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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

don't worry, be happy

Last night one of my coworkers from the NY office was killed crossing the street. Yesterday I could have called her and asked her to walk me through something (like she had so many times before) and today I could not.

It's a cliche, but damn, life is short.

Today I got an email from the managing director's assistant. She wanted to know if I'm free to meet with the hiring manager for another group in our office.


It would be a step up, but I'm not sure it's the direction I wanted to go in. Of course, we don't always get exactly what we want and would be a good move for me career-wise. And I have been telling anyone who would listen that I want a change, any change, that would get me out of ops and into the business side of things. And I know the MD has been pulling strings for me. So I should be am grateful for that.

I'm just never happy am I? I'm trying to leave it with God. Trying to hold onto that song I used to love as a kid.

I cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burden down at Your feet
And anytime that I don't know what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You

It's funny how as we get older we become more and more aware of how little control any of us have over anything (when you're little you think your parents control everything). And yet as we get older the harder it is to let go of the perception that you have control over everything.

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wingless was still breathing at 3:34 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the littlest angels

I've been reading about Maddie and Thalon tonight - two babies whose parents were avid bloggers - linked together by their tragic deaths within days of one another this past week.

It makes me so inexplicably sad to hear these stories. And yet I keep searching the web for more details. I spent all day fuming over a situation at work and news like this just brings me back to reality. There are worse things in life than getting into an argument with a friend/coworker.

Of course I'm not a parent myself so I can't really know what these parents must be going through. The closest I've come is watching my cousins lose their baby girl J last November. I'm still so amazed at their strength, their sorrow was unimaginable and yet somehow they managed to find the silver lining in the midst of the most unthinkable and horrific situation a parent can find themselves in. Through their grief they were able to give thanks for the fact that they had been blessed with four days with their little girl, four days they would not have had if they had opted not to deliver early (the doctors say she almost certainly would have died in utero). The fact that they could praise the Lord while they were organizing the funeral of their infant daughter...wow...it still brings tears to my eyes. They are two of the most amazing and devoted people I know.

Still, like all parents who have lost children, especially those who have lost very young children, it must be haunting to think of all the dreams you had for your children. All the memories you had imagined for their future that you will never get to live out. At baby J's memorial, the most unbearable part was listening to my cousin express regret that he would never get to walk his little girl down the aisle or dance the father-daughter dance at her wedding. It made me, as someone who hasn't had the joy of raising children yet (I hope), realize the extent of the dreams parents have for their children. Before they are even born (sometimes before they are even conceived) parents are imagining things like college graduation and wondering what kind of person they will marry. All that hope and love, it's so crazy and maddening to think that all that can be snuffed out in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure why these things happen. If nothing else, I suppose they serve as a reminder to parents to savor every minute.

As for this post? I'm not sure it has a point beyond me trying to express...something...shock maybe, condolences certainly. I'm feeling that same feeling I had when my mom first called me and told me baby J might die. Die? Babies don't die.

Except when they do.

Rest in peace little ones...and I pray that the Lord brings comforts to all the grieving parents.


wingless was still breathing at 7:43 PM - 0 comments

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rest in peace little girl...

My mom called me at work this morning and told me the baby died last night. I was stunned. You never imagine that this sort of thing will happen to people you know and love. My cousins (I consider my cousin-in-law to be just a regular cousin because to me the love she has shown our family means there is no qualifier needed) are such loving, devoted, family people who did so much for Paul and I while we lived in Los Angeles...I wish I could do something for them now but I'm afraid only God can heal the pain they must be feeling today.

It's impossible for me to understand why God would allow such a horrible thing to happen to such a wonderful, God-fearing couple...but I suppose that is the beauty of faith. We don't have to understand why, we just have to believe that God's plan is for good no matter how things might seem at the moment.

Baby J, I wish I had had the chance to meet you, but I'm thankful that your suffering is over now and that your little spirit is watching over all of us from Heaven. I look forward to meeting you up there someday little one.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:04 PM - 0 comments

Monday, July 30, 2007


I do have more to say. About Eric. Eric Chen. My friend who died of a vicious cancer that didn't care he was only twenty-seven with his whole life ahead of him. I wonder who he would have married? What would his kids have been like? I'm sure he would have been a great father as there are few people in the world who are as chill and as good to the core as Eric was. I know people always say that about those who have passed, but this is absolutely the truth. I NEVER heard Eric raise his voice, never saw him get angry about anything. He was full of smiles and laughter and was just, well, chill.

I knew of Eric long before I ever met him. I was two years younger than him and we ran in different circles in high school. All I knew about him was that he dated an acquaintance of mine at some point and he was the guy that everyone referred to jokingly as "erection." I heard his name a lot though and wondered who this "erection" guy was.

Interestingly enough it wasn't through anyone from my high school that I met Eric, but rather through his best friend Dan, who was my year in school but had gone to Saratoga HS about forty-five minutes away. I still remember meeting Eric for the first time and how he welcomed me into his house and we bonded over our favorite past-time together in the backyard. We talked about the people we both knew from high school and even though I had only just met him I felt like he was an old friend.

Ironically, it was actually towards the end of his life, those months just before he found out about the cancer that we spent the most time together and actually hung out just the two of us. We would chill in his garage, shooting the breeze, talking about work, life, even politics sometimes. He was someone you just knew you could go to and if he could help you, he would, no questions asked. He was the kind of guy that would go out of his way for you and ask for nothing in return.

The last time I saw Eric was in December 2006, a few weeks before I went to France. I didn't know anything was wrong, he didn't mention anything and he looked like the same old Eric, smiling, relaxed as usual in his sweatpants.

I regret not contacting him when I was in France. We chatted a few times when I first got there - he asked me to add him on myspace when he found out I had one but I never did because I couldn't pick him out of the sea of Eric Chen's out there. I wish I had so I could have helped him reach that goal of 100 myspace friends. It's stupid these things we regret when it's too late. Once again, like after the death of my friend Simon in high school, I'm reminded of the need to act on these small little requests in a timely manner. I should have made a point of contacting him to get the right address. I wish I had. I really, really wish I had.

I confess, I had an inkling about the cancer once he was diagnosed. I saw the allusions to chemo and him being sick but I pushed it out of my mind, Eric going through chemo? Can't be. It's gotta be about a relative, maybe an aunt? A parent? Not him. Either way, another thing I regret is not asking him about it, as he must have wanted people to ask if he bothered to put it up in his away messages. But I was, I must admit, absorbed in my own life - school, exploring France and Europe, trying to find a job, missing Paul. So I didn't reach out when I should have and that is something I will live with. Again, a lesson I thought I had learned from Simon's passing but obviously I didn't. It is just as painful as remembering all those times I told Simon we'd hang out some other time and then the day came where that was no longer a possibility.

When I got back from France, Dan finally told me point blank about Eric's cancer and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I contacted him, I asked if I could visit but I was scared to push and honestly I'm not sure I should have anyway. He was immuno-suppressed and I have my own health issues that make it so I'm never fully healthy, it probably would have been needlessly dangerous for him. But I'm glad we talked. I'm glad that I got to say hello to him between treatments, between his naps and his walks. I'm glad that he felt comfortable enough to tell me about his treatments and what he was going through. We talked about the wedding too, I wanted him to go but of course he couldn't. He told me he'd also have to miss another friend's wedding...

The whole time, as bad as I knew his cancer sounded, I couldn't bring myself to really believe how sick he was. I never asked him what his chances were, I don't think I wanted to know and I don't think I wanted him to have to answer. Didn't know if he would want to answer, really. Even though he was always very candid when I did ask questions. I wasn't sure what the boundaries were, I guess. But I guess the main reason I didn't think it would ever come to this (his death) is because it seemed like he had hope. Every time we talked he was telling me about a new treatment, or a continuing treatment, seeing a doctor, a new experimental treatment. It seemed like there was always a plan of attack and that he was always up for it. I don't know. Maybe I just saw what was easier for me to believe?

So there it is, my own little memorial to a guy who wasn't my best friend, who I can't proclaim to have known like a brother, but who was nevertheless a friend. My bud buddy. And someone I can honestly say was way too good to die so young. I will never forget the sessions we had in your garage or how you always had that kind of sleepy look on your face, or how you seemed to love sweatpants as much as me. I'll never forget when I called you up spur of the moment, all hung over, and you were down to help me out. I'm glad that I have good memories of you and that even though we didn't know each other in high school, fate brought you into my life in a most unexpected way. And above all, I'm so glad that you accepted Christ as your Savior this past May and that this is not goodbye. I'll see you, buddy.

Rest in Peace Eric Chen, May 4, 1980 - July 25, 2007


wingless was still breathing at 6:12 PM - 0 comments

Don't read this until you've finished Harry Potter! Consider yourself warned...

I finally finished Harry Potter over the weekend. In fact, I stayed up until almost 11pm last night finishing it despite having to be at work by 5am this morning. And it was totally, completely worth it. That is, until work exploded and I finally started to understand what my coworker means when she says people start "spinning."

Anyway, after crying for a good half hour when Dumbledore died in book six I figured I better read book seven with a nice big box of tissue but surprisingly the only part that brought tears to my eyes was when Dobby dies and that was partly because I was thinking about Eric's passing. I think I need to reread a lot of the previous books because there are certain things I only vaguely remember (like Voldemort taking some of Harry's blood, kinda remember it happening but don't remember the context).


As I mentioned, work blew up today. Normally I have a little time to read the news, check on a couple of my favorite blogs, etc. but today? Nada. I was, spin spin SPINNING like a crazy person. It was kind of cool though because it didn't feel like I was just running in circles (like I did as a recruiter sometimes going through the same freaking resumes over and over again) or that what I was doing was trivial (though necessary, as I often felt as a fundraising assistant/property manager). I'm sure after some time goes by I'm going to want more responsibility but I'm glad to finally be in a place where I can see the potential to actually learn something new every day.

It's funny because after recruiting I swore up and down I would never take another sales oriented job and here I am with the official title of "Sales Assistant." It really is a completely different type of sales though, the sales people I work with are definitely a lot brainier and their job is less about sales than it is about finding money managers the products they already know they want. They have to truly understand the products they are selling and how they fit into people's needs - not an easy task considering how complex some of these products are. It's pretty different than the staffing industry where all we were asked to do was to match up words on resumes with words on the reqs.


Eric's family has set up a memorial for him on the ACS website. His sister's are trying to raise $1000 in his memory and will shave their heads if they are able to reach their goal. I'm sure it won't be hard. There's a memorial for him this Saturday, August 4th at 1:30pm (all details can be found here).

This is the first time cancer has directly touched my life and I don't really know what to say about that. According to the memorial site, Eric accepted Christ and was baptized this past Mother's day so I do find peace in the knowledge that I will see my bud buddy again.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:57 PM - 0 comments

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Well, today sucked. Let me tell you, working at a trading desk in the middle of a stock market melt down is Not Fun. Even though our desk doesn't deal with stocks we still felt the pain and everyone we were dealing with was in a crappy, stressed out mood.

And then I found out my friend died of cancer last night. Gonna go play video games now, need to get my mind off things.

Rest in peace, Eric. At least there's no more pain. Hopefully we'll see each other again, in another place.

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wingless was still breathing at 5:48 PM - 0 comments

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Don't drink and idiot.

I've finally reached my limit. I went and re-read all the posts on this page and was completely disgusted by all the whining and poor, pathetic Joyce bullcrap.

Of course, I reserve the right to go back to whining AT ANY MOMENT. So try to enjoy this. Who knows how long it will last?

Ok, so now I don't have anything to say, imagine that.

Well, here's something that gets me all riled up every time I think about it. I'm not sure why exactly, as it has absolutely nothing to do with me; I didn't know the girl who died and I don't remember meeting any of the boys involved even though I apparently have.

The thing of it is, is that most (maybe all) of the boys involved in the accident are in Paul's fraternity and I guess because of that I've sort of prejudged them as a bunch of egotistic goons. I should probably clarify that I don't think ALL frat boys are egotistic goons (only most of them) but that I kind of have something against Paul's fraternity in particular because of their reputation and the fact that most of the people I have been associated with in the past are from fraternities that have nothing good to say about them.

So anyway, the whole thing just gets me all frothy at the mouth because, How! Could! They! Be! So! Dumb! The fact that they killed a girl in one of their own cars is absolutely tragic, but what makes me really angry is that they could have killed a totally innocent bystander who was just trying to get home to family after a long day of whatever. If idiots want to be self-destructive, please go right ahead but don't be destructive in a way where you could easily take out innocent people who want no part of your idiocy.

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wingless was still breathing at 1:45 PM - 0 comments

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why he joined....

The other day I had a conversation with a dear friend - a friend who also happens to be an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet. The conversation wandered through many issues with respect to the current war, some things we agreed on, some things we partially agreed on and some things we did not agree on.

I told him that my reason for supporting the troops is because I believe they are the very best and bravest that America has to offer. I know my opinion may be a bit starry-eyed and that when it comes to the troops I do wear rose-colored glasses, so I couldn't argue with him when he told me that yes some know exactly what they're getting into but that many others do not. Certainly I couldn't disagree that some of our troops over there joined not out of any deep patriotic fire burning inside them but simply because they weren't sure what else to do with their lives. I can't argue with the fact that he probably knows them better than I do.

However, I still believe that the record-breaking numbers of veterans re-enlisting should prove that at least a significant number of our brave troops know exactly what they're getting into and why. And this is one of my main reasons for continuing to support the war - the very people who risk their lives still support it so who am I to say otherwise?

The other day, after the conversation, I was perusing DW's blog and I found a link to this (which Michelle Malkin has also discussed several times now).

Why I Joined: This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam's government with the intention of going to Iraq. Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here. Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba'ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq's neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near. What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this. Is this why I joined? Yes. Much has been said about America's intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as "oil" or "terrorism," favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me). I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day "humanists" who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow "global citizens" to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn't confront the Ba'ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America's intentions. When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow "humanists" and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America's historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America's initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America's moral crusade. And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are. So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction. Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere. I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined. In digesting this posting, please remember that America's commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children's lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages. Don't forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include "Good Luck" Mark Daily

He was 23. He was a Political Science major at UCLA. When I read that I knew that we had sat in the very same lecture halls, listening to the same professors and in fact, we'd probably even sat in the very same lecture halls at the same time seeing as he graduated only one year after me. Maybe myspace isn't so bad, it gives our troops the chance to become real to all of us, to have voices even from beyond the grave. And I hope the page stays available forever, a testament to the fact this courageous young man was not only a warrior, but a genuinely good man with a heart of gold and a true desire to make the world a better place. If Democrats like Obama consider his life wasted...well I can't help them...because clearly 2LT Mark Daily did not feel the same.

To me, Mark Daily embodies all of our troops, and he always will.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:35 AM - 1 comments

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The end of an era...

For those of you who might have been wondering, yes, I did make it back. And in one piece even! But I'm not quite ready yet to talk about the ridiculous craziness that was Amsterdam. Mainly because when I got back the first thing I did was call my parents to let them know I survived and they told me my Nai Nai (grandma on my dad's side) passed away Friday evening.

She was 94 years old so it wasn't exactly unexpected, but at the same time, we weren't expecting it. The thought crossed my mind when I went to see her before my trip out here. I knew then that there was the possibility I might never see her again, but she's just been such a constant presence my whole life that I don't think I really believed she could die. In fact, I don't know if I really believe it yet.

The thing that upsets me the most in all of this is that I didn't get to be with her in her last days and moments and also that I won't get to be there when they bury her. It actually would be possible for me to take a trip home since the memorial is the day after my winter vacation (which lasts about 8 days or so) starts. But, of course, my parents are worried about my health and since she's already passed they don't see the point in me making a 10,000 mile round trip for a memorial service. They said Paul being there sort of in my place is good enough.

The other thing that upsets me is that she won't be at my wedding in July. I'm glad that she knew about it and she was excited about it but I guess I never expected the possibility that she wouldn't be there for it. She kept talking about how she couldn't wait...part of me wishes that we had done it last summer like my mom suggested even though it would have been ridiculously fast...but I do take solace in the fact that she became a Christian a couple years ago...

My grandmother was born at the end of the 20th century and she died at the beginning of the 21st. I know it's normal to feel this way after someone passes, but I wish I had spent more time with her. I wish I had asked her to tell me more stories. More about her life and all the things she'd seen. I wish I had been able to come home more during my college years and had made more trips to her nursing home once she moved in there.

I'm glad that my parents took such good care of her and spent so much time with her. I'm glad that they said she looked so peaceful. I'm glad that my parents didn't have to make any tough decisions like the one they were facing before she passed...the doctor told them that she would probably need a feeding tube which my parents were very against because my grandma LOOOVED to eat, especially in recent years, but without it the doctor said food would start going down the wrong pipe...so on the one hand they could sacrifice her quality of life by taking away one of her last enjoyments OR put her in hospice care to make her "as comfortable as possible."

Blah. I don't want to think about it so much anymore. It makes me worry about my other grandmother and even about my parents. My mom said my dad looks really tired. And my mom asked me if I'd be willing to be her power of attorney because this whole thing has got her thinking...

Sigh. Life.


wingless was still breathing at 3:29 PM - 1 comments

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