Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I woke up this morning, traumatized, because I dreamt that someone tortured me by picking at my eyes with an icepick until they were bloody cesspools. Luckily, I could still see but I told my attacker that I went blind in order to throw him off the trail and escape.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

coming home?

Noun a return home, esp. after a long absence

This job search has taken me from one end of the state to the other. After I set aside the logistical headaches of moving, I start to feel the heady rush of a maybe-homecoming. I've spent the last almost-decade hiding in Southern California. As much as I fought it in the beginning, I've become used to sunny skies, sandy beaches, and happy people.

I (used to) want to move to the East Coast. I crave(d) the idea of starting new. Maybe part of the reason why I wanted to move stemmed from a subconscious desire to get as far away from my hometown as possible without moving out of the country.

I'm afraid to go back to Northern California for a number of reasons. I fear that I won't have lived up to my expectations. I loathe living in the shadow of comparisons. I don't want to revert to my old self. Names, memories, and street names may fade, but those residual feelings hang in the air. It's taken me many years to understand that it's not normal or healthy to live with that kind of shame and regret.

I guess I just need to prove to myself that I've come a long way. Every time I visit my family, I feel jumbly and confused. I don't know how I will feel to live there again if I ever move up north. I think it will be very strange.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yesterday, I found out that one of my childhood classmates had passed away. None of my hometown friends know the details, except that it happened in the middle of a basketball game. Word of his untimely passing spread like a virus through our Facebook walls.

I feel sympathy and empathy for his friends and family and for the life that he could have lived. Beyond that, I can't muster up grief because I simply did not know him very well. He was just an acquaintance. Still, it's shocking and difficult to accept. I feel all sorts of weird about it. I didn't really want to talk about it but I've long since learned that it's always healthier to just get it out.

It's selfish of me to make his passing about ME ME ME, but I've managed to do that once again. It weirds me out to know that he is dead. It weirds me out to think that he won't be walking around anymore. It weirds me out to realize that we could all drop down dead at any moment. I can't help but wonder how I would react if any of my close friends or family members passed away. I don't know how to grieve properly or accept the inevitable. I live in a tiny bubble of my own making and it protects me from being hurt.

Still, I can't avoid attachments to other people. Hearing the news about my childhood classmate just spurs me to create and cultivate meaningful relationships with the important people in my life. I'm grateful for my family and friends.

Life is too damn short. RIP.

Monday, September 21, 2009

presenting... deep fried butter!

I lovelovelove butter, and this is almost too much to bear...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

growing old

I work in an assisted living facility. I'm not going to tell you where it's located, what I do, or who works there. I'm trying to hold onto some semblance of anonymity because it's never prudent to blog about work. Nonetheless, I blog about my life, and my life includes work, so I will try to write about it with balanced sensitivity and candor. I want to leave out significant details without losing the essence of my stories.


This is one incident that I have been mulling over in my head for a few days. It concerns a resident who lives at the facility. She is tiny and sits all day in her wheelchair with a big smile and clouded eyes. She used to be a professional dancer. Although she has deteriorated physically, she is still mentally sharp.

A few days ago, after waking up in the morning and getting ready for breakfast, she told her caregiver that she was scared.

"Why are you scared?" asked the caregiver.

She replied, covering her face, "I don't recognize myself in the mirror because the woman in it is so old and ugly."


My confession: I'm living in a fantasy world. Even though I work with the legal and emotional consequences of aging, I can't really come to terms with the fact that even I will die someday. I can't even accept the fact that I'll grow wrinkles. Working here is a daily reminder of my own mortality and it scares me sometimes.

That's the cold reality of the facility. Death serves as the ultimate equalizer. No matter how beautiful, rich, or successful we are in life, none of us can avoid the dance of death. If we have the opportunity to grow old, we will bear witness to transforming bodies and minds. Will I also wake up one day to find gnarled jowls, surprising age spots, and sagging skin? Will I also find myself old and ugly?

I can only hope that if and when I find myself fully in "senior" territory, I will be able to live out the rest of my life with a modicum of dignity.

writer's workshop?

Hi all,

I've researched every writing workshop/class available in San Diego, such as those offered at local universities and those offered by community organizations (San Diego Writers, Ink Has anyone taken writing classes offered in this city? Can you describe your experience with it? More importantly, what can I expect from my first creative writing class?


celebrity crushes

Suz and I watched the new movie "Extract" a few nights ago. We watched it because we both enjoy lowbrow humor and share an appreciation for Jason Bateman. The movie was amusing. I enjoyed some awkward scenes and particularly fine acting (I'm referring to some of the hilarious blue collar workers, Gene Simmons, and Ben Affleck). However, the plot moved slowly. I doubt that I would have seen the movie if not for Bateman.

In any case, I started thinking about my improbable celebrity crushes and making a list of them:

Will Arnett's character Gob Bluth
Rainn Wilson's character Dwight Schrute
Charlie Day's character Charlie Kelly
Clive Owen
Val Kilmer
Eric Bana

I wonder what the list says about me! There seem to be two types of guys here: 1) strange, socially awkward, crazy and 2) manly and stoic. HA.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photoessay book about living well with bipolar disorder

Meggy is a childhood friend. Here is her project. Please support it!

From her site:


Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depression) is, and can be, a beast. A monster. Unspeakably cruel. It ruins lives, and sometimes, it kills people.

I'm not going to let this happen to me, and I don't think it should happen to anyone else with this disorder, either.

I've been browsing the ever-growing collection of books about bipolar disorder since I was diagnosed with it almost a decade ago, and to be frank, the selection is disappointing for a lady like me. Many of these books are designed for people who have just been diagnosed with their disorder; for example, spending ten pages explaining what a manic episode is, or defining the term "major depression." This is important for a certain audience, and may have been helpful to me ten years ago, but where do I turn to now when I'm faced with questions like, Should I have a child? and How do I deal with symptoms that aren't part of the textbook diagnosis? What is it like to see suicide in the news? After all these years, do I yet know when in a friendship to disclose my condition?

I know I can't be the only one with these questions, and though I may not have all of the answers, I have certainly written about and am exploring them. For example, the following is an excerpt from one essay about the question of having and raising children ("Thirteen Times"):


Once, I wanted children. And then, hours after pausing in front of a children’s clothing store, I did not. I’d watched women purchase tiny peacoats and miniature blouses with peter pan collars, my own shopping bags hanging at my sides. Later I called Chris, my then-boyfriend and now-husband, to say, “I was at Gymboree, and I thought of you.” Though he’d spoken several times of wanting to have children with me, this was the first time that I had, however vaguely, returned the sentiment.

He was quiet. “I talked to my mom,” he said.

I didn’t understand.

“She said that mental illness is genetic.”

“Oh. Never mind, then,” I said. “Forget I said anything. I didn’t mean it.”

Six years later, I found myself working at Camp Wish, a summer camp for children with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I disorder, formerly known as manic-depression, is primarily characterized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Manual Disorders IV (DSM-IV) as a combination of alternating manic and depressive episodes. Symptoms of mania include a week or more of the following: grandiosity, such as believing one has magical powers; severely decreased or a nonexistent need for sleep; flight of ideas or racing thoughts; risky behaviors; impairment; in some cases, psychosis. Depression is characterized by two weeks or more of symptoms such as depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure in nearly all activities, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness. But writing about these textbook symptoms is like drawing Guernica on an Etch-A-Sketch; as Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., writes, “There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness.” I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder immediately prior to my freshman year at Yale University.

I read in the New York Times that the child of a parent with bipolar disorder is thirteen times more likely to develop the disorder than one of parents who do not. A piece in the online magazine Salon about madness and motherhood, written by a woman with bipolar disorder, evoked the following reader responses: “I grew up with a bipolar mother, and it made my childhood nightmarish”; “Someone who is mentally unstable enough to require psychotropics should NOT, under any circumstances, even consider having a child.” I read all sixty-eight comments. These, I remember.



I plan to combine my love of writing with my passion for photography to create a photoessay book, entitled Enitens: The Day-to-Day of Bipolar Disorder (Latin, essentially, for "the act of trying harder"). The photographs in the book will be professionally printed. Example photos might include different methods of tracking medications, portraits of interview subjects, and portraits of couples dealing with the illness. (See for examples of my photography.) I plan to spend my final year in my MFA Writing program writing these essays and taking these photographs.


Much of the money will be for buying a Canon 40D and a 4 gig flash card. (Mine was, I believe, stolen from a Burger King near Sacramento.) ETA: Due to issues of first rights and copyright, I am no longer able to distribute the finished product myself. However, any remaining money will be invested toward the book and its publication; 25% of the royalties of the book will be donated to mental-health related charities, which the backers will help me decide. In the case that the book never be picked up by a publisher, I will print Enitens myself and distribute it for the purposes of Backer Rewards.


With almost 60 days left, and having already reached/surpassed our goal, I'm amending my dream to buying a more high-quality camera (Canon 5D -- professional grade). A Canon 5D is approximately $2,649. Will we make it? Time will tell!"


It's something like 4:30 am and I just had another jarring dream that shook me awake. There are logical reasons for dreams such as these - I've always had an active imagination, maybe it was the dinner I ate last night, maybe it is because of a post I wrote a few days ago about moving on and not comparing every person I meet to the person I lost.

In any case, I need to justify and understand why I still have these insane dreams where he pops up all over the place and causes the dream Sharon to completely lose it. I've done some pretty hilarious and wrenching things in these dreams. Maybe they are things that I wished or wish that I could do in real life.

I need to explain to myself why I think I can start over fresh and that I wouldn't let something in the past hold me back anymore. If this is true, if this is something I believe even at 4:30 am, then why do I still have these crazy dreams?

I think dreams are just a product of your subconscious exercising and doing some random stretches. I don't think they mean anything.

To be honest, sometimes I feel uncomfortable with putting myself out here. Once in awhile, I wonder if I've said too much or compromised my safety in some way or I've exposed myself to be a giant hypocrite and now it's public.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wormhole Project

Please check this out. Caroline Chang is my lovely cousin and a mighty fine writer. I'll definitely be there on October 3. You should come, too!!!

WORMHOLE is a writing/audio/thought experiment by Caroline Chang and Kyoung Kim running throughout September 2009 at The project will culminate in the opening of an Official Wormhole on October 3rd, 2009 between Los Angeles and Seoul, Korea at Soundwalk LA.

WORMHOLE involves quite a bit of experimenting in mad-cap-inventor fashion, and we hope you will join us, trying and sharing your own wormhole tests and thoughts on our blog and/or in your own clever way.

Caroline & Kyoung



Wormhole is a writing/audio/thought experiment in which collaborators Caroline Chang and Kyoung Kim will open a wormhole between Long Beach, CA and Seoul, Korea* on October 3rd, 2009 during SoundWalk through which the public can travel. Using the space and time of SoundWalk, corresponding maps of Long Beach and Seoul with similar physical constants will be created making a wormhole that the two can navigate through and have similar experiences. A record of these experiences through phone conversations will be streamed to the public.


As defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, a wormhole is “a theoretical distortion of space-time in a region of the universe that would link one location or time with another, through a path that is shorter in distance or duration than would otherwise be expected.” We view wormholes – the idea of being in two places at the same time, of shortcuts in the space time continuum – as the stuff of science fiction. But in actuality, we move through wormholes all the time – with cellphones, internet, radio, live video. In this day and age, we aurally, visually, spatially exist in and on multiple planes all the time with technology. Likewise, despite the many differences that can be found in architecture and geography from place to place, the present day urban spaces we inhabit offer similar enough standardized elements (e.g. asphalt roads, buildings made of similar construction materials, similar urban planning elements), that offer a sense of dejavu and adds to our ability to wormhole. By playing with these elements, Wormhole highlights and considers trends of how we use communication technology and standardization.
Though places and people never exist wholly parallel, breaking symmetry, there are physical constants that we have created for ourselves to defy space and time. When we make a phone call from Long Beach to Seoul, we are creating a wormhole through the electromagnetic waves and the invisible audio of voices, a new singular space in between the two cities where two people can share the same spacetime. Physical markers in our landscapes, our human need to create strong emergent similar systems, creates more visceral wormholes. Two disparate locales, a street in Long Beach and a street in Seoul for example, can be similar enough where a wormhole is created and be a touching point between two different universes. We are constantly wormholing like this existing in these created limbo spacetimes, sharing the same space with people but not quite being there with them. It is a need that extends beyond ourselves, an urge to make our reach far beyond our physical limits but that what we do here and now affects something else someplace else.


The Wormhole project begins with Caroline who will be residing in Los Angeles and Kyoung who will be residing in Seoul and will aim to create a wormhole on the day of SoundWalk and between the space of SoundWalk and Seoul. In order to find/create this wormhole, prior to the event date, Caroline will describe the space of SoundWalk aurally and textually (no visuals) via regular email correspondence. The space of SoundWalk will be the skeleton template for the wormhole as it is a temporary space as well, from streets and rooms to linked art event. In turn Kyoung will find and map a similar space in Seoul which corresponds to Caroline’s descriptions and add further details back to Caroline where she will then find similar details at SoundWalk. These correspondences will occur until both have found enough physical constants to create a wormhole wherein both can draw a map that creates seemingly parallel universes.

During the SoundWalk art event, Caroline and Kyoung will “spend a day” or the duration of SoundWalk in the wormhole with each other, encountering the physical constants on the map while talking on the phone. The two will encounter the same ground, the same landscapes, the same plants, the same people, the same eateries, the same shops, etc. and do similar but slightly different things. The conversation will be recorded and then shared through streaming podcast or radio throughout the event. SoundWalk goers can eavesdrop on the wormhole conversations and the time spent together through the website or other means such as radios placed throughout the event sites. By using the event, Caroline and Kyoung will create a wormhole that allows the two of them to exist in the same space without actually being in the same literal space. Listeners will also be able to exist in the wormhole as they will be able to encounter the same spaces as Caroline and Kyoung are moving through them.

For more information, email

*originally between Long Beach and New York

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Welcome to the Hangover Cafe

Today, my friends and I were sprawled on the living room floor, watching Sunday morning football and clutching our empty, nauseated stomachs. Each of us tried to convince the other to go out and pick up lunch for the rest of us. If only there was a one stop shop where we could pick up all of our comforting hangover cure foods in a single swoop. I'd like pho with a side of hamburger, I joked.

I'd call it the Hangover Cafe. The lighting would be muted, the music would be soft. All orders would come with a side of Advil and a gallon of water. Is there such a place in real life?! I googled the phrase. The only thing bearing the same name was a rock radio station show ( To my knowledge, there is no real "Hangover Cafe"!

My hangover cafe menu would include the following:

Chicken soup
Dumplings with vinegar
Scrambled eggs
Eggs over easy
Soon du bu
Hae jang gook
Bim bim bap

Different dishes to please every palate and every culture. Yum!

What is your ultimate hangover cure food?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sumac, the lab and pitbull terrier mix!

I've been scouring petfinder for several months. I've tagged a few animals but this is the one that I keep going back to...

The description is from the petfinder website:

"When I'm with my human family I love to be their sidekick. I have fun with other dogs, but have much more fun doing training and playing with my people. Training is my favorite game. I have had a really good start in life after I got to my foster home and know that good behavior gets me good rewards. Treats are fine and all, but my favorite reward is your love! I love to play with my ropes and sometimes with balls, but my favorite toys are always the ones that you'll play with me with. I'm not too picky! I make my family laugh when I am able to predict when I need a bath. I LOVE to play, but I know I get pretty dirty sometimes. I'm pretty self-aware of my hygiene because when I get to the point where I need a bath, I walk right up to the tub and jump in. It's like magic--when I jump in, my humans clean me! I love baths and feeling so fresh afterward! My favorite game with my canine friends is chase, although I do like to play tug sometimes with my older foster sister. Like I said earlier, though, I do prefer the humans. When the other dogs get to play in the yard together for playdates, I prefer to sit on the porch and get love from the people. Other types of animals I've met include cats and a turkey and when I interact with them I am curious, but keep my distance. Sometimes I like to play kitty cleaning time where the cat and I lick each others faces. I only do that with the friendly cat, though--the other cat doesn't like me very much, so I'm pretty respectful and I give her the space she needs. Trust me, I'm working on the potty thing. People tell me that Im more adoptable if I know things. Here are the commands that Ive already learned - my name, sit, lay down, stay, off, out, leave it, shake, touch, and wave. Right now I'm working on learning 'sit pretty', where I sit up on my back legs and a 'roll over'. I LOVE LOVE LOVE training. It's my favorite and whoever adopts me would have a great time continuing that with me. I know a good amount of commands, but I also know my manners like walking well on leash, sitting and waiting for my meals, and always sitting and staying quiet if I need something. My foster family knows me pretty well and they think the perfect family for me would be one that would like to learn more about training with me. I am a VERY quick learner and would love to do doggy sports classes someday if you'll let me. My foster family also thinks you should be prepared for a cuddler--that's what they say I am! Geez - I almost forgot to tell you that when I came into our program I was only one week old and very very sick. Me, my mom, and my littermates had a bad skin infection and my mom didn't have any milk for us. We got into a foster homes, and were brought back to great health. I'm now very, very healthy, but I do still have skin that is a little sensitive. All that means is when you give me baths, the shampoo shouldn't be too strong and that sort of thing."

How can you not go "awwwwwwwwww" from a description like that?!!!! I think I'm in love!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What kind of dog should I get?

I've been researching different dog breeds for several months now. There's so much to consider - each dog's individual personality, health issues, training, food, exercise, shelter, vet visits, etc. I never realized how much work went into taking care of a dog. The more I research, the more confused I get. The only thing I know for sure is that I'd adopt the dog from a shelter.

So far, I've narrowed down my ideal dog to three choices, based on various factors:

#1 - Golden Retriever

#2 - Dachshund

and #3, my favorite so far: Norwich Terrier

Which dog do you like the most? Why?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

aftermath of a breakup

Today, I can contemplate a future without you and I am just as happy. I still think about you and still believe in your worth. It's time for me to move on, to hold onto a happy heart, to not feel guilty when I'm tasting a luxurious dessert or swimming in the ocean or just enjoying life.

I want to start over fresh. I still have a lot of moments where I feel like I can do it, but then I revert and crash and feel ashamed and weak. I hear a song that brings me to hidden tears. Just the mere hint of you and I'm shattered. It's hard to keep that under wraps, to pretend that I'm fine and to put up a nonchalant front, to hold things in and to deny, deny, deny. It's hard to hold everything in and to not talk about it because I'm afraid. And it's not fair to anyone else because they are competing with the ghost of a relationship. I wouldn't want to be second-best, either.

I learned that I really don't need anything else. I've got me, I've got my ambitions and ideals, I've got a pocketful of family and good friends, and I have the memory of a wonderful and sad and awful and chaotic love.

For the first time, I can really understand why my aunt, my brilliant, hippie, tenured Berkeley professor of an aunt, has never married and yet still lives a full life and is now retiring to Hawaii. My family used to pity her. Now I can celebrate her for living a fulfilling life.

Maybe it seems like I'm the epitome of one of those starkly feminist women, the ones that don't ever need men. That's not true. I'm open to someone interesting and wonderful and happy. It's just that he doesn't have to live in your shadow anymore.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I've sent this picture to just about every female I know, but I still need to post it for all to see:


I can't stop laughing at their hilarious expressions, especially the toddler. Also, I loveloveLOVE the fact that the older kid is using tampons as tiger claws. Someday, I hope to have children who will do silly, inventive, and hilarious things like that. When it does happen, I'm going to snap tons of pictures so that every time they talk back to me, I can find new ways to humiliate them. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


A heat wave descended upon Southern California last week. It was the perfect weather for the beach. I spent a glorious weekend in La Jolla and Coronado. On Saturday, I "taught" my friends how to boogie-board. On Sunday, Andrea, my classmate and friend, and I spent FOUR hours straight in the water. Water warriors!!! Now I've got some toasty almond color in my skin.

A few days later, I got food poisoning from some bad milk and a homemade donut. No, I did not make the donut myself. I snagged it on my first day at work (job #2). I can already tell that I will enjoy working there. The staff is very nice and the clients are adorable. Another plus is that the food there is FREE and it rocks. Today, I ate my weight in toasted bagels and homemade pastries.

Anyway, I felt much better today. The world seems like such a better place when you're not hovering over the toilet or lying on the bathroom ground waiting for the next wave of nausea to hit. Right now, I'm in bed with a steaming bowl of soup, watching a cheesy soap opera and shrieking with laughter.

I just wanted to remember this moment, that's all.