Tuesday, December 16, 2008

thank you...

i was talking to your sister the other day about a few things and it occurred to me that there may be something you need to know. something lost in the translation of our days as we swap stories and laughs and struggles. and while it may be hard to believe in light of my uncanny ability to over dramatize as easily as i can over simplify, there is something within me that i feel i may have forgotten to tell you. and i will try and articulate it in a way that adequately carries the weight of my words from my heart to yours. i will try and help you to see it, to feel it and most importantly to know it as well as you know the freckles on my hand or the way i take my coffee.

thank you. thank you for making it possible for me to be the one to care for our little ones. for affording me the luxury of time at home while they are home. it is such a short amount of time, these years before school and friends and activities pull them out the door and we are left wishing for more of them. of their time. of even meeting all of their needs. so in the midst of my days, as monotonous and sometimes challenging as they can be, thank you. they are my days, our days, these little people and i. and i am grateful. thankful from my tired eyes to my tired toes that you, in your wisdom, in your love and in your encouraging way not only make it possible for me to stay home, but support it with your words, with your actions, with your ways. so thank you.

and i understand this may be a newsflash to you, something i have been horribly negligent in conveying. and it may be hard to wrap your brain around, to truly believe (especially on those days when ive perfected the art of unloading the days worries on you) but believe me when i tell you that you have given me more than i could have ever hoped for. this life, this time, these days filled with runny noses and babies that need to be held, lunches that need to be made and naps that need to be taken. the hugs, kisses, snuggles and correction given out countless times everyday would not be traded for anything. nothing. there is nothing i would rather be doing than what you are enabling me to do everyday. so thank you.

when i am exhausted and complain my greatest accomplishment was brushing my teeth and finishing laundry, i am exaggerating. because our daughter has manners. and our baby is happy and i couldnt really ask to accomplish anything more. you dont really understand the sense of being overwhelmed by children, nor do you understand the unspeakable joy of actually completing a total to do list...with two happy children, but you pretend to. you celebrate all of our good days and empathize with the more challenging ones. you encourage me more than you know with your words of affirmation as i try to teach and reach the hearts of our precious children. this job, this gift of full time motherhood, this miracle really of raising children is the one thing i want to do right. the thing i want to excel at most. and you, wonderful you, make me feel like i can and like i am. and regardless of how you really feel, you have me convinced that the calling i feel on my life to stay at home with these children is a call worth answering. you make me feel more than willing. you make me feel capable. regardless of the day, i know i am serving and living with purpose. so thank you.

this life at home full of sticky fingers and wet kisses, messy floors and faces and countless splashes of joy is more than i could have hoped for or dreamt of when we began so many years ago. so thank you. thank you for making my dreams come true. i should have told you sooner.

Monday, December 08, 2008

mama told me...

there would be days like this. days where you rushed into the shower for the first time in 2 days only to realize afterwards that in your haste to finish while baby screamed and toddler stood guard asking a relentless series of questions regarding said shower that you forgot to rinse the conditioner from your locks. now you look like a shaved version of you only with incredibly greasy hair. you hop effortlessly back into the shower with mascara left from the night before streaming down your face to rinse the conditioner out.

after uber relaxing shower, you manage to remove the alice cooper look only to replace it with that liquid liner you just had to buy last week at macys against all reasonable and better judgment...(why is it that when you are feeling the yuckiest, ie, 10 lbs heavy you think its time to experiment with hair/makeup/wardrobe?? as if lining your eyes and cutting your hair will somehow distract you from the discomfort of your jeans...) anyway, liquid liner does look great when that smokin hot professional make up artist applies it. looks a little less great when frazzled under slept and over caffeinated in a rush and completely distracted mama does it...gk even mentioned, mama, what are you doing with your face? thanks, babe.

its onto feeding the baby, packing the back pack and heading to preschool. thank goodness wednesday is a half day so i dont have to pack lunch for the peach. what a relief to have those extra few minutes...except, georgia goes to school on tuesday...which i remembered when i walked in and saw all the responsible parents carrying lunch boxes packed with im sure well balanced super nutritious lunches. its one thing for the people that know me to see my imperfections (which are plenty and hard to miss) its a totally different story when strangers see me fail...and i know its just a lunch and i know others have certainly felt this inadequate, but i have a thing with appearing irresponsible and negligent to people who dont know me. more on that major issue in another post...

so, wonder woman who runs the show at the preschool offers to save the day and grab my kid a happy meal for lunch. perhaps she senses the tone of my day as i bend down to retrieve wallet out of 50 lb diaper bag only to have it slide off my shoulder and slam into sleeping infants face. nice. hungry 2 year old? check. screaming infant? check. sweating, fumbling dotted liquid liner mommy? check.

relieved to have one child in responsible care for a few hours, i head out for a bit of retail therapy...ie rushed errands with just one kid. this turns into me bouncing a crying baby in some aisle where im sure i could find something to buy if i wasnt completely preoccupied with the crying baby. this would be a good time to mention that jack has almost convinced me that any area of our floor and surface of his crib/cradle/swing/bouncy seat/activity mat potentially has an electrical current flowing through it. it seems the only safe place current free is in my arms. which is good, because ive found its hard to open up the tub of ice cream and eat it with one hand...however, super easy to dip chips and salsa..so i digress.

with errands complete and one child nursed (in a display chair at target...i NEVER thought i would be THAT woman) i call it a day. the rest of the afternoon unfolds as seamlessly as the morning and in the craziness of the day i manage to finally put jack down for a nap in his crib. what a success...he sleeps out of my arms for 7 whole minutes!! woo hoo.

so, im spent. worn out after doing virtually nothing..didnt even pack the lunch. but, in the midst of it all, georgia starts naming off all of her friends from school. when i ask her who her bestest friend is, without hesitation she answers, 'you, mommy, you are'. please give me more days like this where i can rush and fail and endure the frenzy and at the end of it all have it all.

Monday, December 01, 2008

excuses and exhaustion

we have been lucky. unbelievably lucky according to some. gk has been in a toddler bed, free of the baby jail known as a crib for nearly 4 months. without even the threat of invisible crocodiles on her floor or an electric wire, she has NEVER gotten out of her bed. until this week. now we have a 2 month old sleeping beautifully through the night and a 2 year old wearing us down like tire treads at indy. last night, her reasons (LAME excuses) for getting out of her bed were as follows::

1. i was just coming in to check on mommy...how thoughtful, if you really cared about your mommy your arse would be in your bed allowing her to get some much needed rest...the kind of rest that gives her the patience you have come to expect over the last couple of years.

2. i really dont like the scary shadows in my room, can you turn off my night light so they go away?...shadows are not scary, they are evidence that all the stuff you love to play with remains in your room even while youre sleeping, ready and waiting for you to wake up...

3. i really dont like the scary dark, can you turn on my night light so i can see?...this is the same light that creates those shadows...how about you just close your eyes when you see something you dont like?

4. i just wanted to come and snugoool....and on saturday morning after 8, you are more than welcome to climb into bed and snugool...however, at 5:20 am, snuggling is not an option for ANYONE in this bed.

5. um, i dont like my rocking horse looking at me...first of all, i dont think hes really looking at you, his head is facing down. second of all hes been in your room since december 26th 2006...its a little late to start faking fear of this one.

6. could you move my dresser into the hallway please? its just too big and scary...okay, remember the big guys who dripped sweat all over it carrying it up the stairs into your room? its not moving until they come back.

7. i have snots and need a tissue...this is legit. take the tissue to bed and use it until it can be squeezed like a towel. do not call for us until snot drips from it.

so, today, again im still caffeinating at 2:42 in the afternoon after a long night of sheer craziness. any and all suggestions are appreciated...there is nothing we wont consider at this point.

Monday, November 24, 2008

giving thanks

i love this time of year and all that it entails...i could do without the excessive commercialism that kicks off the day after halloween, but ive become an expert at ignoring that. i love the effort we make to spend these holidays with family and friends regardless of the distance and the questions it has sparked within our little peach as we talk about all that we have and are thankful for. ive been challenged by my friend to fast for a period of time this season to remind myself what real hunger and want feels like at a time when everything to include great meals seem to flow in excess. to briefly experience a fraction of the suffering that millions live and die with everyday. and to reflect on the multitude of blessings that define my existence.

i heard a great message this sunday at church, one that is worth sharing and meditating on. real gratitude is not dictated by our circumstances, but rather Gods presence in them. living that out would mean our gratefulness wouldnt shift or change. ever. not during the moments when we are healthy and loved nor when we are grieving and alone. imagine if we all lived that out. imagine how different our days would look. how different our hearts would look. imagine if we really just lived a life of gratitude to God simply because we believed Him when He promised to never leave us. to trust and accept that in spite of where we are, we are always close to Him. what if we chose to obey Him when He commanded us to give thanks in everything. not everything joyful. not everything pleasant. simply everything. how amazing would it be to experience that kind of gratitude. it would be impossible to overlook that kind of life. it would be impossible to ignore. it would be so counter to what the norm is, it couldnt help but be significant and even life changing for those around you. it is what i long for. a life lived with significance, with grace and humility, courage and hope and above all, gratitude.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


you know youre life has taken a turn when your new moment of victory is not dropping an expletive when your two year old pulls back her toe nail and says, 'look, mommy, i have an owie...see it goes all the way back like this'. aaaaahhhhhh.

and this would not be the only noteworthy victory from the week...patrick and i pulled off a heist worthy of a james bond flick by extracting two pacis guarded as well as fort knox with just a little help from the paci fairy. oh yes. the withdrawal has been slightly better than a heroin addict in detox. no shakes or sweats, but a plethora of well thought out questions by our interrogator. the best was the first night of 'operation paci-free' when said interrogator summoned us to her room moments after bedtime to inform us that she was in fact in fear of the legendary paci fairy...that she 'wears a big hat and opens her mouth wide like a cow but doesnt say moo and thats scary'. i promise i did no drugs during my pregnancy. patrick assured her the paci fairy was rather small, had hands to drop gifts with and wings to fly away with. no big hats, big open mouths and nothing to be scared of. we are now 5 days paci free and while i dont need to stand on a ship with a crowd, i will happily hang a 'mission accomplished' sign and toast yet another significant victory.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

a few observations

after spending the night watching entirely too much election coverage, i had a few quick observations about a few things i saw...this list may grow in the upcoming days.

1. was it just me or did mccain deliver the best speech of his campaign last night? it was nice of his speech writer to truly save the best for dead last.

2. did anyone else find if somewhat funny to hear obama scaling back a wee bit during his first speech as the president elect, offering a refreshing and rare dose of reality with phrases like 'it may not happen in the first term' and 'the government cannot fix everything'. really? i was saying the same thing during so many of his speeches as wild and unrealistic promises were being made...i was half expecting him to recruit david blane to help him walk on water to take the podium and offer free ice cream on sundays throughout all the land.

3. colin powell crying as he spoke of obamas election:: understandable
70 year old black woman weeping at the news:: completely understandable
19 year old white college kid breaking out into dance in the streets playing a bongo drum with tears streaming down her face:: please put the pipe down.

4. giddy man waving a gay rights flag with a peace sign on it in times square...um, obama is not a homosexual pacifist but if you start now you may be able to convince lance bass to run in 2012.

i know there are more, but even i have reached my saturation point for today...more to come as it wears off.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the fairytale today

last week we took a family drive after an afternoon spent at a local lake. i had been wanting to take this drive almost since we knew we were moving to virginia and with the leaves creating an ever changing tapestry, i thought it was a good time to go back. back to a place that holds countless memories for me. a place where i spent thousands of hours and rarely missed a day visiting over the course of the five years i spent here years ago. rarely a day goes by that i dont think of some aspect of this place and how it shaped me, the things i learned there and the people i knew. i began riding when i got my first pony at the age of 6. from 6 to 22, horses and riding were a part of my daily existence and the most exciting years were the ones spent here in northern virginia training and competing. i have missed it so much and yet know it isnt exactly feasible to pursue that part of my life anymore, at least not in the near term. and yet, i couldnt shake the longing to go back. to drive out to the stables that were a second home to me for so many years.

with my new life in tow, we made the drive only to discover that it is in fact still there, still operating and still looking virtually the exact same way it did when i drove away from it hauling my horses for the last time down that long drive as i moved to the midwest. in the indoor arena, there was even a young girl working a horse that looked just like mine. i couldnt help but stop and watch, count strides and remember the feeling of being that girl. as we drove away pat commented, 'no wonder you have a warped sense of things...you lived in a fairytale'. he was joking and yet not. and its true. while my life has been no fairytale, this part of my upbringing was magical. it was altogether perfect and i missed it. the whole thing. i never thought for a moment that i would spend a day absent from it and the joy it brought me. mornings spent surrounded by the smell of a barn, evenings spent oiling leather and packing for shows. hours upon hours sharing the excitement and fun of competing with my parents at the side of the ring. and yet, this huge part of me is now a part of my past.

on the drive home i couldnt help but wonder what i am missing now. what part of my present life is so magical and so temporal that i wont grasp its greatness until the moments are part of my past? perhaps its the tiny hands that reach for mine when i least expect it or the first smiles of a sweet baby in the wee hours of the morning. maybe its the questions that seem to exhaust me by the days end but never fail to make me smile. it could be the luxury of time with a husband that i know is fleeting or the eyes that ask to snuggle for a few minutes after naps. i dont know how many magical moments God is giving me on a daily basis that i am missing, but i dont want to one day look back longingly wishing for more of them when i am unknowingly swimming in a sea of them right now.

today, this afternoon, i am opening up my self and my soul to the abundant joy He has given me in the present. not the excitement of the past or the anticipation of the future, but the happiness and contentment in today. i will hang onto the coattails of time and beg it to slow down. to slow down for tiny hands and loving glances, for new smiles and wet kisses, for honest questions and insatiable curiosity and for the chance to recognize and embrace all of the magic in the seemingly mundane fairytale i am living.

Monday, October 27, 2008

making friends and marking territory

the other night our neighbor, being super nice and neighborly kindly lugged all of our trash that had not been picked up that day and brought it back from the curb for us to put out a couple of days later. this was no small task as we have been in the process of purging everything from light fixtures to boxes to full length mirrors (dont ask).

feeling grateful, i threw some cookies in the oven and sent pat and the peach over with a 6 pack of beer and warm cookies. thanks neighbor.

fifteen minutes later, the front door opens and i hear the smallest and sweetest of voices saying 'i had an accident, but daddy says ill get cleaned up and its no big deal.'

hmm. i had a moment where i briefly thought/hoped/prayed the accident meant spilled juice or melted cookie on a dress, but deep down i knew that would have been referred to as a mess, not an accident. gk and her daddy carefully climbed the steps into the living room and she proceeded to tell me in great detail that while next door, she had to go potty (and not knowing where the potty was) she opted for a pile of toys in the living room. 'i just went like this' she explained while spreading her legs hip width apart, 'just like this on the toys'.

ohhh. thats really all i could muster while trying not to laugh an all consuming laugh of amusement and pure embarrassment. i glanced at pat and thanked him for saying all the right things. this is a child who has made the potty training saga a virtual breeze and i dont want her to ever feel reprimanded or embarrassed because there was an accident. what significant accomplishment ever comes without a few setbacks?

'so, im going to go upstairs and get cleaned up and get my jammies on now'. and with that she exited stage right up the stairs with her dad following behind. a few minutes later she appeared again on the stairs and i thought id ask about something other than the accident...'so, georgia, what else did you do at our neighbors house?' 'mommy, member, i told you, i just peed on all their toys.' the speechless mommy took over and so she proceeded to repeat it again for me.

great. enough of that conversation. hope the cookies and beer were were good. next time we'll take over resolve, towels and a change of clothes.

Friday, October 17, 2008


so i mailed in my absentee ballot today because it is almost offensive to me as a woman when i hear of other women not exercizing this hard fought privilege. but...i am underwhelmed. its not that i dont care about our country, its present struggles or future challenges, i am a lover of this country and want whats best for it...its just that i still cant understand why my choices seemed so limited. so uninspiring. so blah. i realized i was more excited about the act of voting than i was who i was voting for. surely that shouldnt be the case, right? in a country where there is an abundance of great ideas, brilliant minds and strong leaders i am still baffled at how it came down to these guys. let me just say, that one guy is an inspiring speaker with great vision and a strong message and that other guy is a man that i believe exemplifies what it means to put service to others before self and striving to live a life of integrity even while making mistakes along the way. both, i believe, are well intentioned men, wanting what they believe is best for this great nation. its not that i dont like these candidates...i would love having a drink and great conversation with each of them. im just not all that enthusiastic about either of them being our president. but, i filled in my circles, cast my vote and let my one small voice be heard and while i dont typically dispense advice from here, i really think you should too.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

moment of truth

there comes a point in every new mothers life when she must face none other than herself in a full length mirror without the safety of soft lighting and security and now well fitting maternity clothes (who knew even the darling huge tents you purchased at month 2 never believing you would actually fill them out would eventually be cutting off circulation and sliding off your mountainous belly by delivery) and acknowledge once and for all what they mean by 'baby weight'. what they really mean is everything in addition to the insignificant 8 lbs you drop by downloading precious life during delivery. the rest is what i call 'ben & jerrys' weight. we could all fill in the blank...for some it was bagels with mounds of cream cheese, others an endless supply of grilled cheese. but for me, it was dublin mudslide or peach cobbler by my favorite two vermontans (yes, i know thats not a word). and so, yesterday, against my better judgment (a completely overrated part of my self anyway) i did it.

after showering, i decided my moment of truth had arrived. while i knew it wasnt going to be pleasant (after all, what part of this entire process really is?) it was necessary. as necessary as my sick sacks for puking in public places and my epidural. so, in an instant, i dropped the towel and peeked. it is an image that is permanently seared in my mind. i will not go into details... most of you really dont want them anyway, but suffice it to say, things have changed. a lot. so, sopping wet, with milk dripping and mascara running i owned the months of ben and jerrys and now have a starting point. my first drastic measure is to stop wearing the now 'too big and uber comfortable' maternity pants. they give me a false sense of what really needs to be done as i have to continually pull them up. basically, anything with elastic needs to be off limits. unfortunately, i can hear my regular jeans laughing at me every time i even think about putting them on. but, put them (or more accurately pour them) on i will.

i picked my most forgiving pair. a roomy, stretchy pair by the brand seven that tends to be somewhat understanding of my current situation. i put my first foot through the leg and was pleasantly surprised it worked (as if my lower leg would really be the problem area). i pulled them up and while i did manage to pry them over my hips, i now had a button and a button hole a solid 4 inches from ever meeting. not to be deterred by logic or reality, i began pulling them together, willing them to meet again. and they did. barely. leaving me looking like jabba the hut in really nice jeans. how depressing. only my best friend suzy would issue this warning to patrick..."pat, put your safety goggles on, that button could pop at any given moment". ah yes. the truth teller. so, here i am elastic free with what im certain will be a permanent red mark around my waist. and im only mildly uncomfortable...just enough to remind me to put down the vanilla wafers and grab a carrot stick instead. the joys of motherhood....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

48 hours and counting

i am about 2 days out from delivering baby boy and while catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror realized that by all accounts, my face looks like its just 2 marshmallows away from winning a game of 'chubby bunny' or was it 'fluffy bunny'? either way, i am ready. and big.

Monday, September 08, 2008


i updated my facebook profile this week under the 'religion' subtitle. i had been reluctant to put anything on there as ive always struggled with how to sum up my faith journey in a word or two. realizing that with anything i throw out there, i will be immediately grouped in, categorized and affiliated with the first thing that comes to the mind of the one reading it, i am hesitant at best to offer up my thoughts. and over the past few years, in light of how many 'christians' have put themselves out there in a way i would not want to be associated with, i am hesitant to join in. i guess its the same reason why under 'political views', i listed 'i have some'. it just seems safer than being judged by a few catch phrases and labels that really seem to define opinions in black and white when i seem to see the majority of my world in varying shades of gray.

but, i bit the bullet, went out on a limb and put under religion, 'asking questions while pursuing Jesus'. it seems to best fit where ive been, where i am and where i am hopefully headed on this journey of faith. its always hard for me to answer the question (most often directly poised by virtual strangers) 'what are you?' im not catholic, although there are certain things about the catholic church i admire and respect. im not just protestant, although every church ive attended would fall into that subcategory. i dont really subscribe to any one denomination in particular and tend to avoid any church that doesnt encourage and embrace serious questions about its beliefs.

i realized just this past week when georgia was asking me when she could see God, where she could see God and when He would be talking back to her...(she kept saying after praying, 'but i cant hear Him, mommy. maybe you could yell and then He would hear us') that i dont want to give her easy answers that i dont myself believe. i dont want to start the spoon feeding of 'religion' to her now only to have her wake up in 20 years and not have any idea why she believes what she believes. my hope is that sometimes, an honest answer of 'i dont know' will be enough. i dont know when she will see God, but i do know countless places she can witness His work, love, creativity and faithfulness. and i dont know how she will grow to discern the voice of God in her life, how He will choose to reveal Himself to her, but i know He left a great start at recognizing His voice in the Word.

i love her questions. and i love that i dont have the need to have all the answers. the truth is my faith has been changed, shifted, strengthened and solidified in those times when i had the biggest questions starting at the cornerstones and foundations of my beliefs. there are questions i have been afraid to ask of my God, and yet He is always faithful to lead me to a greater understanding and more personal relationship with Him during those times. i imagine there has to be some satisfaction for Him when another one of His children comes to Him, albeit at times timid, and asks a big one. as a great Teacher, Counselor, Father and Friend, im certain the God of the universe must get just a little bit of enjoyment in leading one of His own on a journey to answer some questions and ultimately solidify and strengthen their faith in Him. so, ill keep wrestling with aspects of my faith big and small and will hopefully not be afraid to encourage georgia to do the same as she grows up and is able to. i have a sincere faith in He, who promised to answer us truthfully when we honestly seek Him, to handle all of the questions she and i and anyone else may have.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


i will spare you all the examples of why we think georgia is brilliant...its unbelievably nauseating to hear people rave about their imagined genius children and we are no exception. however, i will say this...she is and has been very verbal...she likes to talk and seems to have a pretty advanced vocabulary...evidenced yet again last week when she told her pediatrician she was 'hilarious' when the nice doctor tried cracking a weak belly button joke. she talks incessantly about everything and is a huge fan of any and all topics that involve her.

last week, as we began camping in our new house, we had the delight of meeting some neighbors...seemingly great people with young children. while we chatted it up with small talk, gk ran in circles in the grass apparently happy to be outside in her new yard. i decided it was time to introduce our peach to our new neighbors...typically our introductions involve gk saying hello, its nice to meet you. this is how it went last week....

me: georgia, come and say hi to our new friends.

gk continuing to run in circles apparently not hearing me.

me: georgia, sweetie, come over and say hello.

gk pauses, kind of grunts and spins a few more times.

me: georgia, get over here right now.

gk kind of skips or hops to my side and looks at me as though this is the first time she has ever been called.

me: georgia, can you please say hello?

gk: grunts and says da-da

im a little surprised and wonder if shes playing some kind of game...

me: sweetie, say hi.

gk: da-da, da-da, da-da. ahhhhh.

me: can you please say its nice to meet you?

at this, our nice new neighbors are clearly amused and wondering what planet i must live on to think my grunting, babbling child can actually speak....

i offered up a half hearted uncomfortable laugh and released all of us from the awkward moment. i offered no further explanations and decided that over the course of time, they would come to know our peach and her gift of conversation. it clearly just wasnt going to be today.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

200 square feet and it stinks

so im writing this from the hotel we have been camping at for the past week and a half waiting on our elusive shipment of household goods to arrive so we can begin the joyous task of unpacking our lives one brown box at a time...discovering along the way jut how many windows we have that are new sizes and walls that dont quite fit our lifes possessions. adding to the joy of today is that our sweet peach has been throwing up for the past 12 hours continuosly. i am now in a room piled high with hotel linens and the faint smell of bile in the air.

i plan on utilizing the grocery service that our hotel offers today since patrick has the car in d.c. doing work at the base and am hoping the eager staff is eager to fetch me some pedialite and saltines to begin testing the tepid waters of gks tummy.

and im ready for our stuff to arrive. and im ready to be living in a real house with familiar linens and familiar smells. im ready for my mom to get here and have all the answers and encouragement to get me through a day like this. but im thankful. im thankful for lori, the kind woman from housekeeping who just delivered fresh towels and removed the smelly pile from the corner (somehow without even a look of disgust...remarkable, i assure you...it stanks). im thankful for the note that patrick left this morning wishing me the best day possible in light of a sick little one. im convinced there is no place he would rather be than in this room with us, smells and all. i feel lucky to be here, in d.c., reunited with close friends and expecting a son in just over 6 weeks. and today will pass. gk will feel better, the puke smell will wash out of one of my few remaining cute shirts that still fit, we will have our stuff delivered eventually and our house will be a home...stocked with pedialite and crackers at the ready for another round in motherhood bliss.

Friday, July 18, 2008


for any of you who may not know of my absolute loooove of flying, read this entry from when i experienced a pudding like faith as i flew the friendly skies. for the rest of you who are well aware of my ongoing unnatural, irrational, and completely silly (but very real) fear of flying, you can just picture my joy at last nights news. sweet charlie gibson (i really do love that guy) informed me that the pilots of usairways have taken out a full one page ad in the new york times blowing the whistle on what they claim to be instructions from corporate that could endanger passengers. namely, the issue of flying with the least amount of fuel as possible in order to save money. FABULOUS. i will be extra calm tomorrow as i board my nonstop flight across country on usairways to d.c....i will also be wishing for a cocktail and anti anxiety meds every time i hear the slightest noise. isnt paying for my second checked bag supposed to offset the cost of the fuel? or was it the paying for my glass of water and tiny pack of stale pretzels? or maybe it was the already unbelievably high price i paid for a one way ticket?? i seem to have lost track of all the ways theyve so creatively come up with to screw me out of a few more dollars, but surely one of them can cover the cost of enough fuel to keep the pilots happy and passengers safe. ugh.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

just a thought

so theres this story, a headline really, that if youve seen any news in the last month you have no doubt heard about. it focuses on a young group of teens from a massachusetts town who supposedly made a pact to intentionally get pregnant and raise their babies together. (they seriously should have called me first, i would have explained just how different my belly looks post baby as well as the finer perks of throwing up while 7 months preggo). but they didnt call me and i didnt have the chance to take these girls under my 'you dont want to be knocked up' wing and explain to them with truth in love why there could possibly be a few easier ways to keep in touch with high school friends (if you even remember them post graduation) and bond with the girls. can you say facebook and a spa day? alas, these young mothers now have young babies and for all the speculation and criticism (can you believe the news coverage has everything from hollywood making it look too easy/glamorous to jamie lynn spears having a baby at 17 sharing the blame) i see a potential silver lining in the now infamous story.

i went to a high school with well over 2,000 students. of those 2200 kids, there were 2 girls who had babies, one doing a brave job of raising her little boy while trying to complete her diploma and the other who generously offered up her little one to a young couple unable to have children of their own. the second girl, after making an extremely difficult and brave decision to give her own baby a different life than she could offer, was rewarded for her courage in the way that only high school girls are capable of by calling her a slut and a whore behind her back. rather than honored, she was shamed. rather than being supported, she was ostracized and rather than being respected she was humiliated by her peers. what i know now is that there were lots of pregnancies in that high school, there were just not many births. the stigma of having a child as a teen was far greater than the stigma of having an abortion.

i am a supporter of all life. of the life of the unborn and the life of a woman who is forced to make an unimaginably difficult and painful decision to not have a child. i recognize that for every life taken, there is a life forever changed. there are scars and wounds that never heal within these women who when faced with a choice were in a place where terminating a pregnancy seemed like the best option.

and while im concerned that teen pregnancy is still prevalent (although it is at its lowest rate in a decade) and that there was clearly a lapse in maturity and judgment by these young women, i am simultaneously encouraged that the stigma for having a child amid less than ideal circumstances seems to be making progress. i am not saying we, as a society, should celebrate a group of young teens choosing to get pregnant. what i am saying is that there is at least room for the possibility of a gradual shift in our view of these young girls and subsequent pregnancies. perhaps the tide is changing and we are beginning to alter how we judge the choices of young women facing difficult decisions. and i believe, if only in the smallest and most hopeful spaces of my spirit, theres a chance we are placing a greater value on life than we have in the past. and for that i am encouraged.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

and shes honest

while trying to position a keyboard on my lap to play, georgia, after several attempts at finding the perfect spot said, 'um, mommy, im taking this to papa's lap because your tummys kind of in the way.'

thanks. i hadnt noticed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

someone should have told me...

one day i will create a list of ALL the things i wish id been told about life in general...but knowing that will be a lengthy ordeal and that today my time is extremely limited (i have a preggo massage appt followed by a highlight courtesy of my babies daddy...it could potentially be the best day of the summer for me) i will keep this focused on one particular issue.

potty training. its done. after putting it off for 5 long months (ive been itching to do this since her 2nd birthday but kept making up somewhat legit excuses to procrastinate this joyous and monumental occasion), gk was apparently ready and after a week of being a 'big girl' has only had 2 accidents. i am thoroughly impressed by her quick transition and consider it a sign that she was in fact really ready to make the switch. and that she is truly the genius her parents have always believed her to be.

what i wish someone would have told me is how, for the love of all things sanitary, do you keep a 2 year old from touching EVERYTHING in a public restroom??? i am pretty even tempered with gk most of the time, trying hard to keep my tone relatively pleasant while firm. however, i have been sent way over the edge every time we enter one of those germ infested hells known as public toilets as i practically beg, threaten and yell at her to please STOP touching...the seat, the tp dispenser, the nasty metal trash cans...the list goes on and on. there has to be a trick or a support group or a manual, something to help with this part of the process.

the most disgusting of incidents occurred as gk was two steps ahead of me entering the nastiest of restrooms and tripped on a small ledge and fell flat on her face...her face. her clean sweet face. of course her little palms were spread out on the sticky floor as well. i could have thrown up right then and there. and then, to top it off, there was no soap dispenser in this place. there should be a law or something about that. anyway...tips are welcome, hand sanitizer donations are appreciated and thanks for feeling my pain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

same question...every 4 years...

i dont mean to ever bring politics onto my blog and most of you would probably be surprised at how i vote, why i vote and the things that motivate my decisions. but as the election draws nearer, the one thing that remains the same in my mind every 4 years is the question of 'is this really the best we, as a country, have to offer up to lead the free world?' dont misunderstand me, the two in the game at this point are nothing to sneeze at. its just that i am left inspired and simultaneously uncertain. i am hopeful but not sure exactly what for. i am left wondering how a country that has managed to produce the monumental figures in our history as well as current leaders with 10,000 lb brains, always ends up with two people, who while intelligent and experienced in their own right are the only options. i will vote, it is my right and my obligation, but it will not be because i think there are no better candidates. it will be because i am forced to choose between the choices our system has put in place. its sad that such an exciting privilege and opportunity often times leaves me feeling underwhelmed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

cell phones behaving badly

i love technology. i really do. particularly in the incredibly small doses that i currently have it in my life. i enjoy reading some blogs, shopping and researching online, keeping my ipod up to date and being available by phone 24 hours a day.

the cell phone has to be the greatest invention next to velcro and maybe stretch denim and while my phone (like every other piece of technology in my life) will always remain smarter than i am, with countless features i will never bother to learn, much less use, it is a welcome fixture in my life. and while i may never understand how it really works, i do know that towers are involved, roaming is no longer an issue and they function best if they have not been exposed to water.

water would be what caused the latest malfunction of my cell phone...actually my moms cell phone that was in my care for the weeks leading up to my stateside cell phone purchase...which is now complete if you need my number.

in order to complete the loan paperwork for our home purchase (which is also complete if you need my address) i needed to contact the county courthouse in omaha, nebraska to have a few documents faxed relating to the sale of our last home. sounds simple enough. i realized the morning i needed to make these calls that the phone had been sitting in a wee bit of water all night long, but somehow was still able to dial the necessary numbers and hold the connection long enough for me to make my requests to denise in omaha. simple enough. i hung up, went outside and began a morning of sidewalk chalk and coffee.

an hour later i came inside and heard voices. not the kind youre thinking...i followed the sound to the cell phone which was closed but talking. there was a clearly annoyed voice saying something about 'who IS this??' i picked up the phone to see who had last been called and it was kind denise at the county courthouse. kind denise did not sound particularly kind. i was about to check the rest of the call history when it started ringing again in my hand...not for me to answer, but for someone else being called by the phone in my hand. i tried to hang up, to stop the call, to even turn the phone off, but to no avail. it was denise again sounding thoroughly angry and wanting to again know who was calling. finally, she hung up and i was able to check the call history. oh. my. gawww. there were 97 calls to the courthouse. 97!! as in three shy of 100, which quickly became 2 shy as it again started ringing in my hand. CRAP. i took the battery off the back to avoid call number 98 and began wondering what i should do.

i waited a few minutes before putting the battery back on and turning the possessed phone on. as soon as it was powered up, calls 99 and 100 were placed. clearly i had pushed the courthouse office to a point where someone was probably going to get hurt. i wondered if there was some poor employee who had just gone through a break up and some ex was wrongly being blamed for all the calls or even worse.

so, crazy cell phone was disabled again and we called the provider who graciously removed all the calls from our bill and talked us through ways to trouble shoot the issue. the phone dried out and hasnt caused any problems since.

the next day, denise actually called me and mentioned there had been a problem faxing one of the documents to me the day before. she apologized perfusely for not calling me sooner, but explained they had been having major phone issues the day before. i told her it was perfectly okay and that i completely understood. i was only tempted for a brief moment to disclose my part of the phone issues but quickly decided against it. im still wondering if full disclosure falls into the new truth leaf ive been turning over. im thinking it doesnt. at least not this time.

Monday, May 26, 2008


im a good truth teller. most of the time. i value honesty, upfrontness, laying it all there so to speak...unless of course it puts me in the position of hurting someones feelings with said honesty. im terrible at that. really really terrible. another exception to my truth saying is when a stranger is involved and my life would be much easier/better/less difficult if i was able to have it my way. i have two examples recently of why the rules of 'always tell the truth' or 'never tell a lie' are generally speaking good rules to live by and more importantly why i need to work these lessons out...

many of you know of my sweet housekeeper, ms. hong. such a great woman with mad laundry skillz (only rivaled by her ability to make one plastic bag wake an entire home of sleeping individuals just by handling it oh so gently). however, before the gloriously clean days of ms. hong, there was a woman named maria. maria was kind, cooked and loved caring for georgia. it was a fabulous arrangement except she continually dried my jeans on high heat (does she have a death wish?? this has been a cardinal sin for the past several years as my denim has been stretched to the max and most jeans are only truly comfortable after air drying and wearing for a day) and the bigger issue would be that my generally happy and social peach cried every time she arrived. as in screamed and begged through tears to not be left with maria. this would be a red flag to anyone with a pulse and i, not being a total moron made the decision to find a replacement for maria. i know she never hurt georgia, trust me, this child would have told me, shown me and reminded me of it for weeks, but it only took her a couple of weeks to associate marias arrival with a day away from me. i also noticed that maria tended to scurry like a mouse from room to room and while i found it strange, gk found it scary, constantly asking 'what she doin?' while climbing up to the safety of my lap. so there was an obvious personality conflict between my nanny and my child...clearly a good enough reason for her dismissal. but how do you tell a woman who only speaks moderately good english and happens to love your child (or at least pretends really well) that your kid hates her?? i opted for the 'you dont' option. rather, i explained to her that i would be leaving the country in a few weeks and that my mother would be flying over to help me in the meantime as i prepared for my move.

i rarely gave maria another thought. she understood completely and a couple of weeks later when i ran into her on the elevator caring for someone elses child, i happen to be with a friend who looks much older than i....so, i introduced maria to my mother. i know. shady. shameful and gutless. but, nobodys feelings were hurt right? except maybe the friend that i just passed off as my mother.

fast forward eight months to last saturday. that would be the day i was waiting in seoul to begin my 30 hour voyage back to the mother ship. the airport is a solid two hours from the base and is a huge place, constantly busy. after checking in we found the closest row of seats to hang out as a family before saying our good byes. no sooner had i sat down than i noticed the woman sitting right next to me. let me just say there are no more than 5 koreans i would recognize in a crowd of thousands...but in an instant i knew i was sitting next to maria. the kind woman who had to be fired because i was leaving the country...eight months ago. this is karma. this is God using the universe to teach me a lesson about truth. she was so happy and surprised (understandably so) to see all of us that amid hugs, questions and well wishes she never bothered to ask the most obvious and uncomfortable question. and i, valuing upfrontness, never bothered to volunteer the answer.

the other moment in recent weeks occurred while i attempted to de-register the car in korea. it is a process requiring 12 different documents, a navigation system to find it (its in the basement of a stadium...unmarked) and apparently a bucket of patience that i sometimes forget to take with me. i decided i would handle this part of the move so that busy pat would not have to and since he happens to be handling the movers, i felt like this was more than fair.

i set out with my directions and documents in hand to find this elusive place i had been told about. what should be a 30 minute drive was over an hour as i tested out several roads trying to run into the stadium. when i did find it, i was reminded that in honor of sweet buddhas special birthday, the office was closed. fabulous.

the next day my trip was only 40 minutes thanks to the practice run the day before. i placed gk on the couch with a snack and managed to wait in line with a smile until i was called. i happily found my way to the counter, produced all 12 documents and waited for the 'okay'. she asked if i had pats power of attorney since the car was registered in his name. um no. i showed her where my name appeared on the title, on the insurance, on the stateside registration, on my military id...pretty much everywhere but the korean registration. frustrated, desperate and trying to figure out how and when georgia got black mystery dirt on her face while eating snacks on the couch i began to plead with her that she allow me, the wife to handle this matter. she wasnt budging. now we are 3 days from leaving the pen and im remembering the mountain of work that i still need to get done and realizing that a third trip to this place just isnt in the cards. desperate, i blurt out that my husband, the one who registered the car, has already left the country, is stateside and all of our goods are packed, to include the power of attorney. i know. im going to hell or at the minimum truth purgatory. she looked at me, looked at my dirty child and said 'have him unpack it and fax it here'. that was it.

defeated, i left. pat decided to take care of it the next day and only asked that i accompany him so he wouldnt get lost. fine. we arrived, miraculously with husband who had already left the country and took care of it amid deserved looks of judgment at my dishonest ways by the lady who had stood her ground and told me no...in spite of my imagined desperate circumstances.

in a book i read a few months ago, eat, pray, love, the author writes simply what she has learned...always tell the truth. i think she may be onto something. so watch out...a new leaf is being turned over within me with just a little help from the universe.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

s.k.i. #7

i have figured im averaging about one strange korean incident a month these days and ive decided thats pretty infrequent considering how bizarre this little country can be. recently, i decided to head to seoul for the day to have my hair cut and highlighted. i should confess that as nervous as i am about all that can be lost in translation, the one that scares me the most is the horror that could result from a bad salon experience. it could come out 10 different shades of scary and then where would i be? thousands of miles away from an aveda salon with a man named pedro dressed in black and willing to work his gay magic on my disastrous do.

however, desperate regrowth calls for desperate measures and with that mantra playing in my 2 inch roots, i went forward to a place americanly named 'clippers'. take everything you think of an american salon and toss it. make it louder, busier, more crowded with a slight smell of kimchee mixed with hair color and youre beginning to get the feel of a korean salon. there were so many people working in there, i felt like a giant trying to avoid an ant farm or a moped trying to navigate my way through targets parking lot the day after thanksgiving. the trick is to find the one korean who speaks english which requires a keen sense of listening because everyone is shouting in korean and occasionally an individual will transition instantly from shouting in korean to asking you what you need. if youre not ready for the transition, you end up looking like the idiot who not only lacks an understanding of the korean language, but cant seem to understand english either. ah yes.

i arrived at the scene, located the one who looked most capable of assisting me and was asked a series of questions that i cannot remember and did not understand. what i did figure out after some hand holding, nail pointing and foot gesturing is that i was being offered a manicure and pedicure as well. this was looking up. i was about to make the most of my time without my peach attachment and indulge in a relaxing manicure and pedicure as well. how nice. so there was no cucumber water or tea being offered, so i felt like a stuffed animal being sent through a high speed build a bear, but i was going for the works and i was only moderately afraid.

it became perfectly clear in an instant why there were an insane amount of workers there...i had a korean or two on every limb. not exaggerating, there were at least 10 petite women all working on me at the same time. two at my hair dissecting, discussing, foiling, painting, more discussing. two on each foot rubbing, polishing, picking and the same on my hands. it was about as relaxing as trying to make a connection in the airport with 27 minutes between flights and a change from terminal A to terminal F. where was my tea? how i miss pedro.

the good news is the end result was the same at a fraction of the cost. sure, i could have used a cocktail on my way out to take the edge off, but the hair is the right color, the nails are the right shape and my piggies are fresh and ready for spring.

one last observation, all 236 workers had american first names on their name tags before their korean last name. and while i really appreciated it when it came time to track all 10 of them down for tip time, i realized how stupid they must think we are that we cant even remember or pronounce their given name. i felt dumb and ethnocentric for a moment before i realized that it was the name recognition of maria, lynn, lisa, kelly, amber, suzy, sara, amy, heidi, brooke & carol that ensured i remembered to tip them. there is no way i would have remembered all the korean names. so, maybe im not that dumb and theyre willing to change their names for the day to get tipped every time.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

my own fault

right now my stomach is doing the wave and it is not baby induced. this afternoon i thought a perfect meal would be a handful of feta stuffed olives, two large dill pickle spears and enough peanut butter cups to create the illusion of a peanut butter cup wrapper snow storm in my immediate area. why i did this to myself i do not know. they each sounded worthy of consumption on their own, however, the combination is doing me in. yep. all my fault. no sympathy necessary. ive been wondering what beverage i could chase this all down with but strangely nothing sounds even slightly appetizing. margaritas are always great, but not really an option. ugh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

s.k.i. #6?...grouchy baby...

i will keep this brief as my body is just as tickled about being preggo this time around as last. while there are no recent tears to the esophagus from constant upchucking like last time resulting in the throwing up of blood, i continue to feel like im experiencing the worst hangover of my life most hours of the day.

i am actually feeling a bit better as of late and am beginning to believe there are better days ahead. however, before those better days arrive, i need to get over a slight case of pneumonia. now would be a good time to mention i was not an easy teen, i did stupid things and put my amazing parents through a lot. i admit this only to point to the possible reason as to why at this exact moment in time i know im being punished for bad behavior in my past. i know, i know, God doesnt roll like that, but seriously there is truth to karma and im getting mine.

after two weeks of wandering around like i had the black lung and alternating between throwing up frosted flakes and buckets of flem (arent you happy youre reading this now?) i swallowed my pride, got dressed and took myself to the emergency room. this is one of my most favorite places to go as its always a mystery what illness you have and of course what illness you will catch in the waiting room. after 74 minutes of my life that i will never get back, dr. tang (a nice korean man who has taken the time to barely learn english) emerges straight from the depths of the break room...i smelled coffee and donuts on this guy. he proceeds to tell me i have a 'bad cough' and 'maybe pneumonia...but we not know because im pregnant so no x-rayey'. great. i ask what i can possibly take that will help the hacking and maybe even help me sleep. he mentions something to me about being a 'superhero' (really, you know this word, but cant pronounce x-ray correctly?) and tells me tylenol and vitamins should help. REALLY?? i hadnt thought of that. hmm, that would be great if i had a headache and was able to even look at my vitamins without inducing a significant gag reflex. i plead with him for something else and he tells me if in a week i just cant take it anymore (at which time ill be leaning longingly over my balcony) i can come back and they can give me tylenol with codine. i ask why i cant have it today and this was his reply...'i could give you codine, but no takey because it make for grouchy baby'. GROUCHY BABY?? as in the 3 inches of baby i have in utero? will it take its little forming limbs and being beating the crap out of me? or are we talking a grouchy baby for life after birth? what exactly do you mean by this, dr. tang? and did you go to medical school online? and why do you hate me? and could you spare a cup of coffee and a few donuts if i cant have the codine?

im realizing that the shopping and my housekeeper will be the only things i miss about this place. and of course my friends, but theyre all leaving too, so whatever. oh, and before i had to taste it twice, the thai food. thats all. i promise my next post will be more chipper.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

im alive

so im still here, still breathing (although the smell of korea is beginning to take its toll) and still full of random thoughts and korean incidents and i have a really great excuse to explain away my absence. however, you will have to wait just a bit longer...i promise not another month, but maybe just one more day and then i will begin the laborious task of unraveling the last month on this little blog of mine. thanks for understanding and still bothering to check in...i never intended to take this long of a break. at least im not as bad as this guy who is on a much longer hiatus and is withholding far more insightful thoughts.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

much two fast

thats how i feel time is travelling in relation to our peach who is two today. that makes it 2 years, 24 months, 104 weeks, 728 days and 17, 472 hours since i fell madly, wholly and deeply in love. it was magical and unexpected, overwhelming and yet comforting, natural and beautiful and in an instant different. different than anything i had ever known or hoped to know.

the world became brighter, louder, funnier, clearer and surprisingly easier. in a moment i found my purpose in the privilege and awesome calling of motherhood and with it came a peace and contentment that were all consuming. i didnt say easy, i said all consuming. but, regardless of the moment, the day or the hour when i have felt weakest, i have never questioned this profound purpose for my life. i dont deserve this gift of motherhood, it is lavish in its magnitude. it is great in its extent and it is with that generous gift from God that i, with her father continue to try and nurture and grow her full time to be the child that one day may find her own purpose in His divine plan.
i gave up bikinis and gained belly laughs. i traded in some sleep for late night chats, prayers and gazes just between us. i once thought the three greatest inventions were stretch denim, flavored creamers and the push up bra...i now know them to be color wonder markers, sound machines and mylecon drops. i said farewell to the idea of a career and took immeasurable joy in being there for all of georgias firsts, seconds, thirds and hundredths. i traded sushi dinners for a 4 course cheese dinner with a very entertaining date. and what i find really amazing is that it doesnt seem to matter what is asked of me, what is demanded of me, or what is required to best nurture, teach and train this little one, i am somehow willing and able to give more than i thought i had.

there is irony at every turn in this adventure, the greatest being that as i desperately try and instill in her attributes of grace, compassion, love, kindness, generosity, hope, courage and faith, i am challenged to live these out as well. through God, i am trying to mold her in His image and yet through her, God is gradually molding me. and i am grateful. and inspired. and encouraged. that, He in His goodness, in His lavish love for us, entrusted this child, His creation to be ours.

and two years somehow flew by and i feel like im hanging onto the coat tails of time, begging it to please slow down, willing it to stand still. to please just give us more time. more time for the laughter, for the love, for the joy of it all. and while we keep chasing time for another day, another week, another month and another year, i know we will be laughing, loving and enjoying every moment of it.

happy 2nd birthday, georgia. you have made the gift of time the greatest gift of all. we love you so.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

s.k.i. #5

for the past several months i have noticed a number of interesting things here that have raised questions in my mind that i dont have any clear answers to. recently i learned that the blue line on the highway indicated a bus lane (for use only on the weekends) rather than just a splash of something interesting on the otherwise dull pavement with the standard white lines. i have figured out that the constant shoving is due not to a mentality of rudeness, but rather a cultural norm stemming from what i assume to be no korean phrase for 'excuse me'.

there are things i will never figure out...like the use of cartoon characters on all advertisements, not just childrens, perhaps appealing to the child in all of us. the flow of driving is another elusive thing. while it is perfectly okay to run a red light, you had better not turn right on red. interestingly enough, it is kind of fun to pause and go at a red light even though it is illegal knowing that if you decided to stop at the light you would most certainly be mercilessly honked at and berated in words you cannot understand until you ran the red light.

i have managed to crack the code on at least one koreanism this week...

there are 10 digit phone numbers on almost all cars, not used for commercial use, but personal cars. not kimchee delivery, not carpet and tile sales, but regular old cars. they all have them and there are several methods of posting the number, applied stickers to the windshield is fairly popular as is the embroidered pillow with the number on it on display in the front or back windshield. i have been thoroughly confused as to why anyone would have their number so blatantly advertised on their vehicle. until this week. this week, while friends were out shopping, they returned to their car to find it completely blocked in. not a tight squeeze, not a 'please help direct me out of this', not a suck it in or climb in through the other door, but a no kidding, we are not leaving until little white daewoo moves out of the way. aha. call that number!! so, they called the number and daewoo driver emerged from a nearby building to move his car out of the way.

isnt that crazy? that you have a number put on your windshield or have a pillow embroidered with the sole purpose of parking in a way that makes it impossible for the other people to leave?? i started thinking of all the places they could be called out of just to move their car....weddings, funerals, classes, work....the list goes on and on. this is such a bizarre place. and yet somewhat endearing that they, knowing that blocking you in is a certain in their future, at least make themselves available to let you out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

a little spoiled and a little lazy

very rarely am i honest enough with myself that i would admit either of these things, but this morning, over coffee, i had a frank and honest discussion with none other than myself. and before you try and have me taking the same little magic pills that you are, just know it was a healthy chat. self was feeling very blunt and self was willing to accept a few truths (they were conveyed mostly in love).

i was thinking of what i love most about korea and while i would love to say that it has been the invaluable cultural experience that only comes from living in a foreign country, that it has been an enlightening experience that i just cannot imagine having lived my life without, that im considering pursuing a life led in service to the less fortunate as a result and that i plan on donating all that i own to worthy causes like greenpeace and the celebrity chihuahua rescue foundation, that wouldnt exactly be true. now, this has been a fantastic opportunity, one that i am thankful for, one that has taught me more than simply holding my breath for long periods of time to avoid smells and to exercise great self control when seeing stray animals (they really do not need me to bring them home), it has also grown my appreciation for all things asian.

i love the korean people and their love of my offspring. i love the food, the shopping, the near death experiences i live through every time i get in a car, the novelty of marking all directions with milestones instead of streets. i love the apartment living that reminds me so much of college with the upgrade of better furniture, better drinks and no classes to sleep through. and the people, well, just dont get me started, because i have certainly met some quality people here.

so, i was thinking of all the things i love about my korean lifestyle (which is really led mostly like an american, but still...) and i began to think of what i will miss most. while there are several things vying for number 2 on the list...living arrangement, friends, purses, travel, etc, there is only one thing worthy of the number 1 position. her name is ms. hong and i love her. and while she has made me feel a little spoiled and a little lazy, she also makes me feel rested and available on the weekends for that treasured family time. she is referred to as an "ojima" and although i hired a housekeeper in rapid city (many of you remember crazy sharon stories) to help out and while she was a good helper, she was no ms. hong.

i havent done laundry in over 2 months. im not kidding. i havent ironed since i moved here and i cant for the life of me find a place to leave my initials in the dust. shes kind, she works hard and georgia loves her. there is a small part of me, who after hearing stories of families that moved their ogimas back to the states with them, wants to find a house with a separate living area for sweet ms. hong (itd have to be very separate with not even shared ventilation because that kimchee smell is the kind you want to leave at the restaruant, not scent your home with.)

so while i may be a little spoiled and a little lazy, with ms. hongs help, i am also happier, more relaxed and thankful that my time in korea is going so swimmingly. and i will miss her. a lot. and after chatting with myself, its not all for self serving reasons either (i swear). i love the korean she speaks to georgia, i look forward to her arrival at our home and i will miss her kindness that she shows me in broken english and sweet eyes. my time here will be marked with many things, but the highlight may just be my time spent with ms. hong....and my red jimmy choo.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

massage etiquette

there are so many different ways i am able to spell 'awkward' in my life. there simply isnt enough time in the day for me to write or for you to read all the creative ways i have found to experience the glorious and sickening heights of discomfort. there was the time i was getting a massage at a spa with mr. hands all over me to the point where every part of me thought i should say something, but i, drowning in my bone dry well of assertiveness, could not for the life of me muster any words. instead i endured rather than enjoyed the latter part of my massage and didnt tip as generously. i know some people who would have said something, quit the 'relaxing' experience, demanded a refund and spread a few rumors, but im not that girl. not that i dont want to be, its just that im not. i seem to possess zero assertiveness until im highly irritated and its then that i boldly skip assertive and head straight to raging biatch. how i wish it werent so, but thats actually not what this post is about...

rather, im wondering when you are getting a manicure or pedicure (as i was today) and hard working cosmetologist is actively massaging those hands and feet, what do you say? do you say nothing and not let her know this is actually the best part of the whole shabang or do you encourage with some degree of verbal feedback? i feel weird even maintaining eye contact and yet i dont want to appear disinterested or lackadaisical (after all the painted pigs and fingers are simply bonus to the relaxing rub down), but its just a bit awkward during those moments when a total stranger is working hard at making you feel good and all the things that you could say somehow within this encounter with a stranger all sound just a little bit inappropriate. so, let me know...how can i keep the best part of the service going without feeling totally weirded out? or worse, being the source of a discussion around a mat of kimchee during break...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

s.k.i. #4

okay, she's cute. she's ours and generally speaking in spite of the rapidly approaching milestone of 2, we will keep her a bit longer (being this close to potty training, we arent ready to give her back after our hard work is just beginning to pay off), but this little one
is the cause of our most recent strange korean incident.

i will start by saying this little country of south korea (i only mention 'south' because a disturbing number of you have in fact asked me to clarify that more than a few times) is a very hospitable place, especially compared to our not so neighborly counterparts in north korea. really the only things thus far driving me crazy here are the smell (seriously, we could really use a downpour of febreeze) and the fact there is no word used for 'excuse me' as in 'pardon me, you are in my way'. the alternative is a lot of pushing, leaning, shoving, inadvertent molesting...you get the idea. one of the things i do love most about this country is they LOVE children, particularly american children, especially the blond variety. ive heard various reasons for the love affair from it 'being considered good luck in their culture to touch the head of a blond kid' to 'they just dont see very many' and the list goes on and on. i have yet to confirm the source of the admiration, but i have seen the proof. it is what i believe kept the nice korean woman lucky enough to be in the seat in front of georgia on the short 15 hour flight over here from tossing the peach out an exit door mid flight.

and while it is flattering, really, it is being the one who makes up half of those super cute genes, it is taking just a wee bit of self control to not offer some purell to the masses of toucherbys. seriously, speak to her, glance at her, touch her hand if you must, but the grabbing and kissing has got to stop. we went up to seoul this weekend for a family day in insadong (a really great art district we were told about from a friend) and while it was awesome getting out of our fishbowl known as songtan, it did not come without a few hiccups. namely the fact that we were stopped every 3-5 FEET for pictures, well wishes and of course lots and lots of touching. georgia was in a great mood and more than willing to wow the masses with her limited korean as she said hello and thank you and brought smiles to all around. but seriously...i kept wanting to let them know we werent the nannies in possession of baby jolie-pitt, this was in fact our own home made peach who while in fact is blond and has brought us a great deal of joy (and sleepless nights, but who is asking), she is no buddha and will not be bringing good luck to any of you...therefore, no need to keep touching.

i was very proud of myself in that i didnt pull out the hand sanitizer or give the 'leave me alone look' and i didnt start charging for pictures. instead pat and i continued to stop, have georgia jump through her 2 korean words tricks, smile and move on...at a snails pace. it didnt take long before we decided to head to the only milestone we know is universal and easy to pronounce for a taxi...mcdonalds in seoul. there, our little abduction waiting to happen sprinted between tables full of strangers trying to grab and talk to her. not surprisingly, it was the only place we saw any westerners and that was only a table of 3 that gk had no interest in. so, maybe our little one is somewhat of a novelty here, not as novel as a white dragon, but rare nonetheless. we waited there for over an hour trying to keep the peach entertained and in our possession for a cab that never showed before hitting the streets again to chase down (nothing like manhattan where you wave down, here chasing down is the preferred way to indicate youd like a ride) another taxi.

i have found that the language barrier is 80% comical and 20% frustrating for us. im guessing the cab driver who thought we meant yongsan train station when we said 'yongsan station' instead of 'yongsan army station' and as a result drove the opposite direction of where we needed to go and had to spend an unusually long time with 2 americans and one very tired and fussy toddler (he clearly didnt get the white dragon novelty thing) has an 80% frustrating, 10% annoying and 10% infuriating ratio of the language barrier. he stopped at the wrong place and when we refused to get out (did i mention an hour in a nasty mcdonalds and chasing of cabs) he threw his hands in the air and began communicating very effectively for not a single word in english that he was not happy with us. really?? we arent tickled either. our good luck charm is car seat less in the back of your crazy ass cab currently melting down while her caretakers are hungry, have to pee and just want someplace semi sanitary to accomplish both. we offered a half hearted apology (how can it really be sincere when you dont even have the right word?) and said 'army' slowly as if maybe he just didnt understand our pronunciation of the word as opposed to the entire meaning of the word.

he did eventually find a place that looked semi secure and dropped us off at one of maybe a dozen gates to yongsan army station. we tipped him and thanked him and felt bad enough we would have let him rub georgias head like a buddha belly if he asked, but he didnt and so ended our day with the white dragon and the paparrazi. once on american soil (it seems strange they even refer to it as that), we hiked to our waiting car and headed back to the fishbowl. it was a lot of fun and an interesting cultural experience, but the next time we head to seoul for the day we will have lined up some child care for the rare one.