Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowman pillow

I've been making this pillow forever. The knitting was not that enjoyable, so after the knitting part was done, I put it down for a long time while I got around to getting buttons and sewing on the various parts. As usual, now that it's done, I like it a lot. Some projects are just all about the finished product, and this is one of those patterns. Here is the pattern link.

Now I'm working on another pillow, some legwarmers for Grace, and a huge doily that I've been working on and off for a couple of years. I'd really like to make some Christmas gifts, but I'm running out of time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is what i mean!

Becky, the Constant Crafter, did this great post featuring a budaechigae restaurant and even included a video. THAT is something I miss and I didn't really appreciate while I was in Korea....the energy, the life, the FOOD. I lived in Uijeongbu, the home of budaechigae, and it was so great! I believe I'm going to have to track down a Korean supermarket very soon! Nice post, Becky! I think my mouth started watering....


4 Months Later

Well, I don't even know what to say here. I don't think I've ever gone this long between posting. I'm sure I've lost more than a few readers, but that's all right. I'm just waiting for my daughter, Grace, to fall asleep again and was thinking that I really should do this.

A lot has happened in 4 months of life in Canada. Besides not having my husband, Sejin, around, adjusting to life here hasn't been that bad. I heard many stories about reverse culture shock, and I'm happy to report that I've suffered none of that. I think after nine+ years in Korea, I was ready for a real change. I certainly miss a lot of things about Korea. I miss shopping at the yarn wholesalers. I miss being able to order just about anything delivered to my door, at any time, for next to nothing. 1500 won rolls of kimbap. Doejangchigae. Galbi with kimchi on the grill. Hoe deopbap (raw fish mixed with red pepper paste, greens, and rice). Seeing totally random things when out and about, like funny signs and Tshirts, cultural performances, dogs with neon hair dye...stuff like that. Things are very...ordinary here in my town, but that's not a bad thing. Grace has been loving getting outdoors more often. We have a car and she loves car rides.

I'm disappointed that Grace isn't speaking Korean anymore. I suppose that's natural because no one around her is speaking Korean. Although I'm disappointed, I'm not worried about it because she's at an age when she can remember it and pick up more easily (once Sejin gets here). I even have to watch what I say around her now because she repeats everything. Sejin will have to be pretty diligent about only speaking Korean with her.

I'm still working on a contract with a publishing house in Korea. I'm almost done, and then everything is up in the air. In the back of my mind, I have this wee dream about making a living, maybe even just part-time, with photography. Having a photo published in Time Magazine gave me a good confidence boost. And someone bought a photo of mine a few weeks ago for $300 (through Getty Images). I assisted a wedding photographer a month ago and it went well. He loved the few photos I showed him and would like me to help him again next wedding season. Not sure if I will or not, but it feels good to have others like your stuff. But I still feel like I have a long way to go. I just want to know the craft as well as I can before charging people money, or even calling myself a "photographer." I don't feel that I am there yet. I have considered seeking out a mentor and attending a workshop, but these things aren't cheap, so I'm just kind of waiting and seeing right now. I'm really still a newbie, and it does bother me to see new "photographers" that set up shop and hardly know the basics. But although I am doing well at trying to be realistic and critical of my work, I have a feeling that with some hard work and diligence, I can get a lot better. Time will tell!

I'm not even going to bother updating with my knitting and crochet projects that I have finished in the last several months. I'll start updating again once I'm posting here regularly. I am really lucky to have found a great knitting group in my area. There are about 5 or 6 of us who meet once a week at our local coffee shop and just stitch away and talk fibre. It makes you feel really good to get out of the house and talk to other people after playing dolls and stressing about your life all day. I really look forward to knit nights.

I guess my major stress right now is not knowing when Sejin is going to receive his permanent residency papers and will be able to finally come here. The embassy in Seoul explicitly tells you not to contact them about the status of your application unless the estimated waiting period has expired (it says 7 months right now). If I had a rough time frame to work with, I wouldn't worry so much, but not knowing is hard. Grace misses him, and I could use a hand. Luckily, Grace is usually a pretty good girl, but she has days where I reach the end of my rope and it would be so great to have him take her off my hands. I have a feeling life is going to improve a lot once he gets here.

Unfortunately, I have not been keeping up with my friend's blogs, but I plan to do so again soon. I've been mostly keeping up with people through facebook, which isn't always the best way. I miss reading my blogger friends' posts.

Anyway, I'm back! I plan to post regularly now, so stay tuned!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

One month later

It's hard to believe we've been here for almost a month. It seems like much less. Life has been busy and it's been a bit difficult at times adapting to a new routine and environment. For example, I was used to sending Grace off to daycare every morning, after which I would unwind a bit, tidy up, have lunch, work on the books, etc. Now with no daycare, I don't have a fraction of the time during the day to work. I could work at night, but I am terribly unproductive these days at night. Tonight it was taken me nearly three hours to write this unit and during the day it would take me half that time.

Grace has adapted very well and is really enjoying it here. For her it's great because I'm around all the time, the weather is great, we try to do fun stuff during the day, and so on. It's me who is struggling a little bit with time management. I do wish I didn't have this final book project to do, but it is that which will allow me to buy a vehicle in the fall.

I wish I had a more interesting 'update' post, but I'm very tired after writing a unit and am about to head off to bed. I will do a post soon with some of my finished knitting/crochet projects and some thoughts about what might be in our future.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Leaving Korea in around 12 hours from now after over nine years living here. It feels very surreal. In the last few days, I have not sat down to rest until after Grace is sleeping. There was more I wanted to do before I left, but obviously there is no time left. I even forgot to make a few phone calls to friends today to say good-bye. I was literally going non-stop. At one point, I even had to send Sejin out to the store with Grace so that I could pack a few things. Grace kept getting in my business, taking things out of boxes and suitcase, and driving me mad. As I type this, it is 9:45 pm and she is still awake, singing in her bedroom, and we have to be up at 5am. What a journey it's going to be.

I likely will not get to post here for a little while, but I will be back. I'm going to give this blog a facelift and will hopefully have some fun stories to tell as we settle into a whole new life. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breaking down

Both me and everything in my house. Last night I slept a grand total of 2 hours...from 7am-9am. I have so much on my mind that it is preventing me from sleeping. At around 6am this morning I decided that something has to give -- I cannot possibly crank out nearly 200 pages of workbook material for P publisher and a student book for D publisher, plus pack up my apartment, tend to last minute things, see friends, etc, in 20 days. Not physically possible. So I emailed D publisher and apologized and recommended a friend. I felt relieved enough to sleep for two hours. When I got up, I had received an email back saying basically 'No, you can do it! We can do it together!' It's nice that they want to work with me, but they don't seem to understand that I cannot clone myself to get to the work done. (Side note: I originally turned down this contract because I knew I would be too busy at this time, but received several emails begging me to accept. Lesson learned: obey your first instincts. I'm so easy pressured into things.)

Anyway, I got up, had a bite of pastry that husband had picked up at a local bakery and got a long dark hair in my mouth (definitely not mine or SJs...long, dark, Asian, probably female). That was nice. Opened the freezer to find that everything is thawed out -- chicken, pork, shrimp, all the soups I had separated and froze. Freezer's broken. It seems things have been breaking down all the time around here. Our lamp is making really weird noises, our oven doesn't work propery, and Grace broke her bedroom lamp/nightlight. I'm really trying hard not to buy much before we go. Freezer guy is coming tomorrow, and I really hope I don't have to pay much for 20 days more worth of usage.

So it's been a bit of a rough week as I realized I have waaaay more to do than I thought I did. I'm waiting for a reply back from D publisher since I emailed her again and explained that this project probably won't work out. Usually she is very prompt, so I bet she is discussing the matter with her boss to see about moving the deadlines.

Just received email back as I was typing this, and I was right, she was talking with her boss, and they have agreed to delay the deadline by a month. This might be for the best, as the paycheck might be very welcome come fall.

So that's all with me. I'm feeling stressed and sluggish from not sleeping well. I'm upset with P publisher for dragging this project out so long, but I must buckle down and finish it, hopefully within a week and a half.

Also important to me is seeing my friends before I leave Korea, which is proving more difficult than I thought. Everyone has busy schedules, most not quite as flexible as mine. I hope to see some people this week between writing.

Grace has been very happy since recovering from her illness. She was excited to go to daycare today to celebrate two of her friends' birthdays. She has been very well-behaved in general these days (in contrast to about a month ago). It seems everything comes and goes in phases with children.

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yep, still here

I do have online time in the evenings after Grace goes to bed, but I have not had the energy to post here. I think that will change once work gets done and we actually make the move. I'm a little overwhelmed right now with all that needs to be done. I've been trying to see as many friends as possible before I go, keep up with work, pack, and devote some time to planning my future. I also set aside a little bit of time for reading/crafting...but lately I have no time at all for that.

On top of all this craziness, last week Grace came down sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease...a bit of a tough case, too. She was in a lot of pain and couldn't eat for several days. I had to feed her liquids with a medicine syringe, and even that was painful for her. The week was tough. It was all the more stressful because during the week I received emails from two publishers requesting materials, that I admit, were overdue. I had no way of catching up on this work while nursing Grace to health, so just had to do some deep breathing and finally, the week came to an end. Grace has recovered and is making up for lost time by acting sillier than ever. I'm happy to see her so happy, but I'm itching to get to work tomorrow and get caught up with things.

That's where we stand. Departure is July 21 and I am very nervous. I have an incredibly long list of things to do before we go including finishing entire books, packing and shipping our belongings, and wrapping up countless last minute things. It would help if husband were around more to help, but unfortunately he's a slave to his job and has been working 7 days a week. This leaves me almost like a single mom at times and is pretty frustrating. But we keep positive and remind ourselves that that's what this move is all about.

Grace is recovered and back to making a mess.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In the Know Mom giveaway

In the Know Mom is giving away two huge gallery wraps from My chances are slim, but why not? I won a giveaway recently (some Sarah Gardner textures), so who knows, maybe my luck is changing. I get an extra entry by blogging about it here, so sorry if you're disappointed in this post. Maybe you should head over and enter....

Still around

CedarBough was kind enough to nudge me the other day on facebook about not blogging in a long time. I haven't felt much like blogging, probably because I'm kind of busy. This is what I've been up to these days.We finally mailed SJ's immigration application and now I've moved on to packing, which inevitably involves cleaning and organizing. I'm trying to get as much packing and shipping done in the next couple of weeks before work starts up again.

Grace has been doing well. I can't believe how much she's growing and maturing. It's fun to watch. Today she went number one on the potty at daycare, and number two on the potty at home. To other moms reading this, you know how exciting this is. I swore the last time I ordered diapers that it would be the last delivery. I hope that's the truth! We also found out through a blood test that she is allergic to dust mites, so she was on medication for a while, and now I'm trying to keep the house as dust free as possible (which is difficult here).

I doubt I'll be posting too much in the next couple of months, but I plan to give the blog an overhaul soon and regular posting will resume, hopefully with more exciting updates as we basically start new lives in Canada. So don't delete me from your blog list just yet!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I just spent all afternoon cooking healthy foods to get me through the weekend. Something snapped in me yesterday and I realized how unhealthy I am getting. I excercised and I'm incredibly sore today. But the pain will pass and I'm pretty confident that I am finally in the right state of mind to work towards bcoming healthier through exercise and healthier eating. Hopefully I can shed a few pounds before heading home.

Speaking of heading home, we are finally done translating documents. All that is left to do is for SJ to get his medical exam, I will edit all the applications and documents once more, I need some photos (proof of our relationship) developed, and then we can stick it in the mail along with a money order of $1000. That will hurt. But it will still be a good day. At that point I will also start looking at plane tickets. It's very exciting, although I think it will turn scary once we land in Canada and think... now what?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thank you, Uniqlo

If you don't know, Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing brand with several stores across Korea. There just happens to be one in Uijeongbu of all places. I went there today on a mission, in search of some new clothing for myself. I've been wearing the same two pairs of jeans forever because they are the only ones that fit me. I thought Uniqlo must have something.

Well, I was wrong. 99% of the pants did not fit me, and the pairs that did fit sure did not accentuate what should have been accentuated. In the fitting room, I saw myself for the first time up close in a full length mirror in about three years.

So, thank you, Uniqlo... You have truly motivated me to get off my butt and finally lose 20 pounds.

Grace thanks Uniqlo, too, because she got some awfully cute dresses, leggings, and a skirt. We all came away with something today.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ever feel like

Ever feel like people think of you at the same time? I was thinking some time last week, gosh, I guess those Korean publishers I used to work with found other good writers. They used to be knocking down my door and they haven't contacted me in months now. I am not joking, but the next day I got emails from two publishers proposing projects. Plus an old Korean friend called me. Weird. Anyway, the good news is these publishers are willing to work with me even if I'm in Canada. I'm so relieved to hear that because that means I will have some sort of income, although small and sporadic, while I'm getting settled. I have a feeling this move is going to cost much much more than I'm anticipating.

Speaking of the move, the applications are officially DONE. Documents are a problem because SJ needs to gather them all from the gov't offices/police station/hospital and then he must translate them (I was very happy to hear that he was allowed to translate them!).

In other news, I've been coke-free for over a week now. I'm also trying to cut down on the junk I eat in general, so I guess I can call it a diet. I'm going to weigh myself every Monday and record it on the calendar. I would really love to get to pre-Grace weight one day.

I'm two days behind in the knit/crochet blogging week, but I'm going to catch up. I just don't have to energy to think of much, look for photos, etc right now. I had a very long day with my Grace today and just need to rest.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

I totally forgot that knitting and crochet blog week started today! If you want to participate, see Eskimimi's site. It is appropriate that this event starts today, because I just entered my 100th project into Ravelry, and I'm pretty proud about that.

So now I have to throw together a post without much thought. The prompt is to write about two yarns you've used or want to use and what you love or hate about them.

Unfortunately for my readers, I mainly use yarns available to me at the wholesalers in Korea, so you will not have heard of them. Well, that's not entirely true. Once in a while you can find recognizable brands at the wholesalers. If you want imported yarn brands, you can try My Knit Studio in Insa-dong. She has gorgeous yarns that I simply can't afford right now. She also carries a wide range of English knitting books and magazines. It's a fun place to check out!

I got off track. For me, it's the wholesalers. I like being overwhelmed by the sheer variety literally towering over me. And part of me likes the hunt for a good yarn that no one else has heard about. But then there is also that part of me that gets frustrated that I can't just go out and get the yarn others are using for a pattern I'm considering. At the end of the day, I like the hunt and using unknown brands has probably improved my understanding of yarn qualities and guage and that sort of thing. Check out this picture taken on Saturday at the wholesalers. There are hundreds of vendors crammed into the basement of a huge textiles complex. I love it!Anyway, a yarn that comes to mind that most knitters have heard of is Noro Silk Garden, actually one of the most popular yarns on Ravelry. I had really wanted to try this yarn and saw it at My Knit Studio for around 15,000 won per ball at the time (here it is in her store for 19,000 won! Holy smokes!). That's expensive. One day while leisurely strolling through the wholesalers in Dongdaemun I came across a vendor near the back of the complex selling that very yarn. Out of curiousity, I asked how much. The man thought to himself and said 70,000 won. He was holding a bag of 10 balls. I said I'd buy it for 65,000 won and the deal was done. So, each ball ran me only 6,500 won (currently, that's around $5.83) -- possibly the deal of the century. I still have not knit up that bag... it's kind of precious to me since I know the amazing deal I got. I knit my sister a scarf with it, and I crocheted myself a skinny scarf and I still have 5 or 6 balls left. It's lovely to knit or crochet with, and who can resist those slow colour changes?Recently I bought a novelty yarn. Don't judge. My idea was to knit a sort of mini blanket with it for a photographer to use in a newborn shoot. I see these types of props used all the time. Only thing is, now that I've finished the wee blanket, I don't want to part with it. I found the bag of 8 balls (for 10,000 won) in a cardboard box at the wholesalers. Talk about great deals. Regarding the quality of the yarn, it's ... different. I haven't used a novelty yarn in a long, long time. Actually, it is difficult to knit with, but it knits up so fast that you get over that. I knit up all 8 balls in two evenings. The finished blanket feels like a fluffy sheep, and it should since it's almost pure wool.I have one other memorable experience down in the depths of the giant textiles complex. I was looking for laceweight wool for shawl knitting. Koreans don't seem to be big on laceweight so I couldn't find much. I found some 100% cobweb wool on a huge spool which is actually supposed to be used on a machine. The seller got quite a kick out of my interest in a 2 pound spool of wool. Anyway, I got the thing for 20,000 won and it should take me about 15 years to knit this up. I think I've said this several times in this blog, but I love Dongdaemun!So, that was actually a tale of three yarns, so shoot me. And it was more about shopping than yarn qualities, but perhaps that part appeals to me more. Hopefully my other posts won't be as garbled as this one.

There will be six more fibre-related posts coming your way, so stay tuned.

On our way, sort of

Still doing immigration paperwork stuff. Filling in applications is mostly done. But now comes the really crappy part...the document gathering phase. There is a long list of documents we have to gather, and some must be translated. This will suck.

But at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Before the task seemed so huge and daunting. Now I see that we will be finished all this sooner than later, and then I can actually look at plane tickets and escape here before the summer heat arrives.

Puzzling behaviour

My daughter is addicted to puzzles. I have about 10 little puzzles that I got out recently and she has been doing them nonstop. For the first couple of days, she demanded that I sit with her, while she handed me pieces one by one and watched me do the puzzle. Yesterday, she began doing doing them herself and can now do most of them with little to no assistance. I'm constantly amazed at how fast she learns. And she's addicted. She does them over and over and over. I was determined not to buy her anything else until we leave Korea, but she seems so thirsty for intellectual stimulation. I may have to get her some more puzzles and books and ship her old favourites. Sorry for the cheesy image, but I couldn't resist!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's my New Years

When you think about it, making New Year's resolutions in January is so stupid. Why then? It's so freaking cold outside, no wonder most people don't stick to their resolutions. Everything feels dead and cold. In my New Year's post for this year, I basically said I didn't have any major resolutions to make. I think I just didn't feel like it. I just wanted to get through the winter. Now that spring is approaching, I'm feeling much more motivated to get out there, get things done, and make some changes. Makes more sense... spring... changes... improvements... yeah...

This is a big year for us and there is a list about a kilometre long of things I've got to get done. I'm on my way right now and my brain is feeling a little less mushy than when I last posted. A major thing I'd like to improve this year is my health. Over the last year, my diet has gotten worse and worse. A lot of this is from working at home. Trust me, it's not as easy as it sounds. There are so many distractions and the kitchen is about 10 feet away in case you really really need a choco pie. I've gotten lazy when it comes to food preparation and by the time lunch rolls around, I usually don't have anything in mind to eat. So I have something quick and easy, which isn't always the healthiest option. Also, I used to be a fairly active person, but I haven't made an effort to exercise in a long, long time. Last week, SJ suggested we start running together. I thought it was a great idea, since we have a nice path along the river behind our building. I'm not the type of person who can work out in a gym. I had a gym membership once and I wasted it, like so many others. Walking on a treadmill is the most boring thing I can think of doing. But getting outdoors appeals to me. I'll update with how this is coming along. Hopefully I can start dropping the baby weight, finally.

As far as other resolutions go, there are some other projects I'm working on. I don't like sharing ideas when they're still just little seeds, so if they begin to grow, I will share what I've been working on.

What I'm thinking today is, make changes when you feel motivated enough to follow through.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Headband headache

It sucks when you make something and the recipient doesn't like it. I'll give her a break because she's two.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Done...for now

I'm just breathing a sigh of relief as I have finally finished the student book part of my writing project. It was more work than I thought it would be, but it's done, and it's Friday. I still have a bit more to go (workbooks), but the student books are the hard part because you're coming up with with the raw material. The workbook is just excercises based on that material which I've already thunk up. :D

According to the project manager, he will not have the workbook prototype done 'til Wednesday, which leaves me work-free until then! Imagine! So I'm sitting here thinking of all the thinks I can and should do, but I'm overwhelmed by the piles of paper and junk surrounding me -- such a mess! It's 5:00, there is no dinner prepared, and I have to pick up Grace now. Pizza night?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Come on, spring!


On Monday I did something truly amazing. I went to Dongdaemun and I did NOT go in the basement of Dongdaemun Shopping Town to buy yarn. I don't know why I ended up in Dongdaemun. I was out with the intention of getting some work done, but I made an impulsive decision to jump on the train and head south (a whole 35 min). I ended up in a new fashion mall which was mostly empty but was having an amazing sale. I picked up two new suit jackets for 10,000 won each. They are seriously cute. Not boxy boring western style, but cute feminine Korean style. One was missing a button, so I headed over to the textiles complex, bought new buttons (total of 1000 won/$1) and there we go. Let's get this straight: these are not cheap jackets. They all had price tags on them of several hundred dollars.

Anyway, at one point I was peering down into the depths of the basement of the textiles complex, seriously tempted to head down there and fondle yarn, but I'm being hard on myself and forcing myself to knit what I've got. It's tough, but I'm slowly working away at it.

A picture of Dongdaemun gate. God I'm going to miss this place one day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Everything Changes

This is the only thing I've found to be true when it comes to raising my daughter. Just when you think something is going well or "working," she changes her mind. For the longest time (well, since birth), I was the preferred parent. Suddenly, in the last month or so, she has become very attached to SJ. It is a combination, I think, of genuinely loving her father, but she also knows that he is much softer than me. He will give her that cookie that she wants, and he will let her fall asleep on the floor at bedtime. Since he is only home at bedtime on weekends, he is now doing bedtimes then. When I announce it's bedtime, she clings to him like a cat saying "Young-ee appa! Young-ee appa!" and shoos me away. Then, she insists that he lay with her on the floor until she falls asleep. Then we move her to her crib. I really don't care anymore. I have spent so much energy worrying about her sleep that on weekends I gladly make my way to the computer room and let him handle it.

On weeknights it's my duty since SJ is not home. She usually knows better than to bother getting dramatic with me, but the last few weeks have been trying. She kicks up quite a fuss at bedtime, wanting hugs, water, books, more hugs, basically anything to put off going to sleep. I tried everything from getting angry, to staying really calm, singing Twinkle Twinkle so many times... drama every night. Drawn out stressful bedtimes. Then, about a week ago during one bedtime battle, I just threw my hands up in the hair, exasperated. She was crying and overtired. I didn't say anything. I just turned and silently walked out of the room. Then, all noise ceased and she went to sleep. I thought it was a fluke, but the next night it worked again. I sang Twinkle Twinkle, she protested a little, but I turned around and left without saying anything. Sleep. So I've been doing this for around a week and it's really weird. If I say anything, like "night night" or "go to sleep," she freaks out crying. If I am silent, she happily goes off to sleep. That's what works for now.

So I was just sitting here thinking, wow, this is all like a guessing game. She can't talk well enough to say, "Hey, mom, can you just get the heck out of here and let me sleep?" So until we are communicating more efficiently, the guessing game will continue! I wonder what her preference will be next month.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's up?

Hey blogging friends, what's up? Hardly anyone is posting these days. I thought I was bad! Even though I don't leave comments all the time, I'm still reading!

By the way, my brain is still mushy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brain = mush

Here is a very honest post from me. I've had a great deal of trouble doing the work I have been assigned to do. It's really weird. The work is not that hard. It's boring, yes, but I could have been done it by now. Luckily the project manager is also behind schedule, or I'd be in deep poop by now.

So, yes, I'm having a hard time just buckling down and focusing. I've been wondering why this is. I didn't have this much of a problem in the past. Yes, we all have a tendency to procrastinate, but I have reached extreme levels now. At first I thought it was because I am sick and tired of ESL, and that could be a part of it, but I think it's something else (a lot of people hate their jobs but still do them!).

I was reading an article the other day about the physical effects of the Internet on our brains. Using the Internet only five hours a week significantly changes the way your brain works. The part responsible for short term memory is very active and the brain seems to seek more constant stimulation, and as a result, has a hard time focusing on larger chunks of information (sorry for the vague explanation. I'm no physicist.). This really got me thinking about the way my brain has been behaving lately. Something feels off. I am quite jittery these days and can't seem to relax, and of course, I cannot focus on tasks that need to be completed - and they've got to get done -- like, by the end of this week!

I was comparing my habits at present to those a few years ago. A few years ago, I used the Internet, but not nearly as much as I do now. I used to be an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and was a regular customer at the great What the Book used bookstore. I have not read a book in the past two years (beyond baby-related books and various magazines and articles). That's embarrassing to admit, but it's true. I also used to love watching documentaries and even started a very active group on Ravelry for documentary addicts. Again, I haven't watched a documentary in around two years.

So I was thinking that perhaps my poor brain is just in need of some exercise. Surely, like our bodies, our brains must need to be active to stay in shape. I think my brain has become kind of like a couch potato...a pile of mush.

There may be other factors involved in why I'm having such a hard time concentrating on my current projects, but I think I need to make some changes in my habits. I really don't want to become a lazy person, physically or mentally.

Vibroy Portable Speaker System

Okay, another product review. This is the last one too, since I only applied to test two products.

This little thing is pretty cool. It's by a Korean company called Xenics and it's called the Vibroy. I'm not sold on the name choice, but oh well, it's a neat product. It's very simple. Plug it into your mp3 player, phone, or computer, stick the sticky end on any surface and you've got instant speakers. Naturally, some surfaces sound better than others. I think half the fun in this product is testing out different objects to see which give the best sound. To me, a board book standing up up gives the best sound. The company, Xenics, claims a cardboard box to be best, but sometimes I find that sound a little too hollow. It probably depends on the box. Anyway, that's a matter of personal preference.
This takes two AAA batteries and the sticky pad can be cleaned with a damp cloth if it starts to get unsticky. It's very small. It can easily fit in your pocket or purse, so it's much easier to take out with you rather than speakers. I uploaded a video review to youtube, so check it out. Sorry if you don't like my music choice. All I've got on that little mp3 player is jazz, blues, some old pop, and knitting podcasts. Call me a geek, I don't care.

Anyway, check out the Vibroy. I heard they are officially launching the product very soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I haven't been posting much, I know. But I'm not abandoning the blog. It's just been a bad time to post. I've had to focus on other things and with the amount of time I spend at the computer because of work, I don't really feel like updating my blog at the end of the day.

That should change soon because I am approaching the deadline for this project. I'm a bit worried, though, as I don't believe the project manager has looked at any of the material I have written. If he really hasn't, there could be lots and lots of revisions to do. I could have emailed or called him to push him to read my stuff, but I think I was subconsciously avoiding the stress of having to deal wtih revisions. It's too late now. The last student book will be submitted early next week and then it's on to the workbooks -- if everything is okayed. Like I said, though...I don't have a good feeling. I have a feeling this guy is bogged down with several projects and has been avoiding dealing with mine.

Other than this, everything is the same. Grace is getting cleverer by the day (it's scary) and I'm just focusing on work. I'm really looking forward to a bit of freedom in March. I plan to go through all my belongings and decide on shipping, finally finish Sejin's immigration application, knit, take photos, and see my friends.

Speaking of knitting, this is the first thing I've finished in quite a while. It was a fairly quick knit but the sewing up was really annoying, as it always is with knitted toys. I really like him. Grace slept with him the first night after he was finished, but she has since rejected him. She seems to have a new favourite soft toy every week. Her trusty bear is the king -- he goes most places with her these days -- but she usually chooses a second softie favourite. This week it's "bunny."
Anyway, here he is. (BTW, yes, she's wearing boys pajamas. These are the ones she picked out at Homeplus at the sale table. I thought for sure she'd go for the Pororo or Cocomong ones, or even the Disney Princesses, but she liked something about the duck and guinea pig on these ones and cried for them. Toddlers.)

Monday, January 31, 2011


I haven't posted much lately. I'm not sure why. I've signed in a few times with the purpose of making a post, but I don't have anything to say. I've just been trying to get by these days. You know, when there's just too much going on and your head kind of spins when you think of everything that needs to be done? Pretty stressed. My photo class on Sundays has been great for stress relief. It got me out of the house and got my mind off of life. Riding the train is great. Chatting with friends is great. Sadly, the class wrapped up yesterday. I have to go to immigration tomorrow. Grace's passport expires this month. I'm sure there are other things.

If all goes well, I should be feeling a lot better after Valentine's Day. By then, the Seollal holiday will be over, and one deadline passed. But there will still be more to do. What I really need is a vacation, but there are none in our near future. I don't think Sejin would mind spending the money on a vacation now, but he would have to quit his job in order to get vacation time. That sounds extreme, but if you're familiar with Korean work culture, you'll know it's true. Last year he got four days vacation (yes, not even a full week). So, no fun for us. Honestly, I can't even look through friends' vacation albums on facebook, I burn with envy.

Hopefully I will return next post in a better mood!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ynnos Funnypaper

I applied to test a Korean product. The condition was that I have to do a review in as many places as possible. So, I put an album on Facebook, and I'll do a little review here. I will be totally honest in my review.

The product is "Funny Paper" by a Korean company called Ynnos. They make paper furniture for kids. There are many types of furniture available, from desks and chairs, to playhouses and bookshelves. I was given the chair and desk set to try out. I gave it to Grace as a gift on Christmas Day since it had come in the mail just a couple days earlier.

The product was a bit fiddly to put together, but by the time I finished putting the pieces together, I was doing it faster. I think if I were to buy another paper product, I could put it together easier. Anyway, once it was put together, I let Grace do the testing. She really liked it. She doesn't have a table and chair set. I was thinking of getting her one, but since we are leaving Korea soon, I didn't want to spend the money on one, and have to throw out a huge hunk of plastic. The paper furniture is perfect in this regard because when we finally move, I can just recycle it.

Grace is only two years old and she can easily sit on the chair and use the desk. She sometimes sits there to read books, play with her blocks, make phone calles, etc. She gave it a good strength test by trying to climb on it. There is no danger of this set collapsing. The design makes it really sturdy.I think this is a fun product for little ones. It's so different from the same old plastic table and chairs set, and of course, it is more environmentally friendly. This would make a great gift for a little kid, too. I am kind of interested in the bookshelves and might look into purchasing one or two before going back to Canada.

I said this would be an honest review, so here are the cons. There are only two cons I can think of. First, since the table top is made of strips of folded cardboard, if a child is drawing or colouring on a single sheet of paper, the pencil or crayon might punch through since the top is not even. This is easily solved by laying down a large book for the child to put the paper on. The second problem is that it cannot be wiped clean. I do not give Grace any milk or snacks at her desk because if there was a spill, it would soak in and leave a giant stain and probably make the surface wrinkled. Even if your child has slightly dirty hands, touching the cardboard will leave fingermarks. The answer here, of course, is to simply not use it for serving food.

That's it. I think it's a great product and recommend it to anyone with small children. Check it out!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Freezing Fotographers

Yesterday was our second photography class this month and it was scheduled to be our "outside" class. I think we were all secretly hoping our instructor would reschedule class or do something indoors, but no such luck. We were out there shooting away on probably the coldest day this winter. I'm not sure what the temperature was. Around -15. A couple of times my fingers would not funtion to press the shutter button and once I think my brain froze and I was trying to open the aperture with the wrong dial for the longest time. Nonetheless, it was fun, and we really weren't outside for that long. We tried our hand at fill flash for while, went inside for a coffee, and then went out to do some street photography.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Make it stop

I had no idea when I got my camera what an obsession it would become. The worst part about it has been wanting all kinds of extras for it. When I first got it with the 35mm 1.8 lens, I thought that it would be all I ever needed, but that idea faded pretty quickly. I fear I am at the height of the "gearfaggotry" stage seen in the all-too-true graph below. I had a good laugh when I saw this because it is somewhat accurate when it comes to my progress. I am obsessed with thinking about photo gear, I may get a tripod sometime soon, and I have considered trying HDR. Lately I've been doing a lot of research about special effects filters. And I've even been thinking about getting into film! Ugh.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday

to my little Grace.

The time certainly has flown.

The first year was hard for me. It was hard adjusting to having someone who depended on me every waking moment (even all night long).

The second year was easier as we learned how to communicate. These days she's talking up a storm in two languages. It definitely makes things easier, and more fun.

I look forward to many more years together.

We didn't do anything special today. I had to work, so she went to daycare. I picked her up earlier and we went to the bakery. Then we ate dinner and had some chocolate cake. She had a chocolate lollipop after that, which probably wasn't the best idea, as she was still up at 9:30pm. Sejin is home on Sunday, so we'll celebrate properly then.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I think I have some kind of weird personality disorder. Whenever I start a new hobby, I get completely thinking about it all the time and abandoning all my responsibilities to do it. When I started knitting five or six years ago, I knit around the clock, watched knitting videos on youtube constantly, brought my knitting to work, etc. I even dreamed about knitting. Eventually the craziness wore off, but I kept with knitting and gained skills slowly and steadily like you're supposed to, and now I'd say I'm a pretty confident knitter (and crocheter).

This same thing is happening with photography. I spend way too much time browsing flickr, reading photoshop tutorials, researching camera and lighting equipment. I'm having lots of photography related dreams as well. I have no idea what is wrong with my brain. I just hope the obsession phase wears off soon so I can regain some normalcy in my life. It's going to take many years for me to develop enough skill to take good pictures, so I need to calm down and relax. Sejin says he wishes I was so obsessive about my work. I do, too. January is going to be a long tough month as I have several books to write. Time to log off here and get started with some writing.


My friend CedarBough does a good K-Pop review every once in a while. I'm not into K-Pop at all, but I know some of my readers are, so check out her blog for some really interesting reviews.
Here is the latest.