Saturday, March 31, 2007


I survived. I'm a survivor. Eye of the Tiger and all that.

I set off today to get me some soo-sul. That's what they call torture surgery here. It was minor surgery - but surgery nonetheless. I knew I was going to have it, so I thought about calling my musical partner in my band MOAN, but we parted ways after our first CD had really disappointing sales, and he blamed me for not marketing it heavily enough through fan signings and MTV School Attack appearances. Screw him. He's such a whiner. Turns out I was ready for my solo debut anyhow. I recorded my 1st single today "SHHHIIIITTTT!"

I was ushered into the operating room after the doctor prodded my armpit a bit and Tsk Tsk'd. "Oh!" I remarked, entering the room, "We've gone through a time machine!" I swear the table I was guided to was from the early part of the latter century.

The doctor did give me a couple injections of what was supposed to be anesthesia, but it didn't work well. At all. I whimpered after he cut me open and pressed into me. And I yelped when he cut deeper and seemed to be spreading the incision with his hands and leaning into me. I started to leak at the eyes as well. He cut deeper a couple more times and I really started to protest. I was shaking and sweating and I thought I was going to puke. Most unpleasant. And he wasn't stopping.

So I, being the polite lady that I am, looked at him between wet retchy coughs and sort of shouted, "You have to STOP, Fucker!"
Nice, eh?

I'm no doctor, but I would think that you may want to try a couple more injections to freeze the area you're working on when your patient starts to scream obscenities at you. Did we really step through a time machine? Are you going to stick leeches in me next? Are you going to drill holes in my head to let my demons out? Why do you hate me, Dr. Demento?

Well don't worry about it, because now I hate you too, you medieval prick. Seriously, the guy puts the "med" and the "evil" into medieval.

Now I've got same kind of silky tape covering a pad covering a mass of scrunched up gauze where my armpit used to be. I don't think I have an armpit anymore.

The tray was littered with a very large amount of blood and puss covered gauze when I got up from the table. Oh, and remnants of demons. Armpit demons.

The good news is that the pain medication was pretty decent. I spent about ten minutes in the pharmacy trying to stop crying after I downed my six pills, but I wasn't very successful. I spent another ten minutes splashing cold water on my face in the bathroom at work. Then I spent another ten minutes with my head hanging out the window of an empty classroom trying to get my shit together before I went to teach. Shortly after, the medicine started to kick in and I spent the rest of the day floaty and mellow. As I peaked on pain pills, I bought my students grape and orange Fanta and a couple family sized bags of chips and we laughed over a round-the-table word game together. The breeze floating in the the open classroom window made me feel fiiiiine. Everything was alllllright. I even forgave Dr. Demento.

The bad news is I have to go back in tomorrow to lie on the table and get more torture. He's going to pull out my gauzepit and probably hack me up some more. If he doesn't hook me up with some kind of local anesthesia, though, he's likely to suffer more of my curses and perhaps a kick in the teeth. I'll try to get a picture of the crazy operating room.

I was hurrying this morning to go get my armpit gouged out; I was running late. As I rushed down the hill from my apartment I shrieked a bit when I realized the green leaf fluttering alongside me on the ground was not a leaf at all. It was alive.
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When I stopped, it stopped. And it stayed very still as I reached into my bag and pulled my camera out. Snapping its picture, I tucked my camera back in my pocket and took a couple steps down the hill. The bird moved with me. We both stopped again at the same moment. I was late. I had to go! But, I looked at the bird and it's upturned wing. It was broken.

I had just awoken after an almost sleepless night feeling like I had a hot poker stuck in my armpit. I had just awoken from a dream where I called my mother, and when she asked me what was wrong, I told her I had a broken wing. I couldn't leave the bird on the road to get run over.

"Christ," I muttered, as I stepped toward the bird who immediately decided he didn't want to be my buddy and took off back up the hill. It only took a little while to corner him and pick him up in my hand. I carried him down the hill, rounded the stone wall, and set him down in a garden on the temple grounds at the bottom of the hill. "Stay here," I instructed. "You'll be safer here."

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Magnolias on the temple grounds.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I didn't mention it, but this past Sunday and Monday I was feeling pretty damned good. I guess when you're feeling alright you don't necessarily think, "Damn! I feel A-ok today!" But it was somewhat of a hurdle for me because I've been feeling crappy, (as you know if you've read posts over the last few weeks) first with a wonked up back, and then with a bit of a female issue I didn't mention. But Sunday everything seemed to be pretty good. Haller-loo-yah! Monday was alright too! Nothing really to complain about. Well I guess there was something - but it wasn't bugging me too much.

I had a little bump in my armpit - something I'd noticed maybe a week before. It wasn't really bothering me. Then it got a bit bigger. And a bit more bigger and I started to wonder what was up. By Tuesday I had a low grade fever and it kind of felt like I was wearing a shirt where the seam that attaches the arm to the shirt was too tight. Oh, and this seam was made of barbed wire.

Wednesday seemed a little better than the day before, but today was crap. Whatever's going on in my armpit is huge, on fire, and infected. I went to the doctor's. Just so you know, "Soo-sul" means "an operation" in Korean, which is what I'm going to be having tomorrow. I asked the pharmacist what it meant, and he told me. They've loaded me up on horse sized antibiotics today and tomorrow they'll be doing things which I'm REALLY hoping involve some kind of anesthesia, but I'm fearing won't. If you hear screams throughout the peninsula, that'd be me. I suspect my hollering may reach as far away as Japan, and it may or may not cause a tsunami or two. So be aware.

Then, once I'm done screaming, I'm going to go teach. Hopefully I'll be loaded up on painkillers. Should be fun, wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Monday, Monday

I stopped off at the little bar on the way home from work, hoping to have a pint or two while writing my brother a letter. Some things have been really bugging me lately. I could fire off an e-mail to him, and it would be easier and more time efficient for sure, but I like letters. I like silly writing paper and a nice pen. I'm simple. Perhaps you couldn't understand how pleased a sharp pencil makes me. When I first started working at my school, my boss told me not to bring the office's pencil sharpener to class. I laughed. (She also told me not to let the kids out of class to go to the washroom - and I laughed at that as well!) Kids need to be able to take a pee, or sharpen their pencils if they break - or have a drink of water, for that matter as far as I'm concerned. But that's neither here nor there.

I wanted to write my brother a letter, but two paragraphs in my stalker showed up. The Director had called me at home and since I wasn't there, he figured he'd try the bar on the way to my place. Tonight he got it right. I like him well enough, but he can't speak English, and he is almost old enough to be my father. I've become a master at making myself understood with a notebook full of doodles and a lot of patience. Thing is, the Director has instructed too many of the businesses in my sleepy town to call him if I show up. Three weeks ago when I went for Joy's farewell dinner, The Director caught up with me after. He knew where I'd been for dinner because the owner had called him to tell him I was there. He didn't show up because I was with people, but he'll turn up a lot of times if I'm on my own. And I'm often on my own. So I've either got to find some new places to go that are off the radar, or resign myself to having some father-figure company. But he is really kind. And he thinks I'm hilarious.

Things at work aren't fantastic. The new teacher speaks English so poorly I can almost feel physical pain trying to talk to her. She spends a lot of any given break staring at me in the Teacher's Room trying to formulate a question to start a conversation. Todays's question was, "Do you like small man?" I told her I didn't care, so she followed up with a "you don't like man?"
("No. I don't. Men suck. I'm a raving lesbian. Wanna make out?")
"No," I said slowly, "I like men. I just don't care how tall thay are."
She had been on a blind date. I can't find the word right now, but there is one - for a 1st meeting with someone who may become your husband - here in Korea. The fact that the new co-teacher's perhaps betrothed was 2 centimetres shorter than her was a dealbreaker.

I told her, "If you can find someone who's smart, kind, and funny, jump on them and never let them get away!"

She heard, "Blah blah blah blabbity blah blabbity blabba blah blah."

"How are you?" I asked.
"I'mu pine tenk you, and you?" she replied.
And we smiled at one another.


Charles makes calzones with mock ricotta!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Computer Possessed?

I don't know what's going on with my stupid computer. Last night it decided it was time to rearrange my favourites in my sidebar. Now they're all nice and tidy and alphabetic, but it really bugs me! I have to visit blogs in a certain specific order twice a day or so, or the universe ends up in chaos. It's the same reason I have to turn the light on and off 43 times when I leave or come home. It's the same reason I have to shout "COFFEE COFFEE BUTTERFLY POO!" and clap seven times whenever I see a blue car. Or a child with a jacket on. Or keys. Now having to search up and down the neatly alphabetically ordered list is really messing my brain up.

Also, as I type this, the font is changing from bold and blocky, to regular, to italic. The cursor keeps roving around my sentences. Words appear and disappear, and things that are underlined are suddenly striked out.

I think the most telling sign that my computer is now possessed by demons is that there are three 6's spread out in the top navigational bar. Does anyone know a good computer exorcist?

Friday, March 23, 2007

I Wonder if It's Silly

I can't stop thinking about my students' family. I can't imagine what it would feel like to lose everything you own, but I look around at my apartment and realize there's no reason it couldn't happen to me. I'd be so screwed. I don't have a lot of friends here - in person, but I've got some online expatriate pals, and I could write a post or two on some forums. Is it ridiculous to try to drum up some contributions? I think sometimes people might not think about the opportunity to give of themselves - to be generous - for no reason other than being kind and empathetic.

What do you think?

I'd like my boss to contact the mom and ask if there's something we can do, but she's so timid. I don't know why. She said she'll call after some time's passed, but I told her now is probably the best time. Now is probably when they could use some help. I asked her to think about calling on my behalf. Tell her that her kids' teacher is concerned. I think I'll bug everyone again tomorrow, and keep bugging them until something happens.

I've done it myself before: not said anything because I didn't know what to say. And I felt so ashamed afterwards. These days I want to do something, say something, help someone. Try to make up for the times I didn't act up when I should have. I want to help. Anyone else think they might too?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bad News

So yesterday my new co-worker turned up and said there had been a fire in her building in the middle of the night. She lives in one of the apartments clustered behind our school. When the alarm went off at about 3:00 in the morning, all the residents filed outside into the parking lot to watch six fire trucks battle the blaze on the fourth floor. There wasn't enough water pressure in the trucks, so they ended up funneling water down from the large tanks on the building's roof, about 13 floors up from the apartment in flames.

One of my students in my four o'clock class told me the fire had been started by a husband who was fighting with his wife. I thought that was horrible, and wondered if the guy had been arrested. My student said three people had been hurt in the fire.

We found out at about six o'clock, however, that the cause of the fire had actually been an electric heating carpet. People sleep on them in the colder months. It turns out that the people who had been hurt were two of our former students and their little sister. Naomi, the oldest girl, is now a 1st year high school student, and she stopped attending our school just last month when she began high school. She's the girl who comes and takes care of Kamikaze when I go to Japan. Her brother, Tyler, is taking a "rest" from studying English - but he's been our student on and off for a couple years.

Tyler has been released from the hospital, but the two girls are still in serious condition. Naomi has second degree burns on her arms. My boss called Naomi's best friend, an co-taker carer of Kamikaze, Ellie - to ask her what she knew. Ellie says she's been told Naomi is expected to be in the hospital for at least a month. I haven't heard how her little 5 year old sister is doing. Karen's going to find out which hospital she's in and pay a visit later in the week when Naomi's hopefully doing better. I'm going to go shopping on Friday night for some clothes for the kids, and hopefully will be able to visit her next week. Naomi is a pretty girl who likes fashion, and their apartment and everything in it was destroyed. My heart really goes out to the family.

My co-workers have decided that that apartment is kind of cursed. It doesn't help that it's on the 4th floor of the number 104 building. 4 is an unlucky number in Korea - much like 13 back home. Actually, two other former students of ours lived in that same apartment previously. They quit our school to move to Pusan after their father passed away while they were living there. Naomi and her family had just moved into that apartment a week and a half ago.

So it was a day of highs and lows. I've got today off - it's some annual director's meeting - and I'm glad to have the day at home to decompress a bit.

Oh, Baby!

Today I got good news and I got bad news. If offered the choice of which gets told first, what would you choose? I think I might go with the bad first, in the hopes that the good would rally my mood. As it is, you don't get a choice. I'm going chronologically.

The ringing phone pulled me from a deep sleep this morning. Really. it was DEEP. It took me a long time to recognize that the source of my annoyance was the ring of the phone. When I answered, and my brother greeted me with some usual silliness (I can't remember, but it may have been "Hey there, Jerky!") ~ I replied with a snarky "Whadd'ya want? I have to work. I have to go back to sleep." It had, after all, been less than three hours since I'd gone to sleep! My brother apologized, and told me he was just calling to tell me about Farah.

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She was born at 11:53am on Monday EST. She couldn't wait the 20 hours until her scheduled debut the next morning! Now she shares a birthday with my Uncle Dave, who I love. Isn't she precious?!? My brother says she says "sigh!"

So congratulations Jeff and Lori and Leah. You make me want to come home.
So I will!

I'll spare you all the bad news until I wake up. It's bad. But this joy deserves its own post. (Plus I'm zoinked!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fire and Eyes and Flying and Dying

My back is on its way to wellness. Today is the 1st day in just over three weeks that I can walk relatively normally. That is to say that I've got some shake with my fries. Before, I was walking around like one of those Irish dancers who are all board-stiff from the pelvis up. On my way to work I'd have to keep stopping and willing my muscles to relax. By the time I'd arrive at school I was spent. So today felt better! I did go to the doctors for another couple ass-injections and three days worth of 18 pills a day, just to be on the safe side. You know, when the nurse sticks the needle in my buttock and when she pulls it out she spanks me pretty hard. I think it's meant to either disguise or diffuse the jab. Either that or she figures I'm naughty.

Downstairs at the pharmacist's, I asked if he had some pads that heat up. I was thinking of something along the lines of those beanbaggy things you can stick in your mittens in the winter. He pulled out these:
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"They get warm?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied. "Can you endure?"
"Heh? Sure!" I laughed.

I didn't really look at the package before I got back to school. When I did, I wondered what the hell is a "Hot Pap?" There's some kind of gynecological joke I'm not going to make. Anyhow, you peel back the cover on this large piece of gauze, and then peel back the cover on another pad - which smelled very medicinal - and stick them together, and then smooth the whole thing onto your skin. I had Jane help me out in the Teacher's Room.

Well,...holy molten balls of fiery lava, Batman! I think the medicine is some chemical compound of liquid fire, and the outer gauze pad is meant to protect those around you from spontaneously combusting. I peeled the thing off about four hours ago, and my back is still smouldering. Oh, as an added bonus, the thing rips about ten layers of skin off you when you try to disengage it. Awesome!

This Eyeglass store is trying out a new marketing campaign. "Visit us once, and you'll never need a new pair of glasses again!"
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You go in, sit down, and the technician wheels up this device that simultaneously gouges out both of your eyes. Then they direct you down the street to the "White Cane Shop."

One more thing. I'm always looking to get bumped up to business class when I'm flying. So far I haven't had any luck, but I now know I've been going about it all wrong. Alls I have to do is die, and they'll move me up to the front of the plane! A man in business class on a British Airways flight from Delhi to London woke up to find himself sitting near a corpse. An elderly woman had died shortly after takeoff, and the crew moved her and her daughter up from coach. The poor daughter spent the rest of the nine hour flight grieving beside her deceased mom, who, "because of turbulence,...kept slipping down on to the floor."
Good grief!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

WCB 93 - Happy St. Patrick's Day

Top 'o the morning to you! Welcome to this weekend's WCB! Kamikaze is all decked out in his Irish finery. He welcomes you. (To kiss him!)
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Here be the roundup:

For even more kitty-cats, hop on over to The Modulator and check out Friday Ark #130

Thanks to mizd who has left a comment linking to a CNN article about recalled petfood after some pets experienced kidney failure. Please check your pet food and throw it out if it matches the recall information. UPDATE**Artsy Catsy had some of that recalled cat food, but instead of throwing it out, they returned it to PetSmart for a refund. Now there's a good idea! Check out the Artsy Casty site to see a whole lotta cats! I especially love White Widebelly Wednesday!

Finally, thank-you to everyone for stopping by! I hope you have a fantastic weekend and that the road always rises to meet you.

Coming Soon: WCB!

Hi there! I'm happy to be hosting this weekend's WCB - welcome! Feel free to leave your comments and links anywhere you like. I'll be putting the round-up post up later today sometime! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Hite-uh Day

It's March 14th, and you know what that means, eh? It's Hite-uh Day!!! (Also known as White Day) when the women in Korea (and Japan) finally get theirs, in the form of CANDY! Yah!
I'm thinking of Adam Sandler on SNL's Weekend Update: "I'm crazy one arm man, now GIMME SOME CANDY!!"

Yes, today the girls get the candy from the boys. I'll get candy from my students which I'll redistribute back to them over the next few days. If I remember, I'll take a picture of my bounty tomorrow. I've already gotten 4 lollipops, a little cookie and 4 polo mints handed to me with a sweaty palm. Yummy!

In honour of White Day I made something white:
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It's not vanilla ice cream. It's mock ricotta, and it was very easy to make and turned out really good! (I can't get real ricotta here.) If I had an oven I'd use this stuff to make stuffed shells or lasagna. Instead, I'm wondering if it'd be good in a spinach omelet. I got the recipe from Zen Kimchi who offers a really comprehensive step by step post on how to make it. Check out the cheese blintzes he recently made with his mock ricotta. Looks good!

In other news, I went to see "The Pursuit of Happyness" yesterday. It made me happi! Tonight is musical theatre night. I've got "RENT" and "The Producers" to watch. I best get to it.
Happy White Day!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thanks Guys!

Forgive me blog, for I have not posted upon thee in a week.
I know, I know.
I'm ok, but I didn't have a fantastic week. My back's still fooked. I've spent most of the time I haven't been working being asleep. When I'm sleeping, I'm not thinking about being in pain. Until I cough, that is.

I caught a cold too, and coughing and sneezing makes it feel like someone is jamming a corkscrew in my back. I'm still taking muscle relaxants and the like. I'm fairly sure I have a herniated disc, and the good news is most people start to feel much better after about four weeks (according to what I've read) so I'm about half way to wellness.

It's just frustrating that there isn't anything I can do- except sleep - without being reminded that it hurts. A lot. #$#*&%%@!!!!

So that's all the complaining I'm going to do. Thank you Kevin, Nomad, and John for e-mailing me to check if I was alright. I'm lucky to have you guys looking out for me. Also, thank you so much to John, who sent me a package of goodies awhile back. The kids loved the chocolates and I loved the rest of it!

WCB - 92

Kamikaze has agreed to act out my week in review.
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To see many more kitties, stop over at What Did You Eat? and see Fluffy Upsie and Sundance the Ginger Wrestler. And next weekend stop back by here because this is where WCB 93 will be for St. Patricks Day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

WCB - 91 Grass

Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty and I got a Christmas present from my friend Laura in Japan. It's grass. Mmmmm grass. Real grass! Not "grass" nudge, wink. Kamikaze loves the stuff! Here's what's supposed to happen:
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Kamikaze's tummy feels upset, so he eats the grass. Then he turns away and discreetly pukes. Then he is all happy and he sings a song. I showed the instructions to Kamikaze, but I think his Japanese is very rusty. He loves to eat the grass, but he never barfs. He hasn't upchucked, as a matter of fact, for so long I can't even remember the last time I had to clean any up!

Chomp chomp chomp.
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He keeps his money underneath his grass.

Sniff chomp chomp sniff.
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In the morning I water the grass and stick it outside on the balcony to get some sun. Kamikaze jumps up on the bed and stares at the grass, meowing sadly - wishing it would come back inside so he can rub his big giant head in it.

After all the grass eating, it's time for a nap.
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With my back being all messed up, I've been sleeping my head off. Kamikaze doesn't mind being spooned. I can arrange him however I want and pet him to sleep and I just doze off in short order. He's such an awesome boy.

WCB is being hosted over at Champaign Taste this weekend. Stop over and see all the other great kitties!

Saturday, March 03, 2007


When I'm trying to get from point A to point B, it feels like I'm walking through waist-high water. It feels like my thigh muscles are taught rubber bands encased in cement. It feels like I'm walking around with my knees bent and my pelvis thrust out. All I need to do is pull my jeans up to the bottom of my boobs to complete the uuber nerd look. My grimace completes it all. I'm lovely.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Joy Less

Yep, Joy - my co-worker - had her last day on Wednesday. I'm bummed about it, but happy for her to be going back to school. She is a good teacher, and will be an even better teacher once she finishes getting her degree in Education. Even though she has a degree in chemical engineering, she has to go back to school for FOUR more years to become a certified teacher. Yow!

We went out for a meal. It wasn't that delicious. The new teacher that's been hired came around at the end of the meal. She's not going to be starting for another couple weeks, though, so it's just going to be the boss, the bossy one, and myself at work. It's going to be hectic. The new teacher seems nice enough, but her English is pretty bad. We didn't talk too much, but the questions I did ask had to be asked more than once so she could understand. She asked me, "Do you like let's see a movie?" Uhhhhhh, yah. After the meal, Joy and the new teacher invited me to karaoke, but I sadly declined. My back is still screwed up. I'm hobbly. If I'm saying no to the noraebang, you know I'm screwed up!

Jane got back to me about tax and pension with what amounted to a big "NO." ("They can't accept." was her actual phrase.) I sighed and shook my head, telling her they were making a very bad decision. ("They" are my boss and her husband - who I suppose is my true boss in name, even though I haven't seen him in about 8 months.) If I get the pension office to go after them, they're going to levy a fine on top of the 2,880,000W my boss owes. A big fine. It's not going to please them. I hate the thought of it. I asked Jane to check one more time to make sure we can't negotiate something that is acceptable to all of us.

I hate this stuff. It makes me very anxious.

I spent yesterday (a holiday here) at home sleeping most of the day. When I wasn't sleeping I was worrying about all this mess, and worrying about my family back home. I called my brother yesterday morning and he asked if I'd heard about my grandmother. I hadn't.

I knew she had been sick with an awful cold, or the flu or something. I'd talked to her a couple weeks ago and she had seemed a little out of it. Mid-conversation she forgot which granddaughter I was, and confused me for my cousin Kate. I called my father afterwards to ask if she was alright, and he said she'd been sick, but she was ok. Well, about a week ago she got up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and she fainted. In the fall, she fractured her back and she's been in the hospital since. I'm still waiting for an e-mail telling me what's happening. I'm worried, though.

Sad, worried, anxious, and hobbly am I. I'm glad it's Friday.