Tonsil Idol wannabe

Okay, so maybe I love music. More than I will admit. Hand me some Xotic Effects reviews and I may or may not forget to read them. Hand me a good mp3 and soon I will be humming along.

Through the years, I’ve graduated from singing in the bathroom, to bawling my tonsils out while stuck in traffic on my work commute, to ‘entertaining’ my captive audience in our daily school bus runs.

“I know I won’t make Tonsil Idol, ever,” I’m known to tell my kids as they grimace painfully at my off-key singing, “so please just humor me, okay?!”

Tigers in the woods

Tigers in the woods

This is one of those weekends that Hip2Dad isn’t playing the El Nino Open. I say, what a great decision! Better to be enjoying a day in the comfort of home than chasing golf balls all day in this oppressive heatwave.

That said, I have to admit that at one point in my working life, I too had a golf club standing in my office. Scattered across that corner of my room were golf balls, each bearing the initials of my beloved boss, carefully carved out in permanent marker.

At random times of the work day, you could find me behind closed doors whacking the living daylights out of said golf balls✌. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in violence any more than I believe them initials should be allowed to run amok in the workplace. But there were times when 5:00 pm was just too far away and I needed to de-stress pronto.

Speaking of which, I wonder why ‘coming home from the office to your kids’ isn’t listed anywhere as a stress reliever. For me, it wasn’t meditation or a vacation away from it all. It was my kids who kept me sane when work was a beech (oops, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? and this ain’t no Britney Spears song either!).

Back then, I did consider taking up golf. That was when Hip2bDad began telling me to stop calling golf clubs ‘golf sticks’. He introduced me to each golf club by name. Meet Dasher, Dancer and Prancer Putter, Driver and Iron! But that didn’t stop me from using a driver to putt. Duh!

And he showed me how to swing a golf club without killing anyone in the process. Good thing we never got to the real game where I had to drive the ball across the grass, I mean, green. Apparently someone drove a ball right smack into our K-friend’s head and he promptly fainted. See, it could happen even to experienced golfers. So don’t even try to imagine what I would’ve done!

Tigers in the woods

At some point, Hip2bDad began to think he saw potential Tigers in our three pre-teens. In fact, he was so sure he signed them all up for golf lessons. So began our suntanning sessions as I played doting golf mom! Soon we all began to look like roasted potatoes even as our sunblock investments went shooting through the roof.

Golf fashion quickly dominated our weekend lives. “Hey, why are you wearing that? Where’s your polo shirt?” our resident golf fashion police could be heard hollering up the stairs. “Belts please! Hey, hey, don’t forget to tuck in your shirt!” No offense but who even wears belts any more unless they’ve been living in the woods since World War 2?! You have no idea how much it pained me to see my poor kids dressed up like fusty old men with golf sticks!!

Never could understand golf fashion. Which is why it’s probably a good thing I never signed up for lessons myself. One look at Mrs K-friend in long-sleeved polo shirts and covering herself 머리부터 발끝까지 (from head to toe) in sun-protective garb and I was like, no no no, I ain’t wearing no hasmat suit!! There’s just no way!

To top it off, they even have golf fashion police patrolling the course in case you decide to get all New York Fashion Week-like. My kids got told off a few times but they just shrugged and carried on. Go kids!! Honestly, who the heck cares? It’s only a game! Or a work stress reliever, if you’re like me?

Seafood and civilities, or lack thereof

Seafood and civilities, or lack thereof

So I was invited to a seafood dinner by friends of a mutual friend. No big deal. I shouldn’t have to think too hard. Yet this invite had me debating whether or not to go. Firstly, I don’t eat live seafood, and secondly, I don’t know the host and his wife well which is a legit consideration for me. I don’t like dining with strangers.

On any other day, I would’ve declined without so much as batting an eyelid. But since our K friends would be flying off soon, I figured it’d be my last chance to catch up with them. So against my better judgement, I agreed and didn’t give it any further thought.

Came the night of the dinner. When the first course – raw oysters – arrived, I pushed my portion to the middle of the table and politely offered it to anyone who wanted a second helping.

Suddenly all eyes were on me as everyone struggled to make sense of what they’d just heard me say. Our host’s eyes were the size of aircraft carriers and his jaw positively dropped to, oh, 2,000 feet below sea level.

YOU DON’T EAT SEAFOOD?!!!!!“, he bellowed.

The look of sheer shock and horror on his face was priceless. I could totally have been this little green woman with antennae on my head the way he was staring at me. I was tempted to wink and say, you’re right, we don’t have seafood on Mars!

“No, I don’t eat live seafood,” was my reply, plain and simple.

Our host started looking desperately around the table for help dealing with this alien, the expression on his face clearly screaming, What the h*ll are you doing here? You shouldn’t even have come! Are you crazy?! When no support was forthcoming, he changed his tone and started selling it to me instead.

“Not even a bit?? You’ve never eaten seafood? Why don’t you try some? It’s VERY good!”

See here’s the thing. People either don’t listen or they don’t process information too well. I don’t know which. Instead they conjure up their own funky ideas of what they THINK you said. Now did I say I don’t eat seafood, or did I say I don’t eat live seafood? Big difference there!

Okay, 다시한번더, let’s try this one more time.

“I don’t eat live seafood.”

YOU DON’T EAT SEAFOOD??? REALLY?!!!?

Here we go again!

Seafood and civilities, or lack thereof

Okay, let’s see what happens if I explain the meaning of the word ‘live’ and while I’m at it, throw in some visuals.

“I do eat seafood. I just don’t eat the live ones swimming in those aquariums over there.”

You think I made myself clear enough this time? You think he gets the picture now?

Well, he should because in Asia, many seafood restaurants have all kinds of live fish and sea creatures lined up in rows of aquariums, all swimming happily, oblivious to the fact that a diner could walk in any time and hand them their death sentence.

They would then be hauled to the kitchen, thrashing helplessly in a net, to be tossed into pots of boiling oil or water depending on how the diner wants them done. Woah, and then they’re dead meat. On the table. Literally!

Frankly I don’t subscribe to this concept. Already there’s so much killing in the world today I think the least I can do is spare these poor harmless creatures .

Our host seemed to be enjoying the drama. He started throwing both his arms into the air and bellowing.

BUT THIS IS A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, YOU KNOW!!!

And this isn’t Hollywood, you know! 너무 이상해요! Strange that you should mention it. Now I may not be the ex-CEO of a multinational (like you, dude) but please give me a little credit here.

Seriously, who would’ve thought? Maybe I’m too used to being around civilized company, people who would’ve flagged down a waiter right away and ordered something else for me. It’s really just plain good manners.

Which brings me to this question. How is someone’s food preference even such a big deal? True, I don’t walk around with a neon sign on my forehead advertising it. But in a world full of people who are vegetarian, gluten-free, diabetic, lactose intolerant, allergic… how is this even news?

Long story short, while our party gorged on seafood, all I had for dinner that night was a heap of vegetables and a few slices of stir-fried venison (the only non-seafood dish he had ordered, not for me, of course but simply because it’s his favorite).

Not complaining here but this goes to show our gracious hosts were only too happy to let their guest go home hungry. Epic fail *shrugs*! I didn’t go home hungry. I had dinner at home before I went to their dinner. Sixth sense perhaps. Or maybe I was half-expecting this. Still I had the last laugh *cheeky wink*.

To the movies, 21st century style

To the movies, 21st century style

So I received a text message from a stranger: 오늘 밤에 영화를 볼까요 우리? (Shall we go for a movie tonight?)

I was almost expecting a chime of excited voices and a whole lot of high five-ing at the mention of the word ‘movie’. “What movie? We wanna go, we wanna go!” followed by the hustle and bustle of getting dressed, the mad dash for the bathroom, and everyone eventually piling into my minivan.

As a mom, my life has revolved endlessly around my three kids. The daily taxi runs, sometimes up to 15 times a day. The meal planning and cooking. The grocery runs. The home-baked birthday cakes. The home haircuts. I insisted on doing everything myself, diehard hands-on mom that I am.

To me, mommy ‘me’ time is for the birds. I never hankered for it and I didn’t need any of it. I was enjoying my kids too much as they were growing up. I was too busy creating memories with them. Hip2bDad had all but given up trying to date me.

But now, here I was reading this unlikely text on my phone and I’m like: 정말요? 데이트? (Really? A date?) It took a whole 22 and a quarter nanoseconds for it to sink in. Well, now that all this ‘me’ time has fallen on my lap, I guess I should start dating Hip2bDad again, so: 👌 하자. (Okay, let’s.)

Trust us to pick a Saturday night. The mall was a jungle and like vultures, we circled, hovered, then circled the parking lot again till we found a spot. Of course, it had to be at the farthest end of the mall from the cinema.

No worries though. We make it a point to be early getting anywhere. Hip2bDad has a very low tolerance for tardiness. The movie wasn’t till an hour and a half later. We still had plenty of time. Oh, look, there’s barely even a line at the ticket counter. We’re in luck!

Or so we thought. One glance at the cinema seating chart sent us reeling back. There were only 4 seats left AND all of them were singles. Oh, great, things sure are looking up for us! Okay, so do we forget the whole thing now and go home? Or do we bite the bullet and go ahead even if we have to sit apart?

To the movies, 21st century style

It wouldn’t make sense to go to a movie together and sit miles apart. It wouldn’t make sense either to go home after that hassle of finding a parking spot. So like any other couple on our first date (in probably 15 years), we decided nothing was going to get in our way..

The ticketing guy stared at us like we’d gone nuts. “Are you sure?” he asked several times with eyeballs the size of footballs. I don’t blame him. I swear he was thinking, what the heck! But ya! I’m a big girl. I can handle watching a movie alone!

Hip2bDad walked me to my seat at A3. Ever the gentleman, he said, “You take this. This seat is wider and more comfortable”. And then I watched him ride off into the sunset. To his seat at L20! Wa-aay down and across the hall. I craned my neck hoping to catch a glimpse of him but the lights went out at that very instant.

Alone in the darkness, there was nothing left to do but text each other. Welcome to 21st century dating!

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!

When we can’t get enough

When we can't get enough

As I was saying, I make it a point not to order at a restaurant anything that we can easily cook at home. I consider it a waste, of money mostly, when I can order something fancy that I don’t or can’t cook at home instead.

Of course, there’re those times when we do chance upon something amazingly delicious (by picky eater standards) and we really, really want to stuff ourselves silly.

Like this chicken place, for instance. The first time we eat at any restaurant, we’re always careful not to order a lot. Just in case things don’t measure up to the picky eaters’ expectations. So I ordered just two servings of chicken wings. Each serving came with 8 – wings?

When we can't get enough

Seeing these, we were like, “Man, these have got to be the smallest chicken wings ever!” Immediately they conjured up images of the Christmas turkey Mickey brought home to his family in Mickey’s Christmas CarolMickey's Christmas Carol. That was how big of a turkey he could afford on the piddly pennies Scrooge paid him. A very sad bird indeed.

When we can't get enough

“Can we even call these chicken wings? They’re so tiny they probably came from premmie chicks!” my kids howled. Okay, let’s just call them ‘winglets’ then. So that’s 16 winglets total for the 4 of us which works out to be, er, 4 mouthfuls each. Which even if you’re not a young adult with a ravenous appetite is still pretty pathetic.

Dinner just became a snack.

What’s even crazier is that these chicken wings were crazy delicious!! As in licking-our-fingers-shamelessly-in-public crazy! I hope no one saw me. That’d be really embarrassing for someone who even eats her grapes, nuts, bananas, whatever with chopsticks or fork.

We would’ve ordered more but the menu warned that they’d only start frying on order so be prepared to wait 15 minutes (or something like that, I don’t really remember). We didn’t want to wait. So I called for the check.

Another surprise! I fell off my chair when I saw the damage. 너무 삐씨요! I swear I heard my credit card groan. Still we couldn’t stay away and went back a couple more times. By then, my credit card was really starting to protest, quite loudly. Small or downsized servings + big price gets the boot.

Okay, enough is enough. It’s off to the kitchen to churn out a ton of life-sized chicken wings ourselves. There, this should be enough for a real meal. Not to mention that no one can see us licking our fingers at home.

When we can't get enough

Knowing me, there’s no stopping at just one version. These are two of the many versions that have graced our dinner table since ✌. Wait, what was that? Did I hear my credit card laughing? Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas!

When we can't get enough

The things we can cook with our eyes closed

The things we can cook with our eyes closed

Someone just sailed into the office and announced that he and his girlfriend had had sandwiches for lunch. “Can you believe how much I paid for two sandwiches?”, he lamented, shaking his head.

I looked over at him sadly. I could’ve told him right there. You could’ve gotten those sandwiches for free. If you’d watched your mom and learned how easy-peasy it is to slap a sandwich together.

The things we can cook with our eyes closed

Sadly you kids don’t pay attention and now you’re paying through your nose for something you could’ve done in 5 minutes flat and impressed the heck out of your girlfriend. Because she probably thinks it’s rocket science and you needed some fancy recipe to put it together.

But I held it all in. After all, there’s my girl friend, a mother of two young men, who never fails to order some variant of an egg dish whenever we eat at Chinese restaurants. Steamed eggs. Half-boiled eggs. Loaded omelet. You name it.

The things we can cook with our eyes closed

It’s always been a mystery to me. When our kids were little, yes, I could see why. We had to have some child-friendly dishes so we wouldn’t set them on fire with our grown-up spicy food or make little porcupines out of them with those pesky fish bones. But now? I consider it an insult to our college-age egg-frying experts!

Then there’s those other things me or my kids can cook at home, in our pajamas, with our eyes closed. Like those big breakfasts with the even bigger price tags.

The things we can cook with our eyes closed

Which takes, oh, 15 minutes max to assemble. 진짜 (seriously)! And if we were ordering this, we would’ve had to send the eggs back to the kitchen to have them “WELL DONE, not runny, GET THAT??”. And no one wants to start their day barking at people who can’t get that a sunnyside-up may look all bright and cheery but it’s not for everyone!

True, our food don’t always look as good, presentation-wise. I mean, good looks are great especially if you haven’t had to resort to plastic surgery to get there. But hey, there’s more important things in life than good looks.

Like the taste, for instance. When I was a kid, I would jump for joy at the very mention of eating at a restaurant. Restaurant food always meant delicious food that cost a lot of money, and that you didn’t get to eat at home. Always. I can’t say that’s true any more. Sure it’s still fogging expensive but as for the food being always delicious, well, I’d say 별로 (don’t hold your breath)!

And getting to control the ingredients, now that’s always a great way to pacify the occasional control freak in me.

And getting to make and eat a ton more than the piddly portions the restaurants serve us, now that’s a definite plus, and definitely a post for another day.

Oh, just one thing. Yes, I realize I just said fogging on a family-friendly site. Since my kids are pretty much grown (or so I’d like to think), I’m going to exercise my freedom to use some of the more refined vocabulary I picked up from my American education. Rest assured, I don’t use them in real life or in front of my kids unless someone cuts me off in traffic or can’t get my eggs done right.

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