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You either have a quizzical look on your face wondering where I’m going with this, or, you are like, no way, how did she get a big metal chicken? Technically, it may be a cousin of Beyonce’s, as it was a large metal bird rather than a chicken, but close enough.

If you are one of the former, I advise you to take five minutes to read this blog post from The Bloggess.  Normally, you don’t want to give any reader a reason to leave your page, but this is that good.  Still think that’s dumb?  Tell Beyonce’s 30K fans on Facebook.

This post is not actually about the gift, which actually is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful presents I have ever witnessed.  (She loves garden sculptures and outdoor decor, and especially loves birds- she has several bird feeders in her backyard.  Dan’s father actually go this handmade!)  It just made me think of Jenny’s blog post and how funny she was.  I wish I was that funny! and that gifted in writing.

I mean, again, if you haven’t clicked on the link above, bookmark it and come back to it later.  She is huh-lar-i-ous.  I wish I could do that.  Some people have these raw talents that you know they are just born with, like running, cooking, finding rich husbands, etc.

It’s funny how your aspirations change as you get older.  In my younger, spring-chicken-y-er days, I would have said, I wish I could dance.  Like really dance.  I can get 5 stars on a Dance Central song (let’s battle!) but it doesn’t come naturally.  I also don’t have the innate “soul” it takes within, to make dancing look good.

Then I thought, I wish I could sing, like really good.  So I could show off in karoake bars and other random events that might require me to sing in front of people.  Perhaps someone needs someone to do the National Anthem somewhere?

Now, I wish I could do mental math more quickly, be great at public speaking, and other more professional items.  I guess this is what happens when you get older?

I wonder what other goals will change as our lives evolve?  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Is it the same as what you thought 10 years ago? 5?

While you ponder on that, here’s Beyonce’s cousin:

This past weekend, I did something I never imagined I would or could do in my whole life: run a half marathon.

It all started near the end of last year, when I was looking towards the year ahead and wondering what goals and resolutions I would create for myself.  With Dan starting his MBA, I thought it would be wise to come up with some projects/hobbies for myself.  I also felt a void from the intensity of life events last year: finding a new job, buying a home, and getting married, so I knew I needed some new goals to keep me busy for 2011.  I enlisted my bridesman (EW), selected a small, unknown race so no one could witness it, and we set off to train for a solid 3 months.

I’ve also always been able to challenge myself mentally, but never physically.  So many of my girlfriends and people I knew were running; I thought, could this be something I could do?  I am in the best shape of my life so I knew that it was pretty much now or never. So to check it off my life list and to be able to tell my children that their mom once long time ago, ran a race, I set out and started training.

Let me start off with some humble observations from a novice runner and to debunk some myths at least that I’d heard:

  • Runner’s High: oh, you elluded me so.  It never happened for me.  Quite possibly, because I’m not a runner.  I dreaded all the training runs, so much so that it would ruin the Friday nights before the Sat mornings I did my long runs, and I thought if I had to train for any longer, I might just get clinically depressed.
  • Getting “in the zone”:  Again, no zone-age happening here.  I wasn’t able to ever free my mind, nothing about running relaxed me, and I never got “lost” in the music or thoughts or the weather or any kind of BS like that.
  • “If you can run 6, you can run 12″ (for example) or “whatever you can run you can just double it”:  Not true.  Every mile was incrementally more difficult than the first.  8 miles hurt more than 6, 10 more than 8, and 12 more than 10.

Now, to race day.

Here’s me praying before the race.  One of my top concerns was having to go to tbe bathroom during the race (which didn’t happen, thank goodness), but which did happen once during a training run- thank goodness for the random porta potty out by a trail.

The other concern which did indeed take place came in Mile 2.  After an adrenaline-filled start, I knew I was going much faster than I should have and there you have it- Mile 2, I got a sideache.  It hurt like a mofo every time I exhaled, and I cursed multiple times. Mile 2, seriously? I clenched my side and slowed down immensely to try to control my breathing so I didn’t have to walk.  I refused to give in.  From Miles 2-4, I suffered through it.

Luckily, the pain subsided and Miles 4-9 went pretty solidly. The turnaround happened around 9 (I was confused at 6 as to why the turnaround wasn’t coming up- should have studied the map better!) but finally it happened and I had renewed strength at mile 10 as I knew I was close to the end.

Between Miles 10 and 11, I had a short-lived burst of energy.  I started giving myself 3209358 pep talks: Great job,  I can do this, You worked so hard for this, Finish strong, etc.  But when Mile 11 hit, my body started feeling the pain everywhere: knees, ankles, feet, thighs, butt, even back and shoulders.  I tried to tell myself It’s all mental, it’s all in your head but was immediately overtaken with my voice of reason Of course it’s not mental- this is PHYSICAL and it hurts.

So 11-13 I really just wanted to finish without walking and not go insane.  My goals changed from finishing strong to just finishing.  I started going through scenarios- if I knew that I would get promoted if I could speed up a little, could I do it?  What if my family was being held hostage on the other side?  I know, I’m crazy.

Finally, I see the high school where we get to finish on their track:

If you look closely, I’m holding up a #1 so I could show my future children. They handed out gold medals (I felt like I had received one for the special olympics) and finally, I was done with a much better than expected time, and the relief that I could check it off my life list and go back to not closely monitoring my wine intake on Friday nights.  Dan’s whole family showed up surprising me at the finish line.

Moral of the story?  I mean, it really sucked. I got nauseous after the race and tried to throw up at the restaurant where we went to celebrate aftewards.  I’m limping around at work and I’m sorry to say I now know what underwear chafing feels like.  I confirmed what I already knew; I am not or will never be a runner, but I’m glad to have been able to challenge myself physically and I do have a bit of pride from doing it on my own.

Fun Facts:

  • I finished 143/289 with a time of 2:07, an average pace of 9:42/mile (training runs were about 10/mile so this was a nice surprise)
  • Dan informed me that the visibly pregnant woman that we saw checking in, beat me horribly by at least 5-10 minutes.

TV Boyfriends

Dan has an uncanny knack of identifying celebrity voiceovers in commercials and shows.  “Oh, that’s Kevin Spacey.”  “That one sounds like George Clooney.”

One time he said, “That’s your boyfriend.”  I realized I had to sift through a short list of guys before selecting the right person.  Funny, I have a lot of boyfriends!  For your enjoyment, here’s that list of TV boyfriends in no particular order:

1)  Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

He probably comes home smelling like mud and sweat but it’s all good when he greets you with his deep soothing voice and a twinkle in his eye.  You don’t seem to mind his rough calloused hands because you know that he has been working hard for the money.  He’s the type of guy who only eats steak and potatoes, minus the potatoes.

2)  Bear Grylls, Man vs Wild

I don’t think it gets much hotter.  Ex member of the UK Special Forces, Bear can eat/kill/skin/fashion just about anything so that you can live and be sheltered.  You would never have to be afraid of dying if he’s near.  Plus he has an accent.

3) Adam Richman, Man vs Food

Lovable Adam has a big appetite but an even bigger sense of humor.  He’s clever and witty, and his love of life shines through.  One of my favorite Adam moments was when he had a milkshake contest.  The contest was literally like a huge bucket/bowl of milkshake that he had to consume.  Adam then makes a crazy decision- he orders a basket of fries.  As he narrates his strategy, he explains how the saltiness of the fries broke up the thick, sugary milkshake, and enabled him to eat it faster.  It was an extremely bold, tactical move.

4) Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Who doesn’t love a sweet, sensitive serial killer?  A blood pathologist with a hard body?  Sign me up.  [SPOILER ALERT] As a single dad, he has to manage his career, family, and still rid the world of bad people in his own way.  His character is the possible future name-sake of our unborn son.

And if you were curious about which boyfriend Dan was referring to, it was Mike Rowe, narrating How the Universe Works.  For the record, Michael C. Hall also does a voiceover in a Dodge commercial which Dan also identified.

Asian Fathers Know Best

As you might imagine, I didn’t get into much trouble as a kid. I was your typical, happy-go-lucky, dorky, goody-two-shoes. But there were a couple of instances that stand out from my childhood where I really got into trouble, and they are probably not typical of the average kid:

  1. Not practicing piano. I remember clearly that day we were eating hamburgers from McDonald’s at home around a living room table, and my father asked if I had practiced piano that day, and I had said no. (I should have lied.) He literally threw the fry down mid-dip into ketchup, and started yelling about how I shouuld be practicing every day and what else was I doing while they were paying for lessons?
  2. I was carrying a box/basket filled with various sewing things, and it somehow slipped and I dropped it on the floor and all the contents fell out and scattered everywhere. Yelling ensued about how clumsy I was and how was I ever going to find a husband?

That has actually been the first response to a lot of things when I got into trouble. Apparently, a lot of my behavior, like being clumsy, was a deterrent for guys looking for a potential lifelong mate.

Also filed under major reasons I would be single forever if I continued this behavior: sitting on the couch too hard, not making sure I had very soft skin, shaking my leg while sitting.

After accepting my engagement to Dan when he first sought permission from my parents, one of the first things my father told me was to immediately learn how to cook, sew (who sews nowadays anyway?), and to call my in-laws at least once a week. I should really start a whole separate post about things my dad says. Like “Shit My Dad Says” but “Shit My Asian Dad Says”.

This includes, can he wear a top hat to my wedding, can’t he pay someone at msft to give Dan a job, and of course, did I have sweet dreams (asked the morning after my wedding day) ? <awkward turtle>

On that note, have you seen “High Expectations Asian Father”? Hilarious: http://highexpectationsasianfather.tumblr.com/

90210

I pretty much learned everything about sex, alcohol and life in high school from Beverly Hills: 90210. (Team Brenda!) 

This show really opened my eyes to the ‘real world’.  I mean, when we had sex ed in elementary school, I literally thought only white people did it.  I confidently told my classmates that there HAD to be another way, because my parents were Korean, and they definitely did NOT do that. 

I lived vicariously through the popular girls on the show and envisioned having hot boyfriends like them (even though Luke Perry was like 40 when he was filming).  I used to try to purse my lips like Brenda thinking it was sexy, but it never really worked.  (It was difficult with braces and glasses.) 

When Dylan broke up with Brenda for the umpteenth time, and she listened to REM’s “Losing My Religion” on repeat in her room, I always thought that would be how I would deal with my first heartbreak.  (The actual situation years and years later involved Boone’s Farm and puking in a friend’s bathroom.)

I always identified most with Andrea (obviously).  She was the smartest one.  Ok… fine, she was also a big dork and wasn’t what you called, hot.  I was forever traumatized when she got pregnant after her first time with a boy, while all the other whores on the show never had a problem.  But that’s how real life is, right?

It’s shows like these that define a generation.  I laugh now about the fantasy world I thought high school would be.  I actually wouldn’t say I had “fun” in high school.  I think back at high school with regret over SAT scores and relive the stress over trying to get into a good college. 

College was where I really felt I grew up and learned a lot about myself and the world around me.  Things weren’t as black and white as I thought they were.  And this process of exploration and discovery was fun!  (That sounded like I dabbled in drug experimentation but that’s not the case.)  I made great friends and kept the ones that mattered.

But seriously, Kelly was a back-stabbing bitch, right?

2010

It has almost been one year since I created this blog (started in Jan).  The description states “wedding planning, house hunting, random musings”.  The random musings will remain and continue into 2011 (lucky you), but the others, as you know, have already come and gone. 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up with blogging, but I’m glad I did.  One great thing that came out of it, was encouraging my brilliant and sarcastic husband to start one himself.  (If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out:  www.danieldonohue.com)

Looking back, so many things have changed this year- it was filled with highs and lows, but mostly highs:

We got hitched, bought a home, and I landed a dream job (the reason I’ve been on hiatus for the past couple months).  We just passed our 6 month anniversary and have hopefully gotten out all the kinks that came along with living together :) (save that for a future post)

I accomplished some things this year that I never thought I’d do, and hope to add to that list next year.

This is just a quick post to say I’m thankful for everthing and thank you to all family and friends, old and new.

As you get older, you realize one of the most  important things in life is health- something you take for granted growing up.  So cheers to an amazing year and to all of you, I hope 2011  is filled with good health, excitement, love, and success.

Adventures in cooking

Ever since I got married, I really dug down deep and was convicted to learn how to cook.  My general cooking consisted of a lot of cereal, pasta, and frozen pizza.

Armed with a lot of new great kitchen appliance gifts, a spice rack, and a really cute apron, I set out to dive into learning the basics.  I’m a complete novice, and so I’m starting out slow.  Anything with more than 5-8 ingredients scare me away.  I’ve been trying out mostly recipes from Allrecipes.com and Cooking Light Magazine.

Disclaimer:  the following pics are only of the good things I’ve made.  Unfortunately I failed to take pics of the bad stuff, but I promise to do so in the future (hopefully there aren’t too many more…)  I’ve tried to make at least 2 new things a week and I would say 25% of the things I’ve made have been a hit.  The others generally just turned out too bland.  These include (but not limited to):

  • Baked Cod dish
  • Panang curry (found out later I used the wrong paste :( )
  • Once awhile back I made a really bad chicken casserole thingy that NEVER cooked and we had to give up and eat pizza.  I realize now that I think I used frozen chicken breasts and not fresh ones.  boo!

Now, to the good stuff.  All you cooks be nice.  I give myself a lot of credit for these but I know I have a long way to go :)  Don’t worry, I’m not delusional.

Hit #1: Chicken Paremsan

After breading the chicken breasts (which I felt really cool while doing), you fry them and then bake them in the oven for the last few minutes along with grated parmesan and pasta sauce mixed with a little balsamic vinegar.  Then put over pasta, and it looks beautiful!  I say, restaurant quality even.

Hit #2:  Beef Stroganoff

This one was the most involved recipe I have ever tried.   Additionally, it involved waking up in the morning to prep all the stuff (left) in the crock pot.  Strips of steak, onions, garlic, white wine, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, spices, sour cream….  Then, let cook for 7-8 hours, to get the pasta sauce.  It was so tasty!  and my proudest achievement yet.

Next up:

  • Chicken pot pie (in the slow cooker again- an amazing invention I must say)
  • Panang Curry Attempt #2 (I got the right paste this time!)
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