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.