Saturday, April 29, 2006

WCB 47

Kamikaze feels right at home in his big orange carrot! It's actually a "small dog bed," but it suits him just great!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

One of my little students, Jesse, doesn't seem to like cats so much. I saw this in his textbook:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Now the little boy in the picture has sprouted horns and is definitely not being kind to animals! I've got to work on Jesse's attitude. All the fire and stick figures killing each other he draws all the time has me concerned!
(By the way, those are Jesse's little fingers pictured. His mom painted them, and I wasn't able to ascertain if that was her idea or his. Maybe that's why he's so,....uhm,...disturbed.

For more kitties, visit Clare and Kiri over at Eat Stuff! Oh! And then be sure to visit the Carnival of the Cats!

Hwang sa

We had a bit more yellow dust flying over from the Gobi desert in China this week.
Here's what it does to your car:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Imagine what it does to the insides of your lungs!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'd like to open a car wash in the springtime here!

Breakfast and Fog

I present my breakfast!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
It's a take on soon doobu jjighae. I've never reconciled on how to spell it, but if you search my site you will know it's by far one of my favourite dishes. For those of you in Korea (or those of you elsewhere with a Korean grocer) it's easy to make, delicious, and, as Koreans say, "Good for Health!"

My version pictured is not exactly the traditional Korean version. I felt like making it, but lacked some of the ingredients, so I went with what I had. Here's the approximate recipe:

1 bag or so of frozen shrimp
1 zucchini
1 Japanese eggplant
½ onion
10 button mushrooms (dried shiitake are better)
a mess of chopped kimchi (the older, the better)
a healthy bit of chopped garlic
a bit of grated ginger
a tablespoon or two of gochujang (red bean paste)
a teaspoon or so of gochugaru (red chilli flakes)
a tablespoon of whatever you like - the soybean pastes that come in the green containers or the brown ones, I mean - why the hell not?!?
cubed super soft tofu (or any kind of tofu - the ones in the "tubes" are best, but I worked with what I had)
1 egg per person
sesame oil

Saute the shrimp until they're not quite done.
Saute all the vegetables until they're yummy. I like a bit of colour on my eggplant, 'shrooms and zucchini, so I get them going 1st, then add the onions, ginger, garlic, and kimchi. Cook 'em until they smell goooood.
Add water to cover and then some.
Once it's good and hot, mix some paste and hot water in a bowl to dilute and add back into pot. Or not. It'll eventually dilute itself if you just shove it in the pot. Add the flakes. Put the shrimp back into the mix. Then the tofu. Boil it up nice, then bring it down to a simmer.

If you're adept, gently - oh so gently - break an egg into the mix. Break multiple eggs in multiple places. If you're clumsy, break an egg into a shallow dish and gently lower it into the mix. You can ladle the hot liquid overtop to help solidify it. We're poaching the egg, kind of, and if you do it right the white will be soft and delicate and the yolk still runny. Finish with a nice splash of good sesame oil.

Ladle into dishes and eat with lovely rice. What you're aiming for is your sinuses to empty after a couple spoonfulls, and you having to sniff your runny nose back into your head for the rest of the meal. It's an excellent way to start the day.

For you folks in Korea more into convenience, pick up s couple of the pre-packaged soon doobu mixes in the refrigerated sections of your grocers. Add some water to taste - they're delicious and easy. In that case omit the pastes and flakes, just pour! Enjoy!

Oh, and the other night it was so foggy I could barely see the management office right downstairs. I took a picture, and this is what I got!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

**By the way, the dish in the background is massive sliced mushrooms and a bit of chopped ham stir fried in a bit of wine and chicken stock. I have no oven or microwave, so ALL my cooking is done on stove-top, which is both limiting and challenging!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Going To the Chapel

And she's going to get married!

My co-worker told me at the end of last year that "This year, maybe, I will get marry." I was all smiles and congratulations!
"Oh! You think so? That's great!"
She had been dating her boyfriend for four years and was in love with him. I'd never met him, but seen his picture on her handphone. Handsome fellow!

I wasn't too surprised, when just a few weeks ago she confirmed that yes indeed, she is going to get married! Yeeee hah! I was kind of surprised, though, to learn very recently that she wasn't marrying her long-time boyfriend*, but rather some new fellow who had only recently come into her life. Huh?

It's not all that uncommon here: match-making! My co-worker had decided that this was going to be the year she settled down, and since her boyfriend wasn't quite there yet (and was still a student intent on getting his Masters instead of getting a job) she looked elsewhere and was introduced to a few other eligible bachelors. She then just picked the one that seemed the best.
And so, in about three weeks, she'll take that walk down the aisle.

I've only (kind of) been to two weddings in Korea. One was for my good friend Young-a from Masan who married her Finnish Prince Charming on Christmas Day. She had been intent on marrying a foreigner, and she got what she wanted. The union was also that much more enchanting because they were in love. The wedding I almost attended three weekends ago was between a boxing coach (he was a former champion in Korea) and his student. They'd met about a year and a half ago by C's figuring. They made a handsome couple, and from all accounts - and the look of them, they're in love. I hadn't given too much thought of a marriage happening for any other reason, but I'm learning that it's fairly common to marry for marriage sake here.

I learned a new word. Wangta. I came across it in a discussion thread about match-made Korean weddings (which I can't find now.) It said that after a certain age (see THIRTY) people might start thinking you're a "wangta" if you're not already married. My co-worker's almost there, and her soon-to-be-husband is 5 years past.

Here's an older article on match-making and computer dating in Korea, "Looking for Love." And here's a more recent article from the Tapei Times, "Matchmaking Enjoying a Revival in South Korea."

What do we think? Hmmmm? From what I've learned, this is a traditional arrangement, and my co-worker is awash in tradition these days. A few weekends ago, the families were brought together to meet each other. Earlier this week, I had to cover her last class because she was going over to her soon-to-be in-law's house to give them money. Just last night, she brought me along shopping downtown, where she spent almost W4,000,000 on a nice refrigerator and 42" flat screen TV. She pointed out the more conservative and less-expensive models her fiance had picked out, but she there and then vetoed his choices and held out her credit card. I'm not sure if the cost will be shared between bride and groom, but according to this article, "Korean Wedding Expenses," maybe it's all on her. I know, lots of weddings cost as much as a downpayment on a house back in North America, and it seems here is no different. Getting hitched can be a costly ordeal!

As it was, my Western mind was reeling a bit, thinking that she was making all these decisions on her own, and with the chat we'd had in the car on the way down on how he's told her how to speak, how to sit, and that he'd prefer it if she acted (I'm totally paraphrasing) more whiney, giggly, girly, and cute.

Oy vei!

On the way home, we pulled up to an intersection where my co-worker was going to merge in with a left hand turn. She came to a stop as an approaching car got closer and closer. I figured she was waiting for it to pass, but no, just as it was close enough to HAVE to slow right down or collide - she swung her car right in front of it. I shrieked.

But it made me wonder if that is just how she is - jumping into motion because she feels it's TIME, regardless - or perhaps oblivious - of danger or consequence. There's surely more to be said about all this. In the meantime, I'm off to read a discussion thread on the subject. I'm intrigued!
(*Oh, and btw, she's illstay in ovelay with the x-oyfriendbay!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Way to Go, Grandfolks!

My brother was standing in my grandparent's house on Saturday afternoon, speaking with my grandmother. She had just asked him how I was doing, and he replied that he didn't really know, he hadn't spoken to me in awhile. Just then, his phone rang- and there I was on the other end of the line. I said "Hi!" and he said "Hold on" and passed the phone to my grandmother.

Cool, eh?

I had almost called earlier in the week, and I'm totally glad I didn't because I would have let the cat out of the bag. I had the receiver in hand when it dawned on me that maybe the whole party was a surprise thing. As it was, I thought, in speaking with my grandma, I was mistaken. My grandmother explained that my father and uncle and their girlfriends and all the grandkids (3) and their wives or fiancees (2) and babies (1) were there, and they were all going to have a nice quiet celebratory dinner in a few minutes. I was surprised, and was a little relieved I hadn't begged the time off work and flown back for a few days to join in a crappy Chinese buffet dinner in my grandparent's little town.

But I really thought someone had told me there was going to be a party?!?!

I got the story last night, and it indeed was a party. I hope someone snapped pics of my grandparents as they walked into a hall and froze when confronted with about a hundred guests waiting for them. My cousin said he'd never seen my grandmother look so pissed off. Ever. (And that woman has mastered looking - as she would describe it - "cross!") Granted, she had repeatedly said she did not want a big fuss made over this milestone. As a matter of fact, she joked to me on the phone, "Ohhh, we'll get divorced tomorrow, maybe!"

In addition to all the celebrants in attendance, plaques were presented from the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Bishop, and the (frickin!) POPE!

And I didn't even send a card!
I'm really, such an asshole!
Despite that, and the fact that they'll never read this, let it be known I send my general sincere congratulations and love out up into the universe where it will float, much like the hwang-sa, far far away and land gently upon their lovely heads.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's Good!

Holy Schmoly, I love a man who listens.
Watching TV last week, they flashed on some flowers, and I said, "Oh! Those are my favourite! They're called Stargazer lilies! I love the smell of them."

Fast forward to last night and....
Image hosting by Photobucket

Some Food

I cooked a nice dinner for myself last Thursday. I made chap'che bap, which is sweet potato noodles mixed with veggies and a little meat, some jjajjamyun sauce and some rice. It was so-so in taste, and unappealing in appearance, so I didn't photograph it. I also made some spinach with garlic from a recipe that I found over on English Patis. It's appearance was ok, but the taste was still so-so. The garlic had gone a little squishy by the time I ate it.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Sunday was a fantastic day. Lunch with C at a very nice Haemool-jim restaurant.
Image hosting by Photobucket
That's a whole bunch of seafood: shrimp, shellfish (does anyone know what the chewy stuff in the twirly shells is called?) mussels, and crab with loads of bean sprouts in a very spicy sauce. It was pretty good. One of the side dishes, with big sliced mushrooms, zucchini, onions, garlic and ground pork was outstanding. They brought us three dishes of it. I think mushrooms are my favourite vegetable!

We did a bit of walking around. The weather was fantastic; it was like a summer day in early June back home! Then we went to a DVD Bang and watched Along Came Polly. Phillip Seymour Hoffman made me laugh! I learned a new word, "sharted."

More walking around and a little shopping and dinner back in my neck of the woods, at the little BBQ restaurant with stones as a floor where you sit on little plastic stools pulled up to a steel drum. I had felt a little bad about eating all the mushroom side dishes earlier, but C. got to eat all of the one side dishes at dinner.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Mmmmmm. BUGS!

A very lovely day was finished off with yet another movie back at my place, Lord of War, which was well done and we enjoyed. Nicholas Cage is quite well known over here, especially since he married a Korean waitress. That site notes they gave their baby the birth name "Superman." I don't know what that means!

From the window of my classroom this afternoon, a different kind of food was parked outside on the street below.
Image hosting by Photobucket
I pointed at the three dogs in the cage and asked the little girl beside me "boshingtang?" and she gave me a thumbs up and an "OK!!!"

I always feel bad seeing these kinds of dogs in Korea, because I know they're bound for soup, and I think they're so lovely with such beautiful faces. I wonder if it would be weird over here if you had a boshingtang dog as a pet. Would people wonder, "What's that person doing taking my dinner for a walk?!?!" I'm going to ask tomorrow if that is unheard of.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Sunday, April 23, 2006

That's Really Super

Friday night I jumped on the bus to go downtown because I had nothing better to do, really. I sometimes like to go down to Paris Baguette and pick up some bread. If you're in Korea and want some yummy (albeit expensive) bread - try their sunflower sourdough loaf. It's perfect toasted - dense and chewy, yum yum!

So I picked up a bit of bread and stopped off for some dinner. I was just about to take my first bite, when three high school girls slid into the empty seats at my table with a jaunty "Helllooooo!"
"Hi!" I said, smiling.
(This is so common - I can count on a shouted "hello" wherever I go. On an average day going to work I hear it about 3 times. The closer I get to my school, though, the more likely I am to hear my name screamed out, instead of the 'hello!')

The girls sitting across from me were giggly and silly and intent on talking to me. I didn't want to be rude, but I really wished they would bug off. My face gets tired smiling, trying to be polite to the curious. I feel a bit like a celebrity - but that's so silly, because all I've got going for me here is my non-Koreanism. These high school girls don't realize that I'm a bonafide rock and roll superstar. In my own mind, I mean.

Anyhow, in my annoyance I suddenly remembered a very similar situation I was in during highschool. In downtown Toronto, my highschool was almost across the street from the posh Sutton Place Hotel, where STARS came to stay. Between my school and the hotel was a breakfast and lunch nook, Zeeve's (which is no more.) But it's where we all hung out in the morning, drinking coffee and eating bagels.

I wonder if my annoyance at my high school dining companions was what Superman felt when we barged in on his breakfast in 1986. How could we not? Who gets to have breakfast with Superman?!?! (He ate Zeeve's big breakfast of eggs, sausages, hashbrowns, and toast.) And he was gracious. And engaging. And politely interested in our sillyness. Granted, I think we communicated a bit better than my recent company did:
"My is,...My is highschool, my, is test, test is bleeeaAAARRRGGHHH"

"Superman's cool," I said in response.

I stuck one of my MP3 earbuds in my ear, held my finger up in a "wait a minute" gesture and pretended to take a call. "Yo Bo Sayo!"
Then I just repeated "Yah Yah Yah" until they went away.

Poor Superman didn't have the option to fake a conversation in the 80's, bless his heart. But he did let us buy him breakfast!

Dokdo/Takeshima: A Solution

I posted last summer about the greatest T-shirt I bought for my pretty little niece. Proffesor Snoopy say Dokdo is Land of Korea. You know if Snoopy says so it's gotta be so.

Still, the debate over Dokdo being Korea's island has been refueled. Check out the link for historical background. I said it in my previous post, but will say it again. I know how to end the "war." Let's have a look at Dokdo:
Image hosting by Photobucket
There it is. A big hunk o'rock in the middle of the sea. But what's that on top of the island? Let's have a closer look!
Image hosting by Photobucket
It's still a bit unclear, but it seems as though a figure is standing atop the hunk of rock. Who is it? What are they doing there? What the hell is going on?!?! Let's take an even closer look!
Image hosting by Photobucket
Ohhhhhhh! It's ME!
Look at that! I claimed Dokdo/Takeshima for MYSELF! It's now "Jenny-do: the Island of Jelly!" I will open up a kimchi/sushi/poutine restaurant at the base of the island and cater to all the sea folk. I will also set up a Japan/Korea Community Centre where we will drink soju in a zen garden. It's going to be bee-you-tee-full, and everyone is invited.
Conflict resolution in a breeze when you're willing to go that extra mile for a cause!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

WCB46 - Sumo Kitty

Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty is living with me in Korea but he is actually Japanese. He was rejected by his family of prominent Sumo Cats because he was the runt of the litter. When I found him, meowing loudly on a busy street, he was just a wee thing.
Image hosting by Photobucket

He used to like to sit and watch TV.
Image hosting by Photobucket
He still does, as a matter of fact. This sedentary lifestyle, coupled with the massive amount of kitty chow he consumes, has filled him out to be the proper Sumo he was born to be. His parents would have been proud.

On our most recent visit to Japan, Kamikaze was courted into joining the ranks of prominent Japanese Sumo and was entered into a BASHO to compete for the title he rightfully thought should be his.

The crowds were enthralled and excited. With his stature and poise he was sure to be a winner. Image hosting by Photobucket
He performed the ritual startings of his bout without a hitch. His opponent looked worried.

However, inexperience brought him down. I have to admit, as his Oyakata, I wasn't as dilligent as I should have been. Most trial practices between he and I ended in brushing sessions or naps. Or snacks, as he preferred.

He lost his first match within moments, and lay outside the Dohyo hiding his face in shame.
Image hosting by Photobucket
He's since regained his composure and we've set upon a far more stringent training regiment for the next tournament. Soon, I'm sure, Kamikaze will be King of the Sumo world!

For more not so Sumo-cats (though Kiri's going pretty NINJA on the TP) visit Clare at Eat Stuff!

Friday, April 21, 2006


I love Friday nights. It is the best time of the week, isn't it? (Unless you have to work on Saturday morning.) Still, everyone knows Fridays ROCK!

I took my time after work, because I had nothing planned. Sometimes I go grocery shopping, but I haven't been lately. Occasionally I go to the "PC Bang" (internet cafe) and play some games for awhile. I can't play the most popular games here - StarCraft or CartRacer or whatever the hell shoot-'em-up game so many people play that repeats a phrase in Korean that sounds A LOT like "Jesus Intent, Jesus Intent!!" I usually stick to games on "realarcade," where you can play an unlimited time. (They say it's a 60 minute demo, but it just goes on and on until you exit. Granted, you can't do anything else on your PC while you're playing, but still it's fun!)

Anyhow, I went to my local PC Bang on Wednesday and found it closed. Finito. Abandoned. I wasn't terribly surprised by this. Over the last two weeks their snack selection had dwindled down to pretty much nothing, and I thought something might be up. It wasn't the best PC bang anyhow, it wasn't very often filled up, but that's precisely why I liked it. I like a buffer between me and the person beside me. In Japan, you often get a cubicle all to your own, complete with door and phone to call up to the front desk to have beer or food delivered to you. Here, the person next to you can (and WILL) sit back and read whatever's going on on your screen. I also really liked my PC Bang because even though it smelled like a sewer, and with the co-ed washrooms I more than once walked in on a guy standing at the urinal, there wasn't many kids there at all. I'd really rather not run into any of my students there.

But Korea is a place where many things stay the same for hundreds of years, but others change ALL the time. Notably - businesses. MANY businesses, even what looks to be successful ones, will suddenly close their doors! Try not to get TOO attached to a favourite menu item at your local Chinese restaurant, because next week it will have changed into a hair salon. Don't count on being able to shop for a pretty purse at that cute accessory shop next week, because chances are it'll have turned into a butcher's shop by then!

One shop on my way to work has gone through 5 incarnations in the almost 2 years I've been here. It was a mandu shop (steamed dumplings) then a side dish shop. Next, it was an underwear shop and then a clothing store owned by one of my student's moms. She closed it because "it was boring," and now it's some kind of pre-school teach-you-to-be-a-genius clubs. For 3 weeks there was a sign outside that read: "I see and I leanr, I read and I undtand." (They've since changed it.) But, there's NEVER any customers in there. I'm looking forward to seeing what it'll be next. Hopefully, it'll be a Quiznos.

As for my PC Bang, I see that they're remodeling inside. I don't know if another PC Bang will grow from where the other one was hacked off. Maybe it will turn out to be a spa. A nice relaxing mani-pedi on Friday nights would be alright with me too! As long as there are no kids! With my luck, though, it'll be a squid-eye and cat-liver restaurant!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Family, and The Talk

So I finally had the chat tonight. I've been wondering for the last few weeks when it was going to happen, and on my way out the door tonight my boss asked if I could stay late tomorrow night because "she had some things to tell me."
"Tell me now," I exclaimed!
And so she did.

She said she wanted to talk to me about my contract's end, which is coming up in just a smidge over 7 weeks. It's been on my mind A LOT, and I've frankly been torturing myself thinking about it.

About three months ago or so, I was talking with my mother on the phone discussing the summer. I was trying to secure a week or so of my very own at my family's cottage. I love it there. Look at me loving it there when I was a wee'un:
Image hosting by Photobucket
Anyhow, long story short, it figures that my family is looking to rent the place out during every week that it's not booked with the actual owners - (my mother, brother, aunt, and uncle) and their families. Too bad so sad haven't shown up in 4 years so now you hath snoozed and ye shall lose. This disappoints me, and the half-joking suggestion that I rent the place, frankly, insults me. Not too long after that picture was taken I did what I could (as an elementary school student) to help build the place. It was mostly just nail straightening make-work, but still.
Anyhow, in that conversation of cottages and cats, my mother said exasperatedly "We don't even know if you ARE coming home or not!" I assured her, "Oh,...I AM coming home."

This past weekend, I was talking with my friend Stacey, whose baby will be 2 and a half this summer. I'm anxious to see them again! We were talking about my being in Canada this summer and I surprised myself by saying, "Well, if I come home we can,...."
Huh?!? "If!?!?"
I stopped short, and said, "I can't believe I just said 'if'! I've been all about the 'when' for so long now!!"

But as the time for my departure nears, I'm freaking out a little bit. It's change, it's unsure, and it's the terrible worry about what I'm going to do with Mister Sumo, the Kamikaze Kitty. Three months ago life was different. Things have become crazily more interesting just over the past couple months. And so, I found myself not quite knowing what to do.

Things were made clearer tonight in talking with my boss. She spoke of wanting to make some changes to our contract. We didn't get TOO much into the specifics. We didn't have to. The first point was a deal breaker. She wants to cut my vacation time (10 days per year) in half. I winced, and automatically said, "I can't do that." After two years of working here, we should be negotiating UP, not DOWN. I understand this isn't a personal thing - it's not like she thinks I'm doing a crap job and should have less rewards,'s a business thing. She wants the foreigner's vacation to match the school's measly vacation of 2 days is summer, 2 in winter, and 1 when they have that silly director's meeting.
Nu-uh. Not gonna do it.
And if she's hoping to find a good teacher to replace me, I think she might have a hard time of it, because frankly, I think that anyone who accepts 5 vacation days a year is a SUCKER.

So I think I may agree to stay on for an extra month and a half or so. Seven weeks IS too soon for me, and seeing as my family doesn't seem to care so much if I come back or not* I'm going to stretch things out a little bit.

Actually, I'm reminded at this moment that I'm a shitty family member anyhow. This Saturday is my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary party and the whole of my father's side of the family will gather for a celebration. I got word that my father even offered to pay for my flight home so I could attend. Granted, I haven't spoken to the man in over a year, so that's just innuendo or something like that. As it is, I haven't even sent a card for no other reason than I keep forgetting to. So now I'm going to call my grandparents, who I haven't talked to in,...sheeeesh, 3 years or so. (We've written, though.)

*It's not that they don't care,...but it's more that they're wrapped up in their own lives. My brother doesn't have time to send me an email or call but once a month maybe. He doesn't even have time to drop me a note to thank me for the kick ass packages I mail to my pretty niece, which drives me mad. But, I love him, so he's just about forgiven.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As Tears Go By

The week started off good. Monday sailed by, and Monday night was dinner and a movie at my place with C. We watched King Kong, and I thought it was really good. I also realize that I am a total baby, and I let tears roll down my neck and tried not to sniffle so as not to draw attention to the fact that King Kong sliding around on a skating rink with Christmas trees whirling around him was making me bawl.
There was no real hiding it, though, and afterwards C. speculated that the reason he wasn't affected in the slightest was because us Westerners love animals a lot more than Koreans do. Perhaps? I speculate that it's just because I'm a wimp.

Today, Elizabeth started again a conversation we'd had on Sunday on the phone with asking me, "So if I am not happy teaching, do you think I should quit?"
"No," I said, "I think you should embrace that which makes you unhappy and do it over and over and over again." Then I started slamming my face into my desk. I don't like slamming my face into my desk, it hurts, and makes me bleed - but c'est la vie, this is what must be done.

"Dude," (I really said to Elizabeth) "I think that you should try to be happy." It's what I've been saying over and over to her (and I'm not very fond of repeating things, but c'est la vie - we must do what needs to be done.) I wonder if she's hoping that I will change my mind and insist otherwise. I'm not gonna.

Speaking with a friend of mine back home over the weekend worried me too. It was a conversation which kind of discussed whether the glass is half empty or half full. Not only is his glass half empty, but it's half empty filled with piss. I don't know where his cynicism comes from, and it frustrates me that I can't come close to convincing him otherwise. He kept saying things like, "People are selfish, it's a FACT." "Everyone has an ulterior motive, it's a FACT!"
I mean, how can I argue in the face of cold hard factitudes?

In the words of legendary super-group extraordinnaire 'Talk Talk:' "Baby, life's what you make it....celebrate it (everything's all right.)"
My glass is filled with honey. It's filled with sunshine. It's half-full of hallelujah.

Yes. It can seem like life sucks. There are a bazillion reasons to settle into a long deep funk over the state of the world. That's the way it was since forever, and I'm no psychic, but I imagine things will still be fairly messed up at the end of the week.
Despite that, though, dance.
And then slam your face into your desk for an hour.

On the weekend, I mentioned to Elizabeth that I figure the very best teachers (or anything-ers, for that matter) are the ones who have passion. She said she doesn't have passion for anything. I suggested maybe she has passion for the Church, and she wouldn't even admit that, saying that after praying she feels a little better. Just a little. Today she asked me if I had passion. I raised my eyebrows and smiled and said, "Yes!"
She screwed up her face.
"What?" I asked. "You don't think so?"
"No," she replied, "I don't think so."
"Liz, don't insult me."
And then she was in tears.

"Hey," I said quietly, "I'm not angry."
She told me that wasn't why she was crying, so I asked her why she was?
"I'm so UNHAPPY!"

My friend in Toronto is unhappy. For him, the world is full of untrustworthy assholes. For Elizabeth, it seems like the world is full of reason for despair and hopelessness. C. even tells me it's rare to find a good person in this world.

It makes me want to cry.
Eeeenstead, VEE DANCE!!

As for the rest of it, I'm not going to concede. Arguing about whether life is indeed beautiful just seems as fruitful as arguing whether an apple is more delicious than an orange.
Een zee meantime, VEE SING!!

And King Kong, well, they kind of had to destroy him. He couldn't live a top the Empire State Building forever. I'm going to have to watch that movie again.
Und so, VEE SMILE?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

WCB45 Happy Easter

Kamikaze Cottontail is resting in his carrot before he gets busy hiding all his Easter eggs in the apartment for me to find!
Image hosting by Photobucket
Hoppy Easter Everyone!!

Image hosting by Photobucket

For more pictures of bunnies,....errrrr, kitties, and to see the mattress surfing Kiri, visit Clare at Eat Stuff!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Soup and Poo

Damn, I'd make a mighty fine wife! The chicken carcass I stuck in the freezer from dinner Sunday night is simmering on the stove with onion, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon. I'm making a broth that will soon make the base for a soup of mushrooms, onion, tahini, chicken, shrimp and cellophane noodles. My apartment smells delicious, and it's almost 3:30 in the morning.

C. is just about finished work, and when he shows up I'll feed him and we'll watch "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," if I can stay awake. (Which is doubtful, but possible.)

Tonight, after work I left and walked about a block or so on the way home before I admitted to myself that I really did need to go to the washroom. So, I turned around and headed back to the building my school is in. I anticipated a relaxing sit-down on the toilet; our school was closed and the taekwondo class was in session, so no one should have bothered me. About one third into my excavation, though, I heard footsteps in the hall coming to the bathroom, and then there was a knock on the stall door. I reciprocated with a knock (occupied!) and expected to be left alone. (There were two other stalls with Korean "squatty" toilets available.) But the knocker just STOOD there, right on the other side of the door, waiting for me to finish. Talk about pressure!

Who DOES that? In an empty bathroom, with both of us recognizing it's just her and I? Me all vulnerable with my butt hanging out, and her all impatient standing (and smelling) on the other side of the door. (GO AWAY!!!!)

Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, I flushed, and the water rose right to the top of the bowl, swirling my poo around all threateningly like. It took 3 flushes to get my shit hidden, and still I think the commode was just a flush away from an overflow. (Maybe the umbrella clogged it up!) I hope the water rose during her courtesy pee-disguising flush and washed her bum!

Friday, April 14, 2006

In The Toilet

Image hosting by Photobucket
I'm glad I didn't just open up the bathroom stall at work and back my butt in. I would have ended up with a Hello Kitty umbrella up my bum! Kids can be mean, eh? I'm sure this was some kind of revenge, like "Ohhhh, call me BABO, will you? Well I'm going to flush your umbrella down the toilet!"

Today, in one of my little kids' classes we were studying consonant blends. I was drawing illustrations on the board to demonstrate the task (circle the words that start with "sw," for example.) I drew a little stick figure on the board swimming, and then heard some chatter behind me. I turned around after finishing my drawings and found little Julie in tears. "What's wrong?" I asked the other kids and one of the little boys walked up to the board and pointed at the stick figure "Is Julie," and the water she was swimming in, "Is dong mool" (poo water!)

"Ahhhhh!" I walked over to Julie and patted her shoulder consolingly. "Buck up there little girl. If you're going to bawl every time someone infers you're swimming in a toilet, you're going to have a tough life!"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

BBM3, again!

Subtitle: The Woman Who Keeps on Giving!

EVA!!!! You're killing me, woman!

A couple days ago I arrived to work to find yet another package from my generous and gracious swap partner from BBM3 back in November. I was even more surprised to get another package than I was to get my second package from Eva back in December! And here it is, April, and I'm getting yet a THIRD package! As if!!

Image hosting by Photobucket
More delicious goodies!
Eva sent me 2 little packages of mini elk salamis. Yummers! Also there's a package of Herbs de Provence. (A mixture of dried savoury herbs grown in Provence - thyme, majoram, rosemary, oregano and savory.) Mmmmm! Now I'm trying to find a recipe to make something delicious and herby for dinner next Monday. (Dinner and a movie night.) I thought the brown flat package was beef jerky at first. Its contents resemble leather! BUT - it's chocolate! Delicious dark chocolate with red pepper, 73% cacao content, hello! Oh Eva, thank you!

Also in the package were these:
Image hosting by Photobucket
Books! Yay!!!
The thick one is
Eleni, which I'm looking forward to reading. I'm about half way through the other one, Special Delivery now, and I swear I've read it before, but it must have been a long long time ago, because it's only vaguely familiar now!

Eva, thank you thank you thank you!~ You're TOO kind!
I'm already thinking about what I'm going to send YOU next! I'm so glad to hear you like books! (Just a hint as to what I'll be sending you!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I've Got Crabs

Tasty Crabs!
Image hosting by Photobucket
From the back of a truck!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nice Weekend!

I had a great time this past weekend. It was good to get out of my regular surroundings and explore Dynamic Korea! I didn't see as much as I could have, though! Most of the train ride up to Seoul was spent fast asleep. With only about an hour of sleep before we left early Saturday morning, I was TIRED! I also didn't get to see too much of Seoul - literally, because it was covered in a thick smog of yellow dust from the Gobi Desert in China. I've never experienced it as bad as it was Saturday, so it wasn't the best day to be out and about in Seoul! The Lost Nomad mentions that pollution levels were measured at 2,281 parts per million in a cubic meter of air in Seoul. In the U.S., officials consider 301-500 parts per million to be a hazardous health concern. So, you can imagine how gnarly it was. I was surprised that a lot of people weren't wearing masks, which is so common for people to don if they're sick here or the air is bad, but apparently this dust storm caught most people off guard. As the day wore on, we saw more and more people covering their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs. I bet the car washes raked in profits. Cars were just coated in grime!

Anyhow. We spent Saturday night somewhere on the outer edge of Seoul at the sister and her husband of a friend of C's apartment. Her and her husband were such gracious hosts. The house party was relatively small, as they tend to be in Korea (since apartments are often fairly small, I guess) but ten of us ate samgyupsal (grilled pork) with the most delicious beanpaste (made by the hostess's mom) I've ever had, as well as a stew of beef and loads of mushrooms picked out of a hot pot and dipped into an icy vinegared broth. We drank loads of soju too out of fancy crystal shot glasses. The couple had just married a month before, and I gather the crystal wear was wedding gifts, as they still sported all their tags! What a nice couple, and the other guests were funnnnnny! None of them, except C., could speak much English, but they made me feel really welcome.

After a couple hours of food and booze we headed out to the noraebang (karaoke) which had a brutal selection of English songs. Who the hell is Andy Williams anyway? I couldn't help but laugh at the enthusiastic boogie-ing down going on in front of the massive screen with all the disco lights blaring. It was like my new friends had been let out from the home for a special night, and had came via the short bus to party down. A couple of the guys should have been wearing helmets. Bring from "the home" would explain why they thought it was funny to ruin each other's perfectly good glasses of beer by filling them with the complimentary shrimp chips provided! Anyhow, they left my beer alone, so that was nice. It was a lot of fun, though!

I'd like to tell you how lovely the wedding was on Sunday morning, but I can't. We were SO LATE! (An hour and 40 minutes!) I wasn't in charge of setting alarms and getting us up, the guys were; and they didn't do a very good job! In fact, they gave me about ten minutes to get ready before we were out the door. (Without a shower, and coated in the previous day's train-funk and yellow grime, I felt so ratty!) They just totally underestimated the time it would take to get from where we were to where we needed to go. We made it to the hotel just as lunch was wrapping up. We were able to eat from the big buffet, which was pretty good. At the hotel, they just churn weddings out all day, and had a constant rotation in the large dining area for guests from different weddings! We ended up dining with the guests from the wedding following C's friends'!

The weekend wrapped up nicely. Delicious icy fruit drinks waiting for the express bus. Naps and more naps all the way home with intermittent appreciation of the passing scenery. Shopping for dinner, cooking, and movie watching at my place. (Wedding Crashers, which was funny!) All in all, it really was a great weekend.

I'm really tired, though, and the weather isn't helping to pep me up; it's been raining pretty non-stop since last night. The cherry blossoms are all going away, which is sad, but c'est la vie, eh? Here's what they were like last Friday, though.
Image hosting by Photobucket
If you look closely in the background toward the left, you can see a line of cherry blossom trees leading up the mountain. My apartment balcony overlooks it. Sweet!

**You REALLY have to look closely, huh? If anyone knows how I can get photos sized just right, please let me know? I use Photobucket, and only have the option to resize 75, 50, or 25% of the original size. I think I'd like about 60% or so. I'd like photos snug enough to fit the frame without shifting the sidebar to the bottom of the page. See the borrowed pic of my camera a few posts back? That size is perfect! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

WCB44 Leaving

I'm posting this early because in a couple hours I'm leaving for the weekend. With no sleep for either of us (he was working and I was packing and messing about on the computer) this weekend is either going to be giddy silly sleep deprived fun or a train wreck.

Here's Kamikaze leaving. His big bum is saying bye-bye, as am I!
Image hosting by Photobucket

For more pictures of cats (and not just their bums) visit Clare and Kiri at Eat Stuff!

Dinner of Fish

Okay! Here's a Food Blog! It's not something I created (maybe next week) but it's something I ate! Please refer to the previous post if you don't know what I'm talking about!

So tonight the co-workers and I went for a meal. Fish, fish and a little more fish! I like fish, but to be honest I have never found anything in Korea in the way of raw fish (called "hwe" here) that compares to "sashimi" in Japan. So I'm not a total fan. If I had my choice, I would eat a lot of other things here instead of raw fish. Korean BBQ kicks ass, as does samgyetang (chicken and ginseng soup) as well as a whole other mess of Korean cooking. Anyhow, I wasn't given the choice tonight, so off for a meal of raw fish we went.

Let me say it's always interesting for a foreigner who doesn't speak the language to go out for dinner with Koreans. The whole meal is like a surprise birthday party. Each time the waitress visits the table it's like "Ohhhh! What's this?" Sometimes, it can go pretty bad (at least for me) when the menu is all in Korean and I can't be bothered to have the thing translated by my dining partner, as was the case with my 1st meal with C.
Image hosting by Photobucket
I'd like to think I'm not a terribly picky eater, but the fact is I probably am. I like to try new things, but there's just a whole bunch of things I DON'T like. I want to like them, but I just don't. High on the list is almost any vegetable that tastes sweet after you cook it. So corn, carrots, pumpkin, squash, Korean "mu" (pickled radish) and sweet potatoes, amongst others, are on my "list."
Pictured, we have corn and veg with cheese, a Korean favourite (ick!)* an icy concoction of fruit and red beans (ick,) "soondae" which is blood sausage (ick!) dukboki, fishcake and rice cake with veg in a spicy sweet sauce (kind of ick!) sliced mushrooms (yum!) and steamed egg (yum!) The two main dishes he ordered are pictured. One was a soup made of fish cake, enoki mushrooms and a crab divided in two. It was good! The other was difficult to discern. C. didn't know the name of the chicken part, so he described it as "chicken sandbags," which turned out to be gizzard. I had no idea! For some reason, I thought gizzard had something to do with the neck, and still, nothing I was really too interested in trying. Still, with C's encouragement, I did try. I had to apologize and spit it into a napkin. Call me traditional, but anything having to do with poultry (or meat for that matter) I just can't handle the chewy things. So more than half the things they brought I couldn't/wouldn't eat.

I can already see some problems with me "food blogging" here. One is the number of dishes in Korea. Most are sides, but in my opinion, well worth a comment each on their own. Just the taste of kimchi itself varies from place to place and warrants mentioning. Good kimchi (which, as I've said before, I LOVE) can really make a meal that much more exciting! The other problem is my poo-poo'ing a dish because I wont taste it because it's chalk full of peas or carrots or corn (the evil triangle of veg.) The third problem is that I talk too damned much. So I'll shut up now.

Tonight, many dishes came at once.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket
Just a couple of them, a gloopy salad of vegetables and pickles, a gloppy salad of raw fish and vegetables in a spicy sauce, and a nice platter of various seafood and vegetables. In case you haven't figured it out, there's a lot of seafood and vegetables in this meal.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Here's the main attraction, one of those fishies from the previous post all sliced up. It was pretty yummy.
Here's how you eat it:
Image hosting by Photobucket
Grab a sesame or lettuce leaf and put the raw fish on top. Add some bean paste, some vinegared hot pepper paste, maybe a bit of wasabi, and some raw garlic or a slice of hot green pepper, roll it up and pop it in your mouth!

Next, a hat tip to Japan.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket
A piece of sushi. Not good. The rice was overly sweet (mirin?) and mushy. The fish was "meh." Then a hand rolled maki. Blah! Again, ick-o rice, a slice of fake crab, pickled radish and fish roe with a dollop of wasabi. My Korean dinner-mates had some pre-knowledge of this bit sucking, because most of them didn't touch it.

Image hosting by Photobucket
One of the best things of the night, a grilled steak of something of other (tuna's "friend," I was told) it was a bit salty and crispy on the outside and fabulously tender and flakey on the inside.

Image hosting by Photobucket
I barely got a shot of the tempura before it disappeared. It was sweet potato and shrimp. Crispy, light and not too oily, they got this right!

Image hosting by Photobucket
Finally, a bowl of spicy bubbling fish soup served with bowls of rice. It was so-so. The broth lacked depth and the fish inside was a bony pain in the ass with fatty skin.

Overall, I can't say I'd recommend the meal to anyone else, but still I was full at the end of the meal, so it was ok. The low tables were covered in a paper cloth because you just spit your bones and shells and skin onto the table. Walking into the restaurant I saw tables that hadn't been cleaned that were a lot more messier than ours!
Image hosting by Photobucket

*I noticed the corn and cheese is not pictured, but it was THERE, as it was at tonight's fish dinner. Corn n' cheese. It's everywhere!


Image hosting by Photobucket
Hello Fishies! I'm gonna EAT you!!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

The King Visits

It's spring time and the cherry blossoms are out. I love walking to work in this season, because even though my neighbourhood is kind of a "hole," it does have a LOT of cherry blossom trees all over the place. In fact, most of the streets seem lined with them and walking around these days, with a soft showering of white petals falling on you is very nice indeed. My short walk to work is now filled with cherry blossoms, magnolias, and Rose of Sharon bushes.

The small temple at the bottom of the hill leading to my apartment has all of those flowering trees in it's compound. Look!
Image hosting by Photobucket
How pretty!

I mentioned in my last post that the BIG BOSS was coming to pay us a visit on Wednesday and so it came to pass. I arrived to work a little early and the lobby was all decorated with these "WELCOME" banners. One of my co-workers was blowing up (Halloween!) balloons to hang up. I went with my boss to the stationary store across the road and we got even more balloons and soon the school was looking very pretty! I snuck into an empty classroom to put on a bit of makeup so I would look pretty too, but the kids soon found me. It was hard trying to keep my hand steady with children climbing all over me, but still, I think I did a pretty good job.
Image hosting by Photobucket

So, the Big Cheese himself showed up. Many of the kids got wickedly shy when he first turned up and I was suddenly surrounded by kids clinging to me and trying to hide behind me! Boss Man flashed me a smile and a nod (he's got one great smile, that man) and then strode importantly to the staffroom where he quickly sat down to play on the computer with his back to the window. Soon after, two other important looking men in suits entered the school and pulled up chairs to sit in a small pow-wow with the Boss. One man even moved the snacks my boss had laid out (sticky multi-coloured rice cakes and a tray of strawberries and cherry tomatoes) from the table behind the Boss to a chair right beside the Boss, so his Majesty wouldn't have to turn around and inconvenience Himself. For the next 20 minutes or so these men stayed huddled up looking serious while the kids grew restless and I got hot as the temperature rose from all the kids breathin' up all my oxygen in the lobby.

Finally, he emerged and what I thought was going to be an hour-long talk with the kids turned out to be about only 5 minutes or so! I beamed at the students brave enough to ask questions, though. One of my little superstars asked, with perfect pronunciation "what is your favourite animal?" to which the Boss answered "Puppies!" (YAY, PUPPIES!) The short talk was followed by photos with the kids (it reminded me of a mall-Santa) and then everyone lined up for a signature and then that was that. I didn't even really see the guy leave, I think he just snapped his fingers and a magic carpet came floating through the window to whisk him off to his next rock-star engagement.

I'll give the guy props, though, his English was really impeccable, great accent, and he knew how to command a room. Look how interested the kids are!
Image hosting by Photobucket
I can't believe that my 2 co-workers thought his English was poor! It makes me wonder if they might be deaf as well as delusional. (Truth, he really didn't speak MUCH English, just a few questions and phrases peppered in his short talk, and always rephrased in Korean. Still,...)

Anyhow, all in all it was a good day for me, because I only had to teach one class, got to go home an hour early, and spent the day uploading songs into my MP3 Player. Chris Brown's Run It sure is an ass-shaker.

Otherwise, I've got a little stomach bug going on. I'm all Nausea Gabor. Tomorrow, though, is another Speech Contest Day followed by dinner with the co-workers and boss-couple. We'll eat raw fish. I'll take pictures. I'm LOVING my new camera, but if I find it cheaper up at the massive electronics store in Seoul on Saturday I'm going to be bummed out!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's HERE!

My fancy schmancy cute new digital camera! I like it! It's so pretty and white and nice. Check it out!
Image hosting by Photobucket
Bet you wised you had one, eh?

I've never been much of a photographer. I have a really nice Cannon EOS, but carrying it around is bothersome. About a year ago I recall taking some pictures when my pal Goldie was visiting me. Another problem is that I never seem to bother taking the pictures in to get developed after I take them! I have about 20 rolls of undeveloped film covering the first 2 years I spent in Asia stashed at my mother's house. It's going to be interesting (not to mention expensive) to get those developed when I'm back in Canada and take a stroll down memory lane. I've got a whole mess of film rolls here too, but I won't get them developed, even though it's probably cheaper to do so here. Traveling with rolls of film is a lot less cumbersome than albums. Anyhow, no more!

Now I just have to play around with the camera and hope I don't break it while I try to figure out how it works. The manual is all in Korean. I can order an English version through Nikon in Japan, but I have to go to the post office and get some International Reply Coupons and send them to Japan. So far, though, the camera's menu is all in English, and it seems pretty user friendly. I'm not TOO bad with gadgets (I figured out last week how to rewind or fast forward on songs on my MP3 Player. That only took me, what,...6 months or so?) Ha!

Anyhow, I'll have some good opportunities in the next few days to take some pictures. Tomorrow the BIG BOSS, my school's namesake (I work at one of a bunch of franchises in Korea) is coming for a visit! WOW! He's going to be speaking to the kids for about an hour. I hope he gets them all pumped up to study hard and be nice to their teachers! I've been told he will be speaking in Korean, which makes sense. Unfortunately I won't be able to understand what he says. I expect his English skills will be very good, so I'm looking forward to meeting him! Also, the kids are all encouraged to attend his talk at 3:00pm, and then they don't have to come to their regular classes, which means I should be getting off early. One little girl in the last class of the day told me she can't come at 3:00 because she goes to another school then, so she'll have to come at the regular time. Not only will she be the only student in her class, but she will be the only student in the SCHOOL! Luckily, I'm scheduled to teach the other class, who won't be there! All the kids in the 1st classes will be coming in later as well, so it looks like I might only have to teach 1 class tomorrow - the middle school kids, who have to stick around after their school day ends to clean their school.

This weekend I'm going to Seoul! Cool! I'm not going to be spending a lot of time there, though. (Just Saturday afternoon) I'm going to a wedding in Suwon on Sunday with C. I haven't mentioned him since here, partially because I don't know what to call him! My "buddy" isn't right, but neither is "namja-chingu" appropriate (ha-ha, yet!) How about "my LOVER?" (I'm joking - it just reminds me of a running SNL skit from a few years back where Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch would only refer to one another as "my lover." "Oh, I love to watch my lover make me sandwiches and then make love to me like a proper lover should."
Image hosting by Photobucket
(Professor Klavin and his lover Virginia)

Anyhow, I'll call him C. And in answer to anonymous commenter a few posts back, it's going well. I like him! A lot!

By the way, on Sunday night I was flipping around the TV channels looking for a movie to watch and came across the "Breakfast Club," a movie I've seen a million times, but is still so cool. What a crazy bunch of misfits those Saturday-detention kids are! When they dance, post doobage-smoke, in the library - I can't help but dance along in my livingroom. I didn't watch TOO long though, as it turns out they were airing the "edited for TV" version (it was the Hallmark network, after all.) I did, however, spit tea all over the coffee table when they altered John Bender's line "hot beef injection" and dubbed in "hot wild affection!" Nice job!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Food Blogging

I don't why why it's taken me so long to start to really check out food blogs. I do check them out, though, all the time. They both inspire me and make me hungry. On weekend mornings I usually get up, feed the cat, make myself a cup of coffee or get an icy glass of water or diet coke and turn on the computer. As always, I hit all my bookmarks listed (almost all of which are on my sidebar) and then I surf food blogs, starting with my favourites (I just added some links on my blog, which will surely expand.) I flip through the pictures and recipes until I'm so hungry I can't stand it, and go make something to eat. I just discovered this blog tonight. Click on "YUM" in the categories. Holy YUM Batman!

Anyhow, it just occurred to me a few moments ago that with my new camera I can do a bit of food blogging myself! How cool is that?!? I'm looking forward to it.

Likewise, I'm looking forward to cooking for my family back in Canada this summer. I'm starting to freak out a bit about the fact I have only a few weeks left here. Sometimes I consider extending for a little while, maybe a month or so. It's just me getting so nervous about change, and - I think I've said it before, but I'm massively concerned about how my too-heavy socially-inept cat is going to fare. In the next little while I'm going to have to take him in to have the required rabies vaccinations, and it breaks my heart hearing him wail when he's being taken to the vet. This time, though, I'm going to sort out a proper sized carrier instead of stuffing him like sausage into casing in the carrier I brought him to Korea in almost 2 years ago, when he was just about half the beast he is today. Those of you without pets or a big love for animals night not understand. My friend and former co-worker in Japan tries to spur me on, "Jenn, it's just a fuckin' cat!"
While that might be true, he is, afterall, a cat - we've also developed a love just a few notches above Tom Hanks in "Castaway" and his beloved volleyball "Wilson." I'm not joking, man!

While in Canada I plan on earning my keep wherever I'm staying, with friends or family. Most of my friends will head off to work during the day (SUCKERS!!) and I'll stay behind napping, watching entire series on DVD, and cooking for their return home. It's a good trade off, and I'm looking forward to proper kitchens with proper counter space, proper ovens, and microwaves and the like. I was thrilled to hear my brother report that he is "totally into spicy food these days, and is addicted to jalepenos and jerk chicken." This, from a guy who wouldn't touch a pepper (and they're not spicy in the least) until his 30's when he married an Italian and was forced to. Just to say that he was SO STUBBORN in years past. The guy had a frigging nervous breakdown in Japan over wasabi while he was visiting me there. (Again, I'm not joking!)

I love cooking for my mom and grandmother. They share a 2-storey house which has been divided into 2 separate apartments. So common in Canada. My mom and I were talking a couple weekends ago about how no one's cooking there these days, despite the fact that they have 2 big fridges and a chalk-full deep freezer between the two of them. I stayed with them for many months before I came to Korea, and often cooked. I would make dinner maybe 3 nights in a row, and on the fourth we'd have a smorgasboard of leftovers with a nice salad. Saturday and Sunday lunches are great there. Always soup and salad and sandwiches. Followed by naps. Perfect. Truth, I can't wait to get back there and just spend TIME!

I don't think I've ever mentioned it before, either, but I have a studio of sorts in my mother's garage. In the warmer months, I work outside in the backyard. I make mosaics! Last time I visited, in April 2004, I was so surprised at the amount of materials I have, and half-finished and finished pieces I had completely forgotten about!
Here's a dresser I made for my best friend's birthday:
Image hosting by Photobucket
It's meant to look like a jeweled scarf thrown over the top, and the sides are hand beaded. Her birthday's in July, so I spent a lot of hot sunny days in the backyard slaving over this, sanding, painting, varnishing,...and that's just the wood. Working with tile and cement is hard on the hands. I was always full of scratches and cuts. With this dresser I had a hard time with the cement. I screwed up the ratio of water to cement and it set all cracked and crumbly, so I had to grind it out and do it over. This piece was a gift which literally contained my blood sweat and tears in its composition. I loved it though, (and kind of wish it was mine!)

Here's a ceiling from the main floor bathroom of the same friend. After showing her sketches of ideas I'd had, she nixed them all, so I asked how about something "free flow?"
Image hosting by Photobucket
The theme here was colour and shape. I was just alright with the outcome; I loved the earthy colours we chose, but I prefer a more identifiable scheme. She loved it, though, and said her husband and her spent many hours smoking in there enjoying it! It was kind of hell to work on, though, with cement falling in my eyes!

Back in my mother's garage, I have loads of tools and tile and stained and vitrious glass and varying colours of cement. Surely there's enough to keep me busy during all the time I stay there, though I know I'm going to end up being a gypsy like I was the last time I was home, and end up visiting friends and family all over the province. Cooking and creating. (My niece is going to go mental over the art projects I have planned for us!)

I'm still not sure what I want to be when I "grow up." My dream job might be a commercial artist, creating or installing massive mosaics in homes, swimming pools, or stores. Since I was a kid I thought the coolest job would be a writer for SNL. I'll probably end up a high school English teacher, or a grade 2 or 3 teacher. I'd love to be a chef, but I can't stand heat, so have no business in a kitchen really.

Like the food blogging I intend in coming weeks and the summer I intend in Canada, it's gonna be good. I'm happy!


Kamikaze and his big yellow eyes. He has such a big cute round face with big cute round eyes (all matching his big cute round body!)
Image hosting by Photobucket
Check out Mattie again, my mother's cat, from last weekend's WCB. Isn't she the skinnier furrier version of Kamikaze? Wouldn't they make a striking couple? I hope they love each other and get married and all that this summer!

For more lovely kitty cats, and to see Kiri the kitty-turtle, visit Eat Stuff!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Say Cheese (Or Kimchi!)

Today I bought a fancy schmancy digital camera via home-shopping website. It should be delivered sometime next week. Now I won't have to borrow my co-worker's silly little camera (honestly held together with duct tape) and I'll be able to take pictures of everything. All the time. For every reason.

I'm going to take pictures of my facial expressions when I think about things. It's going to be cuh-ray-zee stay tuned.

Also, there will be oodles of Kamikaze pictures. Because I know Kevin loves them!!