Bugs Bunny Stopped Good Man from Reaching SKY

“OK, I found my $10 pencil, but where is my eraaaaaaser?” I whined.

“If I buy you a new eraser, will you be happy?”

“No! I’ve had that eraser and this pencil since I started studying Korean! I can’t study without that eraser!” I pouted.

“OK, then we will find the eraser,” Good Man said, standing up.

“Now you’re making fun of me! But I want it!”

“No, I understand. I did not get into SKY because I did not have my Bugs Bunny pencil when I was seventeen.”

We’re still looking for my eraser.

Snow Day

YouTube seems to be running really slowly right now, so I hope these will eventually embed!

Thank you, Eric Herman. Eric Herman also did “The Elephant Song,” which was popular with all of my students, 3-6 in Korea.

Food

Did you know that 42 oz of mushrooms turned into a mushroom cream sauce makes a lot of sauce? I could serve a small army. (I found three packs of mushrooms today on the store’s “please buy these before they go bad” rack and I couldn’t pass up 36 oz of mushrooms for $3.13. We had another three packs of mushrooms in the fridge, so I added another 8 oz.)

Mushrooming aside, food in America annoys me. I’ve been reading a lot of articles about food, so I’ve been thinking about food in America lately. (See “Unhappy Meals” and “The Fast Supper” for especially interesting reads.)

1) When I left for Korea, there were eight servings of pasta in a box. I came back from Korea and found that boxes did not change dimensional size (nor price, of course), yet there are now “about 7” servings in a box. “About 7” meaning 6.625, which would be better described as “about 6 1/2.”

2) The back of said pasta box says that “4 portions” uses a “full box.” So is this some way to get around labeling regulations? A serving is not a portion?

3) A box serving and/or portion does not match a Food Pyramid serving.

4) What in the heck does it mean when chicken breasts have a “15% solution?” 15% solution to what? Fascism? Oil? The socks lost in the dryer problem? And what is the other 85%? A placebo?

5) Why are American chicken breasts as big as mine? Have chickens turned into walking boobs? How come the chicken breasts at the Korean market are smaller? (I promise, this is not a joke. Korean market chicken breasts are smaller.)

6) A serving of fruit is a “medium” piece of fruit (generally speaking). Have you seen the variation in, say, apples? First, American apples are going the way of American chicken. Second a medium Gala apple is a lot smaller than a medium Granny Smith. Third, a “medium” apple in a five pound bag is often smaller than the “medium” apples that are loose in the bin, right next to the bagged apples.

7) There is now some “Raspberry Almond M&M premium” product on the market. I love chocolate. Oh, do I. But couldn’t they have put any actual raspberry in it? Lindt actually uses raspberry concentrate and orange pieces in their flavored chocolate. OK, M&Ms vs Lindt, not a fair comparison. OK, this also isn’t really “food,” but hey…

Stained and Confused

I have had an orange stain on my left thumbnail for over a week now. I went to the doctor today, because while it didn’t hurt, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some fungus. She pressed on my thumbnail to see if she could do something to the color (blanch it?). She examined my other fingers.

“Well. It’s not a fungus. It’s not a bruise. And it’s not something indicative of your health because all of your other nails are fine. So it must be a stain. Curry? Iodine? Spaghetti sauce?”

“Nope, haven’t had contact with any of those things lately, and when I cook, I cook with both hands. We’ve been eating lots of tangerines, which I peel with my hands, but mostly my right thumb, and it’s perfectly normal.”

The doctor shook her head, “It’s some sort of stain, but I don’t know what it is. It’ll take three months to grow completely out, probably. If it bothers you, you can wear nail polish.”

I laughed, “OK, well now I feel stupid, but I really didn’t know what it was…”

“Well, I’m not really sure what it is either…”

***
I had a bout of not knowing what it was tonight in taekwondo.

We were doing one of those strange special forces forms, and I could not figure out this one move. Something about fist in an arc and punching with the other arm. It was really frustrating.

At one point Special Forces said, “You have two arms! Can you control your body? 바보예요?” Are you an idiot?

I knew he didn’t mean it to be cruel. “네! 바보예요! 맞아요! 괜찮아요!” Yes, I’m an idiot! That’s right! It’s OK!

He couldn’t stop laughing. Good Man couldn’t stop laughing when I told him the story later. Even in America, I am sometimes a foreigner, and thus I can get away with such language.

After class I wished him a happy new year, did a deep bow, and asked for money. He in turn did the same to me. We were speaking Korean the whole time, so my classmates—a white teenager and a Latina teenager and her father—were utterly confused.

Neither of us had any money.

Happy New Year!

Tomorrow is Seollal. So this weekend we ate ddeok ramyeon (떡라면/rice cake ramyeon), samgyetang (삼계탕/ginger chicken soup) and yakgwa (약과/ginger honey cookies).

Since we ate some rice cake soup (albeit ramyeon style), we’re both a year older. I’m now 30 Korean age, and Good Man is 29.

Samgyetang is a whole chicken stuff with rice and jujubes and boiled in a huge pot with some ginseng, garlic, and jujubes. When it’s done cooking, you garnish it with a leek.

Samgyetang

Yakgwa is a Korean cookie. It’s flour, sesame oil, honey, rice wine and some water. Since ovens aren’t a traditional part of Korean cooking, you deep fry the cookies rather than baking them. You then dip the cookies in a honey, sugar, water mixture and sprinkle them with cinnamon.

Yakgwa

Happy Seollal!

“These People Are Piggies!”

Good Man and I weren’t going to register for a host of reasons, but Mark talked us into it.

We decided to register tonight because I wanted to avoid a Saturday morning store rush. We headed over to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. On the way there, Good Man crossed off items we didn’t need on a list I printed out from one of those Wedding Industrial Complex websites.

Good Man read each item one-by-one and we decided “yes” or “no.”

“Red wineglasses, white wineglasses, water goblets, champagne flutes, double old-fashioned glasses—what is this stuff?—margar…ita, martini, pilsner? Juice, highball. Twelve of each! These people are piggies!”

Later he asked, “What is a ‘citrus jester?'”

“Jester? Juicer?”

“Jester.”

I looked at the list. “Zester. You know how sometimes I made things that need the peel of an orange or lemon? It helps you scrape off a little bit of the peel.”

Good Man stared at me. “Americans!”

A half page later he came to the panini press. “Huh?”

“You know those squished, grilled sandwiches at Panera? It makes those.”

Good Man said slowly, “OK…but we’re not doing sandwich business.”

When he got to the bathroom section he asked what a soap dispenser was. “It’s something you stick liquid soap in, so you can squeeze it out. Or you can get a soap holder to put bar soap on.”

“Huh?”

“So the sink doesn’t get that grimy soap stuff on it.”

Good Man pretended he was washing his hands. “It’s exercise to pick up the soap from the sink!”

With the list drastically shortened, we filled out the paperwork at BB&B. Their list was, amazingly, even longer than the WICy one. They also suggested we have 100 glasses in our cupboard.

The woman brought out the fine china binder. “We’re not doing fine china.” She brought out the silverware binder. “No silverware.” She brought out the luggage binder. “We’re good for luggage, not doing it.”

“Wow! You guys are easy!”

The manager came over and offered us cold water and asked all kinds of details about the wedding. The woman who was helping up was really interested in learning about Korea. She asked if I speak Korean.

“Not well.”

“You lived there for two years and can’t speak it well?”

I wrote down my name in Korean. I pushed it across the table to her. “Can you read this?”

“No,” she looked very surprised.

“That is just the beginning,” I said.

We got the scanner. In the first half of the store, we scanned three things. Three things. Good Man refused to get any soap holder. One was glass, so that was out. Another wasn’t the right color. Another was “too sharp.”

Good Man must think he’s marrying my grandmother based on the shower curtain he wanted. We don’t own a shower curtain. Our landlord owns our shower curtain. And we won’t own one, as long as he thinks I’m 70 years old.

Good Man is so indecisive. He told me he was like an ajumma. ㅎㅎㅎ

By the time we got to the last section of the store, kitchen utensils, Good Man had really loosened up. He doesn’t cook or bake much, so if I said I wanted a muffin pan, he didn’t question it.

Choosing dishes, glasses (regular old glasses, not stemware), and flatware was remarkably easy at least.

We both liked the same two patterns for dishware. He liked the dishes with the red pattern more. I liked the ones with a different brown pattern more. He couldn’t make up his mind. “Do you want to look at this for twenty years?” I asked.

“We will not have this for twenty years. It will all break.”

“We’re using Caro’s Mother’s wedding dishes and those are more than thirty years old.”

“Really?” Good Man thought for a moment. “Hmm, well, yes, I like this because it had red flowers on it and you should know, sometimes I am like a girl.”

“I don’t know, I like the brown ones better,” I said. Good Man dithered for about five minutes. In that time, I changed my mind. “Actually, I think we should get the red pattern.”

“Yes,” Good Man nodded, “my plan worked. I wait until you agree with me. Yes!”

ㅎㅎㅎ

Bad Boyfriend

Rrrr-rr-rr.

“Dammit.”

Rrrrrrrrr-rrrr-rr— Silence.

Yesterday I ended up walking to work.

When I got home, I called the towing company that handles our complex’s parking lot, because (unknown to me before I had to change a tire!) they provide minor car assistance. The guy came, gave me a jump and asked me how I drive. I told him.

When I came inside, Good Man asked what was wrong.

“It seems that I am like a bad boyfriend.”

“How?”

“I just start her and go. I’m ready to go, she should be, too!” Good Man laughed and I said, “I should know better. She’s not a p*** star car.”

“Are you going to blog about this?” he asked.

I drove Good Man to school and a few hours later, went back to pick him up. The truck was still slow to start. And this morning it was slow to start again. I let him (her?) warm up and everything, but after work? Slow to start.

Maybe I’m not all that terrible…

So I bought a AAA membership and called them. They came over and tested my battery. It was bad, so they replaced and installed a new battery.

My car is pretty reliable, but car stuff freaks me out. I looked at how to install a battery and it was dead easy, but it’s cold outside. I don’t want to change another damn tire and I don’t want to install my own battery. If I’m stuck somewhere, I’ll let AAA come and help me out.

And I’ll let my truck warm up in the morning.

Inauguration in Eighteen Photos and 259 Words

Overheard in DC

Young Boy: But this is too far to walk! I’m tired!

Father: You’ll appreciate this when you’re older, I promise you that.

***

Mother: Baby, we gonna see Obama. I’ll make you see Obama if I have to throw myself on his car and go to jail. My baby gonna see Obama.

Young Girl with Wide Eyes: You goin’ to jail?

***

Yesterday we could barely sleep and we bounced around early in the morning, donned coats and hats and scarves and mittens and Vaselined our faces to keep from freezing and prepared to go.

Whether we walked or biked or Metroed in, most of us ended up walking through the third street tunnel. Surreal.

We ignored the barriers around the mall. Helped ourselves, and each other, over them. We found spots crammed in among the crowd…

sitting on Port-a-Potties…

hanging out in trees…

in groups, alone, or in pairs.

All trying to get a glimpse of the Jumbotron off in the distance.

We were chatting and laughed until we heard speeches. Then, silence fell over us. More than one million people. Silent. Listening.

Trying to blink back tears.

But failing.

Intently listening to President Obama speak to us.

And many of us—even some of us “non-believers”—prayed together. Muttering quietly, “Our father, who art in heaven…” and ending with, “Amen.” Our heads bowed.

And when the clapping and cheering and chanting and singing and booing started in the front, we heard it in the back. The sound coming toward us and finally over and behind us. A wave of emotions.

And we left the Mall a mess. (Come on, people.)

And we stared at the insane, naked body-painted woman. (And yes, she was naked. Not a body suit or thong in sight.)

And in the shining sun,

we headed home.

Packing the Metro stations,

and the streets.

Under the leadership of our new president: Barack Hussein Obama.

Time for Food

So, the pig lunch box is cute. But I can’t microwave in it. No problem. I received a salad-sized plate as part of a food gift for Christmas, so I decided to bring that to school so I could re-plate and microwave my food.

The pig’s lid also doesn’t have a latch, so I use the flour sack cloth to carry the pig to school. It acts like a super cheap version of a furoshiki, as the Japanese call it, or a 보자기, as they say in Korean. I use the towel as a place mat/napkin/lunch box bag.

With that background out of the way… A few days ago, a co-worker saw me unwrap and plate my food.

She peered at my lunch and then peered at me.

“Your lunch is too nice! You brought a real plate? You have too much time on your hands.”

“It’s just leftovers from dinner,” I said.

“You cook dinner almost every night, don’t you? Too much time on your hands!”