Smoking Bowling Balls

While we were in Minnesota, we went bowling.

My mother was given a bowling ball (fitted to her hand) by my grandfather more than 20 years ago. I decided to give it a try. Although my hand span is not the exact same as my mom’s, it was pretty similar and I was enjoying the ball.

Until the fourth frame of the first game, when it never came back from the return.

I reported it to the kid on duty and he ran in the back to get my ball.

Several minutes later, the ball return starting…smoking. It smelled like burning rubber and smoke was billowing forth from the return.


Some other guy walked up and the kid and the guy started examining my ball. Finally, he walked over and asked if the damage on the ball had been there before.

The ball had deep, deep grooves and scratches in it. It was so scratched up that I couldn’t even hold it because the dinged-up finger holes would’ve torn my skin. My mother’s name had become “TER-scratch-scratch.”

Finally, after days of back-and-forth phone calls, I was told they’re going to replace the ball.

We’ll see.

Yes, I Know That’s Not a Bowling Ball Bag

Summer, Done

So. Since my last day of work, Good Man and I have gone to the beach for a weekend, visited Newfoundland, gone to my Grandparents‘ and spent a week with my parents.

I finished knitting a dress in about a month.

Good Man got his license.

Good Man met approximately 50 family members this summer. He hasn’t met two cousins (and their spouses), and some of George’s side of the family. Other than that, Dad’s family is knocked out, and so is Mom’s. And he’s still alive.

And now summer is done.

Preplanning for the new school year starts tomorrow and I am not ready. Dammit, why can’t I have just one more week? Or month? This summer was awesome.

He’s That Guy Who Thinks He Knows Everything About God

When I was in high school, I became friends with a guy. We were…a very odd pair of friends and most of our friends would say with astonishment, “You’re friends with [him/her]?”

He was new to school our freshman year and while I thought we met in science class, he remembers it differently.

“I remember exactly how we met. I was sitting in the library,” he said yesterday over brunch, “and you walked straight up to me, sat down, and said, ‘You’re that guy who thinks he knows everything about God, aren’t you?'”

I blushed and laughed, Good Man almost choked on his brunch, and Thinks He Knows’ wife laughed and nodded. “I’m so sorry,” I said.

“No, no, it’s OK,” Thinks He Knows said, “That was a pretty good description.”

Thinks He Knows and I would sit in science class and passionately debate evolution. In photography class, we work on our projects and debate the existence of God.

Our sophomore year he disappeared (home schooled), but he returned junior year. Somehow we ended up taking Spanish together at the community college (our junior and senior year of school, I went to the community college full time). Thinks He Knows would pick me up in the morning and we’d listen to Christian music while driving to the school.

While he was reading “the endtimes are near” books, I was reading really radical 60s and 70s feminist philosophy “men are evil, let’s go live in the woods without them” books. We would passionately talk about our books, the other sort of gritting their teeth to deal with it.

Well, Thinks He Knows and I have both mellowed out a bit since high school. We’ve changed. We saw each other once, two years after graduation. He had just proposed to a woman who he was…not dating. She’s now his wife of eight years and they have a beautiful, happy baby together. While religions (or lack of religion) have not changed for either of us, the forcefulness in which we believe we are absolutely right has mellowed out, and the practice of said beliefs has changed. Political views have changed a bit.

In other words, we’ve both grown up.

We emailed each other a few times when I was in Korea (he and his wife taught in China for two years). And then we reconnected on Facebook. We weren’t able to meet during either of my spring visits to Minnesota and I really wanted to be sure we got to meet on this trip, so we scheduled it early in the trip. Good Man and I were invited to their home for a wonderful brunch. (As a side—I have got to get the French toast recipe his wife used. So delicious!)

And we just fell into conversation as if ten years hadn’t gone by at all. It was wonderful.

Over brunch we tried to figure out why we got along so well in high school despite being polar opposites in just about everything. Thinks He Knows said, “I think that we respected how passionate the other was. We might not have agreed with each other, but we just thought almost everyone else was stupid, because they weren’t passionate about anything!”

That’s probably it, actually.

A Decade Later

Mint Oreos

You Bought…

Mint Oreos?


Good Man doesn’t like mint. It’s not a very common flavor in Korea. He manages mint toothpaste but the rest of it? Not so much.

I guess he didn’t realize that the green tinting of the cream indicated “mint.”

Garden and Home

I can’t wait to try these peppers. They’re so big and they’re just starting to turn red.


These plants were some of the last to flower, and now they’re out of control!

A Peck of Peppers

We’ve also been getting a lot of peppers from my CSA, so I strung them up (along with a few of my peppers) to dry.


Since my Thai basil was flowering, I decided to whack it all down and make some Thai basil pesto. I cut down the flowers and brightened up our kitchen, using a recycled spaghetti sauce jar as a vase. Simple, indeed, but free!

Thai Basil

Dress Turned Skirt

Five or six years ago I bought a cute little dress at Marshall’s for $5. It just fit at the time. Hey, it’s only $5. Who cares if you size out of it soon? I used to wear it as shown below, or with a shirt over it for work.

$5 Dress

The dress no longer fits. While I was decluttering my closet last night, I came across it. I loved this dress and didn’t want to get rid of it, but realistically I knew that even if I lost weight, I wouldn’t wear it with spaghetti straps any longer. I’d most likely wear a top over it.

Inspired by New Dress a Day, I decided to turn the dress into a skirt, which was always my favorite part of it.

Cutting Off the Top

First I cup off the top of the dress above the waist. I couldn’t unpick the seam because it was serged. So I just cut the top off close to the serged seam. I cut straight across the zipper as well (I used kitchen shears for this, not my good sewing scissors).

Bias Tape

I considered making the skirt shorter, but the top and the skirt were serged together. Since my sewing machine is still in Minnesota, I decided that I’d use the serged part as the waist. (If I’d made a shorter skirt, I would’ve had to find a way to prevent fraying—the serger had already done that for me.)

I ran over to Joann’s and picked up extra-wide double fold bias tape and some black thread (which, shockingly enough, I didn’t have in my stash). It cost less than $5.

I folded one quarter of the bias tape over the serged fabric (sort of tucking it into the bias tape fold) and folded the rest over the top. I then pinned it and hand-sewed the bias tape into place to form a waistband.

Hook and Eye Closure

Since I’d cut the zipper clear across, I had to find a way to keep it stopped. I did some fancy fingerwork, folding the bias fabric over to cover the very top of the zipper. I then added a hook-and-eye closure I had in my stash.

I was done in about 3 hrs; I really need my machine back.

The waistband was a little uneven since I did it all by hand, but considering my sewing skills, it would’ve been a little uneven with a machine, so let’s go with it.


I can tuck a shirt in and wear it like an empire-waist dress, as it was originally made.


Or I can leave the shirt over the skirt.

Either way, I think it looks great! I’m so excited to have this skirt in rotation.

Bouncing Bowling Balls (No Kidding)

Last night Good Man and I went bowling again.

Good Man’s ball bounced out of the gutter and struck a pin four times last night. I know that if you follow the rules, these pins don’t count. But I gave them to him.

The one time my ball bounced out of the gutter, it went between the two pins I needed to get. Dammit.

I am more convinced than ever than the lanes are not very well kept. Last night, after both of our balls were stuck in the return for the third time in as many games (and there were other times we had to bowl with the other person’s ball to get our own balls to come back up), I finally asked to be moved. The guy was very friendly about it and moved me, but we lost a lot of time waiting for the poor mechanic to run back to lane 29 to get our balls out of the return.

At our first location, we were stuck next to a group of teens who kept screaming obscenities at each other when they were up. Yeah, kids, you look like idiots.

At the second location, the teenagers next to us (two couples) spent most of the time draped all over each other. Neither of the girls understood bowling etiquette and one scampered up, lobbed her ball with a resounding thud then squealed while watching it go down the lane just as I was about to release my ball, completely throwing me off.

Once I realized what they were doing, I’d wait a good, long time for them to finally bowl. And just when I thought it was safe, one of the girls would untangle herself from her boyfriend, flounce up, lob her ball again, and squeal.

Fortunately, they left after only two games. Unfortunately, those two games took them forever since they were more interesting in rolling around on top of each other in the chairs than in bowling.

No matter, Good Man and I had a good time. I didn’t score anything near 139 this time, but I averaged 92 over eight games, with three above-100 games of 111, 106, and 105. Good Man averaged 98 and his above-100s were 103, 132 (!) and 106. He won four games and I won four games.

August 15th Garden Update: What the Heck Is That?

So it’s been four weeks since my last garden update.

The same coworker took care of my plants while we were in Florida and did a good job. However, before we left, the cosmos, marigolds, and poppies up and died. I staked my pepper plants before I left, which helped them when we had some strong storms.

I also realized that my biggest pepper plants were getting just a fraction more of light each day, so I rearranged things to move the smaller plants. They shot up in size. Next year, the peppers will all go on the brightest side of the deck and the herbs will all go on the other side.

Before we get to the mostly good, let’s go over the “What the Heck Is That?” portion of our garden tour.

The hitchhiker plant became covered overnight in some whitish covering. It looked like bird poop with black lines in it. Seen from the underside of the leaves, they looked almost like seeds or eggs. I did find what appears to be a spider, as well.

What the Heck Is That?

About a third of the leaves were covered. Since it looked ugly (as in these-things-will-hatch-and-destroy-your-garden-in-minutes ugly), I whacked them all off and trashed them.

The basil is mostly doing fine, as is the sesame.


Sesame Leaves

The dill is happily seeding along.


The peppers are doing OK. Most appear to be doing fine, but there’s a tiny whitish spot near the stem of several. If I take them off the plant when they’re firm but not red, they seem fine. If I leave them to ripen, they rot.

The peppers are really spicy. We had one with a samgyeopsal dinner several nights ago and Good Man yelled, “Ah! A-bomb!”


Long Greens

The mint is flowering and I really need to whack it down.


The basils are out of control. I have got to make a huge batch of pesto and freeze it, because they’re all flowering and the leaves are going to taste bitter soon.

Sweet Basil

Thai Basil

Eating Children’s Fingers

“I wonder if the people upstairs moved. Their kid doesn’t seem to be as noisy any longer,” I said.

“Maybe they ate children’s fingers,” Good Man replied.


“Maybe they ate children’s fingers.”

“I have no idea what that means.”

Good Man sighed. “I don’t know either.”

“Do you know why I married you?”

Good Man grinned. “Because I am comedian?”

“Yep, exactly.”

I’m Not Sure You Can Claim to Speak the Language If You Don’t Know “I’m Sorry”

“Do you speak Korean?”

I hate that question.

I have no idea how to quantify it, so I usually say, “I speak enough Korean to get myself in and out of trouble.” Or, “I speak enough Korean to deal with my mother-in-law when my husband’s not around.” Or, “I’m studying, but I’m not very good.”

I qualify things like that so I don’t end up looking like the chick we ran into on the way home from the airport, on the Super Shuttle. I don’t usually pay attention if people claim to speak a language but really don’t. This time, I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing.

There was some girl that the driver seemed to know. He was chatting with her about her trip (she’d gone to Japan).

He asked if she spoke any Japanese and she said she did when her father was alive, her husband spoke Japanese, and she knew a lot of slangy Japanese from her family in Japan and she could communicate with them.

OK, so I was sort of eavesdropping, of course, because they were the only people speaking, so it was hard not to, and because a white-looking girl speaking any Asian language is unusual.

So the driver asked her how to say “thank you” in Japanese.

And she couldn’t tell him.

He asked her how to say “excuse me” or “I’m sorry,” and she couldn’t tell him.

He said a friend had taught him some phrases. He’d say them and she’d say she wasn’t sure because she didn’t really know how to say it. She kept sort of pronouncing things and then claiming she didn’t know the phonics.

The lyrics “domo arigato, Mr Roboto” kept running through my head and I wondered what she and her family “communicated” about.

Since she was failing at Japanese, she said she spoke French. Apparently she didn’t know the driver’s native language was French. So he started speaking French to her.

“Well, you know, I haven’t studied it in a long time,” she said, “but I know Spanish, too.”

So he switched to Spanish. You can guess the outcome of that.

It was a little embarrassing to witness.