My blog has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to My Future

Bhuddists believe life is a circle, and I'm inclined to agree. I've been reflecting lately on the ways my life has constantly moved forward and changed, yet looped back on itself too, like a pair of knitting needles creating new stitches by hooking old loops and pulling them through.

Take for example the summer of 1999, when my family flew to California to visit a bundle of potential Universities for my sister. We went to West Mont, Point Loma, and we visited Azusa Pacific University. I remember sitting on the bleachers of the baseball field at APU talking with my sister. I was envious. I wanted to be the one going to school in California.

In the following years I flew in and out of LAX several times to visit Annie and then eventually to spend a semester at Film School. Each time the plane took off for home I would peer out the window and look longingly on Los Angeles, wishing it was my home.

I remember then, standing on the porch of our little apartment in El Segundo four years later, staring at the planes taking off from the LAX runaway just across the street. I was breathless with wonder. How many times had I sat in those planes, wishing to live in LA? How many times, while taking off, had I glimpsed the apartment buildings we were now living in, never having the faintest clue I would one day live there?

My life had moved forward and yet, somehow looped back on itself too. This happened again when I started teaching at Azusa Pacific University. I remember standing in the classroom thinking, "How did I get here?" I had no idea when I had sat on those bleachers seven years earlier that I would one day end up teaching at APU.

Here's another example: when we first moved to LA, we went exploring one evening with Sam and Rosie Bills. We got lost, sort of. We stumbled across a corner of LA and wondered around looking for a spot to have dinner. In the dieing light, we passed the open window of a coffee shop with a rainbow flag donning the door.

A few paces later, a couple guys ogled Sam and Dwayne, then whispered at Rosie and I, "You better keep a hold of him!" We figured out pretty quickly that we had happened across the happier side of LA. We found a little Indian restaurant, ate dinner and laughed at our good fortune.

Three years later, I was working in Beverly Hills, and running errands for my boss. While driving down Santa Monica Boulevard I saw that very same Indian restaurant! I couldn't believe it. Three years ago that restaurant had been located somewhere in the haystack of LA, but now, here I was working as an executive assistant in the film industry and I knew exactly where I was. I was in Brentwood.

What really wigged me out was imagining myself back then. So much had changed in three years. And for a moment, time collapsed on itself. I could see me standing on that street corner watching the cars drive by having no clue where I was, having no clue that one day I would be dressed in a black skirt, button up shirt and heels, whirling around exhausted and slightly disillusioned by a career that at that earlier moment I wanted so badly.

And here we are again, a new stitch in the yarn of my life. Two weeks ago, after living in the South Bay for five years, Dwayne and I have moved to Azusa, with the help of our friends! It took us all day, and lots of hard scrubbing (believe me, you don't know how much your friends love you until they clean your bathroom. Thank you Lorraine and Yvette!)

The irony is that it's a new home, but not a new location. Of course, I've already been here. My parents lived in Azusa for a year, and it just so happens that our new condo is literally down the street from their old home. So I know the neighborhood. I know the street names. I know the stores. I'm familiar with the local churches.

And the loop goes on. One more step back to my future.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Goodbye Runaway Heart"

I've been revving up the submission engine again this summer and after several submissions got an article accepted. Yippee. It has been published today over at

If you'd like to read anything else that I've written outside of this blog you can find the links in the margin.

Thanks for your support guys as I try to launch this slippery thing called, "A writing career."

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I never feel more beautiful than when I'm camping. Yes, down in the dirt, no make-up, no showers, no jewelry. I realized anew this delusion when we went camping at Yosemite with a bunch of friends. Something about no mirrors, and no expectations equals no inhibitions and I feel as comfortable in my own skin as I do in the pair of floppy pants I camp in.

Then from time to time, I peak in a mirror, or the reflection of a car window and realize that the reality doesn't quite match my perception. When the reflection isn't around I feel as lovely as the European beauty I sat across from on the Yosemite shuttle. She had dark, deep set eyes, exotic olive skin, and thick brown hair. Her dirty bandanna, and lack of make-up only served to unleash her natural beauty. Indeed, her beauty came from the beauty of the rocky cliffs and massive sequoias that surrounded us.

But in my reflection the bandanna and no-mascara do not serve me as well. I find the disparity between my perception and the reflection a bit startling. I have to recalibrate my internal picture each time I catch a glimpse of myself. Finally, about halfway into the trip I've had enough.

Why is it that I automatically believe the mirror over my own perception? What makes the mirror right and me wrong? What makes my own perception any less of a reality than what I see in that cold hard glass? What a strange thing it is to realize that I have two different ways of seeing and evaluating myself.

There is comparison. Which can only happen when I look at a mirror, because then I hold the image of my still body up against the still image of other women. Suddenly, the bodies around me are reduced to a snapshot, a single glance, a summing up of parts to stack against my own.

Then there is this strange internal feeling about myself that emerges when there is nothing around to remind me of myself. When I am allowed to be totally unselfconscious. What is it? This internal knowing? It's like a lack of eyes. It's a lack of seeing. It's simply knowing. Being. There is no evaluation, just a comfortable acknowledgment that does not need to be compared in order to know itself.

I am not more beautiful or less beautiful than she is, they are. I simply am. My being calling back to the beauty of Yosemite. The soaring rock faces, the joyful running creeks, the mighty waterfalls, and the trees, the lovely towering trees, pointing upward to a beauty out of sight.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thinking About Quitting (aka Self-doubt)

Yesterday, while listening to "This American Life" I heard something that has me seriously considering shutting down the blog.

About halfway through the story the reporter exclaimed passionately, You know bloggers! They just sit around writing, writing, writing. Which I think is insane because they don't get paid for it. Which has got me in a tizzy.

I love writing my blog, but am I wasting my $30,000 writing degree?

Friday, August 01, 2008


So we had an earthquake last Tuesday. It shook us all up. (Yes, that is a small grin you see.)

My sister and I were in the nursery. She was changing Noelle's diaper and I was packing for our upcoming move. Though it was quite frightening at the time, and although my sister said afterwards, "I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry," the whole thing is rather comic three days later.

You see, I thought there was someone pounding around our apartment. But when clearly no one was bursting into our place, and throwing themselves down on our floor, I looked at Annie, who whispered at once (because she's been in one before), "Earthquake."

At that precise moment the entire apartment began to sway. The eeriest part was the sounds. The walls and floor began groaning and creaking their protests. Annie grabbed Noelle and we lunged for the doorways.

The thing only lasted 20 seconds, but have you ever sat through 20 seconds of the earth shaking? While 20 seconds may not be enough time to hear a complete song, or microwave a dinner, you can still get alot done in 20 seconds. You can, for example, sit for a moment and watch the walls bending, you can grab your daughter from your sister's arms, you can begin to imagine the roof caving in and the floor falling out, you can jump up to grab a phone in case you get trapped beneath rubble, and you can dash across the expanse of the apartment to the front door where neighbors are all standing outside.

Yeah, 20 seconds is long enough for adrenaline to thoroughly work its way through your system.

With in 20 minutes we knew that nothing serious had happened. It was just a joy ride not a catastrophe, but I gotta tell ya, for a full two minutes afterwards my heart was pounding and my hands were trembling and I would not let go of Noelle.

Back to the quake: when my sister opened the front door and braced herself against the frame, she found herself standing next to my neighbor, who was himself taking shelter in his doorframe. He looked over, grinned, and said as mellow as an ocean breeze, "This is my first one."

That's when the apartment settled back down and I realized that I might need to settle back down too. I decided I wanted to be as zen as Edgar about the whole thing.

Or I could have been as upbeat as my mother. She was very chipper about the whole thing. While my apartment is by the beach about 40 miles away from the epicenter, my mom was up in the San Gabriel Valley, much closer. The fact that we couldn't get a hold of my mom for about 30 minutes after the quake worried us.

(Everybody and his brother was calling everybody and her sister and so the network was busy. Not very encouraging should there ever be a real catastrophe!)

But then a text beeped brightly across my cell. It was my mom with only this exclamation, "Earthquake!" No kidding. When we were finally able to get through to her we found out, no worries. She had been getting a pedicure. "My salon chair wiggled two inches across the floor!" she said delighted. "And all the Vietnamese ladies got really quiet!"

Okay, so the earthquake was no big deal. I was getting the picture. Everyone seemed to think it was more fun than frightening and I think I would have felt the same way had it not been for Noelle. Something about having her created a very different reaction in me. A reaction I didn't fully expect, and I don't think I could have controlled. I'm still marveling at the way my body immediately assumed survival mode. Had I actually mentally coached myself about how to curl myself around her so no falling debris would hit her head? Had I actually commanded my sister to get the phone so we would have a way to tell people where we were under the rubble?!

As soon as my mom got off the phone, Dwayne called.

"Hey! There was an earthquake!" He said excitedly. It turns out he was riding around in his truck oblivious. "Did you feel anything?"


Quick update on the "Nourishment" post. I took Noelle back to the doctor yesterday for another weight check. She had gained a miraculous ten ounces in 14 days. That's nearly an ounce a day! Holy fat goose.

Dwayne accuses me of feeding her foie de gras style.