No one loves life here….

It’s a beautiful sunny day (yes, still cold, but there’s SUN!!) here in Michigan. And what should we do?! Well, of course, go get a window seat in one of the many riverside restaurants as we watch the sun-glistening waters of the rivers, the few ships and tankers floating up along, and enjoy the sunset as we ENJOY HAPPY HOUR!!! 🙂 woot! Leisurely enjoy a cocktail or two, and many delightful appetizers and small plates as we spend a weekday evening with friends at happy hour! I love life! I love life like that!

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Back In Philadelphia!

So I went back to Philadelphia for 9 days! I was so happy!

I got off the plane in Philadelphia, and suddenly realized that I started to smile at people!!!! Oh my goodness. Me?! I started being unable to control myself and would automatically look people in the eye and smile at them. People in the airport (I had just gotten off my plane from Michigan to Philadelphia) were NOT smiling back at me, but in fact giving me strange looks.

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Midwest Postive

Notice that it’s singular.

Just kidding.

But I’ve noticed one big thing is that moving here has made me realized how rude the East Coast is… i.e. how rude I used to (still can be??) to be. And since it’s for survival, you just become so toughened up and used to the rudeness. You grow a thick shell. When someone yells at you or honks or yells at another driver or screams out their window, it’s no big deal. You shrug it off, or shake your fist, or yell back, whichever it is… you keep on going about with your life.

Here… I have not seen people yelling or shouting or shaking fists (or even shaking their heads) at people.
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Football is the talk

I have noticed here… that people always talk about… Football!

NFL or College Football (University of Michigan and Michigan State are the popular ones here) are both hot topics that everyone seems to talk about.

But that’s not just it… it seems like in the Midwest… that’s ALL they talk about. That plus “What church do you go to?” (Just kidding… no sane person would immediately sak that… except in the South… or maybe here in Michigan… just saying…

I sit at the bar, and the bartender brings up some football talk. I’m standing in the elevator, and some dude brings up football. My friends meet my other friends, and after introductions, they’re not sure what to say, and suddenly they talk football.
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Christmas with the new In-laws

So here we are. Newly married, and trying to figure out how to balance the holidays. Some time spent just to ourselves as a couple, and how much time to spend with his parents. (My parents are currently in another country… so I’m guessing that’s not as easy to just spend a dinner or a weekend with.)

Christmas Eve, I went over to his parents’ house to have Hot Pot (it’s where you have a hot boiling pot of soup in the middle of the table, and you cook different things in it. It’s a very Asian get-together, family style of eating.)

On Christmas Day, we invited his parents over to our apartment to have Christmas dinner. This was our menu (for 4 people):

Turkey (in a soy-sauce based marinate, play on an Asian dish)
Green Beans with Garlic
Buttered Corn
Corn and Potato Chowder
Cranberry Sauce (which happened to be the hardest thing to find and buy)

Dessert:
Crepes Suzette
Red Bean Soup (a traditional Asian dish)

So as the food was cooking, I started cleaning. Our house isn’t messy, but I was stressed about the potential “inspection”. I’ve heard my mother-in-law previously talk about other women about being “princesses” when they don’t help clean or cook in the house.

So I start cleaning, I vacuum, I Windex every surface available to mankind in my house. The media center, the cabinet top (and doors and corners and edges), all the windows, the surface of our coffee tables (3) which all have glass surfaces, all the mirrors in both bathrooms. And the mirrors are HUGE. I kept having to switch hands because I’d cover a corner and my arm would be sore. I also windexed the faucet heads (They are metal and can get water stains, so it’s good to windex those, too.) Of course, you may think that I’m windexing with a towel or rag. BUT NO! That will definitely leave lint. Or you may assume I’m using the lint-less rags. Nope. I’m going hardcore.

NEWSPAPER! No lint, pulls off the oils, and works wonders cleaning windows and mirrors and any of those surfaces that need to be left glistening!

My place is clean, but I realized we didn’t really have festive decorations, so I tried to use the vases and ornaments the best I could, and concocted a few centerpieces. Luckily, I still had the bouquet that my husband got me for our first month anniversary (and it was still alive, despite me forgetting to feed it the “flower food” it came with). I had a few decorative items that I brought with me from Philadelphia that were used in the Philadelphia wedding. Perfect.

Times up! It’s 5pm. But they aren’t here yet. It’s 5:30pm, and they still aren’t here yet. Apparently, they wanted to give us “a few extra minutes” because they were worried we wouldn’t be ready by 5pm yet. That’s pretty thoughtful, although I’m pretty punctual when I cook, so I’m watching the food get cold as I start reheating everything in the oven and microwave.

My husband comes out and sees that I’m reheating the food and plating them and setting them on the dining table. He informs me that most dinner guests don’t immediately seat and have dinner. We usually serve a cocktail or a drink or some snacks, and then about 30 minutes after arrival, then the meal starts.

OMG. I did not know this! Now I have no idea what to do, because I just reheated everything and put it out. So I will have to reheat everything a second time… is that bad? There is probably something chemically that is happening after so many rounds of heating and reheating and nuking… Is this a suburban thing? Maybe it’s just a house thing… since I’m only emulating what I know, which is observed in restaurants, which is: Go in, sit down, order to eat.

Anyhow, that’s exactly what happened. We sat down and chatted and served some cocktails and wine. And then later got seated. Thankfully, no one got sick or food poisoning, so the reheating must have been okay… at least this time.

Whew. My first time “hosting” Christmas dinner for the in-laws. Didn’t go so bad… I think…

I never thought of myself of a hard core Democrat… or even a “Liberal”…

Today, I was doing some routine grocery shopping, yes, in that suburbian looking SUV of mine… shopping in these ridiculously stepford wives looking areas…

I walk into a grocery store… and I lift an eyebrow as I walk past a sign saying “Impeach Obama”.

I finish my shopping, and now there is a guy standing there. A young Caucasian male with another young African American woman. I’m loading my groceries into my car trunk, and then the start waving at me and my husband. They were waving and saying hi to us. I was not in the mood.
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Pop?

I’ve heard about this controversy before, but never had I actually lived in it.

Occasionally, I will have friends that have just moved from the Midwest and when they order a soda/fountain drink, they’ll call it pop. Usually the group laughs and makes some funny remark, we give our friend(s) a slap on the back or a high five. But pretty soon, the friends are all calling it soda or fountain drink.

Now, I’m in an overwhelming population that terms it “pop”. And there’s no assimilation about to happen here, because everyone around them also calls it “pop”!

Initially, I was at a restaurant, and the lady asked me if I wanted a pop. Now there is this recent drink gaining more and more fame. It’s a liquor mixed cocktail, topped off with pop rocks, yup, that’s right, like when-we-were-kids-pop-rocks. They coat the glass rim with pop rocks and then they also add some pop rocks into the bottom of the drink, and you’ve got bubbling sugar. Pretty tasty, actually.
So here I was, in a restaurant with some children around the table. Because as soon as she asked me, I was like, umm, this is a family dinner, are you asking me to order pop rocks in my cocktail and take it to the next level?? I had already ordered a cocktail, so I thought she was asking if I wanted to add pop rocks to it. Not that it’s indecent to add pop rocks, but it’s kind of a more festive, going out at night kinda thing. I kinda look at her, lost for words. She looks at me blankly, like this is just any normal day in the world. I look around my table, and my family and friends seem completely unperturbed and they continue to look at their menus. I take an unusually long time to finally regain my bearings. I look around the table and saw that some people had ordered sodas, I finally realized she was asking me if, in addition to my cocktail, I wanted another soda drink…. Ohhhh…..

So much for the pop rocks drink idea…
This was a good drink mix:(try it at home! It’s quite fun! and works for the holiday colors and holiday cheer!!! Of course do it only in adult company, or else it really confuses the kids… “Mommy! I want that Pop Rocks drink, too!” ……. awkward……..)

Rum + Triple Sec + Flavored Liquor    <— Rim with Pop rocks and add pop rocks (you can match your pop rocks flavor to your liquor flavor. hahah)

*Edit: It was actually extremely difficult to find an image of “soda” when you look up “pop” in the search engine. Maybe 10% of the images were of “pop” as a beverage/soft drink. But the other 90% of the images were like pop music, pop rocks, pop (the sound), popcorn (pop secret), lollipops, cake pops, blow pops, etc etc… But if you type “soda” into the search engine for images, it’s all about the Coca Cola and Pepsi products plus many many more…. interesting. Even Google Search has a preference for using Soda over Pop… (maybe it’s because it’s also on the coast? Apparently coastal regions use the word “soda”. Or it could be the population that uses Google search engine more frequently calls it soda? Or probably because soda solely means… soda… while pop can mean many other things.)
** See also demographic and geographical maps about the distribution of who/where calls it “Soda”, “Pop”,  or “Coke”.