Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Giveaway clarification

Okay, I'm getting a little bit frustrated here. I guess I was just not quite clear that there is a choice of gifts, not just a thrift store gift. Maybe I need a bloggy time-out. So I will try again:

Leave a comment on the Giveaway post telling whether you are a thrift shop fan or not so much. Then, if you win, I know whether you want the thrift shop bonanza or the alternate gift. If you cannot leave a comment, email one to, and I will put it in the comment field for you. The winner will be chosen by matching a random number to a comment number. If your comment number matches the random number, you win, and I will send you the appropriate gift.

I need to go lay down now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Giveaway! Updated instructions

*I was informed this morning that it was not clear on how to enter the giveaway, so I am updating to clarify that, and to extend the deadline to Wednesday morning, Osan Standard Time. To enter, simply leave a comment in the comments section telling me if you are a thrift store lover or not. I will choose a winner by generating a random number, and finding the comment number that matches it. If you are unable to leave a comment, you can also enter by emailing me at

Being unafraid to blatantly rip off a good idea, I am having a holiday giveaway here at Stories From Korea. A couple of blogs I read regularly, Crunchy Chicken and A Little Pregnant, are giving away great gifts right now. Crunchy has a $75 Amazon card and Julie has Joe's Jeans.

Now, my gift isn't going to be quite THAT fabulous. I'm on a budget, my friends; paintings of battling ships on stormy seas don't grown on Korean trees, you know. But, fear not: I've become quite thrifty of late, what with my laundry ball and my duffel bags of booty from the 1.39/lb store, and I have a fantastic idea for a super but not-quite-so-extravagant gift. On Monday, I will be back at the thrift store and there will be WEEKS worth of goodies I haven't seen! The gift will be a collection of the best trinkets the thrift store has to offer. And, if you're not someone who has grown to appreciate thrift store goodies, I think you are, well, sadly misguided, but this is a discrimination free zone, and there will be an alternate gift.

To enter, just leave a comment telling me if you're a thrift store lover, or not so much. Don't worry, I won't hold it against you. The winner will be chosen at random whenever I get around to it on Wednesday morning, Osan Standard Time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I kind of like being crazy

I did, indeed, reorganize my kitchen cabinets. The 'after' photo might not look appreciably different to you, but now like items are all together. Tea and coffee, snacks, baking supplies, cereals, pasta and beans, and canned goods all have a designated place. I haven't labeled the shelves but I am thinking that's a pretty good idea.

And I didn't stop there: I also scrubbed the inside and outside of the coffee maker, and cleaned the gunk off the outside of the blender, probably for the first time in my entire life. I still have no idea why, but I'm starting to get used to it. Lloyd and I have both been marginally more careful to keep things clean when we cook and eat.

Reckon I should do the refrigerator/freezer? I was going to post a picture of my linen closet, too, but that is too embarrassing even for me.

Guest Post from...... LLOYD!

Some photos of a Nov 2008 Montana hunt from our cabin. Plenty of venison for all-

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I must be crazy

When we got home the other day, I was disappointed that the house wasn't clean and organized. We had done a lot of work before we left- making sure the laundry and dishes were done, the garbage was out, the counters and floors were clean and clear of clutter, and the sinks were empty. I guess I somehow thought the magic fairies might have come during our absence to scrub the tubs, make the beds, steam clean the carpets and couches, and organize the cupboards and closets.

Sadly, that was not the case. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the house was in exactly the same lousy condition it was when we left! But all of a sudden, this simply won't do. For some reason, I have suddenly become obsessed with sorting and organizing and have been doing it non-stop. Despite being sick, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived, apparently I have determined that these tasks I have neglected for months are worth spending my limited energy on. Weird, huh? It's kind of similar to the late-pregnancy nesting phenomenon. If I didn't know better FOR SURE, I would be utterly terrified right now. But I do know better, so I am just puzzled.

The only thing I can think of is that I just don't want to put all my new goodies in messy closets. Today, I want to clean the kitchen cabinets. As you can see in the pictures, I don't really have designated places for dry goods, baking supplies, tea, coffee, canned goods, cereal or spices. When I put groceries away, I pretty much just open a cupboard at random and shove stuff where it fits. But I guess that all changes today. I actually got out a notebook to make a kitchen cupboard plan. I'll keep you posted, unless my brain explodes from all this unusual activity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nutritional Advice from Stories from Korea

Let's just say right up front, Stories from Korea is not qualified to give nutritional advice. Should you require evidence, here is exhibit A: An actual snack I fixed myself on our recent trip. I say: whatever gets you through the night, sister.

Home again, home again, my fat hen

Here we are, after a pretty uneventful trip. I was really dreading the flight but it was no trouble at all. There were no lines at immigration or customs, and we caught the early bus back to Osan. Then, it all fell apart. The 1.5 hour bus ride took 3.5 hours, and when it ended the bus left before we could get our stroller off. Lloyd got stuck in the elevator bringing our seven large bags into our building, and I was growing ever sicker. But that was minor unpleasantness, and now I feel a little better and we have totally unpacked.

The only casualty was one of the 14 bajillion bottles of organic ketchup we toted back from Whole Foods. It spattered over the inside of one of the bags, but only got on other bottles and some bags of oats. The chocolate was spared, providentially. Lloyd could probably eat ketchup and chocolate but.... Hey! that gives me a brilliant idea. Ketchup and chocolate candy bars! Remember that old Reese's commercial where the two schmoes crash into each other, and one has a chocolate bar and one has a jar of peanut butter? The chocolate ends up in the peanut butter jar and they go off together, to eat peanut butter and chocolate and presumably, live happily ever after. So if you see chocolate/ketchup confections on the market before I get back to build my empire, you'll know I've been ripped off.

Right now it is 3:30 a.m., and I have a question. Does anyone know where the phrase 'home again, home again, my fat hen' comes from? I was thinking it was a rhyme my grandfather used to say, but have realized that his rhyme was actually:

Jennifer, Jennifer, my green hen
She lays eggs for gentlemen
Sometimes one, sometimes ten
Jennifer, Jennifer, my green hen

I could look it up, of course, but sometimes I think Google takes all the mystery and fun out of everything.

And finally, the photo is of Weston in New Hampshire.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night we celebrated Thanksgiving with Aunt Joan and Aunt Ina, who came up from Oregon to visit. There was dancing, drinking and accordion playing, and a good time was had by all.

We leave tomorrow to go back to Osan, so there will be a short blogcation until we get home and all settled in.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To Blog or not to Blog

That is the question. I have a hilarious story about Weston that I am dying to tell. Trust me, it's a beaut. I ran right to the computer and started typing, but then I started thinking that it might embarrass him. My 95 year old grandmother STILL tells a story about the time I was four and she had a friend over and I wouldn't play with the friend's granddaughter and it drives me crazy. I finally got my mother to stop telling a couple of embarrassing stories about things I did when I was little, but there's no shutting up Granny. I can't remember if it bothered me way back then, and I'm not sure what I would have thought about it being posted on the internet for anyone to see. Where is the line, bloggy friends?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stories from Alki

Tonight I had dinner with my fabulous friend Julie at my very favorite pizza place in all the world, Pegasus Pizza on Alki Beach. I got there before she did, because I am always on time or a few minutes early, and she is, ummmm, not. But I love her anyway, and I had some time to hang out on the beach. There was a full moon, and a gorgeous view of the city, including the Space Needle. There was a hippie in a Rasta hat playing the bongos while another hippie hula-hooped with body parts that I would have sworn could not hula-hoop. There were grown men on skateboards, carrying cups of Starbucks coffee. Ahhhh, Seattle.

Then, we shared a bottle of Chateau St. Jean cab, greek salad, and a pizza with feta, spinach, shredded pepperoni and sunflower seeds. It was a welcome treat after a morning spent at the dentist, but I will save 'Stories from the Dentist' for another day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In between trips to Target, I have been brushing up on my Korean knowledge. It's been a little challenging, because all of the sources I've consulted are heavy on the history and I find Korean history deadly boring. I'm not sure why it's so boring to me; I'm not uninterested in history in general. Maybe it's because it's so depressing and lacks drama. No midnight runs across frozen wastelands to escape marauding communists, no shots heard round the world. Instead, it's all occupation, oppression, occupation, oppression and on and on for what seems like forever. But I persevered, and now I know at least twice as much about Korea as I did before! I'm better at math than Korean history, and I am very sure that twice as much Korean knowledge equals four more things. So go ahead, ask me anything. You might just get lucky.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's Korea Like?

Surprisingly, or maybe not, I have no idea what Korea is like. Many people have asked me, and it seems not unreasonable to assume that someone who has lived in Korea for an entire year would know more about it than someone who has never been there. To my dismay, however, I have found that my knowledge of things Korean is limited to:

1. There is a lot of kimchi there;
2. Korean people are very nice and like children;
3. The driving is crazy; and
4. I can't buy everything I want.

I think we can all agree that this is a shameful, and ridiculous, state of affairs. I will be remedying it immediately so please stay tuned for my new and improved Korean knowledge.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Things to make you say 'Huh?'

1. This actual photo, taken in my parents' kitchen the other day
2. My father bought me a pomegranate yesterday. It came with instructions. And not just a little tag like on a pineapple that tells you how to cut it. It was a full color, folding 3-page pamphlet! No wonder the stupid thing cost three bucks; they had to factor in the printing costs. I did learn something though; the seeds are actually called arils.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Today, my sister and I went to the Pacific Science Center to see the Lucy exhibit. They have the actual Lucy, and it's the first time she's been out of Ethiopia. In the last 3.18 million years, anyway. She might have been quite the jet-setter during her lifetime, for all I know.

The exhibit was awesome. It was amazing to me to see the real fossils, because I have been fascinated by Lucy for years, ever since I read this book. The exhibit has some other stuff too; Ethiopian art, baskets and jewelry and all kinds of other junk, which we sped past as fast as our three-child, two-stroller, two-sling entourage would take us. I could have looked at Lucy all day, but alas, Shane has the attention span of a fruit fly and the shriek of a pterodactyl, a deadly combination in the hush of Lucy's chamber.

I've been trying to think of other things of historical or other significance that have impressed me. Lucy is definitely tops, but here are a few more:

The sit-in lunch counter from Greensboro, at the Smithsonian;

The moon rock
you can touch at the National Air and Space Museum;

The pile of shoes from the Holocaust Museum; and

The battlefields at the Little Bighorn and Vicksburg.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm not a felon!

Happy Election Day! This morning, Shane and I went with my sister and her two kids to vote. Lloyd and I are unable to vote right now because residency complications have left us without a state that will send us ballots. So, Jennifer and Teddy went to vote, while Paloma, Shane and I got some treats at the bake sale. Then we wandered into the voting area and I was showing Paloma the booths. The lady at the desk asked me if we were voting or just looking, and I said, "Oh, I can't vote." She turned away and all the volunteers started clucking amongst themselves and acting all snooty. They were very rude, and I wanted to tell them to go serve a couple of years overseas and then tell me who is doing their part in service to the good old U.S of A. Before I could whip myself up into a froth of righteous indignation, Jennifer came out. When I told her about it, she said, "They think you're a felon! Why else wouldn't you be able to vote?"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stories from the Mall

Dear God. I have been to the mall. Can I just say, I heart H&M. They had the cutest little things for the boys, so adorable. Several hundred dollars later, I came home with tons of things we really don't need. But we will be the envy of Osan when we get back!

And the toys available here in the United States of America; I had no idea! I loaded up on goodies at Toys R Us. They are intended to be Christmas presents if I can resist forking them over for so long. Look at this cool car! I got one for each of the boys; they are made out of recycled plastic and wood. I also got an ample supply of (plastic, made in China, battery operated) Planet Hero toys for Weston, AND I didn't take my own bags, so I'll probably have to go to the penalty box. I just hope there is Starbucks there.

Then I tried to buy some bras and underwear. I regret to report that I came home empty-handed. There is probably a pretty good boob joke to be made there but I am exhausted and my head is still spinning. The selection at our BX is pretty lame, so I was really excited about more lingerie variety, but there were acres of underwear and miles of bras. Turquoise! Leopard prints! Polka dots! Ribbons! And More! More! More! My eyes were glazed over and maybe, just maybe, there was a teeny bit of drool dripping down my shirt. I might as well have had a sign pinned to my shirt that said 'My name is Anna. If lost, please return to Osan Air Base'.