Sunday, December 19, 2010

Korean food!

Last night was my Korean dinner party, which turned out really well. We had tons of food and drink and desserts! I ended up preparing rice, kimchi, bulgogi (Korean "fire" meat), japchae, and three different kinds of veggie patties (Korean style sweet potato, zucchini, and eggplant.

I went a little crazy with the portions. In Korean there is a term that loosely translates to "your hands are big". It is usually used when referring to how much someone has cooked for a meal or a party, meaning that the person is very generous. It's something that I heard a lot about my mom growing up. I must have gotten "my big hands" from her.

Though some of my "big hands" is from just sheer ignorance. So when I went to the Korean grocery store on Friday, I ended up coming home with 15 pounds of meat. Knowing that about 18 folks would come, and figuring a couple wouldn't eat meat, I figured 1 pound of meat per person was a reasonable estimation. Ummm... I find out from a phone conversation with my mom that night that 1 pound of bulgogi meat is for 3-4 people! I had bought enough meat for 50-60 people!

I actually ended up sending a lot of people home last night with meat, as well as kimchi and japchae. Folks were really grateful that I sent people home with food. It was cute. A girl actually told me that my japchae was the best she ever had! And she was Korean too! Sorry, but hearing "this is the best japchae ever" from a white girl just doesn't mean as much as hearing it from a Korean girl. :p

Here's a pic of the spread:

And here's the biggest wok full of japchae you've ever seen!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Regrets of the dying

I came across this article, written by someone who used to work in palliative care. She listed the five most common regrets of the dying.

"1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

I'm struck by the concept again of happiness as a conscious choice. She ends her article with "Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness."

Choose happiness. I like it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All or nothing

I had a great time in New Mexico for an extended mini vacation. In the very very small chance that some New Mexico residents may just happen to be reading this, I loved the state! Best state evah! ;) Mmm red and green chiles! We were also able to spend a day in Santa Fe, which was very cool as well. I went a little crazy and bought a bunch of stuff.... jewelry, native american type souvenirs, ooh a sand globe to go with my snow globe collection!

I really found myself intrigued with the native american history in the state. It really saddens me how much the native americans got screwed by so many countries in both North and South America. I gained quite a bit of knowledge looking up a ton of stuff about the local tribes and pueblos, even though a certain someone said I was gaining too much knowledge! I think next time I am in New Mexico, perhaps to go skiing in Taos, I definitely want to check out a pueblo, perhaps the Taos pueblo.

Anyways, I've mentioned before that my last two months have been very very quiet with work. But then of course the shit hits the fan all at once, as I am now on two projects. I was in Kansas City yesterday for the first one, which will probably require travel to Charlotte and Boston over the next two weeks. Also my second project starts this Friday, which will require about 100 hours of work before Christmas. Sigh!

Things are busy otherwise as a good friend's holiday party is this Saturday. I also agreed to host a Korean potluck dinner for 15-20 people at my condo next Saturday. I am kind of stressing out over all I have to do for that dinner and what I want to serve. I need to get to Ikea to get some serving platters and decorative stuff as well. Damn it, why am I going to be busy for work now?!?! Cry.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lottery of Life

I flew into Albuquerque yesterday and will be here until Monday. However, I found out yesterday that I have to be in Kansas City for an all day meeting next Tuesday. I was going to try to change my flight to get back to Chicago earlier, but it turned out to be too freakin' expensive. So I'm just going to fly back on my original flight, get into O'hare at 5 pm and stay to turn around on a flight back out at 8 pm.

Anyways, I've talked before about trying to remember how incredibly lucky I am to have all that I have and to have been born into the world that I was. A very powerful ad/campaign called The Lottery of Life from Save the Children. The ads juxtapose images to show what your life may be like if you were born in a different time or place.

Gratitude... must remember...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I flew back from Chapel Hill yesterday. And waking up in Chicago this morning... I woke up to snow flurries! First I've seen this winter. I'm here just for today and am flying back out tomorrow morning to New Mexico for 4 days to see a friend. It's the first time I've ever been in the Southwest part of this country, so I'm looking forward to it.

Anyways, so I heard back from the Atlanta firm on Monday that while it was a very hard decision, (part of why it took so long) that I didn't get the job. While I was definitely kinda disappointed, I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I'd be. Maybe because the thought of moving to Atlanta was pretty overwhelming and something I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to do. So the job search continues. We'll see what happens and where I end up. A big part of me thinks that the reason I didn't get the job in Atlanta is because I'm supposed to stay in Chicago for some reason. There's that big fate part of me again!

Now given I just flew back and am getting back on a plane tomorrow, just a couple thoughts around flying that I need to get out. I'm not flying every week for work right now, but that is my typical schedule and I flew over 50,000 miles in both 2007 and 2008. I've been on a lot of flights. You should see how fast I can get through security, often with two laptops. For all the talk about TSA security lately, I haven't been frisked recently or sent through the x-ray thing yet. Anyways, what irritates me about flying.

First of all, I can't stand people who are assholes about the overhead compartment. I mean the people who come on and just put a coat up there or some small bag? Come on! There are tons of people trying to get roll aboard bags up there! I myself am not shy about moving things around, though typically I am amongst the first people to board so its not an issue for me. But it still irritates me to sit there and see all these people come on and be assholes about it.

Then there are the assholes who don't seem to understand that there is a method or order to how to get off a plane. People who try to rush ahead without letting people in the row ahead of them get off, really really irritate me. Hmmm maybe I just can't stand assholes.

Finally, this whole "turn off all electronic devices during take off and landing". Do you really think that every single person on a flight is completely turning off their cell phone? Hell, no! And really, "they" are going to put the "safety" of the plane/flight on the guarantee that every person is turning off their phone? No way. If a phone being turned on is really going to somehow mess with the flight controls, there is no f'in way they would let us all on the plane with them. They'd confiscate them at the airplane door. So I'm not sure why they make us turn them off, but I call bullshit. BULLSHIT!