Monday, November 30, 2009

Four Eyes

As you can clearly see, I've had glasses before. My mother was thoughtful enough to send me these pictures, and she practically DEMANDED that I put them up. Yes, I am aware that I am likely violating copyright law by doing so.

If you are reading this and you own the copyright to stacks of moldy class photos from Washington Elementary circa mid 1970's, MY MOTHER MADE ME DO IT! DON'T SUE ME! Now, don't get me wrong- I'm a big fan of copyright law but I think it might have gone a little too far lately.

I just read a post on Consumerist about some poor schmoe who went to the-store-who-must-not-be-named to get some photos printed for a relative's funeral. The photos included some school pictures, similar to mine above. Well, except for the glasses, probably. The store, despite all evidence to the contrary, apparently considers itself a beacon of justice in a cruel, dark world, and refused to print the school pictures, citing copyright law.

Also recently, I read about a woman who has been blogging as 'Frugalista' for some time, only to be sued by someone who just copyrighted the term. I didn't realize you could copyright words, but I definitely want to get some. I haven't decided which ones I want, because I especially like quite a few: 'cacophony', 'disingenuous' and 'martini' spring to mind. I don't want to be selfish and take more than my share, so I guess I should try to figure out how many words there are and then how many people might want some and divide to determine my personal quota. When I'm done, I'll let you know so you can get some for yourself, too. Not everyone will want some, so there should be plenty to go around.

Rats! Now I find myself in need of an ending, and nothing comes to mind. Oh! Someone else must have already taken the words I want. THAT'S the trouble. Greedy bastards.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Well. Last night was a real winner, people. About twenty minutes after the boys went to bed, Shane came out saying, 'I hungwy'. So I gave him a piece of bread and sent him back to bed. Everything would have been fine, except:

Lloyd: Did you let him take that bread in there?
Me: Yeah, why?
Lloyd: What if he falls asleep with bread in his mouth?
Me: That's crazy! He's not going to fall asleep with bread in his mouth!
Lloyd: I've fallen asleep with food in my mouth lots of times.
Me: And you're not dead, right?

But, of course, because we are paranoid idiots, I had to go in and retrieve the bread. I had hoped he was asleep, but no such luck. He hadn't taken bite one of the bread, and was happily playing with it. I left, quiet reigned, and we waited a few minutes. Lloyd went in a little later and came out with the bread, now broken into pieces, and tossed it in the trash. The wailing started, and Shane came back out wanting his bread back. I gave him a new piece but that just made it worse, because the new piece was not properly broken. Right about now you might be wondering why we did not just make him go back to bed and go to sleep. This just proves you know nothing about small children. But we also live in fear that his high-pitched shrieks might wake Weston up, since they share a room. So it's 'Yessir, yessir, three bags full' and it's a small price to pay. Thank you for keeping your opinions to yourself.

You know what comes next, right? Yep, I fished the precious broken bread out of the garbage. Just then one of our more well-groomed neighbors knocked on the door, wishing to borrow an iron and ironing board. Standing there with bread crumbs and coffee grounds dripping from my hands, I had to confess the truth: We do not own an iron. There, I said it. And I'm not ashamed. Just don't tell anyone, okay? I'm not sure he believed me, but it's totally true. I can't even remember the last time we had one. And I have to say, I haven't missed it, not once. In fact, I'm thinking of getting rid of the vacuum cleaner, too.

As it turns out, Shane was unable to sleep because he was having bad dreams about the 'ghost train'. I believe this is his catchall phrase for anything scary, but I'm not entirely certain. The whole night was pretty bad. Luckily Weston was hopped up on Benadryl and didn't wake up at all. He had a huge ugly swollen upper arm from his shots a few days ago, but it seems to be improving now after a trip to the ER. Today we will be making dreamcatchers and 'No Bad Dreams Allowed' signs. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oops, I did it again

Ta-da! Here it is: Turkey 2.0. My turkey roasting skills are obviously in high demand, because I got to do another one, this time for Lloyd's squadron Thanksgiving party. It was quite tender and delicious, because I roasted it upside down like my father told me to. He was quite cross because he didn't get any credit in the original turkey post, but here he gets his rightful due. The innards were thoughtfully removed for me this time, so there was no chance of a repeat of the giblet bag fiasco. And we can all be grateful for that on Thanksgiving, because those things are NASTY.

I know it doesn't look too good, but I had to carve it up and put it in a serving pan anyway, so nobody but you lucky Stories from Korea readers got to see it. Although, really, why are looks so important? Can't a turkey be good enough with what it has on the inside? I just think it's so unfair that the most attractive birds get the best parties, while the more homely ones get stuck with the second rate affairs. The pretty ones get all the perks: gracing the corner office instead of the dingy cubicle, going to the fancy Ivy League school instead of the broken down public university in Podunktown. And let's not even talk about the accessories. Why do they even make those frilly leg bloomers? Only about 2% of the turkey population could even hope to wear those. Why can't they make something an average bird can wear? I blame the media, like usual.

But not me! It's the insides that count, as long as the innards are gone, of course. I looked beyond the superficial appearance. I dug deeper and truly appreciated the gorgeous and Rubenesque inner beauty. And then I took the rest to the party.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Well, sorry, I don't have much to say today, but I always feel guilty for not posting in a timely manner. Why, I have no idea. It's not as if it's an assignment that I have to complete or else my GPA will go down or something equally horrifying. It's not even as if anyone cares. BUT, there you have it. So today I am posting a somewhat goofy picture of me in my reading glasses; I'm sure you have all been dying to see them. Have you ever noticed how ridiculously hard it is to take a picture of yourself? This was definitely the best of the bunch. I like one other one quite a lot but some evil camera plot made it appear as if I had a double chin in that shot, and of course I most assuredly do not. As far as you know. Can't you tell from the picture that my chin is extremely svelte?!?!?!

And, just for funsies, here are a few strange Osan sightings over the last few days:

1. Man and woman (IN FRONT OF ME) at the thrift store, purchasing every single children's book there- a couple hundred books, plus some Christmas decorations. They told the cashier they were from the library (?!?!?), and then, after they were rung up (which took a LONG time, and did I mention they were IN FRONT OF ME?), they asked if they could come back and pay later. Ummm, okay? Off they went, leaving their bags of books at the checkout. In front of me.

2. Cabbie peeing in his taxi in front of the commissary. He was standing by the open driver's side door, facing into the car, and I can only assume he was holding a bottle or some other receptacle. This is a common sight on the streets or highways; Koreans don't mind peeing freely. And yay for them, right? Who cares? But there is a bathroom just inside the front door of the commissary, not 50 feet away from where he was parked. This is a strange, strange place, my friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama Visit

President Barack Obama paid a visit to Osan this week, that lucky bastard. Some of my friends who have views of the flightline from their balconies got excellent views of Air Force One, out on the tarmac. Alas, my view is of the dog-walking area, so I didn't get to see it, but if your dog poops on the grass and you don't pick it up, I WILL NOT MISS IT. Also, I get a high quality snapshot of everyone coming home from the commissary, so if you walk up the sidewalk with your stash you might want to put all those Little Debbies in a brown paper sack. Otherwise I might judge you, then show up at your door looking for snacks.

It was really interesting to see the effort that goes into security for his travels. The Secret Service was here far, far in advance of his visit, securing everything they could find. A lot of coordination and work goes into making it look as if he moves about freely, without fear of an attack.

The President addressed a group right here on base, a couple hundred yards from my house. Lloyd was there but I had to watch it on AFN, as seats were at a premium and I am VERY unimportant. But you knew that. Oh, and also? They locked me in my apartment. I think they might think I'm crazy.

The event opened with the Wing Chaplain saying a very long prayer to a non-denominational God. Then the music played. And played some more. And then stopped. Still no Obama. The wait went on and on, and the military 'newscasters' were clearly unprepared for a delay because they had few facts at their fingertips to fill the dead air. They did know one thing: that Obama has now visited twenty countries in his first year in office, more than any other president. George H. W. Bush (1989) and Gerald Ford (1974) both visited fifteen during their first year in office. Fascinating, yes? They thought so; I heard it like ten times. The crowd was getting a little unruly when someone finally took the podium to introduce him, but when he did show up they went wild. His speech was good, if not especially memorable; it was about what you'd expect from a President addressing the troops. Only he's a good speaker.

Then, he got to get on his big blue airplane and LEAVE. 'Take me with you,' I cried, 'I'll even leave my precious cat behind!' But no, off he zoomed without me, leaving nothing in his wake except for a restraining order fluttering in the wind. Ah, well, back to the drawing board, my friends. Got any Little Debbie snackcakes? I always think better with snacks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We all know there's a big long list of lying liars. I could write it out but it would take all my writing time and space and you still wouldn't know what the hell I was talking about. Plus, you might think some of my liars are telling the truth and get mad and not read my blog anymore, and then I would be sad. Which is not the point of this at all. The news media is definitely always near the top of my list (I'm looking at you, Jayson Blair and the New York Times; can't you just go away? You disgust me and we can never be friends again), but astronomers, if they make the list at all, are down at the bottom with the sneaky cats and my more reliable relatives.

It's cold here in Korea; have I mentioned that? Highs in the mid-30's with winds of 10-20 mph. I wouldn't say it's bitterly cold but it's getting unpalatable for sure. We've been housebound for a week because Shane refuses to wear anything but his Jay-Jay the Jet Plane t-shirt, jeans, and Crocs. No socks, no underwear, no hat, no coat. Don't even ask about mittens. I would let him go out like that until he decides he's good and ready to put his warmer clothes on, because a cold child is a compliant one, but Lloyd won't go for it. Right now you're probably thinking that he's a much better parent than I am, but the truth is he's just worried someone will rat us out to Family Advocacy (our Air Force version of Child Protective Services) if they see Shane shivering while the rest of us are all bundled up. I would just tell them he was being punished for spilling milk on the couch, because I think that's really funny, but Lloyd says that would make it worse.

Anyway, this morning we ventured out waaaaaaay before dawn to watch the fabulous meteor shower the news has been telling us about for days. The best view would be in Asia, the astronomers said. Hundreds or thousands every hour, they said. Find a dark place with an expansive view of the sky, they advised. So out we went into the cold night. Shane had his coat on, but I don't want to talk about it. Let's just say the tantrum included vomiting on the floor. We parked near the golf course, the darkest place we could find on Osan Air Base, which is lit up like Stalag 17.

And..... we saw ten meteorites in the hour that we were there. TEN. We should have gone to North Korea. It's plenty dark there. I bet they got the show of the century, but the astronomers and 'journalists' there probably told everyone that the shooting stars were coming our of Kim Jong Il's ears or some crazy shit like that. And guess what? That's no worse than the garbage our news media machine feeds us. In fact, I think I might prefer it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eye can read!

Today I had to haul myself out into the windy cold, all the way across the street to the clinic to see the eye doctor. I have been having to zoom the computer screen in two times lately to do my required daily blog reading and annoy my friends on Facebook.

While I was waiting for Lloyd to come home from work so I could go, I noticed a creepily lifelike stuffed cat lying on the floor. This is not unusual at all, of course; there are many, many things of every shape and kind on the floor all the time. But instead of kicking it aside like I normally would have, I looked down at it and had an intriguing thought.

Would people think I was crazy if I took it to the eye doctor with me? Regular people that don't read my blog, I mean. If I carried it and talked to it? Exactly how nutty would I have to act around here to make people think I was truly crazy? This is a small base; it wouldn't take long for word to get around that I finally lost it. And then what? Well, you've all heard of Corporal Max Klinger, right? You might remember the ridiculous lengths he went to to try to prove to the Army that he was crazy so they would send him home from Korea. I should have thought of this AGES ago!

Off I went to the eye doctor with my brain churning. The doc was a perky little guy, probably not even old enough to remember M*A*S*H, or to remember when only Big Bird could see Snuffy. I'm sure he's plenty smart; he can probably spot a glaucoma a mile away, but he looks young and naive. Just what I'm looking for. He says that I need reading glasses. I say, 'HAVE YOU MET MY CAT, DOC?'


You probably haven't been thinking too much about turkey yet, but here in Korea, things are a little.... different.

This morning, I roasted the tenderest, juiciest turkey ever for a USO function. Not that I would know, of course, because it was for CHARITY and eating some would be like STEALING. That's what Lloyd says, anyway. I consider it more of a TAX, and a super reasonable one, not like those stupid vice taxes that are breaking my budget. After all, I am the one who had to get up in the middle of the night and slave over a hot oven push SEVERAL extra buttons on my oven control panel before I went to bed. To be totally fair, it's not as if we bought the turkey with the intent of donating 90% of it to the USO. Someone else bought it and Lloyd volunteered to cook it, but I still think a small fee, payable in delectable turkey bits, was in order.

Of course, the juicy goodness of the turkey was complete dumb luck, but I am fully prepared to modestly take credit for it: 'Oh, this old thing? It's just an secret old family recipe. I'm glad you like it.' But because Stories from Korea, like Fox News, is fair and balanced and 100% reliable all the time, here and here only, I'll spill the unvarnished truth. The turkey was wedged upside down in an undersized rusty thrift store roasting pan. I didn't cover it so the top was all crispy while the breast marinated in the juices in the bottom of the pan. We probably don't need to discuss the overlooked bag of innards. I even made my traditional holiday gravy. Or as my mother-in-law calls it, 'gravy-with-lumps'. That IS a secret family recipe, so don't even think about asking! I was feeling especially domestic and all festive-y and it would have been nice if Lloyd hadn't been so suspicious of me:

Me: Look, there's tons of juice. Do you think I should make some gravy?
Lloyd: For the USO, RIGHT?
Me: Ummm, yeah. Of course. Right, for the USO. Dammit!

So, as it turns out, I didn't get the first nibble of turkey or teeniest spoon of gravy. The USO even took the carcass! I wonder if Lloyd told them I wasn't to be trusted. That would be just like him. What is it they say? It's a foolish bird who fouls his own nest, or something like that?

Gobble, gobble, Lloyd!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hodge Podge, plus pictures!

We had some pictures taken recently by our fabulously talented friend and neighbor, Christa. She did a great job and we were really pleased. I am not so photogenic myself, and she actually got a few nice ones of me, so hurray! Shane was in a real mood, too, and you would never know it from the pictures.

And, I am considering submitting one of my 2009 posts to a blog anthology effort, but I have no idea which one to send in. If you liked one in particular, please let me know. Don't worry, I wasn't thinking of sending in the booger one, even though it WAS especially satisfying.

Weston made me a peanut butter cookie dough sandwich for lunch, and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds. He must have been in an especially creative mood today, because he also installed weather instruments on the deck: pipe cleaners, straws, paint brushes, crayons and a coaxial cable, all stuck into the bottom of our hanging planter boxes. Now, he can determine the weather conditions: if the wind is blowing just a little, the smaller instruments like the pipe cleaners will move. If the wind is stronger, the coaxial cable will move. Believe me when I say he will be at least as accurate as any weather forecast I've ever seen around here. Take that, AFN and Yahoo! You've been outmaneuvered by a five year old boy wielding toys and art supplies. If you want some weather forecasting advice you can email me at; I'll see if he can pencil you in. On the other hand, if you're here from the Food Network, you might want to check back in a few years.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I am a reluctant Facebook user. If you've been around for a while you might remember when I became assimilated, virtually against my will. At first, it was great. I felt oh-so-cool and in the know. Then, I started knowing just a little too much, if you get my drift. I've read tons of 'What not to post on Facebook' posts, and probably all of them are way better than mine. Products from Asian sweatshops are always inferior, but it's my blog and I have to post SOMETHING, now don't I? Oh, the humanity!

I don't mind the cute kid stories, and I'm a big fan of pictures. I am not even going to complain about the 'I had pancakes for breakfast and now I'm going to the movies' posts. On my DO NOT LIKE list are all the usual:

The I won another cooking contest/my kid got another A++++/my husband got another promotion and all the other 'WE'RE SO SWELL; AREN'T YOU JEALOUS' updates that used to be saved up for the Christmas letter that could be crumpled up ONCE and recycled immediately instead of spent tormenting people throughout the entire year;

The TMI posts. I don't want to know many, many things. In fact, I don't even want to list the things I don't want to know, because it might give someone an idea;

Imaginary presents. If I can't even give them to the thrift store, they are totally useless; and

Cryptic crap. If you have something to say, come out and say it, dammit!

But I have a bigger problem; one I'm loathe to admit, but once again, I have to post SOMETHING, now don't I? Sometimes, the things my friends post make me like them a little bit less. Which I DO NOT LIKE. All my friends are 'real' friends, too, not 'friends' like the girl that sat next to me in sophomore English. Because she was a real bitch. And even worse are the friends of friends; some of them are real wackos and it makes me wonder what the hell my friends are thinking, being friends with such freaks.

I have a solution, though. I'll tell you what it is but it will have to be our little secret, okay? Okay, here it is: I hide my friends when they annoy me. Like a little time-out that only I know about. After I deem them sufficiently punished, I unhide them. It's very satisfying, you should try it. Only not to me, because that would be rude, after I told you my secret and all. And I have another strategy: friend rotation. Facebook has done me the favor of listing them alphabetically, so I'm going to hide them in groups of ten or so and rotate them to keep them fresh and interesting, like I do for my kids' toys. That way, it takes the edge off the NOT LIKING, and we can stay friends. And that, I LIKE.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ummm, chocolate!

Now, you guys might not believe this, but I cleaned the laundry room yesterday. Well, okay, 'cleaned' might be a little pretentious; what I did was shove the washer and dryer back against the wall where they belong, prop up the unbalanced washer leg with a bar of soap, move all the junk that was all over the counters and shelves into corners and cupboards, and sweep the floor.

You've probably read my occasional complaints about the laundry facilities here, but the laundry room is brightly lit and roomy, with lots of shelves for storage and a nice counter. Some of my friends use them for sewing or hobby rooms, and I even heard of a family that took all the shelves down and turned it into an extra bedroom. Let me just say right now that I have NO idea how any of that is possible: you can see a picture of the typical state of our laundry room here.

As I was sweeping up a pile of debris that you could hide a rat in, Shane came in and closely surveyed it. Then he said, 'No chocolate chips', and meandered off to simultaneously throw all the books off the bookshelf and smear peanut butter on the wall while I stood there, puzzled. Chocolate chips? Then it hit me: at some point, he must have successfully mined chocolate chips from the sweep-pile, and now considers it a food source. Ummmmm, chocolate.

I hear you knocking, but you can't come in

Happy Halloween, everyone! We had a successful party: plenty of witch's brew, sugar peaks and valleys, toy battles, and banged noggins. The only thing that prevented it from being absolute perfection was those blasted trick or treaters that kept ringing the bell. I swear, someone had to get up every five seconds to hand out candy. We did try the bowl by the door, but that cut down on the volume only a little. Some kids still knocked or rang, and others took way more than a little candy, requiring someone to get up every ten seconds and refill the bowl.

Unfortunately none of us will be together next year for a Halloween hall party, but that didn't stop us from devising a plan to solve this serious problem. I have to give total credit for this idea to Lauren, so don't come crying to me when you try it out and someone gets hurt. Here it is: the treat-dispensing funnelator! The idea needs a little work; currently any sort of funnelator requires three people to operate it: one on each end to hold the tubing, and one in the middle to fire. I'll get back to you as soon as I figure out how to automate it. I'm pretty sure it will be way before next Halloween because I can already see some outstanding year-round applications for it. Oh, and if you're coming to visit me anytime soon, you might want to call first.