Saturday, September 24, 2011

My New Obsession

Asian Cooking.

Since our move in June, my taste buds have decided that the most delicious food on the planet is Asian food. Curry, Rice, Thai food, Noodles bowls...Oh, may the Heavens open up and swallow me whole! I can't get enough. It is all I want to eat these days. And I have entered on a new quest to figure out how to make them.

I have gone to a local Asian Market and invested in new ingredients to me, including fish sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, fried shallots, chile paste, Srirache sauce (my favorite!), sesame oil. I have a pile of recipes to try. I have had some successes, some failures. I have tons to learn. And I'm totally intimidated by what may be the most simple thing in the world, but seems to be an incomprehensible mystery: Asian Noodles.

If you've shopped at an Asian market before, you have seen the vast quantities and varieties of noodles they sell. It is truly impressive! Package after package of noodles that are slightly different from each other, but since I don't read their languages, I can't figure out what makes them different, or how exactly to find the one kind of noodle that is specified in a recipe. I definitely don't know enough about them to know how they will behave in a recipe, so I certainly can't blindly choose something out of the masses.

I asked for help, and the kind owner of the shop led me to all the different kinds of noodles I needed. I purchased some dried Chinese egg noodles. I have never cooked them before, and so when I got home and started making dinner, I read these Engrish instructions (click on the picture to make it big enough to read):

It made me laugh. I clearly have a lot to learn about this.

***And while we're on the topic, if you have a favorite Asian recipe that makes your mouth sing, please share it with me! I'd love to add it to my repertoire.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Unreasonable Expectations

Spiff went off to work in the ICU this Saturday morning, leaving the house at 6:30 to ride his bike to work. He will probably return home tonight after 8:00 pm. He is working 13/14-hour shifts both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. This is after a week of 7pm-9am night shifts.

I mention this because, after he left this morning, I got up and read this status on a friend's facebook status:

"if grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events, and gas stations can serve the public on the weekends with out raising their rates, why can't doctors' offices? Seriously, they should staff-up 7 days a week, and evenings too. Because we all know that's when kids like to get sick."

I had to fight really hard to keep myself from posting a snippy, irritated comment in response. And in the end, I couldn't help myself from defending the doctors. I mentioned that doctors do work on the weekends, and they are do work around the clock in hospitals. I also mentioned that they are available at urgent-care and ER facilities. Her response was that doctor's weekend options are too expensive, so they should open their clinics on weekends and evenings at a normal rate.

In my opinion, expecting doctors to be available in their clinics at all times at normal rates is unreasonable. Should we expect plumbers, electricians, computer technicians, and all other professions to work around the clock, without overtime pay, just in case we need them? I don't think so.

Besides the fact that there are often weekend option available, I think it is important to think about the lifestyles of those providing services before demanding that they are available for our every whim.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I lived in Eugene, OR for five years. I fell in love with it for many reasons, a few of which are these:
  • Our great family and friends.
  • The coast, just a 45-minute beautiful drive away.
  • Blackberries growing wild on every road side.
  • Green, Green Everything
  • Bike and running paths to take you anywhere you want to go.
  • Ducks Football
  • And last, but not least, Café Yumm!

Sweet Mhana just brought me this extra large bottle of Yumm! sauce:
I made bi-monthly trips to this eatery while I lived there, and I deeply miss it. This sauce is amazing, and unfortunately for me, perishable. I can order it online, but it has to be constantly refrigerated, making it way out of my shipping price range. I even tried to make it last year by replicating the secret recipe from knock-off recipes online. The result looked good but tasted far from accurate, and far from satisfying. Now, I almost feel like I have a bottle of pure, edible gold sitting in my fridge.

I can't wait to dig into my homemade version of this deliciousness!

Café Yumm! is a small chain with locations in Portland, Bend, Corvallis and Eugene, OR. Check it out if you're ever in the area. It is so very very delicious!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vacation Crazies

The boys and I visited my parents last week. It was a glorious vacation. We didn't do much but sit around my mom's house and play with her toys. It was so nice for me because I didn't have my own chores to do, no mountains of laundry, not my own kitchen to clean, not my bills to pay or errands to run. I was free to simply play with my kids. And my mom fed my baby during dinner every day. I even got a couple naps while I was there. It was a real vacation for me, although we did miss Spiff, who was working like a dog at the horse-pistol.

We returned late in the evening a couple days ago and dumped our vacation on the floor before falling into bed. We woke up in the morning to company (so fun to have Spiff's mom and sister in town!) and a day off for Spiff, which made for a fun-filled day and weekend.

Then today, I attempted to clean up the vacation that was still on the floor from two days ago. So much cleaning to do! Bills, errands, etc. Not to mention the fact that I have yet to make it to the grocery store since before I left on my trip a week and half ago. Seriously, how do people recover from vacations?

And then there are the children. Good heavens, the children! Both of them have spent the past 36 hours crying, whining, or complaining constantly. The baby refuses to sleep at night these days. I need someone to please remind him that he is not, in fact, a newborn, and does not need to eat three times a night! I'm sleep-training now (for real this time), and it's so miserable. He cries and is awake all night, so he's tired and cranky all day. This night-waking thing is baffling us. It could be just a phase, could be separation anxiety. A lack of self-soothing skills. Teething. Tummy problems. Who knows. But it's exhausting me.

And Gunner, since we got home, refuses to believe that he can entertain himself. He seriously has seemed to lose all ability to do anything on his own. I guess all that extra love and attention he got from me and his grandparents was the absolute wrong thing to do on vacation. Next time we should all completely ignore him.

Plus, he has developed this attitude. I have heard that it's common for three-year-olds to become bossy. Boy, is he bossy. And rude. He told me today, while I was snuggling him and reading him a book, that he wanted me to "shut my mouth."

That's when I put all of his favorite toys on an indefinite time out. He has to earn them back by being nice to me and by doing nice things.

That'll teach him to be rude to his momma!

Oh, boy.

It's just vacation detox, right? Right?! A few days of regular schedule, food and sleep patterns will calm them both down. Right? Please tell me we'll all start getting along again. Please tell me that the vacation crazies will go away. Soon.

I may never go on vacation again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Nothing to Report

I have posted in a few weeks because I haven't come across anything I felt blog-worthy in a while. We have had a month of nothing to report, other than this stuff:

I am still struggling with that darn oven! Since the banana bread, it ruined yet another loaf of pear bread (I decided to give up on that one), and it burned a blueberry pie. An oven thermometer has just moved up to the top of my shopping list. I don't think I can emotionally continue to try to bake and fail.

I ran a half marathon on Saturday with all my siblings and two of my siblings-in-law. This has been a tough training program for me this time around because Spiff has been so busy, and I haven't been able to rely on him to watch the kids. I also haven't been well rested because of my young baby who has decided not to sleep much these days. Because of this, my goal going into the Half was just to finish.

Then two days before the event, I decided that I felt really good after all, and I was going to try to PR. Race day was beautiful, the course was great, and I did, in fact, set a new personal record of 1:58:45, beating my time from 2 1/2 years ago by a whopping 10 seconds. I find myself actually being disappointed for not being even faster, but I have to remind myself that I didn't train for a PR, and I should be happy with my effort. I am grateful for my new running partner, Kalie, who has been there with me stride for stride with jogging stroller in tow, as we pounded the pavement over the past couple months. I am grateful for the friends and family who watched my children so that I could run. And I'm grateful to have had the experience of participating in a distance running event with my family, team SRT. When I started running 13 years ago, I never thought I would see the day when all of my siblings would run with me. I love it!

And also, Spiff and the boys and I have enjoyed some small hikes on Spiff's off days this past month. It has been a nice way to enjoy some family together time. It's free, it's out of the house, and it wears Gunner out completely. We did a 2-mile hike last week where Gunner actually walked 9/10s of the way all by himself! At a steep point in the hike, we told him that we were mountain goats, like the Billy Goats Gruff, and we were going to climb a mountain. It is the first walk we have taken with him in a long time that he didn't complain about being tired.

This is a pretty lengthy, wordy post for having absolutely nothing to say. Thanks for listening to my rambling.
Until next time!