Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cookies, Cream, and Garlic

So while Andrew and Liew were here over the past weekend, we (ok, Liew and Beverly) made some Papaya Salad using papaya, carrots, fish sauce, garlic, tomatoes, limes, salt, and sugar. Tried to make some more during mid-week, since Andrew left the masher thingie here "for us to practice making it" (I've seen it made plenty of times but conveniently forget so someone else can make it, since they're all much better than me--come on, I know I'm not the only one who does this!).

Well, a few things I have noticed about storing this salad:
1) Whenever the fridge door is opened, the whole house smells like garlic
2) My Turkey Hill Cookies and Cream Ice Cream now tastes like garlic

Lessons Learned:
1) Eat all the papaya salad you make so you don't have any stinky leftovers -- come to think of it, while on my mission in Fresno, I don't think I saw any Cambodians putting leftover salad in the fridge. Of course, it's probably because I ate it all.
2) Even ten boxes of Arm and Hammer won't be able to defeat fish sauce.
3) If you need to store it, put it in a tightly sealed container, wrap it in the lead apron they give you for teeth xrays, and secure it like a SCIF.
4) If you're going to store the salad, eat all your ice cream so it doesn't end up tasting like garlic.
5) Or if you can't eat all the ice cream, you might as well throw it away and wait until Giant has their 1.99 sale on either Breyers, Edys (Dreyers), or Turkey Hill ice cream. And pick up some Super G String Cheese while you're at it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Home Improvement

So, you know when you walk in to Ikea thinking, "we're just going to get just a few things" and then you walk away with a new kitchen.... yeah, that's what happened. Well, it was a half impulse buy. I've wanted to solve some of our issues with our house for a while, and didn't know how we'd do it until then.
We added some needed storage and counter space to our little kitchen with more shelving and a cabinet. I love it! I can't even fill up the new storage. And I can't begin to say how much I love having more counter space! We really wanted to take that wall down and build a counter there but this was a cheaper fix to our problem.

Not only is pushing the restart button one of Evan's favorite things, but he loves pulling paper out of the printer, taking the squishy mouse armrest, pulling on power cords, and taking the mouse to play with the buttons. Plus, I like having the computer in the livingroom, but don't like the mess that can accumulate around the desk. So, I've been looking for a computer armoir that you could close the doors on and hide everything from Evan and guests. This was perfect! I was almost going to buy one from Walmart, but Mark convinced me that it wasn't sturdy enough. I was so excited to find this one that was hidden from view amoungst a sea of furniture. Its worked out so great. I higly recommend it! or something like it.

We don't stop there. I bought a chair years ago knowing I'd use it for when we had a baby. Now, Evan's a year old and that chair has kind of been passed down. We found a kids version of my chair, and in the middle of Ikea Evan climbed right in it with a big grin on his face. I guess Evan was staking his claim on it.
Now everyday when I give him his milk, he points to his chair, pulls the pillow off of it, hands me his towel to catch drips, climbs in, waits for me to put the towel around his neck and hand him his milk. so cute! I can't believe he does all that without any coaching or even me teaching him that.

What else is Evan doing these days? He actually likes brushing his teeth. I tell him its time to brush teeth and he'll drop everything he's doing, stick his tongue out, and start walking towards the stairs to go to his bathroom. Even if we're ever near his bathroom, he'll stick his tongue out ready to brush teeth!
If I need him to get ready to go out, I tell him to "say bye to Lucy". Then Lucy gets ready for us to leave by going to the kitchen to her kennel, where I'll put up the baby gate to lock her in the kitchen. Evan looks for his shoes and hands them to me. I pick up my bag and keys and he starts to wave bye as I pick him and head out the door. I never taught any of that to Evan or Lucy, but out of doing it over and over again they both have learned it!
As soon as I put Evan in his car seat he yawns! Even if he's not tired or never falls asleep during the drive. Habit I guess.
Evan likes to point at Lucy and tell her to "day". He's really trying to tell her to "stay". Lucy hasn't caught on yet to what he's saying, but we'll tell her to "stay" just so Evan feels like he did it.
Those two are so cute together! I can't imagine what life would be like with more kids like Evan.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hodge Podge

Just a sampling of my thoughts throughout the day.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Too bad it's only one day a year.

David Palmer (I think his real name is Dennis Haysbert, but he'll always be the Prez in my book) was on HOT 99.5 this morning in a radio interview, and the radio hosts had him say "'Cause you're in Allstate's Hands" or something like that. He came on to promote the new season of The Unit on CBS, which I have to admit, before he explained what the TV show was about, I had no idea what the show was about; when I watched it last season, it seemed like there were guys out in the field shooting people and blowing things up, and then the next scene would be of women living their normal lives. After DP explained that the show is about the lives of the Special Forces Officers and their wives and children, it made much more sense. The show seems much more interesting as well, now that DP said the stories are based on accounts from a retired SF officer. The season premiere was excellent this time, knowing the background! The coolest part was when DP (I don't know his real name in The Unit) was trying to get out of the place before the enemies capture him. He used his handy helium tank to inflate a mini blimp, tied a huge rope to it, attached the other end to himself, and as the rescue plane flew by, there was some type of doohickey attached to grab the blimp and carry DP away! Sweet ending.

I know, I tried to explain it to Bev. She didn't really get what was so cool about it. Just watch it.

**Oh, the real reason I was writing about DP and The Unit was this: The trademark DP voice heard in 24 and the Allstate commercials isn't heard as much on The Unit. So for those of you looking for a DP voice fix on The Unit, just letting you know, you may be disappointed. But it's good to see him in action. After watching him in 24, I knew he had a little SF Ops blood in him!**

DP joins the ranks of James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman who not only have distinguished voices, they also have distinguished looks. I was trying to think of others in this category, but could only think of those with "distinguishable" voices rather than distinguished. Jack Bauer's voice is distinguishable, but Sean Connery's is probably more distinguished (if anyone disagrees, you need to watch the SNL Celebrity Jeopardy skits).

Flyboys is another movie that might/might not be cool to see. Flying home from Arizona one day, the guy sitting next to me recommended a book called Flyboys, which reports of nine American Navy and Marine aviators who were shot down off the Japanese-held island of Chichi Jima in February 1945. (Of note, President George H.W. Bush was a young pilot who escaped capture--he didn't find out about the others until he reached presidency!) All of them were eventually executed by the Japanese; several of the guilty parties were tried and condemned as war criminals. The book keeps its eye on the aviators-growing up under a variety of conditions before the war, entering service, serving as the U. S. Navy's spearhead aboard the fast carriers, or facing captivity and death.

Well, the plot outline for Flyboys the movie is: "The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots."

Poop. Stupid "Inspired by a True Story"/same name, different story movies!!

Best thing on Jay Leno's headlines last night: Super G String Cheese. It's funnier when you shop at the store he's talking about! We have a Giant supermarket in VA suburbs probably every mile you drive. They are the bringers of Super G products...including string cheese...Super G String Cheese! You know, a dash in between would make things worse!

I'm going to have to buy one and put it online.

Why are the Washington Nationals doing well now that they are eliminated from the postseason?

And why am I complaining? Tickets are half-price now that the end of the season really doesn't matter! As low as $3 a ticket--and every seat in RFK Stadium is great...except the one behind the foul pole (I will never buy another ticket from eBay again!).

Since Evan loved playing in the rocks on the beach at Portland, everytime he sees rocks, he wants to pick them up...even if it means grabbing mud and other junk at the same time! The worst: gravel lots. The funniest: those sidewalks with bumpy rocks cemented into them.

Time for bed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't know what you've got till its gone

So our microwave just keeled over and died yesterday. Not sure why. I used it to warm Evan's last bottle and when I came home from visiting teaching, I noticed the clock was out and there was an eerie silence in the kitchen. Could there be foul play involved?

Well, I'm going to have to leave this one unsolved, cause I'm taking it back to Costco asap!

I can't believe how difficult my life is without a microwave! I know it sounds ridiculous. People have lived thousands of years without microwaves!
Ok, I know, I just need to make a little more effort to take a pan out and reheat food, or start defrosting meat for dinner now, or use the bottle warmer for Evan's bottles. But its these little inconvenses that make me want to say "forget it! Its too much work!"

Evan and I are going to hit up the sample tables at Costco for lunch.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mark Chang on Nickelodeon

As it turns out there's a character on The Fairly Odd Parents, a cartoon on Nickelodeon, that's named Mark Chang. He's an alien prince, friend of the main character Timmy, from the planet Yugopotamia and has strikingly similar characteristics as our real life Mark Chang. The alien believes anything horrible is good; our Mark likes to play "yes-is-no,-and-no-is-yes" day just to tease me. The alien speaks with a slight surfer accent and puts the wrong emphases on the wrong syllable; our Mark likes to speak in a FOB accent and also likes to put the wrong emPHAses on the wrong sylLAble also to tease me. The alien Mark celebrates a strange holiday named F.L.A.R.G. in which each letter stands for a daily activity. F for farting, L is for lying, A is for amnesia, R is for ranksgiving (in which Mark Chang eats Earth's most delicious foods and throws up on his "gracious host" Timmy), and G stands for goodbye. Our Mark loves to make up acronyms for anything and everything, and would probably be making up his own meaning of FLARG right now.
I could go on and on... There's just such a striking resemblance!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What happens in Maine stays in Maine

I didn't know what to expect from our trip to Maine. Honestly, I didn't know the Maine coastline would be so beautiful. And the weather worked out so well for us! There was rain, but it never rained when we were out and about.
Liew, Andrew, and Andersen were our traveling companions, and Andrew's parent's were wonderful hosts. Grandma Tang even volunteered to take care of Andersen and Evan while we went siteseeing. I was worried that Evan would give her a hard time because he's a bit tough to put down to sleep. But she said naps were no problem, just bed time was tough. Evan ended up staying up until we came home.
Grandma Tang gave me the analogy of how little chicks look for the mother hen when it gets dark out. Because Evan is easy to put down for naps but difficult at night, this could be the reason why. He just needs to know we're around at night. It makes sense.
Best of all is that Grandma Tang helped me keep Evan's schedule. So now that we're home he's still good at going to naps and bed! No need to work for a week to get him back on schedule. Whoo hooo!
We went shopping in the coolest outlet around. It looks like an old colonial town, but there were all the outlet stores you'd ever want. Plus being in Maine, there were a lot more of the outdoorsie type stores.
We visited two lighthouses, Portland Head Light and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Evan was so upset to leave the beach at Portland Head Light, that he actually put up a fit when I picked him up! That was a first. He's trying to assert more of his independence... it's all downhill from here.

We walked a mile on a rock wall to get to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. That was a lot longer walk than it looks like. I never felt so out of shape! At half way I was telling Mark that the lighthouse views better be worth it! Good thing it was or Mark would have to carry me the mile walk back.
We visited the quaint little port towns of Bar Harbor and Camden. Liew and I spotted a crafts fair and had to make a deal with the guys that if they came with us they'd get ice cream afterwards. As most of these crafts fairs go, there's the strange stalls selling metal springs shaped and painted into animals. But there were some stalls with some really cool stuff. Mark liked the antique combination lock mailboxes they turned into mailboxes. Too bad antiques are a bit pricey.
Best of all, we were able to see Andersen get blessed on Sunday! I made sure to bring a camera but too bad I forgot to actually use it to take pictures of cute little Andersen in his white outfit that Liew sewed. sheeesh.
And spending time chatting, eating, and playing games with Andrew's parents, Grandma and Grandpa Tang, was SO much fun! We'd met them many times before, but it was so nice to actually get to know them. They were the best hosts! Grandma Tang went as far as to borrow a pack-n-play for Evan to sleep in, and even knew to buy whole milk for Evan to drink! It was a true vacation to have those things taken cared of. Especially, to have Andrew's parents take care of Andersen and Evan for us while we toured Maine. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Tang!
Overall, it was a great trip. The only bad experience was when Liew and I decided to watch a movie on the rental's DVD player and we both got SO car sick. It ended up that only Mark and Andrew put that DVD player to use.
Here are more pics from our trip.