Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

What a week this has been! Had indigestion and lost my appetite Tuesday night. Woke up the next morning to nausea and a huge tummy upset. For sure, it wasn’t what I had for dinner. More like something toxic was in the air.

Well, I’m sorely disappointed that my appetite’s been slow to return. The weather report says the air quality is at its worst and won’t be improving any time soon. I figured if I was going to snap out of my misery, a well-deserved comfort dinner is just the thing I need.

See these gorgeous pork ribs? This was dinner last night.

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

We picked up this ready-to-eat rack of ribs off the shelf and carted it home, reheated it when we were ready to eat, mashed some potatoes and plated some veggies, and that was dinner right there. Go Cali!

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

These ribs were moist, juicy and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone tender. In other words, perfection and exactly how ribs should taste.

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

What’s the point of eating ribs if all the meat came off the bone and you’re left eating just the meat? Then you might as well be eating a piece of steak. Half the fun of eating ribs is being able to hold the bone like a caveman woman and strip the meat off it with your teeth. That’s the way you do it. Anyone else with me on this?

Some bones to pick

Some bones to pick

One fine Saturday morning, while on our grocery run, we had to appease some rumbling tummies and so unanimously agreed to forget the groceries for a while and hurry over to our regular Thai restaurant.

We ordered the fried fish curry (and one other dish but that’s not important right now). As the owner/chef was approaching with our order, I noticed she was holding a plate rather than a bowl. I thought that was a bit strange. Our order of fish curry usually comes in a bowl.

Turns out our dear server (her son, a stoic individual who has an MBA but obviously missed the class on customer service with a smile) didn’t ask, and we forgot to mention we wanted the fillet, not the fish. We-ell, we thought he knew but apparently he didn’t.

Anyways, the owner (she’s not the friendly lady I mentioned here) was quick to defend her son, “But you didn’t say fillet!” And we were like, it’s fine, we don’t have time to argue, our tummies need food, we’ll just go with this.

Some bones to pick

To be honest, I’m a little rusty where fish bones are concerned. I mean, isn’t life busy enough as it is? Who needs to bother with bones when you can have fillet instead, right?

Still it was a fun challenge picking our way through this obstacle course of bones, fins and gills. The fins and tail were the best parts, so crispy we chomped everything down to this. Please excuse the mess.

Some bones to pick

We did good, huh? I think we did. But I’m definitely more of a fillet person. I just want to enjoy my meal and not have bones to pick with a squeaky shoe, know what I mean? *winks*

Hip2bMom’s professional hair cutting shears

Hip2bMom's professional hair cutting shears

Just as I was congratulating myself on having successfully palmed off my hair cutting duties to Nick the Pro, he absconded on us. I’m really disappointed in you, Nick! I hope your hair turns algae green when you bleach it blond 😉.

Well, as I recall, there’s a piece of sweet wisdom that says – when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. So off I went and hohoho, what did I find?

My first pair of, dare I say, professional hair cutting shears! And just like that, I’m back at my old job as the family’s official hairdresser!

Hip2bMom's professional hair cutting shears

I figured if I can’t claim to be a pro, I can at least pretend to be one with these professional hair cutting shears lol! My old stainless steel pair has served me well through my kids’ growing years. But now that I have to deal with way more hair and length, I need a bigger pair that takes off more hair at one go and won’t slow me down.

My Utopia Care professional hair cutting shears arrived in a neat portable case that’s great for storage and even better for travel. The shears are just the right size, very sharp and with finger inserts for a better grip. I don’t use the inserts as I like to be able to slip the shears on and off quickly. The blades are 100% stainless steel so no worries about rusting or tarnishing.

Hip2bMom's professional hair cutting shears

So far, we’ve used these shears for 2 rounds of haircuts and we’re lovin’ every snip. I say we because Hip2bDaughter1 is now my trusted hairdresser. Yup, you heard me. My baby now styles and cuts MY hair and she does an amazing job.

Somewhere along the line, you guys are probably wondering, so why don’t you just go to another hairdresser? Well, yes, that would be the logical next step for many people. Not for me. I’m a very hands-on mom who enjoys doing stuff for/with my kids. It’s what I call seamless bonding.

Personal experience also tells me that dream haircuts don’t always turn out the way you envision them, even after forking out those big bucks. So I’d rather steer clear of any potential hairy situations and take matters into my own hands.

Thankfully my amateur haircuts are turning out okay. This week alone, the girls have had 3 random people complimenting them on their cute haircuts at school. I heard that these 3 people when told they are Mom’s home haircuts, and not pro cuts, were impressed and gave the thumbs up.

Many people here cut their own hair or for their families and are proud of it. Others applaud and encourage them. That’s the spirit. Many of us have never been to hair school but have simply learned the techniques from watching videos. All you need is a good pair of shears like my new professional hair cutting shears which gives me the precision I need to do a better job. Who would’ve thought some of the best haircuts in the world are free?

(I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way for writing this post (though it’d be nice if Utopia would send me a free pair of these amazing shears, hint hint) but it does contain affiliate links. Opinions are entirely mine. Thanks for clicking on these links.)

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

Happiness is finding a new place to add to the Pearl (Picky Eaters’ Approved Restaurant List). We stumbled on this great little Korean fast food place that passed our taste test with flying colors. Well, stumbled isn’t exactly the word. We’ve walked past it a million times and even scoffed at the menu a few times (that was before the Great K Revolution, of course).

The million dollar question is this: How could we have walked past so often and never thought to stop? Well, we couldn’t tell from the pictures on the menu if the food would be good. Thing is we’re not in the habit of staring openly at people’s food as we walk past their tables. It’s rude to stare especially when people are eating. My children were trained never to do that and if they did, they’d no doubt have heard from me!

I’m not sure what made us step in. As with all new places that we’re trying out, we didn’t order much. The Chicken BBQ came with rice in a K bowl (no less), seaweed soup and 3 side dishes  I wish it came with a Korean name as well, like maybe 치킨 바비쿄. But even without that, the grilled chicken is flavorful, mildly sweet and not too salty.

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

The 닭 볶음 (dak bokeum), or stir-fried chicken in chilly sauce had a good mix of veggies in it. It’s reminiscent of 김치 찌개 (kimchi jjigae, or kimchi stew). The tangy, spicy sauce was lip-smackin’ good till the last drop. Even the Colonel would agree heh!

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

As for the 3 반찬 (banchan, or side dishes), there’s 김치 (kimchi), 밀치금 (anchovies) and a random third dish. The kimchi isn’t as crunchy as I’d like it to be but I love the anchovies.

The 파전 (pajeon, or Korean pancake) may look unassuming but don’t be fooled, there’s hidden squid in the batter, and veggies you can actually see. Most restaurants would just serve this ‘blank’, and charge more for the loaded version. I like the light crunch in this pancake. The sauce is okay, a bit too salty so we dip it in the dak bokeum sauce.

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

On another occasion, I surprised myself by ordering their 비빔 국수 (bibim guksu). Remember I swore off cold noodles the first time I ate them because to me, there’s only one way to eat noodles – piping hot.

Then one fine day, I found a stash of buckwheat noodles in my kitchen (I didn’t buy ’em), concocted a meal with them and fell in love, either with the noodles or my own cooking, I don’t know which 😝. Yeah, that was random even for me. But I ended up loving every mouthful of those buckwheat noodles eaten warm, of course, not cold.

Fast forward to when I saw bibim guksu on the menu and jumped at it without even thinking. Thankfully they weren’t served cold but were room temp instead. Awesome, I wouldn’t have had them any other way. Yums.

Of staring, fast food and not so cold noodles

So it’s happy days. We’ve been back many times, and now even the restaurant staff know our faces and orders and give us a special discount. Yes, they have a customer-friendly team unlike the usual ones with fake amnesia. “Why you not early today?” the cute waiter asked when we strolled in on a weekend lunch hour and couldn’t find a table. He found us one pretty quick. Now that’s service for ya!

Profound wisdom of a 10-year-old

Profound wisdom of a 10-year-old

A small news headline in The Korea Times caught my eye recently. “Boy, 10, offers lesson in life”, it said. A third grade boy in South Korea had been given a homework handout showing a malnourished boy dressed in tattered clothing eating breadcrumbs off the floor.

His assignment was to “Think about how happy you are while observing this photograph (of the poor boy) for five minutes”.

Profound wisdom of a 10-year-old
Image credit: The Korea Times

Tears pierced my eyes when I read the boy’s answer. And this is the verbatim quote: “I think it’s not right to feel happy comparing myself to others’ pains. We need to solve their pains together, so that we all can live happily.”

How profound!

All it takes is this simple insight from a mere 10-year-old to put everyone in their place. Indeed what message are we sending our children by suggesting that we rejoice in the misery of others, when we should be instilling empathy, kindness and compassion in them.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about what values we’re teaching our kids.

Be not afraid of greatness

Be not afraid of greatness

For a guy who was hunched over a rickety old desk in a dim, candle-lit room with a quill pen, he sure produced some of the greatest and best loved writing. I’m talking about Shakespeare, of course, who left us with his literary works of art 400 years ago this week. The man is brilliant, what can I say? Strange how I speak of him in the present tense as if he were still alive.

I read two of his plays in my Literature class and I’ve been in love ever since. Of course, it helped that my teacher took such pains to delve into details and often even play-acted the scenes for us. The class was so fun and interesting I didn’t even mind having to memorize all those crazy many quotes.

The opening act of Twelfth Night starts out with some of my favorite lines. Here the lovesick Orsino is asking his musicians to give him an overdose of music to drown his pining for love.

If music be the food of love, play on

Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

My favorite quote from Act  3 Scene 1 of Julius Caesar is where Caesar compares himself to the unwavering nature of the Northern Star, the one thing sailors of old could always count on to bring them home safely.

But I am constant as the Northern Star,

Of whose true fixed and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

Back in the day, I was constantly quoting Shakespeare. I just couldn’t stop. I know, I probably sent some people of my dates spinning. But for me, the literary freak and hopeless romantic, Shakespeare was huge.

I don’t quote Shakespeare quite as often these days but I treasure my beautifully aged volume of the Complete Works of William ShakespeareComplete Works of William Shakespeare, a birthday surprise from someone who was obviously as spellbound by my Shakespearean quotes as I was with the  great writer himself LOL.

Be not afraid of greatness

I think you look handsome here, just like I always imagined you. 고맙습니다 (thank you) for inspiring the writer in me!

Why I love paper bags

My regular grocery store makes us pack our own groceries and passes on those savings to us in the form of lower prices. What a wonderful thing, right? Oh wait, there’s more!

At the end of the checkout line, there’s also a choice of plastic or paper bags to use. No prizes for guessing which one is my number one choice. The paper bags, of course! It’s one of those times I get to feel good about doing my teeny tiny part for the environment.

Not to mention that carrying my groceries in a paper bag is pure nostalgia. In my college days, I’d be hugging two paper bags stuffed to the brim with the week’s groceries. I swear they were so heavy I almost felt I would lose my grip and drop everything.

I recycle all my paper bags and use them for trash. That makes me feel much better than tossing out plastic bags which I know are going to that landfill to choke up the environment for a million years. And that’s not funny! at all!! Go hug a paper bag instead!

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