Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Book Review: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Book: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Genre: mystery, court room thriller
Rating: ★ ★ ★

This is the first book chosen by the newly created online Asian Stories Book Club (interested? follow on Twitter @Asian_StoriesBC. And no I didn't create this one, Shannon from @ShanKdramaPop got it going!) The intent here is to read books by, about or set in Asian countries. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited to jump in!

This one is a crazy story about a Korean immigrant family who has a business where they giving pure oxygen treatments to families who have autistic kids... though they treat others too who's ailments might be benefited by pure oxygen.

The crazy happens when something goes wrong during one of these treatments, a fire and explosion happen, and two people are killed. A trial commences where a mom of one of the kids is accused.

The book is then giving us the inside story of this trial, as we go day by day through it, from everyone's different perspectives... and in so doing, we also get the flash backs as to how all this different people were involved. They are many POVs which I enjoyed (some might be annoyed by that) and it was interesting to see how literally everyone had something to hide.

In then end I'm not sure there was one redeemable character! Some were down right awful and some were victims. And in the end, we find out the truth of what really went down the night of this explosion.

It's crazy I tell you!

Anyway. The subject matter was pretty tough throughout. I struggled in parts. I also struggled with court room detail, but that ended up not being the main focus of the story. The Korean immigrant bit didn't really factor into the event itself, but did play a part in the situation these people found themselves in... and in their struggle to make it in America and deal with the obstacles they faced. So hard!

So if you are love mysteries and court room intrigue and all the complicated factors that tell the WHOLE story, you'll probably really enjoy this one.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Coronavirus Week Two: March 22 to March 28



We've survived another week of social distancing which has actually now been upgraded to a highly encouraged but not yet enforced "shelter in place." This means... do not go out unless you need to work, or you need food, or for a medical reason. There's a huge list of what's okay and not okay to to.

Anyway. Here's what happened this week:


  • On Monday I went to work like normal. Spent my regular four hours entering bills that had accumulated for two weeks. As I left that day it was decided that I would come in just once a week to do these bills. Unless things changed...
  • Also on Monday we started an online family "quarantine" scavenger hunt with extended family. A facebook group was created for this purpose. It provided a lot of fun and diverting moments all week long. We did things like: build a lego bridge that can hold 10 lbs, order taker out, go on a nature walk, eat something you don't like, help make a meal, time yourself folding laundry, do a list of exercises, find a 1968 coin, make a stack of 50 things... and etc. It makes me wonder what we can do this coming week to continue some sort of family fun and connection. I don't know.
  • I worried about food a lot this week. Friday I finally sat down and made my first online order for pickup at the store. It will be ready this Tuesday afternoon. Also, the ibuprofen I ordered from Amazon two weeks ago finally shipped. Although, according to the reports, if we actually get sick, ibuprofen will make it worse. 
  • Friday was also meltdown day. I really hope it's allowed to have those now and then during this craziness. 
  • Also Friday I learned that that there wasn't really enough bills to worry about at work, so maybe come in NEXT week after more can accumulate.
  • Except now, no more will accumulate because shortly afterwards we learned that our governor has said please everyone STAY HOME. So now the whole city offices are shutting down, only essential people, and no flex (that's me) and the library will be closed for at least another two weeks. So... no work at all for me now.
  • I am managing to continue with my diet. All is well mostly. Though that contributed to the breakdown on Friday. Exercising continues every day. We didn't manage to get OUT for a walk this week though. It's been snowy and cold. 
  • We started playing online pictionary with the family.
  • I finished a book and started another. We started another kdrama, but already ran out of episodes. And we ran out of episodes on the other kdrama. (Meaning, they are currently airing and so now we have to wait every week for new ones.) I have 4 dramas going at the same time now... and will probably start another tonight. I need a drama to watch every night to stay sane.
  • The husband is painting at one of our properties, so he has been getting out every day for a few hours. This week he will start working again. But not sure if it will be at home, or in the office. If he does go to the office, the plan is that he sees no one and shuts his door. Still not sure if that's the best plan. We'll see how it goes.
  • Toto has been doing lots of homework this week, and works at it all day as if at school and life is normal. Ha.
  • I have had several fun kpop conversations on twitter. This also keeps me sane. 
  • We haven't watched an movies or anything, which I find to be strange. 
  • It feels like a very long, very big staycation... like the Christmas holidays usually are. It also feels like we are all sick (not that we are actually sick) and there's that weird feeling of being detached from the world. You know what I mean? 
  • Speaking of the world, the news depresses me to the point of tears. I hate looking stuff up but I also want to know what's going on. I really hate fear posts, those that intend to make us scared senseless. I am happy to see the positive ones. I like that this experience is making families be forced to deal with each other and get closer. I feel bad for those in isolation who are alone and I hope they are finding ways to connect online with their family and friends.
  • This week we also learned that a couple of events coming up in April are for sure postponed or cancelled. It's a relief to know what's going on, but also sad. So sad.
  • We have at least a couple more weeks of this. I really hope by then we can see a shift in the spread... a flattening of the curve as they say. I really hope we all aren't crazy by the end of this.

Let me know how you are all doing. One of the craziest things about all this is how the WHOLE ENTIRE world is going through the same thing. It's truly mind boggling.




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman

Book: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
Genre: YA Romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★



What a cute fun story! Just what I needed right now!

This one is about a girl who keeps getting set up on blind dates by both her mom and her best friend. These dates have never turned out well and she is sick of it!

So one day she decides it would be a brilliant plan to have her best guy friend (even more her best friend than her above mentioned best girl friend) pretend that he is her boyfriend. She is a little nervous about this because of course, she has crushed on this guy friend for years! And she is so nervous he will find out and laugh at her and that things will never be the same between them again.

Well, he jumps into the roll with a bang and they are suddenly acting all couple-ish. It's messing with her head because of course she wants so bad for it to be real.

And so it goes... and how will it all end up? I WONDER.....

Yes, it's very predictable, but you know... I really enjoyed it anyway! And like I said, just what's needed right now when life is so crazy and upsetting.





Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Kdrama Review: Reply 1997

Drama: Reply 1997 (on Netflix)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Seo In Guk, Jung Eun Ji, Hoya, Eun Ji Won
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


There are three dramas in the "Reply" series and I hear about them all the time. Since I was missing Seo In Guk like crazy, I decided it was finally time I jumped into these! Luckily, 1997 (the one with SIG) is suggested as the first one to watch! Then next will be Reply 1994, and then Reply 1988. I'm guessing they all have similar themes which is... a nostalgic trip back in time!

So the premise of Reply 1997 is that our characters are gathered in present day (which was 2012 at the time of the airing of this drama) for the event of their high school reunion. At this gathering, we learn that a couple of them are planning to announce their engagement to each other... and a couple of them are already married and expecting a baby. But they keep the information from us on just exactly WHO and WHICH characters these are!


Instead, in order to answer this question, we flip back in time to when they are in high school, in 1997 and 1998... and see just exactly what went down. And they manage to keep us guessing for nearly the entire drama on who is getting married and who is going to have a baby!

Anyway, it was very nostalgic, even though 1997 does not feel like it was that long ago. This drama reminds us how much technology has changed since then. It's crazy. Also, this was during the time when kpop was just getting going in Korea, and our main girl is a huge fan of one of these very first groups... the one called H.O.T., so it was fun to see clips of them, and clips of what fangirling was like back then. Made me have to look them up and learn their songs for sure!

H.O.T.

Also, one of the characters was played by a dude in Sechkies, another first kpop group, and huge rivals to H.O.T. so it was fun to see how they played into that and I died laughing many times over. So great!
Sechkies
(character in the drama is the dude second from right)

Anyway. Cute drama. Since it's a little on the older side, there were many cheesy moments, and lots of dialogue yelling... but still so sweet and a great commentary on family and friendship relationships. I really enjoyed it all.

And of course it was great to fall in love with Seo In Guk all over again. This guy though. I can't even describe the charisma he has. And such an amazing actor.

How can you resist this face?

(Also I just realized as I'm writing this that Hoya from Infinite was cute guy #2 in this drama. What the heck? How did I not know this before???)

Seo In Guk with Hoya


Here are some scenes set to the the song sung by the stars of the show:







And if you're curious about kpop in the beginning days,  here's a clip of H.O.T. with their most famous song Candy:


Monday, March 23, 2020

Bored? No way! My Social Distancing Coronavirus Plans



Staying home and puttering around the house is my favorite thing so that aspect of this new life is not a hardship. I have a huge list of things I can do while at home. Who knows if I'll actually DO anything on the list, but I know one thing is for sure, there is no reason to be bored!

Things I could/might/should/may do while staying at home:


  • finish the 4 quilts I've started
  • watch the hundreds of kdramas I'd love to watch (I currently have 3 going)
  • read the hundreds of unread books lying around this house (I currently have 2 going)
  • watch some American series I never watched (like Jane the Virgin, or The Good Place, even Stranger Things maybe)
  • catch up on years worth of scrapbooking
  • finish writing the 4 books I've started but never finished. Or start writing a new one!
  • catch up on journaling
  • film, edit and publish videos to the kpop channel (the ideas for this are constant!)
  • learn the 10 or more kpop groups I currently want to learn
  • organize the two (just two?) rooms that are out of control cluttered!
  • play a virtual scavenger hunt game with extended family
  • deep clean something: wash walls, wipe down all the doors, clean and oil kitchen cupboards
  • try out new recipes
  • learn something on the piano
  • keep blogging and reviewing books etc.
  • interact with kpop twitter and continue to spread positivity there
  • go for walks and take lots of pictures
  • blast and dance to music
  • do zumba at home
  • start doing yoga... at home
  • video call the grandkids
  • video call the parents/grandparents
  • study and learn about something new
  • fill out the 2020 census 
  • play with and give the kitty more attention than she knows what to do with
  • learn Korean once and for all
  • and please please please do not get sick!
AH! Really, I'm overwhelmed with how much there is to do really. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts and if I can put a dent in any of these things!

What's on your list??? Let me know what you plan to do while hunkering down in your house!



Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus Social Distancing Week One: March 12 to March 21



Since I treat (or have treated) this blog as a sort of journaling space these many years, I thought I'd record the events of the week as we deal with this new life that I really hope doesn't last very long, but I fear will be a lot longer than we can imagine.

This first week was very insane especially so even if I slack off in the coming weeks, this week needs to be remembered!

But let me first preface this with a goal I made for myself at the beginning of this year which ended up being a big part of this past week. That goal was to finally get a medical check up and see if I am as healthy as I feel.. or if something is off that I need to address. Having a huge phobia of doctors, I haven't been in to see one for probably 17 or so years. I don't even really know. So after the craziness that was January was over I finally made an appointment and went. The results of that appointment were:


  • blood sugar levels high, pre diabetic, advised to go on a low carb diet
  • routine colonoscopy scheduled
  • routine mammogram scheduled
So at the end of February (about a month ago I'd say) I started the low carb diet. It's rough. I'm an eater. I love food. I will never believe that whole thing of "now that I'm not eating it I don't even crave it!" Bull crap. I will crave yummy sugary carby food for life. But with this extra motivation, I have been doing pretty well, despite the bouts of pity and anger that I regularly feel. I have also managed to keep up on exercising every day... alternating a day of zumba with a day of walking on the treadmill. This part I actually like. Anyway. If I believe my crappy scale, I've already lost nearly 15 pounds, which adds to the motivation that this is actually working and perhaps I should keep it up.

So keep this in mind as we begin our social distancing, and our panic buying anxieties and our issues with stockpiling food for the foreseeable future as we try to stay home and not go anywhere even the store! These two things (low carb strange diet coupled with food fear) has been rough.


The weeks go by. Coronavirus is spreading. It reaches the US. Then March 12 arrives. That's the day of my colonoscopy. I'm sitting there as anxious as a person can be, waiting for my turn, while the TV in the waiting room is saying that the governor has just announced we start the social distancing. Before that day is over we know that there will be no more colleges classes (my daughter is due to come home for spring break that Saturday), no more church services, the library where I work will close for two weeks for now, and then the next day we learn all schools will be closed (not just universities). Add all that to the scare of having a not fun procedure and my anxiety was off the charts.

But I survived and was ready to face the week. And so, with that little prologue,  commence WEEK ONE of social distancing. Here's what we did:


  • On Friday March 13, I gave in to the food fear and went to the store first thing in the morning. The empty shelves made me tear up. It was such a scary sight. I needed eggs if I was to continue with the low carb thing, but they were all gone. I did get a bunch of other stuff and felt fairly successful. But for the eggs. However the husband went past another store on his way to work and managed to get a bunch. So that was good. I relaxed a little.

  • I went into to work that day, even though the library closed. I needed to catch up on the status of everything and decide what my plan would be. I decided to stay home for the next week since Toto would be here for spring break.
  • Saturday, March 14 we drove the three hours to pick her up and bring her home for her break. She, at that time, thought she would be going back, even if classes would only be online. For her job, for her roommates, etc.
  • Sunday, March 15, first day with no church. We had planned a family dinner to celebrate Toto's bday, which had happened a few days before. That went on as planned. Less than 10 people. We were good! Dinner and cake (I saved up the carbs so I could eat a piece!). It was nice.
  • Monday, March 16. We just hung out this day. Stayed home except for an evening walk around the neighborhood. 
  • Tuesday, March 17. We stay home. Worked on projects. Homework, and filmed and edited youtube videos, etc. We start a new zombie drama. I finish a book and start another. It was probably this day that Toto was getting word from the college that maybe her job wasn't going to be happening anymore, and that they wanted students to stay home and  not come back after spring break. I think it was also this day that restaurants close. Along with other places like bars and gyms. 
  • Also on Tuesday, the power went out for a bit, and then when it came back on the internet wasn't working. I really don't think I could do this stay at home thing without internet! Luckily, we got it working again and so far, all is well! But it was just another weird thing of last week that was like...what is happening!!
  • Wednesday, March 18. At 7:10 we wake up to a very strange and scary sensation. "I think we just had an earthquake." I said right at the same time Toto said, "was that an earthquake???" The bird was freaking out in his cage. The cat hid. We were completely wired after that and texted family and had a video call for like an hour. It was 5.7, and centered more in Salt Lake, 40 miles away. Damage was done there, but no damage in our area. 

  • Meanwhile, I had to get up and go to my appointment for the mammogram. So I was already, again, extremely anxious! And then the earthquake! Like... seriously??? But I went, I survived. It was interesting walking into a hospital... there was a checkpoint at the entrance were I had to say I was not sick, and use the hand santizer before I was allowed through. 
  • The rest of that day we just laid around. We couldn't concentrate on anything. We felt one big aftershock, but the anxiety of it all really messed with us and we just curled up on the bed under lots of blankets and watched TV.
  • Thursday March 19. I planned to go ahead with book club as usual. We ended up having 3 people join us in person, and 3 online. (Less than 10 people, I felt we were still abiding by the rules.) But before that happened, we decided to go to Costco. We scored TP and a bunch of other things. I filled the cart. It was intense. After this shopping trip, I am now feeling confident we can hunker down for a good long while and not run out of anything. Except I need more meat. I forgot to buy meat!

  • Friday March 20. We drove up the canyon because Toto had a geography assignment to observe a natural feature. So we went to the park, and sat by the river for a minute. It was nice. Very calming. By this time we knew we had to go back to Toto's school to get her stuff, since now she would be staying home. Many states started implementing "shelter in place" which basically means please, don't go anywhere! We felt the need to make this trip before that happened here! That night we order food from Door Dash because everyone is saying, support the restaurants! Also it was this day that movie theaters finally close. They tried during the week to stay open, but to no avail. They are now closed. 


  • So Saturday we drove the three hours back to school and moved her out. Before we left though, I managed to get my hair cut. Something I had neglected this past month. So now I feel human again that way! Anyway, moving her out was very sad and depressing. It felt so weird and abnormal and off. Like... can this really be happening? But we accomplished it and came home and felt relieved that we had succeeded.  (We stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom at one point and were shocked at how many people were there. It was too much and too close of contact. My son who made the trip with us felt like we have been exposed for sure.)
And now it's Sunday again. The husband will be staying home from work this week because of an already scheduled vacation. In a normal world we would be going to see the world. So that's depressing. Even two weeks ago we were making plans! Instead he will stay home and work on landlording projects. I plan to go into work to do some essential things, but not sure I will keep my normal hours. It's all up in the air for sure. 

And that's where we stand after one week of this. How's everyone else doing? I feel a bit out of balance and off kilter. I go back and forth feeling anxious and worried, and positive that time at home is not a bad thing. I still find it interesting that everything we know is coming word of mouth and through the media and not anything we are actually SEEING with our own eyes, yet.  It's all so scary and disconcerting. 

I have no fears of being bored though. In fact, there's actually so much to do I'm overwhelmed! I'll post my list of things I hope to do in another post! 

I would love to know how things are going for anyone that reads this. Let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Book Review: Her Quiet Revolution by Marianne Monson



Book: Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of martha Hughes Cannon Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senate by Marianne Monson
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

It's been awhile since I've read a biography of sorts. This one is a fictionalized (aka. novel form) of the life of Martha Hughes Cannon who made a name for herself becoming a doctor when women didn't do such things, and then fighting for women's right to vote and for the practice of polygamy in Utah back in the day, and on to become the first woman senator. Quite fascinating!

She crossed the plains as a Mormon pioneer, seeing both her baby sister and father die on the way. As she grew up, she was fascinated by science and excelled in all her classes where everyone was a boy. She wasn't fazed by that, but fought to keep going to school, even though her mom thought it was quite ridiculous. 

She ended up being able to go back east to get her education to become a medical doctor, then came back to Utah to practice it. It was there that she ended up in a polygamous marriage. This part made me crazy because even though she believed in the practice (sort of) she should have known better than to just jump right in and think it would all be different for her. (Like when he got married again...and again... she was all... dude... why? When she herself was the third wife! Like did you not think he'd go ahead and get more? Sigh.)

Anyway. Since it was against the law, now both she and her husband were in trouble, so she went back to England to hide and it wasn't the greatest. But she did end up in Wales, where her family was from and she meets a lady there that helps her and changes everything for the better.

When she finally gets home again, she is determined to help the world and that's when she starts in on the politics and giving speeches everywhere and everyone is blown away by her which leads eventually to her being asked to run for the Senate...against her husband in the end. Which seems crazy, but I guess really happened? Wow. 

And she wins and the rest is history!

I found it to be a very interesting life. There were some slow parts and some frustrating moments, but in the end, it was fun to learn about this person who I had no idea about before. 

Thanks to the publisher, Shadow Mountain, for sending me this copy to read and review!


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