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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weight for it...

[It's been a crazy month.  I wrote most of this post a month ago, and then totally forgot about it.  So here it is, minus some bits that were just way too negative.  -R]

I'm trying a new look for the Roblog.  Blogger suggested it, and I figured why not?  At first glance I like it.  Easier to see more posts, and you only get the first couple of paragraphs.  If you're looking for anything within the past couple of years, you could probably find it easily.  Let me know what you think, Uncle Bob and Mom.  I guess anyone else reading this is welcome to comment too, but they are my loyal core.

I rode to work today.  It was some kind of cold.  The other day I bought some K2 mountain climbing gloves. They use Windstopper technology, but I couldn't find them on the website.  They are very much windproof, but just barely warm enough for this weather.  It was pretty close to freezing this morning, and I discovered that I really need to get some overshoes to put on my biking shoes.  Everything else warms up with hard riding, but my feet tend to stay cold.

I should also remember to grab my earmuffs and face/hat tube top.  These accessories make me look a bit dorkier than usual (a neat trick for a fat man wearing spandex), but the first five minutes of that ride are really cold, and if the temperature gets much lower it will be more than the first five minutes.

I feel that I am nearing the end of my cold.  My cough is dying off, though slowly.  Last night I had enough energy to dance around the kitchen with Maxine and Quinten to All Star from the Shrek soundtrack.  I was still wiped out by bedtime, but I haven't had enough sleep in weeks, so that is hardly surprising.

Today we sent the final translation of the website we were working on.  It was fun to do technical writing again.   Drove Horyon crazy, though.  Too many new, complicated ideas.  Not enough time.  If they are happy with our work, I kind of hope to do it again.  Horyon hopes not.  I told her that maybe I would just study Korean well enough to do that kind of project all by myself next time.  We both shared a good, hearty laugh over that.

The school year is coming to an end.  Sort of.  The students took their final exams on Tuesday.  All of them.  Every grade.  Rough day, I feel sorry for them.  Now they have only three more weeks of school until winter break.  Then we come back in late February for two weeks of classes before the spring semester starts.

So is the year finished?  Students sure think so.  I really have no way of arguing with them. We did oral level tests at the end of the spring semester, and I think we will do so again in February.

[This is where it stops. I was writing late in November, then things happened which even now make me want to stop writing, curl up, and go to bed with a good book. So I'll stop thinking, and publish.  I think the main point was this: I had lost more than 20 lbs in the previous 5 months!  Hence the cute title. Ha. ha.]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nasal Irrigation, Speech Contest, and Biking (of course)

I've been coughing for a couple of weeks.  It moved up into my sinuses this past week.  I've been using my Neti Pot (a device for nasal irrigation) the whole time, once or twice a day.  Today I stayed home from church and have used it four times already, and plan to use it at least once more before going to bed.

Friends, if you have not poured water through your nose to fight a head cold, I most heartily recommend it.  I've been doing this for a few years now.  During allergy season I do it once a day, as well as when the pollution levels are high.  This cold is pretty nasty, but for ten or fifteen minutes after rinsing, I can actually smell things and breath freely.  I've also read that it helps you to heal faster because there is no more efficient way to get rid of the gunky mucus resulting from a cold.

So this past week I only biked a couple of times.  Got caught riding home in the rain Monday.  It was only sprinkling when I left school, but it slowly got heavier until I was soaked.  If it had just been pouring when I left school, I would have taken my bike on the subway; When it rains the roads are slippery, and the drivers are crazier.  Tuesday I was sore all over from the tension of riding in the rain on busy roads, so I skipped.  My cough was showing no signs of vacating the premises by Wednesday, but I still rode.  No rain, and I figured the exercise might help me throw it off.  Instead, for the last five minutes I started sneezing, as though I had walked into a hot barn full of dusty hay which had been thoroughly searched for needles by wrestlers who search by throwing things.  I figured it was something in the air, but it turned out to be something in my sinuses.

I didn't ride Thursday and Friday because the sneezing, coughing and ear-clogged dizziness just seemed like poor choices for riding partners.  "Hey guys, you wanna go for a ride?"  "Sure!  Don't worry, we'll keep it short!"  [evil chuckle].

Saturday was speech contest day at Dongsung.  It's in the contract, it's been planned for months, it was unavoidable.  I was miserable, coughing and blowing my nose while trying to be impartial in judging these poor 1st graders who had worked their hearts out.  The scores I gave showed a general downward trend that was more reflective of my physical and mental state than of the speeches being delivered or the props being presented.

Afterwords we all went out for sam-gae-tang;  It's a Cornish game hen stuffed with rice, flavored with ginseng, jujubes and chestnuts, and served in a heavy ceramic bowl in soup that is still boiling when they bring it to the table.  It was pretty good, one of the few Korean foods that comforts me when I have a cold.

So it's Sunday night, almost 11 o'clock.  I've almost finished my Theraflu Night drink (for severe colds, not "serve cold" Josh), and I'm ready to sleep.  There's plenty more on my mind, but you will probably not see another Roblog post for a while.  This week is shaping up to be crazy, and we have a job translating a website for a Korean company that makes a new, exciting (dare I say revolutionary?  Nah.) kind of shear reinforcement for concrete.  You probably know it as rebar--the metal rods that are hidden inside concrete structures to keep them from breaking when there is any force other than simple downward pressure put on them.  It's a new level of editing for me.  They gave me a version that has two English translations.  One is better than the other, but they are both clearly written by engineers.  A lifetime ago I learned that Engineers are generally terrible writers, and in some alternate reality my career is/was/would have been in technical writing and I wouldn't have ever met Horyon and Maxine and Quinten would be no more than cloudy dreams, forgotten upon waking.

Anyway, we're trying to get that done by Friday, but I just don't think that is going to happen unless I wake up tomorrow healthy as a bat.  And that is more possible if I get more sleep.  So goodnight.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Recent Riding

I've been pretty good.  As it becomes regular, it feels like there is less to report.  My right leg is about 95% recovered, but I am still taking it fairly easy on it.  Haven't taken the mountain road home yet.

Monday Horyon told me not to ride, and I decided not to fight it.  I had been (and am still) fighting a cough, and she thought riding would make me worse.  I felt a bit better Tuesday, so I rode.  Wednesday too.  I think riding actually helps to fight it off, as it makes my lungs work harder and more thoroughly than usually.

Today (Thursday) I couldn't ride because I had to get to the doctor's office then home.  Our doctor doesn't take appointments, but if you go sign in, you can leave and come back in an hour (or less) and not have to wait.    I think this is because Koreans are (in general) not good at appointments.  I know, sounds racist, but it's actually a cultural thing with them.  Drives newly arrived Westerners crazy, and can do a number on those of us who have been here a while as well.

Tomorrow I'm not sure whether or not to ride.  On Fridays I leave school and go to chat with someone almost an hour away by subway.  I have to drag my bike on the subway, right at the beginning of rush hour, then ride home afterwards in the dark on a pretty busy street.  But if I don't do it, my daily exercise is reduced to walking.

We've had a scale now for a couple of weeks, and it looks like I've dropped about a kilogram.  Feeling good about that, though the scale doesn't do decimals, so it's hard to be sure.

And this week I was informed that Dongsung Elementary School will rehire me for the coming year.  I was told this at a 40 minute meeting which was not the most fun meeting I've ever been in.  I won't go into the details, as I would rather not look back at this some day and experience a spike in my blood pressure.  If I leave it vague like this, I will be able to look back on it and laugh.  "Ha ha, me in 2011 so funny!"

It's getting cold to ride, which causes problems for me.  The biggest problem is, of course, shedding excess heat.  Dress warm enough to start, and I am hot 10 minutes in, sweating by the time I get to work.  Dress too skimpy and I don't warm up until I'm almost at work.  Gotta figure out the balance.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Two Turtles, a Buffet, and some Blocks

Yes.  We have our first pets, and they are reptiles.
No, your monitor is not malfunctioning.  They are in a pink wash-basin while their tank is being cleaned.  I can't get any decent pictures of them in their tank.
I don't know what kind of turtles they are.  If anyone out there can help me on this, I would sure appreciate it.  Maxine was begging for a turtle, and we gave in for her birthday without researching much.  Turns out that turtles often carry salmonella, so you aren't supposed to touch them or hold them.  Makes them pretty boring pets in some ways.  They are still fun to watch, though.  They are semi-aquatic, and like to swim around in their tank as well as perch on the faux rock we bought for them.  It's kind of sad to be on display like that, and not entirely unlike my job as an English teacher in a Korean school.

For Maxine's birthday we went to a kids' buffet at Bexco, which I wrote about in this post.  Here are a couple of pictures we took at the time which I have only just now moved to my computer.  We have borrowed my parents'-in-law camera.
 I like these pictures.  It's difficult to get Quinten to look at the camera and smile, so this is a rare find.
 And this picture of Maxine and I captures both of us nicely, if a little darkly.
We recently got some Duplo blocks for the kids to play with.  Horyon found them used, and got an incredible deal.  I'm sure we'll be able to sell them for more than we paid, but more importantly, Quinten LOVES playing with them.  Right now his focus is on seeing how high he can stack them.  Not bad for three-and-a-half, eh?

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.