Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cooking Success: Giada's Torta di Pasta

Giada De Laurentiis' Recipe:

8 ounces spaghetti
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup grated fontina
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss with the sun-dried tomatoes. Set aside to cool completely otherwise the hot pasta could curdle the eggs when you add them later on.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper, Parmesan, and fontina to blend. Add the cooled spaghetti mixture; toss to coat.
Preheat the broiler. Melt the butter and oil in a 9 1/2-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Transfer the spaghetti mixture to the skillet, pressing to form an even layer. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the broiler. Broil until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cool in the skillet to room temperature.

Invert the torta onto a platter. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature.

I used leftover whole wheat spaghetti, roasted red peppers instead of sun dried tomatoes (none at the commissary) and leftover feta that I had in the fridge instead of fontina (again, none at the commissary).

It was a great way to use leftovers. The pasta gives a bit more substance than egg alone. This recipe is easily adapted to whatever is in your fridge. We had it for lunch, but it would be a great breakfast/brunch dish as well.

Big Purchases Today

We bought a vacuum and an English GPS for Korea today.

Our vacuum died in Egypt before we moved. We tried to have it repaired, but they couldn't fix it. Total motor burnout. Over the years, I have purchased many cheap vacuums ($50-100) and they have all lasted a year at best. When we were looking at what kind of vacuum to get here in Korea, it seems that Miele, Sebo, Electrolux would be good bets: expensive, but built to last. Unfortunately, the PX doesn't carry those brands. It may be possible to order them through the PX, but ordering the crib that way was such a disaster and took so long that I just don't want to hassle with it. My other choice is to order and have someone forward it to us, but with the stroller I ordered in March, still not here, I don't want to do that either. That brings me to buying a Miele on the Korean economy or buying whatever is in stock at the PX. Since we don't know how long we will be in Korea, I decided that I didn't want to buy a vacuum that is built to last that was made for foreign current. Also, what about warranty issues and then there is the fact that products are often made to different specifications for different countries. Finally, it would be difficult to ensure that I had the features I want ince I don't speak or read Korean. So, we just decided to go with the PX. We bought a Hoover Wind Tunnel II for $249.99, more than the disposable vacuum cleaners and less than the Miele, Bosch, Electrolux, Sebos (which the PX didn't have). I hope this vacuum lasts at least a couple years. It has a self-cleaning HEPA filter, wood floor brush and pet hair attachment.

After lunch, if Ian doesn't go down for a nap, Curt will have to take him out of the house somewhere so I can rescue the kitchen and try out the vacuum. I need to vacuum everyday. I sweep everyday, but not all the floors and you can't tell that I do that at all! At least I will be able to cover more ground with the vacuum on a daily basis and hope that the floors look moderately clean.

As for the GPS, they had one at the PX and one advertised at one of the vendors on Post. The one at the PX was about $70 cheaper than the other, but had 2007 maps and fewer addresses (but still a lot). After going to the vendor several times to check out the other one (that is updated every 6 months) and them not having it, we decided to buy the one at the PX. Today, there was a sticker saying that the models had been loaded with the current info as of May 18, 2008 so it was good that we waited. This was an investment, I hope we are here for awhile, but mobility means a lot so I do hope we can get it to work for us. If it works, it will totally be worth it.

I am glad we thought about these purchases. We are trying to be more aware of our purchases so that we spend less, waste less and are more satisfied with our purchases. Erie has a store called Yaple's Sewing and Vacuum and I wondered how they stay in business, but now I know. I wish I had gone there and bought a vacuum before I left Erie. Just didn't think about it in time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fly Lady, Take Me Away!

We've fallen off the Fly Lady wagon, but as Fly Lady says, just start back up again. I just don't know how the house seems to fall apart completely so quickly. The more I am FLYing the longer it takes, but it was a rough day today.

At Gymnastics class, Ian was totally uncooperative except for the tunnel and the balance beam. I know I need to let him do things in his time, but I am used to him being the best in the class no matter what class it is or where we are, he is the star. Gymnastics is helping him follow directions more, but he does not like going through the stations. He does not like to sit with me and sing songs, but he is starting to do the hand motions with the songs. I have to remember to strike a balance between working with him on the skills and letting him enjoy himself and come to it on his own. I got off balance today because I got frustrated and he was throwing himself around. Since he liked the beam and wanted to do more beam while the others were singing, that is what we did. He refused to do a forward roll on the ground at the forward roll station, but he did do a forward roll on the beam (I think it is about 2 feet off the ground, but I was holding him). I saw him pour water on his pants, but he also had a really wet diaper so I couldn't tell what it was so he had to do the class in his t-shirt and diaper. The class ended at 10:30 and then I had to get to the hospital for Ian's appointment. I stopped by to make sure our insurance got changed but the lady was busy and I needed to get to his appointment so we left. We sat in the waiting room until 11:30am and then everyone started to leave. I went to the recption to make sure that they knew we were still there. 10 more minutes passes and I told the medic that if everyone went to lunch I was going to lose it! Finally the doctor came out, I was almost crying. I had forgotten the cheerios and crackers in the car and Ian had been crying for the past 20 minutes,"Cer-real-eal! Cereal! Cer-real-eal!" I didn't want to run out to the car because I didn't want to miss our appointment, the receptionist is Korean and it is hard to know if they fully understand you so I didn't want to risk telling her I'd be right back and missing the appointment. At the same time, I thought, even if I do get into this appointment, the insurance people will beat lunch when I finish so I won't be able to get that done. Luckily, the doctor came out before I really lost it. I tried to calm myself quickly and he was apologetic. I appreciate that they take time with patients and things happen, I just didn't want to slip through the cracks, especially since as civilians, we have to pay to be treated at military facilities.

Anyway, the reason for the appointment is that Ian's head is mis-shapen and has been since the womb (he was a c-section, but stuck in the same breech position for the last 3 months). I thought someone would have said something before but he has always had a lot of hair so maybe the doctors hadn't noticed. He had his hips evaluated at Shriner's so they should have noticed, but no one ever said anything. I keep hearing things about head shape so I wanted someone to look at his head. The doctor said it will probably always be like that, but it won't hurt him and that if they were going to do something, it would have had to have been done when he was much younger. Oh well. Hope he doesn't go bald like Curt!

Anyway. Stopped by to deal with the insurance. Gave the new card. We couldn't check the claim status because the rest of the people were at lunch, but at least I think I got that task done. Again, some communication difficulties because the employee was Korean. Bureaucracy compounded by different languages is tough. I guess I will know if the interaction was successful if I get another notice on the bill.

When we got home to the trashed house, I decided to tackle the most unappealing tasks first: the food trash. There was some in a pot by the new composter that was very disgusting (failed interpretation of the directions so we had to start over). Bugs were breeding in it. Gross. Got it out. Then had to make a second trip for the can and bowl in the kitchen. Ian was not very cooperative on these excursions in the rain, but I needed to get them done. Afterwards, we had lunch and I tried to put Ian down for a nap. It took awhile, but he is finally out. Now, I am soaking the food collection can. Need to clean up the kitchen so we can start fresh now that the composter is working.

Another thing we are working on is tracking our expenditures and making a budget. It will take time, but my goal is to start June 1. I have to do lots of prep work to set things up between now and then. Plan to Fly lady it and do it in 15 minute chunks. Gather the info slowly and get more and more detailed.

So today, I need to clean the food collection can, clean the kitchen, make dinner and clean up afterwards. 15 minutes on the treadmill. 15 minutes of working on the finances. If I have time, clean the Master Bathroom sink, toliet and tub.

Blog post done. Time to work!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cheers to Soy!

I'm on a role! Inspired by Ian's drinking of half a juice box size box o' soy milk yesterday and my need to reduce the amount of diet soda I drink, I decided to give us both soy milk with dinner. I call it "soy" because "milk" to him is breastmilk and any association of milk with non-breastmilk has caused a complete refusal in the past. As I was getting dinner ready, he was watching me in his Learning Tower. I poured myself a glass of soy and drank from it. He took notice immediately and wanted to try so I gave it to him and just said,"Two hands," for him to use two hands on the glass when he drinks. He drank it!

Then, at dinner, I put some in his cup and some in mine and clinked our cups together and said,"Cheers," and took a drink. He loved this game and drank as well. He even said,"Cheers."

I am going to start giving us soy at lunch and dinner. He has been drinking some orange juice at breakfast.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Naptime!

Ian was fussing and started saying,"Nap! Nap! Nap!". I didn't understand him at first, but then I asked,"Do you need a nap?" , and he ran towards the bed. He didn't get a proper lunch, but he had a big breakfast at daycare and then a few fries and bites of burger (Meat! Meat!) that we dropped off to Curt before we came home so hopefully he won't wake up too hungry. He is very angry when he is hungry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Transitioning from Co-sleeping

*********Updated on August 15, 2008: Ian has been sleeping in the crib since the date of this original post. It is amazing how quickly he falls asleep. People will say that if you co-sleep they will never learn to sleep on their own and never go to sleep in their own beds. It is just not true! The key is a gradual transition with only one change at a time. In other words, don't bring your new baby home from the hospital and try to put kid #1 in his own bed or own room. Too many big changes! I am now pregnant with my second child and by the time #2 is born, Ian will have slept in his own bed for longer than my entire pregnancy.

Original post:
For the third or fourth night in a row, Ian has nursed but not fallen asleep and then slept in the crib. We set the crib up about a month ago and I have been pointing it out to him saying,"Ian's bed. Look at Ian's bed." If he was interested, I put him in the crib to play and check it out during the day, not at sleeping time to get used to it.

For the transition, I have either let him play in his crib with his trains or sung him mostly to sleep. He has stayed in the crib all night. Last night, he woke up and start to cry. He stood up, looked around and then laid back down and went to sleep. The crib is right by our bed, so he isn't far. We like co-sleeping, but lately he has had major movements in his sleep so we decided to try the crib. He still naps on our bed, but he doesn't seem to move as much during naps as he does as night. Before I attempted this transition, I stopped nursing him until he fell asleep for a few weeks. I nursed until he stopped actively sucking and then I sang to him or rocked him the rest of the way. Sometimes just rolling over is enough. He will fuss a bit but settle down. If he doesn't settle then I do the singing or rocking. I've found that the key with singing to sleep is that you should not try to sing over crying. Sing softly, directly in the ear and they will calm down and surrender.

Gentle works. Gradual works.

When we transition him to his own room (which we aren't in a hurry to do), we will do it the same way. We already call the room where his clothes are,"Ian's room". We will buy a bed and new linens and set it up and talk about it for awhile before there is an attempt to have him sleep in it. I think when we are ready, he will be too!

The Learning Tower




We got a Learning Tower for Ian. It is a height-adjustable platform that is designed to bring your child (18 months and older) up to counter height to interact with you in the kitchen. It is pricey and large, but it received such rave reviews from people with the same parenting style that we went ahead and bought it. Why not just use a chair or step stool? The main reason is stability and safety. It is designed not to tip. It has rails on 4 sides to help keep a child from failing. Also, it has a platform where he can play with toys and it is easy to clean, unlike the fabric on the chairs.

After he helped put it together, he sat in it for an hour straight. It is great because it keeps him occupied and out of trouble while Curt and I are working in the kitchen. It engages him because he can see what I am doing and the possibilities for helping with cooking projects will increase as he gets older. It is encouraging us to try more kitchen activities with him. Even washing his hands is much easier with it. He can do it himself and that is what he wants to do.

Modeling Has Made Him Comfortable in the Hands of Stylists

Sampling Rice Cakes


I pass by little rice cake shops on my way from my home to the metro and back. I finally stopped a few weeks ago to try some. They are soft with a date in the middle. The flavor is very light and most of the sweetness comes from the date. The dark green one in the middle had some sort of herb mixed in. It looked like seaweed but didn't taste like seaweed. I think it was mugwort. It looks like this and I saw them being made on Arrirang TV.

Ian loved them.

Tag the Expat

Cairo Connie tagged me for this meme.

5) Name 5 Things You Love in Your New Country:
* The food. Korean food has a lot of spice, garlic and flavor.
*My yoga studio.
* The view of the Han River from my apartment.
* Watching Buddhist Monks walk through town.
*No tipping for most things (except on base you have to tip and the yoga studio people told me to tip the valet). It is a refreshing change from Egypt where people want tips for everything, even things you didn't ask them to do and things they didn't do well.


4) Name 4 Things You Miss from Your Native Country:
* Being able to read everything.
*Knowing where to shop. There are lots of shopping opportunities but the easiest to find are very expensive.
* Shipping by UPS and Fed Ex. Many websites have free shipping in the Continental US by UPS or Fed Ex. Does not apply to APO addresses.
*Family and friends.

3) Name 3 Things that Annoy You in Your New Country:
* Websites/brochures that are partially in English but none of the most important information is in English. I know, I know, I need to learn Korean, but the random English words gives me false hope that I will be able to read it.
*They don't use street addresses to find locations. They navigate in relation to landmarks so you can't easily find a place that you've never been before.
*It is hard to find a stylist who knows blonde: it is either yellow, white or orange. I got orange last time.

2) Name 2 Things that Surprise You (or Surprised You in the Beginning) about Your New Country:
*How modern and high tech it is. I really had no idea what to expect. People in the States don't talk about Korea or vacation in Korea (generally) unless they have relatives.
*How helpful the people are without wanting anything in return, like in the metro, someone almost always helps me get the stroller up and down the stairs.

1) Name 1 Thing that You Would Miss Terribly in Your New Country if You Had to Leave It:
*The food.

I tag Katy in Canada for this.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Yoga Friend

I have a friend in yoga class now. Her name is Meg and she is Japanese. She is married to a Korean man that she met while working in Gibraltar. She speaks some Korean, but is much more comfortable in English so we chat before and after class. I asked her how/why Asians seem to use English names. I thought that people that work with foreigners do it so it is easier to communicate with foreigners and they don't have to listen to foreigners butchering the pronunciation of their names, but I have found in Korea that lots of people have a Western name and they do not speak English (or any other Western language) or interact with foreigners.

She said that her name, Meg, is a shortened, English version of her Japanese name, but that a lot of Koreans and Chinese are just picking names that they like. It is fashionable.

I know a lot more Japanese than Korean so I like to say a few words to her. Also, AFN Pacific has some Japanese phrases during programming breaks so I will try to pick them up so I can use them with her. June is study Korean month. Her English is excellent. I think she prefers to talk to me than the Koreans because she is confident in English, but not in Korean, yet. She will definitely give me a different perspective on Korean than I get from Americans.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lasagna from Leftovers

1 package Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 15 ounce container of light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (whatever was left in the container)
big handful of spinach chopped (leftover from yesterday's salad)
2 green onions (leftover from bulgogi)
3 cloves of garlic minced, sliced finely
1 package shredded mozzerella cheese
1 pound of ground beef
red wine (leftover)


Cook ground beef in red wine.
Combine ricotta, parmesan, green onions, spinach, and garlic.
Take a 9 x 13 pan. Pour sauce on the bottom. Put down a layer of uncooked noodles. Add half the ricotta mixture. Then add half the meat mixture. Add a layer of mozzerella, then a layer of sauce. Repeat. Top with noodles, sauce and cheese. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 F/175 C.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pork Bulgogi

From the following recipe from the Seoul Survivor Guide 2007-2008:

Marinade
5 TBSP soy sauce
4 green onions, finely shredded
2 TBSP sake or dry white wine
3 TBSP sugar
3 large garlic cloves minced
dash of ground black pepper
2 TBSP sesame seeds
2 lbs thinly sliced pork or beef
1 TBSP sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients except the sesame seed oil. Add to sliced meat and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Add sesame oil just before grilling. Barbeque the meat slices over a charcoal grill or portable table top grill. Turn only once (thin slices cook quickly). A wok can be used if grill is not available. Serve over rice. We are using brown rice to make it healthier.

Koreans have propane table top grills. We used a grill plate that we bought here that goes over the burner on a stove. I used about half the sugar that the recipe calls for. We also added some spicy red bean paste as well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Ian and I at the playground today: It is so hard to get a good picture of the two of us.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bossy Boy

Curt returned from a week in Georgia and Ian can't get enough daddy. This morning Curt was trying to do laundry and Ian dragged him onto his toy balcony and said,"Da-ee sit!" Then he backed up to Curt and they played with the trains.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lentil Soup

I made Egyptian Lentil Soup for dinner from the following recipe:

1/2 kg split lentils
2 onions
1 tomato
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1-2 tbs oil
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tbs lemon juice,salt

Place lentils, one onion, tomato, zucchini, and carrot in pot and cover with twice their amount of water. Cook for about 15 minutes. Whirl in blender, strain, then add salt and cumin.

Chop the remaining onion very finely and fry to a light brown, then add to soup with oil and cook for 5 minutes longer. Stir in lemon juice.

It turned out great! Ian licked his bowl.

Dis Cereal

Ian dumped half of a huge box of Cherrios on the floor this morning. He looked up at me with raised eyebrows and said,"Dis cereal."

Yeah. I got it. Thanks, Ian.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Filing Failures

I had a bit of a relapse in FLYing. I put filing on my list of things to do. I did not want to file. I spent the past few days worrying about filing, making excuses not to file and not doing anything else. As a result, the filing did not get done and the house is a total disaster (but the bed is still made). As I was fretting about this undone filing, I considered using tomorrow's CDC Hourly Care slot that I have for Ian for filing instead of yoga. That would satisfy two urges: put off filing for another day and avoid driving as I am still not confident.

Sadly, this is how I have always worked, until I get into a mad frenzy and get things done. School was like this. I would procrastinate and then study at the last minute or take all night to write the paper. I always got good grades so I never really paid the price that caused me to change this behavior. Even during the all-nighters, most of the time was spent dealing with avoidance and anxiety. When I finally got down to writing, it was stream of consciousness.

I think back to living with roommates and how much better it would have been if I had known about Fly Lady or known why I couldn't get things done. Mike (former 942 roommate) and I used to put on music and clean the kitchen together, usually after cooking. It was always his initiative and we always had a great time. He was very fun, yet, very thorough. I never wanted to clean for two reasons: one, I didn't think I had time to do the job right and two, I knew no one else would clean.

Fly Lady wipes away both of those things:
1. By creating routines, you create less mess and as well as incentives to do more and by using the timer you can force yourself to do something for 15 minutes and then take a break instead of spending days fussing about the task instead of tackling it.
2. Fly Lady has the concept of having the view that you are "blessing" your family by keeping a clean house. She says to change your attitude and just get things done and as you do others will get on board, even if they don't, as in the case of roommates, you will feel better if you remove the bitterness and just get things done.

I remember living with two roommates who drove each other crazy. Both liked things neat, but one worried about hygiene and the other worried about appearances. K would take the dish sponge and wipe the floor. Things like that drove A crazy. I sided with A on hygiene, but I didn't do much cleaning.

In the past few years, I have lived at my parents' house a lot. I have not been very helpful. My mom does almost everything for the house. I remember that my sister and I fought her on everything that had to do with chores when we were younger. I was amazed to see that brothers took care of things on their own, or when asked, for the most part they just did it. They asked my mother for a vacuum cleaner for their dorm room their freshman year of college. Who are they? What did my parents do with them that they didn't do with my sister and I? Or what was in my sister and I that we were so different. My sister now helps a lot more, but I was still resistant. I told my mother to tell me what to do, because I just don't like to clean and I know it is wrong and she shouldn't have to tell me, but I needed her to give me tasks in order for me to contribute because I get overwhelmed thinking of what I could do and then I don't do anything. She also likes things done a certain way, so I would worry that it wouldn't be how she wanted it. I didn't cook much either when I have lived at home recently for the same reason.

Part of the resistance to change is reluctance to admit that what you've done in the past was wrong, or not the best method. Well, let me say it here and now, I was wrong. I was crippled by perfectionism. I apologize to my mother and my roommates (both the clean roommates and the dirty ones) for being messy.

But, it is not too late. Tonight, I filed. The pile I have avoiding took less than 10 minutes to file including making new labels for the new files. I just want to slap myself. Now, I do need to go through and do some refining work on the files, but that was not the task for today. Just filing. Just do it.

What else can be done in 10-15 minute increments? Learning Korean? Working out on the treadmill? Playing with my son? Paying attention to the dog? Writing a novel? Studying road maps of Seoul? You get the picture. Maybe some day, I will get it. Today, I made progress.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gymnastics

Today was the first gymnastics class. Ms. Cathy, the teacher is great, but her husband is retiring and they are leaving in July. There are other classes offered like Kinderdanse, Kindermusik, Music Together and another movement class to choose from.

Ian has great balance, but he hates to put his hands over his head which was a problem in lots of the activities. We'll work on it.
Bar:

Head Stand:

Balance Beam:

Trampoline:

Korean Culture through Arirang TV

Today, I joined the American Women's Club at the May Coffee Morning and someone mentioned Arrirang TV channel. I came home to check it out and so far there have been programs exploring cultural sites, Korean products, and pop culture in English or with English subtitles.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lunching with My Little Man

I love going to lunch with Ian. It is usually just the two of us because Curt is working. We sit across from each other so he can feel big and have exciting conversations involving all the objects he can point out and name. He is so proud when he says something that I recognize. Also, that look of complete confidence really bolsters me to do the things I need to do.

It's All Starting to Make Sense

I drove to the base today to drop Ian off at hourly care. His body crumpled and he let out a weak cry of anguish as he realized what was about to happen. He was shreiking and kicking and screaming,"Mama!". I cried a little in the car, but I kept going. I drove to the yoga studio and valet parked my car. For 2,000 Won I can valet park right at the building. That is cheaper than taking the metro. I arrived about 30 minutes early so I just took my time to relax and prepare for the class.

The class was not hot yoga, but the room was still pretty hot, I sweated a lot again, which is good because I don't usually sweat. The class was 90 minutes but I left 15 minutes early to make sure I had enough time to get back to pick Ian up. I made one little mistake on the way back, but I recovered and picked him up on time. They had bulgogi and rice for lunch. Ian had two helpings and was playing in the Gross Motor Room when I went to get him. He didn't want to leave. That made me feel much better about the earlier crying.

I called Curt to check in on his Georgia unpacking progress and Ian fell right asleep. Then I went to return the items we borrowed from the Lending Closet, but they were on lunch until 1:30pm so I got lunch for myself and then checked the price on Kitchenaid Mixers at the PX. We thought we had one, but so far, Curt has only found the attachments. If it isn't there, it is gone so we need to get one.

Afterwards, I went to check on the price of GPS. It is $545, but it is entirely in English and has Korean in it. I thought it was going to be about half that cost, but they were out of stock so I have some time to think about it and look around. I will definitely feel more confident driving around with one in the car, so I do think I want to get it.

Finally, I returned the items to the lending closet. It is good to get them out of the house before anything gets lost or broken. Another big one off the list!

When we got home, with one small navigational mistake, we took Roxxy to the playground and she and Ian played for awhile. She is doing better being out of her kennel when we are gone for very short amounts of time, like taking the trash out, but she isn't ready to be put when we are gone for a few hours. She has a very large kennel, but she would still enjoy herself more on the outside. As soon as she stops freaking out and peeing in the house when we are gone, she will regain her freedom. She did this when we got to Egypt as well. It is part of her process.

I had such anxiety about driving today that I almost backed out of it and didn't go, but I forced myself to go. I always feel better after I do something I dread, but I was really dreading this, especially because I didn't allow enough time for getting lost when I booked the babysitting and they couldn't extend my time. I solved that by leaving 15 minutes early and it all worked out. The yoga is really kicking my butt. I need to take some before pictures, because a month of this is bound to have some visable results.

Bitty European Appliances

Our kitchen has two European refrigerator freezers and we'll get by, but we couldn't make it with one. Too bitty. Now that all of my pot and pans have arrived, it is fun to see how many of them do not fit in the oven. No turkey roaster. No cookie sheets. I have doubts about the muffin tin. There is no place for an American oven, though we do have an American refrigerator. It is not plugged in and just serving to hold up our dry erase board and magnets. I think we will send it back, but Curt is reluctant. We don't need a big refrigerator if you can cook big. Even the range top is small. Small burners that are too close together for out big pans.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

In Makeup

Ian Getting His Make-up Done for the Shoot:

Why Do Cheesy Pop Songs Sound Even Cheesier in Another Language?

Here is Ian at the Lotus Lantern Parade Concert:
video

Lotus Lantern Parade





Today kicks off a week long celebration for Buddha's birthday. There are colored lanterns hanging everywhere and tonight was the Lotus Lantern Parade. I love doing new things and knowing new things. I hate the process of learning new things and going somewhere when I do not know what to expect or where to go. I asked Ian if he wanted to go and wwent about getting myself ready. I was still undecided when I realized Ian was missing. After searching the house, I found him by the front door in his stroller, ready to go. He wasn't scared. He had complete confidence in me. So, I decided to suck it up and go. Just go slowly and not worry about the fact that where we were going had no elevator at the metro and lots of stairs. The Koreans are usually very helpful when they see someone struggling with a stroller. I planned to go slowly and get there when I get there.

As is almost always the case. I am glad I went. I feel empowered. We saw some of the parade as well as stage performances and ate some street food. We had Kimchi Pancakes and Fish on a Stick in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce. Ian would take bite and then rub his tongue with his hand and say,"Pice". And then take another bite.




Thursday, May 1, 2008

Got My Mommy Cards Today

Mommy Cards are calling cards for moms. They are glossy on the front and matte on the back for writing notes. I got Swirls for Sarah and can't wait to start handing them out.

Everyone in Korea carries business cards so it is actually quite appropriate. Plus, it is easier to exchange info with all the new people I am meeting.

Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) in Seoul

I finally made it to class at Pure Yoga in Apgujeong. I had to e-mail the Seoul Global Center for directions and the schedule because the website is written mostly in Korean and you need to log-in to view the most relevant information like schedule and price. The schedule varies each month and there are currently four teachers: Christina (her name is written in Korean on the schedule), Helen, Jason and Katie. Christina is the owner and taught my class today. She speaks perfect English. Helen, Jason and Katie do not speak English. I need to ask when and why people choose Western names. It makes sense when you are catering to an foreign clientele, but the clientele was all Korean except me and maybe one other woman might have been Japanese because Christina was speaking English to her. It is probably a style thing. She taught the class in both English and Korean. The receptionists do not speak English at all (well, maybe a few words). They were embarrassed because they couldn't communicate with me. I told Christina to tell them that they should not be embarrassed that they can't speak English in Korea, I am embarrassed that I can't speak Korean. Yoga this month. Korean next month. Must learn Korean.

The studio is located on the 4th floor of a white building across from the Galleria East. There is valet parking available. You have to tip 2,000 Won (about $2). I took a cab today to get the driving directions because there was no time to metro. I made it in the nick of time. After class, I took a cab to the main gate to get the reverse driving directions and then I had to walk to get Ian. It was an all-day affair to go to a 1 hour class because it took an hour to get to the daycare using public transportation, then 20 minutes by cab to the class, 20 minutes by cab from the class and an hour to get home. If I take public transport instead of the cabs from the base to the studio that would add in a lot more time, so I need to get brave quickly and drive to the base and studio. I have a couple days to get up my courage because tomorrow Ian has a modeling gig and Curt leaves for Georgia so I won't be able to go this weekend, but I have a daycare reservation for Monday so I will have to do it then. I may practice this weekend. There are beautiful locker rooms with showers. The lockers are big and you get a locker key after you swipe your class card. There is also a small lounge-y area that might be a juice bar, mats and yoga clothes for sale and a "consultation room", maybe for spa treatments or alignment, I am not sure.

Though the program changes each month, there are classes on the following schedule:

M-F 6:45-7:45 10:00-11:30 12:00-1:00 3:30-5:00 5:30-7:00 7:15-8:45 9:00-10:00
Sat-Sun 10:00-11:30 12:00-1:00 2:30-4:00 4:30-6:00

Note that some classes are 1 hour and some are 90 minutes. I took a 1 hour Hot Yoga class today at 12:00pm. They did the Bikram sequence but eliminated the some of the repititions. The room was hot enough to make me sweat like crazy, but was not nearly as hot as it was at the studios in DC. Christina was a very attentive/hands-on teacher and made corrections and helped the students deepen stretches. Even though this studio is not convenient for me to get to, I am looking forward to trying the different classes.

They teach the following classes:
Healing
Vinyasa
Hot Yoga/Bikram
Forrest Yoga
Astanga

There are several current price structures:

To take class 7 days a week for 1 month, the cost is 297,000 Won
For 3 days a week for 3 months, the cost is 656,000 Won (I think they might have changed this price, but this is the quote I got from Seoul Global Center)
For 2 days in the weekend for 3 months, the costs is 438,000 Won

For a 10 class card: 300,000 Won
For a 20 class card: 550,000 Won
For a 30 class card: 660,000 Won

They do take credit cards, but I paid in cash because I wasn't sure and also to avoid the credit card transaction charge. It is definitely more expensive than DC, especially since I have to pay for babysitting, but I am going to do it as much as possible this month after Curt gets back and then maybe go down to three times a week or the weekend passes.

My ideal situation would be if Pure Yoga teachers would be willing to come to the base to teach. Of course, I have to look into how that would work, but I think it should be allowed. People would have to register for the class and pay probably to make it worth the teacher's while to come, but it would be so much more convenient to me. There are free yoga classes on the base but they are not that frequent so I hope people would sign up for it.