Monday, December 20, 2010

The Weepies - Be My Honeypie [Official Music Video]

So cute and so appropriate for the holiday season upon us. Love someone, and show someone your love!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Between a rock and a hard place

I update this evening from Korea, naturally, way to late/early to be updating, but this is my usual Sunday night I can't sleep routine, so take it for what it is. I have a headache the size of this country, and no pharmacies are open until business hours tomorrow. This is partly what is causing my lack of sleep. Also, as I tried to calm my headache by taking a hot shower (which was actually a lukewarm shower) due to the powers that be hating me right now, I discovered that my drain no longer drains. Son of a b#^&*. So here I sit, with an inch and a half of water in my entire bathroom (I hate Korean bathrooms being the whole room). To make matters worse, I know what caused the drain clog. It's my damn rabbit. I can no longer keep him in the balcony storage area during the day any more because it's so cold he would freeze. So where does he go? In the bathroom. Fair enough. Except I think his hair that she sheds everywhere must have clogged the shower drain. Son of a b^&*# I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment. So what do I tell my landlord/supervisor? That I was only pet-sitting? Surely that story will fall flat when they find out the sheer volume of hair that clogged the drain. I can't go on like this anymore...I just want to shower in a clean bathroom that doesn't have water everywhere. I just want out of this blasted country. On the positive side, I did get to see the Nutcracker today, and it was just as I remembered it, only with Korean dancers, which kind of reminded me of the March of the Siamese children scene in the King and I for a while. I'm sure that makes me a horrible voice of racism for saying so. So, happy holidays from this tired gal. Good night.

Self Check FAIL

How to Deal With Global Warming Deniers

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another one where I have no original thought whatsoever: LOL.

You know you want to play!

1. What color are your eyes? Some have told me green, some have said blue. It's your call.

2. How tall are you? 5'7 on a good day

3. What are you most afraid of? Spending eternity trying to figure out what truly makes me happy...and mediocrity...LOL. I don't know. I hate this question.

4. Do you play an instrument? Studied piano for ten years up until college when I no longer had access to a piano, played flute through high school in band, and I'm a pretty serious recorder player (beyond fifth grade)

5. What is your favorite physical feature ( on yourself)? I hate this question too. I don't really like anything about myself, but I suppose people have said I have some pretty good legs, hee hee, and of course there's that Jewish nose. LOL.

6. Goal you would like to achieve this year? Ha! I stopped having goals when I stopped achieving goals. Perhaps that's my problem. I would like to finally become fluent in Spanish, and maybe I should work on my positive attitude on a more frequent basis. But let's not fool ourselves. My first goal is to get out of KOREA already. Six more months. Six more months.

7. What are your favorite clothing stores? I really like KOHL's and Target. I'm not into spending lots of $$$$$$$ on clothes.

8. Favorite vacation? Outer Banks when I was 14 was pretty awesome. Family and beach and chill time pretty much rocked. All those trips to Jekyll Island and Tybee Island and Savannah rank right up there to. I'm not picky. Give me a beach and a week I'm good.

9. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? My trip to Jeju Island south of Korea for three days.

10. When was the last time you went swimming in a pool? A month before I left for Korea, so seven months ago at the YMCA in Shoreview, MN. I used to love to go swimming when I belonged to a gym.

11. Do you speak any other languages? Spanish but I wouldn't call my self fluent by any means anymore. And some choice words in Korean, but my Korean is about as good as a dog's English.

12. What is your least favorite chore? Oh god. I hate all of them. This is tough. I hate laundry, and cleaning the bathroom, but I HAVE to have a clean bathroom. And doing dishes. My apartment is pretty much a shit hole all the time.

13. Do you get regular manicures and pedicures? I like pedicures when it's sandal season, but only once in a very long while. I'm too cheap for regular pedis. If I did my nails they would be messed up the next day, I use my hands way too much.

14. What was the last thing you cooked? Rice and curry sauce for dinner tonight

15. What states have you lived in? Georgia, Minnesota, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona, California, and very briefly in Florida right after I was born
(or so I'm told.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The one where I quote someone else

Because whenever I seem to get down with the state of the world I turn to other writers I admire, and tonight seems to be no exception. Garrison Keillor and the Writer's Almanac never disappoint.

Today's entry is exceptional:

It's the birthday of writer Grace Paley, (books by this author) born in the Bronx (1922). Her parents were Jewish Socialist immigrants from Ukraine, Isaac and Manya Gutseit (which they changed to Goodside). They spoke Yiddish and Russian at home, and English in public; her father learned English by reading Dickens. Her family was affectionate and noisy — they loved to sing and to argue about politics. Young Grace absorbed different immigrant languages in the streets of the Bronx, and she loved listening to the gossip of family and friends and neighbors. She said: "The word gossip, which is considered so terrible, is really just another way of storytelling. And it's the way women tell stories, and it's kind of denigrated, 'cause its women who do it." And she said, "It is the responsibility of the poet to listen to gossip and pass it on in the way storytellers decant the story of life."

After high school, she took a class on English literature from W.H. Auden, who was her hero. During a lecture, he asked if there were any poets in the class who would like to meet with him and discuss their work. Out of 250 people, only five raised their hands, including Grace. She arranged to meet with Auden, and after an initial setback because she went to the wrong cafĂ©, she did meet him and he read her poems, which she had written in his style, using British phrases and formal language. She said: "You understand I was a Bronx kid. We went through a few poems, and he kept asking me, do you really talk like that? And I kept saying, Oh yeah, well, sometimes. That was the great thing I learned from Auden: that you'd better talk your own language. Then I asked him what young writers now ask me — and I always tell them this story — I said to Auden, Well, do you think I should keep writing? He laughed and then became very solemn. If you're a writer, he said, you'll keep writing no matter what. That's not a question a writer should ask."

So she kept on writing poems, but she had plenty of other things in her life — she did occasional work as a typist, she was active in community projects, and she took care of her two young children. She had moved to Greenwich Village when she got married, and she spent many afternoons in Washington Square Park, hanging out with other mothers, hearing their stories. She would write down poems on scraps of paper, but she was too busy to think of writing anything much longer. Then she got sick, and she sent her kids to daycare so that she could recover. She had several days a week all to herself, so she started to write stories, drawing on the voices of the women she spent time with in the park every afternoon, writing about the kinds of events and characters that filled their lives.

She wrote three stories, and she showed them to a couple of people, including her friend Tibby McCormick, whose kids played with her kids. Tibby had just separated from her husband Kenneth McCormick, an editor at Doubleday, and Tibby guilt-tripped him into reading Paley's stories by telling him that their kids spent a lot of time hanging out at Paley's house and it was the least he could do. So he read them, and he came to see Paley and told that if she would write seven more stories, he would publish a book. And that was The Little Disturbances of Man (1959). Her first story in the collection, "Goodbye and Good Luck," begins: "I was popular in certain circles, says Aunt Rose. I wasn't no thinner then, only more stationary in the flesh. In time to come, Lillie, don't be surprised — change is a fact of God. From this no one is excused." The whole story had sprung from that single phrase, "I was popular in certain circles," which one of her aunts had said many years earlier. Paley said that she often based a story around a single line or phrase or way of speaking that rattled around in her head until she created a story for it.

She published just two more collections of stories, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974) and Later the Same Day (1985). But she gained a devoted following, and when her Collected Stories was released in 1994, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She knew each story inside and out, and when someone would tell her that they loved one of her specific stories, her response was: "What's wrong with the rest?"

She never made her living as a writer alone. She taught at Sarah Lawrence and the City College of New York. And she was a passionate activist for social causes, protesting against nuclear proliferation and against wars from Vietnam to Iraq, and lobbying for women's rights. She said: "I think that any life that's interesting, lived, has a lot of pulls in it. It seems to me natural that I'd be pulled in those ways. [...] And you are privileged somehow to do as much as you can. I wouldn't give any of it up. And I've talked a lot about this with women's groups because I think that in whatever is gained, that everything, that the world should be gained. But that nothing should be given up. I think a good hard greed is the way to approach life."

She said: "You can't write without a lot of pressure. Sometimes the pressure comes from anger, which then changes into a pressure to write. It's not so much a matter of getting distance as simply a translation. I felt a lot of pressure writing some of those stories about women. Writers are lucky because when they're angry, the anger — by habit almost — I wouldn't say transcends but becomes an acute pressure to write, to tell. Some guy, he's angry, he wants to take a poke at someone — or he kicks a can, or sets fire to the house, or hits his wife, or the wife smacks the kid. Then again, it's not always violent. Some people go out and run for three hours. Some people go shopping. The pressure from anger is an energy that can be violent or useful or useless. Also the pressure doesn't have to be anger. It could be love. One could be overcome with feelings of lifetime love or justice. Why not?"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

OK, I'll play along with this blog I read. You should too. It's fun. Everyone's doing it!

1. I wish I had more confidence and didn't over think EVERY LITTLE THING I do and say. Seriously.

2. Yesterday I felt totally overwhelmed at work. Too much to do and too little time to do it. Gotta love those crazy Koreans.

3. Today I will relax with a movie or call it a night early, being happy for the weekend.

4. Tomorrow I will relax on a Saturday like I usually do. Listen to new NPR podcasts (YAY for two This American Life episodes I haven't listened to yet) and clean my apartment. Then I will probably wonder around and do some last minute Xmas shopping and prep to get gifts in the mail. Maybe do some Yoga online.

5. Maybe I will find that eye doctor in Seoul that speaks English (I know there is at least one) and go for that free eye exam they advertise and get new glasses. I do need them.

6. Someday I will be sure of what I want and happy in the moment. I hope. :)

7. I love when things are calm and quiet. And after a busy week, I LOVE being ALONE. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I haven't updated anything real or substantive on this blog in a while, and it's late here, so I will attempt an update. As I sit here and type this, DAMN YANKEES is the only thing on TV in English and you know how I love musicals and I've never seen this one, so I'm enjoying the musical numbers. Though this one is just a little too...old fashioned for my taste, I fear, and I didn't watch it from the beginning so I am a little lost.

The weekend started off a little slow. I am frustrated with my apartment never being clean enough for my standards and having no control. I am frustrated with being here six months and having to do six more months. I am just plain frustrated right now, and I have no idea why.

I did get to see a neat event this weekend though, and it's something I probably will not get to do justice to it, but I will try. It was Project Runway meets Battle of the Bands for Graphic Designers, in Korean. At a place that can only be described as part artist loft, part restaurant, and part bar. I was told it was German themed, but saw no evidence of Germany anywhere, not that I'd know what German was if it hit me in the face in a dark alley.

The whole thing took some getting used to, but by the end of the evening I found myself rooting for the "top left" screen or the "bottom right" screen as the designs come together in fifteen minute increments. You really had to be there. But it was a fun way to spend the evening and kept me from wallowing in self-pity, so I suppose it was an evening well spent.

As another week approaches (It's technically Monday now) I find myself eager to have something to do again but not wanting to go back to work. I guess it's no different from the rest of the working world. But as I think about it, I can't help but wonder: Maybe I'm whiny, but there has to be something better...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another weekend

Full of too much time to think about my nonexistent career track of a future...oh joy! Back to cleaning the shit hole of an apartment. I love Korea, oh boy.