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May 2008

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

May 24, 2008   

Can you smell it in the air? The warm breezes carry a hint of that inexplicable something… It’s So You Think You Can Dance season! 😀 Woo! My favorite show is back.

The undeniable gem of the first episode of the season was Robert Muraine:

HOLY MOLY. It was even more impressive in HD. Does he have any bones in his body? I was impressed with his showmanship and musicianship as well as his technical abilities. I could watch him all day and night. That was amazing.

Breathing, sleeping

May 20, 2008   

Over two years ago, I had an insight into my sleeping issues.

Sometime in the latter half of last year, I went to visit an allergist who gave me one of those skin tests where they prick your back with samples of a bunch of allergens and see how badly you react to them. Ah, torture for pay! Anyway, it turns out that I have a very, very, very severe dust mite allergy. Dust mites live all over the house, especially in environments like the bed, what with its warmth, darkness, skin flakes, and moisture (from human sweat — sorry to be gross). Also, washing your sheets in cold (without several extra rinses) or warm water will not kill most of the dust mites, and we only ever do laundry with cold water if we can help it, since it is better for the environment. I have to make a note to wash in super-hot water when we do sheets…

In retrospect, my sleep problems all make a great deal of sense. I get into bed, become exposed to dust mites, trigger my allergies, which causes my sinuses to get inflamed and clogged up, have trouble breathing, then wake myself up out of sleep.

I’ve been using my prescription nasal spray and taking generic Claritin every night now for the past several months. And I have been sleeping better than ever before in my life. I can take deep breaths, my nose is not always stuffed, and I can sleep most of the way through the night (except when I foolishly down too much coffee :D). It really feels like a miracle.

Now, if only I could keep Mobi from whimpering by the side of the bed and waking me up…

My Korean Parents

May 19, 2008   

I saw this hilarious list on a blog. I’m sure it’s made the rounds before, but I was chortling through the list. Not everything applies, but for the most part, this list makes me feel that I shouldn’t have wasted so much time telling stories about my family life on this blog and just posted this list instead.

How you know you have really Korean parents…

  1. Your mom keeps her rubber bands around the kitchen sink faucet handles. I have a tendency to do this too, which I have been successfully fighting for the last several years.
  2. Your mom uses water and an old rag to clean everything.
  3. Your mom has a bag of frozen anchovies (meh-ruh-chee) in the freezer.
  4. Your parents have a free calendar hung on their wall from church or the local Korean market.
  5. Your mom randomly tells you what their friends’ kids have done, especially if they did something good for their parents. You feel like they are comparing you to them…which they are.
  6. A date night for your parents, is lying in the electronic heated blanket with thick puffy faux fur Korean blankets in the living room watching Korean videos. I don’t believe a child of Korean parents actually listed something called “date night” even if just to make fun of it. Also, this situation was really every night.
  7. When going to the beach with your mom, she’s covered from head to toe with her 10-inch sun visor, her Robotech sunglasses, lightweight jackets and such. In fact, they will most likely drive to the beach, look at the water, say ‘Choop-TAH!!!’ and then drive back home after one hour. This is the only one that is really blatantly wrong.
  8. If your parents call you ‘Kah-She-Nah’ or ‘Jah-Sheek’ if you haven’t called them in over a week and then feel guilty about it.
  9. When you were in 1st grade, your parents used rice instead of buying Elmer’s glue. This really went on well into high school. And anytime I run out of glue, I still do this. What?!
  10. Your mom has a collection of empty kimchi jars for future use, big rubber basins in the backyard for making kimchi, a gallon of koh-choo-jang and a 20lb bag of rice. I also often have a 20lbs bag of rice. Not right now though.
  11. Your dad will even comment on the koh-choo-jang or gihm being really good b/c it’s from Korea but you can’t tell the difference. Only if his mom had sent it. 😀
  12. Your mom washes dishes by hand (only using the dishwasher on special occasions)
  13. Your parents rarely show teeth or have big smiles in pictures. Nah, my mom is a big smiler. 🙂
  14. You get straight A’s on your report card with one A- or B+, and they have a huge fit about it -OR-Your parents are worried about the A- or B+, and say do better next time and pray about it but then tell you no TV or going outside to play until next report card time. Let’s not tiptoe around the issue: most of us got our butts/legs/hands/back/whatever whupped pretty damn badly whenever this happened. Not going out to play as punishment? Yeah, right.
  15. A son or daughter of someone they know gets into an Ivy League school and their parents are touted as being the greatest parents ever!
  16. When your mom cooks, she never measures anything. And when you ask her how much you should put it in…she says ‘ah…you know… a little bit here…a little there. Just taste.’ This makes me insane. 🙂
  17. If someone walks into a room/house with shoes on, it makes you highly uncomfortable and nervous. I’ve finally gotten used to it after living at our fixer-upper. But after we get the floors redone, it’s off with shoes and on with slippers with the lot of you! 🙂
  18. Your parents are looking for a toothpick after they’ve eaten at a restaurant. When they find one, they cover their mouths with one hand while picking their teeth with the other.
  19. Your parents have lived in the U.S. for over 20+ years, and they still don’t vote. By God, my mom will vote this year.
  20. Your church parking lot has more Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes cars than the local dealership.
  21. Your dad or mom planted something in your front yard, backyard, wherever there’s dirt – they’ll plant and grow. Betchoo? Genyip? Something…
  22. When you’re around your parents, your tone changes and you speak like a baby or little kid ‘Uhhhhh-MMMMMaaaaahhhhHHHHH! Nah beh goo pahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!’
  23. If you are a girl, you spend $150-$250 getting a straight pah-mah to make your hair look ‘naturally’ straight. Don’t judge me.
  24. When you go to the beach for a BBQ, camping or an amusement park, your parents bring the 3 golden Ks – kimchi, kalbi, kimbab. I could eat these three things everyday, for every meal.
  25. Your parents have embarrassed you in public before by their mannerisms (dad yelling too loud ‘Eun Jung AHHHH!!! YUH-GEE-WAH!!!’, parents swearing in broken English at another driver).
  26. Your parents are part of some sort of social group. It usually involves secret group money collecting/exchange (pyramid or “gehh”).
  27. Getting toilet paper, toothpaste, or any highly practical item is an appropriate and wise prize during team games at Church Picnics or Christmas Parties.
  28. When eating a grilled fish, your mom or dad eats the fishhead and eyeballs like it’s filet mignon.
  29. Your mom always dresses up when going out of the house. At home, she dresses like a homeless woman wearing your old clothes/sweats and mismatching.
  30. Your mom works more than full-time, cleans, cooks homemade meals, sews, serves, is always go, go, go and worries so much that she nags you about what you’re going to do with your life.
  31. Your dad has never cooked or washed dishes in the kitchen but man, when it’s time to grill that kalbi….he’s all over that! Not even grilling gets him out of the couch.
  32. You communicate through your mom what you need to tell your dad and vice-versa
  33. Your dad is always on the couch after work, quietly reading the Korean newspaper or watching the Korean news/videos.
  34. The Korean newspaper is the 2nd bible to your parents.
  35. Your mom knows a friend, who had a friend, who had a friend….that something bad happened to therefore, you need to listen to your parents and do as they tell you although there is no logical connection whatsoever to the story they just told you (usually that ‘friend’ is just a news article they read from the Korean newspaper)
  36. Your dad would explode and yell with a passion about once every few months or year. The rest of the time, he’s quietly reading the newspaper. *cough*every two or three days*cough*
  37. Your parents never paid for napkins…they just took a whole stack from McDonald’s, restaurants…etc. And we also had “salads” from the Roy Rogers hamburger fixings bar. The horror.
  38. When you were younger and at a restaurant with another Korean family, your parents would fight over the bill…usually the dads…they start grabbing it out of the hand and/or try to pay and the other one pulls him down going …’ah yai..yai..yai”…sometimes this back and forth process will take 15 min. – everyone else waiting until the parents duke it out and pay. My friends (esp U, who is not Korean, but clearly we have been brainwashed by the same kind of mindset) and my cousins do this too.
  39. Your parents always eat some sort of fruit for dessert…apples, Asian pear, oranges…and your mom peels the apple skin, the core and slices it into ‘crescent’ shape pieces.
  40. You just love, love, love them Korean faux fur blankets and/or heating floor pads. (Nowadays it’s Ceragem!)
  41. There is some piece of Korean furniture in the house somewhere like a folding Korean table or a black ebony chest with cranes all over it. Mine is in the closet. 😀
  42. Your mom has bulk packs of Korean nylon knee high stockings – and wears them with sandals.
  43. You’ve been called an ‘Ee-nuhm-ja-sheek’ or ‘Kah-she-nah’ by your parents many times in your life
  44. You eat seaweed soup on your birthday prepared by your mom! Hopefully, by Seppo this year!
  45. When you or guests are leaving your parents’ house, they wait for you to get into the car and leave before they go back in the house. Won’t close the door, until you’re gone. Doesn’t matter if it’s freezing cold outside…they’ll linger and wait until you’re gone first before they go back in the house.
  46. Your mom has short-permed her hair several times since you left the house for college, each time you come home it is a different short perm style. She probably has a short perm right now.
  47. You have an aunt (emo) that always slips you a $100 bill when they see you. They try to do it discreetly too which makes it all super secretive but then your mom sees and says ‘aii…uhnee’ and your aunt goes ‘ah..dehsuh..dehsuh..’
  48. Your parents have told you that you will die in the middle of the night if you leave the fan on running…. I still half-believe it, even though my rational mind knows it’s 100% wrong.
  49. Your parents ALWAYS want you to stay home and not go out – read a book instead, etc. They never had to tell me to read a book. 😀 But yes, home by default, permission to leave by Special Grant Only, which only happened like once a year, except for church activities and after-school clubs. I was in so many clubs…
  50. When you ask your parents if they need help, and they say no, but they really mean ‘yes’ so don’t ask, just do it! Corollary: They also will believe that if you really want to help, you will just do it, and not ask, so if you ask and take their word for it, you really didn’t want to help. 🙁
  51. Your parents eat kimchi with their spaghetti. They don’t eat spaghetti, but kimchi goes with everything, yo.


May 19, 2008   

The weather has been swinging among hot/mild/warm/perfect/chilly this past week. It’s confusing. Yesterday was utterly perfect. We spent part of the day at Temescal Park with Mobi.

Our friend C is starting his new job at my (now our!) company in the first half of June! I am very excited. W00t! U&C’s baby (little D as I think of him in my head) has already hit his 1 month mark. Whoa. I’m sure it feels like forever for U&C but I can’t believe it’s been that long already. Wow. U&C report that he is quite fussy — poor D and U&C, but he’s definitely a little cutie pie. Seppo gave him raspberries on his baby gutulence (sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of CuteOverload), which made me laugh. He has enormous eyes and is totally into staring. He’s really very cute, which is easy for Seppo and me to say, since we get to drop in and see his royal cutiness for a short time then run away, while U&C don’t have that luxury. 😉

This past week, I cooked up little what amount to little hot cakes with a cinnamon, brown sugar, and crushed toasted walnut filling. They are called “ho dduk” (long o, short u) and are a great winter street snack in Korea. They sell them frozen and in mix form at the Korean store, but I wanted to try it on my own. I had to substitute in whole wheat for wheat flour because I ran out, which made the dough much less tender than it should have been. It was a light yeast dough, which reminded Seppo of English muffins. Anyway, the dough is formed into flat discs, filled with the filling, then pinched closed, forming a little ball, which is then flattened onto the cooking surface. I made like 30 of them. They are great reheated in the toaster over straight from the freezer, with the caramelized filling oozing over everything.

The other Korean dish I made this week was spicy chicken & potatoes stew, which had three different sources of spiciness. Ooh, the burn. It was ok. I brought in some for a packed lunch. The next thing I’ll be making is homemade dumplings (with store-bought skins), filled with mostly tofu and chives. I might also figure out finally how to make my own galbi and bulgogi marinades. Everyone has a different recipe, so the trouble has been in finding and adapting one to be similar to my mom’s versions.

Seppo and I have been taking Mobi for longer together in the mornings. It’s nice to spend that little bit of extra time in the mornings together. 🙂

I hadn’t played drums on RockBand for like… weeks, possibly months, but suddenly, I can play on medium mode on some of the much easier songs. Whaa–? The visual mumbo-jumbo suddenly makes sense, and I can translate the stuff I am seeing into stuff I am supposed to do. I played 16 songs on medium drums and about 8? songs on hard singing for my solo tours yesterday, after about 3 solid hours of playing as a team with Seppo, K, and N. Heh.

Sleepy. I have concluded that my weekly Sunday brunch ~2.5 cups of coffee must be interfering with my ability to fall asleep on Sunday nights. I am a genius. 😐

Must buy tickets for little bro to visit this summer.

CA joins 21st century; sadly still leading many other states who are in the 18th

May 15, 2008   

W00t!!!!!! The title of that article is “State Supreme Court says same-sex couples have right to marry“! Wait… didn’t we do this before?

In a 4-3 decision, the justices said the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the “fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship.” The ruling is likely to flood county courthouses with applications from couples newly eligible to marry when the decision takes effect in 30 days.

“The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples,” Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the majority opinion.

Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry “will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage,” George said.

In addition, he said, the current state law discriminates against same-sex couples on the basis of their sexual orientation – discrimination that the court, for the first time, put in the same legal category as racial or gender bias.

The ruling set off a celebration at San Francisco City Hall, where nearly 4,000 same-sex weddings were performed in 2004 before the state high court put a halt to the marriages while challenges to the California law worked their way through the courts. Today’s ruling has no effect on those annulments.

I am extremely hopeful that this time, it’ll stick.

Inside jokes

May 8, 2008   

Before I get to the whole “inside jokes” business, I need to wish three awesome friends happy birthday! HA was yesterday, CT is today, and HK is tomorrow! Crazy business, this getting old thing. I called my friend CT today and she told me that I needed to update my blog more often because she (and this is why she’s a total geek) reads my blog via her Treo while doing night feedings for her baby girl. LOL.

She’ll be going back to work on Monday, so I wish her luck and fortitude! 😀

Seppo and I, like many couples and friends who have been together for a long time, have some inside jokes. One that we refer to often started when we researched Paris before our honeymoon. According to several sources, it is a faux pas to order a cappuccino past breakfast hours. A cafe au lait is ok for before lunch, but a cappuccino is a strict no-no after early hours. Apparently, only babies drink such watered down, foamy stuff after breakfast. I don’t even know where I read this, or if it’s even true, or if I am remembering what I read correctly. Regardless, anytime Seppo or I want to accuse the other person of being a big baby, we say, “Oh, do you need a cappuccino?” followed by mocking baby-crying sounds.

Hmm. I thought I’d have more. I must. Until I remember, I beg you to amuse my friend-who-is-feeding-her-infant-at-night with your own inside jokes.