or 5) sexually harassed both peripherally and directly, I don't know if I'd have developed the skills necessary to join Catalyst. Don't get me wrong, all of my jobs provided me with at least one skill or bit of knowledge that is indispensible to me.

Accenture - taught me client management & project management skills, deep change management & org. development knowledge, and professional discipline.
T3 Media - taught me the art of managing internal politics.
American Express - taught me that big corporate can, on occasion, do it right.
WetFeet - increased the range and depth of my HR knowledge, taught me significant qualitative and quantitative research skills, and provided me with director levels skills.

Heck, even my MBA played a significant role in securing my place at Catalyst. Here is a hint for any female minority out there. Get an MBA - it's amazing how desirable you become.

While the cynic in me keeps telling my emotional self to calm down, be sensible, and wait for the other shoe to fall, I can't help but think that the shoe will turn out to be a cute little size 6.5 Marc Jacob number. Maybe even one with a cute bow. Every director and/or senior director in my department has been with the company for 4 or more years and they continue to be as passionate and committed as I am.

So why am I writing this? To make you feel unhappy about your life? To be boastful? No, that's not my goal at all. I guess what I'm trying to say honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you really want to do and then start the engine to get it done. Make the hard decisions, muck through the crap...don't be afraid to take risk. Try something where the outcome is not certain. Don't make decisions based on the financial reward. And even when things get really rough, don't stop, things get better. If you made your decision with good intentions, then only positive outcomes will materialize.

And yes, I'm really busy...really busy. Expectations are high, deadlines are approaching, and A LOT of eyes are on me. But I'm not afraid.

It feels nice...really nice.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Let America Be America Again

This is my calling, this is my mission, this is what I must do.

Let America Be America Again
a poem by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand
I came To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

I'm going to be sick

I'm so very disappointed.

I can honestly say...maybe for the first time in my life...I don't think I want to call myself an American today.

Not if America stands for:

> Banning gay marriage in 10 states
> A House and Senate controlled by the Republican Party
> A Senate without Tom Daschle
> Increased scrutiny of my actions and words thanks to what will likely be a reinvigorated US Patriots Act (when did being patriotic equate to being f*cked in the a*s by the gov't - yeah! I'm very upset. I'm swearing)
> More tax cuts for the rich
> More people falling under the poverty line
> Children being left behind
> An unjust war
> A youth vote that just wouldn't materialize

Well, I suppose I now have bigger things to worry about. I'm guessing that the North Korea situation is only going to escalate and the harrassment experienced by those of Middle Eastern descent will now shift to those of Asian descent. I will become the victim of hate crimes, racial profiling, and harrassment. I will be cowed into quieting my dissenting voice for fear of retribution. I am afraid. Afraid of being an American woman of color. I am afraid for mother earth, for the already marginalized, for those that will experience hunger and homeless for the first time. I am afraid.

I'm so very very disappointed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Good Advice

I thought these made a lot of sense:

"Love is more powerful than a tape recorder, but both are good to bring to rehearsal..."
- David, Musical Director of the NYMMC

"GORP. Yup, GORP."*
- Anonymous

*GORP, for those not in the know, is Good Old Raisins & Peanuts.

Election Day 2004

It's always interesting to live a day with the conscious knowledge that it will go down in history. Like 9-11 and the day Bush declared war on Iraq and today, election day 2004. I'm nervous, excited, and just a bit optimistic. I'm an optimist by nature, so I can't help but feel that good things will happen today. If the polls this morning were any indication, good things have already begun. Four years ago today, I was able to walk in and out of my polling site in 5 minutes. Today was a different story. There was a line! and it was HUGE! I'd estimate that there were well over 150 people at the polling site. It was 8:30AM! I was so happy! And it is a good day to vote. Crisp and cool, with the scent of decomposing leaves and chlorophyll releasing into the air. Yum.

Nothing beats the voting high. I don't know how you vote where you live, but in New York City we still use those old, monolithic booths where you have to flip a huge red lever, click some switches, and then flip the huge red lever again. Uh! I love the sound of that huge red lever. Kuhhhhu----chunk. I get all happy and giddy every time I vote. I feel the same sense of fulfillment that I had when I was 18 and voting in my very first election.

Keep those fingers crossed. It'll be a long day (and possibly night, and then next day) for Kerry. If the non-scientific indicators can be trusted, it looks like a Kerry win.

The Redskins lost on Sunday (thus indicating a defeat for the incumbant) and the dow was down 2.5% for the month of Oct. (again, a defeat for the incumbant). We shall see, we shall see.

I'm gonna be up all night. Give me a ring on my cell and we'll chat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

You don't look a day over 99

Happy 100th Birthday to the NYC Subway system!

Here's a cute article on the matter:

You were there when I was 3.5. I remember watching the landscape of Queens whiz by the 7 train as my parents schlepped me into the city for the first time.
You were there when I was 12, up far to early on a Sat. morning to take an exam that has impacted every day of my adult life.
You were there when I was 16, exhausted, tired, and spent from having stayed at school far to long rehearsing, studying, hanging with the girls, figuring out ways to get into clubs...
I missed you when I was in SF.
I longed for your convience and the window you provided to the diversity and mayhem of NYC living.
You've changed, you've grown, and you're a bit more expense now...but I still love you.
I raise a glass to you NYC Subway. May you live on and on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

How about these?

I don't know...maybe these express my personality a bit better.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Do I dare?

I do need to order new checks soon...but do I dare?

Would you still respect me in the morning?


Spitfire indeed.

I was described as a "spitfire" four times last week. I'm beginning to notice a trend here.

And if a performance of Bernice Johnson Reagon's "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" visits your city, I highly urge you to see it. I've seen A LOT of performances in my short life and this one has moved into my Top 20 all time best.

Thunk for the day

If God is love
And our bodies were created for love
Then you coming into me
Will bring us both to the divine

- from The Temptation of Saint Anthony
libretto & music by Bernice Johnson Reagon

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Oct. 20

Thanks to all of you for your lovely birthday cheers! They made me happy!

Sorry that things have been so quiet here and in my general communication. I've been very busy - in really good ways - but busy none the less. But isn't that my natural state of affairs?

Anyhoo, in celebration of my birthday - here is a poem for you.*

*And before y'all get all upset that I'm depressed or anything, please realize that this is A POEM, meaning it is art, meaning it is fiction, meaning don't read so damn much into everything.

Now, for the poem. Enjoy.


Today I am 29
An insignificant birthday
Lacking the function of 30, the indulgence of 21
I am too young for Ajima
My belly still flat and shrunk
I do not feel protective when children trip or fall
Yet, I am too bold and without shame for Agashee
I do not cover my mouth when I laugh
I will correct you if you are wrong

I am nameless and wedged

I whisper prayers for my mother – Umma
Run my bleeding, cracked fingers through my only physical resemblance to her
My hair – fine, slack, uncombed
And wish that I can give her what she wants above all else
Ringing, happy, unguarded wails of Halmunee – Grandma
Halmunee, I’m hungry.”
Halmunee, tell me a bedtime story.”
But I will never admit this to her
It would only compound her desire and emptiness

There are so few pictures of you as a child…Umma remarks

As though it were my fault
To be born in transit
Across an ocean, a continent, a lifetime
Childhood memories consist of
Picking roaches off of bare legs and arms
And government cheese distributed in 12”x4”x4” logs
Orange, stinking, and delicious
A distant life then that imagined on this day
Off a ill-paved road in Chon-Ju
In a hospital that had yet to discover the wisdom of disinfectant
29 years ago

All as well, since you are crying in nearly every one.

One Zero Two Zero
The rhythm and symmetry appealing to my artistic aesthetic
A good number – round, divisible by many others
2, 5, 10, 20
Easily broken down into smaller, more manageable components
Simplicity imbedded in wholeness
Indicative of my Libra constitution
Indicative of me

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I'm busy! Busy Busy! But good busy.

I'm also gimpy...but I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I know I don't have to remind you to Vote on Nov. 2nd...but just in case you need a little coaxing...Check out these commercials (these are the ones I participated in last month.)

What's up with the angle of the camera? Not exactly flattering!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Why I don't want to marry a Korean guy

Reason No. 18 - I don't need another Korean mother.

I've already got one.

Korean mothers and women of a certain age (Agimas) have a way of saying things that can punch you in the gut, kiss you on the face, and make half your brain explode in 20 words or less.

This is one of my favorites that I hear frequently from my mom:

"Oh, your so pretty right now. We have to get you married soon because once you turn 30 your ovaries will shrivel up and you'll get wrinkled and dried up and ugly."

I kid you not. I hear that about twice a week. My favorite part is "your ovaries will shrivel up."

I do not need another Korean mother paying me similar "compliments."

Here's a bonus "wisdom from Bo's mom"

"You're so picky. I don't care if the person you marry is a little shorter, dumber, and not as successful as you. Just as long as you can tolerate him and he can give you babies. That's all I care about. "

Thanks Mom! Now I know where I get my great self-esteem from! That's my problem! I'm looking for love when in fact I should have been looking for tolerate.

Ah gotta love my mom. She's cute.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Starting a Collection

I'm starting a collection



So that I can stand up and say

"STOP! STOP!!! We are all human beings! STOP!"

Who's with me?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Read these two books...just not at the same time

People's History of America by Howard Zinn
Hegemony & Survival: American's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

Both are great and present some thoughtful, alternative views on politics and widely accepted social theories and models. However, do not make the unfortunate mistake I made this past month and read them at the same time. It's very depressing and demoralizing when taken in a one-two punch.

Can I move to Australia now?

I think I have to go and watch 'Sound of Music' to pep myself up again.

Excess Capacity

Ever find yourself bored - excess mental capacity up the wing wang and nothing to do? Here are a few suggestions to excise that boredom:

1. Sign up for Wordsmith's Word of the Day and bring a little texture to your speech. Here's a word to start you off: schadenfreude - deriving delight from someone elses misery. (Like when you snicker at someone who tripped on the sidewalk. Admit it, you've done it before.)

2. Learn to bake a pie. I prefer strawberry-rhubarb, thank you very much.

3. Paint a picture and then convince people that it's abstract art, not a lack of talent.

4. Start a Blog!

5. Apply to grad school on a whim. Come on, everyone else is doing it. You don't want to be the only kid on the block without an MA/MS/MBA/JD/MD/PhD/MPH/MSW/EdD/MFA and $100K of low interest debt, do you? Do you?

6. Run for city council!

7. Write a self-serving, thinly veiled fiction/semi-autobiographical novel about how difficult it was growing up in America as a woman/person of color/first or second generation immigrant/learning disabled/child of a divorce/appalachian or southern born/poor/excessively rich/physically disabled/mixed-race/got two mammas (or pappas)/child prodigy/child with a famous, abusive or distant parents and how this left you emotionally stunted, confused and ultimately led down a path which included drug abuse, spousal abuse, and living penniless in a ditch on 39th St. and 10th Ave during the economic recssion of 1980 until you found god or a kind prostitute and now you are a fully-realized human being with 5 children (two of which are Chinese adoptees) and live a simple life with the reformed prostitute in a bamboo house you built yourself on a private island off of Fiji. Watch as the novel is heralded by various enclaves of disenfranchised populations but never creeps past #958 on the National book sellers list.

8. Grew up white, male, middle class, two parents, and well-adjusted? No problem! Write said novel anyway, get it all wrong, still recieve critical accolades for attempting to write a novel with empathy and compassion and win Pulitzer Prize. (Who ever said I was politically correct?)

9. Make a video audition tape for a reality TV show.

10. Drink the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water and then go to the bathroom every 10 minutes for the next 5 hours.

I promise I'll be in a far more serious mood next time around. I think it might have been the doughnut I had this morning.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Yes...yes, indeed

Excerpt from Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake"

At the end of the breakwater, there was a field of yellow reeds to the right, and dunes beyond, and the ocean behind it all. He had expected his father to turn back, but still they had continued, stepping onto the sand. They walked along the water to the left, heading toward the lighthouse, past rusted boat frames, fish spines as thick as pipes attached to yellow skulls, a dead gull whose feathery white breast was freshly stained with blood ... He heard his father cry out — they had left the camera with his mother. “All this way and no picture,” he’d said, shaking his head. He reached into his pocket and began to throw the striped stones into the water. “We will have to remember it, then.” They looked around, at the gray and white town that glowed across the harbor. They started back again, for a while not trying to make an extra set of footsteps, inserting their shoes into the ones they had just made. A wind had picked up, so strong that it forced them to stop now and then.

“Will you remember this day, Gogol?” his father had asked, turning to look back at him, his hands pressed like earmuffs to either side of his head.

“How long do I have to remember it?”

Over the rise and fall of the wind, he could hear his father’s laughter. He was standing there, waiting for Gogol to catch up, putting out a hand as Gogol drew near.

“Try to remember it always,” he said once Gogol had reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. “Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.”


Hard Hats & Steel Toe Boots

A few years back, I spent about 7 months working in a warehouse as a consultant. I was required to wear a hard hat and steel toe boots whenever I went into the actual warehouse building. I kept both as a souveigner of some of the crazy experiences I've had (and will continue to have) as a consultant. Given the state of current affairs, I may need these items to dig us out of the mess we're in. Have you read the news today?

> Some 35 people are dead in Baghdad after three car bombs went off. A lot of the dead include individuals who rushed over to help victims after the first car bomb only to get hit by the second and third.
> About 23 Palestinians and 3 Israeli were killed after more fighting.
> Russia (once the bad guys) oked the Kyoto Protocal - something we still haven't done.
> Bush and Kerry are set to debate tonight!

I don't know about you, but I'm gonna watch the debates tonight with my hard hat on. Chicken Little may have been right - the sky may just start to fall!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Cheap Date

Apparently that's what I am. Or so said 4 different people to me this past weekend.

I never realized that I could get so very silly tipsy on ONE vodka collins. Albeit, I hadn't had a proper drink in some 8 months...but still! There is something wrong in the world when I can barely manage one drink and my 4 foot 8 3/4 inch, 85 lb girlfriend can toss back some 5 -7 shots and still seem excessively sober.

Total alcoholic units since Jan 04: 2

Briget Jones I am not.

Friday, September 24, 2004


J.K.T.B is here!!!!

DOB: September 24, 2004
Time: 10:27 AM (EST)
5lbs 10oz
Echo Score: 9.9/10 (!!!!!)

Mama B and Papa B are all smiles!!! Yipeeee!


Jewish like me

Having grown up in New York City, I've always had a sweet spot in my heart for Jewish holidays. As a public school student, we'd always get the major Jewish holidays off - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and I even think we got a day off for Passover, although I may be wrong on that one. As a second grader, I didn't much understand why we were getting those days off, but heck, you don't have to tell a 7 year old twice that they get to spend the day eating cereal, watching cartoons, and trying to convince Gus, the slightly slow kid who lives on the 4th floor with his mother and grandmother, to tie his shoes together and toss them up on the phone lines outside; a bit wicked, I know. It wasn't until I was in junior high school that I began to develop an understanding for these holy days. I probably know more about the Jewish holidays than one would have predicted back in 1975, when my mom gave birth to me in a country hospital, off an ill-paved road in Chon Ju, South Korea. It was with wonder and amusement that I learned during my freshman year at the University of MI that not every school child grows up with these extra days of frolic.

To my Jewish friends out there, Happy Belated New Year. Yom Kippur begins today at sundown. Yom Kippur is a beautiful holiday, one that I think more religions should adopt. Regardless of whether you are religious, or spiritual, or nothing at all, I think the insight found in the practice of reflection, meditation, atonement, and fasting can help us cultivate our capacity for empathy and kindness.

While I don't get the day off anymore, the holiday still affects my life in a pretty profound way. The subways were remarkable empty today (as they were last Thursday & Friday during Rosh Hashanah). I'm sure tomorrow while I drive around Queens & Manhattan, I will get to witness dozens of families traveling to and from synagogue and other family gatherings, all by foot. It's nice, even as a non-Jewish person, to include these shifts in daily routine into my life. It's a reminder that we all live lives of quiet birth and renewal and passage. While we can't be apart of every aspect of every life on this earth, we can, at a minimum, acknowledge that wonders and celebrations are lived outside of our own.

And while we are on the topic of birth, celebration, and renewal, please include a quiet prayer or moment of reflection for my friend LB and her husband SB as they prepare to welcome their first child into the world (4 weeks early!) I can't wait to meet you BB, my little honorary nephew!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

See me on TV!

Just a quicky...I filmed a PSA (created by AsianCineVision & Woo Art) last week geared towards getting young (18-35) Asian-Americans to register and vote in the upcoming election. I was chosen to fill the young, female, professional role. I look quite proper in the commercial. Anyway, I just learned that the PSAs will be airing on the International Channel during the month of Oct. More channels will be added but for now that's all I know. For once, being obnoxiously opinionated helps!

And if you haven't done so already and are eligible, please register and vote in Nov. This may be the most important election of your life! Registration deadlines are fast approaching.

Mel, Where you at?

It's the little gifts of New York that remind me why I love it so.

This morning, while walking into my office building at 8:45am with my fresh strawberry/orange juice in hand, what do I spy with my little eye but the one and only Danny Glover passing to my left as he exited the building. I suppose it could have been someone else, but I don't think so. I've always had a tender place in my heart for Mr. Glover. I do believe he is a talented and sympathetic actor. Unlike most other star sightings, Mr. Glover lived up to what I expected. Tall with a somber, no nonsense kind of face. He was dressed rather casually, baseball cap, long-sleeve T, and dark running pants (although I did not get a good look because as a New Yorker I'm conditioned not to stare.) He was also trotting along a wheeled suitcase and what appeared to be some sort of man servant or assistant. Now, what I want to know is what Danny Glover was doing exiting an office building on Wall St. that primarily houses non-profits (approximately 90% of the occupants) at 8:45am on a pleasant September morning? It doesn't quite make sense to me. Perhaps he was doing some work for one of the non-profits and his busy schedule could only afford him this early morning slot? I commend you Mr. Glover if indeed this is the case.

I've had many a star sighting in NYC. There was the time I rode down my office elevator with David Bowie. I nearly peed myself. He's quite short - maybe my height, an inch or so shorter perhaps. Older in the face than air brushed photos would have you imagine, but still trim. Then there was Russell Crowe standing outside of Da Silvano. Shorter and beefier than I expected with the biggest noggin I've ever seen on a human being (he was with Steve Van Zandt.) Savion Glover was fine, Moby was very petite, Matthew Broderick was humming, Yoko and Sean Lennon were eating dinner on the patio of Da Silvano, and Soon Yi and Woody were a putting (plus, they were pushing a baby carriage and that's just something I don't want to think about.)

Please don't mistake me for some crazy star sighting fool. All of these occurance are by chance...I just happen to be a New Yorker who never got the memo about not looking at things. I'm an observer by nature (one of the reasons I'm so good at finding small things like misplaced earrings, lost contact lenses.)

Now...if someone would please direct me to the ladies shoe department.

On a different note, I highly recommend the book "The curious incident with the dog in the night." A fine read.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

And so it begins

The other day, while catching up on some friendly blogs written by some friendly friends, I came to the realization that I get a warm, fuzzy comfort in knowing that my friends are alive and blessed with enough happiness & health to provide me with a near daily taste of their snarktastic selves. Well, this nerdy little extrovert had to get in on the fun. Voila! I'm here. And what better timing...I'm reaching a point where it seems that many of the changes and hard decisions I've had to make over the last 3-4 years are finally starting to materialize and become tactile objects I can hold up to the sun and admire. What better time to start documenting the goings on in my goings on.

Ah, the luxury of reflection. It's often difficult to make sense of all the goodness in ones life when one is knee deep in the crunchies of change. Even now, as I begin to find context for so many varied aspects of my life, I am overcome with stress and anxiety. It's at these moments that I like to look back and think about what I have accomplished and learned. Here's a short glimpse of the last 18 months.

> Finished grad school.
> Packed myself up and moved to SF.
> Meet a dozen fabulous new friends in SF. (Thanks Ellen!)
> Dated, danced, and ate myself silly in a new town.
> Purchased my beautiful Gomez...and while I still feel like some horrible she-devil evertime I drive her...I still get a rush everytime I get behind the wheel.
> Started new job #1
> Learned that linolieum burns pretty darn quick.
> Also learned that that thing about toothpaste fixing nail holes is a lie!
> Packed myself up again and moved back to NYC.
> Figured out that I don't want to get my PhD. (Well, at least for the time being.)
> Confirmed that I really do love summer, autumn, winter, and spring.
> Swam in the Great Salt Lake. (Not highly recommended)
> Visited Wall Drugs and THE SPAM MUSEUM. (Highly recommened if you ever find yourself in southern MN and SD.)
> Started new job #2 and learned that you CAN marry your professional career with your intellectual passions.
> Got caught in a rather comical water buffalo traffic jam. (If I ever get around to figuring out how to publish photos, I'll be sure to include a snap.)
> Signed a contract to purchase my first piece of NYC real estate. Eep!
> Learned that I like to paint almost as much as I like to take photos.
> Refined my kite flying skills.
> Continued to grow as a yogi and yoga teacher.
> Started pulling together material for my first chapbook. (Keep your eyes here for breaking news.)
> Began volunteering with Dress for Success & started work on some really exciting projects. (Once again, keep those eyes fixed here.)
> Started and then restarted a lifestyle and career coaching practice. (Still getting if off the ground but I've already got 2 paying clients! Yeah! Cute shoe money.)
> And on the topic of shoes...increased my collection with the cutest pair of pale pink Marc Jacob stilletos. Not to mention the Celines and the Diesels and the...
> Realized that good live music may almost be worth waiting 12 hours in 105 degree weather in the middle of the Coachella Valley...key word being almost!
> Was reminded 2 more times why my family rocks like nothing else and I can't every take them for granted.

Life is beautiful...although this doesn't prevent my unconscious mind from grinding my teeth at night.

So thus the journey begins. Thank you for joining the ride.