Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Handsome Monkey King, so smart

" 'Here we daily have a banquet on an immortal mountain in a blessed lad in an ancient cave on a divine continent. We are not subject to the Unicorn or the Pheonix, nore are we goverened by the rules of mankind. Such independence and comfort are immeasureable blessings. Whey, then, does he worry about the future?'

The Money King said, '(...) if we die, shall we not have lived in vain, not being able to rank forever among the Heavenly beings?'

When the monkey's heard this, they all covered their faces and wept mournfully, each one troubled by his own impermanence."

---excerpt from The Money and the Monk: an Abridgment of the Journey to the West
translated & edited by Anthony C. Yu.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Found in a Photo Album

I found a photo album while visiting my family. It was filled with pictures of my parents and aunts & uncles when they were YOUNG. . . like my age. It was amazing and all I've thought about for the past month since seeing the album so casually placed in the living room next to the couch no one ever sits in.

In the pictures they all look Ridiculously handsome or gorgeous. Maybe it is a rich and privileged thing or maybe just that people were healthier in '78. I worry a little because of the pictures of my dad. He looks different in the pictures. He is darker than everyone in my mom's family; like he's another race. Like he's Jewish, which I honestly never really though meant anything till seeing all the pictures of young pure w.a.s.p.s. Their skin glows, they're slim, smile with white teeth, and their fair hair shines like the small waves of the lake as they sit in sail boats and play with irish setters.

Could I ever be that thin? Does my skin look clear? Should I grow my hair long, wear slacks, and hippy smocks from Guatemala? Did my family really play outside and smile all the time? Should I hire a professional photographer to follow me around in this prime ...before it's too late? They look so happy back then and they don't now. Does that mean they weren't really happy then? All the husbands and wives in the pictures are gone, all 4 of my aunts and uncles have been married twice. They are all currently divorced. My mom is the only one who married once and stayed married. Is this proof that it is stupid to get married or be happy or not be happy. Seeing the world in pictures 5 years before I was born was very confusing.

Now comes the embarrassing part: I stole 2 of the pictures.

They were just so powerful, each snap shot like a time bombs or a wild turtle...something I could stare at for hours and make up stories and theories about.

The picture at the top of this entry is of my uncle edward who died last year. I didn't get to go to his funeral and as a result I feel like someone broke into my apartment while I was at the grocery store and stole something important from me and broke my window. I miss him. He is not young looking in this picture, he has looked that good for the past 30 years. The woman on the far right of the picture is my mom. She is tiny, the dimple on her cheak the largest part of her body. I have the sweater she's wearing in my closet. She looks so happy in the picture...when I think about it now I realize that she has looked sad for the past 20 years.

This picture is of my Grandma. She's tough as hell and likes to make and do. I wish I could be like her.

What really happened over Christmas

Justin went home with me for Christmas. Well, really he went to the Van-Arsdale-Family-Compound in Kennybunkport, Maine...I mean Castile, NY. He met all 20 of my cousins, remembered their names and the embarrassing topics not to be discussed with each one, like "oh John, nice to meet you. How is it being a single dad? I bet you wish you hadn't married that exotic woman you met while pretending to be an expat. in the 80's in Cambodia."


"Charleen, Merry Christmas...this time of year must be weird for you considering you used to be in a cult...and these days the only job you really have is playing the handbells for the local lutheran church. Does that pay well?"

Justin even missed the easy get to know you conversation pitfalls like, "Hello Betty Lou, I can see that you and your dog have put on a lot of weight. Maybe you should stop serving him summer sausage slices on those ritz crackers?"

Yes, he did a good job and even won over some of my little cousins, who I think flirted a little bit too much with him, but that's a topic for another day.

Christmas is nice. I usually get a few lotions from Kmart, socks and a $50 gift certificate to J.Crew, which with the J.Crew pricing scheme and current trends means I can afford a few more pairs of socks...really nice socks.

I do not like christmas for the socks. I like it because of all the crazy relations who come around my Grandparents house and bring home-made eggrolls and truffles and want to play bridge and watch horrible dvds with me and my sisters.