Friday, December 12, 2008

In the movie "Barnyard," why does the bull have udders?
The below letter, dated 12/1/2008, was in our mailbox this morning:
After a complete review of your file and Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), this office has found additional documentation may be needed. Unless previously submitted, please bring the below requested documents to your naturalization interview.
Further proof of our government's inefficiency. My interview was December 9, and they couldn't mail the letter in a more timely manner to ensure I would receive it before my interview date? Naturally, I had all required documents on my person, but had I forgotten, the fault would have lain entirely on me. Me.

Anyway, I am home from work today because I have a case of the runs. Bad. Oof. At least it's given me time to clean the kitchen and do laundry.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I am officially a US citizen.

Well, at least on paper. I am waiting to find out when I take the oath.

And, if it wasn't clear already, the US government is inefficiently run. Or, at least, they hire rather incompetent people to fill fairly important roles. The woman (girl? she seemed younger than I was) who conducted my interview was not well-versed in immigration laws. It might help to be familiar with them if you wield that kind of power.

Anyway, welcome to America! ^_^

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving was.

Now I am looking forward to winter break because... I will stop pumping! (I mean, I love my Baby and all, but pumping is stressful, time-consuming, and tedious.) I fear the weight will come right back, so I will have to be careful with what I eat now. My hunger should subside at that point since I'm not pumping. Yay.

Interview next week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another step closer to naturalization. Interview is scheduled for December 9. Yay for missing another day of work! This application process has gone by faster than anticipated--last check of the USCIS website, July 2007 applications were being processed. Hmm. Perhaps they need a better way of updating their website? Or I am just super awesome. Once it is official, Husband will be able to apply for clearance with (relative) ease.

My dad's scheduled for his fingerprints this week. Strange considering his application was incomplete (he forgot to include his pictures). Hopefully the fingerprinting office will accept the pictures, or at least inform him of how to proceed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gale Harold has been working on "Desperate Housewives." Not being particularly interested in the show, this information was news to me. (My lovely friend Carena shared this information with me.) I am still not inclined to watch the show, although I may, should I find some extra time, queue the episodes on torrent and fast forward to his scenes. I'm not sure how believable Gale is as a straight man. I much prefer him as ever-fascinating Brian Kinney. Apparently he was also on two episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Add to the queue?

Going to New York next week for Thanksgiving. Am not looking forward to the car ride with the Baby. It will be fun to see the family, although I will miss Thanksgiving here. As my cousin put it, who could pass up mashed potatoes and japchae? Mmm.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sarah Palin believed Africa was a country, not a continent.

DO WE NEED ANY MORE REASONS??

I cannot believe that 46% of Americans felt she was more qualified than Joe Biden to be Vice President. Wake the fuck up! This is the woman that you would want leading our country in the event Joe McCain dies?

While we should be proud for electing Obama, we should be mortified for considering Palin.

Fucking shit.
It's scary how the simple act of joining the military can change your whole world view. I just saw a friend(?)'s status read, 'Socialism in America...scary.' What's scary to me is how quickly conservatives jump to such unfounded conclusions without knowing the facts. People need to realize that socialism is an economic policy. It is not a form of government. Can we do a little light reading on Wikipedia or something, please?

Getting back to my original point, our country's extreme conservatives scare me. To return to my previous post, we are a backwards country that has made itself believe we are 'free' to think, to act, to believe. Puh.

[So apparently some people are seriously considering relocation to Canada or Europe. That's not exactly going to solve any of the problems at hand. But Europe doesn't sound half bad.]

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So Obama has won. I think they could have called the election at 9:30pm. Wasn't anyone else watching when John King, using his fancy political map, made all of the remaining states (minus the west coast) all red, and McCain still wouldn't have reached 270?

So what did the Republican party learn from this election? One, the people are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Two, the GOP needs to reach out to the populations that felt ignored by them. And three, make wiser choices in running mates. Sarah Palin was the downfall of McCain's campaign. (Has anyone started selling 'Palin in 2012' shirts yet?)

We proclaim to be the most forward-thinking, progressive nation in the world, yet it took this long for a black man to be elected to the highest office. (Even consider that Paterson is the first black governor of New York. New York, of all states.) The world has breathed a heavy sigh of relief. We have taken the first step in catching up to the rest of the Western world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My new favorite site: My Mom is a Fob

My other new favorite site: My Dad is a Fob

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Husband: "I don't see you in clothes that often."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I am the only woman in the world who complains about losing weight. I have lost about 40lbs. Baby was born. I realize the weight loss is a result of breastfeeding and working, so I worry about it coming back when I stop pumping. That means I have to be more conscientious of what I eat. Dammit. It has been nice to just eat when I'm hungry, which happens to be pretty much all the time. I should probably drink more liquids, as I've noticed a sharp decrease in the volume I pump.

In less exciting news, we have Showtime free for a year. I haven't yet decided if that is a good thing or not. It's been available since last night, but there was nothing good on, nor is there anything good tonight. I'm a network girl during the week. Tonight, I watch 'Pushing Daisies.' Who doesn't like pie?

I was reminded today that our anniversary is next Wednesday. What does a couple do for their second anniversary? I am not a gift giver; I have never really been very good at it. I'm also not into the traditional anniversary gifts. I would be content with just a quiet night out by ourselves... a date, you could say. We haven't had a real date in a long time. Where? Dunno. Will have to consider some options.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I am dreading the week ahead, as Baby and I will have to navigate our morning routine on our own. Husband is in New York to help his Dad. (He broke his leg.) I've done the Husband-out-of-town thing before, but now I've got Baby to care for by myself. This weekend was uneventful and rather easy, but I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow and after.

I bought a stroller today, to replace the one we currently have. (It's Victoria's; her parents let us borrow it. Now that they are having another one, they will need it back.) However, I am considering returning it, but not because I dislike it. See, the cashier handed me a coupon valid starting next Sunday for 20% of a single item. Today I had a coupon for 10% off, but who doesn't want to save a little more money? Yes, it will definitely be worth more than the gas to drive there.

Now I'm off to bed to get as much sleep as I can. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So finally, after ten years--that's right, TEN--I am on my way to being naturalized. I don't have to classify myself as an immigrant anymore, hehe. I got my application in just ahead of the change in test format, so I will be tested with the 'old' questions, which are factual. (The 'new' questions require a deeper understanding of US history and government rather than an ability to recall information.)

The sheer length of time it took for me to complete and mail the application should indicate how high it sat on my priority list. (This is where Husband would groan and indicate that it should have been a very high priority; my naturalization would ease his clearance process.) It cost me $675 (application) plus $8 (photos) plus $18 (priority shipping). Ten years ago, it would have cost me $300 total... Oh.

I am scheduled for fingerprinting next Friday at 10am. I need to take the whole day off work because it doesn't make sense for me to go to work--I have a first period that ends at 9am--then drive to the police station (at least, that's where I think I need to go), and finally drive back to work. Who knows how long it will take. That means I will have a four-day weekend, with Monday off for Columbus Day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I don't know why anyone would choose to vote for McCain.

Let me rephrase.

I don't know why anyone would choose to vote for McCain after he selected Palin. We really don't need another person in the Executive Branch who speaks faster than her brain processes information.

Do you imagine this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yesterday I did lunch and a movie with Susanna. It felt like an 'adult outing,' despite being mundane. Perhaps it was the company that made the difference. We had some delicious Thai--the food helped erased the memory of a previous horrible experience--and watched the new Batman--intense and dark but a tad weak at the end. Susanna and I discussed school, naturally, and I can see we (and Dawn) will be good buddies. The dynamic of the workroom at lunch will change, perhaps for the better (or raunchier), since another teacher has left. She put quite a damper on the topics of conversation; uberconservative religious types tend to do that.

Today I did some organizing and cleaning in Baby's room. I rearranged some furniture, put away some clothes, and vacuumed (to the ear-piercing screeches of a terrified Baby). I vacuumed the living room as well. I also got some groceries for dinner and the rest of the week. I was in a domestic mood.

Also, Kettle Bakes potato chips are superb. They don't look like the weird, amorphic baked Lays chips, and they certainly taste like super fatty potato chips.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I feel good about getting back into the kitchen. It seems I took an unplanned hiatus, and fell into a tendency to do quick, not-so-nutricious dinners, mostly because I felt tired and lazy. I still feel tired, but it is certainly a relief to be in there and concentrating on something other than baby stuff. (Yesterday we did have pizza, but it had been a while and I had a craving.) Tonight, I just sauteed some green and red bell peppers with onions, and put them under a simply seasoned chicken breast, topped with a roasted pineapple and habaƱero sauce (store bought, I won't lie). Simple, fast, and healthy.

Then I realized it looked strikingly similar to the chicken dish pictured on a flier for Chevy's that was lying on the opposite counter. Weird.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Am a bit bummed that HBO has not renewed 'Tell Me You Love Me' for another season. It wasn't nearly as provocative as 'Queer as Folk' or 'The L Word.' I am going to miss it. Except for the parts when the 60-something therapist and her hubby get naked and bouncy on the couch.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Naming a child is harder than I imagined. While I may like the sound of a million names, I had to keep in mind that I had to call my child by that name for the rest of her life (so willing, as long as she doesn't decide to change it legally). When we finally got serious about figuring out a name (two weeks before she came - heh), there was no clear consensus, no single name jumped out as the winner. We racked our brains, scoured baby name websites, and browsed popular names registered with the Social Security Administration. It was only the week before that we ran across Anneli on a page of Swedish names; still, it wasn't immediately decided, but it had a nice ring to it. Before making any final decisions, we Googled the name and checked Wikipedia to make sure there weren't any serial killers or other crazies named Anneli (or some variation of it).

Anyway, I got to thinking about the whole process after I read some iReports on CNN. I have no idea why some parents make such awkward or inappropriate choices with names.
  • Richard Handler was an anthropology professor I had at UVA. On the first day of class, he walked in proudly with his golden retriever (he came to class every day) and announced, 'This is anthropology 101, and I am Dick Handler.' We all tried very hard to stifle our giggles. Dick Handler, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to the proclamation he had just made.
  • A girl I knew in high school had a brother named Woody Dick.
  • A girl I knew in high school was named Bbeun Yi Lee. In Korean, Lee Bbeun Yi (pronounced 'ee-ppuhn-ee') translates to 'pretty girl.' Pretty girl she was not.
I'm sure I've met more people with unfortunate names, but I can't think of them right now. Parents, please think long and hard about the names you choose. Please. But then again, I suppose people with unfortunate or funny names are easier to remember.

Monday, July 07, 2008

There are still good people left in the world.

We have a new washer and dryer coming this week. Our current machine--tiny, squeaky, just plain old--has run its course. I'm looking forward to having a shiny new washer and dryer. The washer is "high efficiency," which means I must part ways with the giant jug of Dreft; I used it to wash Baby's clothes (and I love the way it smells). Husband said, 'You'll get over it.' Sigh.

Also had to have ~$600 in repairs/maintenance completed on my car. Things are starting to wear down, probably because I have failed miserably to maintain it properly. (Sorry, I'm a girl, it happens.) Husband okayed the needed repairs; later he said, 'You need a new car.' Secretly, I'm pleased, but I'd like to hold off on an expensive purchase for a while longer. The car only has 83k miles, it will be fine for a few thousand more.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Blogger by way of Google now allows me to access information about my blogs. I am appalled.



[Click here to view full size. Use zoom tool to see what I mean.]

Appalled!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Am a bit stressed. It too shall pass.

As I entered my building, I noticed a package on top of the mailboxes. Not unusual since most deliveries that won't fit in the boxes are placed there. I would have glanced to check it wasn't ours and moved on, but... it was a paddle. A paddle covered in packing paper, criss-crossed with clear packing tape. Unmistakeably a paddle, as the paper and tape did little to disguise its shape. I didn't look closely enough to see the addressee.

Someone is either Greek... or into S&M.

Monday, June 30, 2008

On a recent episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8," Kate spent an afternoon making a delicious-sounding snack called "Monkey Munch." Contrary to initial assumptions, it does not contain bananas or marshmallows as the name might lead one to believe. (Well, bananas seem obvious, but I don't know why I associate marshmallows with monkeys.) I did some searching and found that she gave a different name to a Chex recipe for "Muddy Buddies." I suppose she gave it a more fun name so the kids could remember easily. I'm excited to make it for myself, since it isn't really appropriate for Baby to eat. :) I'll consider sharing some with Husband.

By the way, we did watch WALL•E. Very cute.

Friday, June 27, 2008

How sad is it that I gave myself a gift on Facebook? It was a picture of WALL•E. Opens this weekend. I'm hoping Husband and I can catch it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Of late, I have been obsessed with a certain working girl of note. (See right sidebar.) She's fascinating for no obvious reason. I downloaded and watched the UK serial based on the novel based on the blog. Loved it! The show premiered on Showtime last week (on or about), but I have yet to hear anything, positive or otherwise, about it. Since I only recently sought out her blog, I am doing a bit of fervent reading and scrolling as I catch up.

In other news of (un)import, I got a new phone today. Husband wanted a cheaper talk plan and fancier phones, which are rather fun and cute. (Mine's pink!) I busily typed in my contacts while purging those whom I have not called in the last twelve months or never plan to call again (as a result of Friday's outing).

In the rest of the country,
MINEOLA, Texas (AP) -- In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as "silly pills" and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.
Only in Texas.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Frightened by news of seventeen teenage girls who allegedly made a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together. (Available from various news sources.) People in their town (Gloucester, MA) are quick to blame the media and entertainment industry for this.

Also a bit disheartening that the schools, heavily influenced by the town's religious beliefs, continue to refuse to provide condoms to students. I understand the conflict with their beliefs, but in light of recent events, do parents continue to believe their children are pure of sin? Sex education is probably non-existent, or at least only exists as a push for strict abstinence. Tsk.

Pregnancy is not glamorous. Neither is parenthood. Both involve tons of work and commitment, neither of which these girls know. Doubtful that they will be shamed for their actions. This country purports to be conservative in its religious and moral beliefs, but we seem to turn a blind eye, and oftentimes celebrate, unplanned pregnancies by unprepared young girls. (I hesitate to call them 'young women,' as they severely lack maturity, forethought, and experience.) In no way do I condemn single-motherhood. In fact, kudos to women who can balance baby and career without a man (or woman, in any case); their babies are planned, and the women are well-prepared. (Presumably.)

Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed my pregnancy. Well, I wouldn't have missed the nausea, the sore boobs, the achy pelvis.

But returning to my original point. Apparently the babies will be born soon. (Why didn't this story make headlines months ago?) I'd like to see what happens.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A day out with new friends brings new meaning to my life

I spent the day with Susanna and Dawn, which was a fun little mix of art, books, and strangers on the Metro. We browsed the National Museum of American Art, which I had never been to because it is rather removed from the other museums. We walked from the Mall up 7th Street and found the museum a hop away from the Verizon Center and across from the Spy Museum. We checked out the folk art exhibit, which was fascinating, and several of the pieces were especially intriguing, one even moving. (If you go, check out the cut-out mural of the lynch mob parade by Kara Walker--haunting.) We also checked out the modern American art upstairs. There was one work called "For SAAM," which was a tall cylindrical thing lit up with LEDs. Messages scrolled horizontally, vertically, and diagonally; we tried to stand and read them all but it got a bit tedious, although the piece itself was neat. We stumbled across one call Electronic Superhighway, which was a huge display of the United States done in neon lights and TVs. Within the neon outlines of the states, TVs large and small ran various video montages; careful observation revealed that the montages related to each state somehow (potatoes in Idaho, bright lights and casinos in Nevada, historic locations in Virginia, etc.).

Afterward, we went across to street and had lunch at Zola. The food was awesome. I had a chicken sandwich with potato-egg salad--yum!

On the way back to the Metro--we could have taken it from Gallery Place but that thought didn't seem to occur to any of us at the time--we stopped at a small bookstore that was having a liquidation sale. Susanna and Dawn bought a few; nothing struck my fancy. (We passed the Archives station as well. Dunno.) We made it back to the Mall, where it looked like some sort of folk festival was being set up. [Edit: Indeed, the Smithsonian is hosting its annual Folklife Festival on the Mall. Perhaps Husband and I can go. We haven't had a date in a while.]

I had fun hanging out, doing grown-up things. (I knew I had a point. I just had to get there.) Being with Susanna and Dawn made me realize that the people I used to associate with (but no longer find myself remotely missing) lacked curiosity and culture. They had little desire to experience new places and try unfamiliar things. I could never suggest a museum day trip--they would have scoffed. I know exactly what they would think--museums are boring, stuffy, yawn yawn yawn. I'm glad I've found two people who like the same things I do. (Not to dismiss Husband's interests. In fact, he enjoys doing quiet, grown-up things too.) With my former friends (associates? acquaintances? I'm realizing also that I was not that close to them), our activities were limited to rather silly and often mindless things; our lunches/dinners were flavorless and unadventuresome. Perhaps it was simply out of comfort that I invested so much time with them. Secretly I think it made me feel better about myself because I knew I was more cultured, more curious, more open to new things, almost as if I was doing them a favor by being with them. Let me add some intelligence to this conversation, dear. I feel like I can have meaningful conversations now, even if the topics tend to drift toward sex and all things sex. (Fun!)

I am looking forward to spending a couple more days with them. (Susanna is leaving for a trip to Serbia in July, and Dawn is getting married in July.) What to do with the rest of the summer?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pregnancy and birth: the best diet in the world

Looking at pictures from just two years ago, I didn't realize just how fat I was. (Okay, I still am, but I had a baby. Yea, yea, I weigh less than before I got pregnant, but I'm still lardy.) I just looked through our engagement pictures and thought, "Geez, I'm glad I never posted those online." I was... round. I can't describe it any other way. I did end up losing some weight in the months leading up to the wedding. Now I bet I could fit into my wedding dress and then some. (What does a girl do with her wedding dress after the wedding anyway? But I digress...)

I only gained a net twenty pounds by the end of the pregnancy, and all of it in the last three months. I have definitely lost a lot of weight since the birth, which is obvious when my pants come off with a tug. I really thought I would have trouble losing the baby weight, but it's gone away on its own. My weight has remained relatively stable since then, despite my constant grazing. (Breastfeeding takes a lot out of you. I feel hungry often.) I'd still like to lose more weight, but it will be tough. For one thing, I have the summer off with nothing to do, which means I'm prone to watching TV or reading--not conducive to weight loss. For another, I don't feel as stressed or tired as I did while I was working, so I won't be burning off what I eat as quickly as I used to. On the other hand, with the nice weather this week, I have no excuse for not taking advantage of it and taking a stroll around the neighborhood with baby in tow. She loves being outside, so it will be good for both of us.

So here's the tentative plan: After her morning feeding, we take a walk around the block. It will still be temperate enough that she and I are comfortable.

Friday, June 13, 2008

a full life

Being home for the summer may seem like a godsend, but there are drawbacks.

1. My choice of friends with whom I can hang out is limited to my coworkers. All two of them. :) I love them dearly, don't get me wrong. They just happen to have the same work schedule, so it works out nicely. Besides, it will be nice to hang out with people who have figured out what they want in life and don't act like they're still in high school.

2. My daily life revolves around my baby. She is adorable, but her needs consume my life. Of course, this is what it means to be a mother. I love that new role. Putting aside my desires is the sacrifice I willingly make. But I sure do miss being able to get up and go.

3. I have a fast-growing mental list of Things That Need to be Done Around the House: replace windows, replace blinds, install curtains, replace washer and dryer, replace shower stall, rearrange baby's room, rearrange living room... Now to figure out WHEN...

4. I get the impression my husband feels (subconsciously?) that my being at home for the summer means I take care of all household chores. Not having to go to work means I have fifty less things to accomplish in a given day, but I'm still left with fifty things to do at home and not enough sanity to go around. Dinner, laundry, cooking, cleaning, groceries, bills, on top of everything for the baby. Yeesh.

5. There is nothing on TV.

***

I know it was a month ago, but Mother's Day was a bummer. Being my first, I had hoped it would be more... fulfilling? Other than getting a new camera (very cool), the day passed like any other. I took care of the baby, I did some laundry, I made dinner. Granted, I didn't do anything for my own mother, which was pretty lame on my part since I didn't do anything for her birthday a few days prior. I want to excuse my husband because it was his first Mother's Day without his mom, but does he get a pass on me? Well, it's done and gone. No point in working myself up about it anymore. I do enjoy the camera, though. Lots of pictures of the baby.

Father's Day is this Sunday. I got him a gift. I need to get something for my dad. I'm hoping he (husband) has thought about, or has already gotten, a gift for his dad.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

my busy little life as a mom

i am currently blogging about our beautiful baby girl, anneli.