Thursday, December 2, 2010

As we walk in fields of gold...

My school let out about three weeks earlier than Joo giving me a nice chunk of time to get caught up on my to do list. The first item on my list was to design a better to do list system since the scraps of papers and notebook pages tend to get shoved into a mysterious land of obscurity whenever we do a 30-minute lightning cleaning of the house. Enter Google Tasklist. I'm a googaholic anyway since it's the one thing that lays in the intersection of work, school, home, and friends and when I saw the little tasklist option on my gmail screen, I couldn't resist. Maybe this is the beginning of a new stage in my life... the stage of Compensation. Rather than trying to continually improve my short-term memory or organization, I'm finding it more time efficient to acknowledge these weaknesses and compensate for them. Which leaves more time and energy for things like helping Joo learn to rollerblade!

She did a wonderful job overcoming her phobia of falling down and having her finger sliced off (that's why she won't go ice-skating, although the phobia had extended to rollerblading). And I'm proud to say all 10 fingers remain after our first outing!

She's been advancing steadily in her culinary program as well. I'm not sure exactly how the classes are set up, but she's gotten to the point where I'm actually allowed to submit an unofficial order on the mornings of her lab days and, more often than not, the chefs allow and even help her with it!!! Here was the result on the day after I mentioned offhandedly how much I had been craving a nice bowl of French onion soup...

She does, of course, have a set schedule of foods she needs to make and her final exam is coming up rapidly. For the final, she will be given a mystery box of five ingredients and has 90 minutes from the moment she opens it until when she must have a final meal designed and plated up on the table. Iron chef, watch out!
In other news, we had a visit from Dave Whitsett on his way down to West Virginia. He is finalizing up the paperwork before heading off to South Korea to teach. Watching him brings back of flood of memories from my first weeks over in Korea and of some of the lovely aspects of their culture I can't wait for Dave to experience firsthand. Dave is fully geared up to make his own unique trail, however, as shown here by his practice with using chopsticks in EACH hand (seriously).
Joo and I have both started teaching positions at the Korean church on Sunday. I work with adults on English proficiency while Joo works with kids (the older one here is one of her students) on Korean proficiency.

We were fortunate this year to have two Thanksgivings - one of which was attended by some of my first cousins that I haven't seen in about seven years! Here's Heather with Abigail who has been busy finishing up her undergraduate research program at Stanford. She was telling me excitedly about her unofficial membership in the Fail Squad, a group of girls who have found themselves all coordinationally challenged, when she spilled coffee on her sweatshirt and had to go clean it up.

Another cousin I hadn't seen in awhile was Matthew Frederick and I had never met his wife even though I think they've been married longer than we have. He works as a musical therapist for hospice patients who are diagnosed as being in their final six months of life, and she works with HIV/AIDS patients. I bet the flies on their walls are teleologically advanced...
We enjoyed a warm evening at the Kurtzes (fueled by Merv's post-apocalyptic-preparation stack of wood that he's cut). The house had gone through so much renovation since we were last there that we almost didn't recognize it :)

Aunt Deb Groff had bought some quiltlike wooden puzzles designed out of scrap wood by my great uncle Claire Hollinger, and my cousin Geoff Kurtz spent a nice chunk of time trying to figure out a way to put it back asymmetrically.

Bob and Heather drove up for the day for Bob's first time to meet the relatives on my mom's side. Here he is admiring Uncle Merv's VW bug. We were all delighted to get the news of their engagement.

Creative juices were oozing from the Frederick gene pool in preparations for our lovely Thanksgiving banquet. Here were our appetizer decorations...

There was ample reason to believe that the turkey was spiked this Thanksgiving...

We enjoyed a lovely stroll through Uncle Herb's fields as he showed us how a nearby dam had rerouted the local river and shifted the entire landscape.

Aside from the picturesque landscape of Lancaster PA, we spotted two bald eagles along our walk. Here is one of them (although the zoom focus makes it quite blurry).
I was the backup photographer for the group family photo and covered the side and back views.

Our second Thanksgiving was at my parents' house a few days later where we had our annual pumpkin roll into the creek (only a fraction of the pumpkins are shown here).

I also received my monthly thematic Cheez-it supply from Mom...
And we almost had a very lovely picture of Mom and Dad, except for the hyperactive son doing some acrobatics in the background.

And so break is here at last... time to catch up on research, fellowship applications, my travel book, the blog (check), and some long-awaited R&R (reading and relaxation in my case!).

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