An Exercise in Avoidance

8 04 2010

I should be studying for the exam I will be taking on Monday on a subject I should know much about having taught in Korea for 16 months but have discovered I know near nothing when it comes to rules, standards, regulations, etc. with regard to ESL teaching in the United States which is why I am studying and oh, lawd.

So instead I am finally writing a new post after several weeks of working, showering, studying, eating, and sleeping, repeat.  I went to a roller derby match with a friend a while back, and below are pictures.  Please note that my preferred team is kicking ass.  Please also note that before that evening, I had no preferred team whatsoever.  Winners are drawn to other winners, I suppose….

Also, there are some pictures of an Adventure With Stuffies, taken several months ago at my BF’s house in Carbondale, Colorado.  Just thought I’d put them out there so that everyone reading this can understand  just how cute my life is sometimes.

Also, a picture taken in February of the unprecedented snowfall.  The town was near incapacitated.

And finally, a tune.

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Jollyville Wildlife

18 03 2010

A few days ago I went for a walk and found this scene along Jollyville Road:

Not so jolly.





More Outdoor Adventure

24 02 2010

So most of you probably heard about the Mad Hatter that decided to fix his tax problems by flying a stolen plane into the IRS building here in Austin, Texas, after setting fire to the home he shared with his wife and child.  Good news!  No more taxes for him!  Except that pesky death tax, so who got the last word here?  Anyway, the whole event happened minutes up the road from our new house.  Here’s a drive-by picture of the aftermath, sorry for the poor quality:

Extreme Tax Evasion

In other news, after a successful job interview (!) with yours truly a few days ago, we investigated a park I spied a while back, which we discovered is called the Bull creek Greenbelt area, in the Balcones Canyonlands.  The end of the path we walked started with a nature preserve, dedicated to re-establishing yellow-cheeked warblers.

It turned out to be quite the find, complete with waterfalls, streams, moss-covered rocks, stalactites, and two weirdos hiking with their cat in a cat carrier.  Of course that’s what we saw.  Sorry, no chance to take discreet pictures of that….  But here are a few pictures of what we did take.  The day before that we went to Zilker Botanical Gardens, and discovered a huge park across the street.  It will be a nice place to frisbee golf, see free music, and try not to get attacked by crazies this summer!

It seems these posts are angled toward all the nature walks we’ve been doing, but be thankful.  The other things we do to pass the time are sitting on the couch and eating tortillas.

Here’s pics!





Austin, Texas

14 02 2010

After all was said and done, this is where we’ve landed.  It seems that we just needed to stay closer to home for now.  I can safely say that some of us are more o.k. with this than others, but I maintain that we all have free will, and I am only assuming here but I’m pretty sure that includes Jake and me.  So we make do again with the cards that have been dealt, and hopefully we start winning some hands again.  The chips are definitely down.

Yesterday I went for a hike with my new friend, and it was a beautiful, sunny day after many days of rain, sleet, and damn near freezing temperatures.  It was a welcome respite from the weather that was pretty much mirroring our moods….The path was along the Greenbelt, which I learned runs all the way through Austin.  The water was really high in the river, and there are two main spots to hike to-Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls which I guess when the water is lower leaves large cliff to jump off of and into deep pools.  I’m sure very popular in the summer as the temps get to the upper 90’s and the humidity is high, too.  I’m sure it will be similar to Korea’s summer temps–I cannot imagine it being worse!

There seem to be so many beautiful natural areas within the city, and of course the Little Colorado runs through, too, which I am looking forward to canoeing some time soon.  There are a lot of little lakes around the city that I am looking forward to exploring.  Today I am going to check out Lake Travis; it’s the largest lake which means in the high season there are a lot of motorized crafts, so watch out little canoe!  And fish, and birds, and swimmers, and clean water, and fresh air, and peace and quiet, and and and….

I have been applying to many jobs here, of course, and so far only a couple of bites (including from this garden shop).  Although working there would be awesome, it makes me all the more anticipatory for the start of my teaching program.  The other day I was taking pictures and some kids walked by and soon we were talking about the wildlife in the area, and where to most likely see armadillos–and I got that feeling I got in Korea–I am really excited about being surrounded by that vibrancy again.  Adults pretty much suck, kids pretty much rule!!

Next week I am going to see a roller derby match with my new friend and her boyfriend.  I am pumped to see an event that involves roller skates, swearing, and general badassery!!  Holla! Will post pictures.

Have a great VD, everyone.  I am opting to celebrate Lunar New Year instead.  I think it involves lots of pineapple, so it can’t go too terribly wrong.

Here are pics from my latest escapades:

I’ll try to be better now about staying in touch this way.  It’s nice to have the desk back, and a place to think, and a place to store all my paper clips.





Repatriated

9 10 2009

Today seems like a good day to get started with blogging again. Here’s the short story. Since we got back, we’ve been shuffling back and forth between our parents’ houses, collecting the scattered remnants from our life before Korea, and trying to figure out what’s next for us.

Today we are at Kristin’s parents’ house near Conifer. This morning the clouds rolled in and swallowed up the mountains across the valley, leaving only one spectral mountain spur in sight. You can still make out a few puffs of golden aspen trees breaking up the triangles of pine trees, highlighted by a layer of snow. It looks like this:

Mountain in the clouds.

Mountain in the clouds.

In the last few weeks we’ve gotten to enjoy a lot of good old fashioned American activities. We’ve done some gardening, learned how to make jelly, can pickles, and assemble corral gates.

Homemade Concord grape jelly. Not so sickly sweet as the stuff from the store.

Homemade Concord grape jelly. Not so sickly sweet as the stuff from the store.

One of our old home brews with jars full of beets waiting for their pickling brine.

One of our old home brews with jars full of beets waiting for their pickling brine.

This is a picture from branding at my dad's a few years ago. We helped replace the gate behind and to the left of the new mom.

This is a picture from branding at my dad's a few years ago. We helped replace the gate behind and to the left of the new mom. Just for fun, guess what she's eating?

We brewed some beer.

Me watching some industrious yeast making beer fun.

Me watching some industrious yeast making beer fun.

We took a little road trip and visited some tourist attractions.

Back row (left to right): Devils Tower. Front row: Kristin.

Back row (left to right): Devils Tower. Front row: Kristin.

The search for the bathroom at Mount Rushmore.

The moment we found the bathroom at Mount Rushmore.

We went to a football game.

Me and my dad at the game.

Me and my dad at the game.

Saw some Americana.

You mess with the US, you don't just get the horns, you get an eagle with a cow skull for a body that will seriously peck you really hard if you get close enough for it to reach you. Like, it will really hurt. I'm not messing around here. It'll maybe even leave a mark. Or a bruise. So you really shouldn't try to steal it. Even without the camera. Canada.

You mess with the US, you don't just get the horns, you get an eagle with a cow skull for a body that will seriously peck you really hard if you get close enough for it to reach you. Like, it will really hurt. I'm not messing around here. It'll maybe even leave a mark. Or a bruise. So you really shouldn't try to steal it. Even without the camera. Canada.

This was not a common sight in Korea. 'Merica!

This was not a common sight in Korea. Nice work, 'Merica!

Saw some wildlife.

A mule deer in the driveway at Kristin's parents' house.

A mule deer in the driveway at Kristin's parents' house.

A mountain goat in the parking lot at Mount Rushmore.

A mountain goat in the parking lot at Mount Rushmore.

A mounted jackalope at the gift shop near Devils Tower.

A mounted jackalope at the gift shop near Devils Tower.

We’ve done a lot of other things since leaving Korea, too, we just don’t have pictures.

It’s been good to be home, but we’re still a little homesick for at least some aspects of our life in Korea. Here are just a few of the reasons:

Kristin's last day with some remarkable kids.

Kristin's last day with some truly remarkable kids.

Feeling fussy.

Feeling fussy.

Six years old and pretty much fluent in two languages. They're that cool. And funny, too.

Six years old and pretty much fluent in two languages. They're that cool. And funny, too.

Fun with tissues and spit.

Fun with tissues and spit.





Yummy, Teacher!

8 07 2009

Today one of the kids at our school brought in the coolest show and tell ever:

Not just cute, Korean shit cute

Not just cute, Korean shit cute

Later, there was a fire downstairs, but the two incidents do not seem to be related–for now.





How We Got (Rid Of) a Dog

29 03 2009

The short story: We are suckers.

The long story: One rainy evening after a long day at school, we spotted a small black dog lurking near the recycling stuff under our apartment building. He was utterly pitiful looking, and too frightened to come anywhere near us. So we left some Pringles and called it good.

The next morning the Pringles were gone, but the dog wasn’t. We left some water and a hunk of dried squid for him and headed on our merry way to work. I’d been meaning to eat the squid and write about it on the blog, but I just couldn’t get over its stench or uncanny resemblance to a giant dried booger. The dog, on the other hand, loved the revolting chew toy and was quite a bit friendlier when we saw him again after school.

We brought him inside, cleaned him up, and found him to be a cute, friendly, and happy little fellow. Over the next few weeks he got to get neutered, wear a cone, get vaccinated, go on walks, romp in the leaves, sleep in a comfy puppy bed, eat regular meals, learn English, and take lots of showers.

He earned those showers mostly because, in addition to being a dog, he was a veritable fountain of excrement. In spite of our best efforts at training him, and running home at lunch and after work to let him out, he continued using our floor as his personal toilet. Part of the problem was that when we would make attempts to train him not to pee in the house, he would get nervous, roll over onto his back and pee even more. When we put his leash on he would get excited and pee. When we coughed, he would pee. When we laughed, he would pee. When we looked at him funny, he would pee. It’s quite difficult to train something not to do a certain thing when the very act of training causes that certain thing to happen.

After three weeks of cleaning up at least one puddle or pile (usually more) at least once a day (usually more often), on Friday when we found our spare room to have wall-to-wall poo carpeting, we gave up on caring for the dog. We’d been trying to find him a permanent home, but the slight language barrier made that pretty complicated. On Saturday it looked like it was time for him to take his chances in the Korean animal shelter system, but what this dog lacks in sphincter control, he seems to make up for in luck. A Korean lady magically appeared out of the woodwork and offered to continue caring for the dog until she can find him a home.

Final Score: Dog 2 / Us 1 / Korean lady 0