James Kim

Kim and kids So Monday night, I was all set to make my triumphant return to the gym (had been sick for a week), and decided to do one of my senior citizen routines, which entails like a walking machine and watching TV (I don’t think many calories are burned, but hey, I’m out there). I had been dimly aware of this story about a family stranded in the snowy woods, but saw the detailed beginning to end details according Paula Zahn. I’m sure you know the story — this family of four driving from Seattle back home to San Francisco after Thanksgiving took a short cut and ended up getting snowed in. After seven days, the father, 35-year-old James Kim, decides to try to get help. The mother and two girls are rescued, but James is missing for another two days.

You see this kind of story, I feel like, once a year, so you get numb to it. People lose people. It happens all the time, but for some reason, I feel devastated they didn’t find him in time. I thought they would. I don’t know if I related more to it because the guy is Korean, b/c the couple is my age, b/c his wife has a really cool haircut, b/c the kids are pleasantly pudgy-cheeked, b/c they seem like an adorable family or what, but I get upset when I think about it.

What gets me are particular details, the disappointment of search and rescue team–how the Sheriff Anderson of Josephine County abruptly walked away mid-sentence from the camera after he announced they found his body.

I think about the tremendous, powerful expression of James’s father’s love. This dude wanted to find him. He hired his own helicopter to search for his son, he arranged for care packages including clothing, food, and letters from family to be dropped from the sky, to give him hope that they would find him soon. And while all this was going on, this media frenzy, and his family working hard, James was wandering in the woods, actually slogging through cold water. Who knows what he was thinking. I can’t believe it didn’t work. I’m so disappointed. It should’ve worked.

Anyway, if you want to donate money, you can go to www.jamesandkati.com. (Yes, I am obsessive.) There are a lot of blog chats about pros and cons of James’ logic to get out of there, but I really don’t care about that part. I guess if I wanted to walk away with something positive about this situation there are a few things. I was heartened to see all these non-Koreans rally around this guy and not see race as a barrier (yay!) and I think it’s uniquely American when people pull out all stops to save one person. Remember Clinton with that teenage kid about to get his bum whipped in Singapore? Perhaps some would see us indulgent or impractical, but I choose to believe it’s because Americans care about each other.

God and Football

turkeyWe recently spent Thanksgiving in Kentucky with my in-laws. My in-laws, lovely people, are very Christian, so I try to clean up my language the week before. I already know, I shouldn’t say “God” or “Jesus” in casual conversation, and that I probably shouldn’t say “Sweet cheeses” either, but no matter how conscientious I am, something else pops out of my mouth that normally doesn’t. When my sister-in-law asked if it was okay that I watch her daughter (b/c Heather’s four and a turbo-force) I said “Sure, it’ll be baptism by fire.” Or when I woke up before 10 a.m. one day, I greeted everyone “I’m awake! It’s a miracle!” Are these no-no words? I don’t know. We have such starkly different beliefs, we really tip toe around that stuff.

It’s a different part of the country, people, from New York City, I mean. Creationism is a hot topic in the front page of the paper. Northern Kentucky U. just formed “NKU Students Against National Coming Day,” etc. It’s sort of like visiting the set of “Footloose.” No drinking, no cursing, no evolution, no taking the Lord’s name in vain, no dancing. I actually don’t mind those things, and though I think the creationism vs. evolution discussion is sad, I actually NEVER talk about evolution in my daily life, but no DANCING??? How do people decompress without wiggling their bums around the living room? And football–sports seems to be something that everyone is obsessed with in KY (well, everywhere really, but NYC, you can still watch Bette Davis flicks in theaters at least). While I happily eat hotdogs and drink beers at Mets games, I don’t actually pay attention to the event at hand. To do so reminds me of studying for the LSATs–I could get a handle on it, but it takes effort and doesn’t come naturally.

Still, it was maybe my sixth time down in the “land of sacred hunting ground,” as my husband calls it, and every time, I get more comfortable with his family. David’s sister is the best hostess. She makes sure there’s plenty for us to eat, so we snack every 30 minutes (yes!). She does our laundry, lets us do our laundry before we leave. She lets us sleep for hours. We get to recuperate from NYC life under her roof. The other thing about Kentucky is that it’s beautiful–lots of rolling hills and all that. In Louisville, there are exquisite parks designed by the same dude who did Central Park, but what I realized on this trip is that I really don’t need nature. I’m okay with concrete. I like the sidewalks of New York. Instead of trees and hills, we get to gaze at the landscape of buildings and skyline. This causes my poor husband great consternation for a number of reasons I won’t get into right now. He would like to live in Kentucky again one day is one reason, and while I enjoy our visits, I could never be happy there. It’s not just that the state has a microscopic population of Asians. It’s also because when I visit, I feel like a minority in terms of how I dress, how I think, what I like to do, eat, and see. Poor guy.

Ice skating is romantic and fun

Bryant Park ice skating rink or it was in my imagination. Last night, my husband David and I ventured to Bryant Park’s iceskating rink. After three years of saying “we should go ice skating,” we were finally doing it. Yeah! It’s before the holidays, so there wasn’t this monstrous, forbidding line wrapping around the park, but there were other signs that maybe we should’ve turned back. I fell twice last night. For the first fall, I wiped out faceforward on the steps, with my gigantic backpack pinning me earthward, and bloodied a knee–and this was before I got on the ice. Uh oh. I am at an age where when I fall, I just lie there. I’m no longer easily embarrassed about looking foolish, and really, on some days, my spirit is such that I just want to lie down on the ground anyway. Once we got in, rented our skates, shoved our belongings into a locker the size of a gnome coffin (sorry gnomes), we were on our way! Luckily, there weren’t many people like me desperately clinging to the walls around the rink, so I had the area to myself. Eventually, I let go and went a couple of rounds on my own giggling with nervousness, observed a gray-haired lady drop down on her bum, and quickly, soon followed with my own tremendous fall. I pitched face forward thunderously, and got the wind knocked out of me. At this point, I would very much like to bawl like a six-year-old, but then I remember, I’m in public and I’m 34, so I just lay on the ice not moving, which I think made the staff nervous because suddenly a succession of three male employees with official yellow jackets were by my side and skated me off the rink. They were so fast! David even kicked one of the them in the knee by accident in all the eagerness to help. After I got interrogated by the EMT, I was free to sit on the bench, and tried to figure out whether I wanted to venture on the ice again. I’m all about the “get back in the saddle” and I didn’t want to disappoint my husband. Only when when David very kindly said “let’s go home. We don’t need no stinking rink” did we leave. He’s good to me.

I was on the ice all of ten minutes. Awesome.

Thank god for Pedro Almovodar

Pedro Almovodar Look at this man. I love this man (apologizes to my husband). I’m so grateful Pedro Almovodar is a part of this world and making movies. I’m not kidding. He totally adores and celebrates women. All his films show great-looking women who struggle and juggle a multitude of worries, whether it’s work, cheating men, dead bodies, incest, lost love, etc. His plots are straight out of telenovelas, so maybe not for all, but I always leave a Pedro Almovodar flick with strong desires to wear red, big hoop earrings, and puffed-up pride in being a woman. Check out Volver, with the warm and glamorous presence and cleavage of Penelope Cruz. (who knew) She’s stressed out in the entire flick as a mother, daughter, sister, wife, restaurant owner, and there are a lot of scenes where she’s lifting these crazy heavy objects, like refrigerators. One of the other great characters is a pragmatic, buff hooker. Check it out.

Volver cast

Goodbye Oradell!

front of the houseWe lived here for twenty-two years and sold it in like the worst market possible. (Every time the Times ran a piece on how this fall, home sales were experiencing their worst slump in thirty years, I had a mini coronary at my desk.) I thought I’d feel more sentimental, since melacholy is my middle name, but in the rush, I haven’t had to worry about those feelings. Good bye old house! Good bye old memories! Good bye elementary school, junior high school, high school, ex boyfriends! Good football games at Bergen Catholic filling our lawn with high school trespassers! Our neighbor George is 82 years old, and when my mother went to say good-bye to him, he cried, which made her cry, and they both hugged. Poor things. He said we were good neighbors.

happy halloween

at the risk of sounding like the children at the party who won’t play, i hate dressing up for halloween. too much pressure. i want to come up with a cool costume and then i just get paralyzed and can’t think of anything. i went to a party where the creative hostess marla and gretchen sewed themselves into a skintight mummy outfit, forgetting to allow for a pee outlet. luckily, this year, my good friend joslyn told me to go as a deviled egg. she found the costume on the internet. all we had to do was dress in all white, pin a yellow oval onto our bellies, and find devil horns. well, all the satan horns were sold out at target, so what we got instead was this. If we ever get my husband’s phone camera to download pictures, I’ll post a picture.

deviled eggs

Do you want my parents? Do you want their car?

My parents are very cute Korean seniors in their sixties who laugh and experience befuddlement quite easily. My mother is good-looking and looks at least 10 years younger than her age, and my dad is like an eight-year-old boy. If you remind them, they will get you a nice birthday gift. They’re also good for a free meal once in a while, though it will have to be at a Korean restaurant, because God forbid, they eat anything other than Korean.

I have just moved them from New Jersey to Brooklyn, to change the two hour distance between us to twenty minutes, mostly so I can keep a better eye on them, but this move is a freaking albatross-fog-monster-swamp-thing experience. Every time I think I’m done, something pulls me back in, and so I’m just posting this for a mental break. Take them, go ahead. They’re free. Their car, however, a 2002 Toyota Camry carwith 37,000 miles on it, I’m trying to sell for a wad of cash. Since the only people who know about this site are my cousins Ed and Aimee, I don’t think I will offers here. But a girl can always dream.

Hey look! Stuff on stage.

Hi, I’m going to be David Meth’s play “9/12” at the Culture Project as part of the THAW citywide festival. At the Culture Project, it’s part of the Impact Theater festival. Look at the cool art! 9/12 art It’ll be at 7 p.m. Sept. 25th, 2006. Go to www.cultureproject.org for more info.

I’m reading fiction in public. Want to come cheer me on?

July 24, 2006, The Drama bookshop in Manhattan, 8:30 p.m. Here’s the link for more info. http://writersworking.blogspot.com/

I think there’s nothing like the fear of looking like an *ss in public to whip your stories in shape. Oh, and someone else at my office asked me I was pregnant on Friday. AWESOME.

Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant. Maybe she’s just fat.

danishThis is not new advice. We’ve all heard it and follow it, unless you work in my office. I’ve been asked by three people at work “Are you pregnant?” “No, I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.” “Is there something you’re not telling me?” “Am I sure? I sit at a desk for nine hours a day, stuffing myself with pastries leftover from meetings that lie around the office in order to quell my anxiety and boredom.” “Are you sure?” People, as one of my peers says, don’t ask a woman that question unless she’s on the ground, flat on her back, actually in throes of a contraction in front of you.

Is there a reason why people are asking me this? Is this to build my character? It’s not like I secretly think I’m a supermodel. And wouldn’t I know if I were pregnant? Don’t you get the willies or something? But then again, with my spacey mental state, maybe I am pregnant and don’t know it.