The Ups and Downs of Austin Living and Eating

So being in Austin, Texas has had many ups and downs. Definitely one of the downsides, particularly right now as we speak, is the crazy, triple digit weather we’ve been having for the last 70 long, miserable days.  There are no words to describe my misery and there seems to be no end in sight as Hurricane Irene won’t even come our way to relieve this heat! Austin is, at least until the start of this crazy weather, it was, a very beautiful place. Surprisingly, it’s not the tumbleweeds and flat lands out of the Westerns that I imagined it to be. It’s hilly, beautifully green, there’s usually water everywhere and the lakes are just gorgeous. When we first got here last August, I thought I had stepped back to Costa Rica. And Hamilton Pool… it was breath taking (The pictures are from my iPhone, just to give you an idea). It’s something I would have imagined was more Mexico or South America. But it’s here in Austin, Texas. Who knew?

One of the other perks is that there are so many different activities for the two kids to do here. Our 12 year-old daughter is in rowing with the Austin Rowing Club and our 10 year-old son is able to pursue his passion, motocross. The best part is that it is all very affordable not to mention physically close. We don’t have to drive hours away so that they can participate in these obscure activities, which are not the standard sports that Asian-y kids normally do. No violin lessons, no golf, no basketball or football for these kids, nooooo… (And did I mention that it was close?) So it’s been really fun.

The down side is the food. Oh boy do we miss the food. *moan* Though we can get some of our favorite comfort foods, like rice cakes, mochi, Chinese pork buns or even Korean Wang Man-Doo (왕만두), it’s just not the same. And you can just forget about a good bowl of any of our favorite noodles like udon or ramen or neng-myun ( 냉면). Oh, Lordy do we miss those. So out of necessity, I’ve been forced to make some of these from scratch, at home. Not surprisingly, these have turned out better than what I remember picking up at the markets or eating at a café/deli back home in LA. Some things I would still rather have the luxury of eating at a restaurant or deli, but out of necessity, I may have to start making these at home as well.

The other thing about food in general, is that 9 times out of 10, it’s always healthier to eat a home version than a restaurant/packaged version anyway. Over the last year, we’ve acquired a taste for a Texas institution called a Kolache. I decided to try my hand at one of these and my god they’re so tasty! Literally, I couldn’t stop eating, not to toot my own horn or anything!

I have recipes for everything I’ve made so those will follow. I have pictures of the end products and hopefully soon I’ll have step-by-step pictures to accompany the recipes as well. I just got a new camera, so cross your fingers! So that’s in the works. For the time being, I’ll post up the recipes and just go from there.


My Mental Korean Dramas

I’ve always known I was a little egocentric, but the other day, I surprised even myself.  They all say that there can only be one Queen in the house and if there’s another girl in that said house, there’s gonna be a fight for first, and let me tell you right now, it’s true.  I really do try to be a good mother to both my daughter and son, but it’s so hard!  And not in the way you’re thinking either!  The girl is a ‘tween…  need I say more?  I’m soooo annoyed even now, just thinking about it!  LOL!  I really shouldn’t be because she’s Just-Like-Me, but that’s exactly why I think I’m so annoyed!!  But that’s just a little theory I have about my “condition”.

So here’s the story…  We were all at my cousin’s house after dinner when as soon as our asses touched down around the coffee table, she (my daughter) just started in on an endless stream of chatter about nothing in particular (in my very supreme opinion, that is) and would not shut up nor would she stop hogging center stage!  I seriously could not get two words in before she’d cut me off mid-breath and start again!  Oh… My… God, that got my blood pumpin’ hard!  I started getting annoyed and began to give her my “death ray” expression hoping that would silence the non-stop chatter but NO, she noted, then Ignored my look and kept right on going, totally undeterred!  (I think I may need to work on Laser Eyes instead, I may have heard that it works better…)  My mental conversation to myself conducted in a high-pitched, highly offended tone was, “But I’m Queen Bee, and I’m always Queen Bee where ever I go!!!  What the hell is going on?  I’m so confused!  Why the hell is she not shuttin’ up?  I have such interesting things to say and this girl is not letting me say all those witty little tid-bits I have to bestow on my public’s listening ears!!!”  I was getting more and more frustrated when I forced myself to get a grip and take a mental step back.  I had to laugh, I was competing with my own daughter for the spotlight!  Oh geez…  I’m trying sooo hard to hang on to my position as Queen F’ing Bee but I think soon, it may be ripped forcefully from my Aged Hands.  Why can’t I just be asked to Gracefully hand over the scepter?  I’m thinking I may have to make some plans to oust the Junior Just-Like-Me Bee…  hehe…he…he…  No, really, I might just have to do that….  ^^ !

Traveling Woes

Because of my “FBI status” and the inconveniences we suffer when traveling together, amongst my friends, I’m known as their “little terrorist”.  Let me explain.  As a freelancer I had the opportunity to work long term with a national Japanese news agency.  And that was the beginning of all my traveling woes.  Well, only in so much that I can never check in to my flights online anymore.

One of the more memorable set of projects, and the cause of all my traveling pains, was related to news coming out about Iran and the controversy surrounding their nuclear energy site, which many believed was being surreptitiously used to make weapons-grade uranium.

The whole world was obviously freaked out by this development in Iran but the Japanese were really concerned.  They themselves are banned from possessing an army or weapons of this nature and it is an even more disconcerting situation when they are dependent on the United States for their national security.  (Just think about that one, Iran, US, not friendly…)  Also, the upcoming switch in administration (Bush to Obama) caused anxiety because of the uncertainty a new administration with potentially different ideas might have negative affects on their national security.  Incidentally, the man responsible for putting me on this series of projects was Jewish, and he was approached by his activist Jewish friends with ties to the Israeli intelligence agency, to “donate” a copy of particular interviews (with terrorists) for analysis, which he denied.  So crazy!

So what does any of this have to do with my traveling problems?  Well imagine me, hunched over my computer late at night doing research on the internet looking up nuclear energy building sites, machinery, processes involving uranium, weapons grade, non-weapons grade, schematics… blah, blah, blah…  I might as well have been looking up “How To Build A Nuclear Bomb”!  So if you ever think, “No one knows what I’m searching or looking up on the net…”  I’m here to tell you otherwise!

So now, I am basically never allowed to check-in online when traveling by plane because they always want to see my mug in person.  When I asked the ticketing counter what the problem was, she paused… then said I was on the FBI Watch List?!?!  Yikes!  I didn’t bother to mention that I was probably legitimately on that list!  Even as I did my research, I had a feeling that Uncle Sam might be watching and that I might get flagged but the research had to be done and I needed the money.  Was it worth it?  Too late now!

The take home message is, be careful what you search for on the internet because Uncle Sam is just waiting to put the kibosh on your ease of traveling… at least by air!

Parenting and the J-O-B

Parenting is such a difficult thing.  I’m sitting here with a glass of wine, to take the edge off my day, thinking about my future and subsequently about the years that have brought me here today.  I’ve been married now for 13 years and have two kids, 12 and 10.  Crazy, I know.  Until just recently, I was exclusively a stay-at-home mom.  In the past, if I ever had a job, it was always one that I could do at home.  But times are different now and I know you can relate.  I recently moved to Austin, Texas from Los Angeles and though it was a good move for us as a family, my husband also recently graduated from the USC MBA program and things have been tough ever since, particularly since the student loans kicked in, which in one case was right away!  My God they want our money!

 The reason I write today is because a month after we moved here to Austin, I got a job because of those pesky student loans.  I got lucky and found a job at a local law firm and all was good until the recent holidays hit.  My parenting style, up until recently, was to always be physically and emotionally available to my kids and as a result I was incredibly depressed that I couldn’t spend the winter holidays with them as I had in the past.   My husband ended up working from home during that time (thank goodness that at least he had that option).  This was when I realized as a parent, that I wanted to somehow find a way to work from home again.  This blog is about the journey that’s brought me here and the new one I’m starting.  I hope that you will follow me and all my musings!

I’m really excited because I feel the world is at my fingertips and I can’t wait to share it with you.


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