Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take a Look

So, the editor from Pure Slush has posted his first contribution to "travel month."

I won't give any opinion, because I want you to form your own.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Not Quite Finished...

So, I heard back from the editor at Pure Slush and he wants more edits.  I'm really unhappy with his suggestions, or "tweaking" as he calls it.

Here's what he sent me:

We followed Julia to the car.  Like her, it was stately, expensive and a little intimidating.  She waved us to the back as she slid into the driver’s.  I sat.  A sickly sweet floral fragrance drifted from a plastic air freshener, the only marker of ownership on the nearly sanitary, bread-colored interior.  The awkward roil in my stomach was something I was growing accustomed to in the three days I had been in Korea.
“Where are we eating dinner, again?”  I asked Ian in a hushed, mumbled voice hushed hushed mumble, torn between relief at Julia’s sudden neglect and worry for my lack of preparedness for the evening.
“I don’t know. “ He leaned forward. “Julia, where are we going to eat?”
“Uh,” then she said something I didn’t understand.  I tried to work it out in my head.  ‘Bead-um’ is all I heard her say.   I repeated it over and over in my head, searching for a match.  Beans?  Berries?  Bread?  Nothing logical came to me.  “Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia continued to Ian.
“Does she remember that we’re vegetarians?” I asked.  
“Um.  Julia, will the restaurant be alright for vegetarians?  We don’t eat meat.”
“Oh, yes.  Okay.  You eat fish?”
“No.   No fish, chicken, beef or anything like that.  We do eat eggs and milk, though.”  His shoulders tensed with the effort of explaining, rising and taking his voice with them. His and briefcase clip made a rhythmic, metallic click under his nervous hand.  After the last eight hours making and remaking lesson plans naïvely seeking her approval, I couldn’t look at her.  I counted glowing red crosses atop churches.  Eleven if you count the ones just past those hills.  I had thought Koreans were Buddhists.
“Your parents are vegetarians?” Julia continued.
“Mine aren’t,” Ian said.  “They eat a lot of meat, actually.  Casey’s mom is, though.”  Hearing my name drew me down from the hills and into the car.
“Oh, really?  It’s good to do.  You are nice children, obedient.”
We drove a few minutes more in silence.  Julia began to mumble to herself.  A cab passed us hurriedly.  I leaned toward her, worried she was trying to talk to us.  She wasn’t.  She dialed her phone, a jeweled J swinging heavily from it,. She slowing slowed further as she divided her attention between her phone and the road.  
With a screech of rubber the car suddenly swung 180 degrees, and gripping the door handle, I squinted into the oncoming headlights of the oncoming cars as we reversed directions on the four-lane street.  After a minute-long phone call in more exasperated Korean and punctuated by considerable sighing on her ‘phone, she Julia made another U-turn and we pulled into a nearly empty parking lot.  I released my grip on the door.
Releasing my grip on the door, I looked out at I interrogated (interrogated?) the restaurant’s fluorescent sign, moving my eyes over the Korean writing again and again back and forth,. bBut the dramatically written symbols were beyond me.
Small, blocky type iIn the lower right corner, small, blocky type answered my question: “Vietnam Cuisine”.
*******
Most of that doesn't really bother me. I don't like the way in which he is changing the voice of my writing. I feel he is editing for style, which I find inappropriate. I'm especially bothered by the line he added about screeching rubber. What is that? He's been pushing for something like that with every edit, blaming it on pacing or asking me to explain how the character feels. Trying to lean that toward fear. I don't even know how to deal with it, it is so out of place in my writing. This is starting to make me feel pretty darn small, cheap and down right bummed out.


What say you? Peter had some good suggestions, which I will definitely put thought into, but I just don't know how to deal with this. How many times will he send it back to me? I don't want to focus all my time on one piece and we're about to go out of town. I don't like feeling this way about writing. It makes my blood pressure go up.

Boo!


Sorry about the weird spacing. The format's being strange since I pasted that.

Good night.

Handing it Over


That's all she wrote.  Today was my last day at Netflix.  Bittersweet, really, as I had an an awesome supervisor and coworkers. That's my headset, bag and FOB (electronic key) that I turned in as I left tonight.

It feels very strange knowing that I don't have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Glasses

I picked up my new glasses from Costco the other day:


Primary pair.  Lucky Brand.  Nerd!


Second pair.  Kirkland (Costco brand), made out of recycled materials.  Cat eye!


Facebook is crazy.  It wants me to send him a message for our anniversary.  Hey look, there's Wendy!

Good night!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Morning Tea

I've had a good morning.

I got my story in to Pure Slush.  It's slated for September 6th in the itinerary.  He's put it under nonfiction, which isn't stylistically accurate, in my opinion, but that's alright.

I may have a small contract writing job with a wholesale cosmetics company. We shall see.  I don't even know any of the details, yet.

Top all that off with a well rounded breakfast of tempeh, rye toast and fruit.  And some tea, of course.


I don't know if I've blogged about this before, but Ian and I bought this 2 cup teamaker from Teavana awhile back.  It's pretty rad.  You put loose leaf tea in, follow it with hot water to steep and then you set it on your mug.  The bottom is pressure released, so it opens and pours in your hot tea.  This is Thai inspired tea with dried fruits and star anise in it.


We don't have a microwave, so coffee and tea water gets heated on the stove top.  That's fine until you need a warm up.


Delicious.  I like how it foams just a little.


My mom gave me this mug for Valentine's Day four or five years ago.  Ian says it's heinous, but I think it's hilariously adorable.

Draft

Alrighty, here is the latest  draft I'm sending to Pure Slush.  I spent two hours on it this morning.  I've had a hard time being motivated to work on it.  I don't think I was really up to taking his suggestions.  At one point in his edits, he told me that my choice of the verb "letting" was something a child would say.

Sigh.

I've spent the last couple of years being subservient to just about everyone I encounter (Korea, Netflix CS, Oasis...), so I suppose I was tired of feeling small and I was unhappy with that feeling creeping into my writing.  But, I sucked it up and made some changes.  It's always good to rework a piece, no matter whether you agree with the direction or not.

********************************


Welcome Dinner


We followed Julia to the car. Like her, it was stately, expensive and a little intimidating. She waved us to the back as she slid into the driver’s. I sat. A sickly sweet floral fragrance drifted from a plastic air freshener, the only marker of ownership on the nearly sanitary, bread-colored interior. The awkward roil in my stomach was something I was growing accustomed to in the three days I had been in Korea.

“Where are we eating dinner, again?” I asked Ian in a hushed, mumbled voice, torn between relief at Julia’s sudden neglect and worry for my lack of preparedness for the evening.

“I don’t know. “ He leaned forward. “Julia, where are we going to eat?”

“Uh,” then she said something I didn’t understand. I tried to work it out in my head. ‘Bead-um’ is all I heard her say. I repeated it over and over in my head, searching for a match. Beans? Berries? Bread? Nothing logical came to me. “Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia continued to Ian.

“Does she remember that we’re vegetarians?” I asked.

“Um. Julia, will the restaurant be alright for vegetarians? We don’t eat meat.”

“Oh, yes. Okay. You eat fish?”

“No. No fish, chicken, beef or anything like that. We do eat eggs and milk, though.” His shoulders tensed with the effort of explaining, rising and taking his voice with them. His briefcase clip made a rhythmic, metallic click under his nervous hand. After the last eight hours making and remaking lesson plans naïvely seeking her approval, I couldn’t look at her. I counted glowing red crosses atop churches. Eleven if you count the ones just past those hills. I had thought Koreans were Buddhists.

“Your parents are vegetarians?” Julia continued.

“Mine aren’t,” Ian said. “They eat a lot of meat, actually. Casey’s mom is, though.” Hearing my name drew me down from the hills and into the car.

“Oh, really? It’s good to do. You are nice children, obedient.”

We drove a few minutes more in silence. Julia began to mumble to herself. A cab passed us hurriedly. I leaned toward her, worried she was trying to talk to us. She wasn’t. She dialed her phone, a jeweled J swinging heavily from it, slowing further as she divided her attention between her phone and the road. I squinted into the headlights of the oncoming cars as we reversed directions on the four lane street. After a minute- long phone call in exasperated Korean and punctuated by considerable sighing, she made another U-turn and we pulled into a nearly empty parking lot. I released my grip on the door.

I interrogated the restaurant’s fluorescent sign, moving my eyes over the Korean writing again and again, but the dramatically written symbols were beyond me. Small, blocky type in the lower right corner answered my question: “Vietnam Cuisine”.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too. Damn. Hot.

I shouldn't complain.

It's 75 degrees with 86% humidity in Chicago.  Right now.  It's night.
79 in New York.
And 97 in Phoenix.

But, man do we need a fan.

I went out with Heidi and company for her birthday on Friday.  It was a very swell time.  I'm pretty stoked that they're right next door.  Now none of us can move for a good, long while.  Ha.

Big development:  I put in my notice at Netflix.  We hadn't expected it to be quite this soon, but I'm actually needed at the shop.  Another employee is moving onward and upward.  'Tis the nature of the industry I guess.  To be honest, it's very much for the best (for the shop, I mean).

I could only give a weeks' notice, which made me feel pretty crummy.  But, Netflix only needs 48 hours.  Gabe (supervisor) is incredibly supportive.  Somebody give that man a position at the top, seriously.  I'll be sad to leave him.  I'm re-hireable, so that's good.  Just in case.  Gabe has kindly agreed to be a reference for me, as well.  Since my last job was in Korea, I can use as many of those as I can get.  I'm surprised at my mixed emotions.  But, though a step back in pay for now, I know that this is one very sure way of moving toward a career level job.

Necessity breeds motivation.

And, I am still able to be "currently employed" on my resume.

Saturday will be my last day.  I'm having Ian bring pizza.

Also, I will have a Pure Slush draft up on Tuesday.

Good night!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good Weekend

This weekend was the best.  

Tuesday: Volunteering and date night with Ian.
Wednesday: Seaside mini-vacation with Rob, Danie, Grant and Audrey.
Thursday: Impromptu hang out with our neighbors and their friends who are working fervently to get a job in Korea.

I also ordered our camping stuff (all from Campmor, thanks Peter! They had great deals and intelligent reviews.).

Tomorrow I am back at the 'flix.  I'm working 7am-8pm.  Whew.  Saturday, as well. Overtime pays $21/hour, so that helps.

I am so excited for the 31st-4th (that's when we're going on our anniversary camping trip).  I'm going to pretend we don't have jobs and are living the lives of renegades.

How was your ...week?  I guess it wasn't your weekend.

Good night!

Seaside Hour by Hour

6am- Lawnmower on the golf course.

7am- Dirty dishes from making banana muffins.

8am- Banana muffins are done!  And burnt a little because I was tired and read the oven temp wrong...

9am- Satchmo welcomes me back after my run.  Those are Ian's glasses he was guarding.

10 am- I grab my key and head west!

11am- I start to lose decent radio stations.

12pm- I arrive!  Rob and Danie have a pretty rad suite.

1pm- We headed to Cannon Beach!  Rob had some appointments for work and we played around downtown until he was done.

2pm- Chilling on a bench to enjoy the chocolates we all got from a little shop.

3pm- We took a peak at the beach, but we didn't go because we waiting for Rob.

4pm- We met Rob at a candy shop, where I got these for Ian (he couldn't come).  They aren't actually lentils, don't worry.

5pm- Cannon Beach/ Haystack!

6pm- Had to get some phone photos of the rock before we headed to dinner.

7pm- More candy!  This store had aisles and aisles of classic and modern candy.  I got a licorice rope.  Then we went to dinner at a restaurant called Doogers where I had spaghetti.

8pm- Lewis and Clark.  We walked around a little bit before I had to head back.

9pm- My check engine light is perpetually on.  My car also has over 270,000 miles on it.

10pm- I stop at Starbucks before I go into the shop to say hi because driving makes me very sleepy.  That is not Rob's jeep, ha.

11pm- I leave the shop because Ian and Justin are staying to make dough and I was too tired to be of help.  This is our mint bowl.  I ate one on my way out the door.

12pm- Broken!  Just before I went to bed, I wandered in the kitchen and realized the cats had knocked a glass off the drying rack.

Here are some extra pictures:

Danie taking pictures of Haystack Rock.  She did a cool panorama, too.

Bubbles and feet.

Sandcastles!

Rob wrote Audrey's name in it with a shell.

Pyramid sandcastles!

Awesome day.  Have fun finding glass balls in Lincoln City today, guys.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flog

Yesterday, my phone auto corrected my Facebook status to say that I would be flogging tonight instead of blogging.  Ha.  I'm sorry I've had late nights the past few days and I've been away from blogger.

Yesterday I went to Costco and got a new prescription and two new pairs of glasses.  The whole shebang cost $270, which is about 50% of what I (my mom) paid for my last single pair of glasses; I'm pretty stoked about it. I've never had two pairs of frames before.  I think I'll have my sunglasses filled there soon.

Today was my mini vacation in Seaside with Rob, Danie and the kids.  It was such a good day.  I took a photos every hour for the 18 hours that I have been awake, plus 34 others.  I've uploaded the pictures (my netbook has an sd reader, yea!) and I will put them here tomorrow morning.

I'm sun tired, so I'm going to pass out now.

Good night!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paths

I'm considering becoming certified as a substitute teacher.  However, it looks like Oregon state may want you to be fully certified; which I would be willing to spend a year doing, but cannot afford.  I don't want to be a full time teacher, but I love being around children and I felt like I started to get good at creating curriculum while we were in Korea.

Being a substitute teacher in Washington is much easier, but I'd like the option to apply to school districts in both states.

Subbing could be a good career path for me, as I could use the time during which I don't have teaching assignments to write.

Do any of you have information on this?  I'm primarily interested in Early Education and Elementary.

I'm still applying to writing positions, though.  It just seems that there is a greater need for educators of all kinds than for writers.

What do you think?

Good night!

P.S.  The shop is particularly busy for a Sunday night.  Hurray!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Unproductive

Tomorrow is a normal length work day for me.  Hopefully, I'll feel less exhausted and more creative.

I sent Pure Slush a bio and picture just now.  I'm sort of watching Secretariat.  I can't even think straight. I may be coming down with something.  Or maybe my allergies just suck.

I'm ready to go to Seaside.  Can it be Wednesday?

Uff da.  Good night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sleep

I think I overestimated my stamina.  There is no way I can edit and write something decent after a 12 hour shift.  Boo hiss.  Tomorrow I'm off at seven.  Hopefully that'll make it feasible.  I also have a million emails/ job applications upon which I much catch up.  

Today wasn't as bad as I was expecting.  Most of the people I spoke to were happy to pay for what they were using.  The new structure actually saves a lot of people money.  They also had heaps of fresh berries in the break rooms and passed out candy and popsicles; "We're sorry, have some food."  Oh well.  Berries can buy me.

Also, I finally have an extension cord, so I could light this:


My mom made that wine lamp.  Pretty cool, right?

Good night!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time

I don't like posting just to post, but I want to make sure that I stay consistent in writing daily.

I had no time this "weekend" for writing.  I guess, it's better to say that I didn't make time.  I wanted to, but there was so much to do.  But, as that's always the case, I really need to harness some self discipline.

Tomorrow I am working a 12-hour shift with a 1/2 hour lunch.  Envious?  When I get home (at 8:30 or so) my full intention is to poor myself into my draft and make some further edits.  I also need to send out several resumes and cover letters.  Then on Saturday I'll be working an 11-hour shift with a 1/2 hour lunch.  I've got to put in 4 hours of overtime a week for the next couple of weeks.  At least, as it is right now.  It could go on longer.  Hopefully not.  Luckily, I'll get Wednesday off from the shop and I'll be meeting Rob and family in Seaside for the day.  The break will be much needed.

Today was painfully slow at the shop.  I thought I might fall asleep at one point.  But, it picked up a little during happy hour and again around dinner.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Gulp.

Good night!

Neighborly

The neighbor and I have become door pen pals.



We won't have time to get together until August, so we've taken to writing 1-2 notes a day and leaving them on each other's doors.  It's really fun.  I need more cute stationary...

In other friend news, it seems pretty likely that Ben and Amy will be heading over toward the end of the month.  Stoked!  I think the tv was the tipping factor.

It was a pretty mellow night at the shop.  A Canadian family came in toward close and we chatted a bit about taxes and then health care and then schooling.  I realized tonight that I don't even have a totally firm grasp on the income tax I pay.  It's about 20% on my paycheck.  But I don't know the real numbers or if there's one percentage for everyone.  I need to do some studying, apparently.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Opposite Day

So yesterday didn't turn out how we expected it to at all.  We started out needing cat litter and ended running errands all day.  It was alright though, for the most part.  Here are some highlights:


This guy puts poetry out in front of his house for everyone to take.


Trader Joe's sells premade bibimbap now.  Just don't read the ingredients.

And... we got a new tv!  We weren't necessarily expecting to do it (and it's completely against the challenge for this month).  But, we've decided to spend the money on our apartment while we still have a pretty decent disposable income.  Come the middle of next month, I'll be working at the shop more and more while I look for writing work.

This is the only picture I found of the old tv:


Here is how everything looks now:



All the consoles and the router fit behind the tv, so now it looks much cleaner.  I'm going to look into FreeGeek to get rid of our old laptop(s) and tv.

And lastly, here is what's going on at the 'flix. I don't intend to be harsh, but this is incredibly stressful.  I'm not here to tell you whether I agree with the change or not.  I am not Captain Netflix.  Obviously, this is going to be a rough few weeks.  I have to put in overtime there, too.  So, don't comment about the change here.  Or on my Facebook.  I don't want to hear it and I'm not supposed to play a customer service role outside of work.  Netflix doesn't like it's employees out in the world playing protector (or, alternatively, questioning their practices or insulting their customers).  Also, hearing friends and family say the exact same things that the ...folks who call me say fills me with rage and contempt.   I hardly got any sleep last night.  This job, on an average day, packs the 'umph' to give me a panic attack.  I'm sure you can imagine that going in on Friday feels a little like staring down the barrel of a gun.

Just a little honesty before my breakfast.  Please understand.  40+ hours a week is plenty.

On that note, I really need to head out for a run to relax.  Zoom!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hey! Look over there!

Gah, I am so tired.  I had to sign up for extra hours for Friday and Saturday at the 'flix because of anticipated call volume (more to come on that after it's no longer confidential... [read: Wednesday]) and I think my body is exhausted in anticipation of overtime + Oasis.  Oh, and it's Monday.  We had a really good night at the shop, though.  About $850.  Huge for a Monday. And everyone was in such good spirits.

I am looking forward to reading (I am currently reading The Help, thanks Danie!), writing and baking tomorrow.  Totally low key.  We were supposed to finally meet our neighbors Heidi and Jesse tomorrow, but it had to be postponed because they've been wicked busy.

So, in lieu of something interesting from me, here are a couple of articles that I found interesting today:



Good night!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fortunes

Ian finished the STP at 4 today!  He's home and exhausted.

He wanted Chinese for dinner, so I picked up some Mu Shu veggies for him from Shendong.  I had some very disappointing braised tofu.

But, our fortunes were humorously related.


Weird, right?

Good night!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Are these tomatoes or Gremlins?


Just seems like a lot of rules for tiny red ...fruit.

For dinner tonight I made a salad with spring mix, the Gremlin tomatoes, green grapes, and tofu.  It was pretty fantastic.

Good night!

Second Pure Slush Response

So, I'm not so sure about this anymore.

I got another reply from the editor and Pure Slush.  And, while several of his suggestions are really helpful, most of them are about altering my voice and style.  I'm not sure how normal that is, because I'm so new to all this.

Here's are two examples from his edit:

"“Where are we eating dinner, again?” I whispered to Ian / I asked Ian under my breath. I seemed like Julia had given Ian more details. (I don’t think what you have written works. It would be much better just to say you said this to Ian. Some things just cannot be written without being clumsy or over-written. Even putting it as a question would work better: Had Julia told Ian the details? But really, straightforward is best.)" 

"“Uh,” then she said something I didn’t understand.  I tried to work it out in my head.  ‘Bead-um’ is all I heard her say.  While I internally ran through every food or type of food that started with the letter B, Ian productively narrowed it down. “Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia continued to Ian. (this is not chronological. You have written a chronological story BUT this paragraph is not written chronologically. Plus, how would you know Ina was responding more productively when he then says nothing about it? This works better:
“Uh,” Julia said, then added something I didn’t understand: ‘bead-um’ is all I really heard.
I sat back against the leather / plastic / vinyl and ran through every food or type of food that started with the letter B: b_____, b_______, b______, b________.
“Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia continued.
We already know she is answering Ian. To say this again in unimportant, unless you are feeling excluded.)"

So, he's not only making suggestions, but actively rewriting here.  I don't think he intends to overstep, I think he's genuinely trying to be helpful.  I"m just not sure that his editing style works for me.  I'm afraid I might lose a lot if I go after this.  I mean, it's not even paid.  Maybe Pure Slush isn't a good fit for me.

But, what do you think?  Comment or email me at youknowcasey at gmail dot com.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pure Slush Response

I heard back from the editor of Pure Slush and he said he wanted to run my story, but that he had some edits in mind for it.

So, I made some changes and hopefully it will be to his liking.  I can tell that this editor has a very particular style and not all of his edits were true to my voice, but I made most of them anyway.  I need the exercise in hubris, as he won't be the only editor with a picky style and I'm not yet in a position to argue.

But, I am pleased.  It was nice to hear back so quickly.  And I know I benefit from each new point of view on my work.

The next story I'm thinking of working on is set in Angkor Wat.  The main characters are a young couple, but not necessarily Ian and I.  I'm thinking that I may need to branch out further, though.  The book will center on us as characters, but I think I need to stretch my creative writing muscles before I lock myself into only fiction-from-fact writing.

And now for something completely different...  Ian left for the STP (Seattle to Portland Bike Race) today.  I miss him so much!  That's weird, because it's not like we're together all that often, anyway.  

Our opposite schedules are really getting to me.  I'm also having a lot of anxiety regarding work.  I work for a great company (and I'm really thankful for my supervisor and team), but I no longer think I'm well suited for the call center environment, though I'm moderately good at it.  It's not uncommon for me to have a panic attack when I think about it.  On top of that, I feel incompetent for having those feelings.

But that's not what this blog is supposed to be!  Beg pardon, but I just needed that off my chest.

Cheer for Ian tomorrow and Sunday!  He's got 204 miles to go.

Good night!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Welcome Dinner, Current Draft

Here is the version of the draft that I submitted to Pure Slush.

**********************

       We followed Julia to the car.  Like her, it was stately, expensive and a little intimidating.  The black sedan was matter- of-fact, and though she had probably owned it for months, the interior looked and smelled as if she had bought it earlier that day.  She motioned for us to take the back as she slid into the driver’s.  I sat.  The awkward roil in my stomach was something that I was growing accustomed to in the three days that I had been in Korea.

“Where are we eating dinner, again?”  I felt like Julia had given Ian more details.

“I don’t know. “ He leaned forward. “Julia, where are we going to eat?”

“Uh,” then she said something I didn’t understand.  I tried to work it out in my head.  ‘Bead-um’ is all I had heard her say.  I spent the next several minutes running through every food or type of food that started with the letter B.  While I was playing my own personal alphabet game, Ian was productively narrowing it down. 

“Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia was continuing to Ian.

“Does she remember that we’re vegetarians?” I was letting Ian take all the falls tonight.  He tentatively reminded her.

“Oh, yes.  Okay.  You eat fish?”                    
                     
“No.   No fish, chicken, beef or anything like that.  We do eat eggs and milk, though.”  His throat tensed with every explanation. His briefcase clip made a rhythmic, metallic click under his nervous hand.  After the last eight hours spent making and remaking lesson plans naïvely seeking her approval, I couldn’t manage a look at her.  Shifting on the bread-colored leather seat, I looked instead out the window and let the neon shop signs overtake my train of thought.  I counted glowing red crosses atop churches.  Eleven if you count the ones just past those hills.  I had thought Koreans were Buddhists.

“Your parents are vegetarians?” Julia and Ian’s conversation had continued.

“Mine aren’t.  They eat a lot of meat, actually.  Casey’s mom is, though.”  Hearing my name drew me down from the hills and into the car.

“Oh, really?  It’s good to do.  You are nice children, obedient.”

       We drove a few minutes more in silence.  She began to mumble to herself and drive more slowly down the street.  I leaned toward her a little, worried she was trying to talk to us.  She wasn’t.  She dialed her phone.  A jeweled “J” swung heavily on it.  I squinted into the headlights of the oncoming cars as we reversed directions on the four lane street.  After a minute- long exasperated phone call punctuated by considerable sighing, she made another U-turn and we pulled into a nearly empty parking lot.

       I tried and failed to sound out the elaborately written Korean on the fluorescent sign.  Small, blocky type in the lower right corner answered me: “Vietnam Cuisine”.

************************

For those of you that read the Jecheon blog, is there a particular "episode" that you think would be good tackled in short story format? I want to get a few more stories (flash or longer) out before I begin to hunker down and work on putting a book together, something I know little to nothing about accomplishing. Let me know!

Good night!

Presentable

Soon I will no longer be embarrassed to invite people over to our apartment!  Very soon!

Progress:

I replaced the cover for the futon and got some cheap pillows.

I ordered (and picked up) my photo prints from Costco and marked up the layout with paper on the walls. 11 4x6, 22 8x10 and 3 11x14...  I'm glad my brother sells awesome framing for a living.


Not necessarily apartment related, but Ava was excitedly watching crows out the back bedroom window and chirping at them.

When I post the draft of "Welcome Dinner" (I'm still not sold on that title), do you guys want me to highlight the text or no?

Good night!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth

Ian and I didn't get to head over to my Gramma's (on Mason Lake) yesterday like we traditionally would have.  We still tried to make the most of it and checked out what was going on downtown and on the waterfront.

Pardon the "artistic" photos.  I'm still using my phone and begging everyone I know to go in together and get me a camera for my birthday.


The waterfront was a madhouse.


People were lighting fireworks in the dry fountain bed.  Some folks were also lighting them on the path, forcing walkers to duck and cover.


Ian trying to find a pub.


We found Kell's.


This trumpeteer was trying to play a Beatles song (I can't remember which one), but failing horribly.  He kept stopping and trying again.  Eventually he gave up and just sat there for a few minutes.


We happened upon a ...bucket circle. They were actually really good.  When we first came up to it, there was a little kid dancing like mad.  People were putting money at his feet.  When he was done the drummer in the middle (no shirt) came up and gathered the money.  I worried that he was going to take it, but he gave it all to the little boy.  That made me feel pretty good about him, so I put a couple of dollars in the bucket and several other people did, too.

Some people were trying to sell stuff (drinks, glow sticks, jewelry, etc.) down by the waterfront.  One lady passed us with her cooler and she was slinging soda and water.  She was barking (meaning she had a sort of shpeel she yelled to get folks' attention), which isn't something you see often in the states.  It reminded us of the beach in Spain where a guy was hawking drinks with a little "rhyme" (water, lemonade, orangeade, Coca Cola in Spanish).  Ian then proceeded to spend the next few minutes trying to recapture that little song, but he simply couldn't get "anaranjada" (orangeade).  I just realized that I gave him the wrong word, anyway, as the one that starts with the 'a' refers to the color.  It should be "naranjada."  Oh well, don't tell him.  I rotated the video, but then I lost the sound.  I'm too tired to troubleshoot, so kindly turn your heads.

video

I'll post the draft that I submit to Pure Slush tomorrow.

Good night!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Few More Changes

It's 476 words.  I'm looking for minimalist expression here.  I want every sentence to accomplish something on it's own and within the whole.  So, am I close?  Oh, and I'm not sure whether the crazy text highlighting will help or hinder you.

*************************

We followed Julia to the car.  Like her, it was stately, expensive and a little intimidating.  The black sedan was matter of fact and though she had probably owned it for months, the interior looked and smelled as if she had bought it earlier that day.  She motioned for us to take the back seats as she slid into the driver’s.  I sat.  The awkward roil in my stomach was something that I was growing accustomed to in the three days that I had been in Korea.

“Where are we eating dinner, again?”  I felt like Julia had given Ian more details.

“I don’t know. “ He leaned forward. “Julia, where are we going to eat?”

“Uh,” then she said something I didn’t understand.  I tried to work it out in my head.  ‘Bead-um’ is what I had heard her say.  I spent the next several minutes running through every food or type of food that started with the letter B.  While I was playing my own personal alphabet game, Ian was productively narrowing it down. 

“Rice, vegetable, fish, soup,” Julia was continuing to Ian.

“Does she remember that we’re vegetarians?” I was letting Ian take all the falls tonight.  He tentatively reminded her.

“Oh, yes.  Okay.  You eat fish?”

“No.   No fish, chicken, beef or anything like that.  We do eat eggs and milk, though.”  His throat tensed with every explanation. His briefcase clip made a rhythmic, metallic click under his nervous hand.  After the last eight hours spent making and remaking lesson plans naïvely seeking her approval, I couldn’t manage a look at her.  Shifting on the bread colored leather seat, I looked instead out the window and let the neon shop signs overtake my train of thought.  I counted glowing red crosses atop churches.  Eleven if you count the ones just past those hills.  I thought Koreans were Buddhists.

“Your parents are vegetarians?” Julia and Ian’s conversation had continued.

“Mine aren’t.  They eat a lot of meat, actually.  Casey’s mom is, though.”  Hearing my name drew me down from the hills and into the car.

“Oh, really?  It’s good to do.  You are nice children, obedient.”

We drove a few minutes more in silence.  She began to mumble to herself and drive more slowly down the street.  I leaned toward her a little, worried she was trying to talk to us.  She wasn’t.  She dialed her phone.  A jeweled “J” swung heavily on it.  I squinted into the headlights of the oncoming cars as we reversed directions on the four lane street.  After a minute long exasperated phone call punctuated by considerable sighing, she made another U-turn and we pulled into a nearly empty parking lot.  I tried and failed to sound out the elaborately written Korean on the fluorescent sign.  Small, blocky type in the lower right corner answered me: “Vietnam Cuisine”.