Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Year Older

Yep, yesterday was my birthday. I've had a lot going on lately, putting stuff together for the March mega kit, and I've also started making a book for somebody (it's a surprise), which is going to take a while. And then there's the digi scrapping race. And having a sale for my birthday, and making the ad. And a few visiting teaching appointments squeezed in there (yeah, it's the end of the month). So if I haven't been posting much the past couple of weeks, that's why.

I wanted to get a picture with Kate, but she was in a bad mood most of the day. I finally got her to go outside and paint letters on the porch with me, and Doug snapped a couple shots. This was the best we could do.

We went out for Korean food for dinner. We stopped by the grocery store to get some kim (laver seaweed) first, and then went to the restaurant. This was the kind of pre-cut kim that's in little individual packages with maybe ten sheets in each one, and Kate snarfed down two of the packages before we even got our food. She's had kim before but I'd never seen her eat it in volume like that. Maybe she was just hungry.

My mom sent me Stardust on DVD for my birthday (thanks, Mom!) and everybody called and sang, of course. (Betsey really outdid herself this time. It was a truly astonishing performance.) Doug ordered something for me but it hasn't come yet. I know what it is, though, so it's not a surprise. Okay, it's a Wacom 6D art pen for my tablet.

And--surprise!--I got a summons for jury duty. I checked the box that said "I am a parent without child care" and sent it back. I did go in for jury duty back when I was pregnant with Kate, which was an interesting experience. I only had to report three or four times, and didn't get picked for the jury. I got a lot of reading and crocheting done.

It's getting warmer! Hooray! And the pussy willow tree behind our complex is budding. I must get pictures.

The Amazing Digi Scrapping Race

Season three of the Amazing Digi Scrapping Race is on! I didn't participate in the first two seasons, but sort of watched from the sidelines, so I thought this time I'd join in the fun! I have teamed up with Karin (in Australia) who is also a designer at NDISB (Karin M Designs). Teams go around to different sites and participate in challenges and win cool prizes, and hopefully have lots of fun in the process. I've been spending way more time designing than actually scrapping, so I figured this would be a good way to exercise those scrapping muscles.

Challenge #1 was to create a layout with this sketch, featuring our "favorite person or animal to scrap about," using our favorite color, and using a favorite element three times. Here's my layout:

I don't really have a favorite color. I like color. I find myself mostly drawn to greens, browns, golds, and dark reds. And I also have a lot of pink in my world these days. I struggled with the background for this a bit, but it works.

That white line frame was a last-minute addition. I was finishing this up last night, and looking at it and thinking, "That needs something else." So I took a crayon and drew a line and scanned it. If anyone wants the line you can grab it here (right-click and "save as").

When I was looking for a partner, I mentioned that I might be rather flaky. Karin said she'd flake with me. So we came up with the name "The Discombobulatorium" for our team. Karin made us a team blog and this cool blinkie:

For the next challenge we get to create a layout together. That should be interesting!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Framing Eddie

This is what I got Doug for his birthday--a frame for his brass rubbing of Edward the Black Prince. He did this rubbing back before we got married, at a traveling exhibit in Provo, and he's been carting it around with him for years.

Eddie went to Newfoundland with us, and resided in the living room in a poorly-fitting frame (with no glass) that he would periodically fall out of. We'd walk by and discover Eddie leaning out of his frame, bowed down and trying to touch his toes. We'd straighten him up and say, "We really have to get a proper frame one of these days."

When I started designing, I told Doug that I would get Eddie framed for him. It took a while. We did take Eddie over to Artco once, to look into framing there. That seemed prohibitively expensive. (We like Eddie, but I don't know that we like him that much.) Then Rebecca told us about a local guy who does framing out of his house, so we went to see him. We decided to go with this thin black frame, which I think sets it off nicely. You can't see it in the picture, but it has some nice detailing around the edges. So we brought Eddie back home and stuck him on the wall.

I imagine Eddie is pleased, after all these years, to be properly framed and hung.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Doug!

Yesterday was Doug's birthday! We went down to the Indian buffet in Lakewood for lunch, and then went to the park. It was a beautiful day--the most sunshine we've seen for quite a while.

My family did the calling-and-singing (badly) thing--except for Barb and Kyle, who decided to buck tradition and sing nicely. Kate seemed rather bemused by the whole thing. ("Who are these people and why do they keep calling and singing Happy Birthday? And why do they sound like drowning cats?") When we sang to Barb (it was her birthday too) I asked Kate if she wanted to join in, but she didn't. She's recently learned the "Do as I'm doing" song--perhaps we should work on Happy Birthday next.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Seven for Monday

A few largely-unrelated things that I have nowhere else to post about:

1. The Primary thing isn't going so well. Kate hasn't been staying more than a few minutes before she wants to come back to the nursery to be with me. The past two weeks she didn't go to Primary at all. (I'm sure the only reason she wants to come in the nursery is because I'm there.) But she's little. There's time.

2. This afternoon we took Kate to Odyssey and spent two hours crawling through tunnels and ball pits. My knees are killing me.

3. Mpix is now carrying standouts. I am so pleased. I was looking for something like this a while back and couldn't find what I wanted. Just the thing for picture walls.

4. I asked Kate today if she would like to go swimming some time, and she said, "But I don't swim!"

5. I just happened to see that today is Mo Willem's birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Willems!

6. Kate has apparently decided that pigeons say "honk." I have no idea where she got that from. I'm sure I never told her pigeons honk.

7. The Great South Gate in Seoul (Nam Dae Mun), Korea's National Treasure #1, was destroyed in a fire yesterday. A suspect has confessed to arson. So, so sad. At the time we were in Korea the gate wasn't open to the public, but we went past it many times. What a tragedy and a crime.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Eating your age

Kimberly in China recently posted on her blog about the Chinese age system. The year that you're born is your first year, and your age goes up at each new year. (They do celebrate their birthdays but they don't get older on their birthdays.) They do it the same way in Korea, and there's also a food tradition involved.

Dduk (sounds a lot like "duck," with what's called a "tense" d at the beginning) is rice cake made with glutinous rice flour. It comes in a lot of different forms. One form is little white oval-shaped pieces, that are cooked in soup called dduk guk. This is the traditional dish for the lunar new year in Korea. They say that when you eat dduk guk on the lunar new year, you get a year older. They call it eating age. (This of course leads to the expected jokes, like "So if I don't eat it I won't get any older?" and "What happens if I have two bowls?")

So yesterday I made dduk guk, and I thought I'd share the recipe here.

You probably won't be able to find dduk outside of a Korean grocery store, but if you're lucky enough to have one in the area, this is what it looks like. (Packaging varies.) The stores around here keep it near the produce section.

Other ingredients are:

beef (thinly sliced, if you can get it)
beef broth
green onion
soup soy sauce (called 국간장, or regular soy sauce in a pinch)
sesame oil
black pepper

I have this cookbook called A Korean Mother's Cooking Notes that explains how to boil some beef brisket with garlic and green onion for two hours. I didn't do that. I just used a carton of beef broth from the store and added a little more water.

Put the broth on to boil with little of the garlic and some of the green onion, and a couple tablespoons of the soup soy sauce.

Cut up your beef into thin strips, mix with garlic, a little sesame oil, a little soy sauce (this is actually supposed to be regular soy sauce, not soup soy sauce), some of the green onion (probably mostly the white bits), and black pepper, and stir fry it. (This all a "to taste" kind of thing. I put in lots of garlic. And lots of black pepper.)

Beat up the egg and add the rest of the green onion (mostly green bits). The book just calls for one egg, but I used three. My sister Betsey likes to use a lot of egg, too.

Rinse the dduk. This is supposed to keep the slices from dissolving in the soup. I'm not sure how it does that, but I guess it works.

Drop dduk slices into boiling beef broth. When the slices float to the top (which doesn't take long), turn the heat off, then add the egg mixture and stir it so the egg cooks in stringy bits.

Put in the stir-fried meat. (This can be added earlier, if you want.) Add a little more sesame oil to the soup, if you like it.

My dduk guk is thicker than what you'll generally see in Korean restaurants. It turned out really well. This batch was particularly tasty. I think it was the beef broth and all the garlic, and the dduk was a really good consistency, too. (It's easy to overcook, and then it gets slimy.) Kate was not impressed, though. I got her to taste the broth a little, and she said it was good, but she wasn't interested in actually eating it. Apparently I have been remiss in my food-acclimatization duties.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

새해복 많이 받으세요!

That's what they say in Korea--"Receive many New Year's blessings." This is a picture of Kate at a recent ward activity. We have activities every month at church (usually), generally with some kind of theme, and they like to do a Chinese New Year themed dinner around this time of year. I think it's kind of too bad to focus exclusively on China, when there are other cultures that celebrate the holiday as well (especially since we do have Korean and Japanese members in the ward). We have been insinuating Korean foods into the Chinese dinner since we've been here. This year I'd been busy working on design stuff and didn't have time to prepare anything, so we just went down to Paldo World in Lakewood and picked up a few things.

This is the year of the earth rat. Our friend Scott was born in an earth rat year. He's been through the whole cycle and will be turning 60 this year. We'll have to throw him a rat-themed bash. We can watch Ratatouille. (I googled "rat-themed party," out of curiosity, and came up with a story about rat-themed panties. I don't think Scott wants any of those.)

They had these little dragon decoration things on the tables. Kate spent the entire time we were there playing with them. (You can see she's got her coat on--the heat had been off earlier and it was very cold in the building!) We're probably going to be flying somewhere this summer (either to Ohio or possibly California), so we've been keeping an eye out for things that occupy Kate's attention. The dragons were certainly a hit. I'm not sure if it was the dragon-ness or the accordian-effects of the honeycombed tissue paper that she especially liked. We ended up bringing a couple of them home. Maybe if we put them away they'll be new and exciting again by then, and she can play with them all the way to Ohio.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Waiting for Spring

I'm told that the groundhog saw his shadow. In the meantime, here's a rose from last year.