Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Few Thoughts from My Tired Brain

  1. I don't get enough sleep.  Ava is contributing to this by waking us up at 4:30am.  She needs a friend.

  2. I had a great time volunteering in Grant's class today, but, as I didn't get enough sleep last night, I didn't have as much energy to put into it as I'd like.  I got to eat lunch with Grant today, too (they have longer days every other Wednesday).  I'm always a little disappointed to see what parents send with their kids for snack and lunch.  Grant's a lucky guy, because his finickiness gives his parents a very tough time, but they still put a lot of care into what he packs.  One student in particular had an Atkins meal replacer shake and gummies for a snack and Poptarts and Cheez-Its for lunch.  I was also sad to see that the school gave the kids the option of a pile of pickle slices as a vegetable (carrots was the other option, but the kids who had carrot sticks, only had one each).  It's not all bad, mind you, I saw that some of the kids had chosen to buy salads from the cafeteria and they looked great.  Dark, leafy green veggies.  Not the iceberg stuff you expect to see.

  3. Ian has a post that's been on the back burner.  Hopefully, he'll get some time soon to sit down and tap it out.  His parents are coming to town tonight, so I'm not sure that there will be a post tonight or tomorrow.  I'll do my best.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


For chemical free March, I stopped using deodorant.  I didn't even bother with Tom's or any of the like because in the past they didn't work and a couple of them actually gave me underarm rashes.  Stinky and sore.  Totally not rad times.

My mom suggested that I try Lavilin.  It's an herbal cream.  

Snazzy box.

It's not cheap ($15.99 at Whole Foods and I haven't seen it anywhere else).  But, it claims to last up to seven days.  For best results, you're supposed to put it on before you go to bed.  Then, you shower to remove the excess.  I didn't want to wait, so I put it on after I bought it today.  

I found the excess to be pretty tough to wash of without scrubbing (I didn't want to scrub it all off).  The package recommends against using it after shaving, but I shaved before and it didn't irritate my skin.

It definitely lasted through today, so I'll just be keeping tabs throughout the week.  The real test will be a work day, as I tend to sweat from the stress during my 10 hour shifts.

We shall see.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Ian found these at Pacific Market:


They're rubber gloves.  Ian intends to use them to wash dishes.  But, what is their intended use in Korea?  Why are there horses on it?  What?

Quarter Life Crisis

I've lived in Portland for almost five months now.  And, I'm already feeling a little stuck.

It sounds pretentious and a little... insincere, but I'm just bored.

I like my job.  It's a good company.  But, I still see it as a transitional position.  My supervisor tells me I have a future there.  That's awesome because who doesn't want the security of a place in a big, successful company?  I'm not sure that I do.  We came home to put down roots.  Do I want roots?  I have my family.  Aren't they my roots?  

I want to write.  Really, I want to travel.  Life is expensive and we're having a hard time putting money aside to go somewhere.  We want to go to Turkey next.  We were thinking fall.  But we haven't even started planning.  We actually haven't talked about it recently.  I don't even know if it'll be a viable destination by fall.


Coffee, mosques, bazaars and ruins

My mom belongs to Servas (an international hosting cooperative).  I want to join, too.  She sent me an email recently about a program within Servas called SYLE (Servas Youth Language Experience).  The pitch goes like this:

"Are you between 18 and 30-something? Would you like to improve your foreign language skills outside of a classroom? Would you like to have a meaningful cultural exchange? Do you have a month or more to commit to the unique learning experience that can only be found in travel?"


Well, at least, I would be willing to commit to a month or more.  But, I would have to give up my job, as I'm sure they're keen on the idea of giving me a leave of 30 days or more. There's even a $500 scholarship available.

The over-thinking needs to stop.  I'm going to apply to Servas and the SYLE program and see what happens.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


You know, that's a strange word.  I couldn't help but Google the etymology.  Apparently, there isn't a Latin root.   It's a genuine English word.  It comes from the overhang of a roof on a house called an "eave."  When rain falls from this and makes a line, it's called an "eavesdrop." An eavesdropper is someone who may stand behind this line, tucked up to the house, clandestinely listening to the goings-on inside.  The verb "eavesdrop" was back formed from the -er noun.


I've been reading Eat to Live.  I'm working on being healthy as a whole and eating for nutrition (as well as weight loss).  It's going pretty well, though I do have the occasional slip up.  While the cover of the book advertises weight loss, the idea behind Dr. Fuhrman's method is that if you focus on nutrients and get 90% of your calories from unprocessed fruits and vegetables, the weight will naturally come off.  He's all about disease prevention.  There's a lot of focus on preventing and reversing illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  For me, it's a little bit of preaching to the choir.  But, I need some reinforcement because I'm not perfect and I definitely have some bad habits that could be reduced, or, better yet, eliminated.  The book is dense and repetetive.  I won't lie and say I'm having fun reading it, but I can tell it's helping to set me firmly on the right path, so I'm sticking with it.

What does any of this have to do with eavesdropping?

In the break room during lunch (while I was eating carrots and snap peas, reading this book and feeling smug) I over heard a coworker say this, "One of the things I really believe is that when I eat this Twix, if I eat an apple later, they cancel each other out."  She was kind of joking.  But her lunch was this: a Twix bar, corn chips and a Dr. Pepper.  Other people at the table were eating Taco Bell, Sonic and microwave popcorn.

I may have slip ups (real fat kid slip ups sometimes), but it's moments like that that make me feel a little better about working at it and disciplining myself.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Fresh Start

Hello, this is not Casey, this is her doting husband Ian. Some of you may have met me, I am gorgeous. When Casey and I originally envisioned this blog it was with the assumption that I would be pulling my own weight. And for those of you that followed "Everybody Jecheon Tonight" it was clear that I did not contribute, save for twice. So this will be my emergence into the exclusive blogging community.

Please bear with me.

As a recent university graduate, I am what one would call a "broke ass." This is not by choice as many of my Portland brethren would lead you to believe, but rather a symptom of the national recession, and my personal naiveity of obtaining a degree in history. It is forced and accepted position, much like the "Untouchables" of India or Canadians. We must simply make due. However, that is not to say that one must suffer, we need not purchase ramen, mac & cheese or cans of spam. This is an indignity that I shall not suffer. And so, I bring you this.

The "strange and slightly smelly pan Asian market that is near all of our homes" is a dandy place to find quality food on the cheap. Ours is titled "Pacific Market" and, like much of our neighborhood, is primarily Vietnamese. This does come with some inherent difficulties, you might not be able to find your usual brands or more commonly brands that are in a language you speak. But once you get past that you only have to deal with the distinct smell of your store, ours is jack-fruit and ham.

All the aisles are full and everything has a translated sticker on it, I personally think this removes some of the fun, but that's just me. Here is a nice view of the inside.

Produce, it even says fresh.

An all inclusive Vietnamese Deli with flavored rice, noodle dishes and meat wrapped in leaves, I hear these are quite tasty.

And noodles, many, many noodles.

These stores are simple, no Starbucks, no twenty kinds of yogurt or a bookstore, but food. Lots and lots of food. And much like "Costco" and "Cash and Carry" by removing those lovely little additions, that we have all come to love, you get one simple thing. A cheaper grocery bill. I submit to you, our receipt.

"28 cents, how can I get such a great deal on Hanh Vang-Y Onio?"

Though, the receipt is entirely in Vietnaglish it does offer some great deals. Everything at the "Pacific Market" is easily two thirds the cost of another larger and more well lit store. I have to poke some fun, because these places are not comfortable for the average American, we were brought up on clean white stores with a smooth jazz accompaniment. These are not those stores, but don't think for a second that they aren't great. These markets are an excellent way to stock up on things you know you can use; apples, oranges, bananas, beans, rice, noodles, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and ginseng, if you're into that.

This is what we bought.

We have, apples, oranges, limes, an onion, a bag of green beans, three types of potatoes, seven mangoes, et cetera, etcetera. We bought essential staples and enough fresh food to last us a week. That is a week of fresh food, locally bought and on the cheap. I think that if you give your crazy little Asian market a try, you might just like it.

Blurry Chronicles of Strange Imbibing

Ian and I went to Pacific Market tonight to get some groceries.  A post about the excursion will be posted shortly (by Ian, yay!).

While there, we picked up some fun times.

And some more probable fun times.

Ginseng Drink with Root:

Verdict: "Too sweet.  Like an Americanized ginseng drink."  Which is weird because it appears to be straight from Korea or China.  Tough to tell.

Verdict: "Too much citric acid."

Dragon Fruit Juice:

Verdict: "Not bad.  But, I do not support this texture." Dragon fruit is a melon... and there are junks of it in it.

Verdict: "Yay! I dig it."

We also bought some tamarind candy, which I highly recommend.  It's coating is a mixture of salt, sugar and chili.  So, it's literally sweet, sour, salty and a little spicy.  Remember, though, tamarind is mostly seeds; so chew thoughtfully.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are you there, Spring? It's me, Casey.

Today was a horrible, cold, rainy day.  It poured from late morning to late afternoon.

I only accomplished two things today:  

1) I made it to personal training at 7.  But, I didn't stick around for my run (then Zumba) like I normally do afterwards.

2)  I talked to Andrea for about an hour via Facebook chat.  It was rad times.  She'll be visiting here in August.  I'm stoked.

This lack of activity was partly due to the crummy, no good, depressing weather.  Also, we didn't get back from Rob's until 2:30 last night and I got up at 6:30.  So, that was a factor as well.  Ian and I hung out and watched Netflix all day.  It was grand.

You may wonder why, as a Pacific Northwesterner, I'm letting the weather get me down.   Well, just yesterday it was sunny and warm enough to wander about with a light sweater.

Sigh.  I want to go on a trip.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Banana Nut Mandu!

Fusion is awesome.  So is finding random ways to use what you have around the house.  

We're headed over to Rob's for a movie night and I wanted to bring a treat.  But, we're running low on flower and several other baking necessities.  Since we're doing Thai pizza, I thought these fusion-y mandu would be a good match.  I was intending to use Thai bananas, but the ones at Pacific Market looked a bit sad.

Filling:  3 mashed bananas (not to ripe), 2-3 tbsp brown sugar, 1 generous handful of almonds (chopped)

Ben and Amy sent us this mandu pincher in our Christmas package.

It's hard not to over fill.  It takes less than you'd think.  Or at least, less than I always think.  Don't forget to wet the edges with a little water, so it seals when you fold it.

The pincher makes them look quite nice.

We shallow fried them in a wok.  It doesn't take long, just until they are golden and puffy.  Let them drain and cool on paper towels.  I'm going to dust them with a salt/powdered sugar mix before we eat them tonight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Split Personalities

Ever since returning from Korea, I've noticed that my musical taste has fractured into a few distinct sets.  I used to be a bit of a one trick pony and I never quite made it out of the early 90s; that's funny, because I was hardly there to begin with.  Blame my big brother.

I mostly use Pandora these days (an app that let's you create your own stations based on songs or artists and learns your preferences as you use it).  I haven't picked up my iPod in ages.

So, here is a sampling of what I've been listening to and when I choose to listen to it.

Around the house: "Lily Allen Radio"

Lily Allen, The Fear (and the most British dress ever)

Running: "Katy Perry Radio"

Katy Perry, Hot N' Cold (I wish I would have worn hot pants and pink fishnets to our wedding...)

(sorry about the ad)

Favorite band of all time: "Foo Fighters Radio"

Foo Fighters, Everlong (this, my friends, is a music video)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Product Spotlight: No More Chemicals

These cloths are awesome.  Though they're basically just wash cloths, to be honest.  What's cool is that they have particles of silver (naturally antibacterial) woven into the fabric.  We bought them at HomeGoods, but I'm sure you can find them many places.  I don't think there's any difference between the "All Purpose" and "Bathroom" cloths other than the color.

The texture is great.  Super effective.

"Chemical free" month is going pretty well.  I've found myself using the rubbing alcohol in bathroom cleaning when I'm not thinking, but, other than that, it's pretty easy.  Borax and vinegar get our clothes super clean and I like how cost effective and good for the environment that particular switch is.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Naan and Dal... Unplugged

Or, rather, uncooked.

Ian took photos as he was making dinner last night.  But, he didn't get any pictures of the finished products.  Ha! I suppose we were just too hungry.

Naan blobs.  This recipe is simple and quick and based on Emeril Lagasse's.  Ian cut down on the oil.  Most naan recipes call for yogurt.  Maybe coconut yogurt would be good in it.  

Lentils.  They're good for you.

Dal is basically a thick Indian stew.  Fry onions, garlic, chili and cumin in a pan and then boil that mixture with lentils and other spices (like curry) until it's evaporated.  Pretty easy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stocking the Freezer

Work days can be rough for eating.  10 hour shifts encourage me to snack and I'm not always great at controlling what I'm craving.  A few days ago, I decided to go from vegetarian to vegan to make it a little harder to cave in and eat junk food.  So far, it's been great.

On Tuesday (my Saturday) I made a big batch of rice and tofu scramble, put it in portioned Gladware containers and stuck them in the freezer.  It's important for me to do this every weekend so that I don't have to think about lunch at 5:30am.  Portioning things is also better for my weight loss goals.

Half cup servings of rice and one cup servings of tofu scramble.

My scramble has two kinds to tofu (medium firm and firm rustic tofu made by a Vietnamese shop over on 82nd), kale, shiitaki mushrooms, spinach, and yellow squash.  It's topped with a sauce I made out of roasted red pepper hummus, soy milk and white wine vinegar.  It's really great and easy to make.  I'll probably do the same thing for next week.  Maybe add some ginger or something.  It needs a little spice.

I also pack three pieces of fruit everyday.  A piece of citrus for breakfast and an apple and an Anjou pear for snacks later in the day.  I also packed a small serving of pretzels today because I've been hungrier lately.

What do you pack for lunch (or any meal) when you have to be at work or out and about?

Friday, March 18, 2011


Goal:  To post something every day/night for a week.  Hopefully that will set the habit.

I recently began volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society here in Portland.  I'm totally stoked.  I volunteered in Tacoma at the Pierce County shelter.  I also did some kitten fostering with my roommates during senior year.  That's how I ended up with Ava.  I'm what you call a failed foster.

But, come on:

The shelters are totally different, as it turns out, so I'll be doing a lot of learning over the next few weeks and I'll fill you in on all of it as it comes.  I'll be working with cats to start, but I intend to be trained for dogs and small animals, as well.  I'll be there every Tuesday and occasionally on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

OHS has the most wonderful ad campaign, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.  You can see all of them, here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Artificial Ingredients --> Chemical Free


The "No Artificial Ingredients" challenge for February went well.  We're definitely more aware of how many ingredients are in something, why they're there, exactly what they are and where they come from.  I intend to stick to as few indulgences in junk food and chemical food as possible, but I do have guilty pleasures.  Ian and I shared Dots at the movie last night and I woke up with a pretty solid gut ache.  It'll definitely be kept to a bare minimum and I'm definitely keeping everyday foods to the strict standards that last month gave me.

Now we're in "Chemical Free Household."  We bought borax and white vinegar for our laundry.  And I've stopped wearing deodorant.  Yep.  I didn't wear deodorant in Korea, so I don't really feel weird about it.  I've been meaning to stop again anyway.  When it warms up, I'll probably pick up some Lavilin at Whole Foods or something.

I need a new conditioner.  The one that I have is full of crap.  I've been preparing for this month, so all of our other bath products are good.  We also clean the apartment with soap, water and rubbing alcohol (which is, literally, a chemical, so it'll be switched out for the vinegar).

Here's to another month of awareness!

One Picture an Hour

Several months back Chelsea, from the Dearilou blog, put out a couple of posts in which she captured her day in pictures.  One per hour, to be exact.  I thought I'd try my hand at it.

It turns out, actually, that she's a lot better at it than I am, because I forgot about it in the evening so the whole thing ends prematurely.  I'll be giving it another college try in the future.

I decided to capture yesterday (Wednesday, the 2nd) this way because we were going to a Habitat for Humanity site to help out for the first half of the day (successful).  Then we were meeting friends for vegetarian pho and fun times (unsuccessful).  Keep in mind that these shots aren't at the hour, necessarily, they're just within the hour.  I tried to keep them pretty well spaced apart.

7am:  Kitty.  Every morning begins, for me, by feeding Ava.  She actually gets upset by about 6am, because she gets fed on workdays by 5:15am.

8am:  Pack.  Lunch is ready to go.  Dried apples and raw almonds (to share as a snack), homemade whole wheat bread, raw broccoli and snap peas, hummus, and a cara cara orange.  Ian packed a salad, homemade whole wheat bread and a pink grapefruit.

9am:  Dig.  We have our task.  We're to dig a trench here for the phone and cable lines.  

The day on the site started as I expected, we stood in a half circle and listened as the leaders explained the project and a little about Habitat for Humanity itself (for us new kids).  Then they divided us into groups for jobs.

10am:  Progress.  Four of us are working on this.  Ian and I and a Tanzanian couple who will soon be home owners via Habitat.

11am:  Oops.  Ian strikes the power cable (to the trailer) with the pick.  Apparently it wasn't a big deal and it was fixed about 20 minutes later.

12pm:  2nd wind.  After our lunch break, Ian is ready to power through the 15 or so more minutes left on the trench.

1pm:  Mud.  After we finish digging the trench (a muddy job) we're asked to pick up scrap wood and shingles from around the site and take them to the dumpster (unexpectedly, an even muddier job).

2pm:  Menial.  They start to run our of work for us, so they give us the task of gathering, tying and hanging the power cords.

3pm.  Tired.  After a morning of very satisfying labor in on and off rain and an afternoon of odd jobs around the site, Ian and I start to drag ass.  Luckily, the feeling hits right as it's time to go home.  This picture doesn't seem to capture the muddiness of these shoes that I've owned since 12th grade.

The day ended without any good bye, recap, or finishing statement.  Not that we needed a hoopla, but it was sort of like everyone just bailed at the end.  No camaraderie.

4pm:  Play.  We're not home much, so if we are home, it's likely that we're using the opportunity to play with/pet/cuddle Ava.

5pm:  Relax.  Before heading out to meet Phil and Charlotte for dinner (at 6)  we take a little time to chill.  I, on the computer and Ian, playing PS2.  Which is happening at this very moment, too.

It stops there.  If I had continued like I had intended, it would have been something like this:

6pm:  Food.  Spring rolls, summer rolls and pho all around.

7pm: Miscommunication.  Everyone gets everything they ordered because they point at the menu.  Except Phil.  He doesn't point to the menu when he orders his strawberry smoothie, so he doesn't get it.  Even though he tried politely for an hour. 

8pm: Movie.  The four of us decide to go to the Laurelhurst Theatre and see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1.  Beer is had and so are good times.

9pm:  Dark.  I'm not sure how I would have managed to take a picture of us watching a movie without being the world's biggest ass.

10pm:  Sleepy.  I fall asleep for a few minutes in the middle of the movie.  Cut me some slack, I get up early.  This would also have been a difficult photograph.

11pm: Still.  As in, we are still in the movie.  Because it's Harry Potter and it takes time.

12am:  Voodoo?  Ian and I argue over whether to go over to Voodoo Donuts.  Vegan fritter, anyone?  We didn't.  So, this picture would probably be of been of my sad face.