Yes, My Mom Knits Her Own Pants

Mar 11

Yes, My Mom Knits Her Own Pants

One of the many things I didn’t know about my mom until recently is that she likes to knit. She’s knitted hats and headbands for my nieces and recently whipped up a Michigan Wolverines-colored scarf for my brother so he’d stay warm after his hip surgery. I’ve previously had conversations with her where she had said she was sitting at home knitting pants, but I’ve never actually been able to catch a glimpse of these bad boys… …until now. My brother texted me this picture of my mom modeling her latest creation:   Yes, those are maroon-colored pants with a built-in belt. And yes, my mother has paired her hand-knitted pants with a furry gray vest and black and white striped socks. If this ensemble doesn’t scream Korean Whoville, I don’t know what...

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Pre-Surgery Pampering from Mom

Feb 20

Pre-Surgery Pampering from Mom

My brother has had surgery numerous times (for bad knees and a bum hip), and every time he’s scheduled to go in, my mom treats him like a death row inmate on his last hurrah. On Monday John had a hip replacement surgery, which means on Sunday my mom came to his house with enough food to feed an army, plus some extra goodies to pamper him before he went under the knife. According to John, here’s what my mom made for dinner Sunday night, which fed two adults, two children, and a 100-lb Asian woman: Steak Ribs Mashed potatoes Salads Asparagus Bulgogi Rice Homemade chicken soup She also, quite amusingly, made my brother a “pre-surgery scarf.” Mom: “It keep you warm and you feel better. I make Meechygan color.” Here’s a picture of John enthusiastically modeling Mom’s handiwork (it is indeed maize and blue–go Wolverines!):   So with a belly full of food (hopefully outside the “Don’t eat 8 hours before your surgery” window) and a warm neck, my brother underwent surgery Monday afternoon. When he woke up, my mom was there to visit and smuggled in sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, and a donut tucked into a Ziplock bag, because nothing hits the spot after getting your hip bone hacked out like Chinese takeout and fried dough. That’s my mom, offering help and relief the only way she knows how: with knitted goods and insane quantities of...

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Mom’s Relationship with Food

Dec 13

I’ve talked about my mom’s cooking before but feel that I need to devote another post to it so you can truly understand how her cooking has impacted my life. Mom loves to feed people. My siblings and I all likely share the same earliest memory, which is our mother chasing us around the house with “just one more bite!” of whatever food she’s made for us. It’s a sexist cliche, I know, but I honestly will never see her happier than when she’s in the kitchen whipping up a meal for us. In addition to being an ace Korean food chef, my mom also cooks many delicious ‘western’ meals. At family gatherings, her dishes were always quick to empty while jealous Caucasian women watched in the background, begrudgingly eating while their own bland dishes sat untouched and collected a glossy, filmy sheen. If you visited our house and she was home, you didn’t leave hungry. Eventually our friends caught on and would “randomly” show up around dinner time to catch a good meal. Mom was more than happy to have guests over, though. Even if she didn’t know you, she’d still make you eat. (Case in point: one time Mom fed leftover spaghetti to some delivery guys who were dropping off a package, and they happily ate it.) Naturally, my mom went ridiculously out of her way to make meals just the way her kids liked them. She’d sooner die than let any of us go underfed, so as a result I got away with being a little asshole when I was younger because I was a picky eater. Since she worked nights at the Ford Motor Plant, a regular sight for me whenever I’d come home from school would be a separate plate covered in saran wrap that was labeled with the following message: “Rebecca. Eat. Good. No onons.” (The word “onions” was always misspelled.) She made my school lunch for me every day through my senior year of high school. My friends were insanely jealous – one was always quick to point out that I had “the best lunches” out of anyone else. When my brother John got the stomach flu and told her he couldn’t eat anything, she still showed...

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Mom Catches Me Red-Shouldered

Dec 07

Mom Catches Me Red-Shouldered

In August I completed my second Ironman. The first time I raced that distance was in 2010. As you recall, that time Mom was unconvinced I’d finish in one piece but was relieved I had finished alive and well. She was once again worried that I had signed up to do another “Macho Man” race, but I assured her that I would be fine. The day before the race, I called Mom to remind her that I was racing. Me: “My race is tomorrow.” Mom: “Yeah?” Me: “Yeah, I’m doing another Ironman, remember?” Mom: “Really? Where?” This woman never remembers anything I tell her. Me: “The same place where I did my race two years ago.” Mom: “…Toronto?” Me: “No, Penticton.” Mom: “Oh. What kind of race? Swimming, same thing?” Me: “Yeah, swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles.” Mom: “Gahhhhhh. Better be careful. Really! Honestly.” Me: “Don’t worry, I will.” Mom: “Without break?” Me: “No, it’s all back-to-back.” Mom: “My gahhhh. Don’t forget to eat pasta…and beef…and chicken! Give you energy. If you were with me, I’d feed you good food.” Me, laughing: “Okay, I’ll be sure to fuel up before my race.” I did the race and posted an improvement over the last time I did it, but I also crashed early on in the bike leg and sustained some injuries (scrapes, bruised ribs, a concussion). Afterwards I put off calling my mom because I didn’t want to freak her out by telling her about my bike accident, so I kind of avoided the little Korean woman for about a week. Unfortunately, my brother John is a gigantic butthole and ratted me out. I had sent him this picture of my shoulder via text message: The day after I sent it, he met my mom for lunch and showed her the damage. Shortly after that, I noticed a missed call from my mom. It was Labor Day weekend and I was in Vancouver for the holiday to do some post-Ironman R&R, so I didn’t check my voicemail until I was back across the border. When I finally listened to my mom’s voice message, my reaction was a mixture of horror, fear, and great amusement. The following is a verbatim transcription of the message my mom left for me: Mom: “REBECCA!!!!!!!” She screeched my name so loud that I...

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Mom’s Inability to Send Text Messages

Jul 31

Mom’s Inability to Send Text Messages

Ever since I got the Korean food hook up from CJ, I’ve occasionally used their spicy Korean BBQ sauce to make chicken wings. Jas, like most red-blooded American men, loves chicken wings, and he’s a huge fan of using the Bibigo sauce on them despite the fact that anything remotely spicy makes him sweat buckets. Recently he had a hankering for wings so we whipped some up. Since my mom is now capable of receiving picture mail, I sent her a photo of our dinner in an effort to convince her I don’t mess up everything I try to cook: She left a voicemail shortly after that, which I’ve transcribed verbatim: Mom: “Rebeccaaaaa. We have big storm. I’m sitting here, dark. A little while ago, I see your, um, chicken. Gochujang chicken? That chicken. That’s a gochujang sauce. Chicken legs. Look good. So I re-ply, but I say ‘Justin’ ‘stead of ‘Jason.’ Oh my gahhh! I guess I’m getting old. So don’t tell him that, okay? Just say ‘Jason.’ I say ‘Justin,’ you know? So don’t tell him that!” Three things: Yes my mom said “re-ply” as if it were two words (“re” and “ply”). Jason and I have been dating for nearly eight years. Before that I dated a guy named Justin. I can understand initial confusion considering the two names are similar, but really, after eight years she’s still getting them confused? Speaking of “re-ply,” what’s this response she was talking about? I never got any sort of text message reply from her. I thought she didn’t even know how to send one. I returned her call to get the story straight. Mom: “You get my message?” Me: “Yeah.” Mom: “Oh my gahhhh, I say ‘Justin,’ not ‘Jason’! Don’t tell him I say that!” Me, laughing: “I can see how you’d get confused. We’ve only been dating for eight short years.” Mom: “…I say ‘Justin.'” Me: “Yeah, you’ve mentioned that. What’s this reply you were talking about? I never got a reply.” Mom, angry: “Mia say she don’t get my re-plies either! I don’t know what the deal is! Phone or something!” Me: “I’m not so sure it’s the phone that’s the problem here…” Mom: I send re-plies...

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Mom’s Important Meeting

Jul 11

It’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean my mom is any less amusing; I’ve just been busy with starting a new job and ramping up my Ironman training. Speaking of the Ironman, since Mom insisted she was too busy with her peppers to watch me race Ironman Canada, I’ve been pondering other locations for future races. Ironman Arizona has looked like a somewhat promising option since my mom’s mother-in-law lives in Phoenix and she and my stepdad visit often–I brought up that race to her and she cautiously agreed to watch. Recently, however, my boyfriend has been pestering me about signing up for Ironman Wisconsin 2013. It’d be in September instead of November like Arizona, and the course is more appealing (rolling hills instead of numerous flat loops). I brought up Wisconsin to my mom to see how’d she react. Me: “There’s another Ironman race in Wisconsin in September. I was thinking of doing that next year. Would you be able to come out and watch?” Mom: “Wisconson? Oh yeah, Kuht and I drive. Meel-wok-eee?” Me: “No, Madison.” Mom: “How far is Madison?” I pulled up Google Maps and mapped out a driving course. Me: “Looks about seven and a half hours.” Mom: “Yeah, okay. We can drive.” Me: “So you’d want to come out and watch the race? Which one would work better for you, Arizona or Wisconsin?” Mom: “Ummm, Wisconsin. Cuz we’d have our own car. Air-eee-jone-uh we have to rent car.” Me: “Okay, cool.” Mom: “We drive out and watch…WAIT!! Not September 9th!” Me: “What?” Mom: “Race September 9th? September 9th no good!” Me: “Well…” I pulled up the Ironman Wisconsin website. This year’s race was indeed on September 9th, but next year’s date wasn’t set yet. Me: “This year the race is September 9th, yeah, but I’m talking about doing the race next year. 2013. It’d be around the first weekend of September.” Mom: “Oh, good. I head of Korean-American Uh-So-She-A-Shun. We’re having meeting at my house September 9th. Very important! I serve vegetables from my garden and bulgogi. Next year good, this year I have meeting.” I couldn’t help but laugh. My mom has become quite the important little Korean over in Michigan....

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New Picture Mail: The Kyongstant Gardener

May 31

New Picture Mail: The Kyongstant Gardener

Having recently mastered the technological feat of being able to send picture mail, my mom is now on a roll when it comes to snapping photos and firing them my way. A few days ago I called to wish my stepdad a happy birthday (I dared not forget and incur the wrath of Cha two years in a row), and my mom told me she was doing some gardening and that later they were going to have a barbecue. We finished our chat and I went about my business. Roughly three minutes later, my phone buzzed and lit up. I looked down and saw this: I’m not entirely sure what to focus on here–there’s so much going on, from the odd hospital-issue slippers, the collared shirt and work apron combo, the weird stance, and what looks like a wide mouth bottle of Coors Light in a beer koozie. All I can say is that I’m enjoying these picture mails very, very much. (photo credit: Abby Lanes via photopin...

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