November 28, 2002
Mmm...Turkey Day...

I gotta love it. But, not for the typical reasons, not because I find comfort in its traditional value—the televised parade, football, stuffing, and that blessed monster-bird whose consumption leaves everyone comatose for a week—or because the holiday provides the occasion for a four-day break, not even because it draws the family back together (extended relations included)…we all know how overwhelming that can sometimes get. The reason I love this year’s Thanksgiving holiday is because my family’s experience of it was far from being predictable.

This year I actually only got to spend the day with half my family (mom and younger brother), the rest (dad and two sisters) opted for the louder, crowded, more festive version in Southern California. Those of us left behind still got along quite famously though. The evening began with my mother and brother taking drinks of Bacardi as my mom finally recounted the strange events of her early twenties (which, until now, were years that have been unaccounted for…dear God, it’s taken me so long to pry these stories from her mouth, I wish I’d have known that all I had to do was give her some rum), then progressed with a period of us three trying to silence the ever so sensitive fire alarms that “won’t-shut-the-fuck-up-already”. After that was Thanksgiving dinner time, when each of us, never really being big fans of turkey or stuffing, got to have whatever we wanted:

Brother: baked chicken and corn

Me: pizza, broccoli with cream of mushroom, and Jolly Rancher Jell-o
(in cups…must be in cups)

Mom: anything that’s not turkey

It was grand. We didn’t spend the entire day stressing over and preparing for that one important meal; much less do things according to the conventional Thanksgiving Day protocol.

Something I’ve always noticed from holidays past is that, most of the time, people get so wrapped up in “tradition” that they forget to enjoy themselves. I vividly recall the days when my aunts would run around the kitchen with such serious drive and urgency (trying to get all the necessary dishes ready for the family) you’d think they were preparing for war. Such hustling and bustling would typically last the entire day. Meanwhile, all the men are busy keeping up more of the “tradition” by propping themselves in front of the television, complete with beers in hand. In my family, what tends to occur as a result is less meaningful interaction and more rote behavior. To hell with that, give me more spontaneity, more impulsiveness. Forget the cranberry sauce! Give me sushi! This year’s Turkey Day was unique. I immensely enjoyed myself. Hope all six of us will be around next holiday…mmm…Christmas…

Posted by irene at 10:38 PM
November 24, 2002

Stumbled upon this on a friend's AIM profile. Funniest thing I've read all day...

Yesterday scientists revealed that beer contains small traces of female
hormones. To prove their theory, the scientists fed 100 men 12 pints of beer
and observed that 100% of them gained weight, talked excessively without
making sense, became emotional, and couldn't drive. No further testing is

Posted by irene at 06:19 PM
November 18, 2002
"There's this great tool that God gave us. It's this thing in our heads that goes...mmmfuckit!"

I was feeling ambitious this morning. Thought I’d have a crack at carrying out my old routine, so I dragged myself out of bed at 7 a.m. to get ready for the 9 o’clock class I’ve been missing for the past couple of months. After that it was off to do some reading, then some working out, then to my 2 o’clock psych. lecture. Needless to say, my ambition dissipated as quickly and as easily as it had set in. At least I was able to walk through Sproul Plaza early enough to enjoy the stroll—when the usual gaggle of idiots handing out fliers and soliciting everything from friendship to Jesus hadn’t set up camp just yet. There really is something gratifying about waking that early. You catch a hint of something wonderful in the air, like you’re standing on a summit before a great fall. Countless things are on the verge of happening, and you can almost feel them begin. Case in point: I saw a guy practicing his breaststroke in the middle of lower Sproul (and I thought I had a lively imagination). I can only assume he was on his way to a swimming class, unless he (being the typically over-achieving Berkeley student that he probably is) was trying to challenge the limits of gravity and human ability, and was propelling himself for flight. No one can really know. Either way, that guy was off to do something great, and one can subtly sense the forthcoming burst of energy, if s/he wanted to.

Anyway, I made it until noon, before I surrendered myself to the allure and comforts of the tiny, quiet bubble I call my apartment. Pascal once said: “all the world’s problems are caused by people who cannot sit alone in a room”; I’m glad to say I am not one of those people. Give me a little bit of solitude, good music, great literature and I’ll be content for as long as it takes me to realize that one can only go for so long without uttering a word to another soul (try it if you ever get a chance--try not talking to anyone, not even to yourself, for a whole day--it's enough to make you go nuts). It’s just too bad I didn’t follow through on my plans though. Oh well, I still have about two and a half weeks left before the semester ends. Maybe I can give "being a good student" another go next Monday.

Posted by irene at 12:57 PM