Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Comforts of Home

Oh yeah. Continuing on my sister's food train, I guess, here I am, buzzed on Costco-bought premixed margaritas and my yummy total splurge of a dinner tonight: tacos.

"What?" you might say, "tacos a splurge and an amazing luxury; on what planet?" (Because we all know margaritas are that, right?) And I would answer you: Planet Seoul, South Korea. Here, tacos take Major Planning. I can't get taco seasoning, taco sauce/salsa, sour cream, avocado, monterey jack cheese, or flour tortillas at my local supermarket. (Go ahead, take a moment, collect yourself.) So there's the 45 minute (one-way) trip to the city's main imported goods supermarket -- lovely traffic we have here. Then you can calculate that each of the ingredients above cost at least twice what it would cost in the U.S. (import duties - a country's gotta make a living, don't you know). Monterey jack we had to grate ourselves: $8. McCormick's Taco Seasoning (1 packet): $2. Chowing on Tacos Like Momma Used to Make for the first time in six months: Priceless.

In short, you gotta really want tacos here to get them. I'm not saying there aren't restaurants here that try to do South American cuisine, because there are (three, maybe?). I'm just not that impressed. See, we were spoiled in the U.S. We had this place called Rio Grande Cafe where we lived; now them was good eats. O Rio Grande Cafe, can't you come to Seoul? Koreans like sizzling beef.

So once we had everything sliced, diced, and sauteed, we pigged out. Judging by the ecstatic grunting my husband was doing on the other side of the table, he experienced an extended gastronomic orgasm of tantric proportions. Sting would have been jealous. Now we're both lolling in post-taco bliss, but it was over really fast for all the preparation we had to do. I guess that's always how it is. Nothing but the taco burps to remind us...until next time. Maybe we'll have expat friends over for a taco orgy.

So anyway, I.O, just be glad for your Totino's pizza rolls. I don't want to tell you what that afternoon would have cost over here. One time I paid about $7 to get a package of two frozen Croissant Pockets. Desperation will do that to you. Gotta go digest now.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Vegetable Oil Reflux

Nice Title, eh? A little too graphic in the mental-images area, if you ask me. The result of my earlier post? Hubby called and told me he was cooking dinner tonight. I guess my tale of many preservatives scared him, so he came home from work and made Baked Ziti from Scratch! Yum! The Chicken liked it so much she ate, like, two pounds. Needless to say she is now in her crib passed out from the seismic carb-crash. But hey, whatever works right?!

The I.O.

Vegetable Oil Paradise

I think my dream of having a child who accepts only fruits and vegetables as snack foods are dashed. Okay, I don't think, I know. Why? Because I declared today Fast-Food Friday and the Chicken and I ate our chicken nugget/ tater tot/ pizza roll lunch in front of the TV. She in her pink Bean-bag chair, and I on my Chaise Lounge watching Kathy Griffin's Reality show. So there we were, muching on our well-preserved and deeply fried lunches, getting a buzz off of all the sodium and additives in our unnaturally delicious food, all puffy bellies and elevated feet, with oil slicks on our fingers and giant smiles of contentedness on our faces. She must get that from me- I'm so proud. Can you imagine the hell of a junk-food junkie mom having to live with a vege-frutarian exercise junkie? I'm thinking that would be about the sixth ring of hell. Maybe even the seventh ring. So now I have a new goal for my little Chicken's future. I want to instill in her a deep appreciation of the arts of laziness and junk-food diet-planning. Lets just hope she likes her Dad better and decides to take up gardening and jogging while knowing better than to criticize Mommy for her well-developed talent of growing fat-rolls.

The I.O.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Fast Food Nation

Y'know how many Totino's Pizza Rolls it took today? 16. Ack. I should eat only brown rice and vegetables for the rest of the week now, a la poor Nomi Malone in Showgirls. And then my stock response will become "It doesn't suck!" You will want to shoot me, and I will want you to shoot me, so if that happens, shoot me, okay? However, since we all know the evil nature of PMS, we know that there will be neither brown rice nor vegeatbles in my diet for at least one week now- even if they're deep fried and rolled in powdered sugar. The Monkey's afternoon nap is turning out to be the downfall of my "I'm gonna try to be good and eat healthy so my Monkey doesn't end up as one of those 200 pound 5 year olds you see on Maury Povich" pledge. Really, it's not for me, or for my hubby, only so that the Monkey doesn't find herself eating 16 pizza rolls as a snack in the early afternoon at the age of 31. Oh well, I usually don't restrict myself, since cramps and bloating and half-hour increments of Devil-dom seem to warrant unlimited chocolate and junk food.

Tonight is Mommy-night, and I'm psyched! Several weeks ago, after my hubby almost had to pummel me out the door to get away and unwind, we decided that it was best for all of us if I had a planned night off of Mommyhood, so I chose Thursday night since its half-price martini night at my favorite Martini bar. No, I don't go there and sit alone getting smashed and hitting on the bartender, I just thought it'd be good to have considered the possibility of going there with the "peeps" on mommy-night. Hubby even suggested I not worry about dinner tonight so I can just get out and go ASAP. I think I'm taking him up on it, but he better not touch my Pizza Rolls! And I will be counting them to make sure.

The I.O.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How many Reese's did it take?

Have you ever wondered how many Reese's cups are too many? I have found the answer. Five.
After four you should really stop. PMS sucks and now so does my day. Goodnight.

the I.O.

so many naps, so little time

W.O., you got too much time on your hands- I am insanely jealous. Is it wrong for me to wish my monkey were old enough to go to school and leave me alone for six-hours each day? I never get out of the house before 11:30am because god fobid I interrupt the Monkey's naptime. Then, if I want Monkey to have a nutritious lunch I have to give both of us lunch before we leave, and then it's 12:30 before we can leave, and then I only have one and a half hours unitl naptime and god forbid I interrupt naptime, then monkey wakes up at four and it's time to think about making dinner and watch Gilmore Girls re-run 'cause who can get anything useful done in an hour with a kid in tow and then it's five and time to watch clock as I cook dinner waiting for Hubby to walk in the door and rescue the potatoes from Monkey's fangs of mutilation, if he doesn't walk in soon, then we can consider the potatoes a casualty of war and start tooting that funeral dirge on the trumpets. Then hubby gets home about 1 1/2- 2 hours later and it's time for dinner and trying not to be mad that hubby got home at 7, and then it's bathtime and bedtime for Monkey and time to ignore the dishes in the sink, and by then it's too late for a leisurely trip through Costco. You suck.

I will go wash last night's dishes now and turn off the tv. We got lotsa stuff to get done in one and a half hours this afternoon. Can I just take a moment here to say how ridiculous it is that Harry Connick Jr. sang "How it feels to miss New Orleans" to the evacuees holed up in the Houston superdome? here's the picture: Harry and another well-known New Orleanian musician playing/singing this song from the announcer's booth, to a dome full of people who are TRYING TO GET SOME SLEEP? The contrasts are just ridiculous. I know life can't stop for everyone else, but to follow a story of a man who possibly has lost his family in the hurricane with a performance by HILARY DUFF? Nice try Ellen, but it's grotesque (and I'm not just talking about the mere existence of Hilary Duff).

lata playas,
the I.O.

Black Snake Dream Update (gratuitous site plug)

In response to my own question about my dream (see below), I found via a Google search. Cool site! It's free and has an "interpret" function where you can type in your dream image and get the common meanings of said dream imagery. Whoa, take a look at what I found about snake! Especially the sentence at the bottom where it zeroes in on "rattlesnake=passage of time." Rings so true, since Son the Older just recently started kindergarten and I'm reeling about how big he's gotten. Mystery solved, and I feel relieved that the dream wasn't some harbinger of impending doom! (Lest you think I'm naive, I've heard that finding the correct dream interpretation is all about what "strikes a chord" regarding the meaning when you hear it. This really strikes a chord with me, so basta!) Bye now.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Recent thoughts floating about my head. Not necessarily in order of importance.

1. Son the Younger is now almost 100% potty trained and I can't believe it. The diapers are thirsty in the drawer, the wipes are drying out. But there is a catch (there would be): he won't wear underpants. Yup, my little man, going commando all the day long. This is partially because I trained him by letting him go naked waist-down, so wearing shorts is progress, but I didn't expect that he'd like it so much. Every day I tell him about the cool array of (hand-me-down) underwear he might want to try and every day he says "NO!" I am sorry, future daughter-in-law.

2. I had a bad dream the other night that Son the Older got bitten on the calf by a black rattlesnake that came out of a hole in the wooden floor of a cabin I dreamed we were living in in Seattle, WA. Um, detailed and random I know, but yikes! In the dream, Hubby and I argued about what to do (Hubby insisting that it wasn't serious and my dream-muddled brain trying to recall why he might be wrong -- um, rattlesnake venom maybe?!) then fumbled to call an emergency number. Anyway, my question is, what does this mean? Is there something a black snake bite symbolizes? I hate bad dreams.

3. I was listening to Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade album today and "Control" came on. I.O., it reminded me how that song always makes me think of YOU in high school! Remember how you could dance just like Miss J. back then? And you had the naturally curly long hair to boot (though yours is red). And you used to looove to sing that song. I think I believed you could BE the next Miss Jackson If You're Nasty phenomenon. I used to be so jealous that I was just the geeky brainiac and you were the One Who Could Dance in the family. Anyway, just sayin'.

4. Katrina. Yikes. I get all my news from CNN International here and I think they don't show all the heart-wrenching images domestic tv does (judging from what people are saying they saw on other blog sites), but I'm still feeling the collective shock and sadness. I just have to say that, all issues of blame aside, it still makes me embarrassed that it happened in America. It just shouldn't have. America is not a third-world country and Katrina wasn't a sudden, unforeseen tsunami. That is just neglect and blatant disregard. It's so wonderful that people are stepping up now and pitching in, but it seems like a bad sign when private citizens are now filling in the hole when the U.S. has a half-dozen Federal entities whose job description it is to plan for, prevent and cope with the aftermath of these types of calamities. And there is this, too (e-mailed by a friend). 'Nuff said. May God be with them.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Crash Test Dummy

So I just finished internet-sharing the photos from my little girl's first birthday, and what a world this has become! Just over a year ago, I was numbed out from the waist down and totally unaware of the changes a baby would bring to the simple task of life. I know that I used to have lots of things to do (i.e. go to work and wish I were somewhere else), but somehow nothing I ever had to do was as all-encompassing as "Staying at home" with my girl. To respond to W.O.'s question of what did we do before kids? We did a whole lot of what you now call "Clock-watching," only then it was the most important thing we had to do that wasn't at work.

I have lived through all sorts of indignities now that I never would have imagined would make me happy. It's true that your own child's poop doesn't smell as bad as someone else's child's poop. (now notice here that I did not say it doesn't smell bad- 'cause we all know that would be a lie- it smells REALLY bad!). I have not minded being ripped apart and sewn back together (at least I didn't mind it as much as my Hubby minded it...) I have not minded getting sucked on, puked on, peed and pooped on, having my hair/skin/earrings pulled almost completely off of my body. I have not minded not eating or showering until 4pm, or not sleeping a full five hours in a row for four months (and I had it good in that case- some aren't so lucky), or spending most of my "disposable income" on disposable diapers and "disposable" baby clothes every two months. I'm tellin' ya, those babies are cute for a REASON, y'all. It's so they can control us without ever saying a word. (except now my girl says "Hiiiiiiiii!" whenever I get that tone of voice that means "I'm trying to be stern and angry- grrr." And I have to fight a smile every freakin' time! It is so annoying to want to avoid future monster-hood as much as possible, but to literally have to fight to be mean or stern or scolding.)

Now my little girl is walking, mimicking sounds and actions, and generally getting into anything in her reach- and her reach is growing. The other day I came out of the kitchen from washing dishes to get my girl out of the high-chair where she had been eating breakfast, only to discover her sitting in the middle of the dining room table, munching on my car keys! Yes, I made the mistake of forgetting that a quiet child is a dangerous child. It is totally true that when you can't hear your child, they are doing something you don't want them doing- like "playing" with the cell-phone or chewing on the raw potatoes, or pulling each and every item out of the trash-can and throwing it on the floor, only after identifying it with thier mouth. I swear if I don't lose a few pounds chasing her this year, it will be because I have had to increase my chocolate and wine intake to deal with the aftermath.

So, when nostalgia kicks in, I look at the really early baby photos, and think of those first days of motherhood and sigh and wipe a tear, and then I realize I can't hear my girl, and find her in the bathroom playing in the trash and unrolling the toilet paper directly into her mouth. Ah, Kids. They're such a blessing!

The I.O.

A Hole New World

It is 3pm and I sit here at the computer, without any kids in my house running/shouting/wrestling/making each other cry/watching too much tv/eating too many cookies because Mommy's on the internet. I thought this would be sooo good. For two-plus years now I thought that. It is not entirely good. It is weird.

This new set of events is because 1) Number-One Son has started kindergarten, and the bus does not arrive until 3:43 pm (turrible accurate they are, those bus-schedule people); and 2) because I have to drive to the bus stop during what is otherwise Number-Two Son's naptime, I leave him in preschool until 4pm (which is approximately when I return from said stop with the other son.) It is only 1 and 1/2 hour longer than the previous 2:30 pm pick-up time, but that is truly long enough to get bored and eat way too many potato chips. I'm going to have to wipe down this keyboard after this entry. Just blame any typos on the slickening surface.

So what do I do with this Gift of Time? Do I get pedicures or massages? Read that list of novels I've been meaning to get through? Save all my bowel-movements (sorry, our mom is a nurse) so that I can finally have some privacy? No, I blog. You people must be spe-shul, lemme tell you, to merit such exclusive attention.

I guess this is some kind of mini-empty nest syndrome. It's practice. I'm going to have to take golf lessons, find some friends to lunch, volunteer somewhere and take those Mandarin Chinese lessons sooner than I thought. (I'm actually half-serious about the Mandarin Chinese. 'Cause didn't those people sound SO COOL in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? If you saw the subtitled version? And Chow Yun Fat is HOT; what was Michelle Yeoh THINKING resisting jumping his bones all those years? Okay I remember way to much about a movie I saw twice three-ish years ago.)

Look at these fantasies of mine. Hilarious. 1.5 extra hours and I'm talking language lessons. I sound like the Koreans who, when given a whole second weekend day off for the first time a year ago, started clogging the air routes flying to Malaysia and Tokyo, since dude, what were they gonna do staying HOME for an entire TWO-DAY WEEKEND?! (Yes, there really was a news story about the entirely real phenomenon. And yes, a two-day weekend law only went into effect for certain busnesses in 2004. Some smaller companies didn't have to abide by it until this July, I think. Kids, of course, still go to school half a day Saturday. That's how Momma and Daddy like it.)

Okay so I strayed a little from the topic. The point of which was, what is the DEAL with kids? You have this life before them and it's cool, you're hangin'. Then you and the Significant Other get tired of the dinner and a movie routine and think, babies are cute and fun, let's get us one! Ten months later (they lie about human gestation length, o you uninitiated) you start the squirming, pink Descent Into Chaos that is Baby #1 (unless you adopt, in which case it takes longer; or you have multiples, in which case you also have my sympathy) and VOILA: your life as you knew it is gone. Unrecognizable. Finished. (Though most times in a good to tolerable way.) Slowly you piece together something resembling a routine, a new reality, then just when it's getting manageable POOF, along comes the next one. Total destruction again. (Repeat this process for as many children as you have, although many lying liars out there will make claims about how going from two to three or going from three to four "isn't really that different." Pah! Lalalala I can't hear you.)

Then you send them off to preschool or whatever and, like me, they reach some age where their schedules end up leaving you alone for a whopping 6 hours a day. So you recover you old Life, right? You stretch, purr, and say "ah, back to Me Time now" right? Turn to philosophy, meditation and contemplation? Wrong, it seems. You writhe instead in some "where are my babies" state of nonexistence. Look at me: I straightened the house and made a trip to Costco (yes, thank you, God, they have those in South Korea, too). Then I read some of the newspaper, checked my favorite blogs, and am writing this. That all sounds good and useful, except that, after putting away Costco goods at approximately 1 pm, all the other activities have just been just glorified clock-watching. I am hopeless.

That's humans for you, I guess. The poop is always smellier, the puke stains more apparent, the noise louder, the silence emptier when it's your own kids.

Oh, lookee! Yay! 3:05 pm. Time to go get Big Boy, then Little Boy, then feed snacks, then video and/or fighting over toys, then playground, then Somewhat Tired Mommy cooks three dinners, most of which get thrown out, then Tired but Fun Daddy bathes, then jointly we put 'em to bed, then Revitalized Daddy makes Adult Suggestions to By-Now Probably Exhausted Mommy. (Except when Mommy catches a second wind, in which case some rule of the cosmos mandates that Daddy must be the one that night who is exhausted, fed-up, or already asleep on the couch.) Accept or refuse and repeat tomorrow. Now you know my whole entire routine and you can stalk me. I'd be the redhead in South Korea (well, there may be a few others, but mine's natural.)

Ah, I love my life. (No, seriously, I do.) Bye!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I will NOT go gently!

Showered just now. While putting on my now-routine facial lotion (nagging internal voices chanting "you end up with the face you deserve") I noticed something different, up at my hairline. THREE small curly white hairs, each about one inch long. Not one; not two; three. I only just turned 33. I am young. But I am not helpless, so with the help of my diabolical tweezers, they are no more. Until they grow out again. At that time I promise I will report back on whether the myth -- that if you tweeze one white hair out, several more will grow back in its place -- is true. I seriously hope not, because then we may just have to have a small fire to clear the brush, as it were. Yikes, I may have to go buy myself something young and hoochie this next week. Clear platform heels, anyone?

Oh yeah, speaking of hoochie, I had totally forgotten the porch light code, I.O. I was dying when I read that.

Eww, have to go. One of my Korean neighbors downwind must have decided to make double fish soup with fish fritters for breakfast or something. The kitchen window will now be bolted shut and a candle lit. Ugh.