Tuesday, August 28, 2007

s.k.i. #1 (strange korean incident)

while on a walk yesterday a korean man in what i would estimate his late 60's was pedaling towards me on a bicycle that had a motor (something i have never seen before) and a large wicker basket on the front. i noticed as he got closer he was sporting long sleeves, socks with sandals and a giant hat (it was in the low 90's). interestingly enough it wasnt the bike with a motor and pedals or the older man in hot attire that made this encounter notable. rather, it was the fact that as we passed and he smiled and waved at georgia that there was carousel music coming from his bike. okay, do you have the visual? older korean man in a hat, long sleeved shirt, socks with sandals on a bike that has a motor pedaling up hill with a basket and a smile with fairly loud carousel music. wow. i really wish he would have stopped...i have a feeling he would be an interesting man to know with some potentially amusing stories. ill let you know if i see him again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

a red lacy mystery...

the other morning started out like any other average day in the sutherland house. pat was out the door early and peach had enjoyed blueberry awfuls as she calls them and i was on my third cup of the liquid bean checking email and chatting with a good friend back in the states. georgia disappeared momentarily to retrieve some toys from her room and returned within moments. i looked to see what her pleasure was today, the babies and blankies or maybe the new magnadoodle. you will have to use your wildest imagination to picture the look on my face when i saw that it wasnt the babies or the magnadoodle, but rather a red, lacy, lowcut, please seduce me shirt that resembled lingerie to my tired eyes half on her head and half on her little body. that didnt belong to me. right. oh. my. gawd. so here is where a few of you in denial with a strong sense of judgment and who know pat and i say to yourselves "oh, katie. please. its pat. dont be ridiculous. im sure there is a great explanation." to which i say, fine. let it happen to you, in your house with your child. add the fact you have just had a two month separation and the bag from which the above mentioned lingerie came from was waiting to go out with the days trash. i hang up with my friend and grab the shirt...must inspect size and condition.

because i do adore pat and know only my father to possess as much faith, character and integrity, i did not immediately throw his things over the balcony. but my heart was in my stomach as i tried to figure out every innocent scenario as to how this other womans shirt made its way into our apartment. mind you, if it was a marathon t shirt, i would have just assumed it got swapped at the gym, but this?? my mind was a blur with a million questions and answers so i decided i needed to bring in an expert. not on infidelity, but a best friend who loves pat almost as much as i do and yet is not related to either of us. i just couldnt imagine calling anyone from my family or from his for that matter. perfect. dial up suzy. i told her what had just happened and she got this nervous giggle. nervous like, "i cant believe this could actually happen and im afraid of what will happen next if it did".

fast forward through 62 minutes of therapeutic "what ifs" and "couldnt bes" and you get the idea. emotionally exhausted and tired of trying to wrap my brain around what my new potential reality was, i was ready to throw in the towel and just wait for pat to get home and explain it to me. im proud to say the only completely neurotic thing i did was put the meat i had thawing to cook for him back in the freezer. i decided against a home cooked meal made with love for that night. at about the 62 minute point in my free counseling session with suz she said, "katie, im just seeing visions of pat at last years squadron christmas party in a mrs. claus mini skirt riding a mechanical bull. do you think there could be anything work related that this scandalous shirt could be attributed to?" silence. light bulb shining as bright as the north star immediately over my head. THATS IT!!! yes, pat told me over a month ago he had to play in a drag football game for his squadron and was borrowing a friends wifes shirt. suzy, i love you. i love pat. i love the woman that owns this shirt. how generous of her to let such a lovely garment endure a football game. and a morning of dirty looks and speculation. i knew i had called the perfect person. the meat came back out of the freezer, the day became above average and pat and i had a really great laugh over dinner. mystery solved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

shout out

very rarely (okay never) do i offer up a shout out to anything on my blog, but today folks, i have found something worthy of a shameless plug. those of you who know me know i have a soft spot (primarily in my belly region) for ice cream. it could be the worlds most perfect food and today i have stumbled upon a new flavor worthy of the "p" word. thats right,
phe-nom-in-al! ben and jerrys typically takes the cake with me and coldstone is a great dinner in and of itself, but breyers has a new flavor that will have all ice cream connoisseurs celebrating. my only disclaimer is you must love peanut butter and not have any peanut allergies...ryan, this is NOT for you...okay, drum roll please...peanut butter tracks. peanut butter light ice cream (its practically healthy) with peanut butter swirls and chocolatey coated peanut butter filled cups. try it and then let me know if it is not one of the yummiest flavors ever. you can thank me later. or just let me know what your favorite is...im up for new addictions. side note...its so good that last night when pat went to get his nightly bowl and realized we were out, he tossed gk in the stroller (still have not picked up our car, but he could not be stopped) and ran to the store with only 7 minutes until closing time. thats good ice cream.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

my 16 year old self

recently a great friend and phenomenal writer, natalie, mentioned a book she had read about a number of well known women ranging from entertainers to politicians who had penned letters to their 16 year old selves with wisdom, insights and some encouragement. natalie penned one to herself on her blog and after months of thinking about it, i decided i too would do the same. here it goes:

dear 16 year old katie,

wow, you have a lot to learn. the world is so much bigger than you realize and has much more to offer than you can possibly imagine. you are wrapped up in nets of insecurity that are leading you to crossroads that you cannot handle wisely. listen, those full time frenemies of yours that you continue to involve yourself with will rarely to never cross your mind within a week of graduation and you will be blessed with friendships of the lasting kind that you have never experienced. oh, and electric blue eyeliner does not make your eyes look bluer and no one should have their hair highlighted through a cap. you look almost as ridiculous when your hair is done as you did when it was pulled through that contraption and covered in bleach.

that gut feeling you have is your strongest compass on making choices so stop doubting your own sense. those questions you have about your faith are going to plant the seeds for one that is genuine, steadfast and vibrant. however, know that wherever those doubts lead you and no matter how far and how fast you try to pursue an agnostic life, your Savior will pursue you harder. He will remind you in astounding ways that no one including you is beyond His grip and His gift of grace. you will experience the strongest waves of His mercy on your soul as you try to reconcile yourself to Him and you will be blessed. and healed. and healthy. and happy. and you will trust Him completely someday...if you were reading this, hopefully it would be sooner than later.

that boy you think you are destined to marry is clearly not the one (refer back to that inner compass) and the last person you would expect will bring you more joy and contentment with love that you cannot fathom. he will be a best friend in every sense of the word and offer gifts of respect, encouragement, compassion and understanding wrapped in layers upon layers of love. he will remind you in many ways of your dad in the way he possesses integrity and wisdom. speaking of your parents, katie, they are easily your biggest fans and greatest heroes. do not overlook all they have to offer you. you will see in just a few short years the depth of their love, faith and strength. you will come to treasure them and regard their friendships as a sacred treasure, a great gift from above.

above all, hold on. hold onto the potential of you. protect the good work that has been started and watch it grow. this is simply the beginning of a most incredible adventure. live it. love it. and let it be the greatest life it can be.

always hopeful, always there,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

hours and hours and hours and hours of f-u-n

first of all, thank you megan for being a genius and helping me navigate the language thing...not being able to read korean would have prohibited me from ever finding the language menu and thereby kept me from blogging...a relief im sure to some of you. :)

as i mentioned we are officially in korea and i am in an apartment that even nate berkus would be proud of. while it is small, it has an unbelievable amount of space. i have more cabinet room in this apartment than i have ever had in any house more than twice this size and thanks to rock star husband working like a dog to unpack things, i have a far more manageable load than the usual move entails. and while i am settling into our new space and this new base, the journey here was long and i would be remiss if i did not at least share a few highlights of the 27 hours of travel that led us to this magnificent location. ah yes.

our day started at 4:30 am on saturday in san antonio where we headed to the airport with the peach, 5 suitcases, stroller, car seat, 2 carry ons and coffee in tow. thank goodness for those handy airport carts, i just wish they came with a handy mule to pull them. i hadnt slept the night before as the huge ball of anxiety swimming in my belly made it virtually impossible to rest, and yet there was this grand sense of adventure within me too as i thought of this opportunity to live in a foreign country and shop for purses, i mean experience the culture.

5:30 am - check in with nice man at the delta counter who must have read my thoughts of "please dont ask me if i can make this bag lighter. i cant and i wont and you can have my credit card to make up the difference." he graciously threw our bags over all with the carefully placed 'heavy' tag on them and thanked pat for his service and my sacrifice as his wife. i cried. yep. now would be a good time to mention that for all this anxiety and excitement, the only real emotion i could muster and not control was the crying. buckets of tears that i am certain had the majority of passersby wondering what funeral we were on our to or home from. we boarded our 2 hour flight to atlanta that went swimmingly. i was careful not to reveal too many of the new toys id packed for gk in preparation for our 15 hour flight and she did great, even sleeping for a whopping 20 minutes. woo.

11:00 am - arrive in atlanta and wait for 2 hours to board korean air. during this time i made several phone calls that allowed me to further cleanse my system of a few more liters of tears. i also got my annual workout chasing georgia up and down the terminal while she burned off the excess energy that comes from waking up 4 hours before her usual time. oh, almost forgot to mention this perk of the day...apparently pat and i were not scheduled to be sitting together on the longest flight in the world and while we as in me were apprehensive and tearful, we were also confident than any person with half of a brain would happily trade seats with pat to avoid a 15 hour flight next to a toddler. i would ride on the wing to avoid kiddos 2 and under for that length of time, so as concerned as i was that our boarding passes didnt actually have us next to each other, i thought there was no possible way someone wouldnt happily trade seats. this brings me to the next hour...

1:00 pm - board plane like cattle trying not to knock anyone out with either the giant car seat that pat was wielding around (almost took the heads off of two young korean girls in the waiting area prior to boarding) or the 2 large carry ons that i was carrying with peach on my hip. we made it to our row and put gks big seat in the middle (we thought a sure fire deterrent to the passenger unfortunate enough to be sitting next to her on the aisle) and waited. finally a twenty something korean man (who what a relief and shock was not 6'6 and in need of the aisle to stretch out his legs) appeared. pat explained that he would love to trade his middle seat 5 rows back for his aisle seat next to a seemingly unruly toddler (who was on cue bouncing in her seat squealing) and insanely emotional wife (who now had dried mascara worthy of an alice cooper look alike on her face and eyes full and ready for the next down pour). he said no. he said he wanted an aisle seat and he wouldnt trade. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? there is not enough wine, patience or kleenex on this plane for me to handle this 15 hours of bliss without pat with me. (i know lots of people do it by themselves...i will be one of them when i fly back in the winter, but not this time. not this move. not by myself.) so here we go, the flood gates open, i begin crying and pleading with this short man who has just been awarded the LCP (least compassionate passenger) by a landslide. pat takes his case to the stewardess who assures us in broken english she will see what she can do. LCP heads to the back of the plane while the stewardess and i frantically scan the rows for a potential opening. she eventually returns and sincerely apologizes, but reiterates the LCP wants his aisle seat. and he obviously has never been around children. and is fresh out of a heart. pat finds my hero on the aisle 2 rows up studying an air force manual and explains the situation. without hesitation the hero says sure and takes pats middle seat so LCP can have his treasured aisle seat. what a great man. i will never forget his generosity or pats creative and bold move.

3:00 pm -this could not be going any better. georgia is happily trying out each of our laps and enjoying an endless supply of cheeze its. while she has yet to nap, she is happy and we are too. this really isnt so bad. what was i so worried about??

5:00 pm - peach closes her eyes while i begin to ponder which one of the 15 movies ive missed over the past year that i would like to see. pat reminds me i could potentially watch 6 movies during this flight. right. oh, and they are serving a glass of complimentary wine. thank you God. this is so great. sleeping baby, time with my beloved, no turbulence...this is a 5 star day.

5:13 pm - peach is awake and mad that she is not still asleep. she kicks her feet out and nails the seat in front of her sending it forward a good 3 inches before it snaps back (now would be a good time to master "im sorry" in korean). she is crying and feeling the effects of a collective 33 minute nap after a 4:40 am wake up. we unveil the first mystery toy...a power toothbrush. she loves to brush her teeth and this has buttons, is hot pink and is lots of fun. however, it also sounds to the people around us like there could be a problem with the jet engine. maybe not such a great idea. sure, we'll just carefully extract this new fun toy from her and hold her legs down so she wont kick the lady in front of her again. no, she'll just scream.

6:00 pm - snacks save the day and we are happy again. time to unveil mystery toy #2, a handheld flashlight fan. genius. except all the shades are drawn, people are trying to sleep and a flashlight in the possession of a toddler makes it difficult to do that. extract toy again. i forgot to hold her feet. kick seat again.

8:00 pm - the flight is beginning to feel really long and gk is restless and tired but being a belly sleeper cant get comfortable in her car seat. we opt for a quiet activity that does not require batteries or cause fear and irritability in fellow passengers. we unveil mystery toy #3, a pad of paper and stickers. thank you, sticker inventor man. we stick stickers with a fury until pages are covered and we are happy. gk even manages to fall asleep of course not before tossing and turning and naturally stretching her legs into the seat in front of her.

11:00 pm - gk wakes up screaming, probably having a nightmare that shes on a plane at 36000 feet for the tenth hour in a row strapped in her car seat on her way to a foreign country without the ability to even stretch her legs. we set her free and notice a strong odor. this is the second smell to invade my space on this flight. why is it that when you smell something strong and terrible your first instinct is to smell it again?? its absolutely disgusting and mind boggling at the same time. at least this time it did belong to our peach who was altogether ripe at that moment. off to the 1 square foot bathroom to sanitize the area and attempt to change a diaper. i will spare you the details, just know there should be some kind of medal for the maneuvering that took place in that square foot. back to the seat while avoiding giving LCP dirty looks when i walk by and settle into the official rocking mode to get gk back to sleep. where is the wine cart?

12:20 am - peach is sound asleep in my arms and i am wondering if i will ever regain full feeling in my left arm and leg. the good news is she is sound asleep, mouth open and drooling just like her dad next to me. this isnt so bad and with the map on my screen in front of me i see we are just under 3 hours from landing. i thank God for the safe travel thus far and for the sleeping baby in my arms. i manage to doze for awhile, suddenly feeling the effects of the absence of rest in the past 24 hours.

3:30 am - we are landing in what looks like the ocean, but i know better because pat explained to my geographically challenged self that south korea is in fact a peninsula and there is nothing to worry about. i thank the hero again and tell him he will never know just how much he helped us by trading seats. we whizzed through customs when we werent being stopped by strangers to fall over georgia. its true, they are so crazy about kids!!

4:30 am -we caught a bus back to the base for the hour and half ride, ordered out pancakes from a diner and called it a night.

7:30 am - tucked ourselves in and slept like babies. all in all, we could not have had a better day of travelling and while it was long, it went remarkably well. thank you for all of the prayers...they were definitely answered.

uh...just one slight problem

so, here i am in one semi sane piece in korea or land of the not quite right as my better half continues to call it ready to recount the adventure of traveling for 27 hours with a toddler and im noticing a significant problem. my entire blogging page is in korean. all of it. i have no idea what to click on or where to make changes. for those of you who dont blog this probably does not make any sense, but imagine your entire email page in another language that uses symbols, spanish does not count. so, if you have any brilliant ideas on how i can change my language, please let me know. i have lots to share, but no clear way to do it....ideas, thoughts, suggestions...??