Archive for February, 2011

Your life, here

February 28, 2011

I’ve been thinking for a long, long time about where I would be in life if left to my own devices.  And the answer is, ultimately, not here.  Not with children, and not in this job.  I don’t think there’s any shame in that – because I still like the place I ended up, I love my children, and my job is mostly okay.  I have all of these things because of W.  If not for him, then everything would be different.  And if anything happened to him, everything would change.

I wonder about my friends and family – if they ever think about this.  (W doesn’t like talking about this because he thinks it’s morbid, but it’s not like I actively wish anything to happen to anybody, I just wonder.)  Most of them would have never been doing what they are doing if not for their partner.  I don’t think it is surrendering their identity or future to their partner – because all of them are capable of making decisions for themselves.  Almost all of them are women.  I don’t know why this is – because I mostly know the woman-end of the couple, or women move themselves easier than men do, or the realities of the job situation just leaned toward the man or what.

I especially wonder about my friends who were foreign born – because I don’t imagine Nadeshiko would have ever come to the USA from Tokyo and left her family and her established career and life without the promise of marriage to her now-husband, Yamato.  Or my aunt, who was a Korean War-bride.  They each made a leap of faith.  It’s actually huge – to come to a country you know only through media (if that), to not speak the language, to not know the culture, not know how to drive, with the idea of raising a family together in a foreign culture – all because of one person.  Thinking about it staggers me a little bit.  I wonder if the person for whom the move was made feels responsibility (probably, some).  I know W feels it sometimes, and I didn’t even leave my country of residence.

I think this is a little different from someone who actively chose to come to a country (as a foreign student, say) and decide to stay because of a personal relationship.  It’s not any smaller a decision, but at least one is armed with some kind of practical knowledge.

googling docs

February 26, 2011

A little annoyed with Google docs – which is where I’m currently working on my long fic piece.   I went to Google docs because I like the idea of having the fic on the internet where I can access it from anywhere, and hey, going with technology and working in ‘the cloud’ seems all  forward-thinking and hip.

Here’s the thing – a doc of a certain length (let’s say 10-12k) loads pretty slowly, and I’ve also had problems saving docs of that length – I run into errors and it doesn’t save properly.  I don’t know if it is the length, but I’ve had to break up the doc into sections so I can be assured of trouble-free writing.  (I get that it isn’t really a full-on word-processor, because a lot of tools I’m used to are missing or rudimentary, but it seems that’s where Google wants you to put stuff.)

I don’t like breaking up a long piece into sections – it ruins the flow  – so I spend time I don’t want to trying to figure out where to make the break so that it makes sense for actual on-line publishing.  Then when re-writing I have to remember what section a certain bit is, which is irritating – and I go back and forth between docs/sections when editing to check for flow.  It’s like trying to carrying the entire piece in my head – which is a lot of words.  I write this all down so I can stop thinking about it, already.

I can’t be that annoyed because, hell, it’s free, but still, irritated.

If anybody has had any luck with other on-line editing programs, please let me know.  (I got an email specifically for this blog, even.)

internet permanency oxymoron

February 24, 2011

My feeling: if it’s on the Internet, it is ephemeral.

So if there’s a fic/site/page that I liked and it is then gone, I don’t worry about it.  That I can’t get it back doesn’t really bother me, most of the time.   If content belonged to the author/webmaster and if they don’t want it around anymore, then it’s their right to take it down.  My only issue is that very occasionally, I will miss the item in question and spend a little bit of time trying to get it back.  I give up after a very weak little search.  I try to console myself that if it’s really gone, then it was fate that I never see it again and I should try to re-create something like that in my own head.

The thing that surprised me was that some people save fanfics to their hard drives for referencing later.  They were concerned there was some sort of taboo about this practice and couldn’t come out openly as having a hard drive full of other people’s fics.

This sort of thing really surprises me.  I mean, why would you want to keep an old fic around?  How do you know you’ll want to read it again?  Some of those things are long, too.  When would you ever find the time?  (There was also a discussion of how they organized their fics, but that’s a whole other thing, as far as I’m concerned.)

Are people keeping my fics on their hard drives?  I don’t have a knee-jerk negative reaction to it – just incredulity.  It’s just fanfic.  There’s tons of it around, easy to find.

The idea concerned me some, after I thought about it.   What if I want to take my stuff down sometime?  (Unlikely.)  What if I cannabalize old fanfics to use in an original fic and I don’t want any evidence of my fanficcy past around?  (Possible, but still pretty unlikely.)  What if people want to use my fics for their own writing?  (Hard to imagine.)  What about plagarism?  (Really unlikely, and it would really make me sad/upset if it should happen, but that could happen in any form of media.)

So thinking this might be a terrible control thing for me.  Meditating on Louisa May Alcott’s (Little Women, about Jo’s writing) something like “she sent out her little stories to make friends.”  And I guess I should just let it all go.  It is the internet, after all.

I talked to W about this, because, honestly, this saving idea is weird to me – I have no idea if I’ll be interested in going back to anything, so I don’t.  Lots of times, it takes me months, or even years to think about a piece from the time I’ve read it.  W completely understands the saving impulse and has no idea why I wouldn’t be saving up a storm if I was interested.  That’s what he does.

Different strokes, I guess.

Twilight Samurai

February 23, 2011

Just saw this movie.  Finally I got it together to watch, as the video sat around in the Netflix envelope for months (costing me heaps of dough, when I think about it, which I would prefer not to).  It was awesome.  I mean, as a thoughtful meditation on 19th century rural samurai life, it was really wonderfully presented.  You should go see it.

And as an update, I got a babysitter to hang out with the kids as I wrote.  That too was awesome.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to just have that concentrated time.  I don’t use the internet, I don’t worry about the phone, nothing.  I sit and write.  I was tempted to take a nap, but I figured I could always nap later with one of the kids.  I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to write, but I guess that isn’t such a problem when I think about the time crunch I have.  I don’t know if I can give this time up, now that I know this luxury.

No Niecy!?

February 22, 2011

Where was I? Clean House is losing Niecy Nash! Holy crap!

I only found out at my parents’ house. And now, looking it up, I find that Tempestt Bledsoe will be the new host (replacement). You’re okay, Tempestt, but you ain’t no Niecy! (Seriously, I saw parts of your old talk show, and unless something has changed, really, no offense, but you ain’t no Niecy.)

Where will I go for closet-cleaning de-cluttering inspiration now?  (Wail of despair.  Very quietly.  I mean, Niecy probably left months ago and I’m just finding out now – and since my cable changed, it’s not like I’ve even seen the show in months.  Woe – which is not like a Joey Lawrence-Blossom Era WHOA.  Sorry for the 90’s flashback, but Tempestt brought it on.)

the most dangerous time of year….

February 21, 2011

I’m a bit sick of the weather, and so, I’m up for trying all sort of shenanigans.

Don’t get excited.  There’s not that much to do around here.

So, in lieu of actually getting into trouble (which is what a younger, less rational self might do), I am trying all sorts of odd things in the kitchen.  There isn’t tons of selection nearby, but I am making do with the local possibilities.

I have thus far tried an Ugli fruit (not bad, really like super grape fruit), a couple different recipes for sweet potatoes (don’t know why I haven’t done it before), a couple different ways with parsnips, a turnip, and now a Moroccan chicken (with parsnips – W calls it “parsnippy” – as opposed to Parsippany, NJ, which is not where I’m from).  I am thinking of eating jicama next.  (I’m also going over the list of recipes I haven’t used in a while – W better watch out, because I can’t remember which ones are just ones I haven’t referred to recently and which ones I haven’t referred to recently because he hated it the first time around.)

J is all for this.  I made fermented soybean soup (된장국 if you’re referring to the soup I grew up with (if I’m spelling that right), miso if looking for the more popular Japanese term), and J got her finger in the paste.  I was a little alarmed – that stuff is super salty and strong-smelling.  Before I could stop her, she stuck her finger in the mouth, tasted for a while, and then demanded “Mo’!”

Also in the fermented soybean world – I have to say – while I like the intentions of the good organic producers of the Northeast, I’m not thrilled with the results.  I like my fermented soybean salty and brown, and straight out of my parents’ basement.  (Yes, they do the whole thing in the backyard and then these scary brown bricks sit in the basement next to the furnace.  Mmmmm.)  If it’s not from the basement, and not in a package with 98% Korean, and the other 2% the barest amount of unintelligible English from a rather suspect little grocery (although that is changing), then it’s no good.

EDITED to add: I make mine all country style – with onions, occasionally with potatoes and some kind of green (maybe some kind of bean sprout).  Whatever is on hand.  Anybody do it differently?

the funny and the d’aww of it all

February 14, 2011

And in honor of St. Valentine’s day, I bring you a little heart-shaped sticky note.

“But I don’t want to put my bottom on the chair! I want to put my bottom on Umma!”  – Henry, on seating preferences.

“Grandma and grandpa live in my heart.  They live far away, so they live in here.”  – Henry then puts hand on stomach.  (He clearly needs some anatomy lessons.)

“Me!  Mine!”  – Baby J, who is very vocal about her needs now.

Me, trying to stop Babygirl J from hitting, I take her hand and touch it to my face, saying, “Gentle touch.  Nice touch.”

She pats my face a couple of times, and then when I’m pretty confident she gets it, she slaps me right on the cheek.  The worst part is her smile.  (And on a separate but related note, my mother says J reminds her of me when I was a baby.  A little sweet and a little rough.  Great.  Thanks, Mom.)

winter (whiner) blues

February 13, 2011

Maybe it’s the time of year – the early February feeling of the never-ending winter – but I’m feeling tired of winter already.   With the snow starting in October, it feels like it’s never going to end.  Maybe it’s the ever-decreasing size of the parking lots and the streets  – because of all the snow.  (People think the streets around here are really wide, but then the winter comes and those narrow down.)  Or the huge piles of snow in the parking lots.  Maybe it’s the seemingly endless onslaught of really cold temperatures, and the constant snow.

It’s getting me down.

Often, there is a February thaw.  Oh, I’m hoping.

Things are looking up, a bit.  The sun is out a bit longer.

We’re getting a couple of babysitters so I can carve out a couple of hours a week to dedicate to writing, instead of the drips and drabs that are happening now.  It’s been frustrating because W has been really busy recently and will continue to be busy for some more months, and that with the snow days and the kids being sick (one at a time), I’ve taken a lot of time off of work and not able to focus properly.  It’s not a ton of time, and I’m trying not to feel guilty about it – but we’ll see how the kids like it.

perchance, to dream

February 9, 2011

I walked into the administrative assistant’s office today and started talking to her about next year’s schedule. Her eyes went all googly and she was all, “I didn’t see that email.” She looked nervous. She knew there had been discussions about it – but she didn’t know there was anything definite yet.

I would have sworn that I saw that email yesterday, so I double-checked my email (which I hadn’t looked at yet) and couldn’t find it. I couldn’t believe I would have trashed it, but what the heck? Did I just dream about a future work schedule? What the kind of dull dream is that? And so powerfully that in complete consciousness, I believe I’ve seen it and want to talk about it?  Gaaaaaah.

The AA was relieved, though.  Then she started to laugh at me.

I am very pragmatic, so it’s weird this sort of thing happens occasionally.

In another oddly lucid dream note, something weird like this happened while I was in college.  I was completely awake and had the very powerful thought as I opened the door of my dorm room (in the Midwest) that I would step into my bedroom in my parents’ house (in New Jersey).  I could just about feel the carpet and see the furniture.  So when I opened the door, and found only the walls of the dorm hall, it was completely disorienting.

So, I guess I mean to say that when they come for me (whoever they might be – the guys who want to put me in the psych ward or the guys from the other side of the door to wherever), you’ll have known about it way in advance.

konglish mouth

February 1, 2011

While surfing the Internet one day (like I have SO  much time), I came across the urbandictionary.com.  Which I was immediately hooked and looked up all sorts of crazy stuff – all the abbreviations I don’t understand, all the idioms, trying to keep abreast of the fast-paced nature of youth culture (because I am SO hip).

Anyway, I came across entries with the prefix “korea,” which led to this definition:

korea-mouth:  An uncivilized tongue. When someone says something that’s either completely rude, or sounds like a direct translation of something out of the Korean language.

Then there’s the usage of which I’ll spare you the details, but basically, “fish” translates literally to “water-meat.”

Instead of being annoyed and all getting on my Korean high-horse, which language wise, is more like a hobby horse (see what I did there?) – I like to think about it this way: it’s simple, poetic and easy to remember.  Like tears=eye water, literally.  Of course, you’re coming from my land of no-idioms, so this makes sense to me.

There is also the very difficult words to translate into English.  Like the word 마음 (mah-um), which translates to “mind,” but I sort of take it also to mean “spirit” or “meaning” or “understanding”  – (which I could be wrong).

But I bring you W’s favorite piece of my father’s Konglish.  When they first met and we were still just dating (I was 23 and W was the first boyfriend I ever introduced to my parents), there was a sort of serious conversation going on, where my father really wanted to make sure W understood that a man “be sincere” and “keep his promises” over a convoluted analogy of growing plants – if I remember correctly.  (I think it’s kind of cute now, my dad, laying down the law.  But it made W a little nervous.)  W tried to express his intent in English (knowing absolutely no Korean), and my father replied, “I know your mind.”  My father was satisfied that he had said what needed to be said, and W, while not really understanding, got to “know my father’s mind.”  Sort of.