Tag: whimsy

a birthday post: If not now, when?


I often forget my age. People still indicate their surprise at it, tell me I look “so young.” Which I don’t mind, I hope they will always say that. The edges of my eyes have deeper creases now, but I am happy that they have been carved by the ridges of joy. I still feel young, I still run into the water and leap across puddles when wearing rain boots. The main thing is that I fight harder to get to a place where fear isn’t so large anymore.

Hope is larger.


I love the summer: the never-ending daylight, the it’s-too-hot-not-to-eat-ice-cream weather, everything in the middle of bloom.

This is how I feel about my age now. The middle of bloom, and filled with the sort of hope balanced and made wise by the clumsiness of past seasons. It will be a strange, beautiful decade. I am approaching a time when it’s very possible that the life behind me is as much as the life I have ahead of me. I’m more aware of mortality: my family’s and mine.

I’ve arrived at more crossroads than I care to count. This has been a groundbreaking year filled with change and uncertainty. In some ways, I have never felt more grown-up and ready. In others, I have never felt like such a novice.

I keep a list of ongoing resolutions on the last page of my notebook. I don’t make new ones for my birthday, but the one thing I’ll say for this year is: spend time on love. Say it out loud and more often before the day you won’t have a chance to.

As we get older, the number of trials that love puts us through increases. I stumble a lot in finding patience, and I dwell on the past. Forgiveness is difficult, vulnerability sometimes even more so; yet love asks you for both. The awkwardness and tears and stiff moments during which silence hangs in the air like a brick wall: they will all be worth it. No condition lasts forever: the friction we face, the disease that a loved one may survive or not, the agility of our bodies, the argument we initiate, the exhilaration of novelty, this life, this body, this heart, this youth. What will you hope to be (for your loved ones, for yourself) on the other side of it all? Dear Forgiveness, if not now, when?

In the past, I have often let my fear get in the way of love. Not sure who wrote it, but this note captures it well.

“Very often the things we fear most are not only bearable, but transformative.

We will all, many times over, have to reconcile the life we planned with the life we’ve got. And usually the life we’ve got is better.”

My life at 32 is so different from what I planned it to be, but I would not exchange it. I’m taking the leap, I’m all in.


Rose Kuo super Mario

lucky dragon

E. convinced me to try it as we sat in his living room one night, while eating chocolate-covered figs. He retrieved a Swiffer from the crowded broom closet and taught me how to paddle. He sat down next to me on the couch, handed me the Swiffer, and we pretended we were on a boat. I expressed my doubts. He shrugged and suggested that all the guys who do it are really fit and good-looking. The whole situation was comical, and I bought into it. I mean, there were chocolate-covered figs involved. Of course I was tricked!

The next day, he texted me at like 8:23am and asked, “You awake?”

Ugh. So I pulled on my stupid tiny bike shorts and geeky waterproof shoes to trudge downstairs for my first dragon boat practice. We arrived at the World’s Fair Marina, already drenched in sweat. The heat was nearly unbearable, even for me(!) I felt my hair immediately growing lighter, my skin growing darker.

We got on the water. I felt like I couldn’t breathe after every run. But E. was right in the end. All the common suffering buoyed us, and I just reminded myself what he promised (tricked?) me: “Yeah, it seems like you’re doing to die and you won’t make it through the sprint. But TRUST ME it will make you forget all the suffering your heart is going through.”

… yeah. sho’ did. For a hot minute.


Before we went out on the water, the very fit and good-looking guy in front of me (that part wasn’t 100% a lie) turned around while the boat was still docked and introduced himself.

“Hi, I’m Jack,” he said.

“Hi, I’m Rose,” I replied.

“Oh man. It’s like… Titanic! We met on a boat together!” he ventured, grinning. Which makes this the first time in history a guy has initiated the cheesy part of the Titanic reference with utter sincerity. “Just promise me you’ll never let go.”

You really can’t make this up, even if you wanted to.

So yeah, um. After that, I paddled the sh*t out of that race, my eyes following his paddle the whole time (I got lectured later about the difference between paddling and rowing).

That evening, my roommate brought home a whole bag of Jamaican sweet currant rolls and asked if I wanted any. I told myself, I deserve this.

And yes, I believe I do. I deserve this life. My heart sure will go on.

You can’t have everything at once. But give me one of each: the sun on my face, the water, a way to paddle to another shore, and the ability to write myself out of any storm.

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today’s blog award!

hahaha. just one of the amazing texts I received today.

bare (bear) with me, guys. I promise I do write about other things. 😁  i love you all for reading about my heartbreak for 16 years haha.


whimsy: avocado rugs and “playing sunset”


  • Omg, avocado rug! Handmade rugs in the shape of breakfast foods.
  • “We’re just playing sunset. We just travel around, like how the sun sets.” – drawing by Mimi, 3 years old.
  • How Batman obsessively labelled his gadgets in the 1960s.
  • A Japanese bonsai tree’s 10-year journey around the world: “The artist explains how the botanical plant suspended from a square carbon-fiber frame is an examination of how human limitations are placed upon the infinite aspects of nature, in their attempts to contain and control.”
  • 2016 AICP Sponsor Reel: Iconic dance moves conveyed via motion capture, procedural animation, and dynamic simulations. Can you recognize all the moves?
  • Brief rapture in deserted places.
  • “Love’s taught me a loneliness I never imagined.”

    — Eileen Myles, from Maxfield Parrish: Early & New Poems

  •  “I like to tell kids there’s so much opportunity in repetition—it means you can do it better this time than you did last time. You can always do it better. And until you’ve done it a thousand times, you haven’t done it. Until you can fix it, you haven’t done it at all. You get to make it the best, and then make it better. You get to understand it inside and out.”

    — Life, And How It Happens To A Cook (via Lucky Peach)

  • I was caught off guard when Stephen Colbert asked me a profound question. He said, “Don’t all those little tweets, don’t all those little sips of online communication, add up to one big gulp of real conversation?”

    My answer was no, they don’t add up. Connecting in sips may work for gathering discreet bits of information, they may work for saying, “I’m thinking about you,” or even for saying, “I love you,” — I mean, look at how I felt when I got that text from my daughter — but they don’t really work for learning about each other, for really coming to know and understand each other.

    And we use conversations with each other to learn how to have conversations with ourselves. So a flight from conversation can really matter because it can compromise our capacity for self-reflection. For kids growing up, that skill is the bedrock of development.

    Over and over I hear, “I would rather text than talk.” And what I’m seeing is that people get so used to being short-changed out of real conversation, so used to getting by with less, that they’ve become almost willing to dispense with people altogether. So for example, many people share with me this wish, that some day a more advanced version of Siri, the digital assistant on Apple’s iPhone, will be more like a best friend, someone who will listen when others won’t. I believe this wish reflects a painful truth that I’ve learned in the past 15 years. That feeling that no one is listening to me is very important in our relationships with technology. That’s why it’s so appealing to have a Facebook page or a Twitter feed — so many automatic listeners. And the feeling that no one is listening to me make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us.

    — Sherry Turkle’s phenomenal TED Talk from 2012, Connected, but alone?

The moral, like the melody, is open to interpretation.

From The Essays of Leonard Michaels:

Leonard Michaels on Stories

“‘Whereof we cannot speak,’ says the great philosopher Wittgenstein, ‘we must be silent.’ But it is also true that, whereof we cannot speak, we dream, or tell stories.”

“Events become meaningful as they become — at some amazing turn — stories, just as notes become meaningful, retrospectively, in a melody. The moral, like the melody, is open to interpretation.”

Writing is cathartic, so it always comes out darker than how I’m actually feeling. It delivers me into the possibility of another story, another life. My next chapter. The storytelling helps me search for meaning within the history, within the otherwise sad events that hopefully lead to clarity and growth.

Over and over again, my anthem to get beyond all this:
By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time.

🎶  dooo bee doo, jams of the moment:

  • You’ll Lose a Good Thing – Denise LaSalle
  • Trapped By a Thing Called Love – Denise LaSalle (cheers, POTUS!)
  • In Your Arms – Chef’special
  • Jealous – Labrinth
  • Good Love Is On The Way – John Mayer Trio
  • Heartless – Kanye West
  • New Day – 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys
  • I’m Gonna Find Another You – John Mayer
  • Better – The Suffers
  • Say You Love Me – Jessie Ware
  • Let Me Down Easy – Max Frost
  • Valerie (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge version) – Amy Winehouse
  • Send My Love (To Your New Lover) and like, anything else by Adele. Sorry not sorry.