Monday, March 24, 2008

Lent-ed.

I thought I should say that Lent is officially over for me. I have decided that I will continue to eat sweets sparingly, but it was nice to dive into a triple chocolatey fudge cake concotion tonight, at Jimmy Mak's in Portland. Yesterday I ate a piece of lemon roll cake and a chocolate square, and I definitely felt like I ate a lot of sugar. I guess I'm now climatized to sugar on the 2nd day, since I ate that chocolate cake and a half a piece of chocolate. I had to really practice some mental exertion in abstaining from the many other choices of sweets today. I totally admit that when I knew I couldn't eat anything like that, it was a lot easier to say no, even if I did miss out on some good treats (which I remember, including: a pomegranate soda float with vanilla haagen dazs, brownies and other delectable bars of lusciousness at Jarred's wedding, chocolate chip cookies that Jake made and ate all of --even keeping them in the freezer, Grenadian chocolate bars being passed around at Pam's house, doughnuts from various bakeries, mochi ice cream, a chocolate tasting party with fancy world varieties... the list goes on, and I remember it, believe me). For most of Lent I told myself, "Oh, I'm definitely eating that when I'm done with this." I haven't, yet.
Was it spiritual? Well, in a way. I didn't keep up with my spiritual goals as well as that physical one (I think it's easier for me to do without something than to start something-- as far as habits are concerned), but I did feel good about it. I think it was nice to be physically connected with my cravings, if that makes sense.
I don't think I feel the need to quit sweets forever. Not because it's too hard-- I imagine it would get easier and easier, as it was for those 40 days-- but because you miss out a lot on social eating. I didn't realize how social eating sweets can be. People feel uncomfortable when you don't partake of dessert, or I used to make a treat when friends came over. Some people might say that's what's wrong with our society or socializing, but I think it's actually a positive thing. Eating sweets should be a social thing, not a thing you do by yourself (well, at least not all the time). I really think it's perfectly fine to use it as a common experience to bring people together and relate in that way.
I've started reading "French Women Don't Get Fat", which is a narrative/lifestyle book (Shelley passed it on to me), and I find that I'm agreeing with her idea. Eat with your mind, not just your stomach. Enjoy your food, eat food you really like (not just stuff that's healthy or fat-free), but savor it instead of stuffing it. I'm definitely not an advocate of dieting, counting calories, or any other form of food denying--- Indulgence shouldn't seem so counter to being healthy.
So I'm eating sweets again, and I'm being healthy too.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Oregon-ing It

Amaya and I are in Oregon for a few days. I justified it by telling myself that I needed some help watching Amaya while Jake was at the NCECA conference in Pittsburgh. I kind of wanted to go to Pittsburgh, actually, but Jake convinced me that it would be very boring for me.
Anyway, I'm in Oregon, and I thought I should point out one thing that I always seem to notice when I'm here.
My face is very hairy.
Really. That's exactly what I conclude during the beginning of every trip to Oregon. My place in Hawaii has no good lighting around mirrors, and here we have very good lighting and a LOT of mirrors. I can't help noticing it. And then I go about trying to correct it.
I'll spare you the details, but it is disconcerting. I always think, Man, do people look at me and think, "there's that girl with all that face hair"?
I also wonder what kind of friends are letting me walk around, looking like this. I mean, it opens up other doors. Do I smell bad? Walk funny? Have a grating voice? Cook poorly? Have bad breath? Stuff in my teeth? What other things are people politely putting up with and then saying behind closed doors, "Geez! Can you BELIEVE that? Doesn't she realize?"
Well, yes. I guess I'm realizing. At least today, while I'm in Oregon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

1, 2, 3 Abacadabra Baby Sleeps Part II


After hearing Da's documentary on baby sleeping, I thought, maybe it's time for an Amaya sleep update. If you haven't heard her documentary, you can find it on her blog, kitchencorners.blogspot.com, although I suppose most of you already check her blog regularly. It's quite good. I'm jealous that she can make something so cool! I may have to be an audio documentary groupie. Jake and I have started getting into podcasts, and I can see that this could be an endless barrel of time commitments. Didn't stop me from downloading all of the They Might Be Giants video podcasts, Word on the Street podcasts (thanks Bekah), Fresh Air (NPR), and Prarie Home Companion's the News from Lake Wobegone.
Anyway, Amaya has some new sleeping habits.
After weeks of hysterical crying at bedtime, my mom was able to get Amaya to sleep through the night in about two nights. She would go down around 8:30, wake up after 7 am (sometimes 8 am), and never wake up in the middle of the night. The second I showed up, however, that changed. She began waking up in the morning around 4 am, and crying until we gave her milk and let her sleep with us.
The good news? She falls asleep without fighting. She can actually sleep on her own, at night time. She still has no idea how to take a nap, but she has decided that she can lay down and close her eyes while hugging her rabbit pillow at night.
She rarely cries when I leave the room, and even if she does, it's usually fast.
The bad news. She wakes up in the middle of the night. Whether we are in the room or not, she will stand up and jump, cry wildly, and continue to do so. If it's a bad night and she wakes up pretty early (let's say midnight), she will continue waking up every 15 minutes to half an hour, cry for about 3 minutes, and the pattern won't stop until her usual morning wake up time. We don't get her (sometimes we're not even in bed yet), but it goes on anyway.
A couple of nights she has made it all the way until 5:30 am, which is amazing.
Usually, though, she wakes at 4 am. I get up, get her, get milk for her, and then lay her down in our bed while I go pee. She used to have to come into the bathroom with me, which was annoying, because I have to turn on the light, and I think that wakes her up more. Now, at least, she'll stay in our bed until I come back. Then she wakes up at 5 am, then 6 am, and usually that's the last time. She needs another bottle every time, and will get out of bed and scream, pull at my hand, until I get up and get her a bottle. She only drinks about 4 oz at a time (never went over 6 oz milk meals even as a younger baby), so it's no wonder she needs more, but I wish she had a little bigger stomach.
Some mornings I try to sneak out of bed to go running or get ready early. It never works. 9 times out of 10 she notices that I'm gone within a minute, even if she's cuddled over on Jake's side of the bed.
A couple of nights ago I tried to make her wait for her milk, and Jake ended up having to wake up because he couldn't stand her crying and climbing all over me, kicking him. Didn't exactly have the affect that I was going for. I tried to pretend I was asleep with her hitting my face and pushing her head into me.
The worst is when she decides to sleep in when we don't want her to. She loves to do that.
Her current napping schedule is 1/2 an hour for me, 1 1/2-2 hours for Jake. Meaning, on Tuesday and Thursday (the days I have her), she takes a very short nap. For Jake, she'll sleep the afternoon away. We put her to sleep in the exact same fashion at about the same time. She sleeps in the stroller only. We take her for a long walk in the jogging stroller and let her sleep in the house, in the stroller.
Today we had conference so we had to walk back from the CAC 2 hours after her usual nap time. She fell asleep in the regular stroller, so Jake tipped the stroller back, put a stuffed animal under her feet, and he took a nap too.
So, things are better. They certainly could be worse. My next mission is to get her to eat bread (sandwiches are just so much easier to make) and vegetables other than ultra-limp broccoli. I am willing to put in the work for the sneaky chef, but I really would like her to enjoy vegetables as much as I do. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Food Tag

I have tagged myself-- Thanks Damaris. This was a very interesting post to read. I enjoy thinking about food, so it's pretty much perfect for me.

If you could be eating something right now what would it be?
Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Deb, my smittenkitchen.com goddess, swears that it is amazing, and I believe her. If I had to pick something savory--- it would be gyudon that was sliced perfectly thin. I think I would also add to that list bi bim bap, although I eat that pretty often. Make that bi bim bap from Toraji's in the stone bowl and I'd be in heaven.

Table manners. What table manners can and can not be broken?
Table manners? I say, put those elbows on the table. The thing that cannot be broken-- well, I can't say it's table manners, but it's kitchen manners. I cannot stand seeing the handling of my food alongside the handling of animals or copious amounts of saliva. Yes, I've had to endure that. I remember specifically eating bologna that had been handled in this way, and another time eating tuna sandwiches in a similar environment. I also dislike eating food at a person's house when there is dog permeating the house in every way. Most people keep their dogs pretty clean, and I'm definitely not against dogs in the same areas as food, but sometimes you'll get an older person who just basically lives in fur, and their dishes and silverware (and oh! the glasses!) smell like animal. Finally, I cannot stand using toilet paper as a napkin.

Longest time you've ever spent making a meal and what was it?
Truthfully, I can't remember, because I've probably repeated "the longest time" many times. I remember cooking for hours on Thanksgivings, birthdays, special party dinners, or guest dinners-- I enjoy cooking, so it doesn't seem like a long time. The biggest meal I remember recently was probably on New Year's Eve. I promised Adam a Japanese dinner: miso soup with flower carrots; burdock, lotus root, and carrot tempura alongside grated daikon and homemade tempura sauce; gyudon w/onions; soba with several fresh toppings... I tried to make it a traditional dinner. I had lots of help, though. I've never made a meal in steps that started ahead of time. I much prefer cooking all at once. I don't mind eating very late at night.

Most money you've ever spend on a meal and was it worth it?
I've been to many fancy dinners with my parents, and that's always worth it because they pay. :) Probably the most expensive dinner Jake and I have been to was at Roy's. I didn't love the meal, but we had an amazing appetizer: butterfish with avocado wasabi and strawberry sauce. That was delicious. And of course, the souffle cake made the meal seem worth it. We may have spent almost as much at an Indian restaurant once, but that was because we ordered so much food. I couldn't stop myself.

what is the most uncoventional thing you've ever tasted?
Horse sushi. Supposedly it is a good substitute for raw tuna. I disagree. Bekah made feijoada with pigs feet once, and I considered it unconventional, but I believe that many people would disagree with me. I've also eaten alligator, emu, and snake.

What would you NEVER put in your mouth?
I dislike the idea of organs. I have eaten liver and tongue, but I will perservere to avoid such foods in the future. From what I understand, that is what separates me from a gourmand. So be it. I will never eat intestines, stomach, or lung, if I can help it. I often wonder what I would have done if I had been a missionary in a South American country.

When you walk into the supermarket you always want to buy ______ but you never do because ______.
Haagen Dazs bars. I never do because they seem so expensive, and I can't justify it in comparison to how much a whole pint costs. I also always wonder if I'm building up how delicious they are.
I also have found myself looking at veal. I never buy it because I have no idea how to cook it.

If you are what you eat what are you?
Fat?

If you had to eat the same thing everyday what would it be?
Acai bowl with granola, bananas, and honey on top.

you haven't lived if you haven't tried this: (share a recipe)
Mighty’s Bi Bim Bap
Makes 2
This is my current obsession. I was wanting to eat out a lot so that I could get this dish. It’s Korean, so I can’t really claim it, but this is what I realized I could make on hand at my house. I went to the Korean market to get the kolchugang sauce, but I think it can be found pretty easily. And if you don't like hot sauce anyway, you don't need it. I think it adds good flavor, though.

½ lb Teriyaki sliced beef (or other thin-sliced meat--sukiyaki or shabu shabu style)
½ C Bulgogi marinade
OR-- if none is available--
Soy sauce, sugar, apple/pear/or other sweet fruit juice, sesame oil, garlic
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
½ zucchini cut into matchsticks
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
½ cucumber cut into matchsticks
2 eggs
Kolchugang sauce to taste (Korean red hot sauce--this is optional, but gives it a good texture and flavor)
Hot white rice

1. Marinate meat for about 1-2 hours beforehand
2. Cut meat up into small pieces and fry in a pan quickly (so that the meat cooks fast without losing a lot of water).
3. Saute carrot and zucchini in a little sesame oil-- add sesame seeds during the last minute. Season with a little salt. Cook until just barely done.
4. Fry eggs, leave yolks uncooked.
5. Put rice in bowls for serving
6. Arrange carrot/zucchini/sesame seed mix on 1/3 of the top, 1/3 beef pieces, 1/3 cucumber. Place egg on top. Put desired amount of hot sauce and stir the whole mixture together before eating.
*You can also put in some cooked, chopped up spinach or other vegetables.
*if you have Korean seaweed, cut into strips and add on top

Monday, March 10, 2008

In response to an article in NEA Today about teacher innovation incorporating the dance of "Crank Dat Souljah Boy" in the classroom

Dear NEA---
While I am an advocate for innovative teaching and bringing student interests into the classroom, I also hope that as teachers we put ethical education above entertainment. If you are unfamiliar with this song, I hope that you will take a closer look at the lyrics of "Crank Dat Souljah Boy" and then denounce it as a terrible example for our youth. Even if a teacher uses the dance as a way to reach students and recognizes its catchy beat, its low standards of sexual conduct in a relationship are alarming. I found it ironic that in the same breath (issue), you were attempting to reveal the damaging pervasive examples of female sexuality in our current society ("Lolita in the Classroom") and how our girl students (and boys, really) may be confused about their development in becoming a moral being. I believe that you were also suggesting that teachers can do much to help students along that route. As in the novel Lolita, literature often shows examples of corrupt and morally base individuals, yet the ultimate messages in these texts are virtuous because of the clear difference in an author's judgment and a character's. "Crank Dat Souljah Boy" can hardly fall under that same category.

p.s. NEA Today also put a link to youtube videos made by teachers featuring this dance. Apparently there are a couple hundred videos of teachers doing this dance.
Sarah, a few months ago, actually alerted me to the fact that my own school attempted to have a dress up day for Superman and Souljah Boy in relation to this song. I had never heard the song before that, but its popularity at this point makes me feel sickened at the idea that NEA would be advocating it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Some girly posts






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