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Obviously. Part Two.

18 Jun

Obviously, this post is about Father’s Day.  And obviously it’s a good thing it’s a holiday, because my post ideas have been slim to none.  (also, it’s really hot, so I prefer to spend my free time complaining about the heat while lying down in front of the air conditioner.)

No surprise here, my dad is super awesome, and not just because he majored in philosophy for his first year of college. Father E. spends his time actually helping people, because he wants to.  He’s not into things of the material variety.  His attention span is either 5 minutes or 5 hours, and subject to change on a whim.  He enjoys pacing.  And it only took me 24 years to realize admit that we are very similar, in that we both enjoy being temperamental and forcing our family members to deal with it.  We also enjoy arguing about abstract ideas, while drinking coffee and quoting Joni Mitchell and Joseph Conrad, until one of us calls the other pretentious – because we are pretentious.

And writes some pretty poetic e-mails – I’m not even kidding.  I also once got a text waxing poetic on the Kansas sunset, to which I replied “Exactly how high are you?” 

“But if he were a song
He’d be a complicated melody

-India Arie

He’s a good person, and he’s supportive of me.  If I bring up a new country I want to live in, or a career I’ve been toying with, his response is usually, “Good. When?” 

And he’s such a tightwad, that I can only assume I won’t have to take care of him in his old age, financially speaking. (because I’m going to guilt my older brother into doing it)

I also have yet to date a convict or take off my clothes for money, so I’m fairly certain I wasn’t gifted any daddy issues.  Thank you father.

And no post about him would be complete without this video, which sums up everything I can’t.  It’s also hilarious.

You can also revisit this fabulous post, which is also an homage to my dad.

Arlington National Cemetery, 2009 (aka the summer of my bitchin’ tan)

Celebrating my college graduation at Hotel Congress in Tucson, 2010

College Graduation, or That Time the Handouts Stopped: A Tragedy in 3 Parts

And of course, my favorite pic:

On a ferry in Thailand, 2011

…….

And of course, I’d also like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Tator Tot’s dad, Mr. Potato Head.  He surprised no one by being a wonderful father.

Contented sigh.

………

So today I’m thankful for my dad.  I realized I must be pretty lucky if my chief complaint is that he sneezes offensively loud. But in my defense, it’s so loud.

Parent Trap

7 Jun

Pardon my absence.  I become completely worthless when stressed – I’m not one of those proactive, solve-the-problem type people…instead I have reoccurring anxiety nightmares (where all my ex boyfriends and high school nemeses try to ruin my prom night – as if, bitches!), and I watch a lot of the Real Housewives of Orange County, which always soothes me.

The main source of my recent stress-induced worry lines, has been the parents at my job.  What began as a small thing, went around and around and around, and circled into a big thing.  And I felt attacked.  And I panicked.

And then it all sort of ended up as nothing, something brushed under the rug as a “misunderstanding,” one in which I think I’m the only one still thinking about it, and still feeling hurt.

The thing about, well everything, and especially teachers here is that there are two groups:  the ones that care, and the ones that don’t.  In all honesty, it’s not the most difficult job to coast through – many of the people here just want to travel, or didn’t study to be teachers (both me)But in January, in the midst of feeling like I couldn’t do this job, or simply didn’t want to, I made the decision to care – to really go all-in, and see what happened. 

And it only took until April to see results. (hence the wrinkles and stress-shopping)

And I’m really happy I did it.  And I’m proud of myself.

But the thing about caring is…you care about everything.  So when a “parent complaint/ misunderstanding/personal attack happens – it really feels like shit, and it really feels personal. 

As Monica and I discussed (and baby bro was there too, but he just pretended to text the whole time – hi Eric, get a haircut!) I will never be the kind of person who is indifferent…about anything except Carrie Underwood, who is so damn boring.  That’s just not my personality, and I can’t spend my time that way – I’m just not that cool, despite my new hipster haircut.  And so…stuff like this is going to happen, and I’m not going to be able to laugh it off.

…so thank god there’s bad TV to download, and an endless supply of cropped blazers to buy.

Crisis: averted.  Blogging: resumed.

Today’s quote:

Sometimes when we were in Dublin, Dad would just wander off and get lost, and I would just stop and scream ‘ THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE.’

This is what my little brother said when I asked him how his recent Ireland trip with the parents went.  And then I laughed for days.

….

Today I”m thankful for perspective, which I admittedly don’t have much of. A lot of friends tried to put this mess into perspective for me…and I realized that did nothing for me.  I then reasoned that my only source of perspective is Tator Tot – if that baby is healthy and happy, then things are good, and most of the other stuff doesn’t matter.  And ironically Tator had to have little baby surgery this week, but happily wheeled his tiny suitcase outta there today.  While wearing Elmo pants.

Because he’s baller.

Strong Female Lead

14 May

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were discussing Netflix, among other things we used in our past lives (like Hulu, Target, and drive-throughs).  I mentioned that Netflix was always recommending movies and TV shows with a “strong female lead”, based on my queue.  This became a running joke throughout the night, as we discussed what fabulous, independent ladies we are (example: When I had Netflix, I totally paid for it. By myself.)

And someday I’ll fill you in on my OCD list of TV shows and must-watch movies, but for right now, I will just leave you with a short Strong Female Lead post…a theme I think will find its way into this blog a lot.  All joking aside, I think women are badass, and I’m big on female empowerment. (please see previous Mother’s Day post, or any post involving my friends)

So today’s Strong Female Lead is my sister-in-law Mandy, who graduated with her Master’s Degree this weekend.  She’s going to be an amazing teacher, and she’s already a fabulous mama.  And she’s nice to me, even when I’m the bitchiest sister-in-law imaginable. (that’s a therapy discussion series of posts for another time)

Congrats Mama, we (my millions of readers fans and I) are so proud of you! It also greatly pleases me that Tator Tot will grow up with a Strong Female Leading lady, much like Mandy and I have (Mandy’s mom is the total HBIC, which is awesome).

That scowling guy in the background is so jealous of the blonde cuteness happening front and center.

 

Today’s song/video/quote, which I dare you to listen to and NOT dance along:

………….

Today I’m thankful for Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig, Megan McCarthy, Mya Rudolph, and all the other hilarious and intelligent women who are making it cool to be Strong Female Leads.

Have a happy start to your work week y’all!

 

Obviously.

14 May

Obviously this post is about Mother’s Day.  On this site we proudly celebrate any holiday of my choosing. (spoiler alert: this does not include Flag Day, Columbus Day, or Children’s Day) 

I think you can generally determine how good a mother one is, by the general excellence of her children.  So clearly my mom should teach a master’s class on this shit.  Same goes for Tator Tot’s mom (hi Mandy!), my friends’ moms, and Ryan Gosling’s mom.  However, to my ex-boyfriends’ mothers – you should be ashamed of yourself.

This is the quote I put on Monica’s card, because I’ve always thought she was a perfect blend of intelligence, hardwork, style, and charm:

“Think, Travel, Celebrate, Charm, Decorate, Dress, Live – colorfully.”       -Kate Spade

Eric, Monica, and me in Seoul

As any of my friends can attest to, I talk about my mom all the time – the words proud and grateful are about as close as I can get to describing my feelings for her. She is my favorite person to shop and gossip with, but she’s also more interested in my thoughts and my goals, and will never ever be the kind of mom who pressures me to get married or have kids.  She never makes me feel guilty for living far away, or for being really confused about my future. (but she does cry at the airport every time, which is like watching a puppy die. Repeatedly.) Bonus: she let me bring some of her amazing handbags and accessories to Korea this year, which is the most selfless thing anyone has ever done aside from actually giving birth. And she laughs at my jokes (but to be fair, I’m really funny).

In short, she’s the coolest.

My all-time favorite pic of her, taken in Thailand last summer.

So thank you to my mom, and all of the other mamas out there for all that you do, which is innumerable, unimaginable, and never-ending.  It sounds super awful, but I salute you!

Also, it should be obvious that today I’m thankful for my mom.  And for Mandy, because I can’t imagine living in a Tator Tot-less world.

One time on a trip, we got dressed in our respective hotel rooms, only to meet up and realize that we were wearing the exact.same.outfit.

 

 

 

Austin City Limits music festival, fall 2009

Mandy looking fabulous, even though she had to take Tator Tot to the hospital – fall 2010

Tator Tot and Mandy

And now for my all-time favorite TV and movie moms:

Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development: The original HBIC

Claire Dunphy, Modern Family – I’m told I remind people of her all the time. We are both blonde Claires, who make a lot of faces and just want people to do what we say.

 

Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls: witty and pretty and bright

Sally Fields, Steel Magnolias: Her impassioned speech at her daughter’s grave gets me every time.

 

Happy Mother’s Day y’all!

 

 

I Can’t Quit You

7 May

What started as a fun travel blog, later became a chore.  So I took a break; I felt like I was too focused on writing about my experiences instead of actually experiencing them…but after another fab conversation with Monica, and a writer’s-dilemma post from my friend Jenna, I realized it was time to get back to it.

Writers write.  So if I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.  And that made me uncomfortable.  So in the hope that motivation will win out over my penchant for self-indulgence, I’ve decided to make myself write every day.  Even if it’s just a paragraph.  Or a quote.  Or a picture with a caption. Something. Anything.

But, let’s quickly catch up.  During the last 8 months, I…

-met and fell in love with my nephew. I happily wear the crazy aunt hat.

Image

-got my TEFL certification, despite my best efforts to avoid scholarly pursuits outside of Jeopardy

-left Korea, amid a flurry of parties and tears.   3 months later I came back, amid a flurry of parties and tears.

-Dated someone I thought was really amazing, but we broke up because he wasn’t.

-Went to Malaysia for New Year’s Eve.  And Taiwan for a 3-day weekend. (pics of Taiwan to come- Malaysia will not be mentioned on the blog again due to aforementioned break up and my self-respect.)

-Became a kindergarten teacher.

-Got violently ill à la Bridesmaids at the Incheon Airport.

…and today I cut all my hair off, which was much needed.  I am metaphorically and literally lighter.  The last 4 months have been a challenge, and now that I’m finally coming out on the other side of it, it’s time to write again.  You’re so welcome, friends.

Image

Today’s quote:

“And in the spring I shed my skin
And it blows away with the changing wind”     
  –Florence and the Machine, “Rabbit Heart”

And lastly, to stop the constant self-deprecating humor, and for my own spoiled peace of mind, I’m going to write something I’m thankful for everyday – which is cheesy, but significant nonetheless.  Like a good episode of Gilmore Girls.

Today I’m thankful for how utterly humbling the last 4 months have been. (please see public food poisoning in above list) And I’m thankful they’re over.

While I was sleeping. . .

22 Apr

An entire month passed.  Without a single post.  And with many an angry Facebook post on my wall about said lack of blogging.  I apologize. . . at first I was just completely uninspired and I didn’t want to force out some super lame posts.  And then the days sort of turned into weeks, and now it’s been a month, and that’s just stupid.  So here we are.

So during the last 30 or so odd days, I’ve been:

-Watching NCAA basketball. . . at least until both Arizona and Kansas lost on the same weekend.  But I did log some pretty fun (early morning!) hours watching the games via laptop here. Highlights include a 4am watch-party date with Bossman, and a few (loud) expletives shouted while watching Arizona play Duke – while I was at work.

-Finishing my 30 Day Shred, which seems like a million years ago. That was possibly the most anti-climactic workout moment ever.  I finished the 30th day and thought “now what?”  Turns out, now means a normal workout routine to avoid any future 30 day shreds.

Owned.

-Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day:  . . . at a festival in Itaewon with hundreds of my closest, drunken foreigner friends.  In order to pay homage to the Irish in the most authentic and sincere way possible, we got good and day-drunk.  We drank, listened to the bands, laughed at people, got 3rd degree tongue-burns while trying to eat some street food, and fell asleep on a bus.  And of course I also (once again) extolled the virtues of the Boondock Saints to Lauren.

Soju on the left. Orange soda on the right. Someone who's going to regret it in the middle.

-Going on ridiculous adventures: A few weeks ago, some friends and I joined a group tour to the south of Korea, where we hiked Jagged Ridge and went to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.  What was supposed to be a relaxing, nature-loving weekend turned into the near-death experience of a lifetime. More on this later, once my PTSD subsides.

-Planning more trips: This weekend I’ll be getting my zen on during a temple stay. And next weekend, our boss is bankrolling a company trip to Nami Island for some moral-boosting fun.  I can only hope this retreat includes both norebanging and trust-falling. More on both of these to come.

-Battling two serious addictions.  The first is with Dexter.  I avoided this steamy serial killer for years, but found myself completely hooked last month. Obviously I had no choice but to stay in and watch all 5 seasons.The first step is admitting that you are powerless to your addiction, after all.

Social-life killer/ serial killer

My second addiction happened just this week.  I have reignited my passion for Carmen Sandiego, travel, trivia, and wasting time all at once!  I’m obsessed – I play it at work until my computer dies.  Only then do I realize that I’m at work, and should in fact be working.

Where in the world is that saucy minx?

-And previous Cherry Blossom Festival aside, I’ve also been enjoying the cherry blossoms closer to home.  Namely, on the way to work everyday, and last weekend at Yeouido Park in Seoul – the place to be (especially if you’re a couple and you own matching outfits. No. Joke.)  I’ve never been much for plants of any kind. . . but cherry blossoms are amazing.  All beautiful and fluffy.  It’s finally spring.  And we finally have pretty stuff to look at.

If only I could have class outside

-Writing for the Go! Girl Guides site:  Despite my lack of motivation over here, I’ve kept up my weekly posts on all things Korea, women, and travel.  You can check out my stuff here

-And lastly, I’ve been battling some hardcore homesickness.  Oddly, it didn’t hit me until around the 6-month mark.  And then it hit me. Hard.  Definitely spurred on by the fact that my family went on an amazing Florida vacation without me.  And that Tator Tot is getting cuter (and chubbier!) by the day.  And that college basketball always makes me think of my parents, some of the most loyal Jayhawk fans you’ll ever meet.  Luckily, I’ve had some good Skype dates with the parents recently, and I’ve channeled the homesickness into excitement for our reunion in Thailand this July (Hooray! Elephant rides and bottled water for everybody!)

So there you go, all caught up on the last month.  I promise not to go all MIA again.   Here’s hoping your last 30 days were as fab as mine!

.

It’s Genetic

12 Mar

Yesterday I received one of the single funniest e-mails of my life. It is from my older brother and Tator Tot.  That is all the introduction it needs. You’re welcome:

Dylan and Ben here.  We just wanted to let you know the following two things we found after having just read ‘The Little Red Caboose:’

1.) The Little Red Caboose’s voice is that of Snarf

2.) While climbing up the mountain, we noticed the Little Red Caboose actually travels past a group of Native Americans.  While this is believable-enough, one of the Native American’s is punching a horse in the face.  We’ll find a way to send you a picture of this Indian v. Horse mountainside brawl.

Love you,
Ben and (I’m letting Dylan type his own name here)  bi   imv     c rrrrcrrdxddddddx0hgbn ‘nn’

Consider me homesick y’all, because that. was. awesome.