When I was a little girl, I didn't see a lot of Asian faces. I only remember Connie Chung and Kristy Yamaguchi on television and even then, I didn't really identify with them because I knew they weren't adopted.
So, even though I don't have the klout of Chung or Yamaguchi, I think it's really important to spend time with other Korean adoptees just so they're used to seeing other Asian people like them.
It doesn't have to be anything Koreany or adoption-ish, it can just be a day of decorating pumpkins and talking about what's going on at school. I loved these little girls, they were all so creative and adorable.
The kids are part of a group called Families Through Korean Adoption in Madison. I've personally found that a lot of kids who have support from other adoptees tend to be more confident in their adoption and their own skin. I don't think families see it in the moment but I can honestly look back and say being around adoptees helped me have a more positive adoption story.
Anyway, the group is always looking for Korean folks who can help, adoptees who can volunteer and so on... would love to see you at the next event!
I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone involved with the RSVP luncheon in Verona, honoring retired volunteers all across Dane County. RSVP stands for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
I had the special honor of being the guest speaker this year and loved having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful volunteers as well as share my own connection to the importance of volunteering.
If it had not been for the work of volunteers, I would not be here. My biological mother gave birth to me in a free clinic, social workers named me and a foster mother took care of me for several months before I made my way to Missouri. Countless volunteers helped me become a confident child in my adoption and brought me back to Korea to meet my entire birth family. It was full circle for me and for all the years in between then and now, I've tried to pay it back by volunteering for foster children and adoptees alike. So, that's it in a nutshell. And, I'm so glad I got to share that with the group and hear other wonderful stories as well!
It was also great to hear from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (@DaneCoJoe)!
One quick side note: My neighbor Sue is in her 80s and she still volunteers every week. I mentioned her at the luncheon (because she doesn't get to the west side very often) and afterwards, a woman came up to me and said, "I'm in my 80s, too! A lot has changed about the way we think about age!"
Very true point.
Also, for all of you who feel bad about not having enough time to volunteer, the seniors reminded me that there's plenty of time to do it when you get older. It made me smile a bit because I love volunteering so much and haven't been able to do nearly as much as I used to. So... there's time!
Oh and another fun thing - Elvis showed up. This guy was a hoot and he is also available for singing telegrams, FYI!!
Janesville's Skylar Stecker just put out a new video and I can't get it out of my head! I loved meeting her the last time she was in Madison. She's such a grounded person for being a rising star.
For those of you who may not remember, Skylar's dad was a Badger. He was a running back and played for the Bears. We even covered her when she was just a little girl with a big voice!
For some reason I thought I had been to Devil's Lake but I had not! I guess I had imagined it in my head... but what a wonderful weekend to take a hike there!
We went with our friends Lori and Rob. It is a fairly easy hike though the first incline will get your circulation going if you haven't been moving in a while.
And of course, we brought one of the pups. Piper is very agile so we took her. I hate leaving Minnie at home but it would have been too much for her little bum knee. We took Minnie for a walk when we got home and both girls were zonked. I imagine it's like wearing out your kids and putting them to bed early. *Party*
It's such a popular hike but if you haven't been, it's actually very interesting. It has different terrains and it keeps you looking around and asking questions about the land.
In all, I think someone said their phone clocked us somewhere between 4 and 5 miles. Jim's Fitbit told him he met his goal twice! So, there's that. A lot of people were out in canoes and getting a fall camping trip in at the state park. It was as if we took a vacation!
When it comes to September and October, it's hard for me to concentrate. My wedding anniversary is at the end of September, my birthday is mid October, and then suddenly it's Halloween and the holidays. So, it's hard for me to keep up and do anything productive.
What people don't understand about me, is that I find all of this completely overwhelming. I can handle people saying HBD on social media but doing it in real life is absolutely too much! I don't know how to handle all the love and support people give, even when it's fleeting or no big deal to them. For me, it's like... excruciating and wonderful at the same time. It's on the level of "I'm not sure what to do with my hands?!?!"
I can be a social media butterfly but in real life, it takes a lot of work for me to accept generosity from people. That being said... let's roll out the thanks!!
My friends in Madison are really wonderful. I've said it before but Susan Siman is as good as gold. She always bakes cakes and makes sweet treats for people on their birthdays and this year meant so much to me. She is one of those true blessings and I'm so thankful for her.
My friend Gretchen dropped off a cupcake for me!! By the way, if you need a realtor, she's your gal.
My friend and 10 p.m. producer Steph got me an awesome gift card from Crema and I received so many cards - like from my dear friend Leah. Hannah bought me an after work cocktail and everyone was just super sweet and again, overwhemingly nice. My friend Nicole helped orchestrate a HBD surprise during the news! And, I did squeal like a little girl.
My parents and grandma also sent awesome cards. It's fun because my grandma and I have October birthdays so for years we've spent them together. It's been harder the older I get but I always think of her this time of year.
And last but not least is my husband, Jim. We celebrated at midnight with chocolate cheesecake and my favorite flower - calla lillies. Oh he stole a tradition from my family -- he gave me $36 this year for every year I've been alive! So that means I got a whopping $72 between him and my parents. And my grandma threw in some extra money on top of that, so basically, I'm rich.
Anyway, thank you all very much for my birthday wishes! This week is about to end and every year I get a little more reflective about my life and how blessed it is to be healthy and surrounded by good people.
I also think about my birth family on my birthday and I think it's really important for me to honor them during this time as well.
I had such a great time in Seattle! The last time I went there, I was wearing overalls and flannel shirts. So, basically, long enough for some of those styles to come back.
I visited my friend Joanna who works as a reporter there. The last time I saw her I was working in North Carolina and she was in Missouri. So, it was an overdue visit... and she was such a gracious host.
I LOVE HER DOG, MAKENA.
Makena is a 3-legged dog who is so athletic and adorable. She walks everyday and even goes hiking! She was a big hit when we hiked Little Si. Everyone wanted to pet her.
Other highlights included spending an afternoon at the market, going to Langley (Whidbey Island) and just tooling around Seattle. It was a pretty chill trip... and the weather was beautiful. It only rained on the last day!
I know this isn't restricted to men and women relationships but it seems as if every woman I know makes meals for her husband when she leaves for a trip.
I always do it for my husband because (I believe) if I don't, the food might go to waste! I know he's a big boy but I couldn't help whip this up when I was in between packing.
I actually don't know if these measurements are correct because I eye-balled this whole thing.
Put a little butter in the bottom of the pan, add the leeks and let it cook for a while. When that's done, add the potatoes and chicken broth. Cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are done. Add cream, milk or half and half. Whatever you've got.
You can blend this into a smooth soup but I just prefer to eat it like it is.
If you've ever walked down State Street on a weekend morning you've likely seen the long line in front of Short Stack Eatery. It is one of the new great spots in Madison and it's open 24 hours straight through the weekend.
The Blind Deal is also a thing.
And now you can read about SSE in this month's Madison Magazine. I loved hanging out there and sipping on their Bloody Mary. It's seriously one of the best bloodys I've ever had!!