Thursday, December 24, 2009


In my past couple of posts I included a few pics pertaining to my visit to Colorado last week and now I guess I'll include the rest of them.

With Sarah and Eva already in Denver, I was able to get two birds with one stone, make that three, because Heather Feather Smith Janssen joined us from Nebraska, and with child.

Right when Heather got in, we did a nice little walk through the "Garden of the Gods", a park of several stunning and amazing rock formations clustered together in one area. It was a chilly, but beautiful and clear day.

If we were a family, this would be our pic. Christmas cards 2010, here we come.

The Kissing Camels. Can you see them?

The highlight of the weekend was supposed to be a tour of local candy factory, Hammonds. The tour was about as exciting as this pic, and about as interesting as the random snowman that Heather Feather is holding.

We did a lot of stuff all weekend which mostly included eating, hanging around, and talking about cooking. Well, me listening to Eva and Sarah talk about cooking, in which I learned a lot! Next time I'm at high altitudes, I think I'll likely bake better now!

We made a short visit to Manitou Springs and took a little tour of the town.

We hiked a really steep hike in Boulder the last day and took this very Bouldery photo to top it all off.

It was a good trip and it was nice to be able to catch up with everyone, and to spend time with Heather before she births her child. Plus, Denver is beautiful!

Sarah buys milk

I was in Denver, CO last week visiting Sarah and Eva. It was fun to visit them in their new city and just hang, hike a bit, and listen to them talk about cookbooks and the latest cooking techniques. One night, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights then before returning home, stopped at the store to pick up some milk. Here is Sarah's journey purchasing milk.

Sarah entered Safeway with high hopes of finding milk to purchase. She were pretty certain she would emerge successful.

But it's not to say that she didn't have her challenges. This Safeway was a big store. There's a lot of places milk could be.

As Sarah quickly found out, there was no milk in the produce section. For example, this melon? Not milk.

Nor was the milk under the Christmas tree? That would be an affirmative "no."

Freezer section? Well, let me ask you this, does milk = frozen calf liver?

Is the bacon milk? Not likely.

Neither does Salt and Vinegar chips does not milk make.

Still no milk to be found, but content and with a happy heart, Sarah continued her search through Safeway, determined to find milk.

And then there it was. Like ice in a freezer. Sarah spied with her tall eyes, milk in the dairy section.

Oh what joy! Elation was hers!

And the milk was found!

Then as it turns out I bought the milk. Which I was fine to do. Sarah did all the hard work locating the milk, the least I could do was pay for it.

And that is the story of "Sarah buys (locates) milk".

The end.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

People of Manitou Springs, CO

I think by now most of us have visited and had a pretty good laugh. I guess if I were going to start up a similar website, you would be able to visit it at and I would kick it off with this sighting:

Poor dog but so fortunate for us! Talk about a treat on our visit to Manitou Springs, CO! It's not everyday you get to see this walking down the street! Awesome.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mia's Tol

This post is way past due, but it is definitely still worth posting.

Mia had her 1st birthday back in October and we had a big party to celebrate! It's a party she will never recall, but by the power of digital and film, hopefully she'll get an idea of how much fun it was!

In Korea, a child's first birthday, or "tol", is a pretty big deal. To celebrate, friends and family gather together to eat and observe an elaborate ceremony featuring the little one.

For Mia's tol, we dressed her in traditional Korean clothing and simplified the ceremony, or "toljabee".

A toljabee is a table ceremony in which certain items symbolic of a child's future are placed on a table. The child is then placed at the table in front of the items and depending on which item the child picks, is believed to be a predictor of the child's future. Typical items placed on the table include:

- bow and arrow: the child will become a warrior (not really applicable for this time period)
- needle and thread: the child will live long
- jujube: the child will have many descendants
- book, pencil, or related items: the child will become a successful scholar
- money: the child will become rich
- ruler, needle, scissors: the child will be talented with his/her hands
- knife: the child will be a good cook

We had a tol for Kimball too and he picked the thread, symbolic of longevity. Here's a video of what Mia picked:

Mia couldn't really figure out why we were clapping for her and looked to mom for an explanation, but I think she eventually caught on that she just did something way too cute and totally awesome. She picked the pencils meaning she'll be smart and educated. Every year my parents always hope the kids will choose the money...maybe the next one.

We had a big party with a ton of traditional Korean dishes and an over abundance of cake and rice cake. The cake we got from Costco and the rice cake, which weighed about 30-lbs. we got from the Korean store of course.

And little Mia with her dairy-free diet, got a cupcake all to herself. Lucky little girl.

It was so much fun and really, the best part of the party was the ceremony. It's so fun to see what the kid picks and then to just kind of believe that that's how their future could turn out. I wonder what I picked when I was that age, a question to ask the parents I suppose.

Another key moment of the weekend was this little clip I happened to catch of my dad. Our house was overrun with children and I think by the end, my dad was just pooped. He's pretty much just holding a pink balloon. (Sorry it's sideways, but after 10-seconds, I turn the camera to get the right angle.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How I came to terms with walking

Walking. The simple act of placing one foot in front of the other. A natural means of getting from one place to the next. A thoughtless, instinctive function almost as inherent as breathing, eating and drinking. Sped up, it becomes running. Slowed it down it takes on the adage: "dragging one's feet". Walking. It is a needful human attribute that literally, keeps us moving. Yet why do we fight it? Why do we shun it? And so many times, why do we insult the very action that allows us to progress forward?

Case in point: a parking lot. How needful is it for us to drive circles around a crowded parking lot looking for a parking space? I am going to make a conjecture and say that we have trained our minds and our bodies to yearn for the closest possible spot to leave our car and effectually, limit our walking. Why? Because a few extra feet is five steps too many? Because since you can't actually park your car inside the desired location, it's imperative to get as close as possible otherwise? Truly, let us think about this. Will parking a few spaces down, a few rows across, or an extra block away be such a burden to recover from by walking just a little bit extra?

Which is why I say, EMBRACE IT! For this reason, not too long ago, I came to terms with walking and rather then kick against it, I decided to love it. Why come? Because it is a part of me. It is so much of who I am. I cannot do without it and to it I owe so much.

So, now instead of wasting time driving circles around meaningless parking lots of my life, I leave my car where it is and I walk. And in return, I have health, peace, a lowered risk of parking lot accidents (the second most common car accident) and more gas in my car. Life has been better ever since.

Join in me in coming to terms with walking. Accept it as a positive part of life and let it "walk" to your advantage. And when people in your car ask you, "Um, why did we park so far away? I'm sure there's something closer," you say to them, "'Close' is relative. I see this as an opportunity. Deny not yourself the nature of your being. Walk with me."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Glee: Music to my ears

I love this show! What is it about these television characters singing songs to each other that just makes me feel so happy? I love this show!

Since I started watching it there are only a few numbers that I haven't liked, but for the most part it is so fun to watch! I will say, the plot isn't anything special, but the singing is worth the hour invested every week. I highly recommend it to everyone!

I tried to find some of my favorite songs from the show, but Fox seems to be pretty particular about what they post online. Pretty annoying since there are so many good ones! YouTube has many postings, but only audio, which isn't as satisfying as watching the characters perform the songs. I've posted a couple from YouTube, but I recommend checking out the Glee website and starting from the first episode of the season. You'll love it!

Glee special guest Kristin Chenoweth singing Heart's "Alone"

Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"

"Defying Gravity" from Wicked

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nerds Disturb

For all of the reasons I have ever wondered why Wilky Wonka Candy Co. ever invented Nerd Rope, I now have my answer.

The other day in class, I heard what resembled the faint sound of gravel being poured into a steel wheel barrel. The gentle racket seemed to rumble through the virtually silent classroom as my professor lectured. Naturally, I looked around to see where the sound was coming from and just to my right, I saw my classmate tilting a theater-size box of multi-flavored Nerds candy into his mouth.

If you've heard someone eat Nerds, it's not an inconspicuous candy in the least.

Seeing my classmate pouring those little Nerds into his mouth made me wonder two things:

- Why Nerds? Those have to be among the most terrible candies of all time!
- Nerds? Really? Couldn't you have chosen a quieter candy for class time?

So, are they really that terrible? Now I am sure that Lee would likely take me down for speaking ill of his favorite candy. Turning to the internet, "Nerds" candy appears on both best and worst candy lists so it's really difficult to say whether Nerds are loved or hated.

For a little background, Nerds were first introduced in 1983. Nerds originally came in packages of two flavors to give consumers "control" over their eating experience. Nerds has since spawned several product extensions including: Sour Nerds, Giant Chewy Nerds, Nerds Cereal, Nerds Rope, Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans, Techno Nerds, Nerds Gum. Amazing how a little, rudely-shaped spec of crystallized sugar can lead to such greatness!

I remember eating Nerds when I was little. Total sugar bliss! I would pour as many as possible in my mouth and swirl them around in my spit as the sugar dissolved. So gross, but oh what fond memories!

I guess Nerds can't be that horrible considering they are still around and if Wilky Wonka is making variations of Nerds over several types of products, they are taking a successful candy and milking it for everything they can.

In regard to question two, yes, marshmallows would likely have been a better choice, but doesn't it just seem like all the good candies tend to make a racket when eaten? In brainstorming notoriously loud candies, I came up with a few instantly.
Of course, my favorites are, er, used to be, Whoppers and Hot Tamales, but I also loved Tangy Taffy, Laffy Taffy, Starbucks, Mambas, actually, you name it and I ate a lot of it!

But, the answer to my question, is, yes, there are plenty of other candies to be eaten in a quiet setting. Which makes me wonder why they sell boxed candies at the movie theater...

And to answer my initial question of why they make Nerd Rope? So guys like my classmate can have their Nerds in class and eat it too - without disturbing the people around them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chelsea the Halfsy

Last night I had a dream that Chelsea Combs' mom was Asian. I am not sure what kind of Asian, but she was the short, spunky, funny kind of Asian that is sometimes common.

In my dream, the realization that Chelsea's mom was of the Asian sort was quite alarming. In my dream, I was under the premise that I had never met Chelsea's mom, nor was I aware of her unidentified cultural background. It was alarming to say the least as Chelsea, nor her mom, had ever struck me as the Asian type. With good reason. (Please see photo at left). But on the positive side, I immediately felt a stronger connection to Chelsea. As if she knew of and had experienced half of my life. As though she knew what life as half of Miriam was like. Not that I've been oppressed or anything, or that I have undergone such duress for being noticeably Asian, but it's just that connection that people from the same ethnic background end up sharing because they have lived such similar lives. That was our connection.

In my dream, it all seemed to make sense as to why Chelsea would be half Asian. Dark hair. Yup. And that in a nutshell totally explains it. While nothing else about Chelsea in real life screams, "I'm a halfy!" in my dream, it all made sense. And in that brief moment of sleep euphoria believing that Chelsea was Asian, I felt that we had never been closer and that we knew each other well, almost as Korean comrades.

Welcome to the fold Chelsea, well, at least half of you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

William-Sonoma A-Z

For all of you kitchen connoisseurs, you gotta check out this blog post from Jennie Doezie, a true kitchen gear junkie. For eight years she has worked at William-Sonoma on a part-time basis and in this post, she says her farewell, and shows off her kitchen full of her employee-discounted purchases. I'm sure WS will miss you Jennie!

Doezieland - Good-bye, my lover

Baby Safe Ball Shaker

Terribly funny. For those times when you just can't take it anymore.

New BabySafe Ball Makes Shaking Your Infant Guilt And Injury Free

Monday, October 26, 2009

The hottest baby toy is what?

Introducing the hottest selling baby toy on right now, Sophie the rubber giraffe. Not to be mistaken for a dog toy, this giraffe is soft to the baby touch, light and easy to hold and when you squeeze it, it squeaks, er, I mean, makes a "happy sound"!

Rachel was in Europe and picked one up for little Mia's first birthday. Mia liked it all right. I guess for a teething baby, it might come in handy more.

Anyway, for all you mom's out there, this is probably old news. But just in case you're looking for a good baby gift, look to the rubber giraffe. It doesn't look like much, but apparently, millions of babies agree, it's a winner.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lois, Mom clip

This is such a great clip from the irreverent but hilarious animated sitcom, "Family Guy."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Modern Life

I love my new apt. It is a cute brick building. Wood floors. Big kitchen. Big bedroom. Lots of space all around. And super close to campus. It's an older building and with that, comes the absence of some of life's little luxuries, although now in these modern times, these items wouldn't really be considered luxuries, but rather, basic necessities.

While much of the apartment has been upgraded, two little features I have become accustomed to are: a garbage disposal and a dishwasher.

When I signed the lease, I was very aware that these two amenities were not included in the apartment, but, just as I had thought I could live without a washer/dryer way back when, I mistakenly assumed the same thinking I could do without these two luxuries this time around.

Such an absence has burdened me much. Now when cooking, I have to remember that anything I dump into the sink, I eventually have to fish out with my hand. And while I used to enjoy washing the occasional cup and bowl, it's inconsequential compared to washing ALL of the cups, bowls, plates, pots, pans and utensils, ALL of the time! Washing a lot of forks individually blows.

I realize that it may sound as though I am complaining, which is why I propose this challenge so you too, can feel my pain.

For one week, assume everyday business in your kitchen, except that you do not have a disposal nor a dishwasher. Experience for yourself the difficulties so many endured before the dawn of modern kitchen appliantry. I am certain that you, as have I, will learn quickly how fortunate we are to live in this day and age where we don't have to pull mushy scraps and leftover yuck out of the kitchen drain regularly and where dish-pan hands are a thing of the past. Then, you will be grateful.

It is times like this where I anger at the thought of my mom who continues to use her brand new, state-of-the-art, dishwasher only as a drying rack and still covers the drain of the In-Sink-Erator to catch food and other debris. Grrr...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mia hears food

Mia is a food fiend. She is nuts about food and gets angry when she sees food but can't have it. She has super food senses and it seems that she can spot food from far away. My dad loves to just sit and watch her eat.

At 11 months, she is also an avid walking. I gave my mom a bag of treats I brought back from China and Mia immediately perked up when she heard the crinkling of the bag.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Faces without names

Pretty much my whole life having friends, my dad has never been able to remember any of my friend's names. Granted, when I was little, I had one friend and he didn't have a problem remembering what she was called, but as soon as I started accruing more and more friends, the less he was able to identify who was whom.

Since fourth grade, I pretty much had the same friends up through high school. Most of them, I spent all my time with and talked to on a daily basis. My dad would pick them up for sports, answer the phone when they called, greet them when they dropped by. Yet, he was never able to put a name with a face.

To my dad, all of them had one name. Specifically, one of friends was named Maren and in his mind, all of them were called Maren. Ariane, white and tall, and Mylinh, Vietnamese and smiley, were the two I hung out with the most, yet to him, they were both named Maren, who was white and red-headed. For some reason, he just couldn't get them straight.

And it's never really gotten much better. My two close friends in college were Holly, white and blond, and Kyong, Korean and short. Although he didn't call them "Maren," they only became, "the one who showers long time" and "the one who showers long time friend".

So, this weekend I am in Seattle and as I was driving in, I called my dad to let him know what time I would arrive.

Me: I'm almost home, dad.
Dad: Oh good good. Did you drive alone?
Me: Yes.
Dad: No good. You didn't bring um, he, what, uh, he, um...
(At this point, I can bail him out and give him the name he is looking for, or choose to let him continue to fish for it. This time around I let him try to figure it out.)
Dad:, he, what, he, um, eh...What his name?
Me: Kyle.
Dad: Yes! Kyle. He come?
Me: Nope.
Dad: Oh.

Granted, he hasn't spent a ton of time with Kyle, but he knows who he is, he asks about him often, and he's met him several times. Plus, Kyle and I have been dating for almost a year. But that's usually how it goes. He racks his brain, throws out names and hopes he picks the right one.

Bless him. At least all my old school friends know my dad well enough that they've excepted the fact that they are all Maren to him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Noticeably Asian

Today I leave for China on a trip with my MBA program. I've pretty much been looking forward to it all summer and although it feels like summer is over because I am now back in Eugene which makes me feel like I'm back in school, I definitely still have some good vacation time left!

The China trip is a two-week study tour the business school at Oregon takes pretty much every summer. This year we are visiting Beijing and Shanghai after which I am extending my stay in Asia with a week-long visit to Thailand before heading back for the start of school at the end of September.

Today we had our Orientation and sat through several hours of speakers giving us a crash course in the Chinese language, a brief history of China, and the political and economic climate. The morning was quite uneventful to say the least, but it ended with a bang!

In our last hour, we had a Chinese native marketing researcher speak to us on sports marketing in China. As our Managing Director answered some of our questions about our trip, I noticed her "eyeing" me from in the periphery, but chose to ignore it as it was a familiar sort of "eyeing" she was doing. To be specific, it was the kind of "eyeing" that said, "You are Asian, as am I. Automatically, we have a lot in common, especially if you are Chinese, such as myself."

I have become very accustomed to this sort of "eyeing" and I prefer to ignore it more than anything. When I am being "eyed", I think to myself, "Listen, just because you're Asian, as am I, I don't really care. I'm sure that all we really have in common is the fact that we are both Asian but that doesn't automatically make us BFFs." I suppose it's such like when you pull up next to someone on the road who is driving your same model car and for whatever reason, they wink at you or give you a thumbs up or some other sort of indication of approval that you both have so much in common because you're both driving a Honda Accord. Admittedly, hybrid drivers may have this inherent connection, but for the rest of us, not so, and doubley, awkward in the moment.

So, today, as I was sitting in this room, ignoring the "eyeing" going on, our Managing Director introduced our guest Chinese speaker, then turned the time over to her.

She briefly introduced herself and then asked, "You are all going to China, right? Has anyone ever been to China?" She looked around the room full of white Americans. And me.

"Anyone? Has anyone been to China?"

We all sat there either shaking our heads, no, or just staring at her because no, no one has been to China.

"Anyone? None of you have been to China?" she asked again peering around the room, eyeing me with each pass.


And then she did it. Argh!

Looking right at me she said, "You. I noticed that you are Asian."

A bit caught off guard and immediately amused, along with the entire room, I sat up and said, "Um, yup. Yeah. I am Asian."

"You have never been to China?" she asked.

"No. I have not. I am actually Korean, so you know. Yeah."

"Oh, I see."

Yes. Don't we all. I could stop laughing for at least5 minutes. Everyone got a great laugh out of it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rachel in San Diego

The longer I am here in San Diego, the more and more I come to really love this place! A few times a week, I try to get out and do something different. I'll go find a new place to run, try a different place to eat or go check out a cool city site. It all just makes San Diego even better! I really like it here!

This weekend Rachel came into town and she took me out to do the things she loves in SD and we had a lot of fun!

We got a late start Saturday morning which actually just means that we happily slept in way longer than we should have.

We started out on Coronado Island and rented some beach cruisers from Bikes and Beyond in the Ferry Landing Marketplace. We rode our bikes along a bike path around the island. I don't know the distance that we cruised, but it was a beautiful little tour around Coronado. We eventually ended at the famous Hotel del Coronado. What an amazing place! The weather was perfect, hot with a cool breeze. My cruiser was a little bit rickety and noisy, but we cruised well and had a nice time taking in the sites! San Diego rocks.

Having worked up quite the appetite, we headed over to Ocean Beach to my new favorite taco joint, South Beach Bar & Grill. This was my third time there in two weeks and I had to take Rachel. Robin introduced me to it initially and I just can't get enough of the fish tacos! They have a good variety of seafood tacos, from MahiMahi and Wahoo to shrimp and shark. My favorite, after trying several of them, is the oyster. I can't get enough of it! It's a bit of a workout to get a seat though. The place is a bar and it's always busy, and you have to do the "hover" thing to get a table. Tacos Tuesdays are especially busy, but worth the effort at $2.50 a taco! It can be stressful but it's so worth it, the tacos are so that good! Full of flavor and just delicious!

After four delicious tacos, we got back in the car and took a tour of OB then drove over to Sunset Cliffs which is just south and full of coastline.

Rachel then insisted I have some dessert at one of her favorite San Diego destinations, Extraordinary Desserts in downtown. One word: perfection. My pictures do little justice to the beauty of this dessert display, but hopefully you'll get the idea.

The huge powder sugared mound is a berry cobbler which we ordered.

Holy cow, it was delicious. From the whipped cream to the variety of berry puree, it was so good! It was joy on a plate!

Rachel tried to eat one of the rose petals because there was some whoop cream on it, but I was able to slap the spoon out of her hand just in time. I would have licked the plate, but the place was a little bit too eclectic for that kind of behavior. Actually, McDonalds would be considered too eclectic for that sort of behavior.

Apparently there are two locations of this bakery/restaurant. They serve both desserts and entrees as well as a wide variety of teas and wines. Although, there is no soda, but they do have elixirs, so yeah, that's cool.

All in all, it's been a super fun weekend! We did a lot and explored a lot. San Diego continues to amaze me. I love this place!