Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How do you pinpoint the non-enjoyment?**

Alternative title:  Pity party for one!

This post was written because a) I use my blog and a medium to express my personal frustrations, b) I like hearing what others have to say in the comments section, and c) because we are so eager to show the world when we do good, but we also have to remain humble, and honest.


I'm at a cross roads.  

I'm in a rut.

I'm searching for more.

I'm unmotivated.

I'm probably just* depressed.  I don't know.  

I want to do things.  I want to change.  But I don't put in the hard work I need to get it done.  I'm lazy.  I'm all or nothing.  I'm hard on myself.  I have feelings of guilt if I come home and don't do what I had planned.  I need external motivation and reward.  I've got a strong personality.  I'm stubborn.  But I give up too easily.  I'm not happy accomplishing things on my own.  I need to work on my confidence.  I don't believe good things should happen to me.  I'm sure those that know me (especially my family and husband) could add to this list.

Bah-humbug!  How's that for real?  Real depressing.

I need constant change.  I need to be challenged.  When I was little I'd change my room around every month or so.  I got bored easily.  I still get bored easily.  I've taken on volunteer projects at work to combat some of this.  

Some days are awesome.  I feel really good and blessed to have a wonderful family and an understanding husband.  Some days are bad and I feel guilty for not being better.

But I want more.  And I'm searching.  I'm looking.

And I'm coming up with......NOTHING!

(Except blogging.  Blogging makes me happy)


* I use the word just to refer to this personal realization, NOT to simplify or undermine the severity of this disorder.
** My friend Tanya inspired this title and topic of post for today

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lessons from a Korean mother-in-law (part 5)

This is a post, in a series, dedicated to a mother-in-law that I deeply love and dearly miss.  All posts in this series are true events that happened to me.

Catch up on the others:


"Why is only your stomach coming out?" mom asks.

"Because I'm really fat right here" I reply grabbing onto both sides of my stomach, as if to prove my point.

"Do you have a baby?" she demanded.

"No mom, no baby"

"No baby?"  She sounds surprised.

"That's right, there is no baby Mom!"

She paused and waited.  Silence.

Her eyes spoke a different story.  The silence that reached to the corners of the room was soon shattered.  "You didn't get your period for a long time.  I check your underwear everyday.  There is no blood!"

Monday, May 28, 2012


Vegetarian chilli -- this is the BEST meal I've made in a long time.  AND it's soooo healthy.  

Pizza bun - pepperoni, pineapple, red pepper, and tomato sauce

Whole wheat tortilla with natural pb and banana 

Left over kimchi tuna soup with rye cracker

Salad and quinoa, black bean, veggie, egg white (everything in your kitchen fridge) bake -- For this meal I just threw stuff together.  It was healthy but tasted awful, although Sung Hyun liked it!  I certainly won't be making it again.

Side note:  I'm so lucky to have a husband who eats all these meals with me.  I can't imagine having to cook two meals because of his different taste preferences, but he's starting to pretend he's like my male friends here in Canada.  For the past two nights he's said "where's the meat and potatoes!"  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I had a dream...

... I won the scholarship.  

Then I woke up and felt sad it was only a dream because in real life I'm still waiting.

So then I got up and made my lover breakfast in bed.  

His on the left, mine on the right. 

Eggs, turkey bacon, fruit, coffee, green monster!  

Because of the rain, it's a perfect day to curl up in bed and read a book.

But not just any book...

... Oooooo ;)

How did you spend your weekend?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lessons from a Korean mother-in-law (part 4)

This is a post, in a series, dedicated to a mother-in-law that I deeply love and dearly miss.  All posts in this series are true events that happened to me.  


The door opened and a small feisty lady popped up from the floor. 
Turning at the waist, I bowed to greet her.  A bow from the hips, rather than the head, signifies the greatest respect.
Hello,” I said in my rehearsed Korean, my heart racing.
She slipped one hand around my waist, the other aggressively patted my bum.
Tilting her neck upwards her eyes greeted mine.
I let out a sigh of relief.
Sung Hyun slipped off his shoes, turned to look at us and smiled, “Mom, I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Jennifer” 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fit and fabulous...or neither?

In May of last year I had grandiose plans to get my butt in shape.  That didn't really work out so well.  What's with the month of May that motivates me to reexamine at my eating habits?  I guess it's like spring cleaning but in diet form.  

This past year I have had a major shift in the way I eat, mostly because I don't live with my parents anymore.  I do miss having my lunch packed for me everyday though.  I've been making a point to eat more 'natural' foods.  As you can see from my last food post.  But I'm not perfect.  I do eat out a lot and I snack too.  But slowly I'm starting to switch out unhealthy food for more natural snacks.  It's a long and slow process.  

So here's the question:  do you think it's possible for me to go from this (May, 2011)

To this:


What are these strange food combinations?

Updates with descriptions:

Quinoa topped with egg whites, hummus and pica de gallo

Greek yogurt with hemp/flax/chia seeds with walnuts and fresh fruit (mango, blackberries, raspberries)

Quinoa with spinach topped with black bean and pica de gallo

Chicken breast with curry and spinach with brown rice and samosa

Veggie spaghetti on a bed of lettuce

Spinach/ banana smoothie with veggies, berries, nuts, toasted tortilla with hummus.

EVERYTHING was homemade from scratch (except the yogurt, curry and tomato sauce)

Let's talk about life....

This month I went from working full-time to part-time.  Two weeks ago I quit my grad class.  

I had these grand plans that will all my free time everything would fall nicely into place:  I'd start to eat healthier, I'd nourish my body with water and exercise, I'd be a better wife, I'd cook more at home, I'd keep a neater house, I'd be a happier person...

...good intentions, if you will.

But the reality is that I've just got more time to eat potato chips and fall asleep to Dr. Phil, which seems to be the running theme of the week.  

Darn it, change doesn't just happen by wishing.  I wish I was this, or that, or whatever (fill in the blanks as you so please).  Anyone else ever struggle with this?  Come on, I know you're out there.... 


On Sunday night of last week, my good friend came over for a chat.  She has been contemplating a major life decision, a huge career move, and she needed my help to 'talk through the decision'.  Our "I'd like to stop by and talk to you about what I should do" turned into a 3 hour conversation about life, work, and family.  

My friend, a real go getter, turned down a job offer that would have turned her into a real career woman.  She decided to put her family first and stay with her current position because she knew that if she accepted the job she'd be tied to the phone on the weekends dealing with clients.  To her, there would be no work/life balance, so she made a decision to put her family first.  

She made the right choice.

From there we moved on to talks of family and life choices.  We discussed our relationship and expectations in our marriage.  We talked about how our husbands are so similar, even though they come from very different places.  We talked about love.  And SEX ;)  

We concluded that we should both read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  We agreed to make a point to meet each week to talk through some of the common themes we have in our relationship.  Like when we (us 2 women) want to talk through our decisions about major life choices with our partners but our partners say "just do what makes you happy, I'll support you with whatever decision you make."

It's great that our men are so supportive.  Sung Hyun has told me numerous times that if I want to get my PhD that he'd support me or if I wanted to be a stay at home wife that he'd support me.  How lovely it is to be with someone who allows me so much freedom in my relationship.

But sometimes I need a woman to talk through my options with me.  I don't want to paint Sung Hyun badly here, when in fact the opposite is true.  He'd gladly listen to me talk about my trials and tribulations.  But then he'd say "I just want you to be happy so decide whatever".  He's a 'go with the flow, don't take life so seriously' kind of person.  I'm an 'OMG let's try to control everything and strive to make our lives challenging because it's only when we're struggling that we're learning and growing' kind of person.  We're a good match.  But I still need a girlfriend to help me 'talk through my choices'. 

My mom always told me that you can't expect your spouse to be perfect and it's not fair to place such high expectations on them.  Instead, if you find you are missing something, go out and find that quality in someone/something else. 


So we're starting a husband club.  And we're going to meet every week or so.  Our goal will not be to vent about our husbands but rather to find better ways to communicate our needs and wants while acknowledging our partners as well.  It's about healthy compromise and balance.  And you all know I'm SHIT at BOTH!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lesson from a Korean mother-in-law (part 3)

The boiling water bubbled on the stove early morning.  Breakfast, I thought.  Steam covered my glasses as I leaned over the pot to see what we’d be eating.  My Korean mother-in-law, sitting on the floor a few feet away, looked up but remained silent.  MY UNDERWEAR!  She was cooking my underwear.  My eyes met hers and in my limited Korean all I could think of to say was “looks delicious!!!”  

She smiled.

This is a post, in a series, dedicated to a mother-in-law that I deeply love and dearly miss.  All posts in this series are true events that happened to me.  Miss Part 1 and  Part 2?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Speaking about money....

Waiting on this scholarship is painstakingly difficult.  I filled out the application about 6 months ago and I was supposed to hear back from them sometime in May (I've heard that it's usually the beginning of the month when you find out).  I contacted the university to see if they heard anything, but no news has been received on their end either.  It's up to a panel of government officials to decide whether or not I am awarded the money.  Meanwhile my life is hanging in the balance.

I've pretty much scheduled my life around counting on this to pan out in my favour (hopefully I haven't jinxed it).  But it's the reason why I only accepted the part-time job offer at RODS and signed up for full-time classes in the fall (a prerequisite for accepting the award).  It means the difference between completing my graduate program in 2 years vs. 5 years, mainly because I can dedicate all my time to my studies if I get the scholarship.

This is very important to me.  

Success or failure, I'll write all about it here when I find out.  I hope that's soon!!!!

Keep your fingers crossed for me please ;)

Budgeting continued

Yes, $400 on food is a lot considering we are only 1/2 way through the month.  I expect we'll spend another $100 on fresh fruits and veggies which we pick up every 5 days or so.  And I'm guessing we'll eat out two more times this month so I can probably expect to tack on another $60 for that.  That brings our monthly grocery plus dining out bill to about $700.  This will most likely be more than average because this month we celebrated our anniversary out ($80 bill), had a house warming party ($70) and 2 different groups of guests over for dinner.

With this in mind, I'd like to have the grocery bill be around $300 and the dining out to be around $100.  That will be a major adjustment for next month.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Food and budget

I've been eating some really yummy and healthy meals lately.  Here's what I had for lunch and dinner today:

 Hummus on a multi grain ciabatta with some lettuce and red peppers with a side of fresh berries.

BBQ tofu stir fry served on a bed of spinach (instead of rice).  

So Sung Hyun and I have started in on the budget plan.  This plan failed miserably mostly because I can't be bothered to have money separated into jars for different functions.  I think the main reason why the jar method is so great for some people is because it is another STEP in the way of just making rash decisions.  With the jars you have to keep track of money coming out and in ALL THE TIME.  I can't be bothered to write that stuff down.  Maybe it's part laziness.  Or perhaps it has to do with my disorganization.  Either way, this system didn't work for us.

So our new approach is to just keep our money in the bank (it's probably safer this way) and use our debit/credit card for our monthly purchases.  So far we are successfully keeping track of groceries.  We don't have any other big purchases that we need to make.  But usually if I want to buy something I ask Sung Hyun and vice versa.  I've halted the house shopping because if I came home with one more vase Sung Hyun was going to shoot me.  

We each give ourselves $200 of free money every month that we don't have to be accountable to one another for.  I usually use mine for dining out with friends.  Sung Hyun chooses to suck toxic chemicals into his body (smoking blows!)  So we each have our vices.

I'm very happy to be keeping track of our monthly expenses, but I'm not sure that Sung Hyun really understands the purpose.  He's still got the "if you want it, buy it mentality".  So when I showed him that our grocery bill for the month of May was $408 he said "so what?!"

So 14 days into May we've already spent $408 on groceries and $116 on dining out together.  EEEEEEEEEEEK!!  I think that's a little excessive for 2 people.  

We have waaaaay too much food in this house.  

The pantry is all full.

The door of the freezer and fridge is packed.

And the freezer and fridge couldn't handle much more!

I'm hoping to cut our food budget back a bit next month because it's probably not necessary to stock pile so much food.......or spend so much money!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Mom

Thank you for everything you do. 

 You must have had the most difficult job because you had to parent ME!

I hope one day I can be a mother like you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lessons from a Korean mother-in-law (part 2)

I pulled out the blue Gatorade bottle that got pushed to the back of the fridge. The few sips that were left were hardly worth saving, but I knew the rules of the house: eat everything on your plate and don’t throw any food away.  Mom grew up during the Korea war.  Food was scarce.  Her family was poor.

Mom do you want to drink this?” I asked. 

She barely took her eyes off the T.V. fast enough to even know what I was talking about.  “NO” she said.

I opened the lid and proceeded to pour the blue liquid down the sink.  But first, I turned to look at mom.  I smiled widely.  I knew what would follow next. 

She bolted up from the floor and b-lined it to the kitchen sink.  “DON’T DO THAAAAT!”  Holding the bottle with two hands she gulped the liquid like she hadn’t had anything to drink for weeks.  “KAHHHH” she exclaimed, reacting to her first Gatorade experience.  Handing the bottle back to me she closed her fingers, made a fist and wacked me across my upper arm.  “Don’t throw it out”, she scoffed.

I had only pretended to pour the Gatorade down the sink.  I liked to bug her.

This is a post, in a series, dedicated to a mother-in-law that I deeply love and dearly miss.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Give yourself permission to be the priority in your life.

Last night I went to my spring grad class.  It's an intensive 6-week course.  Intensive because within the first 2 weeks our first research paper is due.  Two weeks sounds like a lot of time considering I do most of my writing late at night a couple of days before the paper is due.  But since the topic is one that I have no background knowledge on which to base my opinion, I'd be living at my computer, like when I was applying for this.

I left the class overwhelmed and stressed.  I kind of felt like I was hit by a truck.

I woke up thinking "what the hell am I going to write about in my first paper?".  An overwhelming sense of doom washed over me and turned me into a grump.  I get grumpy when I'm stressed and the first person I take it out on is Sung Hyun (cue: poor Sung Hyun!).

So tonight after a chat with my lover, I decided to withdraw.

I kind of feel like a failure.  Negative self-talk like "a real leader would preserve and push through" has been clouding my thoughts.  But the reality is that I'm been pushing through since I've been back to Canada almost 2 years ago.  We've accomplished a lot since our return.  And the only one holding these high expectations of myself is myself.  Everyone else could probably care less.  Most of you may think I'm foolish for putting this strain on myself.  A few of my friends have said "give yourself a break" because I often can't sit to watch T.V. for 1 hours without feeling guilty and thinking I should be "bettering myself".  Well "bettering myself" this summer will be about doing things that I actually enjoy doing, like writing!

I'm looking forward to the break from stress and, as Tosca Reno said on her FB status today, giving myself permission to be the priority in my life"

And that my friends, is exactly what I'm going to do!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Lessons from a Korean mother-in-law

That’s my son!”, my mother-in-law exclaimed.  Her frail weathered hands grasped the side of the coloured photo.  Of the handful of pictures we had together she stopped to comment on this one.

How do you know it’s him?   You can only see the back of a head?” I replied.

Yes, but I know my son from the back of his head.  Why is he cleaning the toilet!” she exclaimed, rather than questioned.

It was true.  I had snapped the photo of Sung Hyun cleaning my toilet in the quaint little apartment down the street from the English academy that I worked at.  Somehow in the plethora of photos I had on my memory stick, this one got printed. 

My mother-in-law, a hard working old lady visibly affected by the long hours of manual labour, believed it was the daughter-in-law’s responsibility to be the primary caregiver, the only caregiver.  Women belonged in the home.  Men belonged in the workplace.  The lines were clear and not to be crossed. 

But lines didn’t exist in our relationship.  Because when two people come together who don’t speak the same language, success for us was measured in our ability to convey a simple message.  That part was hard enough.

Six months of living with my mother-in-law was a gift.  I didn’t realize how precious it was at the moment.  The moment she’d hit me for not obeying her rules.  The moment she’d open the bathroom door mid-shower to tell me my phone was ringing.  The moment she went off on a tangent about how so and so was cheating with so and so in her favourite afternoon drama.

I didn’t understand most of these moments.  But I felt them.  I felt them enough to allow myself to take a step back and enjoy them for what they were.  I laughed.  We laughed!  The one pre-requisite for anyone deciding to live with their Korean mother-in-law would be to come with an open heart and open mind.  Of course a sense of humour is certainly helpful.

This is a post dedicated to a mother-in-law that I deeply love and dearly miss.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Special delivery

A couple of weeks back, Jolene at "Everyday Foodie" was hosting a blog giveaway.  And I WON!

See, I was slightly excited to win something!!!

So what did I win?  

3 bottles of Stevia (vanilla, orange, and lemon) from NuNaturals.

p.s. Stevia is a natural sweetener.