Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The girls piled all of Youngest's birthday presents in her arms and left the Moonsand's handle by her foot.
Youngest shouted, "You guys! Help me carry my presents! I only have tiny arms, a big head and a small butt!!!"
I laughed and took a picture. Then I let small butt take her own presents up to her room.
Happy New Year everyone!!!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
PS - I'm dedicating this video to Mike Jung cause he didn't pick me to win his best title contest even though I had the best title for him. "The Gastacular MagnaniAnus SplendifOdorous Poopoobah Mike Jung." I was robbed I say! Robbed!!!! So I dedicate this video to the Poopoobah.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
All three girls were eating coco puffs, letting the round brown balls get soggy in their milk.
Angus - I love coco puffs but they get soggy real fast.
Youngest - Yeah, and they look like rabbit poo poo. (she begins to laugh hysterically and smushes them down in her bowl.) See? They look just like the big pile of poo poo Mimsy left out front.
Oldest - I just lost my appetite.
Angus - Me too.
Youngest - Look, I'm eating rabbit poop! (Opens her mouth filled with brown sludge.)
Oldest and Angus silently lift up their still full bowls and scrape them into the food disposal as Youngest continues to munch on her coco puffs. That's my girl.
Monday, November 30, 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
But then my friend sends me this picture of Rain at Dulles airport in DC.
I'm sure those flowers are for me...
Monday, November 23, 2009
Pete Dudley just linked me up to USAToday articles celebrating their 40th anniversary. Thanks Pete!
Congratulations to the Monty Python troupe for celebrating 40 years of the funniest shows and films ever made!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
So I've been pondering this, wondering what's going on. Used to be the highlight of my week was making the rounds and reading everyone's blog entries. And I know it isn't that I don't care anymore. I'm still intensely interested and I'll find myself clicking over for a quick read here and there. But I'm not commenting a lot, feeling like I don't have much to say. I'm just not as active as before and I don't know if it is laziness or something else.
The more I thought about it, the more I came to a realization that I'm feeling a bit lost. In part it's because I've been trapped in revision purgatory for a year, with this continual feeling of 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I just haven't had anything good to report in so very long. Yes I'll blog about something funny every once in awhile but making the rounds is a conversation. And my conversation has been one note. I can't even say I'm almost done or I hope to be done soon, because I've thought I've been done before and found that I wasn't.
So this is where I'm at. Not bad, but not great. Feeling trapped and wondering if I'll ever get free. Anyone else feel like this? Lost and a bit helpless? And it doesn't help that we are coming up on to the busy holiday season and the busy final season at school. Usually around this time I feel like I'm treading water and I know I'll be busy til the New Year. But until I can finally say I'm done revising and the MS goes back out on submission, I think I'm going to continue to feel trapped in limbo.
But it wasn't all bad. This revision process has been the greatest learning experience of my life. Working with my agent, my wonderful freelance editor, and my crit buddies, I've grown so much as a writer. My MS keeps getting better and better with each revision. I still love it. I can't even say I'm sick of it. I love it cause I basically created the kind of story that I want to read. Mythic, historic, magical, violent, brutal, tender, tragic and uplifting. I'm hoping that one day others will read it and love it too, but until that day, I just have to keep working.
Oldest had to work on her story for her 5th grade writing class the other day and she said to me, "Mom, revising is the hardest part of writing." I said, "You're absolutely right, but revising is where you take your lump of coal and polish out your beautiful diamond." I've been seeing my diamond shining through the coal. I still have a layer of black to polish through, but I know I'll make it. I just have to.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Me: What's the matter?
Oldest: It's so much creepier to see it.
Me: See what?
Oldest: He's watching her as she sleeps and she doesn't even know it. That's so creepy. Plus he's wearing pink lipstick.
Me: Yeah, how embarrassing - especially the lipstick part. In fact, I think I have that exact lipstick shade. How embarrassing for me!
Oldest: I would hate having someone staring at me while I sleep. It's too weird and creey.
Me: Not to mention uncomfortable. What if you snore or fart in your sleep?
Oldest: Or pick your nose or scratch your butt or drool all over your pillow, like Angus.
(both of us begin to giggle madly before we are silent again.)
Oldest: Hey Mom, can you do me a favor?
Oldest: Can you promise to never talk like this in front of my friends, ever?
Me: Oh no, are you saying I embarrass you now?
Oldest: Yes, but don't worry, you're not alone, all parents are embarrassing.
Me: I'm hurt.
Oldest: Get over it, you're a grown up.
Me: (sigh) And clearly so are you.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Mom: Who are you going out with?
Mom: Pizza boy?
Me (annoyed): At least he's Korean American. Dad threatened to disown me if I didn't date a Korean boy.
Mom: Yes. (long pause) But he's a pizza boy. Why can't you go out with a doctor or a lawyer or ... Well, a doctor or a lawyer.
Me: Sheesh, you're so prejudiced!
Mom: That's not true! I said a lawyer is ok! And you know everyone hates lawyers!
Me: Nice to know how you really feel about lawyers. (I was in law school at the time.)
Mom: They are an unnecessary evil.
Me: Uhhhhhhh, never mind.
Mom: You should have been a doctor.
Monday, October 26, 2009
My favorite part of When Harry met Sally were the little vignettes of old couples talking about how they met. Two of my favorites are the "We never met" and the "I sneak into her willage" couples. Too cute for words. For years I've been quoting these vignettes all wrong. It's nice to see them again and remember their original charm.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I'd gone to high school with Eugene and had tolerated him in my half nice/half sarcastic bitch manner. But in college, I didn't have a class with him again until my sophomore year. The first thing I noticed was how big his head looked, but he was still the overly anxious nerdy nice guy that I'd teased before. Not unexpectedly, he latched on to me that semester, even going so far as to take the train home with me and getting off at my station, although I knew he lived 2 stations back. He'd bring me candy and constantly ask me if I were hungry. I sympathized slightly for at the time I was madly in love with Eddie, my Cuban American lab partner in Organic Chemistry. I hated Organic Chemistry but I adored Eddie who was just about the sexiest thing I'd ever seen in my whole life. It was also the start for my love of Cuban food as Eddie would take me to these delicious little Cuban joints in the city. But Eddie was already dating some beautiful theater major over at the Tisch School of Arts, but that didn't stop me from flirting madly with him over our bunsen burners and through our steamy goggles. I never had a real chance with Eddie, his girlfriend was way too possessive, just like Eugene never had a shot with me. But I always thought of Eugene as a nice guy, no matter how irritating he could be.
Fast forward nearly 20 years later. I'm at a reception and I notice a humongous Frankenstein head. There can only be one other head that big. I wander over and lo and behold, it's Eugene. He's gotten stouter and I don't know if memory is playing me false or what but his head looks even bigger. You've got to have some pretty strong neck muscles to hold up a head that big. His glasses are thinner and more fashionable and he is wearing a nice suit, although it doesn't fit him that well. But otherwise, he looks exactly the same. Still ugly.
I smile and saunter over to say hello.
"Eugene!" I say.
His large head swivels over with an imperious twist and he stares at me down the side of his nose. "Yes," he says with quite a sharp and impatient tone."
"It's me, Ellen, from NYU. How are you?"
"Ellen, Ellen, Ellen," he says in this really unctuous tone. "How are you? What do you do now? Did you go to med school?"
"No, I went to law school," I respond, not sure how to take him. He immediately launches into how he went to medical school and has a thriving practice in the area and how his son is a genius pianist who'll probably go to Juliard and his other child will definitely go to Harvard or Yale and then introduced me to his third wife. Yes he told me she's his third wife. All the time, speaking in this arrogant, offensive and belittling manner towards me.
His ego had finally surpassed his ginormous head.
As soon as I could, I extricated myself from him and his third wife and fled the scene thinking my friendly nice nerd had turned into an unbearable jackass. This saddened me and I started thinking about how when you practice law, you come across so many assholes that you know were most likely nerds when they were younger. What caused them to change? What makes a nice person turn into a jackass? I don't know, but I definitely don't want to remember this new Eugene. I prefer the old one, with his sweet demeanor and ugly face that grew on you. Too bad that Eugene is gone forever.
Monday, October 19, 2009
WARNING - You may need to put on a pair of Depends protective undergarments before watching the following video. And if you don't laugh in the first 3 minutes, I guarantee you will be snorting coffee up your nose when you get to 3:46 on this video. Guaranteed.
You have been warned.
PS - it's a fish not a gun.
PPS - yes, I'm pretty sure he's dancing with yellow underwear on his hands.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Once upon a time there was a little penguin named Ploppy. He had two friends named Pinky the pink mermaid and Penelope the purple dragon. One day Ploppy was thirsty and looked in his refrigerator but there was nothing to drink. Then he looked in his cabinet but all that there was was bags and bags of Funyuns and on the top shelf in the farthest corner there was a bottle of Frank's Red Hot hot sauce. So he decided to drink it.
At first he turned very pale. Then he turned bright red, then dark red, then red orange, then purple, green, blue and all the colors of the rainbow. His throat was burned and his tongue was on fire! He ran out into the snow and screamed "HELP!!!" Penelope the dragon and Pinky the mermaid were outside. Ploppy screamed "Help" again and fire shot from his beak. The fire burned off all of Pinky's beautiful pink hair.
"Quick!" Penelope said. "Eat the snow!"
Ploppy began gulping down piles and piles of snow until finally his throat no longer burned. He sighed in relief.
But Pinky was furious and hit Ploppy in the stomach with her strong tail.
Ploppy went "Ooooooof!" and then his stomach began to rumble louder and louder and faster and faster like a motorcycle. Then he said "Uh Oh!" Suddenly, the rumbling stopped and a humongous fart blasted him into the air, melting away all the snow, and burning off all of his feathers.
Pinky was satisfied and jumped into the ocean, away from the terrible smell. Penelope caught Ploppy before he hit the ground and took away his bottle of Red Hot hot sauce. Because only dragons should be allowed to breathe fire.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Da Man caught this on The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters show and yelled at me to come down and watch it. I was blown away. Mythbusters made their own replica and tested it out to prove that it actually worked and would be deadly against a large attacking army. Score one for Da Man.
So why am I bringing it up? Well first of all, it's cool as hell! Secondly, I plan on using the hwacha in my books. I couldn't fit it into my current book but I plan to use it in the final book, where an all out frenzied battle royale will see 50 of these in play against a large demon army. Course this all depends upon selling the first book. So be patient my lovely little hwacha. Your time will come soon. And the world will know the power of your awesomeness. Cue evil laugh.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
So I went to Target with Oldest and Youngest to buy a tennis skirt. Something I swore never to do because skirts accentuate my Popeye the Sailorman like legs of sausage link beauty. Especially tennis skirts which seems to work under the philosophy that shorter is better. I've seen grandmothers in skirts so short I can see their grannypanties and other things they should be ashamed of flashing. But I find that people reach a certain age in life and they just don't care anymore. I once watched as an old lady adjusted her sagging girls on line in the supermarket, fondling them like she'd fondled the tomatoes and peaches not 2 minutes earlier. I had to turn away when she slung one long breast over her shoulder and scratched under it for what seemed like 5 minutes straight. But I digress...
What the hell was I talking about? Oh yes tennis skirts. Skirts have never ever been my thing. But lately the indoor tennis court I play in has been a sauna and my cool athletic pants have been as comfortable as leather pants in the Sahara desert. So I went shopping for a tennis skirt. I grabbed a few and tried them on as Oldest and Youngest decided to critique my fashion choices.
Oldest - Why does it have a big white line over your butt? It looks like someone tried to circle it and ran out of white paint.
Youngest - I can fix it for you Mommy.
Me (ignoring them and trying an all black one instead)
Oldest - That's better but why is it so short? You want everyone to see your underwear?
Me - It's a skort, see. Shorts underneath.
Oldest - Those shorts are too short. They're more like underwear.
Youngest - I need a tissue for my boogers.
Me (wiping a huge ass booger from Youngest's nose and trying another skirt)
Oldest - That's better but still too short.
Me - Hmmm, it's a little big at the waist. I'll have to get a smaller size.
Oldest - Just get that one cause you know you'll grow into it.
Me (blinking) - What are you trying to say?
Youngest - I farted.
Oldest - I mean not that you are still growing but you know like when you eat and your belly gets too big...
Youngest (reaching over to pat my muffin top) - And it goes down again when you go the bathroom!
You seriously can't have an ego around these girls. It's just not allowed.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
WOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Happy Dance! Do the Hustle! It's my birthday!
So how do I celebrate? By drooling over the most beautiful man in the world, Mr. Daniel Hunky Henney. God he's beautiful. As I drooled all over my laptop the girls came over to see what Mom was fussing about and this is what they said.
Oldest - Control yourself, you're married.
Angus - He's not beautiful, Daddy is more beautiful. (Da Man, who has had the flu for 2 days and has been the biggest baby, walks by with a dazzling display of bed head at the moment.)
Youngest - Mommy, boys can't be beautiful. They're only handsome. Girls are beautiful.
Oldest - Stop drooling, you're grossing me out...
It's ok Daniel, no matter what my kids say, you're beautiful to me.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Me - Hi, I need to check on a recent transaction on my credit card.
Rep - Can I have your Name?
Me - Ellen Oh
Rep - what?
Me - Just Oh.
Rep - You mean the letter O?
Me - No, it's spelled OH.
Rep - Ohhhhhhh! Ha ha!
Me - That was my maiden name.
Rep - Huh?
Me - No Ha. Ha was my maiden name.
Rep - You're shitting me.
Me - Look on my statement.
Rep - You're not shitting me. It says Ellen Ha-Oh.
Me - Yeah, hyphenating it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life time. People don't know what to do with hyphenated interjections.
Rep - (Silence. Giggles. Horse laugh.) I'm so sorry, but you just made my night.
Me (sarcastic) - Oh good.
Rep - Oh yes.
Me - Uh huh....
Rep - You mean 'Oh huh.'
Me - I think that's enough with the Oh cracks.
Rep - Oh K.
Me - Oh my God!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The girls have watched Coraline for the 10th time and were talking about the movie while I was driving to Krispy Kreme for an emergency donut run.
Oldest - So if the other mother kidnapped our parents what would you do?
Youngest - I would grab her arms and bite her really hard.
Angus - You can't! Her hands were made of metal and her arms are real skinny. You'd break your teeth!
Youngest - I would kick her in her butt!
Oldest - Um, hello! Monster, remember?
Angus - Well I would bring Daddy and a nose pin. And then I would aim Daddy's butt at the monster and put on my nose pin. Daddy would fart aaaaaaannnnnnnd. The. Monster. Would. DIEEEEEEEEE!!!! Dun dun dun.
Oldest - But Mom and Dad would be kidnapped by the monster!
Angus - Oh yeah! Well I would poop in my pants and then I would take off my poopy pants and throw it at the monster's face.
Youngest - YUCKY!
Oldest - You would be half naked!
Angus - Well, that way I could also fart as I run away. And. She. Would. DIE!!!!! Dun dun dun!!!
Oldest - You're disgusting.
Youngest - I have to poop now.
One of these days I've got to record them secretly. I can't really capture the true essence of how funny they are by words alone.
OK - now back to frantic, feverish revising!
Friday, July 24, 2009
ME + SUMMER + REVISION = BAD BLOGGER
Summer is more than half over and my revisions aren't done. Since I took the summer off for this very reason, I am now kicking myself hard and vowing to focus myself. So that means, I gotta disappear for awhile.
I've not been around that much as it is, but now you may not see the little piggy at all for at least a month. If for some reason, piggy forgets and sneaks out into the blogosphere, please remind her that she will be turned into fried rind chips if she doesn't get her work done. Virtual kicks in the butt will be effective so don't let the piggy procrastinate.
School starts up at the end of August. I've got one more full month of summer to get it done! Wish me, and little piggy, luck! We're gonna need it!!!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
More hysterical laughter.
Me: What are you doing?
Angus (still laughing): Mommy said what...
Me (thinking they are weird): You kids are doing it all wrong. You have to use an insult and then say what. Not your name!
Me: Like "Losersayzwhat?" And then say "What?"
Angus: Oh - LIke Stinkybuttsayz... (pauses with a curious look on her face)
Angus and Youngest shriek with laughter: Ha Ha! Mommy's a stinky butt!
Only then did I realize that this was an elaborate scheme just to get me to say "what." Clever girls. Oh they got me good.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
So do take a gander at the interview and then go get her book! You won't be disappointed with either! And if you are disappointed for some strange reason, then feel free to blame it all on Da Man. Everything is always his fault, you know...
Monday, July 13, 2009
"Oh boy! I hope people don't think we rigged this drawing," I said.
"Why," Oldest asked.
"Because Cindy is a friend of mine."
"Well, that's who I pulled and that's who won!" Oldest said in a "don't argue with me manner."
"Yes, ma'am." I said.
We then put all the names for the second drawing in the empty canvas bag. Oldest shook it extra hard and for a very long time.
"All right, I think that's enough," I said.
Oldest reached in and pulled out another piece of paper and read:
"Cindy Pon -- hey did you put her name back in?" she accused.
"Well anyone who promotes the book gets to be in both drawings. That's the rules for the contest. Funny how you picked her for both, huh? She was clearly meant to win this book! But pick someone else since she already won."
Oldest shook it even harder this time and read the new entry:
"March to the Sea. What kind of name is March to the Sea anyway?"
"That's his blogger name, silly. Like mine is Ello"
"How are you going to send a prize to a person who you don't know their real name? That's sort of fishy to me..."
"Well I know his name and he will email me his address."
"Oh ok, well tell Cindy and March man congratulations from me since I chose them."
So congratulations, Cindy and March to the Sea from Oldest and me! Thank you everyone for participating in the contest! And a special thanks to Oldest for making sure it was a completely fair and amusing drawing.
PS - I couldn't help myself and I sent in my entry to Jason's fantastic writing contest. The contest is open til this Wednesday and there are great prizes! My entry is here. Please let me know what you think. I always love to hear all of your thoughts and comments!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Please pop by over there and read about how Grace came up with her wonderful book and her illustrations.
Contest will run til this Friday and winners will be picked this weekend. So tune in on Monday to see who wins! Thanks everyone!
Monday, July 6, 2009
For everyone else, here is a commercial that always makes me laugh.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The trailer is a little musical tribute to Chinatown. I hope you enjoy it.
Don't forget my contest for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Although I am still revising like crazy, I had to come out to celebrate the release of Grace Lin's wonderful new book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. I wanted to let everyone know how much in love with this book I am. It is a book that begs to be read aloud to every child in the world. It's a book that is easy to love. And it is a book that is already raking in the accolades. It has just won the Parent's Choice Gold award and has a starred review from Booklist!
Minli, whose name means quick thinking, lives with her poor parents in the valley of the Fruitless Mountain. In the evenings, against her mother's wishes, her father tells her wonderful stories about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. One day Minli spends one of her only 2 coins to buy a goldfish to bring the family good luck. Her mother is angered by the wasteful purchase and Minli feels sorry for what she has done and decides to seek out the Old Man of the Moon to help bring fortune to her family. Along the way, she befriends a dragon, a talking fish and other wonderful characters. The story is beautifully interwoven with Chinese folktales that add a wonderful element to the narrative.
Little, Brown has published a beautifully made book as well, with Grace's full paged and colored illustrations interspersed throughout the book as well as Grace's beautiful drawings opening each chapter. Grace is an amazing artist as well as writer. I've been a fan of her work since my girls brought home Dim Sum for Everyone from the library one day and moved on to Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat. Not only is she a multi-published author/illustrator, but she is also a fellow member of the Enchanted Inkpot community.
So if you are looking for a present for that favorite kid in your life, consider this gem of a book. It is aged 8 to 12, but my 5 year old adored me reading the book to her, and I loved reading it. And to celebrate Grace's release of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, I am having a small contest. This is a picture of Minli from the book. And I have a signed copy of this picture as a prize, along with 2 copies of Grace's book with signed bookplates. There are 2 ways to win. To win a copy of the book and a signed bookplate from Grace, all you have to do is leave me a comment. That's it. To win a copy of the picture signed by Grace and the book and signed bookplate, then all you have to do is post the contest on your own blog and link back to me in the comments here. That's it. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment about the contest on someone else's blog, link back to me and be entered. If you enter the contest for the picture and book, you will also automatically be entered in the other drawing so that doubles your chances.
Lastly, I will share with you two last things. I interviewed Grace for the Enchanted Inkpot and her interview will go up next week on July 8th. I thought I would share a little taste of the interview here:
Ello - How do you incorporate your illustrations with your story? What comes first? Do you envision your characters first or do they come up from your writing?
Grace - For me, the writing always comes first with any book. I usually can't draw anything until the story is finished.
However, the character of Minli did come from an image I did before I wrote Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. In late 2003, I did a cover illustration for Cricket Magazine of an Asian girl riding a flying red dragon. As I painted the image, the girl captivated me. I had painted her in traditional clothing, over an idealized Asian landscape. I imagined her full of delight on her ride in the sky, full of adventure and life. She was my first character idea for Minli. But as I wrote the story, she changed a bit and, of course, became more fleshed out with characteristics and personality. She also became younger. However, she still retained that same spirit of my original painting.
I became so attached to the Cricket cover image that it morphed into the logo for my website, and finally the cover for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
The last thing I have for you is the book trailer for Grace's lovely book.
So what are you waiting for? Enter my contest! Spread the word! This is one of the most beautiful books written for children's literature! Yes, I absolutely mean it. This is a book I wish I had read when I was little, but am so grateful to have shared with my children. And I thank Grace for sharing this book with the rest of us.
Friday, June 26, 2009
A young lady walked out of a toilet stall and stands at a sink next to Angus. Only she doesn't wash her hands. She peered at her face in the mirror, smoothed her hair and then turned to walk away. Angus, who is a bit OCD, is so startled she cried out "That girl didn't wash her hands!"
Youngest immediately shrieked "YUCK!!!" which is ironic because we are always yelling at her to wash her own hands with soap when she pulls the trick of merely wetting them.
The woman hadn't gotten to the door yet and so she turned around and stomped back to the sink to wash her hands.
She glared at Angus and said "That's very rude, you know."
Angus, who has been taught not to be rude, is a bit taken aback. "I'm sorry," she said politely. "But you didn't wash your hands and that's not just rude, that's disgusting."
I'm just leaning against the wall watching the whole interaction as I tried to keep Youngest from running amok. The woman walked past me and said snidely, "You need to teach your daughter manners."
I just raised my eyebrows and said, "Looks to me like she was the one reminding you of yours."
She glared at me again and walked away. Angus looked at me with big sad puppy eyes. "I didn't mean to be rude," she said. "I thought maybe she forgot to wash her hands is all."
"That's ok, honey," I said. "You're not in trouble with me."
She looked relieved and then pulled a disgusted face. "Mommy, she was touching her face and hair all over with her pee pee hands!"
"YUCK!" Youngest shouts out again. "And what if she did number 2?"
So ladies be warned, wash your hands or hear the wrath of Angus and Youngest.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Have you seen my brain? Here is an X-ray picture for identification purposes.
I appear to have misplaced it. Or maybe someone has stolen it. Or mistaken it for a cashew and eaten it. Whatever the case, I find myself brainless these days and it is making me quite tired. Apparently thinking is really hard to do without one. I think I'm due an upgrade. I would like one that doesn't have the erase memory function but includes long term retainment ability with an endless hold capacity. I'd also like to have a brain that tells me sweets is yucky and vegetables are delicious. Or one that has a working hunger On/Off switch cause mine has been defective since high school. I would like one that doesn't shrivel up and shift to the back of the head whenever I have to do a math problem and that doesn't make my eyes glaze over while reading a scholarly journal. While we are at it, can someone just go ahead and install a microchip in the brain with the full Encyclopedia Britannica set.
Due to my brainless state, I have been lying low. I'm still posting over at the Enchanted Inkpot, but the little bit of ability I have has been focused on my revisions. Which...........has..............been ..................... going............................... real......ly.................................. slow.
For the first conscious time I have marked my google reader, which was reading 1000+ and which I find very misleading because I could be at 10,000 + and all it would say is 1000+ which if you think about it is much more attainable then 10,000+ and yet how misleading of it to just say 1000+... Oi!!! Brainlessness causes massive buildup of gas in empty cavity which leads to brain farts. Sorry about that - anyhow - what I meant to say is that I was bad and deliberately marked my google reader because I was spazzing out and it made me feel better to put it to zero. And then some people who will not be named, kept insisting on posting every few minutes and bringing my counter up to over a 100 so I had to mark it all read again and step away from the computer cause I was all verclempt and all that crap. I also accidentally unfollowed a whole bunch of people and then frantically tried to follow everyone again - in full disclosure, I did the unfollowing over the course of the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure if I am following everyone I was following before. Since I was following nearly 200 blogs, there is a good chance that I missed someone. So blame the person who took my brain and just shoot me a nice email - or a bitchy one, I deserve it - and let me know I am not following you anymore. And my little piggy will hoof it over as fast as you can say......
What the hell was I just talking about anyway? Oh yeah, if any of you missed me, I'm afraid you will have to do without the little piggy for a little while longer. Brainlessness is contagious and I don't want to spread it around. So this is a public safety issue is alls I'm saying! I may be posting sporadically and visiting even less often as I try and finish off my revision. So stay away if you have to (sob) but please come back on July 1st because I have a real treat. Two copies with signed bookplates of Grace Lin's beautiful new middle grade novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
The book is out July 1st but I had the pleasure of reading it early. This beautiful folksy story based in China is absolutely brilliant and a book I've read out loud to my kids. And all 3 of them adore this book. I will also have a lovely little printed picture of the main character that is autographed by Grace Lin herself, as a prize. So please come back on the 1st. Hopefully I will have a new upgraded brain working for me by then.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I suspect foul play. In retaliation I have purchased a particularly treacly song that I don't even like, "Oh Sherrie" by that famous mullet man Steve Perry, which Da Man has informed me is like someone ripping open his back and poking at his central nervous system with a cattle prod. Tonight, when he is sleeping, I shall inflict psychological torture by playing "Oh Sherrie" right next to his ear all night long. If I am feeling compassionate, I shall also mix in some "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia." However, if I am feeling mean, I'll mix in Abba's "Fernando" instead, because I've actually seen him turn 3 shades of green when he hears it. And I shall do this every night until he coughs up my CDs or buys me new ones. Or I might just do it cause it is plain wicked fun. I wonder what kind of dreams he'll have?
Don't hate me cause I'm evil, fear me instead.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
"Me too!" I replied.
"What's taking so long?" he asked.
"I'm revising again." Yes, the never ending revision process...
"Still?! What the heck takes so long? It takes you 10 years to write a book about Korea?"
"You'd better hurry already, all my friend's are waiting to buy your book!"
"I'm working hard on it, really I am," I said, quite peevishly. It's not like I procrastinate by surfing the internet for obscure historical tidbits about issues completely unrelated to my book. No, I didn't just waste 2 hours today looking up who invented chewing gum even though it is highly unlikely, even in my fantasy world, that my characters would actually chew gum.
"Well work faster! They're gonna tell all their churches about your book. Do you know how many Korean churches there are in this country? Over 4,000! Do you know how many Korean Americans? Over 1.5 million!!! And they all will buy your book, not like those other Korean books that complain about how they hate their parents, hate being Korean, hate kim chee, ,etc etc."
(I love the way my Dad says etc. "Etacetehrah, etaceterah!")
"They don't want to buy complaining books about how it is so hard to grow up Korean American and garbage like that. They sick of it! But your book they want to buy! Ancient Korea! Myths and legends! Big Hit!" This speech took like 10 minutes because he tends to have lots of meaningful pauses as he talks.
"Ummm, Dad, you've never even read my book..."
"So what? I know it's good because I helped you!"
This is true, my Dad did an amazing amount of research for me. He even translated several Korean books for me because I am Korean illiterate.
"And do you know that there is a Korean Association in every state?" he asked.
"Don't worry Dad, I'm going to hire you to promote my book!"
"If it ever gets published," he said.
"How about you publish it in Korea? They would love it!" he continued.
"I am illiterate in Korean, remember?"
"It's ok, I'll translate it for you... but I'll have to charge you..."
"Sure, but how will I know that you didn't try and change my words around or something?"
"Then you would see my name instead of yours on the cover."
"And don't worry, I will only charge you 50% of gross!"
Sheesh. He drives a hard bargain.
Monday, June 8, 2009
1. You always give out wise publishing advice.
2. You are always there to cheer me up and onward no matter how down I get.
3. You always make me laugh.
4. You always make me think.
5. You love to eat good food.
6. We get to eat good food... and lots of it.
7. You let Youngest use you as a horse, race car and jungle gym and pretended to enjoy it.
8. You let Angus tell you disgusting stories and laughed.
9. You talked to Oldest like a grown up and made her happy.
10. You got me the Catching Fire ARC!!!
11. You got me the Catching Fire ARC!!!
12. You got me the Catching Fire ARC!!!
It is so good!!! It is so awesome!!!! I had to beat Da Man off of my ARC and then made the same mistake I made with the first one. As I crawled into bed at 1AM, I told myself I would just take a quick peek at the first chapter. Didn't go to sleep until almost 5 AM. Tired but extremely happy!
Funny thing my kids said - Youngest who is completely enamored with Moonie asked if we could keep her. Oldest said "No, but Moonie can keep Youngest instead."
Moonie, my friend, you are the best! And next time we are in town, we will gorge ourselves silly once again!
Ok - Must go beat Da Man again as I want to read Catching Fire a few more times!!!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
me - I don't know.
Angus - it says leebun. You didn't know that?
Me - What?
Angus - yeah, leebun.
Me looking at the picture of a present with a bow on top - Oh you mean ribbon!
Angus - Yeah the Korean word is leebun.
Me laughing - that's not a Korean word, that's the English word spoken with a Korean accent!
Angus - But it is in my homework! See!
She's right, the korean letters phonetically say leebun.
Angus - And look they have a tv here too! It's Tellavee! Oh I get it! They're cheating!
This is why she thinks speaking broken English with a Korean accent is speaking Korean!!
Hey it is time to do some new linky love!!! I want to update my blogroll with all the new and wonderful people I have met and who have been so awesome to come by and leave comments or just read my blog. I love you all! And I would like to share the love, but I need you guys to tell me it's ok to link to you. So can you drop me a comment and let me know if you would like to get linked up? Muchos gracias!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Copyright by KaiChanVong via Creative Commons license
Next, we go to China and have some dim sum. Who doesn't like dim sum? My personal favorites are, Cha siu baau - Cantonese barbecue pork buns, and sesame balls. I can literally stuff my face silly on the stuff. Oldest wanted me to mention that her absolute favorite Chinese dish is Peking Duck. This reminded me of growing up in NY and my parents taking us to Chinatown once a month for our big family dinner. Luckily, my dad can read Chinese so we always ordered off the Chinese menu and not the watered down English menu.
My Dad would order Cantonese Crab and snails in blackbean sauce. I can almost smell the fresh steamed crab in that amazing sauce. I can hear the loud crowded restaurant and the clanging of pots in the kitchen - the din of the diners and the people waiting on the long line out the door and up into the street. Ah memories. Ah drool slobbering down the side of my mouth and pooling into my crotch area making me look like I have peed myself.
Next time I'm up to see my folks, I think we gotta go back down memory lane so I can stop drooling.
Now let's fly to Vietnam, or for me at least, the Eden Center strip mall in Northern Virginia which is nowhere near as glamorous but where you can get the best Vietnamese food on the East Coast. Green papaya salad and baby clam rice hot pot are my go to faves. And for the best noodle soup in the world, I go to Pho 75 in Rockville for my Pho with eye of round steak and fatty brisket. A little bit of Srichacha sauce and I guarantee you that chicken soup has nothing on what I consider the best soup in the world.
I have to say that the most underappreciated Asian cuisine has got to be Filipino food. People have no idea what they are missing. Our babysitter makes lumpia - Filipino egg rolls - that are so good that my kids shove 3 at a time in their mouths. Little piggies. Last time, she made 40 lumpia. Me and Da Man were sure there would be some when we got back. We were wrong.
I wish I could share with you a good picture of Filipino lechon, but every picture I found had the pig's head staring back at me, which made me feel very cannibalistic. So all I can tell you is that if you ever have the opportunity to be invited to a Filipino dinner where they are making lechon, you are one lucky SOB. You never had roast pork this good til you try it - with the skin. Pig never tasted so good. And if you want to see more Filipino delights, you have to check out Moonrat's post here.
I saved one of my absolute favorites for last because anyone who knows me knows I go absolutely crazy for good Indian food. There is this amazing restaurant in Bethesda called Passage to India that makes me weep from Indian goodness. Their garlic naan with cilantro is so good I have nearly bitten Da Man's hand off when he tries to take the last piece. At any good Indian place, I love Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Curry and Aloo Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower - and the only way I will ever eat cauliflower and like it!). But what makes me swoon are the grilled lamb chops and their Baingan Bharta - roasted eggplants with stewed onions and tomatoes. So if you come to the DC area and want good Indian - think Bethesda... and give me a call!
I have not covered all the cuisines. I didn't even have time to cover Thai food or Malayasian food or Japanese food (although I did sushi last time so that's ok). But I have run out of time and I regretfully have to say goodbye to May and Asian Heritage month. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have! And remember to try out different types of cuisine and be a little adventurous with food. You never know what you might end up falling in love with.
And I know that I have not covered all the best of Asian food. So feel free to share with me a favorite of yours! Whoever makes me drool the most wins!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Once again my informal survey has wound up with surprising results. More people liked sushi than disliked it. However, even more people have never tried it.
How. Fascinating. I decided therefore, that we should talk a little bit about sushi.
Sushi is beautiful and delicious. But like most things, you just gotta find what is right for you. For example, I know that mackerel and sea urchin make me hurl. So I avoid it. But I adore toro, yellowtail, flounder and red snapper. These tend to be milder flavored fish. I even like squid, sweet shrimp and octopus. Da Man can't eat octopus. It's a texture thing with him. He finds it rubbery and offensive. But I have to admit that I may have put him off octopus forever. Cause once when we went to my folks for dinner, my mom made boiled baby octopus with a hot and spicy dipping sauce. They look sort of like this but hers were whiter.
When he stepped away to get a drink, I quickly picked up a baby octopus and bit half of its head off and left it in its decapitated state on his plate. When da man came back and saw the baby octopus with its brains staring back up into his face, his usually tanned complexion turned an eerie sickly color and he began to gag and ran to the bathroom. I laughed my ass off. Since then, the boy has not been able to eat octopus.
But I digress. Let's go back to sushi. It is interesting to note that the history of sushi began in China, as with most things Asian, and evolved centuries later in Japan. What we now call sushi is far different from its origins as a salted fish fermenting in rice process. The process was used to preserve fish and the rice was thrown away after the fish was removed. The Japanese evolved sushi by adding rice wine vinegar to the rice and eating it with the half raw fish. Now it is as much an artform as it is a cuisine. Beautiful platters of sushi and sashimi (raw fish without rice) are a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach.
In Japan, training to be a sushi chef is traditionally a very long and rigorous process. They must train as an apprentice under a sushi master for 10 years. A good shushi chef not only is a master of the delicate knife work needed to be a great sushi chef, but also is a creative artist. But in the states, it seems like anybody can call themselves a sushi chef. This is not a good thing.
To become a good sushi chef, you don't have to be Asian. Any nationality can excel at this art. But you do have to have good training. Unfortunately, while many places serve sushi, not every place has a good sushi chef, and this can ruin the experience for a novice sushi eater. For example, certain fish can be ruined by a poor knife job, leaving it a tasteless slab of goo. Also, a good sushi chef will never serve a piece of fish that is off. A bad one will. This can be the difference between enjoying your first experience with sushi or spending your night clinging to the rim of your toilet.
So to all of you out there who said you never had sushi or didn't like it, I say, "You do not like them, so you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say."
But please don't go to any corner sushi spot. Make sure you get a good write up at your local food critic column or other reputable recommendation. Make sure you have a true sushi chef and not some fake sushi chef with a matchbox sushi chef diploma. And whatever you do DON'T buy the pre-packaged stuff at your local supermarket. Cause if you do, you might as well take a whole box of laxatives and call it a night.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Then I got an email from Tarie who has a wonderful blog called
Into the Wardrobe. She found me when she was researching Ingrid Law for an interview and came up on Oldest's interview. She checked out my website and my blog and we had some great email exchanges about Asian writers and Asian literature. So when she asked to interview me for Asian Heritage Month even though I wasn't a published author yet, I was very flattered.
And I gotta tell you, her blog is amazing! So please stop by and check out her awesome blog!
So I am feeling very special since I've been interviewed twice in one month. Special people don't have to cook dinner and clean the house, right?
Friday, May 22, 2009
So you can see that it is a very vegetably dish. There is rice on the bottom and it is topped with bean sprouts, pickled radish, marinated ferns, garlicky spinach and some lettuce. You don't see it but there is also delicious meat in the mix also. In this picture, the egg on top looks practically raw. This is unusual, but keep in mind that the stone dish that it is served in is so hot that the egg will cook immediately upon stirring. However, most places serve it with an over easy egg.
The stone dish is dangerously hot so whatever you do, don't touch it! The rice on the bottom crisps up with the heat of the pot. On the side, you will get a little dish of spicy red pepper paste that you can add to the mixture, at your discretion. As soon as you get your dish, you want to add the red pepper paste and mix everything up, making sure to lift up the rice from the bottom of the dish to get blended in. I've seen non-Koreans eat this unmixed, each part separately. Me and my big mouth always has to butt in and explain that bi bim means mix and show them how to mix it all up. Trust me, it is better that way!
So McKoala wanted some Asian recipes. Unfortunately, this is one of those dishes that is very difficult to recreate at home as the components are very time consuming. And unless you have an earthen stone dish in your house, it will be nearly impossible to get that lovely crisped rice effect so get thee to a Korean restaurant (preferably a good one! I took a friend to one in NY that I was sadly disappointed in so make sure to get good recommendations.)
Instead, for McKoala - I shall give you my shumai recipe. Here it is. You know how if you go to a Japanese restaurant you order shumai and you pay like $6.00 for 6 pieces of shumai? What a rip off! Wouldn't it be so much cheaper to eat at home? Absolutely. Here's my recipe. Get in your car, drive to your local Asian marketplace. Go to their frozen food section and find frozen shrimp shumai in packages of 24 for $4.99. Take home, heat in microwave and serve. For those of you who do not have an Asian marketplace near you - NO SHUMAI FOR YOU!
Ok - so are you getting the sense that I don't have lots of good recipes to share with you? Yeah, how sad is that. I realize that I cook more Italian food at home than Asian. But when we go out to eat, we eat more Asian. Unfortunately we go out to eat too much.
But because I hate to turn you away without any kind of recipe, I'll give you my Mother's grilled shrimp recipe. It is very easy. You want shrimp in their shells Throw them in a large ziploc bag and cover them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Korean Kochukaru (which is crushed red chili flakes). If you don't have the Korean version look for red chili flakes - I'm sure there is a similar spice you can use. This is all to taste so you can make it spicier or milder, up to you. Shake the bag until all the shrimp are coated in the mixture. I like my shrimp to have a nice coating of red, since they are shelled, you get the taste more from your fingers. Grill and serve.
My next Asian heritage month question is - Do you like sushi (and I don't mean California Rolls! I mean the real raw fish stuff)? If yes, what and why. If no, have you ever tried it?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Anyway, lately he has begun to read more books and he picked up Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix at my insistence. As you all know, Cindy has a beautiful girl poised provocatively on the cover, however Da Man is not fazed by this and has been reading it on the metro.
The other day he nearly forgot his book on the kitchen table and he asked Angus to bring it down to him. She grabbed Silver Phoenix, looked at the cover and said, "This one? With the girl on the cover? I thought it was Mommy's book!"
Da Man said, "Yeah, but just because there's a girl on the cover doesn't mean a guy can't read it."
To which Angus responded, "I know that, I'm just surprised you're reading a book!"
Har Har! Still in keeping with Asian Heritage Celebrations, I want to thank all of you for turning me into a drooling ravenous fiend yesterday unable to decide between Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Asian fusion cuisine. So instead, I had Italian.
But tomorrow I shall post a recipe for Mckoala! I just gotta make sure it's edible first...
One last question - if you had to pick a starch, what would you pick, rice or noodle?
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
This is bungeobbang. Pronounced buh-n-gay-pahng. Romanization of Korean words doesn't always work that well, but you get the general idea. Anyway, this stuff is a sweet that I absolutely adore! Partly because it is near impossible to get around me. The only times I get it is if my parents have made a trip out to Flushing, NY and bring me some when they visit. It's basically crisp, golden brown pastry filled with piping hot sweet red bean paste. Oh my gosh, I'm drooling already!
Apparently in Seoul, the streets are filled with little food stalls that sell all kinds of delicious foods, including bungeobbang. Which, I've been told, eaten fresh off the grill is a near orgasmic experience. One day I will experience this pleasure myself, while holding my nose as I pass by the silkworm larvae vendor. But even that foul smell will not drive me away from trying a piping hot bungeobbang!
Now all I have to do is pay for 5 first class tickets to Korea and some morphine. Five cause I gotta take the family. First class and morphine because I'm claustrophobic and suffer from air sickness and motion sickness and I'm a foulmouthed bad traveler. Yeah, you don't want to fly with me. I'm what you call a difficult passenger. If your kid kicks the back of my chair, I'll get up and kick the back of your head. If your feet stink and you take off your shoes near me, I will use your shoes to vomit in. If you have big hair and are sitting in front of me blocking my view of the stinky inflight movie, I will loudly gripe about your big hair til it deflates like a flattened souffle. Let me stop now before you get the idea that I'm some kind of a bitch or something.
So the idea of 24 hours on a plane is quite horrifying for everyone, I'm sure. Guess I'm stuck begging my folks to pick some up in Flushing for me. Man I love these things.
Anyway, in honor of Asian Heritage Month, I would love to hear from everyone out there what your favorite Asian food is.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I'm feeling a bit like this duck here. I am feeling like a bad mom and I admit to being a bit mortified. Two Saturdays ago Oldest had a bad fall at her soccer game. Da Man who is also the head coach of her team, called me to let me know that he was sending Oldest home with another Mom while he finished out the game. I was at the elementary school's spring fling with Angus and Youngest and I rushed home to meet Oldest. When she arrived home, we iced up her arm and I had her lie down. However, Oldest desperately wanted to go back to spring fling because she had bought 25 raffle tickets that she put into one basket. She assured me that she was ok to go back and so we all returned to school where upon Oldest watched as her best friend won the basket she wanted. Apparently her best friend put 60 raffle tickets in the basket. I put down Oldest's pained smile of congratulations to disappointment rather than her injury.
We returned home and Da Man and I debated whether or not we needed to take Oldest to the doctor. Her arm was showing no sign of bruising or swelling so we decided to wait. Fast forward to this past Wednesday. Oldest has continued to complain about pain so we took her to see the orthopedist who takes an X-ray and informs us that Oldest has a broken arm. Thankfully it was a clean break and it had already begun to heal. But that doesn't stop us from feeling pretty terrible.
Thank goodness Oldest is a nice kid, cause if it had been Angus or Youngest, they would be guilting us into buying a puppy, a kitten, the entire inventory of Toys R us, etc. The only thing Oldest asked for was a lollipop and a hug. She's a nice kid, doesn't know a thing about extortion. Which of course makes me feel worse.
The only thing that makes me feel better is that the doctor told us that there is nothing you can really do for a break like that (upper arm) but to put it in a sling and rest it, which we have been doing.
So tonight as I put the girls to sleep, Youngest pointed to her finger and told me that she was pretty sure she had broken it. I told her that there isn't much I could do for a broken finger but kiss it. As I went to kiss it she loudly shrieked "Ow! Kisses don't make it feel better!" When I asked her what would, she immediately pronounced "a new American Girl doll would make it feel much better Mommy. Especially the one called Ivy." Yeah, a $90 doll for a busted finger? I don't think so. Oldest's broken arm only cost me a $3.00 lollipop, although I would have driven to NY to buy her an American Girl doll if she had only asked. Which is why, I'm so glad Oldest is not an extortionist like her younger sisters. For the record, my mother-in-law has given verbal evidence on the fact that Da Man was a con artist from a young age so I blame his genes for their deviousness.
Poor Oldest. Not only does she have rotten parents that let a broken arm go undiagnosed for nearly 2 weeks, but she isn't devious enough to milk it for all that it's worth. I'm feeling so bad about this, I think I need a spa day. I think I have to guilt Da Man into paying for it - after all he was coaching when Oldest got hurt...
Monday, May 11, 2009
So I haven't been reading blogs and my google reader is now showing 1,000+ and I know it will be hell to catch up on, but hopefully I'll start slowly come around visiting later this week. In the meantime, can I share this awesome video that even I, in all my glorious stupidity, really enjoyed.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
"Mommy," she whispered. "I have to tell you a really big secret!"
"Ok," I said, as I leaned down next to her.
She grinned and pressed her little finger to her lips and let out a big "shhhhhhh." I nodded and made the same gesture. Satisfied she cupped her hand around my ear.
"I made you the most beautifulest flower pot for Mother's Day!" she whispered with a giggle. "And it even has a seed in it! Only we're not supposed to tell our Mommy's cause its a secret!"
I smiled at her and chided, "Weren't you supposed to keep it from me?"
She looked at me indignantly, "Yes but I can't keeps a secret from my Mommy!"
"You are absolutely right!" I said.
Happy, she clapped her hands and said, "Just don't tell anyone else that I told you OK? Cause its a secret!"
Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Holding the door open for people means you have a 50% chance of walking away in a bad mood. Cause there is a 50% chance that an asshole or a Queen will take advantage of your courtesy. At Youngest’s school, the percentage jumps up to 75%. I know it’s a risk that I’m going to be mad at someone, but still, like a pig to mud, I just gotta hold that door open. I’ve come to terms with this. Accepting that I will do what is right not for the jerks and idiots, but for the 25% who appreciate the courtesy and will in turn extend it elsewhere. But sometimes… grrrrrr…
So today I need to meet someone in
He rushes in and down towards his class. I am still waiting for the Queen of England and her younger child to walk through. She is clearly a Queen because she languidly drawls out a “thanks” but doesn’t even look at me. She is now standing right in front of the doorway in such a way that if I let go of the door it would slam into her butt, which by its flatness looks like many doors have slammed in to it over the years. Her daughter stops and insists the Queen pick her up. The Queen shakes her head and says “No way I’m carrying you in! I might break a nail!” errr, ok – she didn’t actually say the nail part, but she did lift up her hands and shake them in such a way that I believe the message was the same. She then walks around her daughter and down the hallway, leaving the 3 year old standing right in front of the doorway. Keep in mind, I am still standing there, unable to let the door go on a little kid, even if such demon child has begun to shriek like a slew of fire engines racing to a 5 alarm fire.
Other parents creep in and out, guiltily thanking me for holding open the door, even as none of them offer to hold the door in my stead. I’m like Charon, the ferryman of the