Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trip to the doctor

Weston had a rash when he woke up this morning, and he has been grumpy and lethargic for a couple of days. He has had a little fever, a sore throat, no appetite and this morning he said the light hurt his eyes. So when we saw the rash we decided to go to the doctor. We have a new pediatrician here- the doctors are mostly here on one year assignments so they come and go pretty quickly. We saw the previous one only once, for Shane's one year appointment. We haven't had to use military doctors before and I haven't been expecting much, but the new doctor is really, really great. She explained directly to Weston what she was doing, and asked his permission to listen to his heart, and let him 'help' her by opening the tongue depressor package.

Before she did her examinations, checking his eyes or ears or throat with the little tools, she asked if he ever had anyone do that before and he kept saying no. Then she asked how long it had been since he had been sick. I didn't know what she was getting at so I asked if she meant really sick, because I can't remember him being sick beyond the usual crud for years. She said she meant the last time he had been on antibiotics. When I told her he had never had any antibiotics, she actually asked me if we took him to his yearly appointments.

They did a throat culture for strep and we haven't gotten a call on that, so I assume it's negative. The doctor said he had a virus and to bring him back if his eyes keep bothering him. He can go to school tomorrow if he feels like it. Shane doesn't seem to have gotten it, but he's been grumpy for a week or more with some big teeth coming in, so who can tell? Not me, but oh yeah, I'm a Bad Mommy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bad Mommy pants

Don't these totally look like Children's Department of Corrections pants, with the big 'CDC' stamped across the butt? CDC actually stands for Child Development Center, which is a very fancy name for daycare or what we call "school" at our house. These are the pants that Shane wore home yesterday. What I am trying to figure out is why it is necessary to write 'CDC' in permanent marker on the butt. Do these look like pants I would steal? Maybe, at one time, when the CDC got them, they were super cute pink sweatpants and they thought they might be just a little too tempting for some fashion conscious mom. But I think this is the CDC's version of the scarlett letter: Bad Mommy! No bring extra pants! Everybody see! They probably think they are being subtle by not actually writing BAD MOMMY on there, but I'm on to them.

Laundry ball versus Lactating Pig

Oink, oink! I know I threw you off with the title, but I'm not talking about myself. Really. You may recall that I was suspicious that the cleaning effects of the laundry ball were a result of the mechanical bashing as the washer agitated, and if so, any hard object placed in the washer should have the same results. Enter the lactating pig. The piglets are absent, whether at truffle sniffing school or the bacon factory, she's not saying, and since she's shoat-free I figured she had plenty of time in between her pedicures and bonbon binges to help out in the laundry room. So I tossed her into the washer, and the results are in: Pig out, laundry ball in. I just couldn't stand all the noise in the washer. That, and I already have enough lactating pig milk on my clothes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The laundry ball is vindicated

The most recent laundry trials have established that clothes washed with the laundry ball are, in fact, cleaner than those washed in just water. But I have to say, I would be satisfied with the water cleaned clothes. I was really surprised; I thought the clothes washed in just water would be really disgusting. To think, all this time I could have been skipping the detergent and just using stain remover as needed. And, now I'm wondering if I need soap at all. I have read about people who don't use soap or shampoo and I always thought they were a little too crunchy for me but maybe they're onto something. If just water works on clothes, why not on skin and hair?

And another thing: perhaps the laundry ball effect is merely a result of the ball being bashed around in there, beating on the clothes, much like our ancestors beat their animal pelt overalls on rocks in the river. Maybe I should try washing some loads with rocks, or dishes, or plastic toys to see if they can match the performance of the laundry ball.

Batman rules

This afternoon Lloyd and I went to 'Dark Knight' and it was the very first movie I have ever seen in a military theater. The building was a weird mix of movie theater and military facility. It has really great rocking purple seats with cupholders but they're all jammed really close together. The building seats 871 people but the ladies room has two stalls. It is used not only for movies, but for town hall meetings and various briefings and ceremonies.

There was a big long line and the theater was filled. When the lights went dark, everyone stood up for the Korean National Anthem video (full of Korean people working in fields, performing athletic events and dancing), and then the 'Star Spangled Banner' played while they showed planes flying at all the Pacific Air Forces bases. Then a short preview, no 'please turn off your cell phones' or dancing popcorn commercials, and the movie played.

The movie was really good, but full of non-gory violence. Right around us there were four small children, one as young as four or five. I expected at least one of them to start screaming but none of them did. I'm pretty sure they will all have nightmares tonight, though. Who would take a little kid to see this? Heath Ledger is really great as the joker and was definitely a crowd favorite. They cheered when he kills his first victim in a gruesome pencil impalement; I'm really not sure why. The movie is not only good entertainment, but it makes some interesting points.


The local corn is still not ripe.

The painting has gone back to the shop.

I am conducting more laundry ball tests. I had a disturbing thought. What if the laundry ball does nothing except trick me and I could be getting the same good results just by washing with water alone?! I have a matching pair of filthy socks to test so stay tuned!

Lloyd and I are going to see 'Dark Knight' this afternoon. I can't remember the last time we saw a movie in the theater so we are very excited.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The magical, mystical laundry ball

I just got my new laundry ball today and I LOVE it!!!! This thing is so cool! I had never heard of them but I was searching for tips on cleaning cloth diapers and found someone raving about it on her blog. It came today and I have been testing it all day. The picture shows a ratty old t-shirt I cut in half and stained with blueberries, coffee and ink, then cut in half. I washed half in a load with the laundry ball and the other half with All Free Clear, after treating both halves with Zout, which is similar to spray and wash. The circled stain you see on the laundry ball shirt was old, so that one doesn't count. The pen marks on the All shirt are also still visible, but they don't show up well on the picture; they are up by the shoulder under the words. The laundry ball did better with the coffee and blueberries, while the All did do a little better with the pen marks. The clothes done with the laundry ball smell like pure nothing, even a shirt I ran through that had a little mildewy smell from sitting in the washer a day or so longer than strictly necessary. So it's definitely a must buy! $26 for one or $48 for two, and each will do a minimum of 1500 washes. So that will last me.... let's see.... multiply loads per day times seven, carry the four, yeah, here it is: roughly three weeks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good times

This is a photo of the back of our playgroup building on a beautiful sunny day a few months ago. Today, my friend Sara and I met with our kids to clean it up so we can put some planters and some outdoor toys out there. Sara has four kids, and the youngest one is just one day older than Shane.

Today was not a beautiful sunny day. Today, we got several inches of rain, and the whole scene was flooded with approximately 8 inches of water. In pouring down rain, we hauled out two filthy, heavy tarps and filled a dumpster with rotten straw. With our hands and an alarming pointy stick we found in the storage room, and with our babies strapped to our backs. A few words about the straw: in the photo, it looks like nice, fresh, golden sheaves, devoid of any animal life. In reality, it was home to teeming hordes of enormous worms. Like in Tremors. Fortunately, the water was high enough so that the rats had already deserted for a drier, more pleasant location, like Atlantis.

That's all for now, I have to go boil my hands in lysol.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Potty time

I recently got out Weston's old potty, because Shane has been deliberately peeing on the floor every time his diaper is off. It has been sitting in the hall outside the bathroom for several days and I have occasionally put him on it and gotten nothing for my efforts. Tonight, he had his diaper off and he walked over, lifted the lid, sat down and peed! Then Weston dumped the pee in the toilet and brought the little bucket back. Shane put it back in the seat and slammed the lid with a satisfying 'thunk'. He was very pleased with himself. Then, I put him on it later and he peed again! Then, just as I was feeling justifiably smug about my superior potty training skills, he pooped on the floor. Plop, plop, plop, just like Hansel and Gretel leaving a little trail to find their way back home. Hey, they should have thought of that; the birds never would have eaten that trail! Bread crumbs, how stupid!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I really think there are no words required.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The moment you've all been waiting for....

Without further ado, here is the painting. I have to say, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. It is, however, very large. And, we discovered it does not have one of the agreed-upon modifications: a third ship, smoldering and foundering in the background. I'm not sure if Lloyd plans to take it back for alterations (revisions? restroking? insertions? Not sure of the correct terminology, or if such terminology exists). Also, we do not have the necessary hardware to hang it on the wall. So for now, it has found a happy home in the laundry room, propped up by a gallon of antifreeze. Hehehehehe.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yes, I did know that.

Lloyd is on a health kick lately. He has become very boring. Green tea instead of coffee, no red meat, no wine, and entirely too many vegetables. He has taken to reading nutrition labels and is shocked by the calories and fat in his favorite foods. I went to the commissary the other day and bought a bag of salt and pepper potato chips and I am totally addicted to them. They only come in a huge bag so I try not to buy them, but I was hungry when I was at the store yesterday and blah, blah, blah, I came home with them. I was thrusting fistfulls into my mouth today and Lloyd looked up the bag and exclaimed, "Did you know that 15 chips have 150 calories?!" I think he actually expected that upon learning this startling fact, I would immediately spit them out and start doing pushups in penance. Then, he looked at the bag of chocolates that had jumped into my cart and said, "Did you know if I ate this whole bag, it would be more calories than I should have for the WHOLE day?" Huh, who knew? I'll tell you who knew. Any American girl over the age of twelve, that's who. Even one with no food issues. Like me. Unless you consider stuffing your gullet with chips as fast as you can a food issue. Which it's NOT. But that's a rant against society for another day. I just heard that I can get my whole day's calories just by eating one small bag of chocolates, and I'm a big fan of efficiency, so if you'll excuse me....

The masterpiece has arrived

Lloyd picked up his painting today from the shop. I'm not sure when the big unveiling will be but I am all aquiver with anticipation. I will put up a picture as soon as possible. In the meantime, this photo is of the very alarming painting outside the gallery. Is it just me, or does the woman look like she has a combined shoulder and elbow, or shelbow, if you will?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tiny Bubbles

I am loving this video thing! And it is so easy- I just take the video with my digital camera and download it exactly the same way I do still photos. I didn't even have to try to find the book; it worked perfectly the first time. This one is of the boys playing on the deck in the rain, and then a circuit around the living room. We have a tropical storm coming and are supposed to have heavy winds and rain later in the weekend. Weston cracked me up when I suggested we go out and blow bubbles. We got a big bag of videos from one of Lloyd's friends the other day and Weston had been watching them for quite a while, so I got out the bubbles and told him we were going outside to play. We went to the door, and he looked out and said in disbelief, "It's CRAZY to go out on a day like this!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Video is here!

Thanks to my friend Anna Jane, I can put video up now. I haven't figured out how to turn it so you'll have to crane your neck to see this one but next time I'll have it oriented properly. This is Shane playing with the mop. He loves to play with the mop and broom and dashes into the laundry room any time the door is open to get them. Weston is feeling better today and went to school. That is all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

News flash: Not all scrapbooks have drops of wine and chocolate smears!

I went to craft night last night and learned a hard lesson on what a novice scrapbooker I am. In fact, I think it is pretentious to call myself a scrapbooker after seeing what everyone else was working on. More realistically, I could be termed a 'crappy baby-book maker' or 'sloppy picture gluer'. My friend Kristie organized the event, and in the words of one of the other attendees, I was sitting at the feet of Yoda. My 'skills' make me more like the stupidest Ewok. With a cast. And a patch over one eye. But I did get a few pages for Shane's book done, and I met some new friends, so it was a rousing success.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Random events

My USB cable has been miraculously rehabilitated. I guess. Anyway, it works today. But somehow, it has been set to take low quality photos, so now I will have to either remember how to change the setting (very taxing), or find the book (virtually impossible) or take crappy pictures until the camera dies (most likely). For proof, here is a photo of the vacuum cleaner trials.

In other news, part of the ceiling in the hallway outside our door has fallen down. It has been getting more and more waterlogged, greeny-gray and gravid over the last week or so, and now it's laying in clumpy chunks on the ground.

Weston is sick; he has a fever and is sleeping on the couch. Shane feels great so he went to school with Lloyd. As they were leaving, I was thinking that was the first time Shane and Lloyd have gone anywhere by themselves. I said, "Bye, bye Shane, have fun at school!" and he didn't even turn around.

And, finally, I recently discovered and am reading a story about Chandra Levy this morning. I am really out of the loop here; I never watch the news (Lloyd was shocked, simply shocked that I didn't recognize pictures of Tony Snow), but apparently Gary Condit has just lost a lawsuit related to the case, causing some renewed interest. You would think he would have enough sense to just shut up and realize he caused all of his own 'misfortune' with his bad behavior, lying, and obstruction of justice. But I guess he is not quite as smart as me, even though the bar is low.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A tale of two vacuums

Ever since we got here, we have been using a loaner vacuum and it really sucks (hahahahahaha, I crack myself up). I have been keeping my eyes peeled for one, especially since we moved on base and actually have carpet, but no luck. Today I was at the thrift store and saw a Hooverific blue beauty for $10. I toted it home and waited for Lloyd to come home so I could show it off. He was helping one of his friends move out today, so I wasn't super surprised to hear him come in a little early. I was surprised when he pulled in a sucktastic green machine, that he got for FREE. Drat! They are both nice looking vacuums, so we set up a test to decide which one we like best. The floor was unusually clean so we actually had to scatter sawdust (from the bird house construction) and cheerios all over the floor. I have some photos of Lloyd conducting the tests but the computer says there is something wrong with my camera cable. Very distressing.

What, you want to know who won? Okay, okay: they are both excellent vacuum cleaners and we decided to keep them both! You can never have too many vacuum cleaners, you know.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Room for rent: 1 BR, great view, luxurious perch

Here is the new birdhouse! Lloyd and Weston worked on it all morning. The final touch was the perch. Weston found it outside and carefully placed it in the hole on the front of the birdhouse. Then he said, I'm so proud of myself!" Now he wants to find a baby bird to put in it. Hence the ad in the Avian Daily Times.

Friday, July 11, 2008


The other day at the thrift store (don't you love how all my stories start like that? I should call this 'Stories from the thrift store!) I was talking with two other volunteers about someone we know who is pregnant and doesn't want to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. One of them said that with one of her kids she HAD to know because the baby was going to be born when her husband was gone and she wanted to have a name and have everything all ready. This passed without comment from anyone else and I didn't even think about it until later.

Lloyd was gone for the last half of my pregnancy with Shane, and he didn't make it home in time. He missed the birth by 6 hours and 55 minutes. Not that I counted. I drove myself to the hospital and had him by myself. When I got to the hospital, I rang the bell and the nurse came to unlock the door and let me in, and she kept peering out into the dark behind me to see who was coming with me. Usually if I tell this story to people who are not military spouses, they are horrified; they actually gasp sometimes. They feel entitled to have their husbands present at their deliveries. If I tell it to a military spouse, I get the same reaction as if I'd told them I ran out of eggs this morning. To them, it's just a part of everyday life, and everyone does it.

What we're reading

At the thrift store the other day, I found a partial set of the 'Little House' books. We already had 'Farmer Boy', and now we have 'Little House in the Big Woods', 'On the Banks of Plum Creek', 'By the Shores of Silver Lake', and 'The Long Winter'. We have been reading some of the 'My First Little House' books to Weston and he really likes them, and so I've started reading some of the 'real' ones. They're not quite as warm and fuzzy and innocuous as I remember them, however. Little House in the Big Woods starts with a chapter about the giant wolves in the dark outside the little house, and Farmer Boy starts with a murdered schoolteacher and a violent horsewhipping scene in the schoolhouse. I just improvise through those parts. Instead of 'Bill's trousers were cut through, his shirt was slashed, his arms bleeding from the bite of the lash...', I read: 'Bill was a very naughty boy and Mr. Corse sent him to the back of the class to think about what he did wrong while the rest of the class picked flowers and sang songs."

Also very popular with Weston lately is a book Aunt Ellen and Uncle Rey sent him- it's a very funny version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. When Goldilocks gets the too-hot porridge she says 'Patooie!' and spats it out. Weston thinks this is hilarious for some reason and has us read it over and over and over. Shane has been listening to stories now, too. Until recently he would just amuse himself while we were reading but now he pays attention.

I am reading two books: 'When Men Become Gods' about Warren Jeffs, and 'School of Dreams' by Edward Humes. I am enjoying both and would have some commentary on them but I am too tired right now. Shane has been waking up before 4 all week and he won't go back to sleep. He has a big bump on his lower jaw and I think the tooth is bothering him. And I know it's bothering me. And Lloyd. And the neighbors.

Lloyd has been reading up on root cellars, seed storage and raising goats and chickens. But he is tired of reading and planning and wants to DO. So this weekend he and Weston are going to make some birdhouses.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The menagerie in C

Crikey! The count of critter-containing contraptions crowding the kitchen counter is quickly climbing. Crap! The crystal clear cube with a cobalt cover contains caterpillars, cleverly captured consuming copious quantities of crops. Cads! Karma: creeping curtailed; confined cocoons! Comments?

Why, no, Martha hasn't been here, but thanks for asking!

This is our new tropical-themed living room and deck area. When we moved in, there were vertical blinds over the patio door, but they kept falling down, so we stashed them in the laundry room. I found this fabric at the thrift store and we had the curtains finished downtown. The rattan mats around the deck cost 9,000 won (about $9) and Lloyd fastened them with plastic zip-ties. Now, we can walk around in our underwear, and the kids sit out there and eat chalk and dirt and pick their noses and no one will be the wiser!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Insect Safari

Happy 6th of July from Korea! We had a nice 4th but missed all the usual festivities. We went back to the park with the hiking trails in the morning. Weston took his binoculars and bug jar, and collected a few specimens, along with 4,763 mosquito bites. There were a bunch of school kids out for a hike while we were there and they were so cute! They were little, maybe about five, and there were dozens of them. Later in the day, the base had a 'Liberty Fest' with performances, bouncy castles, food and displays. Weston and I went while Lloyd and Shane rested. Weston was especially interested in the EOD bomb disposal robot. When it got dark, there was a nice fireworks display and we were able to watch it right from our windows.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I can't believe I missed an entire store!

We have been here over eight months now. I have been to the BX approximately four billion times. The BX is not large. Today I was in the BX for the four billion and first time. I saw a man wheeling a dolly filled with salmon oil in the opposite direction. I whipped around and followed him, because salmon oil is one of the things I haven't been able to get here. I followed him all the way to the GNC store I had NEVER SEEN, a total of about 200 feet, where there is a whole shelf of fish oil, including the very brand of children's DHA that I have been buying online. While the store mostly stocks body building powder and various not-yet-banned weight loss concoctions, it also has vitamins and natural remedies. Tomorrow I plan to poke around in the ladies room- maybe I can find a Target.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Will someone please poke me in the eye with a sharp stick?

Please, I beg of you! Someone, anyone? Lloyd is buying 'art'. Yeah, yeah, yeah, blindness is no joke, blah blah blah. My apologies to all the blind people reading my oh-so-popular blog. Now, if I may continue. Lloyd and I have TOTALLY different tastes in, well, everything. We never, ever like the same furniture, housewares, decorative items, clothes or anything else. Marital fealty prevents me from fully exploring my true feelings about Lloyd's taste in art here, so let's just let Lloyd's own words speak for themselves.

But first, a little background: Lloyd has commissioned a local artist to paint a picture of an epic naval battle, circa 1700's. He has been down at the gallery at least twice a week, giving direction: A little more tattering on the sail, please, and there's not quite enough orange in the cannon fire, and so on. The artist doesn't seem to be annoyed by this, but I guess when you are a big-shot art patron paying over a hundred smackers for a custom piece, the sky's the limit, right?

A word about the gallery- outside, as advertising, they show paintings done from photos. The paintings remind me of the 'King of Queens' episode where Deacon and Kelly give Doug and Carrie a hideous painting of themselves (Doug and Carrie, that is) for their anniversary. Doug's teeth are huge, and Carrie's arm is freakishly misshapen. Doug and Carrie hate it so much that they stage a robbery to get rid of it.

And now, here's Lloyd:

"The artist used to paint in New York and he said this size painting would sell for $19,000!" So I guess we're getting a real bargain. I didn't know paintings were sold by the square inch.

"I told him that it had to be just right because we're going to hang it in a place of honor and pass it down from generation to generation!" Forget the sharp stick; just put me out of my misery entirely.

And, the absolute worst, the one that sent chills down my spinet: "I'm going to get him to do another one, this one of a New England scene!" When I suggested maybe we get a New England scene from a New England artist, he said, "But do you know how much that would cost?" Umm, no, let me get out my measuring tape and calculator and figure it out!

On sharing

I am really impressed with how kind and caring and generous Weston can be. Not with the ponies, of course, or chocolate, but with other things: rutabagas, lima beans, toenail clipping, and shots. He's so eager to share with Shane! I must be a really good parent to instill such great values in him.

No, I am totally kidding. But he is such a sweet kid! He has a mouse nest that Grandpa and Grandma sent him, and he loves it. He says he is going to keep it until he finds some mice without a home, and then he will give it to them. And last night he was helping me make salad. He washed and spun the spinach, and then washed the cherry tomatoes and took the stems off. He left some in the container and when I told him to put them all in, he said we were saving those to share with people who didn't have any. It was so sweet it brought a tear to my eye. And then he pushed Shane down and ripped a truck out of his hands. And that's not the worst part. The worst part is the little teeny smirk and the evil glint in his eye.

Update on Romeo

Romeo is named Theodore Bear. 6 lbs 12 oz, 19 inches and perfect! He looks just like his big sister did when she was born.