Time to return to reality. Not that reality is anything to scoff at, but I do love vacations on tropical islands! Thanks to Meine Schwester for inviting me. :-)
Posts Tagged ‘Meine Schwester’
Last night we went out to Bali Steak and Seafood for an incredible meal. We all needed a good steak and bottle of wine after that tough day shopping.
As promised, the meal was fantastic, the waitstaff loved us, and we had a blast. We were probably the rowdiest group that they’ve had in a while. Beautiful views of the ocean, it is more of a romantic retreat than a hangout for single girls.
On the way out, we ran into this guy who claimed to give the best hugs in the world. We let Fixie Queen test it out. I think she was satisfied. :-)
I decided to start my new year’s resolution early. Time to get rid of this extra weight I’ve been hiding, so I joined eDiets.com. What I like about eDiets.com is that they give me recipes and a shopping list. If anything, maybe I’ll learn how to cook and use my lovely kitchen. So far, so good, today. This was my dinner. I swear the chicken wasn’t actually pink inside, just my camera. The rice pilaf has onions, if you wonder what those are, like Meine Schwester did. I skipped the mushrooms. Still don’t like mushrooms. And I couldn’t even eat all of it. Guess that leaves me lunch for tomorrow.
Hopefully I’ll stick with it. Wish me luck!
As an adult, I find it curious what triggers the memories of my inner child. I was reminded of two of these triggers today: cigars and chainsaws.
Uncle George was not my uncle as defined by my family tree. But he was an uncle in every other sense of the word. Growing up, I don’t recall many of my parents friends. Most had very little impact on me, except for one couple, George and Ruth. They were Flatlanders, hailing from the state of New Jersey, and wielding thick Jersey accents. Sparkles recalls Uncle George’s accent and how the number 33 sounded like a gruff “turty tree” George perpetually smoked cigars, which seemed exotic in a world of Marlboro and Camel cigarettes. His voice, husky and thick from the smoke, made him seem scary to small children, but we all knew him as gentle and kind.
But what I remember of Uncle George the most is the sound of chainsaws, waking us up in time for church on Sunday mornings in the summer. I don’t know when it started, and I don’t know when it ended, but for the entirety of my childhood memory, every Sunday, Dad and Uncle George would fill up the chainsaws with gas, grab a case of Budweiser, and head out into the woods with the Jitterbug. For those of you unfamiliar with a Jitterbug, it is a big-ass, old, rundown truck, bigger than a pickup truck, but smaller than an eighteen wheeler. Ours was this green monster with a wooden flat bed in the back. Dad and George would toss in the chainsaws and beer and head out into the three hundred acre woods in search of trees to cut for firewood.
They would start in the spring after the snow melted, and finish up in fall sometime before the frost. The sounds of the chainsaws on Sunday morning through the open windows were hard to sleep through. And by the time we started running the fireplace in the late fall, we had about fifteen cord of wood stacked up under the tree.
I remember helping sometimes. I’m not certain, but if my memory of the story is correct, Uncle George was witness to my first word. Dad would take me with them into the field while they were splitting wood. Whenever Dad missed the log with the ax, he would say, “Shit.” Me, as bright as I was, took in the situation. And when I was ready, and Dad missed with the ax, I said my first word. “Shit.”
I hear it was funny until I was in church, during a very quiet part of the service. I dropped my book over the pew and said, “Shit.”
I didn’t swear again until I was eighteen.
I helped again as I was older. I don’t remember ever being taught how to use an ax or chainsaw, but my job was stacking. I remember hating to stack wood. As a teenager, I would dread hearing the Jitterbug come back out of the woods full of trees because it meant time for us kids to work. We knew it was a necessity, but like any kid, we didn’t want to participate.
I know that Uncle George must have taken a portion of their cut back to his house. He too had a large house and many children. But I don’t recall ever seeing his black truck full of wood. I do remember, however, using his truck with the carpenter boxes on the side, as a horse trailer.
For a while, I borrowed a pony from a family down the street. Their kids had grown up and gone away, and the pony was just hanging out in the field, so Dad made arrangements for me to borrow it for a few years. So yes, when I asked for a pony, I got one. I was as spoiled as my parents could afford to allow.
To transport the pony the three miles to our house, Dad and Uncle George used a couple 2x4s and loaded the pony into the back of Uncle George’s nicely painted black truck. I can still see the image of my pony in a pickup truck.
After their kids had left the house, my parents sold George and Ruth a parcel of land where they built a little cabin in the woods. Just one bedroom, a bathroom and an integrated kitchen/living room. Easy to heat during the harsh Maine winters, and beautifully constructed by George and his sons. And Meine Schwester. At that time, Uncle George referred to her as Punky Brewster. We always complained that she never helped with anything. But Uncle George knew better. He let her help build the cabin by nailing down floorboards.
A picturesque cabin in the woods. Made with love. The summer they were building it, my friends and Brother K and I would sneak out and meet there to play strip Trivial Pursuit. No one knew how to play poker and we never got further than bathing suits. Brother K was Tom Sawyer, sneaking out his bedroom window and climbing down the back tree. I was Huck Finn, going down the stairs, picking up the snacks Mom had left for us as I walked out the front door. I remember one night, walking home from their cabin through the woods and seeing my first meteorite streak down the dark trail. This is where George the Carpenter would retire. This is what made George and Ruth better Mainers than I would ever be.
Uncle George was an integral part of our lives. Through good and bad. Again, I don’t know the details, but I know that he was there the day tragedy struck and I learned the lesson about operating heavy machinery while drinking. Uncle George’s truck flew down the driveway as if it was defying gravity and friction. It was a few hours before we found out that Dad was in the hospital. Meine Schwester recalls seeing Uncle George’s torn up thigh. The only detail I recall is that my father’s hand had been cut by a chainsaw. Dad’s tendons were cut in the last two fingers of his left hand. This wouldn’t have been as tragic if Dad wasn’t left handed.
Dad used to play guitar better than anyone else I knew. Of course, I probably thought that because he was my father, but he was incredible at picking and created pure magic in the air with his twelve string. Dad and George would play and sing, and no matter how bad things seemed, we always had music. It is what kept us all together. Dad’s injury wouldn’t have seemed so tragic, except that he does everything left handed except play guitar.
That was the day the music died.
I don’t blame anyone. I don’t know what happened. I don’t even know what year that was. But I feel like it was a turning point for my parents. Eventually, my senior year, they divorced. I wasn’t upset. They weren’t in love. I was excited that they were moving on with their lives and they could stop being miserable. I went off to college, Dad moved away. My family moved out of the big house and into a smaller house that didn’t require fifteen cord of wood to heat. My pony moved back to his home. I was busy learning about differential equations and stress/strain curves of materials. The sounds of chainsaws and guitars, and the smell of cigars faded into my memories.
Until today, when I learned that Uncle George had passed away. I hadn’t known he was ill. I hadn’t heard much about him for the past few years. I read the obituary and saw that his kids had all grown and married and have families of their own. I don’t know how long he lived in that little cabin in the woods. I don’t know if he still played guitar and smoked cigars and forced trees into works of art. But I do know that he made a difference in my life. And I never took the opportunity to tell him.
I have a friend who has a theory, that the best hookups are at weddings. So I’ve been trying to test this theory by attending a lot of weddings. Of course, this is the same friend I tried to pick up at a wedding. I failed, but he has some very good points that validate my attempt:
1. Location, location, location!
Weddings are in cool places with great ambiance and music that you can talk over and dance to. The venue is beautifully decorated, well lit, and romantic. And sometimes you find some really great dancers. I do love a good lead…
Weddings are not in loud, smokey bars full of drunks where your shoes stick to the floor, the neon signs are flashing their way to certain death, strangers grind up against your ass, and you get caught gasping in horror in the morning when you see your hookup in natural light.
2. Appropriate attire is required
Everyone is dressed to the nines and looking pretty damn pimp. This is what your hookup looks like at their best. People spend hours primping and prepping and ironing and curling. No detail is missed.
So even if your hookup dresses like a slob in every day life, you know that if you put some effort into him, you can get him to look more like this on a regular basis.
People are in a good mood and ready to party. The only tears are usually joyful and not into a beer. Mostly (see #5). Funerals are not particularly good places for hookups. Those are usually done out of desperation and despair. Not that I know any of this personally…
4. Veni, vidi, bibi vino
I’m not even going to paraphrase my friend on this one. He says:
Everyone is always drinking wine. Sure, there’s beer, but wine just makes people want to take off clothing and get some skin on skin. (Sure, hard liquor makes folks wanna get naked too, but it’s different. You wanna bone and get raw when you’re boozing. With wine, you want naked skin on skin for hours, not just a quick “get me off” thrill like you want with booze.)
How can you dispute that?!
5. Timing is everything
My friend’s theory on this:
[Weddings] always end like, at 10pm or 11pm. Rarely do they go to midnight. It’s simply more difficult to find the energy to go get laid at 2am when you’ve been pounding swill. When it’s 11pm and you’ve had three glasses of wine, there’s plenty of time and energy left in the night to get it on.
Although I have been to a few weddings that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. One of those ended with me in my bridesmaids gown, sitting on the dance floor at 2am while Brother K pulled the hundred bobby pins from my hair as Meine Schwester’s ex cried about his broken heart.
What’s your theory?
I started the day with a run in the park. Absolutely gorgeous day. Did a little over two miles. The park runs all along the Han river and there are plenty of bridges that cross.
A little bit late, Meine Schwester, and The Archivist and I headed out to the Korean Folk Village. We thought we were going to see a fortress wall as well, but the subway took much longer than we thought, and then we had to take a 45 minute bus ride that we didn’t know about. It totally threw off our day. I was a bit grumpy this day, and I’m sorry. It happens.
But Meine Schwester is always good at cheering me up!
Here is one of those things that they carry royalty in using four big guys. The Archivist was the only one willing to take her shoes off to get in and take the photo.
There was live entertainment, like a tight rope walker. This guy was fucking hysterical. If you understand Korean. Which we didn’t.
I originally thought that these guys were waving their streamers with their hands, but then I realized the ribbons are attached to their heads. They would swing their heads around while banging on their drums and defying gravity. Please, try this at home.
The Archivist found these rice snacks. They are covered in honey and sesame seeds. Meine Schwester is demonstrating how to eat them. Sexy, right? Right?
Funny, but the snacks looked a lot like these silk worm cocoons. We watched as a woman spun silk thread from these.
So, after our stressful day riding the subway, a bus, and touring a very empty Folk Village, we headed back to Seoul. We had every intention of going to Seoul tower for the amazing view, but never made it. Ended up going to a Chinese restaurant down the street.
The food was…well, incredible. We thought maybe the cute valet parker told the restaurant to treat us nice. But he denies it. Regardless, we ate more food than we ordered. We ordered a set of potstickers and this is what they brought us.
I loved the way they presented this with the spiderweb top. It was beautiful. And what was even better was that they decided to try out some new potstickers on us. They were filled with tomato, egg, and ham. Breakfast for dinner! Meine Schwester and The Archivist loved them. I ate the original ones instead.
Then the waiter kept bringing us food. I don’t remember what else he brought us other than desert! We weren’t expecting that either. But it was good. I was so excited! It totally made my day!
Meine Schwester still thinks Chinese food should be Panda Express, but I was totally impressed with what we had.
The rest of Day 5 photos are in My Gallery.
Our night out was a bit draining, so we took it easy in the morning. For lunch, we met up with some friends and had some good ol’ hamburgers and fries. And some margaritas. Hrm. I almost forgot about the margaritas. Or aiming fluid as I like to think of it.
We then ventured out to the driving range where everyone tried out their skills hitting a little white ball with a stick. Meine Schwester had been taking lessons. She is already better than I am. She will outgrow the clubs I gave her quickly. Now I need to get better.
The Archivist and friends tried their hand as well and did pretty good for not being regulars!
Next we lost the boy and the girls went to get our nails done. I got flowers painted on my big toes. Aren’t they pretty?
After doing our nails, they gave us massages. Mine was more of a bruising than a massage. They really beat on me. The next day I woke up and thought that I would be black and blue. Maybe they hate me for making them paint flowers.
You can tell that they are conspiring!
I forgot that I have The Archivist’s photos as well. Here are a few of the first three days.
The Archivist making her grand entrance into a palace. That first Chinese word means gate. I don’t know any more than that.
Sisters posing at the palace. We should have been princesses!
Walking around palaces is hard. Can we go shopping?
Our first real Korean meal of the trip. We over ordered. By a lot! But it was exactly like the Korean food I get here in the Bay Area. Nice to know that what I’m getting here is authentic, but kind of disappointed that I was already familiar with it all. Who left that fork in the picture!
The Archivist and a South Korean guard in the DMZ. Just a little more to your left. A little more…
Shopping! Meine Schwester is trying to get a bargain.
Yay! McDonalds! No, we never ate at McDonalds, but I felt better knowing I had the option.
Meine Schwester and friend.
Sisters dressed up for a night out on the town. Yes we are wearing dresses. Do we look related?
What happens when two sisters have two many sangrias? We start laughing so hard we cry. It runs in the family, guys! Now do we look related? ;-)
Intern! Read the end of Seoul: Day 3—Shopping & Dining for more about Intern.
We started the day as typical American Tourists. We went to Starbucks.
I know, pathetic, but we really wanted some caffeine. A little iced, vanilla latte to start the day and deal with the heat. Supposedly, the weather was better than it had been the week before, but I’m still spoiled from the lack of humidity in California. I’m a pansy.
Caffeinated, we hit the markets. After a couple hours, all trinkets looked the same. Typical. But I did pick up a few items. The first was a painting. I didn’t meet the artist, but his wife ran the store. I loved this one for all the pink. I’m trying to learn to like pink. I need to be a better girl.
I was going to barter for a better price, but I didn’t want the frame or matte, so I asked her to take it out. Then I felt bad because I found out that she is the one who frames and mattes them. I explained that it would be difficult to take it on the plane.
Then I ran across this vase. I really wanted the dragon that he was carving into another vase, but he wasn’t going to be finished with that for a while and I couldn’t wait that long. And Meine Schwester wanted a plaque, so she bartered for a bargain.
We lunched at another Italian restaurant. This one was much more normal than the other one we had visited. They had an actual wine list. But we didn’t try the fried mozzarella.
The afternoon was shopping in Itaewan. I found a really cute pair of Tevas. Took me the rest of the vacation to break them in, but they fit great now.
Then we met up with some friends for dinner at Loco Loca in Itaewan. Had to try another Mexican place. I was excited about their sangria, and their food was much more authentic than the place we went to on the first night. Meine Schwester decided to show us her guns.
I might have had too much sangria because my pictures seem a little crooked.
And this was our attempt at matchmaking The Archivist, who had just bought that cute little dress she is wearing. Sadly, my curves were not going to fit into any clothes, so I didn’t bother looking.
After dinner, we headed to Gecko’s for drinks and met up with a couple more friends. At some point, two guys came over and asked if they could sit with us. Claimed something about that being their usual table. They really thought that they were going to hit on Meine Schwester. Boy were they wrong. At least I made her promise no fighting before they started talking. Eventually the guys got pissed off and left.
During the evening, Intern—I always find a new one somewhere—left the table. I should have kept an eye on him because he found his way to the bar and bought a round of these
I scolded Intern, and told him to never do that again, but I also had to admit that it was the best shot I have ever had. I don’t know what it was named, but it tasted like a peppermint patty.