Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I wonder if Santa Claus procrastinates

Every Christmas that I've celebrated since since going away to college has snuck up and seemed to materialize from exam week like apparitions from an adrenaline shock, but with less and less luster. The past two Christmases have arrived minus the gift-giving and song-singing and the red-and-green heraldry and advent countdowns of so many years past. Once we've hit December, it's the academic traditions first, then the holiday festivities, that my friends and I have anticipated.

What made childhood and high school Christmases different? The buzz and the glow, the mildly intoxicating lure of the holidays that I've remembered and craved mid-October for the past two years but struggled to concoct come the last few days before December 25. Part-visual spectacle: The appearance of a place being wholly transformed by lights and metallic tones and ribbon, like walking through some hopped-up theme park within negotiable driving distance. The visual coordination of colors and decorations - it's abnormal to see, and I would get excited because the arrival of Christmas was like going to some fantasy land. Come college, and the departure of free time and any inclination to spend money, I didn't really shop, I didn't really decorate (less and less each year - a small tree and lights the first year, lights the second year; nothing this year), and I didn't see "Christmas" as I visually partnered the holiday when I was younger.

The music. Christmas music hasn't become any less enjoyable. But I'm not listening to it right now. When I've gotten in my car - this past week, to go to a friend's house to bake Christmas cookies, to shop for Christmas gifts for my family - I haven't tuned to the station playing Christmas songs. I think it's been mainly to escape the commercials. But the songs also don't carry the same magical wonder-excitement they used to have.

I wasn't disappointed when I outgrew Santa. I maintained the pretense for my sister, who was probably a year or two old at the time. I didn't feel deceived, I didn't feel let down. It was like coming to a common understanding, and it made sense. Santa was less a figment of my imagination than a symbol of a dated impression, a sense of wonder that had changed into something more concrete and rooted in strengthened values.

The things with which I associate Christmas: Hope, joy, peace, love. The kinds of transformation that couldn't be disagreeable - Christmas lights can be garish, but true kindness cannot - and the "magic" that Christ's birth conjures in people that is its own kind of wonderful. That's something that I now partner with Christmas, but not something that makes me especially look forward to the time. The date marks the time and serves as a reminder, but those are things I cherish year-round. And hopefully things I share with people year-round, too.

"Are you guys excited for Christmas this year?" Tracey wanted to know. I explained all of the above in a few words. "No, not really."

"That's sad."

Why? "Keep Christmas with you, all through the year" - a line from a Sesame Street Christmas movie I would watch every year when I was little. It's not so bad.

- -
On second thought (Christmas music): Traditional Christmas songs mean a lot more to me now. I mean them more when I sing them. "Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her king!"

"Remember, Christ our savior was born on Christmas Day to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray. Oh tidings of comfort and joy!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have three hours to finish my history paper

"I'd like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve."


(Placeholder for future entries. This history paper is giving me grief.)

a writing sample! something i wrote yesterday for an alumni newsletter.

Imagine the patience required to reclaim the control freaks of the world. Particularly the well-intentioned ones who tell you one thing – “This is no sacrifice; here’s my life” – and within hours return to worrying and micromanaging. This past summer and semester have been an evolving, suprising lesson in patience. I entered the fall semester of my junior year ready to listen to God’s call. He’d been asking for my patience with life plans, interactions with loved ones and acquaintances, as well as something unidentified and upcoming. God is very good at waiting until He has your attention before completely turning the tables. This past October, our regional fall conference, Harvest, was themed “Playing for Keeps: All in for the Kingdom” and focused on Acts 6, obedience, and giving all parts of our lives to God. There were playful but sobering references to the times we claim to “go all in” for God while reserving “special poker chips” for ourselves that we don’t want Him to touch. It was an apt comparison because trusting God often feels like a gamble. Towards the end of the weekend, I became very aware that I’d been trying to make decisions that would give me predictable and controllable outcomes (mostly school- and career-related) and that the attempt to schedule my life so deliberately was a farce next to my promise to God to serve Him in all things. I don’t think God makes fun of us as much as He is puzzled or frustrated by our actions, but I’d be okay if He laughed really hard right now. I waited a few months for Him to send me a message; He’s been waiting all my life for me to understand that He has sovereign command over my life. My understanding is growing, but I’ve learned that God’s peace surpasses understanding, and compared to my patience, which I thought had been stretched, God’s patience is redemptive and wonderful. I’m not normally this grateful to have been put in my place.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

dear 11-year-old me,

thanks for amusement eight years in the making. i can't believe you. i can't believe me. astonishing and hilarious!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

lightening strikes, maybe once, maybe twice,
and it all comes down to you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I had a bowl of Cheerios in one hand and a glass of water in the other, and to commemorate Summer, I convinced myself to do one thing at a time - "Wait, sit down," don't go upstairs and watch Grey's Anatomy while you're eating your breakfast.

I sat down at the kitchen table and was struck by how alone I was. By the sun flooding in through the bay window and the French-style porch doors filled with light. By all of the space I had to think. And I thought of my grandfather. So many summers he visited us and sat in the chair to my right, the head of the table, eating his breakfast in silence. Oh, not for lack of things to say. I'd developed a habit of minimizing the overlap time of our breakfasts so that as he sat down I was just finishing. He felt it was necessary - I felt it was boring and constraining - to dispense no-doubt hard-earned pearls of wisdom whenever he could, whenever it was just him and me, his flighty, dreaming, American granddaughter. True to form, I nodded obediently and then slipped away at any convenient interim in that day's life lesson.

Every summer I used to wonder vaguely whether that would be the last time I'd see my maternal grandparents, then feel no remorse as school started and life filled in the empty guest room, the two chairs at the kitchen table, the spaces my grandpa and grandma occupied. The first two weeks without them would be strange, and I would miss them, and then gradually I would get caught up in other thiings and think about them less. Because they were my relatives, but a seasonal part of my life. I might have counted on seeing them again, the two were so intertwined - Summer and Grandparents visiting. And later on I knew I would see them: They were trying to get their citizenship and had to come to the States every year. I wonder if I saw them for the last time eight years ago, the last time I went back to Taiwan. My family went back last summer, but I stayed home and went to my Differential Equations class.

If I could sit at a kitchen table with my grandfather again, I wouldn't run away. I would ask him to tell me stories. That's something that's changed in me - I hesitate less before I ask questions. One thing I've learned as I've gotten older is that no one expects you to know everything (people expect you to be curious). So questions are okay. I'd squirm a little less if he decided to share grandfatherly wisdom with me. And I would ask him to tell me about of the funniest things that happened to him as a boy.

- - -
My grandfather drinks a lot of water. He's kind of a fitness nut, and he's really in shape. He goes walking every morning, complete with warm-up and cool-down stretches. This is what I thought about as I filled up the Brita pitcher this morning.

Yesterday, my mom was telling me about a book she'd browsed through at Barnes and Noble, something in the self-care/medicine section. "Haha, yeah, that's what my RA said his mom would always tell him!" For all minor ailments, colds, etc., "Drink some water and get sleep!" Oh, the curative powers of water . . .

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh Schmap!

Random. Haha.

From: "Emma Williams"
Subject: [Flickr] Schmap: Germany Photo Short-list
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:24:46 AM

I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the second edition ofour Schmap Germany Guide, to be published
mid-June 2008.

While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, andlink to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

Why not.

From: "Emma Williams"
Subject: [Flickr] Schmap Germany Second Edition: Photo Inclusion
Date: Friday, May 30, 2008 1:08:03 PM

You've been sent a Flickr Mail from Emma J. Williams:
:: Schmap Germany Second Edition: Photo Inclusion

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo has been selected for inclusion in the newly released second edition of our Schmap
Germany Guide:

Wittelsbacher fountain

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo - please enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Emma Williams,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Once you lose the bad distaste of idleness

Summer is simple, gorgeous

stifling, humid

summer storms

ceiling fans

rocking out to summer jams

driving in the scorching heat

cruising to a tough bass beat

summer twighlight at 8:30

waking up at midday:30

the summer storms . . . "has sharon closed the windows yet?" of your car, she means, which is parked outside and at the mercy of the clouds. don't you wish you could tap dance like those raindrops do? but really, who doesn't find a bath refreshing? if you're lucky, it might last twenty minutes or more, and from your bedroom windowside, to lounge and watch the white rain cut across the torpid air is most invigorating.

one of the best things about summer: driving. windows down, music loud, no AC, just driving in the heat with a call-in requests radio station in the background playing the same fifteen top 40 songs every two hours

the best thing about summer

is that anything is possible

if you can get your mind around the fact that you aren't expected to do anything at all

Friday, May 9, 2008

Okay, yes, I'm going to bed, but - haha - this article:

"The torch en route" -

"Has anyone else noticed how much the presidential campaign and the Olympics are starting to resemble one another?"


So maybe I will sleep inside my coat and / wait on your porch til you come back home / oh, right. i can't find a flight / so i check the weather wherever you are, cause i want to know if you can see the stars tonight / might be my only right / we share the sadness, split-screen sadness

crises with my packing tape

oh my gosh. so nostalgic about so much right now.

listening to chopin's etude in e. trying to write thank-you notes to my bosses at work. looking at old MS Word files instead . . . ! aaah gosh i will have to post some of these later. letters i've written, poetry, short stories, essays, journals. my writing style's changed a lot (thank goodness - i think i liked it best in middle school before the vocab assignments became overintensive and i thesaurus'd like every other word for a more erudite-sounding synonym), but i've kind of been thinking about the same things for the past seven years. that's not so great! but i'm getting back into writing (evidenced here), so i've got some original stuff coming, i just need to copy some of it over into Word (to be read again in another seven years! eeek).

something else i have saved - the itinerary from my choir trip to europe two summers ago, the summer before college. gosh. GOSH that was two years ago, i

no, not "i barely remember it," i remember it, i look at the pictures and can still sing the songs, i loved the cities and the food, but this itinerary brings it back in a whole other way - it has everything we did, every planned event and hotel where we stayed, restaurant where we ate, every dish we ate (dinners were planned and pre-ordered), all our concert events and the times, oh my gosh, i don't think i ever read this through back on . . . Date Modified: Friday, July 20, 2007, 10:44 P.M. So that was after we got back, about three weeks. I must have saved it off of my email before I deleted all of those "Eurotrip emails." I'm not going to read it through now, either (goodness! travel plans down to the minute! and how far away things were from one another). It's just comforting to know it's here. Even though I forgot about it.

Why'd I just switch into capitalization? Okay.

"Cherish truth, pardon error." VOLTAIRE

I re-read a letter i sent to elaine and at the time i wrote it, i was simultaneously watching "tadpole," which has periodic quotes, just quotes on a black background, because the main character likes to read and is a bit of a scholar.

i like that quote. sums up my year.

gosh. i've changed. i can finally say it! i've . . . learned and grown and so much more this year than last year and i'm willing to admit it. and i've done disreputable, questionable things; found fault in others; lamented faults in myself; but at the end of the day (year), ugh . . . you have to let it go. stupid boys and petty fights and bad communication (lack of communication!), you can't overlook it, but after a certain amount of time, there's nothing to do but drop it and laugh and love and hope for better. and know that tomorrow is another day, and if it was something worthwhile to begin with, you will get another chance. to fix it, to leave it, to make something new . . . and though your views may change and you may abandon some precepts for others, at the heart of things there should be a real heart (uhh redundant? a real . . . effort) to seek out truth and to be true to yourself, your values, God, however uncertain all that may be.

paraphrased, but another quote on truth i discovered while reading "please, mr. einstein" last summer:
"I was asked whether I thought the opposite of truth was a mistake or a lie." "Which did you say?" "If my colleagues are to be believed," Einstein says, "I said, 'The opposite of truth is truth."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

absence note! (where did april go?)

semi-blog kept on my computer - bite-sized journal entries from the past month and a half.
my gosh, where has april gone?

3/19, 10:07a
today and about the same time yesterday: "bagel, peanut butter and jelly!" (today: "plain bagel, peanut butter and jelly!") yesterday at kiva han. today at hunt library.

odd . . .

3/22, 9:51a
I mean, isn't it a sign that humans are inherently paradoxical by the sheer notion of reason? We tend towards explanation and organization and hope to overstep the barriers of disorder when that's where nature says we should go.

4/3, 10:52p
paper plates and plaited paper
what a dapper diningwear cooler

4/9, 11:46p
every word, only once
read it - try it - quickly
(France and the Great War)

(Edit: Haha and I only read three chapters of this book - about half. Obviously the effort I put forth didn't amount to much.)

4/13, 10:41p
too bad, timeless
too bad that we're time-less
it can't last forever
we watched it run out

i'm not trying to sound pretentious or premeditated
i'm just frustrated
you can count the beats
we can strike that discord
i will count the time
it can't last forever
we watched it run out

true, true. i could not honestly say it was all you.
true, true.
although you were at fault, you were oblivious
how serious.
i wish you'd just . . .

can you count the time?
i'm too busy to keep track of the
days, the noons, the hours and the
seconds we're apart
you know, it's better
i think it's better.
you be my timepiece, and i will be here

finally a way out
let's go out tonight
x our different ways, respective
i cannot stand the burden
but maybe it will lift?
or maybe i'm just
counting in the future
where the seconds are uncertain
time draws out in the present
does it realign sometime?
x will you be mine sometime?

you can count the beats
we can strike that discord
i will count the time
it can't last forever
we watched it run out

(EDIT: "x" means possible omission)

- -
two months behind on Vogue
and just behind in general

4/16, 12:27a
and these colored pencils
paint skylines on her browlines
while she contemplates the bylines
over coffee

and the crinoline
how it's crinkled in the background, over rattan chairs, the porch air is so comforting and

spoons. minus tarnish, next to garnish
set politely on the breakfast tray
unfolds her napkin, folds her paper
my, what a lovely day, the sky's so clear

the day's so dapper

what beauty true

i only wish that you were

(EDIT: I posted this one!)

4/16, 1:00a
but you know
proximity has such an advantage

maybe it was almost simultaneous

(EDIT: I can't even remember what I meant by this. I think friend drama back home. I should footnote my entries or write notes to myself.)

4/30, 6:43p
well, i'm willing to be proven wrong
if you'd like to give it a try
i just don't believe in love
i don't believe in trust at first sight

i think i'm waiting to get it right
if you'd maybe like to come along
we can try and err
and with you there
it just might work out, turn out better
it just might turn out better

I hope you noticed my foray into songwriting :) I'm practicing! I have a draft of your song, but it still needs a lot of work and is far from finished. So in the meantime I'm brushing up on my rhymes and humming a lot.

For a while we had the weather to go along with it (humming), all sunshine and spring. Now it's sunshine and chilly. Which doesn't belong in May. (But is perfectly at home in Pittsburgh.)

P.S. I'm 25 days behind on my French phrase-a-day calendar. I never thought I'd be one of those people - you know, you see those rip-a-page-a-day pads on office desks or countertops, and it's a month behind, and you think, gosh, (whoever), You need to get your life together, you don't even have enough time to read a joke a day/learn a phrase a day/process some wise quote a day, what, are you overworked or just lazy?

I'm both. Bah.

"Nous allons devoir emprunter pour pouvoir payer." We'll have to take out a loan to pay for it.

I was curious

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

and these colored pencils
paint skylines on her browlines while she contemplates the bylines over coffee

and the crinoline
how it's crinkled in the background, over rattan chairs, the porch air is so comforting and

spoons. minus tarnish, next to garnish
set politely on the breakfast tray
unfolds her napkin, folds her paper
my, what a lovely day, the sky's so clear

the day's so dapper

what beauty true

i only wish that you were

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

French phrase of the day for Tuesday, March 18: J'aimerais avoirs plus de temps libre. "I wish I had more free time."

Unbelievable. My phrase-of-the-day calendar is mocking me.

- -
So whenever I have an unresolvable grammar problem, I Google the word and multiple usages (this goes for French papers as well as English papers, lab reports, and everything between). The quandary of a few minutes ago was "indispensable" (I had intially typed "indispensable (noted: -able, not -ible) for," saved, closed; and then when I re-read it, I thought, "indispensable to?"). Google confirms! And returns a link to "30 Practical Tips to Make Yourself Indispensable to Others," separated into six categories: Belonging, Esteem, Learning, Aesthetic, Self-Actualization, and Transcendence. On the sidebar, links to "15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations" and "30 Ways to Increase Your Mental Capacity" and "26 Tips to Stay Calm When Situation Goes Bad." And then somewhere, I can't find it anymore, "37 Lessons to Help You Live a Life that Matters." Aw. Items 27, 28, 35, 16, and 15: Harvest failure, always make new mistakes, surround yourself with A-players (haha!), listen to that little voice, and be yourself.

I think today was the first St. Patrick's Day that I FORGOT it was St. Patrick's Day and subsequently didn't wear any green. Nada. Overheard someone else comment on the date this morning in lab (conspicuous lack of green attire in the MSE dept.). Which means today (now the day after St. Pattie's) is my brother's birthday and he's a year older! Nine! Oh my gosh! I remember when my sister turned nine, or I remember asking her if she was excited to turn ten the next year. And she said she sort of was. Kenny's reaction was the same.

I can't believe he's growing up.


My corollary to "surrounding myself with A-players" was to always keep the company of people over ten years younger than me. Be among the very young at heart and all that. And I still do, but that ten-year age difference is becoming smaller and smaller. You can't joke about the same cheesy things with a nine-year old that you could with an eight-year old and still get an appreciative response (use the word "magic" with any recourse to humor and now the best you'll get will be a " . . . Right."); you find yourself the mantra of hassled caretakers to huffy schoolagers: Be patient, just wait - would you please be patient?? Things just can't wait when you're nine. Everything still has its novelty and you can't wait to show it to people, you just hope they'll be impressed. I hope I was impressed enough. Yo-yo tricks and new Pokemon and dinnertime stories about the author who had visited his school to talk about Alaskan voyages and a new storybook. My life certainly isn't as exciting as any of that. But when you don't respond immediately and the steadily higher and higher-pitched intonations of "Come see this!" don't stop, you wonder if you missed the boundary between maintaining interest and lavishing too much attention. I miss my brother. I see myself in him. He's got a bit of the only child in him because my sister is now too busy with school to play with him all the time, and Mom and Dad too tired and removed by work. He entertains himself, plays with stuffed animals, plays his video games, complains of boredom, tells me that I sleep too much, all the while hoping that someone will just pretend with him for a little while . . .

And so I did.

This Spring Break will be the break I reconnected with old friends. I saw and spoke to people who I'd known in high school who I hadn't had real conversations with for a year and a half. I will remember it as the break I watched my first Pokemon movie. And slept through some of it the on the first viewing. The break I baked a batch of cookies, but spooned the cookies a little bigger than I normally do (so there were fewer cookies) and had to bake another batch two days later because my sister wouldn't stop pestering me about it. The break I played "Dear Frog" with my brother and we pretended our frog stuffed animals wrote letters to each other and voiced our respective frogs, "Frog" and "Frogg." And hopefully I'll remember the last Spring Break my brother was still a child. Because he'll always be a kid in my eyes. But he's growing up. I'm powerless to stop it, and I don't want to. It's just . . . time. (:

- -
From "30 Practical Tips to Make Yourself Indispensable to Others"


- Send them your favorite quotes.
- Take the time to do small research to answer their questions.
- Lend them your favorite books.
- Spark their curiosity by asking them smart questions.
- Tell them your favorite web sites to learn from.
- Send them the articles you find that might help them.
- Passionately share your learning experiences; it’s contagious.


- Lend them your favorite CDs or DVDs.
- Tell them where they can learn to play music.
- Tell them where they can learn to draw (Drawspace is a good start by the way).
- Share your favorite wallpapers and pictures.
- Let them know of interesting cultural events you hear about.


- Encourage them to find their life purpose.
- Encourage them to follow their heart more than the expectations of others.
- Share with them inspirational stories about men and women who are willing to pay
the price to do what matters to them (e.g. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa).

(I liked those! I do those with my friends all the time :D, esp. "Learning")

Saturday, March 15, 2008

unconsidered glamor

I'm doing some history reading

Gosh, I was just so struck by the wording in that sentence, by that phrase. I mean, my first contemplation of a dictator would have nothing to do with the glamor of his regime, but now that I've seen the usage in print, I would say, yes, definitely! A dictatorship is glamorous for its leader and his cronies! Your life is like a rockstar's, I mean, who's going to tell you what's what, and if someone does, you just snap your fingers and it's not a problem anymore. Anything you want, mostly anything you could want if you were in that position - power, fame, wealth, status, influence. Drugs, women. And yet they're so fickle, the success of the one-hit wonder/the popularity of the "staged a coup, so-and-so" government. It's conjuring images of VH1 "The Fabulous Life." ("Take a fast-paced, first class joy ride of lavish living, as we check out the fortune building careers and businesses of the extremely rich and famous and the incredible indulgences that come with it.")

I just never thought of it that way. Dictators would be too busy being angry and tyrannical and stewing in the ambient instability of absolute power (so-called) to enjoy the perks, right? Right? Gosh what do you do with all that power anyway. Be like Candide! Mind your own garden!

So my admiration (EDIT: awe; "admiration" was poor word choice) so expressed is pretty grotesque and now I'm back to reality, I'm thinking of Last King of Scotland and how bouncy and happy Amin could be, but then how cruel and twisted his regime was. Just got caught up in the words, that's all.

("Perhaps the June Days might have had similar consequences if republican leadership after 1848 had been equal to that after 1871 and if there had been in 1848 no young and glamorous aspirant dictator on the scene, ready to take advantage of republican division and conservative fears. In 1871 Napoleon III was old and ailing, his son young and untried, and luckily for the republic, no other substitute turned up." Wright, France in Modern Times)

a story.

we were at a wal-mart
in formal wear
(divya and tracey were there, too).
and there were $300 sunglasses there,
there was a pair with mint-green frames that i liked.
we had to look for something! i don't know. it was a scavenger hunt or something.
and i couldn't find you. called.

"where are you?"

"i'm going somewhere where you can see me. (i walk towards the front of the store) i'm sitting next to the grand piano (made of mahogany wood; on a bench-ottoman upholstered in brown leather with buttons along diagonals on the surface; in a wal-mart?)"

and you found me

and we walked.

wal-mart plus started looking like an elementary school?

we stepped out onto the back porch (wal-mart?) and it overlooked a street. i guess we were in pittsburgh. and we were leaning on the railing, you on my right, i on your left, looking up and down the street, and you asked me where we should go for dinner. anywhere you want.

and then i can't remember now how we got to that point, we were just talking, and then maybe we hugged over something inconsequential, and then you were holding me.
you told me you loved me.

i knew it, i'd known it all along, but in that moment i couldn't believe it. i mean, who would

i said it back. maybe you didn't believe me either, or you just couldn't hear me (i'm incoherent if the situation's too tense), but you asked me to say it again. and again. "i love you, too."

i mean, i don't know,

memory? dream? confabulation . . . it was too real.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Take me out

Haha! Uh.

The progression's a little more logical if you read them in reverse. Well, maybe not.

Mine was the one on the bottom, the middle one was my brother's, and the top one was my sister's. I tried to rephrase it for her, "It's just saying to be prepared for worst-case scenarios!" But she's smart. "Be pessimistic all the time."

That's so sad! (Who write the fortunes now, anyway?)

"It happened to me, but it's like watching TV."

I watched Vertigo Saturday night. My first Hitchcock – just superb, it was really, really good. I actually screamed at the end! New point on my to-do list: Watch more of his films.

I have a print of one of the panels in Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe that I bought at the Whitney Art Museum in New York three summers ago. Today I saw it sitting on my dresser and wondered, Were Warhol and Hitchcock friends? They might have been contemporaries. Did they influence one another? Did they collaborate? What sort of conversations did they have? I’ll bet they would have had really good conversations . . .

Well, three Google searches later:

Lot 219: Alfred Hitchcock - Featured on

Warhol had the opportunity to interview Hitchcock for the September 1974 issue of Interview magazine, and talked to the director about some of the stars he had worked with as well the themes of Hitchcock's films, particularly the ways in which the director drew material from true crime stories. Warhol openly proclaimed that he was nervous upon meeting the legendary director, and posed with Hitchcock by kneeling at his feet. The meeting of these two icons of the 20th century is particularly significant, as each bridged high art and popular culture in unique ways, intriguing audiences with both the heights of glamour as well as the depths of the macabre.

ANDY WARHOL: Since you know all these cases, did you ever figure out why people really murder? It's always bothered me. Why.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK: Well I'll tell you. Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of money.
WARHOL: But what kind of person really murders? I mean, why.
HITCHCOCK: In desperation. They do it in desperation.
WARHOL: Really?....
HITCHCOCK: Absolute desperation. They have nowhere to go, there were no motels in those days, and they'd have to go behind the bushes in the park. And in desperation they would murder.
WARHOL: But what about a mass murderer.
HITCHCOCK: Well, they are psychotics, you see. They're absolutely psychotic. They're very often impotent. As I showed in "Frenzy." The man was completely impotent until he murdered and that's how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?
WARHOL: Well I was shot by a gun, and it just seems like a movie. I can't see it as being anything real. The whole thing is still like a movie to me. It happened to me, but it's like watching TV. If you're watching TV, it's the same thing as having it done to yourself.
WARHOL: So I always think that people who do it
must feel the same way.
HITCHCOCK: Well a lot of it's done on the spur of the moment. You know.
WARHOL: Well if you do it once, then you can do it again, and if you keep doing it, I guess it's just something to do.
HITCHCOCK: Well it depends whether you've disposed of the first body. That is a slight problem. After you've committed your first murder.
WARHOL: Yes, so if you do that well, then you're on your way. See, I always thought that butchers could do it very easily.I always thought that butchers could be the best murderers.
(Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, September 1974)

Have you seen Sweeney Todd yet? I'll go see it when it shows for a dollar in the UC. Warhol was onto something.

P.S. Spring break is so good.

P.P.S. Your Birthday Mix is amazing! I love it, I just thought you should know.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Cool-o-meter

- Eating at Orient Express for the first time since Winter Break
- At work today, talking to Ray, the 60-/70-year old CMITES employee in charge of publicity, newsletters and website, about History. About how we hated it in middle school and in high school and how later in life (oh-so-much later in my case!!) we appreciated it much more and, dare we say, even loved it. About how it's taught in school when it's a requirement (wrong), about how we had no idea about context until later (his examples, what was happening politically when Bach composed such-and-such, what music did people listen to during the French Revolution?), and about how wonderful Antonia Fraser's narrative style is (his read, my read)
- Starting my lab report!

French phrase of the day for Saturday, March 1: C'était un être à part! "He had a style all his own!"

- Trying to put up CMITES signs at 7:50 in the morning - signs that were put on stakes so that they wouldn't have to be taped to, and subsequently torn off, the sidewalk (ingenious! cost-efficient!). I.e., trying to drive stakes into the ground (frozen) at way-too-early o'clock.
- Lab report! Too much to do!
- Only three All Abouts Girl Scouts cookies left in the box of 21 that I bought . . . Thursday night.


(One to add to the reading list: Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from National Review by William F. Buckley)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

where troubles melt like lemon drops, way above the chimney tops

that's where you'll find me.

i don't know why, but i feel so overwhelmed and sad tonight. i feel like i won't be able to get everything i need to get done before spring break. i should stay in this weekend and work on my lab report and read (oh, so much reading . . . ), but i don't want to. i feel silly because spring break is so close. i feel really distant from everyone. i'm sad because i've been a sloppy, dozing mess in all my classes this week.

i don't know what's wrong with me!

oh gosh . . . i'm never going to get my work done . . .

How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. – Mitch Albom

all right, i'm kicking it into high gear. i couldn't focus before, but now that i've remembered that mitch albom quote, i've decided not to be miserable.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ca ira mieux l'an prochain.

French phrase of the day for Tuesday, Feb. 26: "Better luck next year."

when i grow up, i want a cowboy
with dust all over his jeans
with a horse named jack and a ten-gallon hat
he is nice, but he looks so mean
if you were a cowboy, i wonder could i be your girl?

too much to do! when am i going to finish my history reading (de tocqueville, recollections: the french revolution of 1848) or my french reading (schwarz-bart, ton beau capitaine - really fascinating concept for a play, by the way; a man plays cassette-recording "letters" from his wife who's in another country, he's the only person onstage)

i need to sleep, but when! tell me, quando, quando, quando!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Plan Name, Current Balance
E-Plaid Flex Dine Extra 07-08 $111.75
Printing Quota-Fall 2007 $6.60
Printing Quota - Spring 2008 $26.40
Plaid Ca$h-Students $0.00

There are a little over ten weeks left in the semester, not counting Spring Break or Finals.
$11.18 a week
$1.60 a day

Omg, I'm going to max out on campus food. I need to stop eating at Skibo.

P.S. Using real money is not a solution! Campus dining venues : my wallet :: Scary rage people from 28 Weeks Later : other people!

02/18/08 10:55 AM
Remaining balance: $152.74


Sunday, February 24, 2008

tonight will be the night that I will fall for you

But hold your breathe
Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you, over again
Don't make me change my mind
Or I wont live to see another day

French phrase of the day for Friday, Feb. 22:
Les films ne sont plus ce qu'ils etaient. "They don't make movies like they used to."
I saw Michael Clayton in the UC last night. I liked it. I slept through a bit of it. But Elaine explained the confusing parts to me afterwards. Achronological movie plots have gotten a little trendy . . . Too much, lately.

French phrase of the day for Saturday, Feb. 16:
Vivement qu'il fasse beau. "The warm weather will be a treat."
Pittsburgh, please be spring, soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

10 funny flirting facts

"10 funny flirting facts"
By Laura Schaefer

So you’ve mastered the eye-contact game and can beckon a cute prospect with a few coy glances… but do you really know all there is to know about the fine art of come-hither? Just to make sure you’re up to speed, we culled some very surprising info that you can use to your advantage. Read on for some juicy tidbits that may up your cute quotient in no time.

1. Flirting is good for you. Studies show that people who flirt have higher white blood-cell counts, which boost their immunity and keep them healthy.

2. Think it ends at a little eye batting? Hardly—all told, scientists say there are 52 “flirting signals” used by humans. Of these, the hair flip is the most common.

3. In some places, flirting is illegal. In Little Rock, AR, an antiquated law is still on the books warning that engaging in playful banter may result in a 30-day jail term. In New York City, another outdated law mandates that men may be fined $25 for gazing lasciviously at a female; a second conviction stipulates the offender wear a pair of blinders whenever he goes out for a walk.

4. Why wait for Happy Hour? Lots of people get their flirt on during their morning commute. A full 62 percent of drivers have flirted with someone in a different vehicle while on the go, and 31 percent of those flirtations, it turns out, resulted in a date.

5. Flirting need not occur face to face. According to Pew Research, 40 percent of people who look for love online say they can easily flirt with someone via email or IM.

6. In the Victorian era, fans were the ultimate playful prop that could communicate all sorts of messages. A fan placed near the heart meant, You have won my love. A half-opened fan pressed to the lips suggested, You may kiss me. Hiding the eyes behind an open fan meant, I love you, while opening and closing the fan several times warned, You are cruel. Given how much a fan could come in handy, it’s a shame they ever invented air conditioning.

7. These days, cell phones do the flirting. In one survey, half of all mobile phone users have texted suggestive messages to keep things interesting while away from their amour.

8. Watch out, you can overdo it. According to the Social Issues Research Centre, the most common mistake people make when flirting is maintaining too much eye contact.

9. Sometimes, flirty gestures aren’t what they seem. Research has shown that men tend to routinely mistake friendly behavior for flirting.

10. Flirting is universal. A woman living in New York City and one in rural Cambodia may not have much in common, but when it comes to attracting a little attention, they both employ the very same move: smiling, arching their eyebrows, then averting their gaze and giggling. Animals flirt, too: Birds, reptiles, and even fish have their own way of strutting their stuff. Moral of the story: If the simple sea bass can act cute to enhance a romantic agenda, you can, too—so give it a go!

Let me just find my plaited fan, and we can hit the road! I'm so joining that 62% of people who flirt with people in other cars. Ahaha.

- -

I was trying to see what I blogged on Valentine's Day the past four/five years. Nothing! I was so disappointed. But I found this ("3 Things Wrong With Me"):

Saturday, February 21, 2004 >> 11:05 a.m.

(. . .) 3. I believe in a thing called RANDOM love…
Yay, now I can work [what I’m going to say next] into an entry. (I’ve been thinking of ways to do so; no success.) I want a guy who… I can approach randomly (as in, I didn’t know him before, is a complete stranger to me), at the mall or something, start having a conversation, and have him say something intelligible back to me. And then have it progress from there. Jussssssssssttt like in a movie chick flick. Like… HOW GREAT WOULD THAT BE?! Hahaha… I don’t know, here I go with my whimsy and imagination again (referring to Flaw #1). I think it could happen… (I’m really tempted to incorporate God and religion into this.) Like… if it’s MEANT to be, then why couldn’t you meet your “significant other”… randomly? Rather than at camp, or at school (those are obvious references to people… really happy for you guys!), why not just randomly? And then this makes me think of [another topic that has been bothering me for a while] all of those random encounters that I’ve had in my life with complete STRANGERS. The old lady you chance to stand next to while looking through the [OVERPRICED] clothes at wet seal, who wants to know which shirt would make a better gift for her teenage granddaughter (hypothetical); the ten-year-old-looking boy you walk past on your way out of a truck stop, who lets you pet his golden retriever (non-hypothetical). The old lady could have died the next day, and the boy could grow up to win the Nobel prize in literature, and you would never know! NEVER! I just wonder about random encounters… if they amount to anything. And then I think about how utterly trapped we all are in our own worlds, and how everyone else is trapped in their own worlds, and how these worlds sometime overlap… sometimes… sigh.

When I went to New York (City) sometime last November (I think) for an orchestra field trip, I went into Toys R Us with three other friends, to ride on this HUGEEEE Ferris wheel that they have inside the building (the cars are plastic recreations/models of different toys). We got onto this Ferris wheel (approx. 20 minutes left until we had to meet back at X, the pre-determined meeting point for our bus’s departure), WHEEE, riding on the Ferris wheel (haha), and you know, it was stopping every so often to let people off. We got to about… 3:00 on a clock face (if the Ferris wheel starts at +270°, it went 90° counterclockwise), and it started stopping (wow, paradox) to let people off. So we’re sitting in this car (it was the Barbie car, wow, fun)… we take some pictures… and there’s really nothing to do, so I look to my right, towards the glass elevator, and there’s this guy in it. Dirty-blondish hair, he looks like he could be in high school… he’s wearing a short sleeved shirt (not a tee-shirt though… something more form-fitting) and he’s leaning against one of the walls of the elevator. And I don’t know, from +20 feet away I could sort of see him, he looked kinda cute, so I just watched him. AND THEN (gasp) he turned his head… AND LOOKED BACK AT ME! Ahhhh… allrightthen, so, being me, being guy-shy, my immediate reaction was to look away. And then I looked back again… and he was still looking at me. GAHBLUMAHGEIOMVEARDC. The Ferris wheel starts moving again… when it stops (5 seconds later), I look back at the elevator, and he’s looking back at me… I think he was going from the third floor of the store down to the first, and that's why he was still in the elevator after all that time. Sigh. When he got out of the elevator, he stood by it for a while, waiting for someone. The Ferris wheel started moving again, and when I looked back again, he was gone. I wonder about him, about all of the random strangers in my life… about that boy at the truck stop... I don’t understand why these people stick out in my mind. I guess I just think too much. Wonder too much. Like, I was wondering about that guy in the elevator… if he went to high school, why wasn’t he in school? We went to a New York on a Friday… but it was around 4:00 in the afternoon when we went into Toys R Us. Okay, so what was he doing in a toy store? What was his name? What were his hobbies, his ambitions? What is wrong with me????

- -

Haha. And I don't think I've changed at all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

recessive trait

I was stuffing envelopes at work today (CMITES clientele, est. population 10,000), and I suddenly remembered that in elementary/middle school, I had a fixation with guys with blue eyes. I mean, I really, really, really . . . I think pretty much every boy I crushed on had blue eyes. I'm not sure which came first and which followed, my fawning delusions over their personalities or my love for their baby blues.

So then I started wondering how that even came about, because how could I, as a little girl, have gotten it into my head that blue eyes were such a desirable trait?

Maybe the movies I watched when I was little? The alpha man was the Disney prince with a soul, a build; a distaste for bad art, a rejection of vanity, a canine companion, an affinity for music, some knowledge of dance, a penchant for days on the town, a nice laugh, beautiful smile, and who, on top of that, had biceps to spare. (NOT Gaston.) Oh, that rowboat scene! Prince Eric:

Otherwise (from an even earlier time in my life), it was Daniel Truhitte, Rolf in The Sound of Music (1965). He may or may not have had blue eyes, I can't remember. I think he did. But for all his angst and bad political preferences, he was one gorgeous, smooth, talented-dancer, telegraph-deliverin' Austrian he-man. And his voice. I loved his voice. Speaking, singing . . . if it wasn't to wear that silk-organza dress Liesl wears in "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," I always wanted to be Liesl to dance and sing with Rolfe,

and at the end of the scene, after that kiss, presumably a first, squeal a delighted "Wheeeee!" into the thunder-and-lightening night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Knock on wood!

Sooooooooo excited for tomorrow night! We had our final run-through dress rehearsal tonight. And it was good. Even though everyone (many more than others - half the cast + the directors have had rehearsals for the Carnival show - a musical - all this week. is that not crazy?) is exhausted. It was just . . . everything gelling. The energy was good. Oh my gosh I really hope we nail it tomorrow night. I think we will.

To so many people in my life right now:

French phrase of the day for Thursday, Feb. 14: J'ai beaucoup de chance de l'avoir dans ma vie. "I am so lucky to have him/her in my life." I am so lucky to have you in my life! Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why don't they sell this at Sephora? Oh, wait

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Les plages du coin sont magnifiques.

French phrase of the day for Tuesday, Feb. 12: "The beaches there are beautiful."

WOW, could not be anymore different from today's weather! Snowy and slushy and wet and gross. The snow was pretty. But disgusting on the roads and sidewalks.

I would love to lie out on the beach right now. er, in the daytime. with tons of spf.

We had tech run-through for the show! Sound and lights, no lines. That starts tomorrow. Aah excited but a little nervous! I can't believe this week is finally here. I thought it'd never come.

Oh, and my phrase-of-the-day calendar says it's Lincoln's birthday! On Tuesday, not today. Hope you had a heads-up lucky day today (yesterday)!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Je vais visiter la Tour Eiffel.

French phrase of the day for Monday, Feb. 11: "I am going to the Eiffel Tower."

The girl who plays my sister in Proof is studying at La Sorbonne this summer. So cool! I hope I'm going somewhere cool this summer. I hope I get to go to Paris one day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Uh, what?

This morning's homily at church: The presiding priest spoke about patience and resisting temptation. (The gospel verses were from Matthew 4, "And he fasted forty days and forty nights.") So he's talking, talking - living today, we've all but sold our souls to impatience, we could do with a little dose of that virtue, etc., and then out of nowhere, he goes "Like stem cell research."

Hold the phone.

You want to make an analogy comparing human impatience to the progress of stem cell research?

He continued: What is to be done? . . . Alternatives: Fat tissue, adult bone marrow. We all just want this miracle cure. We need to be patient. You know, I don't even remember him mentioning the word "embryo," because I was still reeling from the shock, "Did he really just say that? What in the world is he trying to say in the first place?" And then when he mentioned alternate stem cell sources, I got really confused, because he made it sound like they weren't working. "We have more than one method of obtaining human stem cells [, but we need to patient and wait for the original method, which involves terminating human life, to prove effective.]"

I'm all for the advancement of science. Medical research? Ooh, yeah, give me more. Please, find a cure; find a solution; regenerate tissue, organs; make a change so that people don't have to endure cancer anymore. Embryonic stem cell [research] . . . mm, is there another way? I'm not for taking human life. You can no longer argue that an embryo is not alive, developing, more than a semblance of a life capable of being ended (more than dwindling life-support veggies on hospital beds). Ugh. But the research needs to be done. It could change the world. (Hey, GW authorized federal funding to get it done.) It is changing the world! How happy I was, though, when I read an article reporting the use of adult bone marrow. So much progress is being made that way.

Back to Father Whoever. After stem cell research, he brought up sexual temptation, and then he went back to gospel, and then I knew he must have just been rambling. Impatience? Temptation? Consciously fighting the two? Right, the spirit of the Lenten season. We'll just assume stem cells were on his mind and he wanted to encorporate the issue, but didn't quite connect the dots. Because impatience in the name of progress is nothing like impatience to return to a bad habit. ("You wouldn't believe how hard it was to not eat a Big Mac on Ash Wednesday. Like, once something is forbidden, it's all you can think about!") And impatience to improve the world is quite a Christian notion, really. Let's not be Machiavellian about ends and means, but let it suffice to say that someone with a mind to advance the human condition, eradicate suffering, seek progress, and love others would not need another analogy to understand forty days of abstinence, whatever the sort.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gimme gimme s'more

The world is your snowball, see how it grows,
Thats how it goes, whenever it snows,
The world is your snowball just for a song,
Get out and roll it along!
It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts,
Take a walk with your favorite girl,
It's a sugar date, what if spring is late?
In winter, it's a marshmallow world!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Venn diagram

My name is Sharon.

I was born in New York.

My favorite food is pizza.

I like to draw. I like to color. I like playing dress-up.

I have a mom, a dad, and a little sister.

My sister and I play a lot.

I am four years old, and when I grow up I want to be a ballerina.

* *

I was serious about that ballerina thing. I really thought I could do it. The most dance experience I'd had at the time was a children's ballet class at the YWCA back in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and I had just joined a dance troupe at my Chinese school. (Our first dance involved pink plastic stools and round paper fans (not the plaited ones).) I had never seen a professionally staged ballet. I still haven't, actually. But how cool would it have been to have really pursued it? Barbara Milberg Fisher wrote a memoir about dancing with the NYCB and Balanchine - she didn't go into graphic detail about the physical pain involved in being a ballerina, something that would have deterred me the most, also the one thing I knew about the least. She talks a lot about traveling, which I would have considered kind of cool when I was in kindergarten; about the rehearsals, which I would have thought I could endure; about the costumes and makeup, which I would have loved; and about dancing and performing. Gosh, I would have loved it.

I wasn't a compulsive liar when I was four, but I was imaginative. I liked to believe I could invent things in my life that hadn't happened yet. I lied about things I thought I could get away with, especially to people who I figured wouldn't know better. So the first time we had to talk about ourselves and illustrate, I said that there were three other people in my family. Even though I was an only child. I told the room mother, whoever was helping me write my ten-sentence life story, that I had a sister. I don't remember what her name was. But she existed. And she was a baby sister, I think she'd just been born.

I'm trying to decide if the four-year old me would like the nineteen-year old me. If she'd even care. If we'd get along. Would she shun me for not being cool enough or pretty enough (Not a dancer? Next.), or would she be shy around me and actually want to get to know me? I know when I was younger, I idolized the high school girls I knew, mostly from Chinese School and also in the dance troup (one girl actually went to my elementary school, was a fifth grader, a safety, and she rode my bus). I thought their lives were infinitely more glamorous than mine (my understanding of glamor didn't involve too much), that they could do so many cool things (I couldn't name anything specific, but I just knew), and that I wanted to grow up as quickly as possible and be like them. Get to dance with umbrellas. And silk ribbons. And wear prettier costumes.

The kindergarten me - I feel like I know her. But we sort of lost touch. I feel like I think about her a lot, but I never know if she thinks about me. About the me-me, not the abstract, imaginary me she wanted to be. I wish I could ask her questions. I wish I could give her advice. I wish she would be happy, I mean, she was, but I wish she'd known to appreciate her present. I think four-year olds mostly do, appreciate their lives, that is, because they have no basis for comparison. But four-year old Sharon would imagine things to compare her life to . . . She was too good for me, I think.

* *

Dear four-year old me,

You didn't need to lie about having a sister. In general, lying is a very bad thing, and you should avoid it at all costs. But you didn't need to lie, because she was on her way. You wanted a sister and you got her (and she and you are quite good friends, actually).

I'm sorry to say that you aren't a ballerina. I'm not a ballerina. I'm a materials scientist/engineer. It's . . . kind of less glitzy than what you wanted. But you will make a difference, somehow. To be completely honest (since I just told you not to lie), I don't know if I will make a difference. I don't even know what I want to be, unlike you. But if you asked me for an answer, either in writing for a job application or in an interview, I could probably think of something to say. I went to a job fair today and told people that I was interested in working with energy, technology related to that, and transportation, finding a way to make that more efficient. It wouldn't be lying, exactly, because that is what I want to do, for now. I could get away with telling people that, especially to people who I figured wouldn't know better. I'm kind of a loser for not knowing what I want to do, aren't I? And something that not a lot of people have heard of, I agree (a lot of people had heard of "materials science and engineering" at this job fair, but they weren't really sure what it was and they didn't think they wanted to hire me).

I go to school in Pittsburgh. That's in Pennsylvania, where you used to live, but on the other side. Pennsylvania's a huge state, I don't know if you know that or not. I didn't know it myself until last year - it takes over six hours to drive from one end of it to the other. That's longer than it takes to drive from your house to where I am now.

I like your room. Green paint, rose wallpaper trim. Pink carpet. It looks exactly the same - I finally bought glow-in-the dark stickers (they're stars and planets, I know you like those) and put them on the ceiling about eleven or twelve years ago (not as long as it sounds), so it's like looking at the night sky, but only in one spot - except it's not your room anymore. You have a brother, too. Cool, right? That's his room now. Yeah, you're right, pink isn't a boy's color, but he's a pretty relaxed guy, he was good about it. Your toys are still in the house somewhere, some are in Stacy's room, most of them are in the family room, and some are in my room, on the bed and on a shelf. Brownie is here with me at school. People have recently told me she looks like a chipmunk, but you and I know that she is just a teddy bear.

I'd like to give you advice, I don't know whether or not you want to hear what I have to say. The biggest things: Be patient; don't worry. Dad probably tells you this all the time (if he hasn't started yet, he will say it to you a lot, eventually, because you're kind of impatient, and worrying is something you tend to do). Be patient because you'll be in fifth grade before you know it; be patient because middle school and high school will go by so quickly, and then you'll be in college, which is even cooler than playing dress-up or Princesses. Be patient because you will get to make lots of friends and see lots of movies and go to many places, but right now, you don't need any of those things; what you have is enough, and what you have is great. Your best friends will mostly still be your best friends in fifteen years. You won't be a ballerina, but you will still like to dance, and to perform, and The Sound of Music will still be one of your favorite movies. (And you can still pretend to be Liesl, if you want. You will still like to sing, and often, so keep singing.)

Don't worry. Just remember that God is always watching out for you from Heaven and your family and friends are looking out for you on Earth. Don't worry about not being good enough. You'll never be the best - well, maybe that's not true - you won't feel like you're the best, a lot of the time, but you'll always be more than good enough. You will be well liked and funny and pretty and kind and think interesting things and have interesting experiences, and you will smile and laugh often, cry sometimes, but mostly be very happy. So don't worry. You will do great in school and learn, and read great books, and it may not happen how you planned it, but I really think it will all work out in the end.

Work hard. Keep practicing the violin, don't give it up. Study hard. Try to plan in advance. Make sure you tell Mom and Dad about things before right before they happen, like if you want to go to the movies with your friends or something (in a few years). Be focused. Do one thing at a time, and focus on just that one thing while you're doing it. Be efficient (that means . . . try to save time), but don't over-multi-task (do too many things at once) in order to be efficient. Don't look down at the radio to change the station while you're driving.

I don't exactly know what I want to be when I grow up, or what I want when I grow up. Things I know I want, for sure:

I want a well decorated house. Or apartment, I could do with someplace small. I love IKEA and Laura Ashley, those are home furnishing companies.

I want a family. I'd like to have kids, I'd maybe like to get married . . . I feel like this is still far off and hard to imagine, but I think I'd like this. Or I'd like to visit my family a lot.

I want to be happy.

I think . . . we're probably a lot alike, wouldn't you say?

Oh, another thing. Don't procrastinate. Kick that habit as soon as possible. I'm writing you this letter instead of reading a book for a history class. That's bad. Don't do that.

And you don't have a boyfriend yet. I don't have a boyfriend yet. There will be a lot of boys who you like and a few boys who will like you. Try not to let those boys (who like you) get away. They might seem kind of weird or . . . annoying or creepy at first, but they mean well. They're good guys. They like you for the right reasons.

I'll let you know as I figure that one out.

You like fortune cookies, right? That was the one I got with my dinner a couple nights ago. I just opened it tonight.

I thought it was funny.



Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Chocolate Scrabble


que sera, sera

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich?
Here's what she said to me.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Ugh what am I going to do with my life. Even though I told a friend today that it's not a crime to not be stressed, I still don't feel like I'm living adequately unless I'm in crisis mode. In complete contradiction with my love for peace of mind and clarity. Well, I've gone through both of those and back again in about . . . three hours.

Chloe spoke at IVCF tonight about "God's Heart for the City," an anecdotal, "In the Cit-ay," touching, funny, informative and all-around sobering account of her experiences with urban outreach/restoration (and approach to the Gospel). I was floored. I mean, I knew the world was poor . . . Actually, no, that's not true. I knew there were poor in the world. But no, I did not know that 40% of the people in the world live on 2 USD a day. Chloe did a nice price analysis for us of what $4/day would afford in Mexico (she just got back from a weekend trip), and she was left with 70c for "water, sanitation, rent, taxes, transportation, health care, entertainment, vacation, toiletries, tithing, saving, college education, school uniforms, etc." Oh, and before she became the IVCF director for the Pittsburgh-Metro area, she was on her way to becoming a concert pianist. Yeah. She was studying at Julliard. She gave it up for a position on IVCF staff.

So what am I doing, exactly . . . ? We're talking about the Restoration in French history: We discuss the plight of the middle class, the plight of the artisanal factions, the crisis of the socially mobile (actually immobile) "in-migrants" from rural France, the post-Revolutionary political upheaval, anti-Revolutionary sentiment, anti-monarchical sentiment. Life was pretty bad for the working class before the Revolution - afterwards, too - so are 19th century suicide statistics in the Paris region an accurate representation of the social demography for that time, that place? They've been categorized by age, sex, occupation, time of day, time of year, and method. No, they aren't accurate for that purpose because there are other factors to consider.

And life was bad in the past and it's bad in the present, and I feel like I should be able to process this on a much deeper level, but all I feel is a hollow pretense of a headache, sort of like when I have to fake a hangover for a scene in "Proof."

I feel like I really owe the world something. I feel like I should do something. But what? Gosh, sometimes I feel like I could be that person who makes a huge difference all on her own. I want it so much, sometimes, that I actually believe I could be her. I thought that for a second tonight.

I owe the world everything and myself nothing. But not just the world, I owe certain people certain things . . . and I'd say I owe the people I know personally a lot more than the impoverished I have never met. So I will spend Spring Break with my family and friends, even though I'm telling everyone in IVCF to go to the Pittsburgh Urban Plunge, even though I'm distraught over not going myself, even though I feel like, maybe, that's where I should be? What if? Chloe said (the Bible says, Mother Theresa said) we need the poor, not the other way around. And?

And when I wake up in the morning, I don't want to stop feeling like this, I don't want to forget what I'm feeling. But being in a perpetual state of turmoil is definitely unhealthy. And inevitably I get happy and sidetracked and forget that over two billion people live daily on the tip I gave to the guy who delivered my Chinese food last night.

Pray, pray, pray . . . And listen to "Faith," by George Michael (P.S. ELI STONE on ABC, watch the pilot!).

Possible things to give up for Lent: Hitting the sleep button on my alarm clock (not getting up as soon as I hear my alarm), feeling sorry for myself, letting my laundry sit in the basket after I take it out of the dryer,

I gave up AIM one year, I think it was either 7th, 8th or 10th grade. Last year, about halfway through Lent, I decided I'd give up crushing on boys.

Hm well I haven't decided yet for this year. Que sera, sera. I'll stay away from candy for a while in case I can't think of anything else . . .

When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows, day after day?
Here's what my sweetheart said.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

French phrases of the day for Monday, Feb. 4, and Tuesday, Feb. 5:
J'ai dormi à poings fermés. "I slept like a baby." True for Monday night, not for last night or tonight.
Je me suis reveillée a l'aube ce matin. "I woke up very early this morning." Not true for Tuesday morning; will be true for Wednesday morning.

Ooh you know what else I could give up? Putting off dropping my self-paced Italian class. I actually did some of the homework exercises last night while I was waiting for my delivery dinner. Preliminary chapter and chapter 1, out of chapters 0-4 (test next week). Um . . . or maybe just commit to pacing myself better. In everything. Gosh.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Je suis heureuse d'être à nouvelle en ville.

French phrase of the day for Friday, Feb. 1: "I am glad to have returned to the city."

It really occurred to me for the first time on Wednesday that I go to Carnegie Mellon. I mean, like, a weighty, aware-of-my-surroundings, aware-of-my-identity, aware-of-being-labeled-by-the-school realization. The "I'm that girl in that publicity brochure"-type of feeling. I really go to this school. I am Carrie A. Card on the CMU student IDs, I'm just another student here. For a split second, I time-warped to five, eight years from now, and imagined myself saying, Yes, I went to Carnegie Mellon. It was so odd and a little bit overwhelming.

But despite the rough start, this semester is going well, and I am most definitely glad to be back in Pittsburgh.