Tuesday, September 30, 2008
For Weston's birthday, I am planning a solar cake system: a small yellow cake for a sun, then cupcake 'planets'. I have two problems for which I am seeking assistance. The most pressing issue, of course, is how many freaking planets are there? And running a close second: how do I construct a Saturn cupcake? I welcome any suggestions, so send me your clever ideas! Weston and Hannah are waiting.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Weston has all these books about space and most of them predate Pluto's demotion, so we have been very careful to tell him that Pluto isn't a planet even if some books show it that way. This made us feel very smug and up to date on the latest planetary happenings.
Yesterday, he was wondering if Phobos has any volcanoes, Phobos being one of Mars' moons. In the course of looking it up, I discovered there are now eleven planets! What, you say?!?!?!? Yeah, me too! What are these extra three planets and how did they get into our solar system?!?!? As luck would have it, I was at the library yesterday afternoon and saw a new book called '11 Planets A New View of the Solar System'. I snapped it up and got the 411 on the planets.
WELL, it turns out that after considerable heated debate in astronomy circles, Pluto, Ceres and Eris are now considered dwarf planets. So eight (regular planets) plus three (dwarf planets) equals eleven planets. What, you never heard of Ceres or Eris? Me neither, but apparently they have been around quite a while. Ceres was actually discovered long ago and considered the fifth planet out for quite some time. Eris was discovered in 2003; you'd think I might have noticed. So that's eleven. For sure. The book says so and everything.
But, wait, that's not the end of the story! You'd think I might have learned not to be smug, but no. I thought I was right on top of it, until I was writing this, and I discovered there are two more dwarf planets: Haumea and Makemake, and to make it more complicated, some of the dwarf planets are considered plutoids. So, let's see: that's eleven plus two, so thirteen. But do I minus the four plutoids, back to nine? I'm so confused; seriously, I would have no idea how to answer if someone asked me how many planets there are. And don't even get me started on how many moons Jupiter has! I guess I will have to wait until Weston is a space scientist to find out for sure.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Today, I got several glimpses of Weston's emerging sense of humor, and I have just two words for you: not funny. We went out to the park to play with his new birthday rocket this morning, and we split up on the way home so I could pick up the mail. Lloyd and the boys went directly home, or so they said. We were testing Lloyd's handheld radios, so they knew where I was the whole time. As I rounded a corner near the O' club, they jumped out and shouted, 'Bang!' Now, this is the kind of thing I have grown to expect and tolerate (barely) from Lloyd, but I was surprised by Weston's enthusiastic participation. He was doubled over, and there is no other word for it, he was chortling. He laughed all the way home as I scowled and tried to explain that we would have to agree to disagree about what was funny. He kept saying, "But we thought it was funny!"
Then, this afternoon, he started making poop jokes. He asked me repeatedly, "Are we having poop for dinner?", and then he would laugh uncontrollably and roll around on the fair. Again, not funny. Well, not funny to me. But a boy wearing earmuffs and no pants vacuuming the floor? Now, that's funny.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I fear I have been depriving you of tales from the thrift store lately. In an attempt to make amends, here are some pictures of my latest finds. The purse is an authentic fake Coach, in excellent condition. I am especially excited about the black and burgundy jacket, and I found a j jill knit skirt that matches it nicely. My friend Jennifer says it looks like a cow who wandered into the Kool-Aid factory, but I'm pretty sure she is just jealous. And, the last picture is of some winter things I have found for the boys.
We get some really great things at the thrift store, and some things that are just really weird. Lately I have seen a remote control tarantula, a bag full of ketchup and soy sauce packets, and a whole bag full of mismatched socks.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Watch mom make marinade and ask to help. After marinade is completed per Grandpa's recipe, take fork and carefully poke holes in chicken to tenderize. When mom leaves the room for split second, add 1 bottle of water and 1 box of raisins to marinade. Continue stabbing chicken and splash marinade in large circle on kitchen floor. Act annoyed when instructed that when helping mom cook, directions must be followed exactly. Insist that the new marinade is better, then request 8 bazillion stories about outer space.
Monday, September 22, 2008
One of the ideas was to have a marital communication seminar, because the active duty people here work a lot, and the spouses sometimes get the short end of the stick, so to speak. For example, active duty members get time for PT during their work day, but it's hard for us spouses to find time to work out, so we thought it would be great if we could have our own PT time, complete with our own jodies, which are the cadences that military members chant when they run. I'm not especially clever at poetry, but I thought I'd give it a try:
We hear you say, you have to fly
You'll be at work real late
Whatever you say, get out of our way
We've got a busy day!
Hit the store, get the mail
Then go out and play
Clean, lunch, naps, read
There's always more to do
We're the moms of Osan,
Who the hell are you?
If you have a better one, please share!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Welcome back, Welcome back, Welcome back......
Carter came back, and this time he was prepared. Pretty clever, Carter's mom, and it gave me a great idea. If you'll look closely you can see that there is plenty of room next to the Shout Wipes on his back for his SCRUB issued cleaning supplies: Windex on the right, Pledge on the left, and a roll of paper towels wrapped around the waist. And maybe a helmet with a toilet brush strapped to it. I'm picturing something like this.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
One of the first things we need to do is a get a composter going, because we are going to need a lot of good dirt as quickly as possible. It will have to be the enclosed drum-type because we can't have any smells or rats. Besides the ones that are already here, I mean. I haven't seen anything local, so we will probably have to figure out a way to get one shipped from the states, though I am going to investigate further. I'm sure it will be a bit of a challenge, so I need some help from y'all: Does anyone have suggestions for brands or types of composters and/or have a contact in the composting industry?
Also, I will cheerfully accept donations of kids' gardening supplies (gloves, books, tools). If you have things laying around you no longer use, please send them my way! In fact, I'll give an authentic Korean prize for every donation.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
What are you, crazy? Don't you read my blog???? Oh, you do? And you're still going to let your kid come stay at my house? Okay, then, better stock up on the Spray and Wash. And something for the clothes, too.
One of the really great things about living at Osan is our babysitting co-op. It is awesome; there is always someone who can babysit, even on short notice. Weston and Shane love it when some of the other kids come over. The other day we had Carter, a little redheaded cutie-pie, over for an hour or so. He arrived in a natty little matching shirt and shorts, crisp and clean. He had a diaper bag with his name on it, filled with healthy snacks. Weston had another friend over and we were making cinnamon rolls. I had a chunk of dough for each kid so they could all make their own roll with raisins, cinnamon sugar and chocolate chips, but I guess Carter and Shane were a little young for the sous chef assignment, because they both just started stuffing the dough in their mouths. A scant hour later, when Carter went home, he had green marker streaked on his shirt, arms and legs. He had a cinnamon sugar goatee, melted chocolate under his fingernails and a bellyfull of dough. I hope we'll see him again but I'm not holding my breath. And there's plenty of other kids around here to dirty up.
Monday, September 15, 2008
And, one more t-shirt design. This one is from Stefan, my fabulously talented brother-in-law. I like it, but I'm a little concerned about one thing. Is it just me or does this shirt make breastmilk look really scary in a glowing, evil way? I'm thinking I'd like to convey breastmilk as warm and nurturing, instead of a terrifying burst of liquid DEATH.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Later, while I was getting Shane to sleep, Weston emptied a box of Triscuits and carefully placed them up and down the hallway, 'to add them'. I came out and told him I didn't want to see any more Triscuits on the floor, and then Shane started to fuss. I went back in to get Shane back to sleep, and when I came out, Weston had moved on from Triscuits to pages torn from relatively important documents. He called these his 'menus'. Shane didn't sleep long, and when he got up, I took off his diaper to change it. As soon as he was naked, he took off down the hall, selected his favorite menu, and peed about a gallon right on top of it.
Earlier in the week, I turned my back on Weston for about a jillionth of a second and he made a 'popsicle' in a glass out of water, applesauce, and a chunk of butter. He put a straw in it for a stick and it remains in the freezer. Anyone want to come over for a nice, cool treat? And for your reading pleasure, you can enjoy the alphabet, in big red chalky letters on our living room wall. I really think he's clever; I just wish sometimes he would be showcase his brilliance elsewhere.
Friday, September 12, 2008
This is the new, improved 'Milk Maid' nursing t-shirt. All in all, much better. Nice job, Tommy; udderly mammalicious! But we think we need to add a slogan to make it perfectly clear to even the most casual observer that it is, in fact, a nursing themed t-shirt, so that we can wear them around the base without fear of being misunderstood. The potential for humiliation would be very high. Almost as high as taking Shane to the BX, which hovers around 100%.
Some ideas from breastfeeding support group this morning:
'I make milk; what's your superpower?', and
Any other suggestions?
In honor of Chusok, the upcoming Korean Thanksgiving-type holiday, I am posting some photos from our local downtown area, right outside the Main Gate. I always love to read the signs- what makes me laugh the most is not so much the fractured English, but the bluntness and complete lack of subtlety. The 'Love Shop' sign, for example.
There is a clothing store off one of the alley that sells women's clothes in larger sizes. This should be a really great selling point, because most of the shops sell clothes sized for Korean women, and they are MUCH smaller. You would think the shop would attract a lot of American customers, but their sign says 'We Sell Big Lady Clothes Here' in giant letters. Would you go in there? Nope, me neither.
The last picture is one of the many bag shops here. We will be staying home for Chusok, as they say the traffic jams can be terrible because everyone travels over the holiday to give thanks, celebrate the harvest and honor their ancestors. That's all fine and good, but as for me, I am thankful for a long weekend, funny signs, and knock-off bags!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In a place that had so many surrealistic qualities, the strangest and most eerie to me were the small restaurants and shops turned into supply depots or medical clinics. One place on
There were some truly wonderful things about Ground Zero, as hard as it is to imagine. At the top of that list are the people who lined the streets outside the compound, night after night, cheering, waving signs, and offering bottles of water as we left for the night. There were so many organizations providing food and services for workers- the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Massage Emergency Response Team (MERT), and McDonalds, just to name a few. They cheerfully provided everything from steel-toed boots to clergy to endless cups of coffee, and I will always remember Ground Zero and the people there with mixed emotions.
Our mission was over during the first week of October, when FEMA brought in permanent command posts and administrative staff. I left
I no longer care how much money my husband spends on what I consider unnecessary fishing gear or how many pairs of hundred dollar sunglasses he loses or breaks. I don’t care if a train blocks my route for a half hour. I don’t care if the person in front of me in the express line has more than twelve items. I would like to think I’ve become a nicer, gentler, more patient person. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that my priorities are very different now than they were on September 10th, 2001.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
After we were there a few days, we were tasked by FEMA to provide administrative support to FDNY, consisting of teams of two, 24 hours a day, at each of the four sectors. The administrative team developed and maintained a database of the recoveries. FDNY had maintained a good log from the start, but each sector was keeping its own log, handwritten in a ledger book. It took a few days to get in enough people to meet the new staffing requirement, so I took a shift at Liberty Sector, and one at Church Sector, logging finds. Some of the people doing this really bonded with the firefighters, but I had a very difficult time with this duty. The reports we were logging in were graphic and disturbing. I felt strange logging items with names on them, like credit cards and driver’s licenses, knowing that I was among the first to know that something associated with a missing person had been found. The entire fire department was in such visible pain, and I never knew what to do or say. Church Sector was particularly bad- it was located at Engine 10/Ladder 10, the closest FDNY firehouse to the
I disliked walking around the perimeter of the pile, but it was compelling. The smell was terrible, especially on the east side of the site where the Church and Vesey Sectors were. The smell was a thick combination of decay, ash, smoke, burning chemicals, jet fuel and concrete that I will never forget. At the end of the day, it clung to clothes and felt like a coating on the skin. I was drawn to watch the work going on because the constant activity was amazing; the site changed daily. It reminded me of an anthill; every ant intent on doing his or her job, oblivious to everything else going on. Consolidated Edison fixing power lines; Verizon fixing phone lines and vaults; USAR teams and FDNY searching voids; construction companies clearing and moving debris; engineers assessing buildings; NYPD securing the site; volunteers proving food, cots, showers, phones, counseling and massages; and the endless list goes on.
Another difficult experience was seeing family members of the dead and missing come through the site. They were brought in groups of fifty or so, and there was no mistaking them. Many appeared broken, devastated and raw. Seeing their faces when they looked on the still-smoking pile was unbearable, and I had to turn my head and look the other way. I tried to avoid them as much as possible.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The task of my team was to support the Corps’ Deployable Tactical Operation System (DTOS), deployed to Ground Zero from the Corps District in
The site was covered with tents and trailers, homes to every conceivable organization: FDNY, NYPD, New York/New Jersey Port Authority, EPA, Coast Guard, Urban Search and Rescue, Fire Departments from all over, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and a myriad others. Our immediate neighbors were the EPA, doing regular monitoring of the air quality at the site; a search and rescue team from the
Monday, September 8, 2008
On September 11, 2001, at a little after 6 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, I was on my way to work when I heard the morning show host on KMPS 94.1 FM start talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York City. I immediately thought of a small, single engine plane, then of the B-25 that hit the
I was busy that week, working on a presentation for Corps employees that encouraged them to volunteer for emergency duty. The Emergency Management Branch is a small office, with only eight employees, and it relies on volunteers from other offices to fill emergency missions. Corps emergency missions are most often associated with natural disasters- hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. I am on the Logistics Planning and Response Team (LPRT), and when deployed for a disaster response, we are responsible for tracking commodities and personnel, and for property accountability.
Five days later, I waited in a line of about 1500 people at the United counter at
On the morning of September 17, I got my first glimpse of the ruined site. It was about 6 a.m., still dark, as my team traveled down
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The smell of ground zero was horrible. It hung thick in the air and clung to me. It felt like a film on my skin, and for all I know, it was. It was smoke and jet fuel and decay. The smell and the destruction was in jarring, surreal contrast to the cheerful posters and cards from people all over the world, and the celebrities swerving gourmet food to workers. When I think of it, which is not often, what I get is the smemory and the visits by the grieving family members. They were a good match, the faces and the smell.
I had planned to write a lot more on this, then post it on September 11th, but I realized I already wrote the whole story, so I'm going to post it in chunks, ending on 9/11. I originally wrote it right afterward as a magazine article. It was never published; I can't remember now if I was never happy with it and didn't send it anywhere or if it got rejected. I was tempted to revise it but decided to leave it alone and post it as I originally wrote it, even if I don't love all of it. When I looked at the original story again, I was struck by how similar parts of it are to what I just wrote above, off the top of my head. Tomorrow: Part 1.
This is a late entry to the nursing t-shirt contest. It came from a friend of Sara, who we will call 'Tommy', because that's his name. He definitely gets points for initiative for putting his design on a t-shirt and saving me a step. He is an airbrush artist, and does really nice work on a variety of things. But, I'm not so sure about the design. Sara had the milk maid idea, and Tommy offered to bring her to life. It looks like he got a little carried away in his passionate pursuit of his art and forgot about the actual theme, which is breastfeeding. Not breasts. We can see why he might be confused, so he is going to try again.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Today Lloyd did the 'Osan Do the Du' Sprint Duathalon. It's a 3k run, followed by a 20k bike ride, and it finishes with a 5k run. There were 46 participants. Some of them were obviously hardcore athletes, but a lot of them were the regular Joe/Joelle type, and a couple of them looked downright pudgy. I mean really, look at that one with the orange stroller! She looks like she should be stuffing her face at the BX instead of at a .... Oh, hey, wait a minute! Ummmm, yeah.... never mind.
As I was saying, Lloyd finished in 1:28:58, about in the middle of the group. This photo shows him as he approaches the finish line. The ambulance in the other photo came and went as we were waiting for Lloyd to finish, and I also saw a couple of taxis. I'm pretty sure not everyone arrived back at the finish line under their own locomotion, but I was at the BX eating pizza and drinking hot chocolate in between the start and the finish, so there will be no critical comments from me. Let me just say one thing though: floral bike shorts and a matching navel-baring top are a DON'T, especially if you are a man.
Friday, September 5, 2008
I decided to choose two winners; one for a t-shirt design, and one for the boob-signal. The t-shirt winner is Anna J for 'Breastmilk at Work'. The signal winner is Jennifer M for 'Breastmilk #2'. Ladies, please choose your t-shirts! Your choices are either of the logos, a 'Stories From Korea' t-shirt, or a Korean t-shirt of my choice off the economy (these are often very entertaining).
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
It is pepper season here. The harvest started a few weeks ago. Peppers were laying out everywhere, drying on sheets or boards. Now they've been packed in big bags. These ladies were in the middle of the downtown walkway the other day, working on the bagged peppers. I watched them for a minute, and I believe they were taking the seeds out. Perhaps to make the chili paste that is used in many Korean dishes.
Monday, September 1, 2008
a. attached or single? Attached.
b. best friend? No. I am not a 'best friend' kind of girl.
c. cake or pie? Both. And cookies.
d. day of choice? I don't know. For what?
e. essential items? Books, carmex, wine and chocolate.
f. favorite color(s)? Green, in varying shades.
g. gummy bears or worms? Worms, the sour kind.
h. hometown? Auburn, Washington.
i. favorite indulgence? Thrifting.
j. january or july? January.
k. kids? Yes.
l. life isn't complete without?Books.
m. marriage date? February 10th, 2001
n. number of brothers or sisters? One sister.
o.oranges or apples? Apples, because they are easier, what with all the orange peeling. And the whole keeping the doctor away thing.
p. phobias? No.
q. quotes? 'When you stare into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you'. Or something like that.
r. reasons to smile? Yes.
s. season of choice? Spring and Fall. Not too hot, not too cold.
t. tag 5 people: Tori, Janel, Ann, Anna J, Lauren
u. unknown fact about me? I am a bit of a geek. Oh wait, that is so not unknown.
v. vacation of choice? Deserted coast in the cool season.
w. worst habit? I am messy.
x. xray or ultrasound? What kind of weird question is this? I get that they needed an 'x' question, but come on! If I need either one, please just shoot me.
y. your favorite food? Bread.
z. zodiac sign? Aquarius.
The Colonel's house is lovely. There are delicate, costly Asian art objects on every flat surface. A flight of steep tile stairs. A flighty, spindly-legged expensive looking cat. And a hot glue gun on the dining room floor. No visible grenades or strychnine, so maybe they put the dangerous things away in preparation for our visit.
I probably don't need to tell you that the Colonel and his wife don't have any children. They are very kind and kept saying, "Oh, don't worry, they're fine," as I chased them around with a terrified expression on my face. Believe me when I say they were not fine. If I so much as blinked, we would have all been knee deep in blood, cat fur and shards of glass. Finally, blessedly, Shane started getting tired, and really wailing, so I could haul him out of there and take him home. Lloyd and Weston came home later with a carload of leftovers, so we have been eating yummy party snacks all day. Weston is almost ready for bed, but he wanted one more snack: "You know, the brownies from the Corner's house!"