Monday, December 7, 2009

Our First Christmas Tree

I have been feeling a little bit blue so I decided it was time to snap out of it and get into the Christmas spirit! I just love Christmas, probably because it makes an excellent precursor to the most important holiday of all; my birthday!

Anyway, I digress (but my birthday is coming up so I hope everyone is ready!), Matt and I went on an epic trip to purchase our tree and decorations. I am picky and this was a hard decision for me. I over-think things and took this quite seriously. I suppose I can always switch the ornaments up later on. I was firm that I wanted a big, fake (I've never had a real tree) tree with multi-colored lights already on it. We had to go to a few places but I finally found what I was looking for.

When we hauled it home Steph was waiting for us (she was studying at our apartment). We had a moment of panic because it looked like the tree was going to be TOO BIG and not fit in our place. However, it is just perfect! Yay! So now we have a tree and I like to think that all the people waiting at the bus stop across the street can see it and admire it.

Friday, December 4, 2009


With all this rage and stress it's comforting to know that I have my beautiful sister best friend to de-stress with. What would I do without her? (And what would I do without martinis?)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cell Phone RAGE

Something that has been stressing me out for awhile is my cell phone. You may remember that Matt and I got matching LG Rumor (1) phones in June. His phone is fabulous- peachy even! My phone, however, started doing this "cute" thing where it would shut off for no reason. Initially it happened once or twice when I slid the QWERTY keyboard out to text something. This started happening about 3 weeks after I got it but I sort of shrugged it off because it didn't happen often. I stopped by the place we bought it and they told me that if I wanted to get it fixed I needed to call Virgin Mobile and they would send me a loaner phone. This sounded like a lot of work for a problem that didn't happen often.

Well, it started happening often. Like 10 times a day. And not just when I was sliding the text keyboard out. It would happen when I was talking on the phone regularly or if I was at the end of writing a massive text message. The phone could be fully charged and fresh off of the charger and it would do this. I would also like to add that I am incredibly careful with my belongings- I have never dropped this phone or had it anywhere near water or done anything to damage it. This is clearly a flaw with the Rumor phones (I know someone else who had a similar problem with their day old Rumor phone).

Finally I bit the bullet and decided that the annoyance of calling was less than the annoyance of living with my malfunctioning phone. So I called customer service and told someone about the problem. They listened carefully and then told me I needed to speak to another department and transferred me. I explained again and this person told me that I needed to call them back on a phone that wasn't my cell phone. Apparently I had to remove my battery and do a bunch of tests. I explained that is was my ONLY phone and no, I didn't have a landline or a friend handy. I eventually broke down and used Skype and was on hold for almost half an hour. Awesome start.

When I finally spoke to someone they didn't ask me to take out the battery or do anything so I didn't need to Skype after all. They said the loaner phone would be there in a week, at the most.

Fast forward to a month and a half later! Yes, that's how long it took the loaner phone to get to me. My phone had stopped shutting off (as much) and I'd figured they forgot about me so I was just continuing on. The phone shows up and it's hideous. I hate it. Maybe you think it doesn't look so bad but trust me, it's the phone devil. You know it's a bad sign when you turn a phone on and someone has programmed it to say "F*ck this Phone" on the background. Yeah.

I was conflicted about what to do at this point. If it took that long to get the loaner phone, how long would it take them to actually fix and return my phone to me? I called them up and they were not helpful. They made excuses. I procrastinated. Finally I had a nervous breakdown and had Matt help me figure out how to package my regular phone and hook up the loaner. This took more time than it should have! Also the first person screwed up which led to my phone and Matt's NOT WORKING AT ALL. So we had to call them back (put on hold even longer) so they could fix this. Not cool. Supposedly this is supposed to take maximum 3 weeks. It's been over a week and I'm not holding my breath.

Oh loaner phone, I hate you. I hate your crappy ring tones. I hate your screen. I hate texting with you, especially since you keep finishing my words with the wrong word and that this auto feature cannot be turned off (I've asked many people to help me with this.)! I should be able to answer "No" to someone but instead I have to write "Nope" because when I type "No" you understand it as "On". Leah's name is Leag because you won't let me write unfamiliar things. Abbreviations don't exist and you tack extra words that make no sense on the end of my sentence after I hit send! WHY!? I HATE YOU I HATE YOU! What good is unlimited texting if writing a text is a battle? Ugh. I hope they send me my regular phone back soon and that it's working or this is going to be a long, long phone contract.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review: Bel Canto

This is the second novel I've read by Ann Patchett and I have to say, this one was much better than the Patron Saint of Liars. The plot was interesting- a famous opera singer is hired to perform at the birthday party of a wealthy Japanese businessman in an unnamed Latin American country. There are numerous wealthy and important people invited from around the world. At the end of the party everyone is taken hostage.

Reading this book was such a treat. Her descriptions were beautiful and moving. It was romantic and I found myself frantically scribbling quotes that resonated with me every other page. It's a wise and compelling novel and I enjoyed everything except the ending (I guess nothing is perfect?). The ending was okay but a few things seemed a bit unnatural and forced.

Quotes to Remember:

"If what a person wants is his life, he tends to be quiet about wanting anything else. Once the life begins to seem secure, one feels the freedom to complain."

"The kind of love that offers its life so easily, so stupidly, is always the love that is not returned."

"She prayed that God would look on them and see the beauty of their existence and leave them alone."

"A kiss in so much loneliness was like a hand pulling you up out of the water, scooping you up from a place of drowning and into the reckless abundance of air."

"It didn't matter that he didn't understand the language, he knew what it meant."

"Love was action. It came to you. It was not a choice."

Read this book!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Murder of a Very Fine Gentleman

For Matt's 30th birthday party we hosted a murder mystery dinner party at our apartment. Matt wrote the mystery himself and spent a really long time making up cards and games. He sent out character sketches to everyone invited and even made up a fake newspaper! We invited 10 of our nearest and dearest to participate and everyone really got into their roles. The costumes were fabulous! Steph was pretty silly- hopefully no one is offended by her "black face". It was in good fun- she put cocoa powder in her foundation and smelled delicious all night!

We spent the whole morning cooking. We decided to take a very organized approach and chop and measure everything out and label it before it was time to cook. Sort of like a birthday cooking show. This worked out pretty well since it's tricky to have everything ready at the same time. Here's the menu:

Chai Tea

Nariyal Chawal
Garden Salad

Butter Chicken
Aloo Gobi
Palak Kofta
Palak Paneer

It all turned out great (except the sambaar) and everything was made from scratch except the naan and the palak paneer. Oh, we also didn't make the butter chicken sauce from scratch, but we did pretty good!

The story goes, Mr. Pagels was an extremely wealthy man, but loathed by many. He came into his money through marrying his poor Indian wife (me). I have to take care of his blind sister (Alisse) and my only friend is the maid (Laurie). I am tied to the kitchen- this was not fun. Also invited were the Madame (Bryn) from the local brothel, Mr. Pagels' war hero brother (Sev), a Nun (Leah) from an orphanage Pagels plans to bulldoze to make into a bar, a gangster interested in becoming a bar partner (Steph), an unwed mother (Kasia) who claims the child is Pagels, a fortune teller (Tia), a gambler (Dylan) and a doctor (Steve). It was so much fun!

After the dinner party we met up with some more friends at a local pub and helped Matt forget he's turned 30. He decided to stay in costume and ended up looking like a Hutterite! Haha. We stumbled over to Steve's to play Rock Band and have some birthday pie and then it was time to call it a night. If you want to see all the pictures (in a non-slide show format) click here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meet Lydia!!

Matt hit a milestone birthday this year (3-0) and so we celebrated by spending a ridiculous amount of money. We have a new laptop! Not just that, but a new printer, fan thingy (apparently all new laptops need this because they overheat? WHAT THE HECK!) and the Spore game he wanted forever (he tracked the creation of it). Look how excited he is. Of course, this is a present for me too and I even named our laptop Lydia. Isn't she lovely?

While I have been enjoying her I have to say she has contributed to the lack of blogging since I have had to set up all my bookmarks, links and programs and this takes FOREVER. I am enjoying how quickly she uploads pictures and that I can remove red eye.

Now that we have a new computer an interesting thing has happened. We used to bicker about who got to use our old laptop, Mr. Roboto, and so we foolishly believed that getting a 2nd one would solve this problem. Now we just bicker about who gets to use Lydia. Sigh. Poor Mr. Roboto.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I've never won an award before for blogging and since I've been such a terrible blogger lately, I don't really expect to win any more in the future. My lovely friend Simone over at skinny dip bestowed it upon me ages ago. Sorry it took me so long!

Once you've received the Award, you need to complete the following responsibilities:

1) List 10 HONEST, personal (or bizarre? interesting?) things about yourself that you wouldn't normally tell people (except maybe a therapist who is paid to listen to this kind of stuff?)

2) Pass this award on to 10 other bloggers that you love to read & think others should too.

3) Tell your friends to check out the award giver's blog--In this case Simone- it's like Canadian Sex and the City (without the annoying characters). Remember to tell the giver that you've completed these steps so that they can go read your lists.

My Honest Facts:

1) I have a slight phone phobia. I'm not sure when this developed (sometime after high school, clearly) but I am not crazy about talking on the phone. I also hate making phone calls. I love email though. Maybe this helps explain why I haven't called you lately. Sorry!

2) I try not to start playing too many games because then that's what I do all day. Nowadays it's online quizzes and Facebook stuff but in the past I was addicted to all sorts of Nintendo games. This list is starting to make me sound like a real psychological mess!

3) I love Friends. I always have and always will. I have seen every episode multiple times and own them all on DVD.

4) I have never used a lawnmower. My parents always mowed the lawn at home and since then I've never lived anywhere with a lawn.

5) I don't like cooking but I can cook and have a decent amount of cooking knowledge. It's easier to tell people that I can't though so they don't ask me to cook.

6) I can't dance. I have no rhythm at all and I get cold sweats when I think someone is going to ask me to "partner dance". I took dance in gym but I still can't two-step, jive or waltz. Don't even mention more complicated things like salsa. I took a hip hop exercise class once and it was one of the most mortifying things I ever experienced.

7) My memory is terrible. I really think it's worse than most people's as far as personal memories and events. Don't be offended if you try to reminisce with me and I give you a blank look.

8) I am a horrible pack rat but I am trying to reform myself. It's tough. I am always convinced that I will want the item later on.

9) I've never done illegal drugs of any kind. It's just never interested me. Yes, this includes marijuana.

10) I'm a really nervous passenger (in cars/trucks). I was in a bad accident when I was 16 and still haven't shaken my fears. This makes me a horrible backseat driver. Again, I apologize, I am a freak.

Ten Blogs I think are great:
(Most of these are on my blog roll. There are some blogs that I love but they are private ones so that's why they aren't mentioned. You know who you are!)

1. Wonju Wife/ChubbO Chubbington- I love Danielle's writing style. Some of her entries have moved me to tears. She just gets things and is able to express them which is incredibly special.

2. half girl- Young takes amazing photographs with her many cameras. I could only dream of being as skilled at photography as she is. She makes the every day look extraordinary.

3. From Wonderland with Love- Sara's blog makes me nostalgic for things I've never experienced. Everything is pretty, interesting and smells of cinnamon and sugar in Wonderland.

4. Naked Without Books- Susan is my reading hero. She read 100 books last year and is going to hit atleast 100 this year! Plus she is hilarious, delightful and clever.

5. Little House in the Big Woods- KB is a long time friend. Her blog is filled with hilarious antics and stories from her students and copious pictures of her adorable dog.

6. Time Enough- I've been friends with Jo for awhile too and her blog is filled with tidbits from her life in the UK. Oh and she takes fab pictures too!

7. Living on the Flipside- If you've ever wondered what it's like being the only female, foreign,(Western) professional boxer in South Korea then Amy's blog is a must read. She just got engaged to her beautiful Korean beau too!

8. Ask a Korean- The Korean's blogs are always well researched, thought provoking and relevant. Even if you're not interested in information about Korea this blog is something everyone should check out. He also makes me feel ashamed since he is writing that well in his second language!

9. Stuff Korean Moms Like- Hysterical, but only because it's true. Start from the beginning and work your way up.

10. Jennipal- Another lovely K-blogger who I haven't met in person. She makes me homesick for Korea and I love seeing what she is up to!

I guess you've noticed my Korean bias. I really got into blogging when I lived in Korea and now I am so homesick for it!

YOU: Go forth and read blogs!

BLOGS MENTIONED: I gave you 10, now you have to give me 10 more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: The Door

Margaret Atwood is my favorite. I've written about her before and one of the things I must do before I die is meet her. Well, at least see her in person. Heck, I'd even settle for the LongPen (she's such a genius- is there anything she doesn't do?).

I'm not a huge poetry reader. I find that most poetry is too muddled and pretentious or possibly I am just too thick and lazy to appreciate it. I love Atwood's poetry though. The Door strikes me as being one of her most personal poetry collections. It's also quite political, however, that isn't surprising since Atwood tends to be fairly political. Here's one of my favorite poems:

Nobody Cares Who Wins

Nobody cares who wins wars.
They care at the moment:
they like the parades, the cheering;
but after that, winning diminishes.
A silver cup on the mantle
engraved with some year or other;
a hoard of buttons cut from corpses
as souvenirs; a shameful thing
you did in white-hot anger shoved
back out of sight.
Bad dreams, a bit of loot.
There's not much to say about it.

That was a fine time, you think.
I've never felt more alive.
Nonetheless, victory puzzles you.
Some days you forget where you've put it,
though younger men make speeches about it
as if they had been there too.

Of course it's better to win
than not. Who wouldn't prefer it?

Losing, though. That's different.
Defeat grows like a mutant vegetable,
swelling with the unsaid.
It's always with you, spreading underground,
feeding on what's gone missing:
your son, your sister, your father's house,
the life you should have had.
It's never in the past, defeat.
It soaks into the present,
it stains even the morning sun
the colour of burnt earth.

At last it breaks the surface.
It bursts. It bursts into song.
Long songs, you understand.
They go on and on.

If you've never checked out her poetry before I suggest you do it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Creation of Kathleen's Queef

As I've mentioned, I'm on a Name that tune team with my sister and Bryn. We have a pretty unfortunate name (Team Queef) which you can thank Steph for. It was her nickname. What? That doesn't make things sound better? Haha...

If you know me you know I am fiercely competitive. Think Monica from Friends competitive. (Unfortunately we share more than a competitive spirit- that is totally my hair with humidity.) People who say winning isn't important clearly have never won anything. I love winning. It's seriously one of my favorite things. I mean, remember my victory coupons? Best present ever!

Something I do believe in is "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". There is an insanely good team that often plays. Somehow they know even the most obscure musical references. We're a decent time but it would take a lot of hard work to aspire to beat KTO. Their name is even clever! KTO, you know, sort of like BTO. It stands for Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Funny, right?

What we lack in musical prowess we make up for in charm and charisma. It's lucky I have no shame. We totally seduced KTO into combining with our team. The ultimate Kathleen's Queef. It's pretty epic. I'm not sure if it will be a permanent marriage but it was nice meeting some new people. They are really funny and fun guys (I mean, check out Justin's mustache!) and Tyler reminds me of my fab friend Curtis since they both love music and study radio broadcasting. I wish I had a job that allowed me to have Tuesday nights consistently off!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Galbi Buffet with Stephie!!!

Steph and I scheduled in some sister time and decided to go out for dinner. I had a hankering for Korean so we checked out the Korean Village. It's in a strange location and seems to be a family operated business. They have a killer (although a bit expensive) buffet with many of my favorite dishes. There were even grills built right in the table! It was like being transported back to my favorite restaurant in Seoul. I wish I had some Korean friends here... Anyway, we had a great time and ate until our bellies hurt. I'll definitely have to return with a group. I was too shy to use my Korean though.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

If I had to review this book in six words I'd say, "I bought this book for $2". I had high hopes though. Joshua Braff is the brother of Zach Braff after all! You know, the guy who penned Garden State and is on Scrubs? That guy is adorable, talented and hilarious! It seems this didn't run in the family.

I'm not sure how unthinkable Jacob Green's thoughts are- they seemed pretty much what I would imagine a teenage boy to be thinking about. Possibly this is unusual or especially scandelous for Orthodox Jewish teenagers? Perhaps someone needs to explain to Braff that there is a difference between the reader not wanting to know about what a messed up, horny Jewish teen is thinking and his thoughts being unthinkable.

The book has good reviews on other websites but I can't imagine why. It was easy enough to read but it was filled with gross, clunky, unnatural prose. "He's about as lonely as a tube sock full of semen", seriously!? I wonder if that's how lonely Joshua Braff was after people read his book. Don't recommend this one but if someone wants to take it off my hands I wouldn't even charge you the $2 I spent. I should have known better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jacqueline's Visit

It might come to a surprise that I have another sister. I spend a lot of time with Steph since she lives nearby but I do have a sister that lives far away. Well, she came to visit us. This was excellent because we went out to eat at a lot of yummy places (oh and it was nice to spend time with her too! Haha!). My heart is through my stomach.

Dad and Sharron brought Venus along to visit and we brought her up to the apartment. It's a no pets apartment but I figured that having her there for an hour wouldn't kill anyone. She loved the carpet! They have hardwood in their place so she hasn't really experienced carpet before. I really miss having dogs around.

We went to Olive Garden with Dad and Sharron the first night and then to Chili's with Mom the next night. Delicious! I did have to work on Remembrance Day but managed to hang out with Jac a lot afterward. We had some amazing sushi (in a HUGE boat) and then saw The Box (which was disappointing). I was pleased to learn that my non-reading sister has been reading a little because she has a lot of time on her hands at work these days. I immediately lent her three books in hopes that she will continue with this and become hooked on reading. I was able to do it with Steph in the summer and as a result she finished 10 books! I gave Jac a few "sure things"- The Lovely Bones, Midwives and Helpless so hopefully the reading bug will bite her too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I went to a U of A volleyball game with Steph and Bryn. Bryn saved my bacon with her quick thinking- it was $15 for an adult to go! Students paid only $5. Bryn bought me a ticket. Otherwise I probably would have just gone home. Since when was college volleyball exciting enough to warrant spending more than a movie ticket price?

I spent most of my time trying to ignore the Golden Bear mascot. He was seriously irritating! I think it has to do with his eyes. Also, part of me wants to be annoyed that the girls' and boys' have separate mascots. Why is this necessary if they represent the same school? Doesn't that confuse things? The only saving grace is that the girls' mascot is way cooler and fiercer. It turned out that this was the case for the games too- girls won, boys lost. It's strange attending sporting events at the U of A considering I never watched them at my own university. It was fun though.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mouse Attack!

We live in a third floor apartment. You would think that this would mean that we would be spared from mice. I mean, they aren't getting in through the windows! Unfortunately we seem to have attracted a number of the little bastards. Matt was the one who first noticed one peeking out from behind the TV stand in the living room.

From there we bought some traps (mice like peanut butter more than cheese) and tried to contact our building manager. It took a long time for him to get back to us which was incredibly frustrating. We caught 7 mice in total (in a week) and four in one night! What the heck!!!! One of them died less than a foot away from me while I was checking my email! Seriously not cool.

When we managed to talk to the manager he said that they would have pest control come to our apartment and check things out. Of course, this conversation happened at about 9 pm at night and the manager said that "maybe" the guy would come the next morning and if he hadn't arrived by noon to call and let the manager know.

Needless to say, I was skeptical that anyone would arrive. So what did I do? I tempted fate. I woke up, sat around in my pajamas, didn't brush my teeth, hadn't showered (I didn't work until 3 pm), well you get the picture. This guaranteed that the pest control guy would arrive! And he did! Immediately I began shuffling around, concerned about the appearance of my apartment. Why didn't I expect him to come!? He is going to judge me!

For the most part our place is pretty clean and he must have seen a lot worse... Right? I'm sure all the other mouse infested homes looked like the one in the picture. I awkwardly made small talk with the pimple faced exterminator (see, I can judge too!) and he got to work looking for entry holes. He said it was pretty clear that if our apartment on the third floor was having issues then there were issues in other apartments. The mice were traveling around through the radiators.

I never know what to do when service people come to my place. Am I supposed to sit and watch them? Chat? Let them do their work unattended and risk them stealing something? Call a therapist and speak to them about my paranoia that an exterminator is going to steal something? What do you do? I have the same problem when the cable guy comes. I decided to wash my dishes because I would still be a presence and able to see and hear what he was doing but at the same time I could impress him with my cleanliness. See! It's not MY PLACE that is the true problem. It's the guy next door with his toxic waste collection!

Since the guy left we haven't seen any more mice in our apartment. I think he was pretty successful with blocking the hole. However, I do occasionally hear them scritch scratching and trying to get in. Or is that my paranoia again?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: The Hour I First Believed

Wally Lamb is the author of one of my favorite books: She's Come Undone. Obviously I couldn't resist buying his newest novel. I think I like his novels because he writes about people who have real problems. This novel is quasi-fictional and deals with two fictional characters dealing with the very non-fictional massacre at Columbine high school.

The main characters are a teacher at Columbine and his wife who is the school nurse. He is away dealing with the death of a close relative when the massacre happens and his wife is one of the people who was in the library but managed to survive by hiding in a small cupboard. The rest of the book details the aftermath of this event on their lives and those around them. His wife develops chronic long term post traumatic stress disorder. They decide to move. Therapy is involved. He works numerous jobs to try and keep up with therapy costs and the loss of her income since she is no longer capable of working.

I have to say that I liked the book but it's a tough read. It was a bit hopeless, sad and futile. I also didn't really care for the ending it. I had one of those, "Really!? That was it?" moments. I also wasn't crazy about the subplot about the husband's family history. I have to say that a lot of research went into creating this book and probably someone more interested in American history would enjoy it more.

It's a long book so there were definitely a few quotes that caught my eye.

"Religion's just a well-oiled, profit-driven denial of the randomness of it all."

"It reminded me that they were more than just their scholarly shortcomings and gripes about the workload. Each had a history, a set of problems. Each, for better or worse, was anchored to a family."

"Our ancestors move along with us, in underground rivers and springs too deep for chaos to reach."

"A woman who surrenders her freedom need not surrender her dignity."

If you've never read a book by Lamb I would recommend you bypass this one and read one of his other novels instead. It seemed like he probably put the most work into this one, however, it seemed to lose some of it's heart in the process. Or maybe there is such a thing as too much tragedy happening to good characters.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Night!

It might be a cop out but I did another slide show. There are just so many pictures though and this makes it easier to show them all. I couldn't find a nice background for it so even though the candle doesn't really have much to do with Halloween, it will have to do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Party Preparation

Through some sort of miracle I had Halloween weekend off. Since it's possible I haven't complained to everyone in the world, my work schedule sucks a lot. Need proof? I work until 11pm on Christmas and then I get New Year's Eve off but work at 7 am on New Year's Day. Yeah.

Anyway, I don't want to open that can of rage right now. Asia doesn't really celebrate Halloween (other than in a watered down, bastardized form) so I was pretty excited this year and decided to go all out. Steph and Alisse hosted a party at their place and I helped with a lot of the preparations. I carved a pumpkin, helped decorate, decorated a gingerbread house, helped make a million orange and purple (they looked black) jello shots and I made a spooky Halloween themed appetizer for the party. Here's a slide show of all the hard work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Name That Tune Triumph!

Last Tuesday I had the evening off so I was able to participate in Name That Tune. Matt opted out (probably since he isn't very helpful but also because he was busy filling out law school applications) so it was just us four girls. We had a big plan to seduce the team that usually wins first place, however, they didn't show up. This forced us to use our other talents besides our feminine wiles.

As it turned out, we are pretty awesome. We got 2nd place and 2nd place gets a prize! More importantly, we kicked our rivals butts! I really felt like I contributed this week. I was able to instantly identify this obscure song:

But we did need Matt this week- there was a Forrest Gump Soundtrack category and he loves that cd. If he'd been there we might have won first! Next time... Next time! (BTW- I got my haircut that day. I don't think I like it but I usually hate my haircuts.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

We are doing some epic Halloween type things- stay tuned to see all the ghoulish stuff we created. My costume is almost finished and it's time for our Halloween party!! What are your plans for Halloween?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm not dead...

I have just been really busy. My schedule for work is a bit unbalanced so I was working a lot last week. I've had some time off and that has been used to frantically prepare for Halloween. I am really excited! Asia doesn't really do Halloween so it's been awhile since I really celebrated it. Steph is hardcore into stuff like I am so we're being pretty ambitious. Maybe it will backfire? Anyway, look forward to some updates about our Halloween tasks soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Missing Korea...

It's my only day off this week so I decided to use it to the fullest and try my hand at making gimchi jjigae at home. I trucked off to the Asian supermarket in order to find some of the ingredients and managed to come home with all sorts of goodies. In this picture: lots of gimchi, gochujang, ssamjang, red pepper flakes, Pocari Sweat, 2% peach drink, Lotte choco pies, sticky rice buns, galbi marinade, green onions and tofu.

Korea has been on my mind a lot. I feel like a torn person. I love being in Canada and that my family and friends are here. However, I loved being in Korea too. There was adventure, friends and a pretty sweet job. I had lunch with Diane this week and she asked me about jobs and I said that I wished I could have my job in Korea here. No, I don't want to be a teacher- I want to be an EFL teacher to adorable Korean children. I couldn't handle the lack of respect and all of the extra work that actual teachers have to do (much respect to them!). I liked the fact that the parents and I didn't share a common language and I loved how industrious, curious and dedicated my students were.

Lately I've been talking a lot about Korea to a particular client at work. He seems honestly fascinated about Korea and can't wrap his mind around the differences between there and here. He was shocked to hear what the population is and how most people live in apartments. Almost every night he asks me questions and so I talk and talk and talk and miss and miss and miss. I haven't been keeping in touch with my Korean friends as well as I should. I think I am avoiding it because it makes me sad that I can't be there with them. I look back at my Little Brown Blog and I get really sentimental. Sure, things weren't perfect there but nothing is perfect and it was really awesome. The jjigae tasted really authentic and was even better with some chamchi (tuna) mixed in. Another culinary success!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I read an interesting article about the purpose of dreaming in Psychology Today not too long ago. It was by Jay Dixit and was called "Night School". It talked about a new theory which says that we dream in order to rehearse and prepare ourselves for situations. "Dreams are a training ground in which animals and people alike go over the behaviors that are key to their survival."

This actually makes sense to me, more so than any Freudian or Jungian theories. It also explains why the vast majority of my dreams are frightening. I shall be the most prepared person if a psychopath starts chasing me with a knife since I've been through that dream a million times.

I always thought that dreams gave your brain an opportunity to sort things out. Which is why someone I'd been thinking of or something I watched would show up in my dream that night. What about people who don't remember their dreams? Do they still get the benefits of the rehearsal? I suppose it would be subconscious.

What do you think? Do you remember your dreams? Does dreaming help prepare us for real life crisis? What about those dream books that tell you what a certain item in your dream is supposed to represent?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Under the Weather

I haven't been really sick but I've felt run down for almost a week now. Sort of like I have a constant sleep deficit even though I'm sleeping a lot. As a result I stayed in most of the weekend. Lucky for me, Mom made some of her world famous chicken noodle soup and some homemade buns to go with it. It was perfect timing! I've got a hard work week coming up so hopefully this will sustain me!

Celebration Dinner!

On Saturday night we went out for dinner with Mom, Tom and Steph. We'd already planned on going out earlier in the week but since we'd just found out the good news about Matt's LSAT score, it was more like a celebration dinner. Being the classy, sophisticated lawyer-to-be he is, Matt ordered a cheese burger and a huge beer. The ladies shared a really fabulous bottle of shiraz and a good time was had by all! We also shared a massive dessert at the end of the meal which was yummy but terribly difficult to eat. Somehow we managed. We're just that determined.

A Dirty Little Secret

I think it's time that I came out and said it. I hate Family Guy. Pretty much everyone I know seems to like this show but I just don't get it. I have never liked it. I remember the first time I watched it I was in university and some friends had it on. Besides being totally obnoxious and offensive, the writing is sloppy and it's just loud. It's the epitome of an "American cartoon", if by American you mean the stereotype that all Americans are loud and ignorant.

It turns out that I'm in good company for hating this show. Apparently the creators of the Simpsons and South Park also hate it. I can tolerate those shows but they aren't my first choice when I'm watching TV.

I think what it boils down to is that I'm not really crazy about TV. I just got out of the habit of watching it when I lived in Korea. I will watch it but I am usually not the person who turned it on. It just seems like a lot of noise to me. I like watching game shows, reality shows (Amazing Race, Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance mostly), Friends, Lost... But I don't really follow any closely and I'm not sad if I miss them. I guess this is a good way to be although it usually means I just spend more time surfing the internet.

Anyway, I just had to let it out. I hate this show. It goes beyond irritating me and I now have started to refuse to watch it. Even hearing the theme music makes my skin crawl! Open your eyes people! This is a substandard excuse for entertainment. You can do better!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I just wanted to quickly shout out to the world how brilliant my honey is! He received his LSAT score back this weekend and scored in the 95th percentile! He worked so hard and there is no one who deserves it more! I knew he could do it! Now let's just cross our fingers that it's enough to get him into the U of A so we don't have to move. Mainly we need to hope that they will consider this score instead of the first score (which wasn't terrible but wasn't this good). Most places take the highest score, however, the U of A averages them. Grrr! Anyway, raise your glass and join me in a toast to Matt!

A Special Gift

Look at this cool present our friend Donna brought Matt and I back from Iceland. It's a stone egg! If I can't be traveling then the next best thing is getting presents from people who are. It was made by a really famous Icelandic artist. Here's their website.

The story behind it is that Icelandic people believe that there are little "trolls" lurking behind the scenes. This egg has a couple of those trolls on them. I guess the trolls could be compared to fairies or angels. Since Matt and I are definitely angels (or trolls, if you prefer) this egg reminded her of us. Isn't that just the coolest?!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review: The Year of the Flood

It's no secret that I love Margaret Atwood. She is my favorite author and I collect everything that she has written. I've read pretty much everything (including poetry) she's written (well, not the new economic book or the book about writing). I was ridiculously excited to hear she had a new novel coming out and I bought it the day it came out.

I liked it. I didn't love it. I think I would have liked it more if I had reread Oryx and Crake first (which I loved) since the two books are connected. I also didn't know they were connected and since I have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to literature it took me half of the book to realize that the books were connected. Yes, I know this is pathetic. So what ended up happening was me reading this book having a nagging sensation that I'd read it before and then realizing that was because it was connected to Oryx and Crake.

In case you haven't read Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood is a dystopic novel that shows us a future where a horrible disease has wiped out most of humankind and the people left behind are in rough shape. It also shows us what things were like before the "waterless flood" (what the religious group God's Gardners called the plague) and things were not good. It's a world where genetic splicing, cloning and plastic surgery are favorite pastimes and the environment is a mess. A new fast food chain, Secret Burgers, is popular since meat of any kind is fairly rare. The burger is meat but it's tough to say what kind. Basically it's a hellish, sad place and yet, so many of the details aren't that big of a stretch from where we're at now.

If you've never read an Atwood book, you need to. Maybe start with Oryx and Crake before you tackle this one. Now I just need to sit down and read her new poetry book!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Attempt at Cooking

I had the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving weekend off from work so I decided to try using the crock pot again. This time I tackled beef stew and made some baking powder biscuits to go along with it.

I had fabulous ingredients since Mom had loaded us up with fresh potatoes, carrots and beets from her garden. I bought some nice beef and trimmed it carefully. The stew turned out pretty good- it tasted nice. I should have added the potatoes later so they weren't annihilated and the beets made the whole thing pretty red. Oh well. The biscuits were nice but pretty filling. I used half whole wheat flour and half regular when making them. I also substituted skim milk for regular and margarine for butter.

It was an especially good idea since the weather was crappy outside. I am glad that the snow is finally gone but I am sure it will be back soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This is really late and I have been slacking in the blog department. I am not sure what my problem is but it's possible I have been fighting off a cold. This has resulted in me feeling extremely run down and unmotivated.

Thanksgiving weekend was fantastic. We went to my Dad's on Saturday and had a massive ham dinner and played a lot of Balderdash. Leah finally got to meet my family (I mean, I've only been with Matt a decade so it was about time). On Sunday we went to the local fire station for a pancake breakfast. It was probably the nicest pancake breakfast I've ever been to since it included eggs, hash browns, bacon and sausage, a fruit and cheese platter, numerous kinds of juices and Tim Horton's coffee. I think Leah was charmed by the small town atmosphere.

After the pancake breakfast we headed over to my Mom's house. She did the turkey meal this year with all of the Ukrainian food favorites. To clarify, we actually aren't Ukrainian, we just like the food and there are a lot of Ukrainian people in our area. As usual, the crowning glory was the pumpkin pie! I'm drooling a little thinking about it.

We played more games at Mom's house and watched some TV. Basically we just relaxed a lot. The next morning she made this amazing cinnamon cake thing and had a bunch of fresh fruit for breakfast. So delicious! How did everyone else spend their Thanksgiving?