Drill Instructor Basketball Playing Half Babies

We chatted with Mother and Sister tonight. Mother told us that she had a dream that we had a baby. A very tall, half-white, half-Korean basketball playing baby.

In Korean culture there’s this idea you have a pregnancy dream (태몽) before conceiving.

This horrifies me.

I can only comfort myself with the idea that Mother is pregnant.


Good Man calls me a drill instructor sometimes. He does so lovingly. “You are like drill instructor! This is like first day at boot camp! I married drill instructor!”


Good Man took his driving permit test for the third time today.

I haven’t written about this before because I was so upset about it that I couldn’t be gracious.

In Virginia you have to pass a multiple-choice ten-question signs test perfectly, and then a 25-question multiple-choice written test with 80% accuracy.

The first time (in November) he got all the signs down pat but failed the written, non-signs part. He’d been studying online, but we figured it must be a language issues. So I found some downloadable Virginia test questions and ordered them for $15. I decided a $15 cost was better than a several hundred dollar class. Because the DMV only had copies of the manual in Spanish (DeMogic…), we also went to three—count them, three—libraries to get a new copy of it.

The second time (in December?), he failed the signs test. He told me he’d been distracted by some woman fighting with the clerk. I was very, very, very ungracious about this. I yelled at him that he would have distractions when he was driving, too. I told him I was no longer going to pick him up from school at 10 pm because he couldn’t even get his permit and I was tired of being his chauffeur. I figured that would give him an incentive to get his permit.

Not one of my Best Wife Moments.

And the “incentive” didn’t even work. He stalled. For a long time.

Finally, last weekend I told him that the one thing about this first year of marriage that has most angered me has been that he’s stalled on the driver’s license process. It’s not that he’s unlicensed. It’s that he just… stopped… trying.

I hate being the only driver in the house. It makes me feel used. If we go out, I’m the one who always can’t drink. I’m the one who has to drive when I’m tired. I’ve wanted to take road trips, but no way in hell are we doing it when I would have to be the only driver.

He told me he’d take it this week.

This morning I said, “Look, if you fail, it’s OK. We’ll pay for the class. I just want to move on in the process.”

“I will not fail,” he assured me.

I reminded him to bring more than he needs—his green card, his passport, his SSN card, our marriage certificate, a copy of his Roth IRA statement…everything. I remember the ridiculousness over our lease!

Well, turns out that he didn’t bring his passport. He had this green card, but they wanted more proof that he was who he said he was. Student ID wouldn’t work. Roth IRA statement wouldn’t work. SSN card wasn’t good enough. He was about to go home when he decided to offer up his EAD card. Luckily, he still had it in his wallet, and even though the green card overrides and makes it unnecessary…they took it! (After a check with the supervisor.)

Then the clerk asked him if he wanted to take the test on paper instead of on the computer. He didn’t know that was an option. (The DMV website doesn’t seem to think it’s an option, either.) Good Man hates the computer-based test because it tells you after each question if you got it right or wrong. It makes him nervous and messes with his head.

So of course he opted for the paper test.

He was the only one there taking the paper test.

And he passed!

Oh, thank God (and Fairy Godmother for praying for him at work), thank my voodoo magic prayer (which I did while Fairy Godmother prayed), thank kimchi, and thank the Kind, Mind-Reading DMV Clerk. And thank Good Man!!

“I don’t know why nobody else told me about paper test! I am Korean! If we are good at one thing, it is paper test! We learn paper test for 12 years!”

I feel like I just got my wedding anniversary gift 8 days early.

Swedish Rye Bread

I have a three to five page paper about a current controversy in gifted education due on Friday. So that meant it was the perfect time to try my hand at a new bread recipe.

Swedish Rye Bread


I think it could use a few more minutes in the oven. Good Man disagrees and thinks it’s perfect as it. And it rose (really! It did!) but there are not any visible yeast bubbles in the bread. I may have kneaded too much flour in.

In any case, it tastes wonderful and reminds me of the breakfasts we ate on our honeymoon. It’s heavy, dense, and the molasses and fennel gives it great depth of flavor. So even if it’s not perfect, it’s really great.

And while I was kneading, I decided my position on the controversy. So I guess making the bread was worth it.

A Square is Always a Rectangle, but a Rectangle is Not Always a Square

For a change of pace I’m making a bojagi—a Korean cloth used to carry stuff, wrap things, and hide things. I’ve always seen square ones but I had a nice big piece of purple floral linen/cotton cloth left over from a dress I made when I was 22.

It’s a woven cloth and I yanked two threads clear across to get nice, straight cutting lines. Luckily, the piece had two selvage edges, so I only had to yank two threads.

I said, “Is this OK?” and held up the rectangle.

Good Man glanced at it. “Yeah, it should be square.”

So I figured out the square size and yanked another woven thread across the whole piece. When I finished and held up the square he said, “What was wrong with it before?”

“You said it should be square!”

“Yeah, that was square, right?”

“No! That was a rectangle,” I cried out.

Good Man sucked air through his teeth and shook his head, “English is too hard…”

삐삐, Put to Bed (Again)

I finished the second Pippi book (꼬 마백만장자 삐삐) today. I’m still below where I should be (if I’m perfectly on track to reach my goal), but hey, I’m trucking along. That’s what matters.

I’m going to start the third Pippi book next. I’m on a roll with these books and I’ve gotten into the translator’s groove. No reason to quit now!

Good Man and I are celebrating the one year anniversary of our legal ceremony in less than two weeks. We’re debating between going somewhere and doing something around here. What complicates it (slightly) is that I have a class on Friday nights until 9:30 and Good Man has class on Mondays, so making it a three-day weekend is impossible. Plus, Mother and Father are coming for Good Man’s graduation ceremony in May and I’d like to keep my two remaining personal days for his graduation. And we’re going to Mom and George’s at the end of next month, which sort of make me “ehhhh” about going somewhere else for just one night.

I was missing Korea today. Korea’s rice cake looks bigger than America’s.

Ownership: Socratic-Style

Amanda Teacher: So can something you own own something? If I own this book, what does the book own?

Dead Meat, mumbles.

Amanda Teacher: What? I didn’t hear that.

Dead Meat, shakes his head, finally, after I’ve assured him he’s not going to get in trouble: The book owns the pages.

Amanda Teacher: But I can tear the page out.

Dead Meat: The pages still own the words.

Amanda Teacher: And the words?

Dead Meat’s classmates are grinning, whispering answers, and egging him on.

Dead Meat, after a pause: The letters.

Amanda Teacher: And the letters?

Dead Meat: The lines!

Sub-Atomic, beating me to the punch: What about the lines?

Dead Meat: … The ink!

The class cheers and looks at me as if to say, “Ha! What now, Ms?”

Amanda Teacher, slowly: But who owned the ink before it was on the page?

Dead Meat, jaw drops: That’s not fair.

Student Aide: Wow, this is like philosophy.

Quiet Student Who’s Suddenly Been on the Ball Lately: Can we do more of this?

Sure, kids, we can do more of this.


“What is this?” Good Man asked, staring at the package of candy on his desk.

“FunDip. I gave my kids FunDip valentines and I had some left over.”

Good Man stared at the package. “How do I do it?”

“Rip it open across the top. Do not rip is down the side!” Koreans rip snack foods open by tearing them down the side. Good Man carefully worked open the section over the powder. “You have to open the other part, too, the stick.”


“Get out that sugar stick. Now lick it and dip it in the candy.” Good Man plunked the stick in the candy. “Lick it first, it has to get wet to stick,” I said.

Good Man looked at my dubiously. “This is not candy?”

“No, they’re both candy. You can eat all of it.”

Good Man licked the stick and stuck it in the red sugar mixture. He tasted it and yelled, “Why, America, why??”

“You don’t like it? It’s basically just sugar.”

Good Man continued to dip, but shook his head, “You Americans. And you think squid is weird.”

I Slice, I Dice, I Make Apple Swans! And I Solve Blog Problems (With Good Man’s Help)

This weekend Good Man and I finally gave in and shoveled my truck out using trash cans. We were stir crazy, we wanted to go out for dinner, and I wanted to get a knife sharpener after nearly slicing my thumb off while using my very, very dull nine-year old chef’s knife.

We headed out to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Good Man wanted to know why we weren’t just buying knew knives. I told him I was “82% sure” that they didn’t carry the knife block we wanted in the store.

“Well, than that leave me 18% to be right,” he said.

What do you know? The knife set we wanted was in stock. I found this set when we were registering and chose it because I loved how the knives felt in my hand. The butt of the knives are also labeled with what they are, which is great, because I don’t have to pull multiple knives out to find the one I want.

They were running some special. The knife block was one cent under the price that would get us an incredibly over-priced cheese set for free. I sweetly asked the clerk if that penny was “close enough.” It was, so we got the over-priced three-piece cheese set. We also had a 20% off coupon, so we ended up getting $255 worth of goods for $160. If we’d gone through Amazon, we couldn’t’ve done better.

The knife set is 17 pieces. Of course, once you knock out the steel, the block, the shears, and the steak knives you’re down to 6 actual knives. Three of which I’ll probably never use. Oddly, there were two extra slots on the block, which was great, because I could throw my soft cheese knife (which I’ll use twice a year) and my cheese spreader (which will probably ending up becoming a butter spreader) in the block. The shears will prove useful because I’m constantly using our current shears for everything inside and outside of the kitchen.

After I washed all the knives I decided to try my hand with the parer to make an apple swan. For my first time, I think it turned out pretty well.

Apple Swan

I also sharpened my dangerously dull knife and promptly chopped up a bunch of vegetables for the slow cooker. Ah! If I’d known how wonderful a freshly sharpened knife is, I would’ve sharpened it years ago. A dream. Unfortunately, though, the handle of my now-sharp knife is probably going to go soon and it’s probably not all that much safer because of it.


Last night I discovered that I could subscribe to the RSS feeds for this blog and the not-updated-in-forever photography blog. Oddly, whenever I tried to subscribe to the Korean-language blog, I got an XML parsing error. Although the error was fairly clear about where it was (in retrospect!), I couldn’t find it.

Good Man could figure out I needed to change something to iso-8859-1. But I couldn’t figure out what.

I posted my question on my blogging platform’s forums. No answer this morning.

I really couldn’t figure out why two of my blogs could call this file correct and the third couldn’t. It was a baffling mystery. I was comparing and contrasting the different blog settings. They were all the same. The skins I use are all variations on a theme. I studied the page sources. I just couldn’t find the error.

Neither could Good Man, who claims I know more HTML than he does.

After work today I looked at it again, looked at the error log and started tinkering. And I fixed it! “Yeah!” I yelled at Good Man, “Who’s your awesome, smart wife?”

“Good job.”

Really Married

Good Man and I have been married nearly a year. But recently I’ve felt “really” married.

I started working on our tax return, and filling out the info for a joint return was odd. It was easy, since he’s a student, but I’ve never had to consider what anyone else does when filing a tax return. Strange.

Last week we went to Wachovia and closed out “my” account. (He had access to it, but it’d been my account since 1999, and I was the only one with a debit/ATM card.) We went to Chevy Chase and closed out “his” money market account. (He’d used his check card within a week, so his checking account has to wait a bit longer.) We then took the cashier’s check for the money market account to our credit union. (We’ve been joint on all accounts there since the beginning and both have equal access, so it really it “our” credit union.) At the credit union we both had to sign the cashier’s check because it was written out to both of us. Strange.

While we were in Korea, Good Man’s laptop broke. He needs a laptop for school. We could buy a new one, but we’d like to see if we can get someone to look at his laptop first, since it’s less than 20 months old. And since my laptop is much older, it would make more sense to replace it first. So this week, as part of my snow day fun, I started backing up my laptop. I’m almost ready to hand it over to him so he can wipe it out and use it. I bought this laptop in June 2006. It was my first post-credit card debt purchase. It was with me through Korea. It’s always been my laptop. But I’ll happily let my husband wipe it out so he can use it. Strange.

Also in this past snow-week vacation, I was researching retirement funds. Oooh, I can open a Roth IRA for my non-working spouse! Wait, now I have to consider the retirement needs of my spouse? Strange.

Finally, I’ve been in a decluttering mood. I’ve been trying to figure out what triggered this since our house doesn’t feel cluttered and I don’t actually have much to declutter (compared to the past). In the past major declutters have come shortly before major breakups or life changes. Since we’re not breaking up and the legal and social wedding ceremonies were more than six months ago, what’s the major change? I finally realized that I was making more space for Good Man in our home. I still own more than him, but a lot of the unimportant stuff is gone. Good Man doesn’t get the big deal; he says we have plenty of space. But it feels better to me. It feels better to get rid of the remaining things that I don’t need, don’t want, don’t treasure, or that bring back bad memories.

So, here’s to The Year of the Tiger and 2010—the first lunar year and solar year that we’ll be married the entire time. 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

(Edit: Thanks to a sharp-eyed commenter who noticed the spelling error Good Man didn’t!)