Sunday, August 19, 2007

One More Week...


  • summer camp finishes. It's been a really good camp. Sometimes the pace is so fast I feel like there isn't even time to breathe in class. This summer has been one notch slower (at a ten, instead of the usual eleven). I've had a great bunch of students, a fair number of whom are going back to the US or international school, so I won't be teaching them in the fall.

  • my sister goes home. I've had so much fun getting to know her. She was in elementary school when I moved to Korea, so we've never spent much time together. I'm going to miss her when she's gone. Maybe she'll come back next year... (she's writing progress reports at the moment, which may put her off the idea).

  • my vacation. Yes, I get paid more than I would teaching in Louisiana, but I get two measly weeks off per year, not consecutive or at times of my choosing. I'm not taking a trip, but I may go to a hotel for a night or two to "get away".
  • my last dental visit!!! I saved the best for last. I went yesterday and got my last old filling removed and had another small cavity filled (this week's gift). I'm pretty sure I've paid for everything now. The grand total: a hair over 2,000,000 won (in the neighborhood of $2200-2300). For that I got six crowns (two porcelain caps, the rest big gold fillings-- not the kind that go over the sides of the tooth), all (and there were many) old fillings replaced (so the gold will no longer be making the silver jealous), a small filling, more cleaning than one person should ever need, and the gum line raised over one tooth. Not quite the bargain of the $30 root canal I had the last time I went to the dentist (1998, ahem), but I'll gratefully take it.
Well, that's enough rambling. Without further ado, here are some random photos (photographic rambling, in other words).

This is the side door at a big Buddhist temple we went to yesterday. The small yellow sign says, "Don't pray here." You know, in case you thought the boxes of snack food were a new style of Buddha.

This was at both main doors to the temple. I thought they were supposed to be humble...

This is a swatch of the Eternity yarn from MCY. It is way more beautiful than their photo, which makes me think I should have ordered more at the time, because reorders will probably look different. It's a bit brighter than in the photo, with shades of blue that range from green-y teal to slightly violet periwinkle. I'm going to knit a scarf and will hopefully have enough. This swatch is using 3.5mm needles, so that should give me a little extra knit fabric.

This is Flag Man. He was spotted across the street from the US Embassy here in Seoul. His bag says, "I love the flag." It was the weekend before Korean Independence Day, so that may have had something to do with it. I hope.

These are Mama's socks. I finished them Monday or Tuesday, but didn't have my camera or forgot to take a pic when Anne was over here. They really aren't uneven, my sister has a different shoe size than Mama. As you can see, they are cousins, not twins, but I hope that will be seen as rustic or quaint, which Mama generally likes. The sock on the left has way more gray in it. The skeins are three-play with each ply being variegated different colors, but somehow several areas in that skein were gray on all three plies for surprisingly long (a centimeter or more in sock length each).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

At Last

My yarn arrived from MCY. Yes, a mere 2 months and change after I paid (airmail) for it. It's even more beautiful than the photo, so they are redeemed. Anne still has my camera and it's so pretty, I rolled it up immediately. I'm old school (and down with the urban lingo-- hee) so it's not in a pretty cake so much as a lumpy ball. You'll have to wait for a progress shot.

I'm knee deep in progress reports once again. Okay, I've only got about 20 to write, but they are long. (Cue violin.) Next week is the last week of summer camp, so I have to finish them and about a dozen essay corrections before Monday. I'm not sure which is worse. Teaching essay format to fifth grade ESL students is not the cake walk you might think.

Despite the actual work-related work I have, I'm guessing I'll still manage to get something cast on in the next few days. The color repeats are only about two feet, so unfortunately I think socks would pool and flash in a way that would upset me greatly. I'm thinking a nice lacy scarf...

Current Ravelry number: 2787.

Update: Anne and I are having a showdown tomorrow sometime between 9 AM and noon (when my student who thinks we should be enemies will be there.) I'm sharpening my fingernails and doing hand yoga for maximum hair-pulling ability. ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is it wrong to love my dentist?

As usual, I went to the dentist this past Saturday. I think I'm going to start calling it my weekend home. My dentist is so nice! He actually seems sorry that my teeth are in such bad shape, like it's his fault and not mine that I've only been to the dentist three times since my parents stopped paying for it. (Okay, I'm considering each round of visits to be one time, but you know what I mean.)

Each time I've gone, he's given me a better discount. First it was 25-30% (each item was discounted separately). This last time-- 50%! I think he is telling me that I need less work than he is actually doing, too (to make me feel better????). Twice now he has clearly said that he was going to work on two teeth and then worked on three.

Not only does he do more work than he says, he gives me some service for free each time. The first three times, it was scaling. (Hopefully, no one is eating while reading that my teeth had to be scaled three times. Gross, I know.) This past time, he raised the gum line on a tooth that had a lower gum line than all the others.

I want to get my teeth whitened, but I kind of don't want to bring it up. I mean, what if he's giving me this great deal because he thinks I can't afford it, then I ask about a vanity procedure that costs $800? Or, what if he thinks I'm expecting a deal on it, too? Hmmm. I'll have to talk to his niece and she what she thinks.

I thought this was the last bunch, but his assistants kept asking him about another tooth and he told them he'd do it "next time". At any rate, if he works on the tooth I think they must have been talking about, he will have replaced all of my existing fillings (most of which were from the late 70s to early 80s and therefore past their use-by dates) as well as put in the new ones.

Running total- a hair under $2000.

Next time, I promise non-dental content. I finished my mother's socks, but my sis still has my camera.

Oh, yeah. Speaking of my sister, I was tutoring a student today and he mentioned that he wanted to go to Sapporo. I off-handedly said that Sapporo is far from Tokyo which surprised him that I knew. So I told him that my sister (in the next classroom over)'s father is from Japan, since that's more interesting than "I can look at a map".

This lead to a very long discussion of how it is possible that we have different fathers (far too long for a teenager who lives most of the year in San Diego, but whatever). When he finally accepted that it could be possible, he asked me how I could be friends with her. Anne and I are thinking of having a Dynasty-style hair-pulling cat fight for his benefit. Hee.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Three Down, Two to Go

Yep, summer camp is flying by. Only two weeks to go. On the upside, I'll get a week off. On the downside, my sister will be going home.

When she first got here, she asked me to teach her to knit socks. Then she started work and asked me to knit her a pair of socks. So, this is what she's getting:

I love the pattern, although I altered the stitch count (down to 56 stitches) and reversed the pattern on the second sock, so the waves are mirrored. It's so fast, I've made three socks this week. Two for her and one for Mama. Last year, I saw some yarn that she would love and made her a pair of socks. Which I then fell in love with and kept. So, here is another pair in the same yarn which my sister will take home with her.

In case you are wondering about the yarn, it is German, but I can't find it online in English. It's three-ply with each ply a different color variegation. Squee!

A bit of sock trivia: I knit both pairs in the same pattern and the pink ones are one size larger. Here are the left-overs (originally 50g balls). The pink (it just looks purple because of the light) one is still thick enough to possibly make another pair with contrasting toes and heels. The other would not have been enough to do one more pattern repeat.

As usual, life is pretty much consumed by work (when not pretending that knitting counts as sleep) during summer camp. So, in lieu of exciting and/ or interesting things going on, here are some random photos.
First up, a fobby notebook cover. I didn't even need a notebook, but I am powerless to resist anything that raises nonsense to such an art.

Next, after years of not having my camera in the right place at the right time, or being held back by things like "manners" and "societal norms", I have a picture of a dancing girl. Sometimes it's good to be a crazy foreigner.

Why, one might ask, is she dancing? To announce the opening of a new seafood restaurant, of course. Dancing girls are de rigueur to open a business here. They work in pairs, so they can take turns dancing enthusiastically and dancing half-heartedly while pretty clearly mentally spending the money they are earning.

My sister is the faux subject of the photo there on the left. She jumped in at the last second, possibly embarrassed that I was standing on a bench to get a better shot. She hasn't been here long enough to really revel in being a crazy foreigner. Unfortunately, the half-hearted one is behind her, so you'll just have to imagine a nearly identical girl who looks as though she may actually die of boredom.

Finally, a rather poor shot of the place at the mall where they film people playing computer games with a live audience. Really. My battery died, so I couldn't get a shot of the two players or the multiple cameras, but they were all there, in front of a surprisingly large, enthusiastic audience.

It's just the entrance, because I think you had to pay to get in. If you look at the guy in line, you can see the velvet ropes (or nylon belts as the case may be.) So, people waited in line and got tickets for this. To see people sitting in chairs. Playing computer games. It's a regular thing, too because there are two TV stations that play the games. Next week's schedule: Silent Reading Marathon-- see how the pros do it. Get your tickets now.

I am #3373 on the Ravelry list. Is that getting closer, or am I kidding myself? I'll just console myself that there are 12,490 people that signed up after me. Franklin (Panopticon) is only about 300 slots ahead of me proving that Ravelry is not giving preferential treatment as, apparently, some people have suggested.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

How do I bear the excitement of my life?

Summer intensive "camp" is rolling right along. Two weeks down, three to go. My sister's doing a great job. The summer schedule can be overwhelming, but she's really thrown herself into it.

I'm making her a pair of fuchia Tidal Wave socks in Silky Baby Lambs. I love the pattern, but hate the yarn. I made an entire sock between yesterday afternoon and this morning, taking time out to read a 200 page book for class. No pics, because she's borrowing my camera-- I'll post one when I give them to her.

I'm also working on a print o the wave stole in Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, an autumnal colorway. It's very pretty yarn and the pattern is pretty easy, but I don't think I'm going to have enough yarn. So, I may rip it and reknit it in Helen's Laces Gold Hill which is almost the same color.

So, that's pretty much my exciting week.

Oh, I went to the dentist (aka my second home) yesterday. The gold crowns weren't what I think of as crowns, more like big fillings, which is a good thing, since I now have five, not four like they told me. Getting them put in took an hour and a half or so, so I'll get the final two (porcelain) next week. So, no money spent this week. The third (and hopefully final) bout of scaling was "a gift".

I got a bonus when I stashed the cash I had to pay the dentist (no personal checking in Korea)-- I found about $200 from a previous dentist visit that I had forgotten about.