holiday card 2008

once again we decided to forgo the paper card and go electronic (to save paper, money, and time). i'm pretty sure i was able to email this out to all of our friends + family who have email addresses, but in case i forgot anyone ... enjoy! (you'll notice rupert's and my names are replaced in the brackets.)

holiday card collage

Season's greetings, friends + family! We are a tad late in getting out our holiday well-wishes, but we are sending happy thoughts your way.

Having two kids makes the years go by faster and faster ... or maybe it's just because we're getting older? Whatever the reason, 2008 sped by and I'm actually surprised that 2009 is just a couple of days away. We had some exciting goings-on this year, mostly good and one a little nerve-wracking.

The kids continue to grow at an astounding pace. Maya turned three in November and, even after three years, we're still not sure where her personality comes from. She is strong-willed and has quite the independent streak. She's outgoing and fun-loving, but she's also trouble! I guess a good way to describe her is as a princess-loving tomboy. One thing I can say, she keeps us on our toes. Now, if only I knew how to harness her energy in a more positive way ...

Ian started third grade in September and is doing so well. He reads well above grade level and started the GATE program at school. He continues with his French lessons, and I think the language is starting to sink in. I predict just a few more years before he can take us around France! He still loves to play (and watch) sports; he finished his fourth season playing soccer and will play baseball in the spring. But first comes basketball (with [rupert] as his coach). To counterbalance outdoor activities, Ian also enjoys playing video games, especially on the Nintendo DS he got for Hanukkah.

[rupert] is in his second year of the PhD program at UCLA. He received a fellowship, which enabled him to stop working at Los Angeles Unified School District at the end of summer (the timing couldn't have been better, actually, with layoffs and such). He works part-time on campus, which means he doesn't have to drive between Westwood and downtown everyday. Our big scare came midyear when the doctor found that the right side of [rupert]'s thyroid was really enlarged. It was so large, in fact, that the endocrinologist was surprised he wasn't having problems breathing and swallowing. Long story short, [rupert] now only has half a thyroid, and -- thankfully -- the growth was benign.

As for me, most of the year passed without much incident. Until very recently the highlights of the year were two weekend getaways [rupert] and I went on without the kids (to NYC and Chicago) for family weddings. But then, just a few weeks ago, I got a job as the librarian at the elementary school I used to work at before Maya was born. I only worked one week before winter break started, but it is the best job I could ask for at this stage in my life. Now that I'm working, Maya will start preschool in January. We spent some time at the preschool yesterday and she seemed to enjoy it very much, but we'll have to see how she adjusts. Hopefully it will be a win-win situation for all of us.

Wishing you many delightful joys and wonderful discoveries in 2009,
[yucaree], [rupert], ian + maya


holiday presents

it's been awhile since i made anything, and what better time than at hanukkah/christmas? i "made" scarves for the young ladies in our family and a couple of our friends. i use quotes around the word made because i don't feel like i actually made anything :: i cut out fleece into long rectangles and then i painted designs on them. (i found a tutorial at curbly.com via the craftzine blog.) making the templates and cutting them out was rather time consuming but they came out fairly nicely. the lighter colored fleece came out better, i think.

A + D wearing the scarves i made

for my sisters i painted trees and a lotus flower; for rupert's cousins the design was trees, a bird, and lotus; and for our friends i did a fork + knife design and cephalopods.

JL wearing the fork + knife scarf i made JP wearing the cephalopod scarf i made


a little hint as to what's to come

i made some hanukkah/christmas presents for my sisters (including rupert's sister) and rupert's cousins. here's a little sneak peak ...

guess what i'm making as gifts?


happy hanukkah!

happy first night of hanukkah!

hanukkah 2008 :: night 1

the kids came home with quite a stash of goodies from our family hanukkah dinner at my in-laws' house. what can i say? they're super lucky :: 1) they get to celebrate both hanukkah and christmas; 2) most of our family is local so they give them tons o' presents; 3) they are the only two little kids in the family at the moment, which means they are the beneficiaries of most people's "oh, that's so cute/fun/interesting/unique!" shopping; and 4) our families don't seem to know when to stop shopping!

i know, i sound ungrateful, don't i? it's definitely not that we don't appreciate the gifts or the show of love from the family. it's more of a "we can't/don't know how to control the clutter at our house" issue. i am we are going to have to make a concerted effort to implement, and execute, a one-thing-in-one-thing-out policy. literally, the kids have no more space in their rooms for even one more thing. (not surprisingly, i said the exact same thing last year. wanna make a bet i'll be saying it again next year?)

and because we're boring people, rupert and i did the donation thing again for gifts to our family. it may seem like we don't go through the same kind of stress and hassle of shopping for the holidays but it doesn't mean we love our families any less. ;)


working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living!

i got a job! you heard me right ... a bonafide, (hourly) wage-paying, tax-deducting, people-interacting job. i'm now the library media specialist at the elementary school i used to work at before maya was born.

i can't even begin to tell you how thrilled i am about being employed; not just having a job, having this job. now, let me make something very clear :: i am not anywhere near as accomplished or knowledgeable as the previous librarian, my friend B. but i can't help but think that i was meant to have this particular job. the timing is perfect (me wanting to get out of the house and maya needing to start preschool), i'm familiar with the school, the hours are good (part-time during school hours), and i'm surrounded by books all day long. i almost don't even care that my hourly wage isn't even half of what i make at my tutoring gig!

i finished my first week of work and -- there's no other way to say it -- i'm in love with my job. there's tons to do and learn but everything is a joy. how lucky am i?

(i'm working on a website for the library; it still needs some sprucing up.)


37 months.

maya @ 37th months :: december 4, 2008

  • confused the show "pushing daisies" with literally pushing her stuffed duck daisy.
  • when she doesn't want to walk anymore we hear a lot of "my leg broken" and "so much walking"

  • wanna get her to do something? tell her dr. burgett wants her to behave :: "my doctor said?"

  • actually unchi-ing on her own (sans miralax) almost everyday. hallelujah!

  • when she wants to show you something, she requests that you "close your eye ... open your eye!" i always find it funny that she uses the singular.

  • starting to do some "chores" :: wanting to help in the kitchen, using the handheld vacuum.

  • favorite movie :: the nightmare before christmas (she loves jack)

  • rupert instituted a rewards jar with skittles in it but, to be honest, it wasn't very well-thought out so it hasn't been particularly effective. we're going to have to come up with something better.


weekend in the windy city

rupert's family gave us another reason to travel this year; another cousin got married. luckily, my parents were willing to watch the kids again so we took off for the windy city last weekend.

we made it to chicago just in time for the rehearsal dinner. the bitter cold was a shocker, even though we were preparing ourselves for it. after dinner rupert and i went for a walk in millennium park (across the street from our hotel) and came back with red cheeks and painful ears and fingers.

self-portrait reflection with the jay pritzker pavilion in the background

the following day was actually quite lovely, as long as you had your coat on. we went back to the park to take pictures of cloud gate, and then took a leisurely walk towards the river so we could have brunch at frontera grill. with our tummies full we walked to paper source, the museum of contemporary art, and then headed back to get ready for the wedding.

under the huppah
the wedding took place at our hotel, and it was a beautiful ceremony. rupert and his brother were recruited to be huppah holders at the last minute so i delegated myself photographer. at the reception the food was pretty good (great cocktail hour); it was quite an impressive wedding.
the following morning there was a post-wedding breakfast hosted by rupert's parents, where we finally got to meet rupert's cousin's new baby. with just a few hours before our flight home rupert and i dashed across the street for a quick walk-through of the art institute.
i had a horrible flight home but i won't recount it here because i don't want to remember it. if it weren't for that flight the weekend would've been almost perfect.


thanksgiving yumminess

my habit of trying out new recipes for family gatherings kicked in again. this year for thanksgiving i made the pioneer woman's caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake. the kids helped me a bit, which kept them occupied for awhile. i should really bake more with them.

packing in the gingersnap crust into the springform pan.
mixing the pumpkin cheesecake batter.

the end result caused some dripping and burning of the batter in the oven, but it sure is tasty (we have quite a bit left over). i didn't use nearly as much caramel as the recipe called for and rupert thought it was still too much. the caramel layer on top of the crushed gingersnap crystalized it to a pretty hard crust, which i like but it may be a bit too hard for some people.
it's clearly not an everyday food but for special occasions it's quite the treat.
caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake


what?? he's a tween?!

the face of an 8-year-old

according to my parenting magazines, i'm now the mother of a tween. how did that happen? somehow eight years went flying by and my baby is a full-fledged boy with a capital "b". day by day he grows more independent and he's becoming his own person.

he's a fantastic big brother, although there are times when we hear a lot of yelling back and forth between the kids. he's an observant, bright kid, but he has his totally oblivious, "hello? are you on planet earth?" moments. he's well-behaved and mild-mannered, but he hasn't quite outgrown his only child, self-centered habits. we love him to bits, but he's a work-in-progress. no, i take that back. we, as his parents, are a work-in-progress.

i realize, watching him, that our nurturing is so crucial in these formative years. sure, by nature, he's a wonderful kid who will, no doubt, grow up to be a wonderful adult. but, as his parents, we need to set the example so that he can be a better adult than if he were left to his own devices. everyday is a new opportunity for us to be the best parents we can be so he can be the best kid he can be.

in some ways i feel bad for him, as i do with all first-born children, because they are the guinea pigs. mom and dad keep trying to figure things out, year after year. we mean well, really, we do, but we're bound to make mistakes. so, i apologize to ian for screwing up over and over again. and i'll probably keep on making mistakes even though i don't mean to. and, because he's a swell kid, he'll put up with me and rupert. thanks buddy! now, promise me you won't go crazy when you become a teenager.

ian getting a good whack at the pinata


happy birthday to my little girl

grandma + grandpa's bday gift to maya

it's kind of weird to think that this little being has been in our family for three years. it seems like the longest and shortest three years of my life. no doubt she challenges my patience and often brings the worst out of me, but it's true that she's also made me appreciate the job of parent so much more and i've become more introspective because of her.

i love her (even when i want to strangle her!) and am so looking forward to watching her grow up into a little lady (hopefully a more cooperative little lady).

happy birthday, maya!

with her brother

now comes the real work ...

president-elect obama

i am thrilled and so excited that barack obama is our next president. change is coming and it's inspiring to see that so many people (especially young people) are hopeful and dedicated to making this country better.

but president-elect obama has his work cut out for him. the world is watching him, there are plenty of americans who are waiting for him to make a mistake, and the hopes of many other americans lie with him. he faces so many challenges; truly, the presidential campaign will be nothing compared to the job of president.

still, i can't help but smile and think to myself, "GObama!"


36 months.

i love cupcakes!

maya @ 36 months :: november 4, 2008

  • rupert taught her how to play candyland (actually following the rules) and she, of course, was two-for-two the first time they played.
  • she's unchi-ing on her own a bit (harder unchi = uncomfortable unchi) but we still need the miralax.
  • she exclaimed "dude!" and smacked herself in the forehead in frustration while playing the tightrope walking on wii fit.
  • loves halloween :: every single time we pass a house with halloween decorations she yells, "halloween! halloween!". she even insisted, "halloween!" when we stopped at a light next to a derelict house.
  • really enjoyed trick-or-treating and getting candy; the costume not so much. we told her she couldn't get candy unless she wore her costume. as for trick-or-treating, we practiced beforehand what she had to say and she was pretty courageous about going up to scary-looking houses.
  • we're hearing a lot of "i not tired! i really not tired!" around naptime and bedtime, but she really still needs a nap ... i need her to nap!
  • i am blessed that my pta/mom friends are so generous with maya; they help me take care of her and don't mind when i bring her to pta stuff.
  • she enjoyed watching the new indiana jones and iron man movies. she can even identify robert downey jr. as iron man.
  • likes to be the little mermaid :: when her hair's wet she says, "little mermaid hair" and she was insistent that i acknowledge she was like the little mermaid when she put chapstick on her lips (i didn't quite understand that, but whatever).
  • finally starting to understand how the green lights + red lights work (which light to look at when we're waiting to cross the street).
  • she insists that i dakko her (pick her up) when we talk about going to her grandma's house because, "lucy lick me. lucy lick my face. i not like it." (lucy is my in-laws' dog)
  • interested in words and getting it that letters together make words that can be read.
  • really psyched about her birthday. she's been talking about it a lot without really knowing when her birthday is ... or how old she's going to be, for that matter. well, i guess we can work on that!
  • this has been going on for awhile, but she likes to use the pepper grinder and sprinkle a pinch of salt from the salt cellear to her eggs.

history in the making

ian voted too ...

the day is finally here :: election day! we headed out as a family this morning to our polling place (conveniently located across the street) and participated in this historic election. while rupert voted the kids used the practice inkadot machine to mark their own ballots. when we got home maya proudly put her ballot on the fridge and ian penciled in "obama" on his "i voted" sticker and went to school with it on his shirt.


getting on my soapbox

P's "no on 8 + obama" pumpkin
i normally wouldn't do this, but i've been thinking a lot about prop 8 and i just couldn't not say anything. as i drive around my neighborhood and see all the "vote yes on 8" lawn signs i get this gut-wrenching feeling that's a mixture of disgust, anger, and sadness. i can't articulate very well why it makes me so upset but i'm gonna give it a try ...
if you've watched the commercials, i'm sure you're aware that what no-voters are asking for is that all people be treated equally in regards to civil marriages. to be treated equally in the eye of the law, not in god's eyes. that's a whole other issue altogether. whatever your religious beliefs, or your opinion on gay marriage, does it sincerely seem right to you that the law would discriminate in this way? the law, theoretically, does not discriminate against people because of their race, religion, gender, age, national origin, ability/disability -- characteristics that are inherent to us. to me, sexual orientation isn't any different than those other characteristics; it's a part of a person but it's not the entire person. yet, we're willing to flat out declare in the law books that it's okay to discriminate against gays (who are said to make up 2~7% of the population) because of one part of their lives.
not even a lifetime ago i would probably have been prevented from marrying rupert. after all, interracial marriage only became legal in 1967. i couldn't imagine not being able to marry simply because i was born with one skin color and the one i love was born with a different skin color. does my skin color have anything to do with my ability to love my spouse and honor my marriage vows? in the same vein, does a person's sexual orientation have anything to do with his/her ability to be a good spouse? i don't think so. it's silly and ridiculous that the prerequisite for marriage be that a penis and a vagina be involved.
if prop 8 passes we would be discriminating against people in this state solely on their choice of who they love. we would be perpetuating intolerance (because that's what it is) to future generations, telling our children that if you're gay you're treated differently and if you're not gay it's okay to treat gays differently.

what is a "traditional marriage" anyway? the definition of "traditional" is evolving and i would venture to say that most reasonable people in this country don't subscribe to what history and/or the bible considered traditional. we no longer have polygamy or levirate marriage and a husband doesn't consider his wife chattel. why would we then base legislation on some bible literalists who are selectively choosing which passages in the bible to follow?
i don't understand why we would even consider the religious beliefs of a portion of the population be made into law for the entire population. i'm not politically naive, but whatever happened to separation of church and state? i don't care what people believe privately and religiously (although i don't understand it) but i do care very much that their religious beliefs not be forced on the rest of us as law.

but putting aside religion and law, i have to think of the actual people this proposition would affect. i personally only know one gay couple, and i was lucky enough to attend their marriage ceremony in july. i cannot imagine taking that day away from them. taking the affirmation of their love away. taking their joy away. it makes me sick that some people are unremorseful about taking away that special bond of matrimony from gay couples who finally were able to marry. can you imagine going up to a heterosexual married couple and telling them, "your marriage is wrong and the law no longer recognizes you as married."? it would be unimaginable but people are willing, no, eager, to do exactly that to their fellow human beings. it's just not right.

please please consider what i've said and vote NO on proposition 8.
[edited 12.4.08 :: this video says it all.]


what i made for dinner :: quick sausage + mushroom lasagna

mushroom + sausage lasagna

lasagna is such a great dish to fall back on when you need something relatively quick, easy, and hearty. the newest issue of bon appetit had a delicious-sounding recipe for quick sausage + mushroom lasagna so i had to try it out the next time i was in need of a dinner recipe that yields lots of servings (for leftovers, of course).

it's actually not so quick if you have to slice all of the mushrooms yourself; that slowed me down a bit. but the recipe itself is simple and the assembly is quick. and, boy, was it yummy. ian, of course, picked out most of the mushrooms but maya enthusiastically ate it all.


what i made for dinner :: chicken + sweet potato pot pie

sweet potato chicken pot pie

it's the second week of october. you'd think the weather would start to cool down and the sweaters would get pulled out of the closet. nope, we're still enjoying the last vestiges of summer. so, in this heat it would be silly to start with the hearty, oven-baked dishes, but my body craves the food of autumn.

enter the chicken and sweet potato pot pie by ming tsai. i watch his show on pbs every once in awhile, which led me to his website recently. i found this recipe for an old favorite, but jazzed up with some ginger and chinese five spice. i also liked that it can be easily adapted for vegetarians (just take out the chicken -- duh!) without sacrificing on the flavor; the sweet potatoes really add something to the dish. the first time i made it i used yams, which made it turn out quite orange in color and too sweet in flavor. it's best to follow the recipe and use the lighter colored sweet potatoes. the sweetness is more subtle.

maybe i'm just slow, but chopping all the veggies took me some time; when i doubled the recipe for a party it took me half an hour just to chop the vegetables. and i had to cook down the mixture (after adding the heavy cream) for far longer than 25 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid.


a week in the life :: day 7 | sunday

see pictures from the week here.

  • it's wonderful that a) ian keeps himself occupied when he wakes up, and b) maya sleeps in some days, like today (she didn't nap yesterday). i keep on snoozing until 8:30; rupert wakes up earlier and is reading for school on the couch while it's still relatively quiet in the house.
  • spend the morning just hanging out on the couch, reading, and surfing the net. i was going to watch the snl biden/palin debate skit but realize i need to shower before ian's baseball game.
  • rupert makes us a yummy lunch of leftover zankou chicken tortilla wraps. we hussle out of the house at 11:45 to make it to the field across town. this is ian's first game for the fall baseball league, which is not our local league. we were told to arrive an hour early, which we do, but we have no idea who to talk to or where to go. luckily, our local little league's president shows up and his son and ian are on the same team.
  • the game goes alright, except that our kids are not used to the pitching machine or stealing bases. i think we lose (i miss the end of the game because i took maya to the playground) and i think ian is a bit bummed that he doesn't make a hit. but he had a great catch at first base for an out. his favorite position to play is pitcher, even if he actually doesn't pitch (he stands next to the pitching machine and catches the ball from the catcher). the game is long so we don't get home until close to 3.
  • ian takes a shower, we eat some snacks, and then it's nap time for mama + maya. i read a bit more of my book and then fall fast asleep. when i wake up around 6pm ian is sorting laundry in the living room and rupert has gone to TJ's to find dinner. i hop online and take care of some pta business. commend ian for successfully sorting a huge pile of laundry and folding his own clothes. now that i know he can do this it will become parts of his chores.
  • rupert makes dinner (korean bbq) so that we can eat our leftover kimchi. maya wakes up slightly cranky but seems pleased to eat salad. she perks up after that and is in a disturbingly good mood. we inhale a ton of meat and we manage to polish off a pack of korean nori. then it's time for fox's animation domination :: the simpsons, king of the hill, family guy, and american dad (which we normally don't watch but it's on in the background while we tap away at our laptops). the kids went to bed during family guy so it's just me + rupert hanging out on opposite couches. around 11 i im for an hour with my step-sis D through gmail. but by midnight we're all tired so we head to bed.


a week in the life :: day 6 | saturday

  • another slow start to the day. i think it's getting to be that time of the year where it's so warm and cozy in bed i don't want to leave.
  • got bit by a mosquito behind my knee yesterday at the sand dune and it itches like crazy. and it's swollen up.
  • ian has a soccer game at 1 but i am completely knocked out with a tension/sinus headache. it starts to drizzle a bit so maya comes home and hangs out in the living room by herself while i continue to nap. ian comes back exhausted from the game ... and he made a goal. yay!
  • we're supposed to head to the hometown fair but the weather's iffy and ian doesn't want to go and something that should be simple somehow ends up slightly complicated. in the end rupert + i drop off maya and my mother-in-law at the fair. ian stays with my father-in-law at their house by the beach. rupert + i are now free for the rest of the evening :: date night!
  • dinner at daikokuya in little tokyo. our decision to eat there is influenced by the recent issue of la weekly. it's still fairly early but there's a wait; i tell rupert i'm going to pig out on noodles + gyoza. soooooo nice to slurp noodles uninterrupted, but i wonder why the noodles here are slightly chijiri and the same stuff i get at the market? i finish the noodles and savor the gyoza but find myself fuller than i used to be after polishing off a bowl of noodles. i fear my stomach is shrinking; rupert said that was a good thing. really?
  • wander back to the car through japanese village plaza, browsing some shops along the way. since it's still pretty early (6:30ish) and we can't think of a single hipster thing to do in little tokyo/downtown, we head to borders near our house. order a coffee and walk around. i can pick up books and actually flip through them without having to worry about what maya is doing. consider buying something for my sister's birthday but i realize i forgot my weekly coupon. no shopping tonight.
  • my question of the day :: could early man have pyromania if fire hadn't been discovered yet?and what's a cave man with ocd like?
  • make it back to my in-laws' house to pick up the kids. maya had a great time riding the pony at the fair. ian had a mini pizza for dinner. it takes us awhile to leave because maya wants to take a walk with lucy, my in-laws' dog, which is their ritual. and then she insisted on having ice cream for dessert. i kill the time doing a sudoku, which i don't finish.
  • after getting home, rupert puts the kids to bed. he wants to watch "forgetting sarah marshall" but i am engrossed with the internet. he turns it on anyway and i get engrossed with the movie. really cute and peter totally cracks me up (especially his dracula puppet musical). watch the special features too. and then off to bed.


35 months.

miss piggy
maya @ 35 months :: october 4, 2008

  • at the beginning of the month, her diaper was not fitting right for some reason (i.e., her pee leaked frequently). at first we thought it was because we got some huggies (we usually use pampers), then we thought it was because her pampers were too small, but now that we've switched to bigger pampers and it's still happening, we're stumped. --> duh, she's just peeing more!
  • likes to make herself dizzy by twirling around, running in circles, or spinning on her butt
  • favorite movie :: harry potter (usually "harry potter and the sorcerer's stone")
  • favorite game :: wii fit ski jump
  • favorite animal :: elephants
  • we made her cry when we told her not to eat her boogers because it's gross
  • she can wash her hands by herself. she even drags the stool over to the light switch to turn the light on and off.
  • back to playing with her friend julia, but now i have to swing by ian's old school (after dropping him off at his current grades 3-5 school) so she can have her mini-playdate each morning.
  • i cannot seem to get rid of the fruit flies in our kitchen, and when maya sees them she says, "bug :: squish it!" as she claps her hands together.
  • collecting rose petals in her basket purse, ziploc bags, and spongebob tin.
  • hiding her hands behind her back when she's taken something or has something that she shouldn't have.
  • after some playdates with more potty-trained friends she's been going to the bathroom more consistently :: "i NEED to go peepee!!"
  • climbing into her crib (swings her legs over the front if it's lowered).
  • likes to use colored pencils :: the other day she was "drawing" colorful lines on a piece of paper and when rupert asked her what she was drawing she replied they were all "mad people."
  • got a hand-me-down (3-wheeled) scooter from our next door neighbors. she's really cute in her doggy helmet, kicking along the sidewalk ... until she runs into something.
  • the dreaded "why?"s have begun.
  • she's beginning to express fear more frequently :: "i scared" and she hugs herself. she's been sleeping fine in her room without a nightlight but now she occasionally complains about the dark. (ian having just recently stopped using a nightlight we are trying very hard not to get her to use one.)
  • a clear sign that we need to cut down on the tv-watching :: "i like this commercial!"
  • breaking bones and choking ... and she thinks it's funny.
  • when she's got attitude we hear a lot of, "i know!" but when she's being cute she'll say stuff like, "oh, i got ya!"
  • calls the iphone "debbie phone," since my step-sis has one.
  • taking fewer and fewer naps ... boo!knows a few more letters (w, c, r, q); rupert has been working with her using flashcards.
  • learned from somewhere that after you say, "trick or treat!" you get candy.
  • i've caught her using my scissors, snipping pieces of papers into tiny pieces.
  • she likes to assign "mama," "dada," "baby," and "niinii" roles to everything living (usually by size).


a week in the life :: day 5 | friday

  • to make up for the two previous unproductive days, i get up at 5:30am to go to the sand dune. i'm supposed to meet my friends there so i head out to get there by 6. i arrive earlier than the others so i start my workout :: trudging up the sand dune. in the end i get up 11 times, which is the most i've done so far, and i wasn't even dripping sweat! i think i can do more. :)
  • when i get home i print out ian's oral presentation paper and take care of some emails for the pta. rupert is nice enough to pack ian's lunch for me and get maya out of her crib so i can shower.
  • ince maya, rupert + i are going to the zoo with some friends after dropping ian off at school, i pack some snacks and get maya ready. i walk ian to school and we arrive a couple of minutes before 9:20. ian's disappointed that we're going to the zoo without him but i'll think of some place to take him on monday when he doesn't have school.
  • we get to the zoo and meet up with our friends D+P and their daughter D. we spend the next three hours enjoying the animals and the great weather (the temperature is finally dropping). i assign rupert photographer duties and he takes some great shots of the giraffes. my favorite animal of the day is the koala :: there's an especially active and adorable one. rupert's favorites are the orangutans (the baby was pulling and tugging on the male, and the mom had to drag the baby away).
  • by the time we leave it's kind of late and we haven't had lunch yet. i worry that we won't make it back home in time to pick up ian so i text my friend Y and she agrees to get him for us. now we can enjoy our lunch withour hurrying. we head to zankou chicken at rupert's request and enjoy a quick meal of chicken with garlic sauce. we say bye to our friends and actually make it back home by 3:05. as we stop at the intersection in front of our house we see ian standing at the corner with his friend R (Y's son). perfect timing!
  • maya fell asleep in the car so we leave her in there and i spend some time in the garage uploading the pictures from the zoo (i open the garage door so i can see maya in the car). i tag-team with rupert and he works on the computer for awhile. maya wakes up a couple of hours later and we head inside for rock band time! the three of us play for awhile, and then rupert heads to the kitchen to heat up some food for the kids. ian and i play and we really get into it. rupert says we're ridiculous. and you know what ian says in his best rocker voice? "why? are we ridiculous because we want to rock?!"
  • finished watching "sicko." became a fan of tony benn. i always take what michael moore says with a grain of salt, even though i'm a liberal myself and generally agree with what he's trying to convey. still, it is sickening to think what lack of health coverage/care does to people and their families. i know other countries' socialized health care systems aren't perfect, but it made me wonder why so many americans resist the idea of helping others for the benefit of the greater good. i guess i'm more of a socialist than i realized??


a week in the life :: day 4 | thursday

  • what's happening to me? i didn't get out of bed until 8:30! (i did get up at 5:30 ... again ... because maya was scared and i had to convince her to go back to sleep.) jump in the shower to wake myself up. no surprise, i didn't work out. i ask rupert, exasperatedly, to pack ian's lunch. i don't have time for breakfast so i grab half of rupert's bagel and throw some fruit into a bento box for maya.
  • walk to school, noticing it's already pretty warm, even though it's supposed to be cooler today. head over to the other school and end up chatting until 11am with some of the other parents. the shade is nice and there's a bit of a breeze; seems like it actually will be a bit cooler today.
  • get home and plop down on the couch to finish reading "bonk." give maya some snacks and let her watch tv. eventually i fall asleep ... and keep sleeping ... and keep right on sleeping. i don't eat lunch again.
  • decide by 2 that i am in no shape to go tutor. i don't necessarily feel sick but i don't have the energy or the willpower to get going. call my mother-in-law to tell her she doesn't have to watch the kids. call rupert and leave a voicemail asking when he's going to come home.
  • pick ian up at 3 and slowly make my way home. maya fell asleep in her stroller so i carefully put her in her crib. she wakes up, of course, but i tell her to nap and close the door to her room. am so tired but i have to send some emails for the pta meeting i can't attend tonight. i also catch up on reading blogs. ian finishes his homework and then types up his presentation (about the medal he got from the 5k) for tomorrow. must remember to print it out before tomorrow morning. finish "bonk" and start reading "the year of living biblically."
  • turn the tv on and watch the vice presidential debate. maya has been chatting, whining, and finally crying in her crib so i retrieve her. when ian realizes that "the simpsons" isn't on he hightails it to his room where he finishes reading "diary of a wimpy kid." bring up "the reality-based community" blog to read liveblogging during the debate. part-way through the debate rupert comes home. he starts making dinner (ravioli) while listening to the debate. he and the kids eat but i pass (i do nibble on a few bites of maya's leftovers, though).
  • i am no fan of palin's but i can understand her appeal to the republican base she's already captured; she performs much better than her katie couric interview (and i use the word "perform" intentionally). i feel biden answers more of the questions directly, and he's more knowledgeable about what's going on in the world. but we'll see how accurate both of their claims are once the fact-checkers get through with them. to lighten things up we watch last saturday's palin/couric skit from snl. i wonder if they'll do anything about the debate for this week's show.
  • we watch a little bit of the show "hole in the wall" while the kids get ready to go to bed. such an absurd show; no surprise it's inspired by a japanese game show. after the kids are in bed rupert pops in "sicko," which we got from netflix. this is probably not the right movie to watch before rupert gets his surgery ...
  • in 45 minutes i will be watching episode 2 of "spain ... on the road again." it'll keep me up longer than i want because i have to get up early (5:30am) to go to the sand dune. but it'll be worth it.

a week in the life :: day 3 | wednesday

  • maya wakes up once around 6am but i convince her to go back to sleep. and since ian is early bird on wednesdays i decide not to work out today, which means i sleep in until 7:30 (it probably also has to do with my staying up late reading). force myself to get up since i still have to pack ian's lunch and get ready myself. while pulling out lunch stuff from the fridge i notice that there are fruit flies in the refrigerator. wtf? where are they coming from? i freak out, thinking they're breeding in the fridge, so i start throwing out old stuff and scrubbing some of the grimier parts. check the clock and i only have a few more minutes before we have to leave. maya barely wakes up in time for us to leave for school at 8:20.
  • it is another hot day; i'm sweating just walking to school. by the time we get to maya's "playdate" at the other school i feel disgusting. only stay for a little while since it's hot and maya's little friend has to leave.
  • get home and have a feeling it's going to be an unproductive day. blame it on the heat.
  • maya hasn't eaten so i toast her a bagel (a new purchase by rupert :: TJ's sprouted wheat bagels). she is displeased with my decision to put cream cheese on her half of the bagel. i am forced to eat off the top layer of the bagel with the cream cheese. we watch "sid the science kid" on pbs, which we really like.
  • head to the post office to mail a tagE*blankE order and wedding magazines for my future sister-in-law. i think i got a new postal employee because he tried to charge me over $6 to ship the blankE, which i know should only cost $2 to ship. set him straight.
  • i am already exhausted and it's only 11am. plop myself down on the couch and continue reading "bonk," which i am totally engrossed in. feeling drowsy so i decide to take a nap, especially since maya is actually keeping herself busy.
  • an hour later maya wakes me up because she's hungry. i feel too hot to eat anything but ask maya what she wants to eat. she doesn't want anything but carrots, so that's her lunch. i cut up a nectarine for myself but can't finish it.
  • keep reading (my own book and a pokemon book for maya) until it's time to get ian at 2pm. the sun beats down on us during our brief walk. we get to school a few minutes early so i spot my friend L and chat with her about her new job. should've brought my sunglasses because i'm majorly squinting. i spot riley, our friend's dog, coming and maya is cautiously excited (riley is bigger than maya and he licks her face if given the opportunity).
  • get the boys and head to the park, our wednesday tradition. my friend Y (R's mom) has a spot staked out in the shade under a tree. hang out for awhile until maya gets cranky and insists we go home. ian is enjoying a game of football with some of the other boys and i have to tear him away from the game. maya's crankiness gets worse when the football is thrown at her chest.
  • walk home and get the kids to bathe. sadly, i don't get a turn in the shower. i am stinky. after ian does some homework we head to the local farmers market, our new wednesday afternoon routine, before heading to ian's french class. maya likes to go to the baker and get a free cookie sample. this week they only have banana bread and macaroom samples. the kids like the banana bread enough that we buy a loaf. i head to the two booths i always hit :: the organic stand for four ears of corn and the fruit vendor for apples and nectarines. i was going to complain that the grapes i bought last week had seeds even though i was told they were seedless, but i realize that the vendor might not know a lot of english. (today i ask him if we're getting to the end of nectarine season and he gave me a blank stare so i'm guessing he's not fluent. it would be helpful if i knew more spanish.) the kids are zigzagging around the various vendors eating free samples, which i feel slightly guilty about but not that much since it gets the kids to eat fruit. leave the farmers market without having spent too much money.
  • head to ian's french class 20 minutes away. plead with maya to take a nap, even though it's 5pm already. she does not comply and lets out some ear-splitting screeches instead. after dropping ian off, maya asks to go to the pet store (it's in the same stripmall complex). we spend a few minutes looking at the furry critters but maya's real interest is in reptiles. she is delighted with the lizards (the snakes are sleeping) and i must admit i got a little excited when i saw the baby bearded dragon eat a live cricket. on our way out we run into our former rie teacher (who happens to be the mom of one of my close friends).
  • there's still some time before ian's class ends so we hang out in the waiting room. this is where i realize maya actually knows more letters than i thought :: we're putting together an alphabet puzzle and she identifies some letters. and here i thought she didn't know anything. i guess there's still hope for her.
  • by the time class ends it's 6:45pm so we pick up dinner at a chicken place i've been meaning to try. it's peruvian-influenced so i order lomo saltado for rupert, chicken fried rice and platanos for me, and a chicken sandwich for ian (with grilled onions, which is weird since he normally hates onions). it's tasty but on the salty side.
  • we watch the season premiere of "pushing daisies." it is really a cute, clever, and colorful show. i sort of forgot to keep watching it last season but i can see myself getting into it.
  • and my night ends the way it has for the last two days :: uploading photos and blogging about my day. and a "friends" rerun with a strawberry popsicle.


a week in the life :: day 2 | tuesday

  • wake up at 6:45, 15 minutes later than i intended to. rupert is already up because maya woke up scared. find them on the couch watching "maya and miguel."
  • eat maya's leftover red bean pastry and drink a glass of water (with my calcium and fish oil supplements) before heading out for a run. come back 22 minutes later (2 miles), very sweaty. maya is watching sesame street, dancing and singing along to ll cool j and elmo singing about an addition expedition :: add 'em up!
  • take a shower even though i know i'm going to have to take another one in a few hours (after i play tennis with friends). get dressed and get ready to face the day :: packing ian's lunch, having a snack (nectarine slices and a danish), looking over ian's homework, checking my email, getting maya ready.
  • same routine as always :: get ian to school by 9:20 and walk over to the other elementary school so maya can see her friend J. but today we head to the park to play tennis (me + maya, J + her mom T, our friends D+Y). it is a scorchingly hot day and we are sweating in no time. we play for 45 minutes until D has to go to work. maya wants to go on the swings so we head towards the playground. J convinces her mom that she needs to go on the swings too. end up staying at the park for another 45 minutes while the girls play. on the walk home notice that there are tons of termites flying around. must be the heat.
  • get home around lunchtime but maya is filthy so i put her in the shower. she wants to hold the showerhead and doesn't get too upset when she squirts herself in the face with water. i give her lunch (turkey, carrots, apples, and cheese), turn on sesame street, and hop in the shower while she eats. i continue to be slightly disappointed that my dr. bronner's bar soap doesn't keep its lather while i wash my body.
  • scarf down lunch of leftover korean noodles and bean sprout namul while i browse the cookbook club catalog. it's now 1 o'clock so maya and i head to the library (a one minute walk across the street). she picks orange flowers from our front yard while we wait for the light. i return "tunnels," pick up the books i have on hold ("bonk" and "the year of living biblically"), and find a few other books ("the wall" and "diary of a wimpy kid" 1 + 2 for ian). maya kicks off her shoes, pulls books from the shelf (which i forget to return to their rightful places on the shelves), and ends up at the pre-k/kinder computer before finding a video about animals.
  • since i have to tutor in the afternoon i try to get maya to take an early nap. i read her a japanese book about pooping before depositing her in her crib. i lie down in bed to read "bonk." before i get too involved in the book i call my mother-in-law to make sure she can watch the kids while i tutor. get back to reading; i'm already loving it and i've only read 22 pages. but i need my daily nap so i close my eyes at 2:04. the phone rings a minute later. it's my bff in san francisco. we didn't get to meet up while she was down in la over the weekend so she calls to check up on us. chat for about 20 minutes. i don't have much time before ian gets out of school so i set the alarm for 2:47 and try to take a quick nap.
  • wake up 15 minutes later. turns out i don't need the alarm. brush my teeth, pack up the car with the afternoon necessities, and wake up maya. she must've just fallen asleep because i can't rouse her. carry her to her stroller and walk to ian's school to pick him + R up. maya finally wakes up when i try to transfer her from the stroller to the car seat. we head over to grandma's house with all the windows rolled down because the car is hot. the wind makes maya's hair blow into her face and paper scraps fly around the backseat.
  • drop the kids off at grandma's house and make a dash out of there (i like to be on the road by 3:30 to make it to my tutoring job). i have a few extra minutes so i make a pit-stop at boba zone and buy two large boba milk teas to take to tutoring. the girl i tutor, Y, has homework in language arts (the different types of nouns :: concrete/abstract, common/proper, and collective), science (the characteristics of all living things), and math (multiplication + division of negative integers). she forgot her social studies worksheet so she'll have to use her free homework pass tomorrow. finish at 6pm.
  • drive to the japanese market on the way home. i was hoping a new comic book would be on sale at the japanese bookstore but no luck. buy two packs of my favorite rice crackers at the market. realize spending over $6 on rice crackers is absurd; must cut back on cracker consumption. in the parking lot try to get in touch with someone on my cell so i know where to go for dinner (it's rosh hashanah and we're supposed to have a family dinner). rupert calls me from home (after he misses my call to his cell) and we decide that i'll go home so we can drive together to his parents' house.
  • on the drive home i anxiously watch my odometer as it nears the 100,000 mile mark. i get my camera ready and take a few test shots while it's at 99,999 miles. it hits 100,000 miles as i cross rosecrans avenue. prop my camera on the steering wheel and take a few shots of the odometer while keeping my hands on the wheel. make it home and it's still at 100,000.
  • hang out with rupert for a few minutes on the couch. check my email on his laptop. as we're getting ready to leave we see that our bathroom and kitchen garbage cans are infested with fruit flies. yucky! we get the garbage out of the house as quickly as possible.
  • dinner is salmon with noodle kugel and broccoli. the kugel doesn't turn out exactly as my mother-in-law hoped (the noodles on top are really crunchy), but it's good nonetheless. we talk about the economic "bailout" legislation with my father-in-law; it doesn't get heated but my fil is clearly unhappy that the legislation didn't pass. rupert + i feel something should be done but it shouldn't be rushed.
  • after dinner rupert helps his mom figure out the bus line to downtown so she can go to jury duty, which she is not happy about. meanwhile, the kids watch tv with grandpa and have dessert. it's getting late (already past 9pm) so we change maya's clothes and get ready to go home. my mother-in-law reminds us to look up flights to chicago so we can attend a family wedding.
  • once at home, i immediately turn on my laptop and start uploading the photos from today while rupert gets the kids ready for bed. blogging about my entire day takes some time and rupert is waiting for me to finish.
  • end up reading in bed for another hour. rupert is conked out next to me. don't want to stop reading but finally relent since my eyelids are so heavy.


a week in the life :: day 1 | monday

to kick-start my creative scrapbooking juices i'm participating in ali edwards's a week in the life project. she used to teach this class at cku, and i would've taken it had i attended again. so i'm really glad she's taking us through the project.

pictures from this week

day 1 monday ::
  • 5:15am :: got up before the alarm went off. surprisingly, rupert did too. groggily got ready to go to the gym. ian wakes up and i send him back to bed, "it's waaaay too early." microwave my current favorite hot cereal, tj's oats + flaxseed. read the second-to-last chapter of "tunnels" while i eat.
  • remember to take my calcium and fish oil supplements.
  • get to pattie's at 6am, wait around for a few minutes while listening to npr. realize i should've texted her last night to see if she was going to the gym. after five minutes i decide to go without her.
  • do a 40-minute workout listening to the "rock band" playlist on my ipod. come to the realization that my arms are weak and my cardio endurance is low. must get back into shape.
  • come home to find ian working out on wii fit. get a turn in doing the hulahoop. don't quite make it to 300 spins.
  • pack ian's lunch and cut up a nectarine to eat as an early morning snack. finish reading "tunnels" (it's due back at the library tomorrow).
  • rupert leaves for work/school. feed maya some cereal while we watch tv. send ian off to his room to read while i shower. get maya ready and leave for school at 9:10.
  • after ian lines up maya + i slowly make our way around the block towards ian's old school so maya can play with her friend J.
  • make it home by 10am. we're both hungry and, therefore, cranky. i make fun of rupert all the time that he gets nasty when he's hungry, but i'm finding that i act the same way. it doesn't help that i eat breakfast at 5:45; my blood sugar drops by the time 10 o'clock rolls around. we snack on my favorite japanese rice crackers. maya watches franny's feet.
  • send some email (mostly pta and sleepyhead related), catch up on my blogroll at bloglines, read craft zine and serious eats, check flickr, and look at some new food blogs (noodle whore seems right up my alley).
  • must get to the market before it gets too late. but first, off to costco to fill up on gas. spend $43.62 to fill 3/4 of a tank -- thank goodness i only get gas every 3 weeks or so. afterwards, hop on the 405 and go to freshia, the korean market i've been meaning to check out. it's cold inside and maya complains. try to placate her by taking her to the fish section. she asks to buy nori. good idea. besides groceries we buy some pastries at the bakery. maya is enamored with the pretty cakes; maybe we'll get one for her birthday. on the drive home chow down on a sweet potato pastry. maya enjoys most of her red bean-filled rice pastry.
  • make it home an hour later. eat lunch (korean nori wrapped around rice, bean sprout pajun, and (spicy) soon dubu). so full i feel like barfing. take a short nap on the couch before it's time to pick up ian at 3pm. maya was kind enough to have an unchi diaper before we head out. she puts a sticker on her unchi calendar.
  • on the walk to school join up with our neighbor M, who is also going to pick up her kid. maya is delighted that M has one of her pet rats with her; she always asks, "where mouse?" when we see M. pick up ian and R (ian's classmate) and head home. R hops into his mom's car and i chat with his mom about playing tennis tomorrow morning.
  • when we get home i'm exhausted and nursing a tension headache. plead with yell at maya to take her nap. she's getting tired too so she fights it, but i know she needs it. at 3:30 read her "a color of his own" (actually, i do a half-ass translating job and describe the pictures to her in japanese). tell ian to do his homework and crawl into bed.
  • i hear maya babbling for awhile but i can't get up. ian comes into my room after he finishes his homework but i tell him i'll check it later (which i neglect to do). he wanders off to play video games. i dose off again until i hear rupert get home.
  • finally get out of bed around 5:30; rupert brings me headache medicine. hang out on the couch and catch up with rupert about our respective days. play with his new laptop and check my email. deb (my step-sis) signs in to chat. we complain about how stupid boys are. rupert helps me start getting dinner ready by boiling some eggs. then he takes ian to soccer practice and shoots hoops at the basketball courts for awhile.
  • i chat a bit more with deb until she has to go to yoga. maya wakes up in a bad mood. only castella and a spongebob dvd makes the tears stop. after rupert comes back maya + i head out to go get ian (good thing practice is just across the street). maya takes this opportunity to run around and blow off some steam.
  • after getting home i start making dinner :: korean naengmyon noodles with korean bbq, kimchi, bean sprout namul, sliced pear, and a hard-boiled egg. it's pretty good until about half-way through, when the meat starts to cool and the fat congeals. the inside of my mouth gets a bit waxy.
  • nothing good on tv so we decide to play rock band :: ian's on guitar (as always), rupert starts off on mic and i play drums. after a couple of songs ian relinquishes the guitar to rupert and i sing. get 95% on hard singing "dirty little secret." stink at "are you gonna be my girl" (on hard) but get "most gutsy" anyway.
  • rupert gets the kids ready for bed while i hop back on the laptop to work on this project.
  • it's 11pm now and i'm almost ready to go to bed ...


what i made for dinner :: cheesy baked penne with cauliflower and creme fraiche

what i made for dinner :: cheesy baked penne with cauliflower and creme fraiche

i was a tad disappointed with last month's bon appetit but this month's issue looks really promising. we're on the cusp of summer and autumn so i'm looking forward to using the remainder of summer produce in heartier recipes.

tonight we're going meatless :: cheesy baked penne with cauliflower and creme fraiche. meatless but not necessarily healthy. this dish is heavy on the dairy products, so i'm sure it's chock-full of calories and fat. while i made the sauce i had to blot the grease with a paper towel because there was a pocket of cheese/butter fat.

some notes ::
  • active time (for me) was 45 minutes (plus 35 minutes baking time). i suggest grating the cheese and measuring the ingredients before the actual preparation of the dish. (and, no, i don't need reminding that prepping all the ingredients first is standard procedure.)
  • i used broccoflower, which was tasty. whether you use cauliflower or broccoflower, be sure not to overcook it during the sauting stage; it's good to have the bite in the final dish.
  • the recipe calls for 10oz of the penne. i used the whole bag (16oz) and i still had plenty of sauce to coat everything, and it baked up nice and cheesy.
  • be liberal with the ground pepper; pepper gives it a nice contrasting flavor so you don't overload on the cheese.
  • i skipped the breadcrumb crust on top because i was being lazy. in its place, to get a little bit of crunch, i sprinkled finely grated parmesan on top and after baking for 35 minutes i finished it off with a couple minutes under the broiler.
  • definitely not a cheap dinner :: all the dairy ingredients begin to add up. but they're not hard to find ingredients. i was able to get everything at tj's.
  • rupert and i had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and after microwaving the food we noticed a pool of grease. best to sop it up with a paper towel before digging in.

what i made for dinner :: zucchini frittata

what i made for dinner :: zucchini frittata

many garden-blessed families usually encounter a problem during the summer :: what to do with the dearth of zucchini. thankfully (?) we are not one of those families. honestly, i'm not a fan of zucchini for the most part. i never request that my husband plant it in our garden, and if anyone tries to give us unload some on us, i politely decline.

but, on occasion, i get the urge to cook zucchini ... okay, okay, i admit it, i actually want to use my hand-me-down julienne slicer.

i picked up a few zucchini at the farmers market this week with the notion of whipping up an easy and quick frittata. i scanned a few recipes online and then got to work.

ingredients ::
  • 3 medium zucchini, julienned (you can definitely use more)
  • 1 small onion (we felt like more onion would've been good --> maybe bump it up to a medium onion? even a large one?)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • basil chiffonade (i used about 8 medium leaves, but use as much, or as little, as you like)
  • 5 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 8 eggs (if you like it egg-y :: ian liked it the way it was, rupert thought it could've used fewer eggs)
  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper

directions ::

  1. julienne the zucchini into a bowl. sprinkle salt on it and gently toss; leave for 10 minutes to draw out the liquid.
  2. in the meantime chop the onion and mince the garlic. in a separate bowl whisk the eggs with salt + pepper, the basil, and 4 tablespoons of the parmesan.
  3. start sauteing the onion and garlic on medium high heat. here's the most important part :: take handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. i just dropped the zucchini directly into the pan after i squeezed it, and did that a few times until i got through all of the zucchini. turn the heat up to high and saute until just before caramelization begins but there's no liquid coming out of the vegetables. transfer the vegetables into the bowl you used for the zucchini. cool for a bit. add the egg mixture to the vegetables and combine well.
  4. in the same pan, heat the butter until it bubbles. pour in the egg mixture and cook over low heat, uncovered, for 18~20 minutes. the middle will still be slightly runny but the edges should be cooked and browned.
  5. sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on the frittata and put it under a hot broiler (mine was set on high) for a minute. when i checked on it half of it was browned nicely but the other side wasn't, so i turned it and left it in for another 45 seconds.
  6. cool slightly before serving.

the omnivore's hundred

around the foodie blogosphere very good taste's omnivore's hundred meme is all the rage. now that i've seen it several times i figured i should see how many of the hundred i've had before.

here's what you do ::

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (i had morcilla in argentina)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (you'd think that i would've had one since i lived in nyc once)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (i'm not sure what the point of eating a scotch bonnet on its own is)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (although i prefer the mango version)
34. Sauerkraut (not a fan)
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (seeing as i love cream tea, i think i would really like clotted cream tea; i must find this and try it)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (yes, even i have had a vodka jell-o shot; you can thank my friend MZ, mit frat boy)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk [updated 2009] (we gave maya goat's milk while we transitioned from formula to cow's milk, but i never tried it myself)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (i would never eat one now, but i'm sure i had one in high school)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (i just learned about poutine recently while watching anthony bourdain's no reservations. i was kinda grossed out by it but intrigued too)
60. Carob chips (in a cookie)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (this is basically dirt, so i don't see the reason to eat this either since i'm pretty sure i have all the minerals i need)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets [updated 2009], churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (this is actually on my "to eat" list)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette (i like offal so this is something i'm ashamed to admit i haven't had yet)
71. Gazpacho (i like tomatoes but i don't really like gazpacho for some reason)
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (unless i'm starving i think i will stay away from roadkill)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (some day, when i go to europe, i will make myself a reservation at a three-star restaurant)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

sixty-five out of 100 is not so good; i thought i would do better. since i don't drink alcohol a few of the items i haven't even thought of trying. but of the food items i haven't tried i am willing to eat most of them (scotch bonnet pepper, kaolin, and roadkill are the only things i wouldn't try; cigars are not food <-- doesn't count!). i think a trip to europe will help me check more items off this list. ;) let's see if i do better with just hungry's 100 japanese foods to try meme ::

  1. Properly washed and cooked, top quality new harvest white rice
  2. Freshly made tofu, as hiyayakko or yudofu
  3. Properly made misoshiru and osumashi
  4. Properly made homemade nukazuke (not a real fan of nukazuke, but i try it everytime my mom makes it)
  5. Very fresh sanma (saury), sizzling hot from the grill, eaten with a
    drizzle of soy sauce and a mound of grated daikon radish
  6. Homemade umeboshi
  7. Freshly made, piping hot crispy tempura
  8. A whole grilled wild matsutake
  9. Freshly made sobagaki with sobayu
  10. Mentaiko from Fukuoka, or tarako
  11. Onigiri with the three classic fillings: umeboshi, okaka, shiozake
  12. Assorted fresh-as-possible sashimi
  13. Saba oshizushi
  14. Mugicha
  15. Kakifurai
  16. Morinaga High-Chew candy, grape flavor
  17. Karasumi
  18. A pot of oden, preferably with homemade components especially
    ganmodoki, boiled eggs and daikon radish
  19. Ika no shiokara
  20. Calpis
  21. Ankou nabe
  22. Unadon
  23. Komochi kombu or kazunoko
  24. Yamakake, grated yamaimo with maguro (red tuna) cubes (or just with a raw egg)
  25. Properly made gyokuro shincha
  26. Milky Candy
  27. Wanko soba
  28. Omuraisu with demi-glace sauce
  29. Handmade katayaki senbei
  30. Yohkan (yokan) from Toraya (i'm not sure i've had it from toraya)
  31. Ishi yakiimo - sweet potatoes cooked in hot stones, available from street vendor carts
  32. Natto (definitely not a fan, but i can muster eating sauted natto with ground pork)
  33. Fresh seaweed sunomono (can also have some tako in it)
  34. Ikura or sujiko
  35. Tonkatsu
  36. Goma dofu
  37. Chawan mushi or tamago dofu - the same dish either piping hot or ice cold
  38. Freshly made mochi, with kinako and sugar, grated daikon and soy
    or natto
  39. Gindara no kasuzuke
  40. Hoshigaki
  41. Inarizushi
  42. Chikuzen-ni
  43. Surume
  44. Yakinasu with grated ginger
  45. Tamago kake gohan
  46. Kabuki-age
  47. Nikujaga
  48. Spinach gomaae
  49. Fuki no tou
  50. Okonomiyaki
  51. Yakitori
  52. Ohagi
  53. Japanese style curry, with rakkyo and fukujinzuke as condiments
  54. Kenchinjiru
  55. Yakult
  56. Kakipea
  57. Takoyaki
  58. Sakura mochi
  59. Buta no kakuni
  60. Daigaku imo
  61. Kappa Ebisen
  62. Chicken tsukune
  63. Hakusaizuke
  64. Hayashi rice
  65. Goya champuruu
  66. Dorayaki
  67. Ochazuke
  68. Sakuma Drops
  69. Stewed kiriboshi daikon
  70. Takenoko gohan (or in fall, kuri gohan)
  71. Cream or potato korokke
  72. Fresh yuba
  73. Real ramen
  74. Monaka
  75. Ekiben of all kinds
  76. Edamame
  77. Chicken karaage
  78. Kuzumochi
  79. Mitarashi dango
  80. Konnyaku no dengaku
  81. Yukimi Daifuku
  82. Sukiyaki
  83. Nama yatsuhashi
  84. Panfried hanpen (i'm not sure i've had it panfried)
  85. Nozawanazuke or Takanazuke
  86. Kiritanpo
  87. Amanatto
  88. Narazuke
  89. Aji no himono
  90. Baby Ramen
  91. Kobucha
  92. Kasutera
  93. Tazukuri
  94. Karintou
  95. Sauce Yakisoba
  96. Kamaboko
  97. Oyako donburi
  98. Atsuyaki tamago
  99. Kuri kinton
  100. Japanese potato salad
much better! i guess that's not surprising since i grew up with this food and spent so much time in japan. there were four i hadn't had out right, and four that i have had, but not exactly as maki-san explained. (i think she's going to update the list with explanations and english names, in case you don't know what most of these foods are.)

i have to go through the 100 chinese foods to try meme next.

and i think i have a lot of eating to do ...


34 months.

little miss bossy
maya @ 34 months :: september 4, 2008

  • finally realized the piano can be played. she actually plays quite well and smoothly considering her pretty short fingers.
  • calls herself "superman" ... she also calls spiderman "superman."
  • took her to the body worlds 3 exhibit at the california sciencenter. when we stepped in and she saw the first skeleton she said, rather unconvincingly, "i scared!" she showed great interest in the plastinized digestive tract; i showed her where her food goes and how her unchi was stuck in her intenstine. since then she talks about gummy bears going through her tummy bones (she doesn't quite grasp the idea of organs) back and forth and coming out as unchi with a plop. she was also intrigued by the lecture i gave on how jiji's lungs are black like the cancer-infested lungs on display and hers were more white/pink. jiji's lungs are now bacchi (dirty).
  • while we were watching who framed roger rabbit she kept referring to jessica rabbit as "little mermaid."
  • the thing she says most often may quite possibly be, "sowwy [sorry] mama."
  • fun at legoland with mama and ian. she really liked captain cranky's challenge, which swung us around all over the place, and the big lego elephant that shoots water out of its trunk.
  • a few days in palm springs with my side of the family. we spent a lot of time in the pool. she also confirmed that she is a complete flirt; she was after my sister's boyfriend the whole time we were in palm springs.
  • likes to eat korean nori (seaweed), wrapped around rice or all by itself.
  • playing with D's iphone ... she knows how to access the photos, zooms in and out, and plays games. in fact, she was so into popping bubbles that she didn't notice D tickling her feet.
  • although we decided to forget potty-training while she's dealing with her unchi issues, she's been pretty good about going potty on the toilet before bed.
  • can pick things up (like puzzle pieces) with her toes ... just like her mama.
  • she is getting into the bad, lazy habit of saying, "can't do it" without really trying. gee, i wonder where she got that defeatist attitude from?
  • now that football season has started, maya is watching games with rupert and ian. for almost every play she yells, "touchdown!"
  • says, "sure!" for answering in the affirmative.
  • i went to get her from her nap and she had torn apart and completely obliterated her diaper, as well as peed in her crib. lovely.
  • she loves having "shake shake" for dessert (vanilla ice cream with milk).
  • she is turning into a girly-girl :: at our friend's house she was all about their daughter's princess crown and dress-up clothes (i.e., ariel costume and tutu).


round-up 08.2008

just simplifying my sidebar a bit ...

friends + family blogs ::

  • ALH :: my BIL's fiancee
  • blog-o-rama :: our college friend's wife
  • bs and our four legged kids :: my sb pal + financial planner
  • devin's chronicles :: grad school friend
  • dottie + her papas :: great family friends
  • eric umansky :: rupert's cousin + her fiance
  • the gourmet chronicle :: my best friend's food blog
  • jakariko nikki :: my best friend from japan who now lives in jakarta
  • jhr4phd :: rupert's blog about his phd life
  • jsc's blog :: college friend's daughters
  • the journey of finding .5 :: my step-sis, D
  • kumeeks :: family friend (in japanese)
  • minimalist orgy :: JB, a friend from college who i reconnected with via facebook
  • my little mochi :: craft + cute genius
  • suzanne in new york :: rupert's other cousin
  • ttsuai :: mama friend

    • when i feel like being a do-gooder ::

    • american forests
    • change the margins
    • donors choose
    • ginga arts
    • heifer international
    • kickin' cancer 5k
    • nothing but nets
    • the one campaign
    • stop global warming
    • transitpeople
    • 8.24.2008

      going awol for awhile

      you don't need to tell me that i've been neglecting the old blog. i even forgot that it was my 3rd blogiversary on the 10th. i can't believe i've been writing for three years when i wasn't sure i could continue it for three days.

      so, where have i been? i don't think it would be on over-exaggeration to say that i am somewhere between identity crisis and the worst possible me ever, between self-loathing and self-pity. not a pleasant place to be. is it surprising that i'm feeling a bit depressed?

      this summer has not been very kind to me. i'm not sure what exactly caused this negativity. i'm pretty sure it's a combination of things :: my own propensity for mild depression (not officially diagnosed but it seems pretty obvious to me ... and rupert), being around both kids 24/7, rupert's health issue, and feeling really uncertain about my role in life.

      besides not knowing whether i should embark on a search for a career outside of the home, i'm currently extremely unhappy with my parenting, which is technically my career. i don't feel like i'm good at it and my children are suffering because of it. i've blogged about this before on numerous occasions, and if i'm still struggling with this issue it's clear that i've never come to a satisfactory conclusion about why i'm not a good parent and, therefore, how i can become a better parent.

      i know most parents have doubts every now and then about whether they are doing right by their kids. being self-critical and reflecting on parenting experiences makes most moms and dads better moms and dads. but i am seriously concerned all the time with my lack of improvement and an increased agitation with parenting in general.

      dare i say it? i don't like parenting. and because i don't like parenting i think deep down i'm resentful. not towards anyone in particular, but just in general. this is where the self-pity comes in :: the "oh woe is me, my lot in life is so tragic" mentality kicks in and i feel sorry for myself. on top of that i start to feel powerless. that leads to frustration, like i don't have control over the direction my life is going.

      and i'm afraid to admit i take my frustration out on the kids. my lack of patience with ian and maya is startling and cruel at times. i realize this, but i sometimes lack the control to stop myself. this summer, especially, i've noticed that what little interaction i have with the kids is mostly scolding them. not good.

      another thing that worries me is that i am very conscious of what i should do to be a proper parent, but i can't do it. there must be something seriously wrong with me if i can't change my actions knowing full well what needs to be done. i feel like i'm not putting my kids first and foremost; that i prefer to be by myself than to spend time with them.

      it scares me to think that, compared to other parents, i may not love my kids very much. is that possible? and if the answer is 'yes,' how horrible. would i love my kids more if i was less selfish? would i be less resentful if i just accepted the fact that with parenting comes great sacrifice? would i be more patient if i could remember that being my children is just as hard as being their parent? i feel like i need a complete overhaul of my attitude and actions in order to get out of this parenting rut (for lack of a better word).

      part of that process may be for me to get out of the house and find something for myself away from the kids, as in, finally going back to work. it's also high time for maya to start pre-school and become more socialized with kids her age and other adult authority figures. (we dropped off her preschool application the other day to get on the wait list and she was quite excited about the prospects of going to "maya's school," so i think she's ready.)

      having been out of the workforce for a few years now i'm not sure what i want to do. but, more importantly, i'm not sure what i can do. i've been looking at classified ads and i'm not sure i could get hired ... the thing is, though, i know i'm completely capable but i lack the confidence to put myself out there.

      so the actual point of this post :: i'm going to disappear from the internet for awhile to focus on becoming a better me. to become a better parent. so that i can feel a bit happier than i am now.

      my hope is that it won't take me too long ... wish me luck!


      legoland 2008

      we're getting to the end of summer and since i really hadn't taken the kids anywhere i decided a trip to legoland was in order. (it helped that we had a coupon for free kids admission.)

      ian went for his 5th birthday but it was the first time for me and maya. unfortunately, she's just barely 34 inches tall, the minimum for some of the rides. that prevented us from going on quite a few rides, but we managed to have a lot of fun walking around miniland usa, splashing at swabbies deck, and riding on captain cranky's challenge.

      more pictures here.

      what i made for dinner :: orzo with creamed corn sauce + salad with salmon

      creamed corn orzo + salad with salmon
      [i forgot to post this from a few weeks ago.]

      another yummy recipe from the august 2008 bon appetit. unfortunately, the recipe isn't online so here it is ::

      ingredients ::

      • 2/3 cup orzo (about 5 ounces)
      • 1-1/3 cups whipping cream
      • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cobs, divided (1 cob reserved)
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 3 tablespoons finely chopped leek (white parts only)
      • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
      • chopped fresh chives

      directions ::

      1. cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. drain
      2. meanwhile, place cream, half of corn kernels, and reserved cob in heavy medium saucepan. boil over medium heat until thickened about 10 minutes. discard cob; puree sauce in blender until smooth.
      3. heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. add leeks and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. add wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. add remaining corn kernels and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. add creamed corn corn sauce and cooked orzo. bring to simmer. season to taste with salt and pepper. transfer to bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

      i used fresh organic white corn from the farmers market, which was so sweet. i did too good of a job cutting the kernels off the cob, though, and got the slightly hard part of the kernel that attaches to the cob. so there were some hard bits in the dish, which detracted from the overall goodness of the texture. but all in all a tasty concoction that i will make when i have some leftover fresh corn.

      (i paired the dish with a mixed green salad topped with grilled salmon.)