Free Angles

On Tuesday I introduced my math students to angles—complementary, supplementary, vertical angles, and so on. When I got to complementary, AC/DC joked, “Hmm, complementary angles, does that mean they’re free?”

Yesterday, there was a sudden hissing noise in my room. I looked around and he said, very deadpan, “It’s poison gas.”

That kid cracks me up.


Tuesday I told Good Man to call and schedule another driving session. He called and suddenly when Korean-style. “Yeahyeah… yeahyeah… yeaaaahyeah.” I was smiling, hearing him turn a Korean phone mannerism into English.

When he finally hung up he said, “I have such a phone phobia! I hate speaking in English on the phone!”

“I know, that’s why I made you do it,” I said.

This session was apparently not as scary as his first session. He had very few freak-out complaints this time.


Good Man and I chatted with his mother very briefly tonight. I’m going to my grandmother’s funeral but Good Man is staying home. “Mother!” I said, “Please call [Good Man] while I am gone! He has never lived alone and he will be alone for five days, so he will be very lonely.”

“Of course, of course,” she replied.

“And if he dies, I will not know, so please call him daily.”

“Of course, of co—” Mother started laughing harder, “Oh, Amanda! Of course, of course.”

Maybe Good Man made a mistake in marrying a foreigner. His mother isn’t obligated to treat me like she would a Korean daughter-in-law.

Really Bad Day

Today my grandmother (stepdad’s mom) died.

My paternal grandmother is in the hospital from a stoke that happened about two weeks ago.

My parents’ dog got hit by a car and killed in the past week.

And my brother’s going to Afghanistan in a month.

If bad shit comes in threes, why is this coming in a torrential downpour?

The only decent news I have is that I finished the third Pippi book (삐삐는 어른이 되기 싫어) in Korean last night.

One Year Later and Stuck

Today was about getting stuck. Getting stuck in traffic, getting an IKEA piece stuck inside another IKEA piece (which then caused a chopstick, a crochet hook and a knitting needle to get stuck), getting a ring stuck on my finger…

That last thing meant I ended up at the fire station at 6:45 in the morning, getting my finger buttered up by a cute firefighter. It meant I left with my second-most-expensive piece of jewelry, my college ring, off of my finger via a cut through the band.

The rest of the weekend, however, was better!

Last night Good Man and I went out to a Vietnamese place for a one-year anniversary dinner. When we got there they said the wait would be 45-50 minutes. So we decided to go around the corner to the pastry shop to wait and start dinner backwards. Not 15 minutes later, just as we were finishing our dessert and coffee, we got a table.

I decided to wear the Korean hair pin (비녀) that traditionally indicated a woman was married. Of course, this is America and not Korea, so nobody else really knew what I was doing, but I did. I also wore the red shoes and red knit coat I wore to our legal ceremony, and I sported the penny I had in my shoe on a chain.

I rocked the binyeo with jeans. Heh.


My husband, meanwhile, needs a haircut.

Good Man


My brother happens to be in the state this weekend, and since he’s shipping out to Afghanistan at the end of April, we made sure to meet for dinner.

Oh, Brother

Good Man and Johnny

Same Noses

I wore a binyeo again today, this time with the $280 price-tagged, found for $40 at Marshall’s jacket. It’s a cute jacket, but not $280 cute.

아바마마 & 어마마마

I’m reading the third book in the 삐삐 series in Korean. I’ve learned some marginally useful words. I figured out 왕좌 (throne) by combining “king” (왕) and “seat” (좌석). 야자나무 (palm tree) and 빵나무 (breadfruit tree) are good to know.

But then I got to this.

아바마마, 일이 있긴 있었어요. 아바마마께서 돌아오시자마자 일이 일어났어요.


I’m usually good about figuring out if something is a sound or motion word, but this seemed to be neither. So I looked it up. (No, I don’t look up every word I don’t know, but this one was so fun to say—ah-bah-mah-mah.)

my father the King.

Oh good kimchi. That’s got to be the most useless Korean word I have read. And of course there is a female equivalent: 어마마마 (eo-mah-mah-mah).


“[Good Man], is 송아지‎ a popular word?”

“What do you mean?”

“‘Baby cow,’ ‘calf?'”

Good Man laughed. “Well, it depends on where you live and what you do. How often do you use ‘cow,’ except for ‘holy cow’!”

Good point, Good Man, good point.

Zombie Driving

My brother and I chatted last night and somehow got talking about…zombies.

“Wouldn’t you want to go to an island if zombies attacked?” I asked.

“Oh no, no, especially if they can walk on the ocean floor. Nope, bad idea.”


Good Man had his first behind the wheel driving lesson. Because I love him, I am paying someone else to teach him. I asked him a few days ago if he was nervous.

“Well, no, not really, they will not make me drive the first day, right?”

I looked at him. “Probably not in the first twenty minutes, but if we’re paying for two hours of behind the wheel, you’d better drive!”

“But… I do not know how to drive! What if I hit something?”

“They have dual controls, so the instructor can use the gas and brake on his side, too.”

Good Man looked at me. “That is simply not possible!” I just laughed and he changed his tune. “Fine, fine, I will see.”


I called him at lunchtime today to ask how his lesson went.

“Nnnn-kay. I did not kill the man.”

“Well, that’s good.”

“You said he would not put me on highway right away. You said we would do side streets, but he did put me on highway! He just told me to drive! For two hours I drive! I went to that area, by public health, um, Seven Corners, and it was so scary! The signs are too confusing. And I do not understand why I can only use one foot. You use two feet to drive—”

I nodded at the hell that is Seven Corners and said, “I drive a stick. You’re driving an automatic. You only drive an automatic with one foot.”

Good Man slowly shook his head. “I think that is not true in Korea.”

“Well, that would explain why Koreans are scary-ass drivers.”

“I drove all over! And turning is hard. Why don’t you accelerate in a turn?”

I was confused. “You have to accelerate in a turn if you start from a stop.”

“But when I hit accelerator I go vrooooom too fast, even when I am gentle!”

I laughed, “You just need practice. Want me to schedule you for two times a week?”

“No! It is too scary! One time a week. Two hours is a long time!”

I let Good Man continue a bit longer. I finally said, “And this is why I want you to learn how to drive! It’s stressful and it’s not fair that I always have to be the one to drive!”

Good Man raised an eyebrow. “You are very sneaky! You let me complain and never disagree just so you can make me not quit and have to learn more!”

Rye Bread Recipe

Rye Bread (taken from Favorite Swedish Recipes, edited by Selma Wifstrand)

6 C rye flour
2 C white flour
2 1/2 C milk
2 yeast cakes
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 C fat or butter
3/4 C molasses
2-3 t fennel seed or aniseed, pounded

Mix yeast with 1 T sugar. Melt fat, add milk and heat until lukewarm. Pour into big bowl, add molasses and half of rye flour and mix well. Then add yeast, salt, seeds and remaining flour gradually. Beat well until smooth and firm, cover with towel and allow to rise in warm place until almost doubled in bulk. Turn out onto floured baking board and knead well.

[Note: The next part continues as part of the last paragraph, but I’m pretty sure there are now two different ways to shape the dough, so that’s how I’m typing it.]

Divide into 6 pieces; roll each piece into round flat loaf. Cut out a hole in the center. Place on buttered baking sheet, prick with fork, cover and let rise. Bake in hot oven (425 F) 15 min until light brown. Remove to towel, brush wiht warm water and cover with towel or cloth.

Shape into 3 loaves, prick with fork and let rise. Bake in moderate oven (375 F) 30 min. Brush with warm water when half done and again when ready.

He’s the Foreigner and Three Times the Thinking

Good Man suddenly changed his tune. “Jingle bers! Jingle bers!”

Koreans often confuse the L and R sounds since they’re both written with one character in Korean—ㄹ. “Bells,” I said.

Good Man shook his head. “I know that. It is my joke. See, people don’t understand me because I think three times. Everyone else thinks one, two times. But I,” he said, tapping his temple, “I think three times!”


Saturday, after getting a great deal on some jeans ($16.99, original price tag still on them read $88) and a spring jacket ($39.99, original price tag….$280!) at Marshalls, Good Man and I went to a Korean restaurant we’d never been to. It wasn’t a very fancy place where you can get your meat cooked in front of you. It wasn’t as grimy as one of the Orange Places in Korea. It was a great in-between place.

I ordered for us in Korean. Seafood hot stone bibimbap for Good Man and jajjangmyeon for me. The ajumma didn’t flinch. Later I yelled, “Ajumma! Bori cha deo chuseyo!” Ajumma, please bring us some more barley tea.

The ajumma replied in Korean, asking if we wanted a whole glass. I nodded. When she approached the table, she told me my Korean was great. I disagreed and then she looked at Good Man and asked him if he spoke Korean.

He burst out laughing and said yes. She looked at me, looked at him. She cocked her eyebrow and clucked her tongue in that restaurant ajumma way that anyone who’s lived in Korea would recognize and said, “She is more Korean than you. You look like a foreigner.”

At this point, Good Man was nearly choking on his rice. He gets asked all the time if he’s not-Korean. Some Vietnamese guy once approached us asking for directions because he assumed Good Man was Vietnamese. Master’s Brother didn’t believe Good Man was Korean when he first met him. Apparently he’s often asked at school if he’s [Not Korean].

After the ajumma left, Good Man nodded, “My grandmother was a Moon, you know, and the Moons came from China. And then we have my uncle who looks French. I am not pure Korean.”

Lest you laugh at the French uncle, Good Man really does have an uncle who does not look Korean. He looks like his brothers, but line him up against them (or any other stack of Koreans) and he looks Not Korean, too.