25 Things About Me

I’m flashing back today, looking back over some of the old notes I wrote on Facebook before I started blogging.  Found this list of 25 things about me and got a kick out of re-reading it and thought I would share with updates where necessary.

1.  Like my friend Eve who tagged me in this note, I have a genius IQ, but I knew it when I was a kid and resented the pressure to be an overachiever.
2.  I like beans….and I make a yummy bean salad.  Whatever I cook if I can throw in some beans I will. (Update-I no longer eat beans!  I’ve been following a mostly paleo diet since August (no grains, no dairy, no beans/legumes, no refined salt, sugars, or oils). 
3. I like to cook, and I am obsessed with eating healthy food like lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and whole grains. (Update-no more whole grains!  Was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity (click here to read the entry I wrote about it) in May and have been off most grains (except a little rice since August).
4.  I always wanted to be a wife and mother and never really knew what career to pursue when I was growing up.  Click here to read why.
5.  Because of #4, I went to three colleges, took two years off (one to work for GP and do a NOLS semester (click here to read about it) and the other to work as a cook and live in Telluride, CO), and changed my major twice (#1 French #2 Philosphy/Religion #3 Environmental Studies)….didn’t graduate until I was 25.

Telluride, CO from a gondola.

Telluride, CO from a gondola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  My first ‘career’ was an environmental activist for Greenpeace in Washington DC.

Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

7.  I got my master’s degree in Education and became a teacher after my GP job got moved to Amsterdam;  I was a single mom so I didn’t want to go.
8.  When I was a teacher, I discovered a passion for math, and now that I am a stay home mom I love tutoring math because I can help students learn to love math.  Click here to read about my love affair with math.

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  I love to sleep and will sleep until noon if nobody wakes me up.  I also love being pampered like getting massages.
10.  I met my husband, Joe, at the gym when he was working there and going to school and I was his 12:30 appointment for personal training.  We started running together and the rest is history.  Even though he is a lawyer now, we still go to the gym every weekend and love exercising together.

11.  I am lactose intolerant (like most Asian Americans).
12.  I am an extrovert and love to get together with friends, pot-luck style, with good food, drinks and conversation.
13. When I go out, my drink of choice is gin and tonic (Bombay Sapphire) and my favorite shots are Jaegermeister and Tequila. (Update-no more gin or jaegermeister due to food allergies.  The only liquor I drink is Patron silver tequila).
14.  I drink wine (chardonnay) when I’m cooking and with dinner.
15. I am kind of a control freak and always am trying to avert danger and/or accidents, especially with my kids. Like we don’t let them play outside in the front yard without an adult and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to have a 15 yr. old who is about to date and drive etc. (Update-since I wrote this post, I wrote nineteen episodes of fiction. I realized this theme came up in my fiction writing. Click here to read my fiction episodes).
16.  I like heights and exposure, hence my affinity for climbing trees as a kid, my love for rock climbing and high mountains where the earth meets the sky.  When I stand on a cliff or overlook I get the urge to fly like a bird, but of course I don’t have wings so maybe I should take up hang gliding or something?


Split Rock, WY 1989

17.  On the flip side, I am claustrophobic and I would really hate to go scuba diving or caving or anything like that.
18.  I am a big flirt, always have been, in fact I won ‘biggest flirt’ in 8th grade with Bill Schraa who ironically was also voted ‘best couple’ with his girlfriend.
19.  When I go shopping I am all about the sales and hardly ever will pay retail price.
20.  I manage all the money in our household and am good about paying our bills on time or early.
21. I correct people when they use bad grammar (I know that is annoying, but I can’t help it).
22.  When I am going through a hard time, I make music mixes full of songs that reflect whatever it is that’s going on.  Before CD‘s I made mixed tapes.
23.  I always try to complement people and tell them what I like about them (something I learned as a teacher when conferencing with parents).  There is always something nice you can say, no matter who it is.
24.  I spend alot of time on the computer.
25.  I give my kids ‘mommy homework’ if they don’t have any from school and make them do reading, writing, and math all summer (for about an hour a day, it’s not so bad) to keep them challenged.  Click here to read about summer learning.


My Son for President


My son made this thinking map at school outlining his ideas if elected for President of the United States. I love that they had a chance to think about what they would do if they won the election and had presidential power. When he first told me about it (before I saw the paper) he said, “I would hide my phone number.” Pretty clever guy. I’m not sure what made him think of that, but it’s true, presidents can’t be giving out their phone numbers to just anyone.

Then, there is the demand for free pancakes and donuts. What a socialist. Doesn’t anybody feed that kid? I eat gluten-free, so I admit I am not the first person to think of eating pancakes and/or donuts. But I do my best to remember to buy junk food and processed white flour products to meet my kids’ desires. Before seeing this assignment, I had no idea pancakes and donuts were so important to him.

I absolutely LOVE the idea of extending the weekend by one day. Americans work too much and stress out too hard. It would be wonderful to have three day weekends. He said he misses being home with me during the day like when he was little. So sweet.

Surprisingly, he gets down to some serious issues with the idea of not letting anybody cut down the rainforest. That’s my boy, a chip off the old block. He’s inherited my love for the earth and my passion for protecting the environment. He is smart enough to understand some of the science and seems to genuinely care about nature.

Lowering prices and making more jobs to build the economy…I think he must overhear the news quite a bit at our house, and obviously he is picking up on some of the key vocabulary and hearing people discussing jobs and the economy. My husband and I frequently discuss politics, and the news was constantly on during election season. I’m impressed these were areas he would address if he was elected.

Maybe he will be President of the United States one day. I would vote for him!


June has arrived

If it seems that my blog is monopolized by the subject of ALLERGIES, well that is because I suffer from a zillion allergies and they monopolize my world. Besides being a mom and tutor, I am pretty much the queen of allergies. It seems like I am always one step behind them too, trying to figure out what is it that is causing my symptoms now?? The past few nights have been awful, waking up with that roof of the mouth/sinus/deep inside my ears/head itching that won’t go away. My eyes are crusty in the corners. I have hives on my arms and legs. My lips itch. I can’t stop sneezing lately.

For the environmental stuff (dust, dust mites, trees/grasses, molds, cats, mildew etc.) I give myself two shots in the legs just about every week. I take allegra and use nasonex. For the chemical allergies (fragrances and 4 pages of chemicals) I try avoiding everything although that’s pretty hard with people spraying sunscreen and perfume and don’t get me started on guys who wear too much cologne. Foods? Well I know I’m allergic to corn and wheat and sugar since corn is related to cane sugar. I think I’m allergic to yeast but I don’t want to admit it because I love wine and yeast is used in wine making. I think that’s my next step – eliminate wine for two weeks. That should make life more interesting right?

It sure must be nice to be a normal person who doesn’t have to worry about any of these things…

Today is June 1. The kids get out of school at lunch time on June 3. Time flies. Ready for summer!

Helpful Links for Corn Allergies



Food Allergies

Can I say I am amazed at how many things I can no longer eat without the risk of being rashy? I’m not talking just any rash. I get rashy (eczema) on my lips, cheeks, eyes, forehead (basically my whole face) and neck. Upon the advice of my allergy shot nurse I started an elimination diet and took wheat and then corn out of my diet for two weeks at a time only to discover that the rashes magically went away. This is after an entire lifetime of symptoms. When I was growing up, my friends called me “Susie Chap Stick” because I always used chap stick on my itchy rashy lips. Only now do I also know that I was also allergic to the chemicals in the chap stick I was using. From several chemical patch tests it became apparent I am allergic to fragrances as well as several pages worth of chemicals that are found in fragrance free products.

So far here is a list of things I can’t eat anymore:

Wheat Products:





soy sauce

beef jerky (wheat starch)


whiskey (not that I was a big fan or anything)

anything with Modified Food Starch, which is wheat based (like alot of lunchmeats)

most gravies

MorningStar Farm Products (which I love) like soy sausages, blackbean/veggie burgers, and taco salad crumbles (fake ground beef)…I have been eating these products all the time for years thinking they are a healthy cholesterol alternative to meat.


Corn Products:

Corn (duh)

corn tortillas

corn chips

anything w/ corn syrup (like sodas, gatorade, salad dressings, condiments like ketchup and mayo)

anything w/ corn starch (including some lunchmeats, enchilada sauce, hot dogs, canned chili)


So far I have found some good alternatives thank God. If I eat at home, I can cook things like pizza with rice crust, rice noodles, potatoes, and just today I baked my first successful loaf of ric bread. It doesn’t taste exactly the same but it’s not bad, much better than the store bought stuff.