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The day has come! Friday was my birthday. We closed early for a party. Some of my friends began to show up already at 9 pm, although the party was supposed to be on at 10 pm. I was feeling hyper all day, and this very quickly knocked me into a pre-party panic. I wasn't ready! So I grabbed my friend Ping and we hid upstairs for 20 minutes for make-over. When I finally came down with a pretty black dress that I never get to wear, there were few more guests and I surrendered to the role of hostess. Got lots of presents, including bacon and egg bandages and flipping monkey with a banana, and the window is filled with flowers! I love birthdays!
on september 24, 2006 @ 11:49 pm [link]

I feel good

Saturday morning at 7 o'clock, I was in the Central Park for a marathon training 20-mile run. It was just a perfect clear morning for us 3000 crazy runners. A funny Brit was our group leader, who seemed to experience a classic case of runners high. By mile 16 he was singing James Brown: "I feel good! I knew that I would!" I was feeling pretty good at the end of the run, picking up speed in the last mile. Of course the ice bath when I came home felt so good.

To enjoy the last sunday of summer I went for a bike ride around Brooklyn. I ended up in Atlantic Antic street fair. In front of Hank's country bar, there was a country band playing music, with people sitting around on haystacks. And of course I found Ikko san dancing to his favorite music. I came home and watched a movie in which Tricky had a cameo appearance. I remembered the day about 5, 6 years ago at summer stage in the Central Park: the day Tricky got booed. My friends and I were there all excited to see him play, but all of us including thousands others never read the fine print of the program that he was going to 'read' from latest poetry album. After a long series of opening acts, finally he came on the stage. The crowd was hot. But there was no music. Three drunken Jersey boys in front of me started booing. My friend Renata said pointing at the program, "but wait, it says here "Tricky is going to read from his latest..." We were all bummed. People were booing all over the place. Tricky got off the stage fairly soon and a DJ came on. Even Tricky gets booed sometimes.
on september 17, 2006 @ 09:17 pm [link]


A big glass of wine before bed made me have strange dreams this morning. I went to dine at a very expensive fancy restaurant, where I was seated with a couple I don't know in a courtyard. A waiter came around and offered sake in tiny sake glasses, which they took, thinking they were compliment. Later they complained that they were charged $18 for a little thing of sake. Then the waiter came around threw some greens onto our plate. Then another waiter came around and tossed pieces of cold cuts and some fried thingies on top of it. I wondered what was big deal about this restaurant. The couple had to leave before the main course, and I awaited for the next big thing. But somehow drunken teenagers wandered into the restaurant and stood around my table against the wall. One of the kid said, "I don't feel so well. I think I'm going to puke." which he did. I got up and went to the front and told them that I'm going to leave because drunken teenagers were puking around my table. The girl at the front said she understood. She gave me a bill for $65 and I paid, as if I had no objection to it. I had a bottle of Vitamin Water and went to swim across a river. But a huge wave kept coming at me and I couldn't get to the other side.

This is about everything I remember. It could mean so many things, but I just laughed about it.
on september 15, 2006 @ 10:35 pm [link]

cross reference

I told Stan that I found the semapedia tag for Che Guevara in the bathroom of the tourist trap where Hemingway used to hang out in Havana. He was so excited and put my photo in his blog. When you click on the link to my website I'm pointing at another semapedia tag we placed in front of SOY. What a small world of loop we live in!
on september 14, 2006 @ 12:44 am [link]


Little over a week after I came back from my adventure, I'm still sorting out hundreds of photos I brought back. While I'm calming down from the culture shock, I'm doing my show-and-tell to my friends every day. Last Saturday, Yuri, who was working for me until this January, walked in for dinner during rush. "Yuri, you came in a good time! You can cook your own dinner!" I said jokingly, but half seriously. "Oh, sure, I'll help!" She grabbed an apron and started helping. Here was my little angel! Tonight she came to help officially. She'll be going back to Japan at the end of the month, but she'll be helping me a few more days. Tonight I had another little angel helper back in the kitchen: 7-year-old Namazzi. He wanted to stay and 'work' all night! What an angel. Last night formerly neighborhood Princess Kristin returned from her summer job at a farm in Maine, looking so healthy and strong. Now she's going back there to hike across New England for a month! I'm so looking forward to hearing her adventure in wilderness. Go Kristin!

It has been another disturbing time of the year, with all the images of 9-11 everywhere. It's been five years, and only five years. There's still enough vivid images in our head that don't need be reminded. On my sunday run to the west side, which was almost exactly like that day, very sunny and warm, I could picture so clearly how dusty and deserted all around that area. How many days and nights I went out on my run and cried to see that empty hole in the sky which was once occupied with the towers. All those candles we lit, all those hugs we exchanged, and every pictures of missing persons we stopped to look at, for days, weeks, and months. I didn't need any reminder.
on september 13, 2006 @ 12:16 am [link]

I left my heart in Havana

Late last night I came back from my vacation. I spent amazing and intense five nights in Havana. I dreamt so long to visit this very close but extremely far country. Finally I was there. As soon as I arrived, I knew that I've jumped into this dysfunctional relationship. Blazing sun, almost suffocating humidity, bad fumes from ancient cars, overly friendly people who wanted to dance salsa with me on every street. Beautiful run-down buildings, music echoeing in every square, it was just what I imagined and so much more. So many people wanted to talk to me like I was the sole opportunity for them to voice their opinions freely. But sadly it was also their only chance to go to certain bars and clubs and have a cocktail, so everyone offered me help to get a nice box of cigars, inexpensive bed & breakfast, or a dinner at a private house. Tourists were the only people with 'real' money to spend. It was just incredible experience in this city of past glory. I am still trying to process all the information I was given, all the little details I've encountered, and put it into my own coherent story. I came home with massive amount of notes, photographs, and a three peso note with Che Guevara's handsome face on it. I could write a book about this trip.
on september 6, 2006 @ 12:55 am [link]

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