Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Do NOT Heart My Teeth

Mama, if you are reading this, stop now, please. Really. It's for your own good.

So, it's been a while since I've been to the dentist. Since 1998, to be exact. Let me explain. I have really bad teeth. I know, some might say that's a reason to go more often to the dentist, but those people obviously have good teeth.

I brush. I floss. Yet each trip to the dentist involves a) one or more fillings and b) the dentist getting mad at me like I haven't brushed my teeth since the last time I saw him. So, I did the adult thing once I became an adult. I stopped dealing with it.

It's worked out really well until now. Now being when I bit into some hummus on a tortilla and felt a crunch. The crunch being a small (but not that small) piece of my back molar. As I tried in vain to check out the damage, I noticed a minefield of ominous looking spots and one little hole. Basically, my mouth looks like a before on a reality makeover show.

Since I'm working 9-8:30 right now, I can't go to the dentist until Saturday (which my insurance doesn't cover, thanks for asking). So, until then, I'm going to be crapping myself over just how painful this is going to be. That's a little pun, see, because it's going to be expensive and light on painkillers, Korean-style. "Novocaine, you don't need no stinking Novocaine!"

It's not a great start to The Year of Saving Money.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Heart Elann

The Elann yarns I gave myself for my birthday arrived in record time (less than a week). I know I said I was over self-striping yarn (and in fact have been leaning towards *gasp* semi-solids lately), but the whole bag was $20. They literally made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I also got two balls each of Esprit solid with one matching ball of variegated. Man are those balls small. I forgot to take into account the larger gauge. I intended to use the yarn for anklets (cotton=summer), but I had thought I could squeeze two pair per three balls.

Hot off the needles are the first FO using that yarn. I'm calling them Mad Cowabungas because of the retina searing shade of blue. The Elann color name is Caribbean Surf and it is way brighter than the photos. Perfect for summer!

I made them two pattern repeats shorter than the actual pattern and I believe I do have enough for another pair, maybe just randomly throwing in a round or two of the variegated. I've got about a third of the ball left with one plus a mini-golf ball of the solid. Hmmm... what next? The Phlox or the Indigo Gold? Despite a fair amount of purple in my wardrobe, I don't have any purple socks, so that may be the way to go.

Perhaps I should get some housework done first. Or at least determine and eradicate the cause of the odd, but clearly cat-related, odor I've been ignoring for the past hour or two.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Korea Hearts Dong (Poop) and Other Random Photos

I'll start with my final birthday purchase, which was actually a spur of the moment buy. They were $12, so a little pricey for a street purchase, but this is a product I have long wished existed. So, when I found out they really DO exist, I had to have them.

Yes, they are dust mop slippers. You're jealous, aren't you? Now I can channel my inner Apolo Anton Ohno as I clean my floors like this. ;-) The dust mop-y part is velcroed on, so I can wash/ replace them. What a perfect marriage of frugality and luxury. "Luxury" because my full-sized dust mop didn't cost $12. Of course, I can't speed skate with a mop, or use it for any Olympic sports for that matter, except fencing or javelin, and I've found those to be inferior sports for floor cleaning.

Next up is a statue I saw in Seoul. I don't know if you'll be able to see it, but the woman's expression is decidedly blow up doll-esque and the horse is vomiting water.

Here is the titular dong-love photo. When I told someone about this statue in mild disbelief, I found out that there are at least several more similar dong-y statues around Seoul. If you can't see, the mouse is covering his mouth and pointing at the pile.
This really is an obsession here. My students will sit in class and draw little spirals of poop which all look exactly the same, like they all took a class. Art 107 Dung Piles. The pig's expression is also a kind of pop culture reference-- it's a pose girls (of all ages) here think is "cutely pouting". Where I'm from, pouting is considered somewhere between childish and pathetic, but whatever.

Finally, a church. With land the premium that it is here, churches rarely have a free standing building all to themselves. Usually, you just see a spire on top of an office building to let you know that somewhere inside is a church. This one is pretty awesome, though. It's about a block away from a huge, European-inspired cathedral, so maybe they thought they had to keep up with the Popes. Gs25 is Korea's 7-11.Actually the sign above says Gloria, but the sign below is The Holy Mother of Jesus uh... Religious Goods or something like that (where you can get crosses, rosaries, veils-- which they still wear to mass here, etc.). So, I don't know if there is a shop and a church, or if the shop has two names. At any rate, I wonder if the shop sell statues that large. My birthday shopping may not be quite over just yet...

Okay, by "finally" I meant "penultimately". The last picture is an Ecuadorian band which was playing on the pedestrian mall between my school and the subway station. They were just getting started as we were going home, so we watched them for a bit. They were really fun. All of my coworkers speak varying degrees of Spanish, so the musicians talked to them while finishing setting up. I think they were really excited that someone could understand them. My Spanish is limited to items found on a Tex-Mex menu, but that didn't stop them from trying to talk to me, too.

I had a birthday and nobody came

Well, maybe that's a *little* melodramatic. My school forgot, until a coworker heard me mention it on my podcast. I still (six days later) haven't heard from my TWIN sister. The rest of my brothers and sisters are off the hook, because I don't know when most of their birthdays are. I know the MONTHS, okay. Don't judge (unless you have 87 sibs and know all of their birthdays).

The twelve hour days ending up not commencing until tomorrow. I found out an hour *after* my first class was scheduled to begin last Monday. That was kind of my fault, though. Two members of the admin staff told me class was postponed (shortly after the first class was scheduled to begin). I simply assumed they were talking about the same class.

In order to celebrate my birthday and take advantage of the unexpected time, I've been buying myself presents with abandon. Okay, maybe not abandon, but a little extravagantly for The Year of Saving Money, which started in May and runs until I move back to the US next summer. It's a big part of my Don't Live Under a Bridge Plan.

I ordered 15-20 skeins of yarn from Elann (I can't remember). What a bargain! It came out to $50 for the yarn (and $50 for the airmail) which is still cheaper than buying it here. I also won two eBay auctions from Mystical Creations Yarns.

How delicious are those? I could rub my face in the one on the left. Both skeins were less than $35 including airmail! It would have been insanity NOT to buy them at those prices.

So, my birthday shopping *could* have stopped there, but for my birthday resolution, I have decided to take math out of my Axis of Evil. So, I needed some books. A dozen (or so) is some, right? I've been doing math homework every night. It's not as hard as I recalled. Of course, I think the book I'm using first is for middle school students who have gotten behind.

I had a mini-epiphany while I was writing progress reports last week. About half of my students got some comment along the lines of "would be capable rapid improvement, IF they committed to doing the necessary work." I realized that the same could be said of me. So, here I am doing math homework my laziest, least capable student would laugh at. They do algebra in elementary school here. I also got myself a book of journals written by first graders, because that's my level of Korean reading ability.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Peacocks-- A Hoam Love Story

Here are some photos of a peacock trying very hard to impress a peahen at Hoam Museum last weekend.

The peacock was facing us first, then he turned to chase the peahen. She's barely visible there on his right. She was not overly interested and kept running away. Finally, he gave up. Poor guy.

We watched the peacock chase the peahen for about ten minutes or so. They must be quite used to human contact because we were less than ten feet away and they didn't even take notice of us. More impressively, they didn't take notice of the mother yelling at her kid to be quiet so the birds wouldn't get scared. The mother was approximately 50 decibels louder than her kid.

I'm trying to enjoy my last weekend of relative non-work by being as non-productive as possible. Except for all the progress reports I still haven't written, of course. (No minute like the last minute...) Monday I start working 12 hour days for the next ten weeks. So, by the time my sister gets here in six weeks, I should be too exhausted to even breathe, much less show here the sights.
It seemed like a good idea at the time to volunteer for the overtime. I had just decided this would be my last year in Korea and realized I will need a nest egg when I get home. Like a trip to the dentist, I'm sure I'll be glad I did it, once it's done.
So, I have five episodes of Heroes to watch tomorrow. :-) And a few dozen progress reports to write. And class plans to create (after I read the materials) for the three classes I'm teaching for the next six-weeks. And a house to clean/ shopping to do/ lunch to prepare so I don't have to order lunch at work, etc etc etc. I'm sure you see the most important activity on the list. :-)
I'm sorry about the weird paragraphs, I've tried to fix it about a dozen times, but Blogger is being ornery.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm a Calendar Girl!

Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar, that is. Click the link to check me out-- Fisticuffs, 7 February. Squee!!! I'm pretty sure they don't mind sneak previews, since the 2007 calendar has Wyvern Socks (ie not exactly new stuff).

The photo I submitted is clearer than this one. This is the first yarn I dyed myself. I was pretty pleased with it-- almost exactly one round color repeats. When I made these, I thought they were super-original. Then, months later I stumbled across a similar pattern with the loop around the middle finger.

Playing hooky is good for you

Yesterday I was supposed to go to an educational conference in Daegu, but a friend is moving back to the US soon and wanted to go to the Hoam Art Museum yesterday. So, I played hooky. Hoam is somehow part of Everland (Korean Disney... if you've never even seen pictures of Disney).

Everland is in Yong-in-- the next town over from me. The buses don't go past my part of town, though, so it is about one hour from my house. Why did I not know about this place? I took about one hundred photos, because the main attraction are the huge English gardens.

There are also huge collections of the stone people (whose name I always forget, except for the stone grandfathers, because that's an easy name). Here are but a few of the dozens of photos I took. Although I like the "garden of gradfathers" my favorites were all of the grandfathers randomly hidden in the foliage.

I also (gasp) finished an actual knitting project. No, not Esther, although I am *almost* to the gusset increases. The pattern repeat is 24 rows and the 2mm needles make the progress seem nonexistent. So, I knit a pair of spiraling lace socks in periwinkle. However, there is no photo, because the pattern came out much nicer than anticipated, so I may submit it to MagKnits. If I do that, I'll need a test knitter or two...