Archive for January, 2011

this old house

January 31, 2011

Trying to keep the kids busy one Saturday morning, and I come across This Old House. Henry was immediately hooked – and well, I could see why. It was a demolition episode – they were tearing the whole back off a house. I also like the show. I was talking to W about it and he looked really amused. Like it was obvious.

One thing moms and little boys can agree on: house p0rn.

Hot hot hot. Not not not.

January 18, 2011

It’s been so dry and so cold here, my hands are looking terrible. Worse, they’re starting to crack a bit, which can hurt something awful. So, as an experiment, I slathered my hands with petroleum jelly and then covered with tube socks. Ooo – so *sexy*.

Combine that with the same treatment on my feet, my teeth-grinding preventer mouthpiece, my ratty old robe and two crying children, and I present to you my ultimate nighttime hotness. (Not.)

It’s a wonder that I convinced anybody to procreate with me.

Makes you wonder what W was on when he agreed.

Wass-ahbi!

January 14, 2011

I came across the piece of info that real wasabi is really hard to grow, because it does best alongside rivers in Japan.  Apparently, wasabi in the US is usually a mix of horseradish, green food dye and some other stuff.   And me, always interested in wet and shady plant growing, immediately thought, “I live right near a wetland, I bet it would grow great here! I would be able to harvest right off our property!”

To which W commented, “Yeah, right. In 20 years our kids will be watching the documentary that points you out as the woman who introduced this terrible invasive species to this country.”

It was just an idea.

By the way, the tops of wasabi looks just like garlic mustard, which really is a horrible invasive around here, so even if I got any to grow, I’d probably just pluck it out thinking it was a weed.

broken konglish

January 13, 2011

So, I picked up on this link here on translanguaging while in the middle of a much longer post on how my brain works in Korean/English.

All I have to say is that I really force myself to NOT think in English, so when I’m stuck, I end up with sentences that are mostly Korean with French prepositions and the occasional Latin-esque declension.  By the way, the sentences tend to be very very short – which wouldn’t seem like they’re all that much of an effort, but they sort of are.  How messed up is that?

I want to think that the languages all reside in different parts of the brain, but I don’t think they are.  Why else does French come up, a language I haven’t really worked on in 20 years, all of a sudden when I’m talking to my parents, who wouldn’t have a clue about parlez-vous?

In thinking about this, I remember reading something about Lord Nelson (I want to say, but I can’t find the frickin’ link) – about how his personal diaries were a mix of Spanish and English and French and Latin and not necessarily very easy to understand – potentially because he didn’t want them falling into enemy hands and being easily translated and to this day, his biographers can’t quite figure out what exactly he means all the time.  I like that – even the famous and long-dead still have their secrets.

Am I drawing a parallel from myself to Lord Nelson?  No, not really.  Not beyond the point where both of us have a way of multi-lingual thinking that is unique to ourselves.

not gonna post

January 7, 2011

Hey.  How’ve you been, this fine new year?  W says it’s like living in the future, it being 2011 and all.

I’ve been sitting on a story for a while now.  But it’s not done yet, and I just can’t post until it is done.  I love the attention of posting, but I’ve found I sort of screw up my head when I post in sections before the story is done.

I don’t know what it is – whether it is because of the attention and the expection or what.  Part of it is that I’m always editing.  ALWAYS.  So I want the freedom to go back and mess around with the first page, wherever I am in the actual story telling, which seems like bad manners to readers when you go off and change things on them in an on-going storyline.  The other part is that I’m obviously not mature enough to take the attention – because it can throw me off my plot and make me nervous about people’s expectations.   Also, I want to be able to post a story, POP POP POP and be all like “Done!”  (That’s what I like from other authors as well.)  And I just can’t do that unless the story is completely written – because I write so slowly the monkeys with their typewriters and green visors laugh at me.    And a very small reason is because I have a life, of sorts.  Anyway, I have kids, who make me busy.

This is a quandary.  Because I’ve got a whack of words that I’m just sitting on, and it  feels a bit, I don’t know a delicate way of saying this – constipating.  The urge to be done is very powerful.  But must be resisted – for the good of the way I tell a story.  Jeez, I don’t even know if anyone will like this story (or follow it all the way through), so it really is for me, all unfinished and all.  

Bad Analogy Alert!

It’s like I’m a factory, see, and on one side, I’ve got finished steel and on the other, I’ve got all sorts of molten material.  I just can’t snip off the bit that’s polished and leave the rest of the it still being rolled in the machine or even being poured from the the hot molten bucket – the whole slab must be accounted for, or else it’ll be uneven or not according to specifications or something bad.  I don’t know.

when the moon forgot

January 5, 2011

I really love this book and its’ illustrations.

I knew the book was translated.  And translations are never really as good as the original.  But since Henry liked it, and I liked it enough to withstand the dozens and dozens of re-reads (so far), I thought this was a winner.

Then I made the mistake of trying to find something similar online – perhaps by the same author.  But I am annoyed that a reviewer burst my happiness bubble by calling the book a bad translation and saying it was missing bits, even a lot of pages.

So now I’ve got to figure out if I want to see how the Korean editions look/read, since I know no Chinese whatsoever.  On the upside,  I get to test my Korean and fulfill that really irritating book collecting/set completist/comparist part of me; on the downside, it will still be a translation and may still suffer from the English language edition deficits, it’s not cheap (why do foreign language books have to be so expensive?), and I’ll be the only one who would enjoy it, if my language skills are up to par.

Grrr.   I just wanted to be happy in my ignorance, is that so wroooong?

(Someone also pointed out that the Harry Potter books as printed by Scholastic aren’t word for word the same ones printed in the UK – but geez.   Leave me alone, you dream-killers.)

EDITED to note: The book, when found on Naver.com in the Korean language edition, is something like 150 pages, with the English version clocking in at 80 pages.  Since this is a picture book, for the most part (and not just playing around with font size), I’m really going to have to think about it, because something is definitely missing.  Crud.

universal pre-k vocab

January 5, 2011

According to the Universal Pre-Kindergarten assessment Henry underwent at the beginning of school – I have the vocab of someone under the age of 4 in Korean. It was actually interesting (if embarrassing) to realize that I don’t know all the colors, numbers, letters, shapes, or animals that a pre-kindergartener should/would know by the time they’re done with that year.  (It’s not a consolation that Henry doesn’t necessarily know them either.  He is actually 4.  I’m not.  When explained in the context of a 4 year-old, it makes sense:  4 year-olds don’t often know the words for silver, gold or grey.  I should.)

This assessment, mind you, comes after a number of months working on my Korean. (It’s come in fits and starts, but k-dramas and comedies and pop have a hand in keeping me going with it.  Yeah – I know.  Language through fun media isn’t necessarily the way to go, but that’s what keeps me interested. Discipline, discipline, discipline. I need more of it.)

I was thinking about my actual Korean language skills – now that my son has surpassed me in what is my first language with his first language.  Which makes sense, given that I came to the US when I was a few months shy of four years old.  I have maintained some language – but you can see how far that has gone.  (Not far.)

Sometimes, I think of my Korean as having been put on a desert island with an erratic robotic  nanny that responds in odd ways (that being the various media I’ve been exposed to).  I have all sorts of odd sounds, made-up tenses, and endings.  No idioms to speak of.  I’m completely literal in Korean.  The stuff kids work out through everyday practice and casual adult correction, I’m still doing as I push on towards age 40.  It is embarrassing when trying to have a conversation with an actual native speaker, so I don’t.  Even though I know it would help loads.   Because those words and sounds and ideas coming from a 4 year-old is charming.  Coming from someone 40-ish it just sounds psychotic.

My parents have been on/off with these attempts, because they sometimes just don’t have the patience to deal with me fumbling through vocab – they’ve got  lives to lead.  My sister once took a Korean class and my mother’s feelings about it was summed up with her asking why Sister wasn’t taking a class that could be useful – like computer programming.

Then there is my suspicion that my parents speak with a non-standard accent of Korean.  Not very off-standard, but off enough that some words I’ve heard spoken my whole life come at me the wrong way when I hear them spoken by other people, or especially when I’m learning from a book/modern audio thing.   I have heard other people speak – and I know enough to be able to pick up really broad accents – but it’s sort of hard.  Makes me wonder what it would be like to speak English with a bright, interested adult who stopped acquiring language in the 70’s.

Also the writing aspect is peculiar to me – because I wasn’t writing when we immigrated.  It is astonishing to me that even though Korean is phonetic (and thank goodness it is, otherwise I would be flat out busted) that the words I have spoken my whole life actually look the way they do.  I’ve known the letters for most of my life, but the combinations sometimes just throw me way off.  Especially when I’m reading (very slowly) the Korean writing for an English word.  Hearing that same word, I totally get it.  But reading it – geez.  Suh-bee-suh?  Service!  I feel doubly dumb then – illiterate in Korean and just bad at listening in English.  Which is awful, because in some ways, I pride myself on my writing and listening skills.

Someday, I’d like to be able to write well enough in Korean to communicate with my parents, and maybe visit Korea.  But at this rate, that will be never.

end of year accounting

January 5, 2011

I realized something odd about my finances.

I spent more money on chocolate (for gifts and for myself) than on clothes for myself. Whew!

New car for Xmas?

January 1, 2011

My brother and I were watching tv at my parents’ house over the holiday.  He is irritated with the “buy a car for Xmas” commercials.  He thinks the only people who would get excited about that is an 18-year-old.  For everybody else, it’s just another utility item with obligations attached (like paying for insurance and registration and gas).

Myself, I’m totally surprised anyone would be able to surprise their partner with a car.  It’s like “who are these people who don’t talk to their partners about these big purchases?”

Also, I imagine it’s sort of like the big expensive version of buying a vacuum cleaner for a birthday.  (Except, of course, I really wanted a vacuum cleaner for my birthday, so maybe that doesn’t really work.  And yes, I did get one.)