chukichi

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Category Archives: children

Saturday, in the Park…ing lot

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I am sitting in my car at 8:34 AM—cigarette lighter fan going, ice cold Diet Cokes within reach, listening to Spotify, typing on my laptop on a desk that attaches to my steering wheel…  What a time to be alive!

Why yes, my car *is* dirty.

Now, I’m not sitting in a random parking lot like a creep; I’m sitting in the parking lot of a local middle school like a weirdo.  My Saturdays for the next 3-4 months will be occupied with taking Josh to his Korean language class.  Yeah…Korean.

NewsflashI’m not Korean.

Neither is my husband nor are either of my children.  I am a firm believer that kids learn better when they actually want to because I’m one of those kinds of hippy nerds.  You know, the correct kind.  Of course, he was completely uninterested in my 5 years of high school and college Spanish that I’ve completely forgotten.  Japanese was briefly considered which would have been awesome, but he is, if anything, a practical old man in a young man’s body and chose Korean based on his 6 years of tae kwon do.  He has a variety of instructors that are fluent and excited to help him practice and he also reasons that if he ever has the opportunity to study at Kukkiwon, he should probably know how to communicate.

I’m almost 4 times his age and he has his shit together better than I do.  Fucking hell.

So that decision lead us to the Korean language program recommended by his Grandmaster taekwondo instructor.   It’s the same school that his own children attended so you can’t really get a better recommendation than that.  Every Saturday we leave the house by 8 AM so we can eat breakfast and make it to class by 8:45; class ends at 12:15 PM.  We study daily throughout the week and when I say “we”, I mean I observe that he does his homework and studying and sporadically suggest he watch a YouTube video to check pronunciation.  I was able to highlight some words in a Korean-English dictionary for him.  I’m helping.

This class started on August 10 which just so happened to overlap with his tae kwon do black belt ceremony.  See?  So much has happened since I last blogged for real!  He tested in May of this year and the weeks leading up to his exam involved extra classes throughout the week and double classes on Monday nights.  It was also expensive, at least, what we consider expensive.  It was practically spit-take expensive, but completely worthwhile and necessary.  Could you imagine how shitty that would have been to say no to such a milestone?  Hey, I know you spent *literally* half of your life working up to this, but I’m going to take this opportunity to stop supporting your goals.

Oh my fried chicken!

The hardest part was waiting for the official confirmation that he would be promoted—all test results are sent to Korea and reviewed and approved at Kukkiwon which took about 8 weeks.  His first day of Korean language class was cut short so we could attend his black belt ceremony where I cried for LITERALLY the entire time.  I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THAT’S MY KIND OF PROUD MOM CRAZY BULLSHIT.

I know that it might seem weird to just sit outside for three and a half hours, but I’m about 40 minutes away from home based on traffic so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive him here, drop him off, go home for an hour or so, come pick him up, go back home.  It just feels wasteful for both time and gas.  There is a Sam’s Club right down the street, and an H-Mart not far from that, so at least when I need to shop, it’s convenient.  I’ve been spending most of my time doing lesson plans and research but now, I’m trying to use at least part of this block of time for Me whether it be writing, working on some perpetually unfinished craft project, or simply napping.  Honestly, at first I felt a bit like a martyr for “selflessly” sacrificing my Saturday mornings for my offspring but that mindset was, at least for me, true mommy blogger virtue signaling bullshit.  I fucking chose this, happily and freely.  I don’t have brat kids that beg or guilt me; in fact, quite the opposite.  Josh spent quite some time really considering what he wanted to do–tae kwon do 3 days a week, swim two days a week and now this class for the entirety of his Saturday morning.  He purposefully declined joining the demo team at TKD so that he could focus on what was already on this plate.

If you’re unaware, a demo team is exactly what it sounds like:  a group that demonstrates all of the cool, choreographed showy moves.  We went to a local tournament this year to support some of his classmates and ever since he hasn’t stopped talking about how his school should re-start their demo team so he could join.  Sure enough, they decided to re-form and he was really torn.  Demo team would have meant one more evening in class for a total of EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK doing something.  He made his decision based on my boundaries, his own time restrictions, and how it would impact his family, not just himself.  Again, what even is this child!

Luckily, I don’t have to worry about Robin wanting to learn Korean—as of right now, she says she wants to learn Italian so she can understand musical terminology better.  GREAT.

On being hungry

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Well damn.  I take a nap and the whole country is at war.  Again.  About food.

Abraham is rethinking his life choices.

Social media is attacking everyone on their opinion about the White House dinner for Clemson’s football team (sooooo much, just Google that mess).  Basically, fast food is garbage to serve people vs. ‘real’ Americans love fast food, cater them a proper meal vs. tax payers shouldn’t pay for meals for college athletes, they loved the meal! vs. they thought this was a joke!

It is definitely a new level of absurdity that an entire group of people traveled to the White House, dressed up, and ate fast food served on historical solid silver platters during the longest government shutdown to date.  I tried to understand who pays for these invitations–if the President invites you to hang out, does the taxpayer buy plane tickets?  Is it up to the individual?  I assume it’s like going out on a traditional date:  the person doing the asking should be the person doing the paying (unless the person being asked feels more comfortable paying their own way but does so in quarters because she’s broke but doesn’t want to be obligated on this outing that she really, really wants to be a date but isn’t sure is a date because no one ever said it was a date-date, not that that’s ever happened to me or anything).  According to this 2014 article from the Guardian, “The cost of meals for some White House events, including state dinners and receptions, is picked up by the State Department or political parties….For private events, presidents pay for food and beverages, use of waiters and servers and setup and cleanup crews. Taxpayers are only supposed to pay for official government functions.”  So…are athlete dinners official or just a fancy, expensive date?

The hands make this picture look really tense for some reason.

Why is food such a divisive and controversial subject?  Food is weaponized against every group, every class, every person in this country.  If you have allergies to dairy or gluten then you’re just pretentious, if you eat fast food you’re uncultured trash, if you try to eat a healthier, more organic diet you’re a hippy, if you’re overweight then you’re just the worst across the board–crank that up by 1000 if you’re overweight and on any public assistance like SNAP.

Articles like this one from The Atlantic are popping up (again) announcing what a lot of already know or already experienced:  college students are not getting enough food, especially student athletes.  From Thanks for nothing: NCAA leaving athletes hurt and hungry:

“I called my coach after opening an empty fridge and told him “ Coach I ain’t got no food , no money , I’m about to do something stupid.” Arian Foster added.

 

“Our stadium had like 107,000 seats, 107,000 people buying the ticket to come and watch us play…I go to my dorm, open the fridge and there’s nothing in the fridge.… Why don’t I have something to show for what I did…. It’s total bullshit, but you don’t say anything because if you say anything, you step out of line and that will hurt your chances of getting to that next level.”

All of this has really struck a chord with me today.  This entire day has been a reflection on gratitude, and how different my life is today than it was 20 years ago.  Also, reflecting on my life 20 years ago makes me feel incredibly ancient.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I home school my kids for reasons and Fridays are more of an independent/fun/hands on type day.  Of course, today was Monday which meant that even my “easy” day fell apart but whatever.  Fridays are for cooking and food science which is a wonderful way to incorporate literally anything you want into hanging out in the kitchen.  Our previous classes covered easier things like kitchen safety, reading a recipe, fractions (baking), chemical reactions (baking) or how yeast is just farting into our bread and how that’s great (more baking).  Now we’re moving on to eggs (understanding and labeling the biological structure), where our food comes from and how we process food in America vs. other countries.  Today we discussed amino acids and how heat changes their structure. Boiling eggs doesn’t sound particularly fun, but it was and delicious.  As an aside, watch/read (on hiatus) Silver Spoon because it’s wonderful and explains agriculture in a very gross and delightful way.

Here is where I am reminded of my current place in life and how different it is now.  We boiled 18 eggs to observe the stages of denaturation.  I bought a portable induction cook top specifically for use with the kids which is safer than them both perched on kitchen chairs over an open flame gas stove but also maybe kind of indulgent?  The fact that I do not have to work and that I have the absolute luxury of teaching my kids at home.  I’m living the whitest, middle classist, soccer mommy-est dream ever.  And I know it.

I love eggs

I talk about all of this because when I hear all of this garbage in the news about food and food quality and how suspiciously people look upon those who do not have any I am amazed.  I wonder if those people have ever been hungry–truly hungry.  I have been hungry in blessedly short stints–days and weeks where I’ve had little to no food.  I vividly remember the pain and sickness that comes from eating even a little bit after days of not eating.  I can’t imagine long-term hunger because it never lasted long enough to do serious damage to my body.  Long term starvation destroys muscle and brain tissue but usually the body is so weakened that the immune system shuts down first and infectious disease runs rampant.  What a memory, to be grateful for only being hungry and not starving; short term sickness instead of long term damage.  Thinking of having just one egg, let alone 18 WHOLE EGGS was at the time, completely out of reach.  Protein is expensive and carbohydrates are cheap.

Specifically, I remember being down to one last bagel.

not fancy bagels like these, though

Long story short, I was broke, and my $5 per hour part time minimum wage job wasn’t doing enough to pay my $200 rent AND pay for utilities AND keep a car to go to work AND keep me in any sort of mental state to stay in college.  Typical paycheck gone-before-received scenario and the last food in my apartment was a bag of 6 Wal-Mart (where I was working, of course) blueberry bagels.  I am guessing it was about a dollar for the bag, as a current bag of bagels at Wal-Mart are $1.64.  These 6 bagels were going to last me at least 6 days but on the first day I made the mistake of eating the first bagel like…a bagel.  Cut in half, toasted in the oven (because who can afford a toaster?!) and devoured in its entirety in about 10 seconds.  The biggest problem was eating that bagel didn’t take any time whatsoever.  I eventually went to half a bagel a day but my genius moment was when I decided to slice the bagel into chips, bake them, and eat them one or two at a time throughout the day.  It spread out my “meals” and gave me the mental security that I would have something for later, even if it was just a bite.

And that’s how I lived for a while.

Another time I remember driving up to the store to buy two of the tiniest cans of tomato sauce for 44 cents each.  I had enough money to buy two and if I remember correctly, they were the 8 oz. sized cans (about half of a normal sized can).  It was humiliating because this was where I worked–people I knew saw me, saw what I was buying and in proper form roasted the hell out of me for it.  I played it off as if I had just ran out and only needed a little bit.  I’m sure I cried after the fact, not just from the situation but also probably because the three strands of spaghetti were shit.

Moving to a different state, getting different jobs, the scenario stayed the same.  If you’re sneaky, you can eat leftovers out of a trash can or steal expired canned food out of the break room cabinet once you’re sure no one remembers who put it in there.  No one expects bank workers to not have money and not have food.  I feel like my life was saved when I landed a job at a medical practice that paid decently, was closer to where I worked, but also regularly received catered lunches from pharmaceutical sales representatives.  That was before I got married and was the last time I have ever been hungry.  I think of all of this often because I don’t want to forget what that was like; how it felt physically or emotionally.  Time and distance can make terrible experiences soften but forgetting would be a failure to yourself.

Would I change the past if I could?  In a lot of ways, yes, of course.  But that’s such a ridiculous point.  I can’t, so I choose to be grateful for the compassion it taught me for others, for the intense desire to never let my own children have an experience remotely like that, and the internal voice to do my best to help others when I can.

In the mean time, I’m going to continue living this ridiculous dream life and keep trying to be grateful for all of it.

On being productive

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I am not the type of person that is  self-regimented into being productive each day.  I’d like to blame it on being bipolar II, but I am also lazy and generally unmotivated.  Thankfully, with medicine, I am suspiciously normal.  I still have my lethargic/manic swings but with the miracle of modern science I am very much less so.  On the other hand, medicine can only do so much. Some days are harder than others and that’s frustrating.  But, I’m going off on a tangent.

This weekend, the Mr. and the kids went to Grandma’s and I got some time to myself.  Usually, I eat a lot of junk food, watch tv, play on the computer, and mostly do a lot of nothing.  This weekend was different though.  I was actually productive:

-cleaned my disgusting microwave

-cleaned the disgusting toaster

-cleaned the disgusting double ovens

-cleaned the entire kitchen counter so that I could spray for disgusting bugs

-wrote two business blog posts but they weren’t disgusting

You can see inside and everything!

I am just as surprised as you.  I’m hoping not to have to do any cooking until Thanksgiving.  That seems reasonable.

I get a lot done when I’m home alone for a weekend but I don’t sleep well.  I enjoy the quiet and the ability to focus on what I’m doing with no distractions, but there’s also a bit of a creep factor being in the house alone.  Quite possibly because I read and watch too much horror.  And I’ve never liked sleeping alone.  The cats didn’t even want to lay on the bed–they took the empty house as opportunity to have the Semi-Quarterly Crazy Run.

Not related to this story, but Jake looks like an oil painting.

Regarding the creep factor, I’ve called the police twice over the years regarding concerns while I was home alone.  My house isn’t haunted by any means, but once in a while you will hear things that you shouldn’t.  And random weirdness happens–one day, about 15 minutes after the Mr. had left for a meeting, this car pulled into my driveway…and just sat there.

MIB

I didn’t see the car pull in so I was confused.  I was standing at the window when I took the picture, and opened the door and stood on the front steps trying to see if anyone was in the car.  I wanted to go and yell at them to get out of my driveway and then I remembered I don’t like getting murdered.  The windows were so tinted I couldn’t see into the car so when it just pulled out of the driveway and sped off it really freaked me out. Always an adventure.

I totally forgot to post about Father’s Day! I decided that we’d pay for an Ancestry DNA test because it was on sale and also because the Mr. has been wanting to do this for years.  Who knows how long it will take to get the results, though.  I’ve never been really interested in a DNA test because I didn’t think it would bring up anything interesting.  Asian mutt is what I figure it will be, but honestly, after watching this video it made me a bit more interested.  Skip to 6:28 for Eugene’s results:

The DNA test led into teaching the kids the basics about DNA.  How the traits you can see physically come from your parents, why my dark hair, dark eyed children might have blonde hair, blue eyed children and how portions of our DNA is in every living thing on the planet.  I need to quiz them though, to see if they retained anything.  It wasn’t terribly in depth, but it plants that seed for later discussion.

School is still going pretty well.  Robin is completely adverse to the idea of homework so when it comes time to do any independent work she immediately turns into a puddle of nothing.  You know it’s bad when big brother is warning her about her time management.  Our schedule is pretty good now, and I’m really enjoying the freedom to switch up our plans at whim while still having a decent structure.  Extra curricular activities are keeping us busy, plus the library has been doing some workshops on engineering (Earthquakes and Engineering and Castles and Catapults). Scheduled violin practice at home every day for Robin and sparring practice at the park with Josh on Friday mornings.  Wednesday or Thursday we try to do a few hours at the library for a change of scenery and to give the Mr. some alone time to focus.  Busy is good.  Add to that the regular Mom stuff.  And now add to that social media management and blogging for the business.   I’m trying to write enough content to be able to schedule and plan my posts but seriously, UGH.

The internet is fine, though.

There’s so much more to catch up on!  I could go on and on, but I’m tired but I need to play CivIV.  NEED.  zzzZZZneeeedzzzzz