An Early Gift of VD - From Me to You: Heart Keychain Giveaway

Ha - VD, as in Valentines Day, of course. I'm really not a fan of hallmark-created holidays that are all about being consumers----but as we all know----I LOVE to get free stuff, and I love to give stuff.

When I was in my early teens, I had a keychain collection. I'm sure I'm the only one who thought of this. It was a really cool and original thing to do. I had about 20 keychains. With two keys. At some point, my dad alerted me to the fact that it actually pulls on your ignition and is not healthy for the car. Interesting...good to know. Anyway.....

I had a wonderful early Valentines Day gift delivered right to my doorstep:


Isn't it a beauty? I love it. It's a bit of an abstract heart, which my son thinks looks a little bit like a sharks tooth (he doesn't get art) - I just love it though. It's really heavy, it's very solid. Almost too solid - I wouldn't use this particular one if I had a lot of keys to carry around. However, I only have a few and I really love the feel of it. It feels good to hold in your hand, it's lovely all around. I haven't had a good keychain I like for ages, so I'm excited to have this new one.
These heart keychains can be purchased at WholesaleKeychain.com for a very economical price!
THREE of my lucky readers will receive one of these. You can choose any of the following:
Engraving is available as well!!

Just leave a comment saying which one you would like to win. It's that easy. These will most likely not ship before Valentines Day, so don't think this will cover you if you happen to be with a demanding human who insists you prove your love by buying her/him stuff.

Extra entries:
  • Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.
  • Leave an extra comment if you entered my other giveaway.
  • Leave an extra comment if you blog about this giveaway (and leave the link to the giveaway post).
Comments close on February 9th at 10:00pm PST.
Each winner can only receive one.


Thanks to wholesalekeychain.com for providing a keychain for me to review and for offering 3 for my readers.

It's Good to Have a Plan!

My plan for the weekend:
  1. Try and take care of some of this issue:
  2. Attend a memorial for Andrew's uncle, this wonderfully colorful and hilarious guy who died much too soon, only 60 years old. I didn't see him often, but it was a guarantee that you would laugh when he was around.
  3. Going to bingo later tonight with some girls from work. I fully intend to win at least $100 so I can buy groceries this week without worrying about the tab.
  4. Hang photos, I think it's time seeing as how I've lived here 8 months and only half the pictures are hanging.
  5. Figure out my taxes. They aren't as easy this year.
  6. Pay my stupid mortgage - it went up starting this month. How is this possible? Why did nobody warn me this might happen???
  7. Play 50 more games of spider solitaire to get my win ratio percentage ranking score details up. This game is FREE on most computers - how does anyone ever get any work done??
  8. Plan some future volunteer events - I want something new to add to the mix, but need to determine what I really want to do.
Wish me luck. That list looks big. Actually, #1 looks really big. I need to sort through all the blogs in my reader and determine if I really need them all there. It's too overwhelming. Do I need to subscribe to the blog about potential movie locations in New York? Probably not. Do I need to read 9 different blogs about books? (yes) 

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Unexpected Guest Blogger - Scenes from Maputo

My darling friend from high school, Cherry, lives in Mozambique. She does amazing work with an NGO over there and I'm totally envious of her travel-the-world lifestyle.

Cherry sent an email out with pics and a little info about the city she's living in: Maputo. Here's what I know about Maputo, courtesy of my other friend, Wikipedia:
Maputo, formerly Lourenço Marques/Lourenzo Marques, is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. A port on the Indian Ocean, its economy is centered around the harbour. It has an official population of approximately 1,244,227 (2006),[1] but the actual population is estimated to be much higher because of slums and other unofficial settlements.
And from Cherry:


Hey! Here’s what Maputo’s downtown area, just three blocks from my office, looked like yesterday!


It rained all morning. Maputo has no system for drainage so all the streets are flooded, water level reaching up mid-way on your car door, 1/2 of your colleagues can't get into the city, etc.
The first photo is the central market, where we buy our fresh veggies and fruits. It’s over 100 years old and was designed by Gustav Eiffel, the tower guy.
 



I will no longer complain because the bottom of my jeans are wet when I walk from the car to the store. Thanks Cherry!!

What's That Smell....Oh....It's Your Towels? Enter This Giveaway!!!

I don't often have a problem with smelly towels - we are pretty good with not leaving damp towels laying about and we don't use our towels on any big hairy pets. However, they don't have the new towel smell (because they aren't new). 

When I moved into my house last year, it came with a washer/dryer. The washer definitely did not have a fresh smell about it. It's just musty smelling. I don't think it was used regularly for awhile.

I was contacted by the Smelly Washer Cleaner company - have you heard of this company? I've been wanting to try their product since I first heard of it. I think I saw it in a store somewhere and meant to buy it many times, but just never got around to doing so.

And so you can imagine how excited I was to hear from them - and to be offered the chance to try out a new product of theirs - Smelly Towel Cleaner. It's not yet available, but it will be soon-----but most importantly----one of you, my dear beloved readers, can win a bottle of this:


And let me assure you---- you do want to win this.
It's a good sized bottle and you only use one capful each load. For me, with just two of us in the house, this will last a fair amount of time.
It's all natural, no nasty chemicals to worry about.
And it's a compact bottle-easy to just keep on your laundry shelf to use when needed. Handy!

I actually really enjoy the website for this company too. They have a blog!! Hello-we LOVE bloggers!!!
There are lots of great helpful hints for laundryin and such. It's really impressive.  I highly encourage you to check out their site.

Did I mention you can't buy this new product yet?
Did I mention you can WIN IT here?

It's easy.
Just leave me a comment telling me what makes your towels smelly. I can't make this any easier for you people - just leave a comment.

AND because I love you all and want you to have extra chances to win:
For an extra entry: Leave a separate comment if you are a follower.
For an extra three entries: Blog about this contest and spread the word about the giveaway of this new product. Please leave the link in your comment so I know you're not a big hairy liar.

Comments close on February 5th at midnight PST.
I'll email and contact the winner on February 6th. Winner will have 72 hours to respond.

Disclaimer: The Smelly Washer Cleaner company did provide a free bottle of the Smelly Towel Cleaner so I could provide this review, however - I stand behind this beng a genuine review and not some blahblahblah crap posting to get free stuff. I'll honestly use this product again!


** I have another giveaway coming up this week - stay tuned for more! **

Amazing Things On The Horizon!

Amazing Thing #1:  I just learned of a new volunteer idea that is going to totally be my passion this year. Maybe. From what I've read so far, it looks to be AMAZING. I'm so very excited.  More details to come...

Amazing Thing #2:  My blogger-friend Yaya (and her husband) have finally been approved to adopt a little boy from foster care. I fully shed a tear when I first read about it. They have been trying to have a baby and/or adopt a baby for ages and I'm so excited for them!!!

Amazing Thing #3:  I won an award for volunteering. This isn't new news to me, I've known for a few months. They are making a video and are holding a big luncheon and it will be amazing. I'm not the only winner, but I'm the winner of a specific award and I'm beyond honored and beyond flattered. They also included Andrew in the award to acknowledge his volunteering, which is spectactular. I will probably post more details on that later.

Amazing Thing #4: I won two blogger awards recently!!! More details on those coming up. I won another one in the past but I kept forgetting to post about it and then I felt it was too late and now I feel like I am a crappy blogger award acceptor.

Amazing Thing #5: Nothing in the world helps destress you as a really relaxing and calm (aka lazy ) weekend followed by a Monday that involves a very long bubble bath and a good book.

Amazing Thing #6: I have THREE giveaways to post. THREE!! I will post one tomorrow night---so come back. If no one enters giveaways, the terrorists win. Don't let them win. Come back and leave a comment!

And a special thank you to everyone who said such wonderful things about my picture yesterday. When I posted it, I meant to say something about "what do you see when you look at your picture" but instead I made it all about me me me ME. But that worked out fairly well for me so it's all okay. I'm trying to be interactive but really, I just end up being self-centered. I'll work on it. Please have patience.

What Do You See?

This is me:


What do you see?

See my new haircut (from last week)? See how it lays flat thanks to the $37 hair product?

See the gorgeous necklace that my favorite Etsy shop owner sent me, because she's wonderful and nice and I don't know why she's so wonderfully sweet, some people just are. Julia is one of them.

See my unruly eyebrows that threaten to create a cocoon every day? On this though, I must say-I was obsessed with plucking them at one point and I still consider myself in recovery. I used to have a pair of car-tweezers and at any time I was stopped in traffic-I was focused on finding any strays. So...I try to limit my shaping. I could slip at any time though.

See my forehead? HA-just kidding---monkeys in space can see my forehead.

See those big lines from my large nose to my mouth? I am goin to be an old wrinkled mess someday. Maybe soon.

See that perfect smile? It's great and I love it  (aside from the overbite and the tmj).and I love that Andrew has the same one.

And that's me. There I am.

Smelly Boys and Sweet Lil Ole Ladies

I have some really great discussions with teenage boys about some really deep topics.

This was last night:

If you swallow a guitar pick, how long will it take before you poop it out.  Andrew did not want to partake in the solving of this theory. He's much too practical to purposely swallow a guitar pick for my own personal study.

That somehow led into this conversation:

If you swallow one of those little pills that turn into a sponge, will it ever make it's way back out? One boy was certain that stomach acids would break it down. The other felt like it wouldn't fully. I think it would be too much for your system and you would need medical assistance to help it "pass."  We debated the stomach acid issue for a bit-I thought this was an easy one to safely test by just getting the little pill, opening it up and then puking on it. Nobody wanted to be the one to puke on it. Oh, and we don't have one of those on hand anyway, but if we did, nobody wanted to puke on it.

And then one of the boys, who had JUST arrived, spent a significant amount of time in the bathroom and the entire house smelled like the depths of the underworld for at least an hour. I yelled at him, hes not my son, but I think I have the right to yell at someone who ruins my house. The first thing I yelled was: WHAT DO YOU EAT!!!!!!!!!
I had to make an unnecessary trip to the store to give my lungs oxygen.
Boys are disgusting.

HOWEVER - and on a much more pleasant note:

I ran into the sweet little old lady at the store who I've talked about before. Her name is Selma and she can be seen all around a 3-city area, walking walking walking walking and usually carrying a few extra-large bags of aluminum cans. So last night I saw her, but I have never seen her that late at night before. I parked and walked over and said hello to her and we made a little small talk and then she asked me where I lived. After I told her, she said she was just asking to see if I was going her way because she was looking for a ride home. I told her I had to run inside and get a few things but I would give her a ride.
She's just a sweet little old lady.

Though when I pulled up to her after I had gone shopping and she put two of her four bags in the trunk but said she would hold the other two-I did have a flash of thought that she might try to knife me while I was driving. She might look old and feeble, but sometimes old people have lots of strength and move really fast! And THEN-she was giving me directions to her destination and it was totally a back way, through the woods, on a dark and deserted road with little to no traffic. And I again thought that she might knife me.

She's really sweet though and didn't knife me. That was nice.
I found out that she lives with a daughter and she mentioned she has grandkids and I said, that's great, you have grandbabies! And she said....well, they are no babies-they are 40. And I know that in most circumstances you don't ask this type of question, but I blurted out, "Selma! How old are you??!!"

And she said: 94!!!  She's 94 and she walks miles and miles and miles all day every day, picking up stray cans and whatnot. And I just adore her. We had a great little conversation on the 12-minute drive where I could have been shanked and I just love her. I hope to have the chance to talk again with her.

General Mills Cereal Is Your Friend

General Mills says: Did you know that ready-to-eat cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters? Cereals also deliver important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, making cereal a top source of key nutrients in children’s diets.


Kaylen says: I know very little about nutrition and whatnot (it's a wonder Andrew made it past the 4-ft mark with solid bones), but this Fiber One cereal is some good stuff, yo.

General Mills also says:

Other cereal benefits:

Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children’s diets.
Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child’s diet today.
More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.

Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.
For more information about kids and cereals, please visit Cereal Health and Wellness.


Kaylen says:
Thank god for cereal so I don't have to get up super-early and make a breakfast for my child. (kidding)(not really)

Right now if you visit here you will find a $1 off coupon for one of four General Mills cereals.
 
Thanks to MyBlogSpark and General Mills for providing me with coupons for 4 boxes of General Mills cereal. They must know that I'm in need of any help possible to feed this teenager of mine.  

Squeeze Them and Hug Them and Never Let Them Go...

Oh dear sweet baby jesus/buddha/allah...I LOVE this sweet little furball we call Whiskers.

I'm not devoting my blog to cats yet, but I must tell you (because I have nothing substantial to blog about) how much I truly LOVE this cat!!!



We originally were told he was a British Blue, but then I read more about it and felt like he was more like a Russian Blue...but then I did a ton of research one night and found out he's a special type from Thailand.

He's clearly a special cat. He will harass us until we want to strangle him because he wants water - not from a bowl, but a live stream. From a bathtub or a sink. All the time.The little squeaky cry is cute the first few times, but then it just becomes harassing.

He lays quite still while Andrew cuts his nails - not normal.

He will lay turn a little circle and squeak once and then lay down when Andrew does the hand motion (a dog training motion) and says Whiskers DOWN. He goes down to the ground about 90% of the time. We're trying to get it on film, stay tuned for that must-see video.

And he poses for photos, like poses long enough for me to get my phone out, turn it on, select camera, wait for it to start the camera program and then give it a few seconds to focus, and then take the photo....and typically I can get multiple shots because he really is posing:





This is not an action shot - he was laying like this for the longest time while Andrew rubbed his belly. I had Andrew move his hand for the photo.




He likes his chin scratched. Who doesn't?


What feline sits like this?  Just our little Whiskers.

I'm totally a closet crazy cat lady. Please bear with me.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Congrats to NATALIE!!!!
Young Natalie has won the UPrinting giveaway for 100 business cards.




There were TONS of people who entered - four - and Natalie was two of the entries.....she's so lucky!!! :)
Natalie is also a new blogger - so please swing by her blog and give her a little encouragement and blogger love.

Thanks to UPrinting for sponsoring the giveaway.

Remember That One Time.....? No....No, I Don't!!!

Sometimes I have conversations with people where I really seriously do laugh out loud. I probably type "lol" 4,329 times a day, but about 29 of those times-I really mean it, I really did laugh out loud. Here's one example. Jason is a boy I "dated" in high school. We made out a lot for like 2 months. He probably still loves me (who doesn't).
Jason says:
did you ever know mindy Thomas?
Kaylen says:
yeah
she was tall
Jason says:
she wasn't tall
like 5"8 tops

Kaylen says:
oh - she had black hair

Jason says:
no, brown

Kaylen says:
sigh
i guess i don't know her
wait-she dated that guy i didn't like
the big stoner

Jason says:
me?

Kaylen says:
lol
no

Jason says:
reminiscing with you is like trying to teach my dogs to do laundry

Why do I have the worst memory in the world???
There are tons of people on my facebook page who I know from high school and I really don't remember them well at all. To be fair though, I did pull away from most of my friends at the end of my junior year when I fell for Andrew's deadbeat dad, the sailor. And then I finished my credits halfway through my senior year so I didn't even go the last semester.

I had a conversation with a few friends from high school and it went something like this:

Friend 1: Do any of you remember Gina Fakename from high school?
Me nope.
Friend 2: Hmmm...is that her married name?
Friend 3: I think her maiden name is Blahblahblah.
Friend 1: Oh yes---she lived on the corner across from bus route 39.
Friend 2: Oh yeah, we never liked her.
These are people MY age, who have gone through some amazing life experiences. We have all done a LOT since 1991 when we would have last thought about a girl who lived on bus route 39. But they remember things like bus routes and whatnot.

So it's just me? I'm 35 and my memory only holds tiny bits and pieces? Is this normal?

I have this picture from 8th grade trip for some class trip with three good friends of mine (Hi Holly!!!) and I have no recollection of that day at all.


If someone were to show me this picture, I would deny that I was there that day.

So with that being said...how long is it before I forget other memories?
I just need to take more pictures.
And write more.
And get my scrapbooks together.
I have so many moments I don't want to forget.....
like this one:


We went on a bus journey to the Andong Mask Festival in Korea with Andrews nana, who was visiting us for the week, and my very favorite student, Jung Eun Su. On the way back, we missed the last direct bus to our small town, so we had to arrange for a bus transfer, which sounds simple...and we thought we would have no trouble - we had a Korean girl with us! Unfortunately, a 13 yr old girl has trouble stepping up and acting as interpreter for us and we ended up on the wrong bus and it took us four extra hours to get home that night.



Or the two road trips Andrew and I went on to Glacier National Park, where we saw wild buffalo roaming, chipmunks who came right up and ate chips out of Andrew's hand (yes, that is illegal-no, we didn't know that at the time), white water rafting through the mountains (AMAZING), going on a small cruise across a lake and seeing a dozen bald eagles up close and personal, making smores at the campfire -and that time he burst out singing I Shot The Sheriff after we invited some neighboring campers over to share the fire (what's cuter than a 6 yr old singing Bob Marley?) and the wonderful people we met on our trip.

I just don't want to lose the important moments. I feel like I need to get them all written down or they will get lost. It has been just Andrew and I for the last 15 years (mostly) so once I die, the memories of when Andrew was little are GONE. GONE!!!! It's depressing.

**Just a few days left for my drawing---The odds are really good right now! Go leave a comment and win a prize!**

Things That Are Puzzling To Me

Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!!

I'm often confused. Here is a sampling of things I'm thinking about tonight.
  1. How does Kim Kardashian not drink?? She should. It might improve her acting on that family show of hers.
  2. People who wear 6-inch heels or inch-long fingernails.
  3. Why I left a bag of stale peanuts on the deck. The entire bag. Open. Some lucky little squirrel LOVES me.
  4. Why only my middle fingernails keep splitting when they get past the edge of my finger (karma for flipping off too many people maybe?)
  5. Pat fucking** Robertson and why it's okay for someone to condemn people who are involved in a tragedy in the name of religion? Is that any better than proclaiming jihad in the name of religion? It is the same theory to certain people. I'm just saying......religion makes people do some REALLY stupid things. So does a triple-shot mocha. I'm just saying....
  6. Clowns
  7. Spider Solitaire - I don't know why this game is so hard!!!
  8. But really, Pat fucking** Robertson.
  9. The plant I have that looks like it's totally dead when I forget to water it, but then I give it a glass of water and it suddenly is the most beautiful plant IN THE WORLD.
  10. Why Facebook has the status feed, the live feed and the news feed. I never know where to click. So I feel obligated to click on all of them.
**I don't typically swear on my blog. If I do, it's absolutely necessary. I give this man NO respect for having the gall to tell the fucking world that the people who live in Haiti deserved this tragedy to occur to them.

Best wishes and thoughts to the people of Haiti and their loved ones. It's just a devastating scene and our hearts break for you.

Random Thoughts Tuesday - Learn to Drive Edition

randomtuesday
It’s been awhile since I joined in with the Random Thoughts Tuesday group. I’m sure they’ve missed me. Though they aren’t writing to check in on me or anything….but I’m sure they care. RIGHT??? HELLO???? Why aren’t you checking in on me!!!!!

I really like that one song about New York that Jay Z and that one girl sings….but then there’s this one line that comes up and it makes me stop EVERY time-it’s not a line I want to sing: “everybody ride her just like a bus route.” Ick.

I’m so tired of people who don’t know how to drive. Why am I the only one who knows how?? It sounds ridiculous, but I think it might be true!!! Here are some helpful tips for you all (not that you are the worst drivers, but…well, I don’t know you all that well):

  1. Steady even pressure on the gas pedal is your goal. Don’t push down the pedal to get to your desired speed and then let up and then push down and then let go and then push down and then let go and then push down and then let go. This is not fuel-efficient and it’s not comfortable for passengers. The car WANTS to go forward, it WANTS to maintain a speed – please do your part and just get to your desired speed and then keep your foot just slightly pushed down on the gas pedal. It’s not that hard. You’ll get the hang of it.
  2. Merging…sigh..merging…..this is a fairly easy thing to do. If there are two cars trailing each other and another has to merge---let him between you. If he has to brake when merging and get behind you-you have failed. And if your license plate is BLK SMOK and I was in a lane next to you and very politetly tried to merge and you sped up to get as close as you could to the car in front of you as my lane ended, you fully deserved the 8 honks of my horn and the flashing of my brights multiple times. And nobody in the world thinks you are cool that your big monster-truck-wanna-be blows out billows of black smoke and it’s really not cool that you have a personalized license plate to advertise that. You are not cool. Not at all.
  3. If you are in the right hand lane and there is an onramp that appears next to you with a long line of cars that may possibly merge---get in the next lane if possible. AND if you’re in that second lane and the entire third lane (far left) is completely empty, don’t get mad when that car moves over to allow the onramp to merge. Just GET OVER. 
  4. If you’re in traffic on a street with a lot of lights, don’t try to get through the light when the traffic is already backed up to the intersection. Inevitably, that light will turn red and you will block the road for the other direction of cars and everyone will hate you until the day you die.

I got my hair cut on Saturday and I loved her! She did a great job, I was really happy with the end result. That’s rare. I’m trying to grow my hair out to donate it but it’s soooo tiring to be this long. She took off an inch or so but she did some weird hairdresser trick with the scissors and made it all feel a TON lighter. I was really appreciative. So appreciative that I wanted to tip her nicely…but I accidently tipped her $20.00. I wrote it down. I was just really happy and I had been given a 15% discount for being a new customer. I bought a hair product she recommended and which I totally love….but I didn’t look at the price. So when I got the total bill, I just wrote down a number. Who wants to do a math when you’re happy with your hair?? So this is the breakdown:

Haircut: $38 – discount: $32
Product: $37!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Total: $69.00
So I tipped $20 on a $38 haircut. WHAT??? I never ever ever do this. Ever. EVER. I’m going to call it a donation. Like charity. Can I claim this on my taxes? Yes, I think so.

My friend doesn’t rinse her dishes after dinner. Just shakes the food off and then puts the plate into the dishwasher- caked on food and all. Then when the dishwasher is full, she runs a rinse cycle only, and then does a full wash. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Do other people do this?? My first thought was-what a waste of precious water! But I rinse down my dishes really well using a little scrubby soap-brush thing. I don’t usually let the water run unless I need to really wash the dish-like pans I will hand wash and set out to dry. I’m not sure on the quality of my dishwasher, but I really really really want my dishes to be spotless and sanitary. My dishes are nearly clean when I put them in to go through a wash cycle. Really – what do you guys do?

Promote Yourself - Business Card Giveaway

Yeah, another giveaway, it's getting to be a pattern here! I love it, because I love free stuff. Who doesn't?? It's FREE stuff.

I like the idea of having random cards to hand out. Like ones that have a cute design and they just say "have a good day." Or "I appreciate you." Wouldn't that be nice to get? Or wouldn't it be really nice give?? Let's do it!! (I guess you could use these for your business or whatever too...)
Here's the deets:

Giveaway Prize: 250 Business Cards for one (1) lucky winner courtesy of UPrinting.com

Size: 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 3”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.5 x 3.5” (skinny card)
Paper: 14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock
Shipping: Sponsored bloggers and Winners have to pay for shipping
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents due to shipping costs.
All you have to do is leave a comment.
If you want an extra entry, subscribe and/or follow my blog.
That's it.


Contest ends on 01/17 - one week only!!! I'll email the winner and they have 48 hours to respond. Good luck, ya'll!!!



Normal disclaimer: blahblah, I received no money for posting this. I did receive the same product from UPrinting. I am not required to only say positive things about UPrinting, but I will - because I truly like them.

Letters From Korea: The First Month

Once upon a time (in 2002), I took a year long teaching job in Korea. I packed up my 9 yr son, his little white cat and 4 huge bags of "stuff" and we got on a plane and flew from Washington state to South Korea. We lived there for a year, came home for Xmas and then my son stayed in the states for 8 weeks while I flew back over the big pond to finish my contract(the first time I've ever been away from him for more than 2 wks). We lived in a small town, with no native english speakers, no famiiliar food, and no real clue of what we were going to do. It was a great adventure!

I wrote long, sometimes boring, letters home, so I've decided to condense a little and just pick out paragraphs here and there that aren't so painfully b-o-r-i-n-g to read.

At this point, we've been in Korea for almost a month and our school still hasn't opened. Most teachers do not get this luxury and we were able to just adapt a little, explore, and get used to the culture shock (a wee bit) before starting a regular teaching schedule. I loved this month. 


Jan 28th, 2002:
Andrew and I took a bus from our new apt to nearby Wonju (where we lived last week) and thought we could just ride the bus and see some sights and find places we want to visit, however, the bus stopped at a terminal and we had to get off while they clean it. No one spoke English so we just started walking! Teh only way we know of finding our way home is to get back to the area where we used to live...but they don't have street names, so our major landmark is Pizza Hut! We are going to splurge and have dinner there later. Did I mention all the pizza here has corn on it? How weird is that??


Feb 5th, 2002:
I haven't made any friends in my town. My neighbor wanted to be my friend, she can't speak english and the only thing we got through to each other is that I don't like coffee and she has three kids. She knows I am an English teacher but she's confused as to how I'm not married, yet have a child. She put her arm around me and said Friend Friend...and then we said goodbye.

Feb 8th, 2002:
We got our first care package today! Pamela (my ex mother in law) sent Andrew a box for Valentines Day. It was only 6 pounds, but cost $36 to send.  Andrew was VERY excited to get something - she mailed it via airmail on the second of February in San Francisco and it got here today, the ninth. Very fast!!!
We got home from teaching the directors monster of a nephew and his horrid little friends and there was a yellow paper on teh door with Andrew's name on it. We knew what it must be, but the rest was in Korean, so we ran to the neighbors apartment-my "friend!"-and showed it to her. She called a number and gave me the phone and someone told us (in english) that they were delivering it today. And it was already 8pm!! Sure enough, the postman delivered it at 9pm!! Good service!!


Feb 9th, 2002:
The school is just about ready to open. Did I tell you there is no bathroom in the school? It's only four small rooms-there is a public restroom connected to the building, but it's not a western style. We did find one at the restaurant across the street.
We're planning on having about ten students in each class, and five classes back to back with a five-ten minute break between each. The ages will be anywhere from six to early teens. I think it's geared for younger ages though.

The view of the rice fields behind our apartments.

Giveaway Winner - Is It You?

No, it's probably not.

If it were, you wouldn't be looking to see the answer, because you would already have gotten an email from me saying Congrats!

As for the UPrinting.com 100 Personalized Postcards giveaway, the winner is:

...this lovely girl from Live.Love.Eat (love that blog name!).
I also love her blog header - go check her out. She has tons and tons of recipes and is a true foodie.

We can't all be winners.


Today is just not your day.....maybe next time!

AND I happen to know that "next time" will be sometime this month. So don't feel bad, ya'll. There's a great prize coming on around the bend.


Thanks UPrinting.com!


Pork is Not Good For You, But It Will Help You Make Friends

My chat buddy said this to me the other day, out of the blue - there's no context to share:

i like you, i actually like you a lot... and i don't like a lot of ppl (in fact, i generally dislike humans as they treat each other like shit and treat animals worse)... but i think i would like you more if you ate pork.

I Survived Y2K+10

Remember Y2K? Ha, that was funny. I didn't stock up on water, I didn't buy extra batteries, and I didn't really fully believe that every computer in the world would be broken because no one in the computer world could figure out how to make a change on the date formatting. It just didn't seem logical to me.

This year I held a small NYE in the Suburbs get-together. It was an interesting mix of people....I found half of them via our local MeetIn.org group. Have you heard of it? It's an interesting concept really - people want to do stuff with other people, but we all live busy lives and whatnot and we don't always know how to get together with like-minded folks easily. So you go on this website and you can join in with activities with others---like one time we went to a local parrot sanctuary, or a group went to the local velvet art museum, or they have tons of concerts and a gazillion bar hopping events...it's easy. I've met some VERY good friends via this route. I've met some very strange people via this route. And every type of personality in-between. It's like a crap shoot really, sometimes you end up with a full group of amazing people who you get along really well with, sometimes you just have a couple. Either way---you're not alone, you get to do an activity, and you usually find at least one person who you can become great friends with. And so it was.....last night on NYE. We had a group of people, some strangers, some not, come together for drinks, drinks, drinks and a lot of talking and a lot of drinks.

Okay, not everyone had a lot of drinks.

But this one definitely did:

I'm not completely sure what she was doing, or why her hand looks like a mutated foot...but I know that after I took this she screeched out: Do not post that fucking  picture on your fucking blog! Naturally, I had to...I will refrain from posting the other six photos I took of her in various drunken poses-like the toilet praying one, or the one with her shooing me out of the bedroom when she passed out...

To be fair - here's a picture of me fairly intoxicated:

I appreciate how my hair is hiding my double chin and how it hides the fact that my crossover v-neck shirt had my chest half-exposed (a dilemma I fretted over most of the night).

You know how you have a party and at some point, someone will spill a drink, or make a mess in some way? One of the wonderful guests topped anything that could have happened later in the night by spilling a very large margarita across the room in the first 15 minutes of the party. I remained quite calm (in shock really) and before I even really had a chance to do a whole lot of work, the boys (my minions) were on top of it!


Bruce, featured in orange, was the hero of the night and used a rug shampooer for twenty minutes and got almost every drop of this off the floor. He is invited to EVERY party I may ever have.

Bruce, the carpet hero, also made the absolute best margaritas EVER:


I would drink this every night. EVERY night!!!!

It was a great New Years Eve overall. I had to work that day, so I had been up since 630...and a few of us stayed up all night talking....so I ended up being awake for 24 hours. That's a bit much for someone at my ripe old age....but the conversations and whatnot (drunkass Amy) were entertaining.

Hope everyone had a great time welcoming in the new year.  2009 was really good to me and I am looking forward to 2010!


Any drunken stories to share from your NYE night?

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