Of the Moment. Or Minute. Whatever, here's a list.

Hello my name is Danielle, and I am obsessed with a number of things at the moment. Besides iced caramel macchiato. That's pretty much a given on any day. And because it's late and because I'd rather be singing with my husband (We're in a singing phase. He plays guitar. We sing. You wish you were us, I know), a list.

1. First, this video:

SUMMER CAMP - Round the Moon from Paddy Power on Vimeo.

via my new favorite blog I Am Photograph, actually found via my other new favorite blog, A Beautiful Mess. Watch this video. For reals.

Next, I have become slightly entirely bewitched by Internet shopping now that I've got a PayPal account. Turns out this was a huge mistake. It's so easy to push the little button and all my info is filled out and all I have to do is click. I should really wait until all my stuff arrives (of course I order from across the world and must have everything shipped to Korea, which takes FOR-EV-UR) and make a huge post, but I can't wait. This is my new winter way to make Koreans smile before noon! I'm pretty sure it's just as good as this one.

I bought this at Red Velvet Art owned by the lovely Elsie of aforementioned A Beautiful Mess. Really, this list is more like connect the dots.

Number Three: The picture above was taken with my iPhone and my latest App infatuation: Instagram. This is my favorite photo app so far, although I'm still loving the Hipstamatic and ShakeItPhoto. But Instagram is just good. It's easy to share your pictures and the quality is fabulous. Here are some of my favorite shots with it so far.


Also, I'm never not obsessed with my cats, but right now I'm obsessed with taking pictures of them. Especially Miso. She's just so photogenic and she looks at the camera and she stays still, like she knows what I'm doing. I'm not going to bore you with my latest series of kitters photos (don't worry, Bo is having his fair share in the spotlight, too). I'll save that for later. Put it on your calendar.

Next on the list is my latest absorption in literature. I'm just devouring it. I just finished Wuthering Heights two days ago. My favorite part: "...he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." I'm pretty lucky that I feel this way about my husband most of the time. (You can gag now. Go ahead; I'll wait.) Yesterday, I picked up and finished Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Sharp, moving collection of essays if ever there was one. Today, I began Graham Greene's The Comedians. Next in the queue are another Dave Eggers, Zeitoun, and yet another Vonnegut, Slapstick, because there is no such thing as too much Vonnegut.

Since I began this list of obsessions with music, I think I'll end it there, too. What's playing over and over all day, while I grade papers, while I'm at my desk with 10 minutes to kill between classes, while I run in the middle of the night, while I drive 5 minutes down the street? Well, I'll tell you. Florence + the Machine. I am consumed by this music. Specifically, this:

And this:

And that, my lovelies, is what I am preoccupied with and riveted by these days.

What are you currently obsessing over?


B is for...

B is for baby teeth and brave smiles.

If you missed A, here it is. Also, in unrelated-to-alphabet-news, I'm looking forward to next week, which will hopefully wind down into a weekend with NO plans whatsoever. The month of October has been a whirlwind of extra teaching, tutoring, catching up with old friends, making new friends, selling my handmade notecards, discovering how easy it is to buy things with PayPal on Etsy (oopsie!), open-mic nights, weekends in Seoul, and of course, losing weight like a madwoman. Next weekend, the last one of the month, should find me curled up in a coffee shop somewhere, finishing up Wuthering Heights, listening to a million This American Life podcasts, and designing more handmade crap to my little heart's content. November will hopefully slow down a little bit, but I've got a few secret projects going on that will be pretty time consuming. And I hope that I'll continue to shrink with all the exercise and healthy eating I'm doing. Christmas Time, here I come! I think it's almost time to pull out the Christmas records. Woot.


Don't Be Fat Update

I skipped last week's weigh-in because Sunday evening I decided to change everything. Well, I decided to ask for help. (This is most likely going to be one of those posts where I talk about how amazing and awesome my husband is, so you might want to grab your barf bag for this one.)

First, I want to say that my desire to lose weight and feel good about my body and make healthier choices has always been mine. The pressure that I'm under to do that is mostly of my own making, but I won't say that living in The Land of Tiny Women doesn't have some kind of effect on my self-image. Kenny met me when I was at my largest, fell in love with me when I was at my biggest, and asked me to marry him before I lost an ounce of weight for our wedding. He constantly affirms my outer and inner beauty. He is, I am convinced, the most encouraging and loving man on the planet. He has stood by and watched plan after plan fail. He also sits next to me and keeps his mouth closed while I sometimes make destructive eating choices. He used to try to voice a warning, but got tired of getting the stink eye everytime he opened his mouth about my donut addiction. Anyway, he's been there. He's watched me fail. And I think he is just as tired of it as I am.

So Sunday night, he told me he was willing to sign on as my personal trainer and personal chef. He made me get up out of the bed and leave the house  before 8, going for a walk or jumping rope for a few minutes. He made me eat breakfast and take vitamins. He made me run in the evenings after work. He cooked me healthy, scrumptious lunches everyday,and also packed healthy dinners for me. He forgave me when I slipped and scrounged up all the money in the bottom of my purse and my desk drawer and bought an iced caramel macchiato. He was so patient with me as I whined and cried and begged to be let off the hook. I'm so glad he made me stick with it.

And this morning, he celebrated with me when the scale was 2 kilos lower! I couldn't believe it. I'm at 68 kilos after a week of hard work. And I'm ready to pull off another strong week. I could NOT do this without Kenny. It's incredible how much easier it is when I have his support and his tough love. It's incredible how hard he's willing to work for what I want. He's given up eating out, spending our mornings in coffee shops (we've traded everyday for just Sunday afternoons), and sacrificed a lot of his free time to fix his meals and run next to me to help me keep a good pace. I'm pretty sure I've got the market covered on Best. Husband. EV-VUR.

Last week was really rough for me. I did a lot of crying, a lot of whining, and I ate a heck of a lot of tofu. But this week I'm starting off with a belly full of motivation after seeing that number on the scale. In fact, I've got to go run. Because It's exactly 32 days before I land in the States. And I want to do some serious shopping when I get there! And I can promise you, I'm buying something sexy for the HubbO. He totally deserves, well, pretty much whatever he wants.

So that's me. How you doin'?


Grace in Small Things: An Invitation and Freebies!

The fabulous Nora, of Walking with Nora, has begun a beautiful little series in which she reminds herself of all the small blessings she has in her life and examines the tiny cracks and corners where she finds grace unexpectedly. A few other amazing gals have started to take part, like Habbala and Ashley as Aurora. After reading a few weeks of posts on these small things it's important to take note of "because life is short and love is large," I was inspired to whip up some banners to send to Nora. And  now, I'd like to offer them to you along with an invitation to participate. The banner is below, along with a button for your sidebar! And after you grab a banner and a button, feel free to read my first Grace in Small Things list.

*I'm rejoicing in an unexpected visit from a good friend and a new friend that resulted in a night and an early afternoon of conversation and good food.

*I'm finally getting used to my work schedule and getting into a comfortable groove that doesn't make me hate my life (at least not all the time).

*Crafty, crafty, crafty things have been happening at our house, and it's small and miniscule, but so thrilling.

*Kind comments from incredibly amazing blog friends.

*It's Wednesday! Almost halfway done with this week.

*Being so proud of some of my students giving presentations. I have some pretty sweet kids.

*Laughing really hard with my favorite coworker.

*Daydreaming of my Christmas visit to the States.

*Impulse buying my very first Etsy purchase from one of my favorite bloggers here.

And that's it folks! I hope you enjoy the banner and the blog button. Let me know if you like it!

P.S. I know I skipped my Don't Be the Fat Sister update this week, and for good reason. There's a full post on that coming soon.


Chuseok: To Grandmother's House We Go

During Chuseok, which feels like ages ago now, we took a trip to Kenny's grandmother's house. It's his mother's mother, whom I had never met before. She lives in an ancient house with an outdoor toilet and a wild garden out front, where we found huge pumpkins and the tiniest watermelon I've ever seen. We also visited one of Kenny's uncles. He owns an apple orchard out in apple country. It was a beautiful few days. Here are the belated pictures!

Kenny's maternal grandmother. We asked her how old she was. She said, "I'm in eighth grade, second semester." She's 82, lives by herself, and still cooks massive amounts of food for holidays.

I wasn't joking when I called Cheong Song apple country. Seriously, check the bus stop!

And everyone wonders why Adam ate the apple.

My favorite picture of the weekend. Is it wrong that my favorite picture is of me?

"Shoot an apple off my head."

This is Jusanji, a lake where the trees grow out of the water. This is actually extremely rare. Usually, when trees grow in water like this, they die. But these are alive. It's not that spectacular in this photo, perhaps, but it's pretty cool in person!

So, it's a little late, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't leave me lots of comments anyway. Am I right?


What the Crap Wednesday: The Mosquito Edition

I may have failed to mention here that our school is currently experiencing a serious mosquito infestation. The teacher's room seems to have become a small mosquito airport with the tiny buzzing bloodsuckers taking off all over the room and whizzing through flight patterns that drive us all mad. One of our coworkers has taken to having what seems at first to be seizures, but turns out to simply be an alarming outburst at being swarmed by mosquitoes. She attempts to kill them with folders, with books, with whatever happens to be closest at hand. She just whacks things in a windmill fashion whenever she sees one. And honestly, she probably kills a number of them with each smack of her computer monitor, desk, wall, chair, and neighboring coworker.

No amount of repellent seems to have any effect on them. The school has had an extermination company come twice, but we sure couldn't tell. One day I decided I had had enough and made it a point to kill every mosquito I could see. I slapped, clapped, whacked, flailed, jumped while slapping, stood on chairs while clapping, and took the life from every one I could. My total at the end of the day was 104. Seriously. They're everywhere. 

And by everywhere, I mean mostly in the bathroom. The other day I walked into the middle stall and happened to notice a mosquito sitting inside the toilet bowl just above the water line. I stopped and weighed the responsibility of a wasted flush or a mosquito bite on my butt or elsewhere that might be inconvenient to claw at in public. I flushed. And good thing, too, because when I flushed three other mosquitoes exited the toilet bowl. I clapped two of them dead, and smothered one into my blue jeans on my left thigh. I couldn't see that fourth bugger, so I sat down to, well, think about some things. And then I was not thinking about anything except pulling up my pants when I looked down and hovering right between my thighs was that offensive, forward, and downright perverted bug, his flight path aimed directly for, well, not. my. knees.

So I freaked out, as one is wont to do when an insect that bites, draws blood, and leaves an itchy, swollen trademark behind is zoning in on your hoo! ha! I swatted, I snapped my legs together, stood up, and tried to pull my pants up all at the same time. Have you ever tried to pull your pants up while your thighs are making out? Yeah. Awkward. And now I fully understand what stalls are really for. After I succeeded in wearing my clothes properly, I was overcome with worry that I hadn't gotten rid of the mosquito, but had inadvertently closed him into my pants, where he would be free to do his damage anyway. What to do? Do I pull my pants back down to get it out if it was indeed in there? Or doing that would I simply make myself vulnerable to another attack? I finally decided that I would do the most practical thing. I would kill it, whether it was there or not. And so I began slapping myself. Where? Well, wherever he could be. In other words, I pretty much spanked myself from my butt all the way down to my ankles, front and back.

Do I even need to say it?

WHAT THE CRAP? And here's an even bigger What The Crap, because these mosquitoes have pushed me over the edge. They have me... wishing for winter. I know. Seeing as how I loathe winter with all my being because one of my least favorite things is being cold, I'm pretty desperate. Sometimes, when a mosquito flies in front of me in class, I feel some ninja assassin part of my brain take over, and I quit whatever it is I'm doing and chase the thing down until it has been destroyed. It's entertaining for the kids, anyway. But seriously. What the crap, mosquitoes? Stop already.


A is for...

I'm a little late joining up, but when I saw the alphabet project over at Ashley's and then caught Kyla's take on it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I finally decided to get busy. I might not finish my 26 letters in 26 weeks, but I'm sure my camera will love the extra love. Join in on the fun, if you want! There's even an alphabet project flickr group, where you can see everyone's photos in one spot. Without further babbling, here I go.

A is for apples in the air.


Don't Be Fat Update

I'll try to update you on my ChubbO Chubbington status on Mondays, because that's the day I step on the scale! When I weighed in last week it was a bummer at 70 kilos (154 pounds). This morning I weigh a whopping 70kgs. As we say in Korea, "Same, same."

Whatever I weigh today, I'm proud of myself for last week. I cooked every meal every day for 5 days, except for Monday's lunch. Logistically, we can't be at home for lunch on Mondays and practically, we don't have enough lunch boxes to pack both our lunches and dinners! But besides that scheduling fluke each week, I plan to continue cooking and packing dinners for school. One, it saves us a ton of money. Two, I always eat healthier if I'm cooking and it's easier to control the portion size.

I didn't snack at all until Friday night when I didn't pack enough dinner and I had a yogurt from the corner store. But I didn't beat myself up about it. It was what it was. 

I also cut out my daily coffee indulgence. I still have it on Tuesdays while I grade my student's weekly book reports in my little coffee shop next door to the school. And I'll sometimes have one on Thursdays while I'm lesson planning and writing tests. But those are my weekly allowances.

I didn't do that great on the exercise front, but I think it's because I'm still getting the hang of the cooking thing. It takes me most of the morning to fix lunch and dinner and pack dinners. The longer I do it, the more efficient I'll get. I took a walk on Tuesday morning, took a few short walks on my breaks at work, and Saturday went on an 8 hour hike. Obviously, I can't move any part of my body without feeling the repercussions of Chiak Mountain. I really wasn't in shape for such a serious hike, but I'm glad I did it because I totally deserved my dinner that day!

This week, my goals are to continue cooking meals at home and to be a little more active. Oh, and to fit into my skinny jeans by December 19th!

How are YOU doing?


Dear Mumsie

Dear Mumsie,

The other night after a long, grueling hike up a mountain that didn't forgive me for trying to climb it, Kenny and I went to a sauna. You know, the ones I've told you about where all the girls are naked and bathing together in one huge room with lots of showers, hot tubs, and steam rooms. I thought it might be good for my body if I had a nice relaxing soak in the really hot tub followed by a painfully cold dip in the really icy tub. And so I did this a few times, going back and forth from being hot to teeth chattering. I felt my muscles relaxing and I hoped that it would make me less sore the next day. (Lies, all lies. I'm so very sore. Typing hurts, Mom.)

While I was soaking, freezing, soaking, freezing, and soaking again, my eyes were open. So, I saw a few things. I saw women who walked right out of magazines, airbrushed and all. I saw women who wore the tell-tale signs of motherhood, their breasts humbled by the weight of their baby's hunger, their stomachs remembering the once-upon-a-nine-months time they were a home. I saw women who were shaped like time and age, with scars on their knees and bends in their backs. I saw women who were not women yet, turning circles in the mirror to see what they were becoming.

While I was soaking, freezing, soaking, freezing, and soaking again, my eyes were open. So, I saw a few things. I saw mothers and daughters. I saw a young mother washing her hair while her baby girl splashed in a bowl of water she just learned how to stand up and reach. I saw a teenage girl and her mother sitting face to face in the hot tub, knees to chin, telling each other everything about their days, hands in and out of water. I saw a mother scrubbing every inch of her 4 year old daughter's pearl of a body. I saw these women and these girls.

While I was soaking, freezing, soaking, freezing, and soaking again, my eyes were open. And then they were closed. Because I didn't want to cry there. I missed you so much, Mommy. I wished so badly that you were there with me, laughing and telling me the details of your day in the hot tub. I wished that I could scrub your back where it's hard to reach, like these women were doing for each other. I wished that you could wash my hair with my head turned upside down, like you used to in the kitchen sink when I was too lazy to take a full shower.

But I missed someone else, too. Someone who isn't even here yet. Someone I'm not yet brave enough to dream about. Is it possible to miss your own daughter before you even have one? And I know why I miss her already. I know why I want to rock her and read her bedtime stories and scrub her little pearl of a body. It's because I want what we have. I want to be a mother just like you. One that listens to me when I'm crazy-talking out the side of my head. One that knows how to calm me down no matter how worked up I am. One that brings me saltine crackers and sweet tea when my stomach hurts or just when I yell your name enough times from the other end of the house to earn it.  I want to be a mother like you, who gives me the confidence and courage that comes with being loved unconditionally.

Because I love being your daughter, I know I will love being a mother.

And I don't know when that is going to be. But sometimes, I'm so excited about it. I've got names picked out (don't worry, an English one you can pronounce and a Korean one Kenny's parents can pronounce!), and ideals and hopes in place. And even though I don't know anything about being a mother yet, I know I'll be a good one, because I had and have a good one.

I miss you, Mom. Why don't you come to Korea so we can hang out naked in a hot tub? And maybe you can get a Korean ajumma to scrub the top layer of your skin off. It hurts a little bit, but afterward it feels sooooo nice! If I can handle it, you can handle it. You know I'm a negative on the pain tolerance scale anyway.

I love you. I miss you. (And some days, I really want a baby.)
Your heartbeat,


It Smells like Winter

But it feels like Fall. And thank God, too. Because that summer without air conditioning? No. Never again.

{we heart it}

I love Fall in Korea. It's a beautiful season and last year we didn't get one. I missed Spring because we were off gallivanting around the world on our honeymoon. Then, when we returned in August it was insufferably hot, insufferably hot, insufferably hot, and BAM! Winter. No Fall. So this year, I am making excuses to walk places I don't have to walk just to be outside in it.

The sky is this satisfying shade of blue. The air is crisp and full of possibility. Every other breath is a good idea or inspiring thought. I know that this season is the time that so many things get ready to die, but I feel like this is my season to get ready to live.

I'm ready to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate with tiny pearls of marshmallows floating on top. I'm ready to wear hoodies and weird hats that don't suit me but keep my ears warm. I'm ready to hike in weather that makes me love the Earth instead of making me hate everything. I'm ready to lie underneath my covers, warm and content, while the air is cool in my nose, in my chest, on my face.

Yeah, I'm kind of in love with Fall. And I figure if I become absolutely enamored with Fall, I can forgive it for being an entirely misleading introduction to Winter.
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