Fruits are pointless

I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t eat fruits. I don’t hate them. A verb “hate” still contains a meaning of interest that expresses hatred.
Fruits to me is like a lipstick to men. There’s no link or reason to care for.
I don’t see a point of eating fruits. You can get same nutrition from veggies. Finding time to eat fruits is awkward, too. They are not filling so can’t replace a meal and are not good for a dessert either. Dessert is supposed to be sweet or refreshing which applies neither to fruits. Less calories than a piece of cake? Well, not so much. A regular size of a banana or orange is about 120 calories, grapes, a couple of strawberries are about 150 calories, most melon kinds goes a lot higher than that. Why spend money and eat fruits?

But today I made a mango smoothie/juice whatever that fruit thing people like to drink.
Because I’d been eating bad for about a week, I decided to cook some healthy food and went to a grocery. There, I encountered this guy called mango whom I had never seen in a form of fruit, and sort of forced myself to give it a try. It took me a while to peel it, which was a major pain, and it tasted weird. Ugh…! But I found that it’s quite effective for one of my health issues. So I decided to eat some more and bought 3 mangos again today. When I got home, I didn’t want a hassle of peeling and cutting them again just to chew like the first time. Getting a hint from mango lassi, I wanted to grind them with soymilk thinking that’d make my fruit eating experience a bit more pleasant.
I only ate a half of my first bought mango so I ground the rest half.
Peeling fruits are more annoying than picking spilled toothpicks…
That’s not the texture I wanted but doesn’t matter. A thickness of drink doesn’t contribute on the fruit taste meter.
The 3 I bought today “feel” more ripped. So I’m sympathizing myself that those guys will taste better.
But really I think those will be the last mangos for me for many years.

A friend of mine posted on a facebook a few weeks ago. She said “Found strawberries in a fridge and made a strawberry smoothie with them. Simply remove the stem and blend with milk!” I seriously gotta tell her my amazing journey of making a mango-whatever-drink that was not so simple.
And my mom will be so proud of me to buy, peel, eat, even annoyingly use a machine to eat fruits.


Cannot call my father father. Cannot call my brother brother.


I’m subscribing a monthly food magazine. I like this one because it explores diverse cuisines and has great columns on food trend, drinks, local spots, etc. It’s much better than other food magazines displaying same old generic recipes.

Last months, when I picked up the magazine from the mailbox, I was happy to find a Korean dish on the cover. It’s called Galbi Jjim which is marinated short rib stew with lots of spices and veggies that are good for the immune system. So it was perfect for their winter issue.
But when I read the article inside, I was disappointed that there’s no single word hinting that it’s a Korean dish or inspired by a Korean dish, especially considering the editor was a popular chef/food editor who’s a Korean-American.

The dish was named Short Rib Stew with Caramelized Kimchi, which translated fine but lacked the credit.

I emailed the magazine directing it to the editor and any other senior editors who finalized and approved the issue.
I got a response in a few weeks from the editor. She said the recipe was indeed Galbi jjim that she grew up eating. But the company often americanizes recipe titles for readers who may not be as knowledgeable or advanced in cooking. And they think that if readers see something familiar, they are more willing to try something new.
I had guessed this reason before emailing her. Yes, using a familiar name would be more comfortable for many readers. But this is not a Martha Stewart recipe magazine. It’s more for a food connoisseurs. They wouldn’t mind reading unfamiliar title of a dish, and trying to cook it. In fact, I’ve seen some recipes with its own name in this magazine.

So I emailed her back challenging more.

Readers have the right to know the origin of dish they cook. All I wished was to see one line that explained the dish is inspired by Korean Galbi Jjim so it actually introduces another great Korean cuisine other than Bulgogi and Bibimbap. While readers might guess it’s an Asian fusion dish because of Kimchi, they won’t necessarily know it’s actually Korean dish, which I think should be one of main points in the article – giving a good introduction of the dish.

When I look at other Asian cuisines, they usually use the name as it’s pronounced in their languages. For example, tom yum goong, Bánh mì, famous kung pao, and of course all Indian dishes, a lot of Japanese dishes Nigiri, Temaki, and even all sorts of sashimi(you don’t call it “cut raw fish,” do you?) ingredients such as maguro, tako, etc.
Although there’s usually an explanation of the dish is written in smaller fonts, notating the name in its original language is the least respect to the dish and great attempt to introduce the dish in the right way, just like all the French restaurants do.
In fact, a lot of French restaurants don’t even put explanatory tag lines!

If I saw a Persian dish in this magazine, for example, I would want to know that what I’m cooking is originally from Persia rather than guessing ‘it’s kind of an arabic food.’ And in a case like this, I recall that I usually saw a short line in an article, “This Arabic inspired dish is….” even if it had an Americanized name.

An old Korean fable similar to Robin Hood. This Korean Robin Hood was a stepson of a noble family and was forbidden to call his father father and call his brother brother. The infamous line “That I cannot call my father father, that I cannot call my brother brother…” is now used almost as a proverb for a unjust, unfair situation.

“That I cannot call Galbi Jjim Galbi Jjim…”

Keep calm and carry on

When I was an undergraduate student, I worked on campus.
One day I was having a conversation with my classmate who came by at my work. I don’t remember what we talked about but i remember I got really intense to win the conversation which later almost became a serious discussion-esque argument. Also I remember what my co-worker said: “I think your English is more than good enough to beat anyone in arguments.” As it’d been less than a year I came to the US, my English was just good enough for academic performance. My co-worker just joked about how enthusiastically I got into arguments with people, and never got easy with it despite the language barrier.

My neighbors, “the new normal” couple, argue like its their weekly routine. I started to think that they have to initiate a new religion. “Argue, argue, and you will find peace and love.” Because my apartment building has a very thin wall and they always have windows open, I can hear almost every word. Mostly it’s about nothing. But the guy (or “lady” to be respectful) can get very emotional and doesn’t afraid to show his(her) anger. I think (s)he gets as tense as i do in an argument.
I started to notice a sort of “set piece” as well. For example, in every argument, (s)he yells “I’m not crazy!! Leave me alone” several times. There’s always a slamming closet door sound, then slamming front door, and angry foot step. I can make music out of rhythm of this angry footsteps. Or should I create a mobile game Angry Footstep?!

Now that I think back, I really did get crazy when I argued with my exes. I admit it.
But dictionary defines “argue” as “exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.”
That’s right. It says “exchange.” You can’t exchange your view with yourself.

I hardly argue with my husband.
I think I can actually count times we argued for the past 4 years.
He really is like Confucius: smart, patient, well-mannered, and inspiring.
When I get into “the mood” he doesn’t respond. It’s not that he pretends or it’s his tactic. He just doesn’t get angry like normal people do because he has unique perspectives on subject.
He looks it from completely different way that people usually don’t think of, and doesn’t think it’s bad or a problem. It doesn’t bother him. So it’s usually just me who gets mad.
I figured his different perspective and infinite patience comes from his infinite knowledge.
I’m not praising him just because he is my husband. That’s usually what people say about him. He’s different and patient.
When I delivered my engagement news to my friends in Korea who never met my husband, they all said it’s gotta be somebody super patient and smart to marry me.
There are 2 reasons why we don’t argue.
1. It’s like I’m doing Lucy Van Pelt lines to a wall – either there’s no response or when there is one, it’s usually very calm and consisted of few words.
2. He makes perfect sense – if he responses with more than few words, he organize my argument and situation and he explain things which all make perfect sense. Although I get angry I remain pretty logical. But everything he says makes perfect sense.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to my neighbors’ “sacred weekly mass.” I don’t want to cross the line, but for the sake of tranquility of other neighbors and themselves, I really want to put a post-it on their door. “Do not response. That will lead you two to peace.” If they’re smart, they’ll get it. Or should I be more direct and say “It takes two hands to clap”?

Inbetweener’s dilemma

I admire knowledge.
Knowledge is the most valuable asset.
Stuff that makes me beautiful outside doesn’t interest me.
But that doesn’t mean I go outside with sweat pants and hoodie on. That’s just unsophisticated, uncivilized behavior.
What matters to me is what fills my and other people’s brain.
I love studying. Not in terms of studying for a class or exam. I love learning. It’s the most beautiful, purest, highest level of art that humans can perform.
As a little girl, I spent hours reading a set of encyclopedia. I’d read or sometimes just flip through. But either was like a visit to the Disneyland to me.

I encounter smart people everyday. I’m not always sure if they ARE smart or they sound smart but I can’t help feeling extremely jealous either way. That’s probably why “Housewives of wherever” get into a fight. I didn’t watch it but I see commercials and they literally do the cat fight, which I’m guessing all started with a tiny jealousy factor.
That’s how I feel when I talk to a smart”er” person.
Once, someone told me “You’re pretty smart, almost as smart as Jane Doe. And you’re definitely much prettier than Mary Doe.”
It was a compliment but I got super offended by the first part. It didn’t matter that someone complimented my appearance. It’s not because I’m half empty glass person. I do hate the fact someone thinks I’m not smart”er” than the other person, although there’re indeed countless smarter people.

smart me
Wish my portrait would be like this.

One might have zero creativity but figure all the rocket science in the blink of an eye, while others might be super creative but completely dumb when it comes to numbers.
But neither is my case. I’m fairly objective and creative as well. Am I smart and talented? Developed both right and left brain? No. It’s having a no real talent. It’s being not good enough for either.
I haven’t been benefited much from the fact that both sides of my brain work equally well.
It’s a dilemma I call “too logical to be creative and too emotional to be rational.”

My nickname in Korea was psycho, meaning weirdo and “special.” – the word psycho is not as harsh in Korea as it might sound in countries where English is an official language.
I thought a war in my head was because of my uncontrollable creativity, too much emotion, and craziness.
But recently I realized I’m not crazy enough to release my craziness. I’m too logical and realistic to free my creativity, to free myself. That was the reason of The Hundred Years War in my head.

Over the past few years, I observed myself and realized intelligent people inspire me more than creative people do. So I wanted to focus on nourishing my left brain so I can be super logical and objective.
I’ve always loved studying since I was a baby anyway. It’d suit me better than trying to become more creative person. Like I enthusiastically read encyclopedia, I still research all kinds of stuff just out of curiosity.

So, I’ve been wishing that somebody would pay me to study. Sort of like an artist commissioned to create an art piece. Maybe working at a research institute?
I’d study and research, study and research. Research, research, research, and research!
How awesome would that be!
But my creativity would interrupt me and I wouldn’t last long.
I’d get distracted like “Can I do this?” and do something unconventional in an academic research environment.
I’d say “Why not?!” “Has someone done something like this yet?”
I know left brainers won’t like things I do and the way I think with my right brain. I know too well about those people. What they want and how they think. Because that’s what my parents do: study and research.
Left brainers don’t understand me and I don’t fit in with them.

Then, why can I just try to become a total right brainer, a real creative person?
I’m not good enough. I’m too rational and think inside the box to be creative. Right brainers think I’m boring.

Now I just want to be the smartest person in the world. Most intelligent person who knows all the scientific phenomena, prospects of the world economy, at least 20 languages I can speak and write like a native, history of tiny villages of little-known countries, etc.
I want to be a walking encyclopedia, a walking Google installed on a super computer!
But at the moment, I’m nobody but an inbetweener trying to juggle between my emotion and logic.

On the border of OCD and detail-oriented

I think I might have OCD. I admit it. But in a good way. I’m not crazy.
I just like to think a lot and when something crosses my mind. I can’t let it go. (Is this crazy?)
The problem is that I think too much. I think too much about the fact that I think too much.
Sometimes it is just too much for me to think that I think about thinking. (Ok…)
For instance, I remember that I had a remote control for a TV that I don’t own anymore. I sold a TV to someone but the person forgot to take the remote control with it. I don’t know why it pops up in my head out of blue. But the thought keeps me from doing anything until I find the remote control.
This really happened to me a few years ago when I was in grad school. That day, I kept thinking about the remote control while I was doing some school work. And when I was done with the assignment, I stayed up until about 1am to find the remote control. Late at night, when I couldn’t find it in a tiny NYC studio apt, I had to force myself to STOP thinking and go to bed for an early morning class the next day. I did fall asleep (Yay!) but I woke up around 3am and instantly started looking for the remote control again, like I was a robot programmed to find something as soon as I was ON.
I think it was around 4 something when I found it, and I don’t think I was able to go back to bed.
I looked like a zombie that day but I was zen and happiest person in the world.

I don’t know if this is a symptom of OCD. I think I’m just extremely detail-oriented, like my parents and grandparents always say.
When I write a paper, I read over and over and make sure of alignment, font style and size for each small section and body.
Before I type, I draw a diagram on a scratch paper to organize how I am going to structure the paper.
When I add footnotes, I make sure where I put a space inbetween, or two spaces for certain info. I compare each footnote and double, triple, quadruple check them even though one space difference between 7pt letters isn’t really noticeable.
Above all, when I was majoring in art, (like I said in my introduction, I draw and sculpt) the best and all-time compliment I got from teachers was the details in expression.
But “Diamond cuts diamond.”

shelf screws

One of many reasons I was attracted to my husband the first time, is that he is as intelligent as I am.
Also, the fact that he was more organized (and also as dorky, quirky as I am), stimulated my curiosity to really get to know him. But after we started the relationship, I realized there’s a big difference between us: he’s detail-oriented and I just have symptoms of OCD.

I’ve moved about 7 times in 4 years in NYC (now you know why I was obsessed to find a remote control.) and took pride in fast, efficient packaging skill. (Not that it’s something to brag about…)
When I packed, I put screws in a plastic bag and carried them with me instead of packing in a box. Because you might not remember which box had the screws. I did this since the first time I’d moved thinking ‘I’m smart.’
Later, I started to tape those plastic bags of screw to where they were unscrewed from.
I never had a problem with a torn plastic bag during the move although I thought about the possibility.
Then, I met my husband who packs 4 screws like the pictures above.

Those are screws for my husband’s printer shelf. They are wrapped (or taped) in a packaging tape. The size of each screw is about 2cm (3/4 inch) or less.
I took these pictures about a month ago when I moved to LA by myself. I was unpacking and when I saw these screws, I grinned and took a picture of them because it’s very much of my husband.
He was planned to move to LA in about 2-3 months so we packed and shipped everything with me, even his desk and chair.
Perfectly wrapped and labeled screws in anti-tearing packaging tapes were of course nowhere but taped onto the printer shelf in the perfect spot for me to notice. Also, the label is not a just piece of paper. It’s a thick, adhesive sticker label.
Other screws for furniture were also perfectly sorted in a zip lock with a label.

This’s his good organizing skill but he’s also very detail-oriented.
Here goes my theory: he’s a good organizer because he’s a detail-oriented person.
I developed this theory by watching him over the past years, and comparing his habits and thought process to those of me.
You can be a good organizer if you’re detail-oriented.
But you can’t be a detail-oriented person just because you’re good at organizing.

I do organize but it’s a bit different from a standard definition of organizing.
A friend of mine back in high school, nicknamed my room “Chaosmos” which means an order in the chaos.
So, according to my theory, I’m not a good organizer, and cannot be a detail-oriented person.
What’s worse but similar to being detail-oriented? Obsessive Compulsiveness.

I don’t need my unscientific theory to willingly make myself look funny. Things I do just tell me that I’m on the border of being detail-oriented and having OCD.
All day yesterday, I looked for a black parting comb. I had this vivid image of seeing it in a bathroom drawer but wasn’t sure if the image was from my current apt, NYC, Greenville, or my parents’ house in Korea last year.
I looked EVERYWHERE. I looked into boxes I had unpacked because I didn’t need the stuff in them yet. I unpacked some of those boxes just to find the comb. I checked the same box over and over to make sure I didn’t miss an inch of every corner inside the box. When I was getting physically tired of looking for it, I sat down and drilled every cell in my brain to come up with more detailed image of last time I’d seen the comb.
I had also texted my mom in the morning asking about the comb. But because of time difference between the U.S and Korea, she didn’t get back to me until I was completely burnt out at night, both mentally and physically. So, I was watching a Korean drama trying to distract myself from thinking about the comb without much success. Close to midnight, my mom texted me “Ya, I see the comb here. Why?”
I was finally and instantly in zen after a “hard labor” all day. A tagline, like something from a movie trailer, was blinking: I wanted to know the truth.
Then believe it or not, I had a dream about the comb last night.
If my mom had said she didn’t see the comb in her house, I would’ve probably kept looking because there’s a 25% of probability that the comb would be in my apartment.
All I needed all day yesterday was my smart, detail-oriented, Confucius husband to tell me
“Just relax. It’ll turn up somewhere. Things always do.”

A curious case of Amazon order

My husband and I have been living apart for about 3 weeks now and we won’t see each other until the last week of March. (I’ll discuss more details about this later.)
He’s on the East coast and I’m here in LA.
So we talk a lot on the phone, skype, text, email, etc.
This is great because I’ve been obsessed with my phone since I finally became a smartphone user in last August.
It’s glued to my hands and I do everything on the phone although my computer is on pretty much all day.

First thing I do in the morning is checking emails on my smartphone in the bed – partly to force myself to open my eyes. And of course text, facebook, LA times, twitter, and everything you can do on a smartphone.
But some emails come with a large picture or a lot of information and I re-check those on a computer when I actually get up.

This morning, with one eye still closed, I saw an email subject “Your Order with”
I had ordered a bicycle lock that is now never coming for 11 days so I thought the email was about that order.
I clicked the email, and it was

Amazon order

Clearly, something was ordered this morning and there was my husband’s name, too.
Strange, I was sleeping. Did somebody steal my credit card info?!
So this would be a kind of email I re-check on a computer and thankfully make me get up immediately.
Then I saw a text from my husband.

“I ordered from Amazon with gift card my mom found. Still have $5 if you need something, let me know. :)”

He didn’t say what he ordered but it was him, not a cyber thief who stole my credit card and Amazon account info. So that kept me in a bed a little longer. 🙂

He likes window shopping but rarely buys anything. And we’ve been trying to save as much as we can so immediately I got so curious what he had bought in the early morning as soon as he had woken up.
Then it hit me.
‘It’s Feb 6! only a week to the Valentine’s day!’
Even though I didn’t really buy him a Christmas gift last year (despite the fact it was our first Christmas together) and we’re not so big on celebrating all the special days, he’s still given me gifts or taken me out on a dinner on special occasions.

‘Aww, he’s so sweet. Aww, Valentine’s day gift for me. I wonder what he ordered.’

I decided not to ask him what he bought because I wanted to wait to surprise myself.

With my dreamy eyes and happy smile, I made myself a cup of morning tea and got a piece of Babka (my new favorite Eastern European cake) before I go through a list of things to do.
First thing on the list: check when the h*** my bicycle lock (the one I mentioned above) is schedule for delivery.
I ordered it on Jan 27. Yes. 11 days is enough time to receive something shipped from Korea. And if you live in Korea, you’d have received your order, returned it, and got a refund in your bank account.
I logged onto my Amazon account without thinking that I’d get to see what he ordered for my Valentine’s day gift.


“?? Why would he order….. ??…. !!!”

It took me a couple of seconds to realize that he didn’t order those razors for me, nor did he for a Valentine’s day gift. I rechecked the order confirmation email and yes, it said he ordered razors.
Because I was just waking up when I saw the email, and it was one of those lots-of-info-so-check-again-on-a-computer emails, I didn’t scroll down to see the order detail which would have shown me the razors.
Also, if I hadn’t been half asleep when I checked the email on the phone, I would’ve been clever enough to doubt it’d be a Valentine’s day gift because the email clearly said it’s being shipping to my husband’s current place.
But the instant thought of “only a week to the Valentine’s day!” just blanked my head.

Oh well, I guess we are still not big on celebrating special days. :S

Hope this lasts.

I’ve had a couple of blogs since the beginning of the blog era on internet. All were mainly to keep my personal thoughts and ideas and never meant to be published openly. And I don’t write on those blogs anymore although I sometimes read them.

My parents used to tell me I lack patience. Whether it’s my interest or dream I wanted to pursue, they didn’t think I kept up with it for long enough to whatever they think I was supposed to do with it.
Well, I have to admit that it is true but it’s not because I lack patience. It’s because I had (and still have) interest in so many other things. I mean SO MANY! Science, arts, sports, literature, just about everything! And while this might sound very arrogant, I learned fast and became good at a lot of those I was interested in a short period of time.
But you were right, mom and dad. There are certain things I dropped too soon and too easily, like my previous blogs. 😦

So, I’m hoping this blog would last and become a good hangout spot to connect with others.  🙂