A month ago, I was picking up my girlfriend to head out for dinner. I have known Lynn for 15 years or more. We met in the office of the doctor I was seeing at the time. She was our doctor's nurse and would do the vitals and get everything ready for Dr. O. You don't normally know the staff at the doctor's office but Rocketman and I had recently started allergy shots. If you know anything about them, you start with shots (one in each arm for me) every week, then every two weeks and then monthly. You have to wait in the waiting room a half hour to make sure you do not have a reaction and then you have a nurse check each arm before leaving. Through the years we got to know everyone on Dr. O's staff along with the receptionists. Lynn and I got especially close. I have been to her home many times for dinners and celebrations. But this particular time I was thrown for a loop - in a good way.
She was grabbing her purse and coat but stopped and said, "I have something I have to give to you." This tiny box is what she gave me. She said many years ago a former patient had given her the box. He was of Japanese dissent and also a doctor. In his spare time he liked to make handmade boxes. I recognized immediately the Japanese hanji paper. This perfect box was amazing to me. He told her that the box was not for her but for her to hold onto and take special care of it until she felt compelled to give it to someone. He passed away a few years ago well into his 70's.
At that moment in time, she knew she had to give it to me. We both don't know what it means but both feel that it does indeed mean something. Only time will tell. Do you believe in signs? I do strongly and am still trying to figure this one out. But for one thing, it does make a great story.
Our dear friend, Hellena, delivered her identical twin girls on the morning of January 25, 2015. She had been in the hospital a week prior due to contractions which they were able to control with medication. The side effects of the medication were horrible for Hellena. Before the delivery, I asked her if she had dilated at all and I was surprised to find out that her doctor had never check her vaginally. She said they do that when you deliver. She also had not seen her doctor for few weeks because he was on vacation and then ill. She saw another doctor and she said he didn't care about her or anything since he wasn't her doctor. What!
Finally, her doctor decided to deliver the babies the morning of the 25th. They were born via C-section and everyone is fine. The babies each weighed around 4 pounds. But when I talked to her last, she had not eaten for three days, was in tremendous pain and having dizzy spells. She couldn't even get out of bed. She also had not seen the girls since they were born. I found myself trying not to book an immediate flight to Busan, South Korea.
When I asked about each problem, these were the answers she gave. She did not know why they would not give her any food and even her two best friends who are also in Busan did not understand that either. I asked if she had asked for pain killer and she had but they didn't seem to be too concerned with all her pain - same with the dizzy spells. She asked to see the girls and was told that she would then have to keep them in her room for half a day and she is in no condition to do that, especially without food.
Her doctor finally visited her on the third day after birth and asked her why she hadn't seen her babies. She was very upset to say the least. I know from Rocketman's kidney stone emergency in Korea that things are very different over there but some of it just doesn't make sense to me at all. I told her she has to go "ajumma" on them and become loud and demanding to see if that works. She was going to breastfeed too so I don't understand why they are keeping the girls from her especially when they are in good health.
The names they chose for the babies are a little different by Korean standards and least that is what she told me that everyone says when she says their names. They named them "Shin Bi" and "Lo Un" which together in Korean means mysterious. I think this is a trend in Korea when naming multiples thanks to Song Il Kook. He is a famous Korean actor and in 2012 when his wife gave birth to triplet boys, they named them "Dae Han," "Min Guk" and "Man Se" which all together in Korean is the phrase "Republic of Korea, Hooray!"
Then he was chosen to be one of the fathers highlighted in the television show "The Return of Superman" where celebrity dads take care of their kids while their wives are gone for 48 hours. I caught the show during our last visit to Korea and found it hilarious. The children on the show are adorable and seeing how their dads struggle to take care of them is really entertaining. You can find the actual episodes on YouTube.
Here is one of my favorite clips of daddy with the triplets:
I haven't been crafting this year at all because of this. Rocketman bought me this portable scanner for Christmas. At first, I didn't know what it was but boy, has it been a lifesaver because...
My dad asked me a favor. If I could scan all their photos so he could watch them on the digital photo player we gave him the previous Christmas. We had included a memory card with a few hundred photos but he loved it so much that now he wants everything on it.
It really is so much fun looking at old photos but it is definitely tedious, scanning, renaming and placing in the appropriate folder thousands of photos. I'm trying to get it done as soon as possible because I know how much they will enjoy it and I could speed it up by just scanning and not renaming but many of the photos have descriptions and I want to get everything as correct as possible. It is daunting but once it's done, it's done. So that's what I've been up to.
I've never considered myself a good cook maybe because I don't particularly enjoy it and it stresses me out. It's something to always have to think and plan what's for dinner. But what happened last night makes me never want to cook again. I was making some Chinese food and needed to heat up some oil. I had made this before so I thought I knew what I was doing. I poured the oil in the wok and hit the high button on the stove.
I walked away for a few minutes and I heard a loud cracking noise. I thought the UPS guy had kicked the door. I look towards the front door and saw the wok with flames two to three feet hitting my microwave above the stove. I grabbed the pan and my first thought was to put it into the sink and turn on the water. But quickly I remembered seeing a video showing that when you do that, the oil explodes everywhere. So I ran to the sliding glass door with oil sparking out of the wok and leaving a trail of fire on the floor. I opened the sliding glass door, glanced back seeing the floor all on fire and threw the wok into the snow on the deck. I was going call 911 and try to find my cat. But as I looked at my kitchen, all the fire was out. But the house had filled with horrible smoke. The smoke alarm was screaming and I couldn't even see the television that was on in the next room. I was shocked at how fast the house filled with smoke. I was coughing and having trouble breathing so I stepped outside and texted Rocketman to warn him what had happened and that I was okay. I went back into the house to open all the windows and doors to help dissipate the choking smoke. It was horrible and when I became lightheaded, I went outside.
Rocketman got home and after being assured I was okay, we assessed the damage. I couldn't believe the floor was not burned at all. The oil had burned out leaving just oil marks that I was able to wash away.I have no explanation for this except that it was a miracle. I burned one rug (above), one pan and had a small 2nd degree burn on my right hand along with some smoke inhalation. I still am in shock but feeling very blessed and lucky.
This is the candy bar board I made for Laura, our daughter's 30th birthday. I used white foam board for stability. I have made these for over 25 years for all sorts of celebrations. I have had to change the wording over the years as new candy bars were introduced and others were discontinued. It is really fun to make and everyone loves them.
Shockers - Ode to "Name of the Person"
On your ____(number of birthday, anniversary...), do you hear Snickers from your friends?
You are Twix the age of youth and senility.
You may have to fight ChunkyMounds when you get up in the morning.
Your bones may tend to Crunch and you React like a Goober or an Airhead.
Cheer up and get your old Whatchamacallit in gear.
Even though some may think you're a little nuts (glue some nuts on the board) or worse, a Butterfinger, show them you are Good & Plenty.
Don't be a sucker for anyone.
We always knew you were something Extra.
Some say you're a Nerd by we think you are a Hot Tamale!
Take 5 to remember all the good times like taking a Fun Dip in a lake.
Laura June Meverden was born at 4:46pm on January 14, 1985 at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul, MN. Her first due date way January 7th but when my OB could not detect a heartbeat at a few months, he moved the date to January 24th. Fourteen happens to be mine and Rocketman's favorite number. She was born on a full moon by emergency C-section.
I had developed preeclampsia five months into the pregnancy. The day Laura was born, I was full of fluid and my blood pressure was 150/110. It was too dangerous to continue the pregnancy. Laura came into the world without a peep with her eyes wide open and taking everything in. She was perfect in every way. When my mom saw this photo, she wondered who that was holding Laura because I looked so different due to all the fluid. It ended up taking a entire year for my blood pressure to return to normal but it was all worth it.
We love you so very much, Laura, and we are so proud of the wife, mother and woman you have become.
This year's annual waterpark trip with our daughter and her family, we thought to find a waterpark closer to home instead of the 3 1/2 hour drive to the Dells. I found the Metropolis in Eau Claire, only an 1 1/2 drive, through Trip Advisor. For the most part, the reviews were really good. The biggest downside was it was $200 a night more than the Dells but I decided to book the weekend anyway because not only did it have a waterpark, it also had an indoor amusement park also attached to the hotel.
I picked up the grandboys Friday morning while Rocketman was at work and we left a few hours after lunch. The drive was great with no weather issues which can be a great concern when it's bad. We checked in and got into the room only to find there was no heat and the thermostat was broken. Rocketman went back to the front desk and they gave us a new room.
I had brought quite a bit of food and thankfully Noah was able to get everything to fit into the hotel size refrigerator. I missed the full size kitchen we had always enjoyed at the Dells hotel. The two bedroom suite was also a lot smaller than the Dell hotel suite. We ordered pizza delivery, ate and then hit the waterpark.
Judah and his parents arrived and it was time for bed. The day was split between the waterpark and Action City. I didn't take any photos at the waterpark but I did take quite a few at Action City. Unfortunately, my camera decided to take mostly blurry photos. But I did get some of the grandboys and Rocketman is on the look for a new camera for me.
Mama and Ezra
Grandpa and Judah
Noah driving his first go-cart.
Ezra and Daddy
Grandpa and Noah
Noah, Ezra and Daddy.
Little Ezra. This is how we all felt after the weekend. One favorite Ezraism, we took the two older boys to the waterpark and it was time to leave. As I was drying Ezra off with a towel, he asked, "Grandma, can you wrap me up and carry me like a burrito?" It was the funniest thing I've ever heard and we did just that except Grandpa carried him back to the hotel room. Even though I was disappointed in the hotel, it really is about spending time with family and for that reason it was worth every penny. But I think we will try somewhere new next year or return to the Dells.
Yesterday we received a Korean Christmas card from our good friend, Jeff. He worked with the location agency in Seoul that helped us move to Korea and any problems that would arise during our stay. He was a lifesaver and completely orchestrated our move back to Korea in 2011 from procuring our favorite apartment to furniture shopping with me while Rocketman was in China at the time. Isn't that card just beautiful?
Also his note inside including a lovely photo of him and his lovely wife.
For six weeks now, Rocketman is hosting two co-workers from Asia. They are staying in a hotel but he is responsible for them during the day. One is from Taiwan and the other from China. I don't know if you know this but Taiwanese and Chinese adopt "Western" names to make it easier for their American counterparts to remember and pronounce correctly when working for and with American companies. Koreans uses two initials from their name and the Japanese uses their actual names and you add "san" when speaking their name. It can be confusing if you are new to it but Rocketman has been working with and visiting Asia for almost twenty years and we have piles of books on the customs and culture of each country. It has always been important to Rocketman to honor the culture of each country and there are differences.
In Asia, it is customary for the visitor to bring a gift for those he will be working with or to bring to close friends. So if you wonder why we go to Korea with suitcases full of presents, now you know why. It is very important to show respect in the Asian culture and it really means you do care. The Chinese co-worker brought him some green tea as a gift which is greatly appreciated because we both love green tea.
Rocketman isn't surprised too often but he definitely was with these two recent visitors. He had been emailing them for months and assumed they were female by their choice of "Western" names. The Chinese chose the name "Darling" and the Taiwanese chose "Megan." He was shocked when he had a teleconference one night a few weeks ago with them and heard a distinct male voice out of each. It was a first for him because they generally seemed to choose a common name. One of his Taiwanese co-workers uses the name "Albert" which is close to his Taiwanese name. It still makes me smile when I ask him how his day was with "Darling" and "Megan." He also is in charge of introducing them to co-workers at several plants so that should be interesting too.
The Taiwanese co-worker brought Rocketman some black tea and a really cute keychain.
Can you guess what this pile of maedeup cording will be? Bracelets! For some reason, I love to cut cording for lots of projects. I think it comes from always having something to do with my hands hence why I love to craft since it gives my hands something to do. I'll be sure to share in upcoming "Maedeup Mondays!" the finished bracelets.
I took this photo from my craft table which is covered by a huge piece of glass from my polymer clay days. I do get out my clay once in a while especially when Noah is over, he loves it. If you are wondering who that is in the photo, it's Rain (Bi).
Rocketman took a few days off between Christmas and New Year's and we ate lunch out just about every day. On this day, he wanted to eat at Firehouse Subs which is located in a strip mall at the intersection of Hwy. 36 and White Bear Ave. in Maplewood, MN. As we went to park, he noticed this restaurant and we immediately decided to try it.
It was around 11 am and we were the only customers. But the owner and greeter was Korean which is always a good sign when looking for authentic Korean food.
The banchan (side dishes) were delicious and Rocketman even opted for bori cha (barley tea).
My choice was kimchi jjigae and it was the best I have ever had, inside or outside of Korea. The flavor was amazing and just as spicy as I would get in Korea. The pork was so tender, it melted in your mouth.
Rocketman chose spicy chicken bulgogi better known as dalk galbi. He was shocked at how delicious it was. I tried it to and loved it. We usually have low expectations when eating at a Korean restaurant outside of Korea and were blown away but how delicious the food was.
We went back yesterday which if you are keeping track is twice in a week. We let the owner know how much we loved her food and she was surprised and happy to see us back so soon.
The kimchi is delicious here and just as spicy as I would get in Korea.
This day they also had a favorite banchan of mine, odaeng (fishcakes). Yummy!
I had to get the kimchi jjigae again. I had been craving it since our first visit.
Rocketman chose ddeok mandu guk which is dumpling and rice cake soup. It too was delicious. As we were entering the restaurant, there was a guy looking at the menu posted on the window and as we walked by, I told him that the food here was delicious. He ended up eating there too. I hope he liked it too.
Here is the take out menu.
I highly recommend Gangnam Korean Restaurant if you are looking for authentic Korean food. Don't be surprised if you see us there!