Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Geared up for fall

I have been looking forward to the fall for months. The summers in Korea are unbearable to me. I'm hoping to have a few cozy knits ready for October. I already have my Swallowtail Shawl ready to go. My vintage cardigan is nearly finished. I'm working on the very last piece. There will be a lot of sewing up to do on this project, though. I haven't taken any photos of it lately because it just looks like a heap of yarn. I was looking at the pattern and trying to find a date, but I just can't find it. Anyone want to take a guess? This is the cover of the book and the pattern photo is below.
A few posts back I mentioned I needed a bus/subway project. I finally found it. I have never crocheted a blanket before. I thought I would not be able to stay interested in it long enough to finish it. But I bought a bunch of yarn at a tent sale at Mary Maxim in Paris, Ontario last time I was home. I'm not sure why I even bought it. I think I did have an afghan in mind because I also bought a Terry Kimbrough book. Anyway, I have maybe twelve balls of this blue stuff I don't even like that much. What else to do with it that make an afghan? In order to keep it small enough to keep in my purse, I chose a squares pattern. This way I only have to carry around a hook and a ball of yarn, rather than half a blanket. I settled on a Drops pattern that was easily memorizable and very "holey." I want this thing to work up fast so that it's done for the first cool day. The pattern calls for twenty squares, but I'm going to keep making them until I'm nearly out of yarn. I'm on square fourteen now.

A lot on my plate

Things have taken an interesting turn regarding a business opportunity I was looking into in my hometown in Canada. If it works out, this opportunity would be perfect for me. It would be a lot of work, but I'm totally up for it. My biggest problem right now is that I feel so stuck and helpless here on another continent. My sister has been talking on my behalf to the owner of the business I am interested in, and it looks like I am going to be making some phone calls very soon.

I feel very overwhelmed by everything I must do to try to put my plan into motion. First and foremost, I have to get in SJ's application for permanent residence. Otherwise, we cannot send our money to Canada to acquire said business. And even once we get his residency papers, then we have to find new tenants for our apartment, which could take a couple of days, or months. If we succeed in getting his residence, getting rid of our apartment, and getting to Canada, then we have lots of talking with banks and lawyers to see if it if all feasible in the end. And what if it all falls apart before we even get to Canada. That is a possibility as well.

So I am trying to wrap my head around all this while also trying teach, write books, care for Grace, and do all those other little things that come up day to day. I spent over an hour this morning trying to figure out how to save a fillable pdf form. I only wrote one unit when my goal was two. The house is a mess and it's just about time to pick up Grace from daycare. I know it's cliche to say this, but I really wish there were more hours in a day.

Oh yes, and I have several requests for cupcakes and teddy bears since I posted the pics on facebook. Something to fall back on, I guess.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New friend

I finally made a friend here in Uijeongbu. He has a really cool blog. Lots of great info on Korean culture and great pictures, too. It's nice to know someone else close by. I have lots of great friends in Seoul, but don't see them as much as I would like because the trip in is too far with a toddler. I've been thinking it would be nice to have some friends in town, so here's a start. He, Sejin, and I had sam gyup sal for lunch near Uijeongbu Station. Nice to be out and about with new people even on a dreary, rainy day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doilies for inspiration

I'm afraid I feel another doily kick coming on. I go in spurts with my projects. Sometimes I'm so focused on knitting, then crocheted toys, then baby stuff, etc. Since starting my Jane Austen filet crochet doily I've been feeling the urge to do more doilies. Then I came across a discussion on the Doily Heads board on Ravelry about creative uses for doilies. A lot of good ideas. I love these:

Here is the photos source and the blog post about them. A guy is using his mom's doilies to decorate his pottery. I think they're very pretty.Then there's this artist who is actually using the doilies to imprint designs on her pottery. These are beautiful.I love wasting time at night looking at this stuff.

I thought I would let you all know what my doilies are up to these days. Since Grace has a fondness for them (she calls them "flowers"), I had them put away for the longest time. I started to miss them. I saw a post on another hooker's blog where she had pinned her doilies to the fence outside for a summer barbecue. I thought, I should pin up my doilies, too. So one night I just pinned them to the wall. I think Sejin thought I was losing my mind.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just amazing

Was dreading taking Grace for her DPT shot today. As a baby she hardly cried after needles. I'm not sure if she noticed them. As she got older and more aware, she would kick up more a fuss. So, yes, needles are not fun.

So we went in, they got the Pororo band-aid ready and the doctor gave her the needle. She was silent. It was kind of like a scene from a TV show. Me, Sejin, the doctors, nurses, all sitting here looking at her and at each other. No reaction. Waiting. No reaction. She looks at the doctor and says, "Bye-bye!"

So that was that. I guess I put in my time this weekend and she went easy on me today.


I'm so tired from not getting any sleep at night. I've been waking up in pain due to my injury. Then I can't fall asleep again because I can't get comfortable. Very painful. I think I will take a nap and relax today because tomorrow I teach, and then Thursday I start a new writing project. I'm calling it "Project DSLR" because that's what I might just buy when I'm done.


I'm working on a filet crochet piece. It's my first filet crochet. I've been wanting to try it for a long time, because I think the larger pieces are beautiful. The one I'm working on is small and just a project I chose to introduce me to the techniques. It's a silhouette of Jane Austen. My other projects are coming along all right. I finished the second sleeve on my cardigan and have to start the collar pieces next. Sadly, I am now without a bus/subway stitching project. To work on something on a bus or train, it has to be a simple so that you don't have to consult a pattern all the time or do a lot of counting or complicated stitches. Mindless stitching. I'll have to choose a project today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Glad that's over

What a weekend it was. Not fun at all. I could hardly move my body and Grace had a sore throat and was very cranky. I could not wait for the weekend to end. I don't exactly want to go to work today, either, and it was hard dropping Grace off at daycare because she did not want to go. When she's not feeling 100% she wants to stay home, naturally. It's days like this I just want to quit that teaching job. But this is reality and I must work to put food on the table.

I hope we both recover this week and have an extended period of wellness.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Two days ago I got a grocery delivery from Homeplus. It's awesome having tonnes of heavy groceries delivered to your door for a mere $3. Anyway, on Thursday evening I was moving the groceries from the doorstep to the kitchen when I slipped and fell. There was water on the floor from where the frozen stuff had been sitting. Actually, I didn't fall right down. I grabbed the living room divider to balance myself, but my body ended up twisting in a very awkward way as I went down. I was okay. Then, yesterday, I had a slight pain in my chest. This morning, it hurts to breathe, cough, yawn...pretty much anything. I pulled a bunch of muscles in my torso pretty good. It really hurts. I've experienced this before when I played soccer.

Grace is napping now and Sejin just left for work. I'm kind of worried about the rest of the afternoon because I can't move very quickly, and it's way too hot to play outside anyway. I'm going to have to be creative and give Grace some independent activities. If she gets really bored I'll have to let her watch animal videos on youtube like she did once last month. I hate doing it, but I can't move a couple of inches without wincing. Why, why, why......

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been procrastinating too much lately and many things are suffering for it. Now that I'm starting a new writing project next week, I'll be busier and have more to accomplish in a shorter time. I don't want to get overwhelmed like last time. In fact, I want to work faster so that I can take on more projects.

With this thought in mind this morning, I got out a brand new planner. I used to use planners (agendas?) a lot before I had a baby. I had one with me at all times. I used it to record meetings, things to remember, money in and out, to-do lists, etc. Now that I have so much on my plate with work, and housework, and caring for a toddler, I can easily feel overwhelmed and I forget things often. So, my planner is my new best friend again.After eating that jjajang rice and drinking that coffee (yes, the fake one, too), I cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen (including the entire fridge), and made Grace some soup for the weekend. I feel ready to take on this new writing project. Hopefully this feeling lasts more than a week.

I'll end this post with a recently finished project. It's a little teddy bear that I adore. But I am being careful not to get too attached to him as he's going to a new home. He was so quick to crochet up, you wouldn't believe it. It's the sewing together that is the annoying part. This little guy has yarn eyes, but I recently received a gmarket order with some snazzy new safety eyes for dolls like this. The vendor also has a website. I recommend going to that link. The stuff is really cute.I worked hard today. Time to relax with some knitting.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The nod

I had to go into Seoul today for a meeting. Starting a new ESL book next week. I've been enjoying a bit of a break these days. I've been focusing on taking care of myself and Grace and resting my mind. But since we have financial goals to meet before we leave Korea, it's time I got back to work.

I haven't been into central Seoul for a long time, and boy, I picked quite a day to go. It was really hot. By the time I reached the office building in Seodaemun,which required me to take two trains and hike up quite a hill, I was dripping in sweat. The meeting was short and uneventful. I barely had time to cool down before I was back out in the unbearable heat (and I had more books in my bag). I think I am still recovering from the flu I had on Monday, because by the time I got down the hill near the subway station, I almost couldn't stand the sun any longer, and I took shelter in a very busy McDonald's restaurant. I knew at least they would have liquids and air-conditioning.

I did, however, manage to get a lot of knitting done on the train - a good couple of inches on the second sleeve of the cardigan I've been working on. As I was nearing home, an elderly woman with a shopping bag got on the train and came over and stood in front of me and caressed my knitting. She looked kind of unstable, so I was thinking, oh no, please don't try to start a conversation with me. It's not that I don't like talking to people. It's just that over the past eight years in Korea I've been asked the same few questions over and over and over, often while riding the train: How long have you been here? Do you like kimchi? What do you think of Korea?

Then, a seat freed up next to me and she sat down. Everything became crystal clear as she reached into her shopping bag and pulled out her crocheting. It was beautiful fine crochet. She was using a pretty small hook, maybe a 1.5mm. I think she was making a lacy vest. So we sat there knitting and crocheting away, occasionally admiring each other's work. She asked me if I could crochet, and I said yes, and showed her a hook I happened to have in my bag. We couldn't converse much past that due to the language barrier. As I got off the train we exchanged a nod. It's funny how a love for stitching can create unlikely meetings like these.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flora Dress

I've finally finished (sort of) Flora Dress. It was a great pattern. The only mistake I made was doing the shirring in the bodice too tight. It kind of looks cute without the straps, but Grace doesn't like the tightness around her torso and keeps pulling it down. In order for her to get any wear out of it, I'm going to have to take out the elastic (which took forever to weave in) and add some straps. No biggie. It'll still look cute. I'm glad I got some use out of this cotton yarn I've had in my stash for years. I have plenty more in different colours to use up, though.Oh, I forgot to post a picture of this cute little cup of coffee I made. The pattern is here, although I made some changes. I just love it. I think it would be fun to crochet a whole table setting.


Mom and baby have just recovered from a nasty but quick stomach bug. The hardest thing about it was keeping her from eating too much. It's amazing how resilient kids are. You wouldn't even know she was sick between vomiting...singing, dancing, asking for "chee" (cheese) and bananas (with signs). I, on the other hand, felt as if I were dying yesterday morning. Luckily, Sejin convinced me to go to the doctor and I got some medicine. Thank goodness I did because it stopped the nausea and I was able to clean up after Grace all last evening. What a day yesterday was!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ready to toilet train?

This post prompted by several recent events and mamaseoul's post on EC (elimination communication).

I've been a bad mom. Grace has been giving me so many signs that she may be ready to start toilet training, but I've been too lazy to work with her. In fact, I've ignored her signals several times when I thought she wasn't serious. She knows the words (pooh and pee) and the sign for toilet and will use them, but she's often a bit too late, or I'm too slow getting her to the toilet. What I need to do is put her in underwear and let her go and make a few mistakes. But it's not easy, is it? Who wants to clean it up off the floor?

I felt so bad this afternoon. Grace notified me at the party when she had gone poop (pointing to diaper and saying it), so I changed her diaper. About an hour later she did the same thing, but I didn't think she was serious. Sometimes she'll say it just for attention, or for fun, or I'm not sure why. Anyway, lots going on, so I ignored her and carried on. A while later I checked and sure enough, she had gone. If she could talk, she would have said "Told you so." So I felt kind of guilty and like I may be causing some damage when it comes to training. She's so good at communicating, so she's not the problem. I'm going to have to start taking her more seriously and putting her on the toilet more often. I'll also have to talk to the daycare so that we're on the same page.

We didn't get home from Gerry's party until around 8:30 tonight and she was just zonked. She's so used to going to sleep around 8:00, so when that hour rolled around, she went kind of berserk in the taxi. I had to keep her calm with a lollipop and crackers, and even that didn't work that well. By the time we got home she was so tired and high on sugar she fell over doing this kind of psycho laugh that was really scary. I should have left a little earlier, but we ran into traffic. Thank goodness she's all cozy in her crib now and I can have some quiet time before going to sleep myself. I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Well, it wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. We had an interesting dinner tonight. I had just prepared dinner and was sitting down to cut it up for Grace when after a loud clap of thunder the power went out. It wasn't completely dark yet, but dark enough that I couldn't find a lighter. So I found some candles, used the gas range to light them, and sat down for a candlelit dinner. Grace thought it was all very interesting, and within a couple of minutes, the lights came back on. Phew! But that's when things did get dramatic. Naturally, Grace has not seen much of fire or candles -- except on birthday cakes. Her daycare has a birthday party once a month for the kids whose birthdays fall in that month. So as I prepared to help her eat, she started shouting, "Cake! Cake! Cake!" while pointing at the candles. This gradually turned into whining and fake crying and refusal to eat dinner. What's a mom to do? I ended up promising her a "coke-eh" (cookie) if she ate her broccoli (she actually likes broccoli). I'll have to keep this in mind if we ever need to get out candles again.

Monday, August 9, 2010

House Guest

My photographer friend, CedarBough, needed a place to stay last minute when she came to Korea late Thursday night. I said "sure" for two reasons. First, she's my friend and is not the type to overstay her welcome, and second, I wanted to see how my little sensitive sleeper would react to a guest in the house. Grace's sleeping is fantastic now (approx 8pm-8am), but she is still a light sleeper and sensitive to the presence of strangers. CedarBough stayed here for four nights and just left today after finding an apartment and signing the contract in record time. Over those four nights Grace did lose some sleep. She wanted to stay up later and play with CedarBough, was woken up by noises, and woke up earlier than usual. She was getting a bit grumpy by Sunday morning. But overall, she did very well. She was not bothered by my friend's presence (in fact, she really liked her) and slept pretty well considering we live in a small apartment where she can hear every noise. Actually, I felt worse for CedarBough who was probably surprised about the lights going out at 8pm every night! Well, she was jetlagged and went to bed early every night anyway, so it worked out all right.

Since CedarBough is a good photographer, it was a great time to learn about DSLRs. I've been thinking about buying one for a while, but I want to know what I'm buying, and these cameras are not as simple as point-and-shoots -- or cheap! All those numbers on the lenses are so confusing... and there are just so many lenses to choose from. One day while Grace was napping I decided to do some studying and found this site very useful. I read for over an hour and by the end of it, I was feeling so much more confident. After CedarBough got back from apartment hunting, I went over the stuff with her and she filled in some gaps. She even showed me the lenses she had with her (four in her luggage and more back in America!). I feel so much more informed than I did before. I still don't know exactly what I'm going to buy, but at least I know what all those numbers mean.

She broke out her camera yesterday morning to take a few shots of Grace. I like this one best. She is going to come back sometime this month and do a proper photo shoot. I'm really excited.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's hot

It's been a very hot summer. I snicker to myself when my family in Canada talks about it being hot at home. Yes, it might be "hot" at times there, but it's not the heavy, choking, disgusting hot that it is here. And it's not hot around the clock there. Anyway, if I were without a baby, I would be quite content to stay in all day long with the a/c running. But since that's not the case, I have to suck it up a lot of the times when she wants to "Go, go, go!" These days she has a renewed interest in the baby carrier and often drags it from its hiding spot, says "back" while pointing to her shoulder, and she won't back down from there. Honestly, we could do ads for Pognae. Pognae....more on that later.
Today she got her wish and I put her on my back and lugged her all the way to Hyewha for lunch at Wild Wasabi with friends visiting from Canada. L is an elementary school teacher in Canada, but she met and married her husband, DB in Korea. They have two cute little girls. It was nice to meet with them since they have done what we're going through now: the paperwork, the move, the readjustment. They live in Calgary now, but they were lucky to get there just before the housing boom. They quite like living there.

We had nice sushi lunch. Sejin and I used to frequent Wild Wasabi a lot before we had Grace. All plates are 1000 won and it's good sushi. To get to the one in Hyehwa, go out exit 1, walk straight and it's above the Tom and Tom's Coffee on the second floor. Don't go on a weekend. Get there by 11:45. I took these photos back in May on our anniversary. Unfortunately, today I didn't get to eat a lot, as Grace was only interested in getting up and down from the chairs, dumping out water, and climbing all over me. Luckily she is pretty tired out now and is sleeping soundly. Maybe I should do the same.