Thursday, July 30, 2009

In which I look like I have the plague

So we went to the beach... because after all that is what you do when you are AT THE BEACH! And I put on sunscreen, twice, in three hours.

But I still look like this:

I think the problem was during the re-application process, but one can't be too sure about these things. You see, after laying on our towels basking in the sun and attempting to ignore the overly fit people who made us feel inadequate, we went into the ocean to play. The wind was really strong, and so was the undercurrent so after a while we went back to the land to dry off.

Kyle and I wanted to to build a sandcastle.

We wanted it to look something like this:
or this

but instead it turned out more like this:

or this:

except we adorned it with a spiny rope I found in the ocean probably broken off from a pirate ship blown off after a cannon fight. Either that or it was sent from a deserted island to alert someone of their presence and their need for assistance. Those are the two most likely possibilities for that rope. It had spines and other green things growing on it as proof of it's long voyage from the pirate ship and/or deserted island. And as an extra addition we added pineapple leaves from a pineapple we found floating in the ocean half eaten by birds. Our sandcastle did have a mote however- which was our main achievement. Either way, it wasn't a sandcastle to be proud of. I wish I had had my camera so I could share our sad castle with you but we didn't bring it because wind, sand and nice a camera unprotected are not always a good combo.

But back to THE PLAGUE...

After we returned from frolicking in the ocean, I decided to air dry before re-applying. I did this while building the castle aka blob, which resulted in my entire body being crusted in sand. I couldn't use our towels as they were also covered in sand. So I then attempted to re-apply with the sand. I do think I succeeded in a proper exfoliation of 6 of my 7 layers of skin, but I don't know how much of the sunscreen made it to my skin and how much was lost to the sand and excess water. As you can see by the pictures above, the application process failed somewhere. It doesn't help that I am Casper. Kyle is so florescent white that his skin reflects the sunlight somewhere else and somehow escapes the burning caused from the suns evil rays.

Morals of the story:

Our sand castle sucked. We need more practice

White people weren't made for the sun. Especially those who look like Casper.

And I look like I have the plague but not to fear, it's not contagious.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eggs benedict (The low fat version)

We made the eggs benedict this morning.

How was it you ask? Let's ask the eaters...

Kyle: I thought it was great!

Elizabeth: I thought it was great too! (Did I mention that Elizabeth Grojean from the famous Grojean family has come to visit us for a couple of days) It should be mentioned that this was her first time trying eggs benedict.

Me: It was good, not as good as the fattening version obviously, but worth trying again!

Average result: Great= success!

So as I mentioned before, if it turned out to be edible, I would share the low fat recipe with you. So here it is.

And the recipe:

Servings = 1 | Serving size =1 egg with 1/2 muffin and 2 Tbsp. sauce

Cooking Time = 30 Minutes

This recipe can be multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

This recipe also requires making Hollandaise Sauce

This doesn't keep well and should be eaten immediately.

2 quarts water
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
5 asparagus spears
1/2 English muffin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp hollandaise sauce

Heat one quart of water in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. The water should never come to a full boil (see the sidebar on poaching). Place the asparagus spears in the water and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes until they are bright green and only very slightly limp. Remove and place on a paper towel.

Keep the water in this first pan at the poaching stage and place the second quart of water in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vinegar. Bring the water/vinegar mixture to a shiver.

After both of the pans are at poaching stage, add the asparagus back into the first pot of water.

Remove the egg from the refrigerator and crack it into a teacup or custard dish. Gently place the egg in the water with the vinegar. As the egg begins to cook, place a half of an English muffin in the toaster and start toasting.

Heat the hollandaise sauce gently over low heat stirring frequently. Do not let it boil.

At the time the English muffin is done, the asparagus and eggs should be nearly finished cooking. The hollandaise has to be hot, but not too hot, or the egg that is in the sauce will overcook and curdle.

Assemble each serving by placing the English muffin (nook and cranny side up) on a warm dinner plate and top with the blanched asparagus spears. Place the poached egg over the asparagus and then spoon 2 tablespoons of hollandaise sauce over the top of the egg.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size = 1 egg with muffin and 2 Tbsp. sauce

Servings = 1


Amount Per Serving

Calories 192 Calories from Fat 62

% Daily Value
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 239mg 80%
Sodium 250mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Sugars 3g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A 19% Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 12% Iron 17%
Vitamin K 34 mcg Potassium 277 mg
Magnesium 21 mg

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's happenin at the beach

The day begins when we lazily get up. And I should emphasize LAZY here as it is an important word to keep in mind. We have had difficulty waking before 11:00 am nearly every morning.

Breakfast- we are trying to be good eaters so I bought several grapefruits which we adorn with cinnamen and honey and stick in the broiler for five minutes. Yummy. Either that or blueberry waffles. Kyle has also insisted that in order for him to be fully happy, he requires that we make eggs benidict one morning. So we found a very low fat recipe, and if it is good, I will share it with you.

After we break the fast- check emails, lay out in the sun, read. I am currently reading "The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B" which is amazing. It is part of a trilogy about the wife of Napolean Bonapart. I am really loving it and it is an easy read because it is in journal style.

After lazy time- we force ourselves to do part of the P90x program. Yesterday was yoga and it kicked our behinds. It isn't yo grandma's yoga yo! Today is legs and abs, I am shivering in my booties.

After exercising- we have a number of options
-go to the beach after the sun has started to go down a bit so that we don't scorch
-read some more
-do some shopping with our imaginary money

And in the evening we watch a movie. Last night was "Forgetting Sarah Marshal" super funny, but tonight we will watch "Pride and Prejudice" the new version. I am ignoring the whining and complaining as often happens when I want to watch a "girl" movie. But secretly I think Kyle enjoys these movies, he just feels it is his civil duty as a male to complain at great lengths before watching said "chick flicks".

p.s. I wish we could take credit for these awesome wave photos but I must admit they were sent to me in an email. They are super beautiful though eh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rest and at least

Progress update: Still no progress.
Emotional update: General demeanor and emotional wellbeing has vastly improved since the arrival of wife. Stress level still above normal and steadily increasing but not quite in the red.
Physical update: Still overweight but with wife home, caloric intake has gone down almost 25%!!! Just started the p90x program as well and I gotta say, it’s by far the most intense exercise routine I’ve ever done. I can totally see it working, assuming it doesn’t kill us first!
So Van and I decided that while it was wonderful seeing friends and family this past week, we needed some time just to ourselves. After toiling over where to go, what to do, and getting some excellent suggestions from everyone, we decided to go the cheap route. Cheap as in free route. My grandparents have taken a trip to New Mexico, so we have invaded their beach house! So far it’s been absolutely wonderful. It’s been just what the doctor ordered. Anyways, just wanted to say thanks to all who sent suggestions!

P.S. After receiving an email claiming that this month Mars would be very large to the naked eye, I was very disappointed to find out recently that Mars will never appear to be the same size as the full moon as it claimed.  I was surprised to find out that the email being sent around is almost 7 years old! Quite a lifespan for a hoaxmail message! For future reference though, if Mars does one day begin to appear as big as the full moon, find someone to hug cause we’ll have about 5 seconds left. ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A gift to my mom

Before we left for our get a way, my mom asked us, Kyle and I, to cut the dogs. One of the many ways we are trying to cut costs. Rather than getting our bichon frises professionally groomed, we are learning the specialized dog hair cutting techniques ourselves.

But, this time we decided that instead of giving them a "typical" bichon haircut, (see below)

we chose a more "modern" haircut.

Mohawks. Three dogs, three mohawks.

I just wish I could have been there to hear my mom scream when she saw the beautiful job we did. (note: It would have been even better had we bathed them so they actually looked white, and styled their mohawks! Next time!)

Anyone know who buys dog hair? I swear it looks like sheep wool! Who would know the difference?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Get a way

So we are going to the Texas coast for a little getaway tomorrow. It is very exiciting. I can't wait to have some quality time with my hubby. Sorry for my absence, I am sure you all understand though. I am still getting over my jetlag. For instance I took a 3 hour nap today after getting 8 hours of sleep last night.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Some of you may know this by now as the cat's been let out of the bag, but for those of you still in the dark, I AM HOME. Home as in Texas. No one get toooo excited as this is not a permanent move back home, but I will most likely be here for a few months. So to answer some of your questions:

Being away from your husband for 7 months is WAY too long. I love my husband and never wanted to be away from him for even a day and it was decided that we should no longer be apart.

Wait.. Why?:
Basically the school said that they could no longer hold Kyle's position for him and their wouldn't be another opening until probably October, maybe earlier. I sat down one day to discuss my expiring contract with my boss one morning when she broke the news. I could either choose voluntarily to be without my husband for three months or I could leave at the end of my contract which was the following week.

Who did you tell?
Kyle and people at my school. But because it all happened so fast, and unexpectedly, we decided to keep mum about it and surprise the folks at home. SURPRISE!

How did it feel seeing Kyle for the first time?
Honestly, it was really weird. You know the feeling when you look in a mirror and you don't recognize yourself, that was what it was like seeing Kyle for the first time when I was stepping off the plane. He seemed almost like a stranger to me, a stranger that I non-the-less couldn't stop kissing or hugging and wouldn't let go of. I had seen him several times a week when we would use skype so it wasn't as if I hadn't seen his new hair cut (which is SHORT) or didn't remember what he looked like, but seeing someone on a computer screen and seeing someone in real life are two entirely different things.

How do you feel?
I was excited coming home to Kyle and I am glad to see family and friends, but in all honesty, I feel emotionally numb. It wasn't how I wanted things to work out and I don't think I felt emotionally prepared for it all. The last time we unexpectedly had to come home for Grandma Dee Dee's funeral, I felt the same way, dulled, like my nerves had been shocked into submission.

How was your flight?
Excruciatingly long. I bought the ticket less than a week before departure so it was a)more expensive than I would have liked and b) had two layovers both 4 hours long! I left the school at 7:30am Monday morning in a taxi to get the airport bus for my 11:30 am flight. I arrived in San Antonio at 11:30 pm Monday evening which was the equivalent to 1:30 pm Tuesday in South Korea. So that is approx. 30 hours of traveling. But I was thankful for the most part that there few hiccups except for on the last stretch. My last flight was delayed for two hours because a coffee maker was leaking? And after we landed, I met with my stranger husband, we had gathered my bags and got in the car he handed me what looked similar to my baggage claim but he didn't tell me what it was, and I didn't ask, as I was a)exhausted and b) a little distracted reacquainting with my husband. However when we pulled up to the gate to pay the parking fee, Kyle asked me where I put the ticket. I had a vague memory of putting it in the car handle, but it was no longer there and was no where to be found. So we backed up and searched for it for a good ten minutes. I mean I didn't eat the ticket so I don't know where it could have gone. We decided after a long and fruitless search that we would pay the lost ticket fee. But... the insurance card and drivers license didn't match which is required for paying the lost ticket fee. They told us that we could call the owner but Kyle's phone isn't working and they wouldn't let us use their phone. "I can't let you take this vehicle out of this parking lot." said the unhelpful supervisor who then proceeded to go inside to play solitaire rather than try to help us. We looked some more throughout the car and on the pavement but after another ten minutes decided to try our luck again with a different agent whom luckily didn't noticed the name discrepancy and let us through, nearly an hour after I had arrived.

What are you plans?
We are trying to find a cheap get away for the two of us for the short term, any suggestions anyone? And as for the long term, that is undetermined.

Our first picture taken together since being back. We went to see Harry Potter, can you tell?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My life is so swampy right now!

This is what I look like right now! IT'S TRUE!!!

Ok gang, I know it’s been forever and a DECADE since I last wrote a post and I am sorry. I wish I had some good excuse to give you like; I’ve been soooo busy earning a living (hardly even close to true), or I have just been so tied up with all of my super creative endeavors that I just lose track of time what with my painting and poetry. The truth is, I’ve had the time. Not gonna lie about it. The problem I have is that I have become such an overly avoidant procrastinator that I seem to go out of my to avoid avoiding whatever it is I plan on doing tomorrow! HOWEVER, for some unknown reason which my wife has had absolutely no part in (wink) I feel compelled to write you all now with an update and a few mental antipasti I’ve been cookin up these past few weeks. Bon apetite!
Update: “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” A wonderful expression that in my mind conjures images of a large shiny boulder, truckin it’s way down a sunny hillside path, waving at the passing tree’s and crushing the obstacles in its path. Here’s another way to phrase it that’s a little bit more in line with how I’ve been feeling lately; “a sitting stone bakes in the blistering sun till night falls when creepy demons lurk in its shadow and gross stuff starts to grow on it as each day passes until after years and years of the same bird crapping on the top, the roots and bird crap eat away to its core and slowly crumble it apart from the inside out till there’s nothing left but dust!!! A little dramatic I suppose but that’s all I’ve got in my life right now guys! Ok, that’s not true. I have wonderful friends and family that care about me very much and lately, I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the concern and the company. All joking aside, yes, I am extremely frustrated with the situation and yes, I feel as though Van’s and my life has hit a metaphorical Great Wall of China, but I’m doing what I can to stay busy and while I don’t seem to be handling things as well as I had hoped I would, CUT ME SOME FRIKIN SLACK, I’ve been apart from my wife for 6 damn months, I can’t get a steady job cause NO ONE is hiring part time, and I’m sick of being a 25 year old dependent FFS!!! OK, rant over, whining done. Truth is, things could be so much worse for us right now and we constantly have to remind ourselves of that fact when either of us is having a hard time dealing. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about recently as I trudge through this mucky swamp.
Mental Antipasti: Concerning expectations: It recently dawned on me that part of the reason people get so depressed is that we get up every morning with the expectation that things will not have changed. My Visa situation will still not be resolved, I will still weigh 20 lbs. more than I would like and I will still be just as avoidant as I have always been. Then one morning, for whatever reason a cat decides to wake you just as the sun is rising by licking the inside of your nostrils. He looks into your soul and says telepathically; “didn’t see that one coming did you stupid?” and as he struts off with that smug, holier than thou cat ambivalence, you remember that each day starts with infinite possibilities. Thank you QT. Thank you.
Concerning affection: We are all aware that most societies, including ours, dictate that men be rocks when it comes to emotional expression. Things seem to slowly be changing in this department and I don’t think it’s any secret that Rogers men never seem to have gotten that memo. Recently though, I have begun to notice something about myself that I hadn’t realized before. I need affection. My emotional instability has caused me to withdraw a bit from my social interactions, as I’m sure many of you have noticed and that, coupled with not having my wife to gushy with has made me realize just how important affection is to me. Every hand I shake seems more important, every hug seems more endearing. On an analytical level, I realize that what I might truly be missing is the reinforcement of other peoples love for me, and I’m sure that that’s true but I’ve never realized just how comforting it can be to get close to the ones you love.
I’ve got more I wanna share, but let’s be honest; if I make this post any longer, I’d lose half my audience!
Love you all!
P.S. Phone status is sketchy at best at the moment so please shoot me emails if you need/want to get in touch. I’m trying to get better about communicating guys, I really am!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mosquitoes GO AWAY!!

I have mentioned this before, probably multiple times, and most likely more times than you are interested in hearing, but I must once again whine about mosquito bites. The wonderful thing about the blogging world is that I can talk about what ever strikes my fancy, and when the actual walking, breathing human beings not in cyberspace are fed up with my grumbling, there is still the blogging medium to allow for even further complaints if I myself am not tired of hearing myself moan. So without further adieu let the grumbling about mosquito commence:

I love the outdoors, I especially love warm summer nights with refreshing breezes softly tickling my neck. What I do NOT love about the outdoors in summer, however, is the mosquitoes. We live in this beautiful secluded area surrounded by mountains and trees. I find our school an oasis in a desert of concrete, monolithic buildings. Coming home from the hustle and bustle of typical Korean city life, is incredibly relieving. All of my worries evaporate into the mountain air. I often go the balcony, lay in the hammock, attempt to live in the moment and think only about my breathing. In the evenings we escape our sauna of a lounge for a cooler place to hang out. But recently we have been joined by unwelcome guests, mosquitoes. And no matter the amount of bug spray used, they seem to zone in on my blood and ignore what is meant to repel them from sucking my blood. A couple of evenings ago, I choose to battle them with extra clothing. Rather than only using repellent as protection, I covered myself from head to toe in sweat pants a jacket, and socks. The only areas on my body exposed to the night air were my face and my hands. My hands were the first attacked. They made a b-line for the tip of my ring finger, distorting my fingerprint, and the spot directly under the cuticle of my forefinger. They had found my weakness, so I tucked my hands safely inside my sweat jacket. Or so I thought they would be safe. Little did I know that these beasts, when hungry, will be stopped by nothing, even clothing. I felt him first, the little blood sucker, and then in horror realized that he had found a way to stick his sucker through my clothing to find my hidden blood line. After this happened two more times, I gave up the fight and went inside to watch T.V. Now, I should say, I have never been tested for an allergy to mosquitoes, but judging by my abnormally violent reactions, I assume that I am allergic and no anti-itch cream would soothe the constant itching. Ice is my one and only cure and I sleep with it in bed. Typically at home, if I don't touch the bite, it will stop itching within a couple of hours and wont bother me, but not these suckers, these babies festered for days.
The most obvious bite, but taken two days after the biting occurred. The other two were worse but situated very close to my butt and I felt this audience might not appreciate getting so close to that region.

In class, my students noticed my most obvious bite in horror. In stationary store, we talk about how 4 billion trees are cut down every year to make paper. After discussing this, I try to drive home the point by asking,
"What lives in trees." I get lots of different answers but birds are always on the list.
"So," I continue, "what happens to the birds if they don't have a home."
"They die," some of the kids respond.
"What do birds eat?" I ask
Sometimes the kids know the answers and sometimes they just stare at their shoes.
"Mosquitoes" I say with fever, as they are my arch-nemesis. "And what happens if we cut down the birds homes, and they die?"
"Many mosquitoes" one kid will offer.
"That is right. Who likes mosquitoes?"

And as if to illustrate the point a mosquito zoomed over a child's head as I asked this question. "Look teacher, a mosquito."
"Kill it!" I screeched.

The class then went into a frenzy to kill the insect that no one seems to like or need. Many kids stood up and started slapping at the air. We all watched carefully, our hunting instincts alert, trying to track its movements so as not to loose it before it struck. We eventually captured him and I took great pleasure in killing it. It must have been a hilarious seen to any on looker, but if I can help it, I will allow no mosquito to exists in my vicinity as I know what they are after. I am not a violent person, and I don't say this about many things but I HATE with a capitol 'H' mosquitoes and genuinely wish that their existence would vanish. The other day, I tried to look up whether mosquitoes had a greater purpose in the animal kingdom, and I could find non except that they provide food for animals such as dragonflies and birds, but I am pretty sure those animals could find another source of food if the mosquitoes were to disappear for all eternity. Whose with me!?

The inflamed areas would grow and decrease depending on the heat of the room. Occasionally the inflammation would snake all the way to inside of my elbow, which I found odd. I wouldn't have believed it to be a mosquito bite had I not caught him red-handed.

p.s. I have been told in the past that mosquitoes are actually female, but I don't have concrete facts on this so I took liberty to call them males. :)

Sunday, July 05, 2009


What is it that you see? What do you think this is?

When I first saw this photo, I thought it was just another piece of amazing artwork. A really beautiful flower maybe.

If you said that this is a high resolution photo of a sunspot, and first ever model of a full sunspot you would be correct!!

What is a sunspot?
A sunspot is basically a blemish on the Sun, like the acne of stars. I wish my pimples were as beautiful as this, then maybe I wouldn't mind them so much.

It's amazing what is out there isn't it. So many beautiful things. When life doesn't seem very kind, it's nice to have reminders of the awe inspiring elegance of nature. It helps to remove us from our own negative thoughts, to bring us back to the world beyond us.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What happens without A.C.?

The simple answer: We melt !

Hot air rises. It creeps up the carpeted stairs, and wriggles it's way up to the tippity top, until there is no where else for it to go. The air molecules physically change once they find themselves on the fourth floor, the place where we live and attempt to sleep. It as if, they go wild once they realize they have no where else to climb to, and frantically search each nook and cranny for an escape route to some higher place. The air maddens as it bounces from wall to wall, sweating profusely and finding nothing. As we walk up the stairs, the air noticeably changes from warm to hot to unbearable. It is like walking into a wall of mobilized, demented and inflamed air molecules looking for someone to inflict suffering. And suffer we do. The balcony would be a wonderful reprieve if the mosquitoes weren't also searching for victims in hordes. One of our favorite activities is to sit on the balcony in the evening sipping wine and enjoying the breeze, however, we have recently had unwelcomed company. I, armed my body with repellent last time we sat on the balcony, only have two new bites to my name, however the rest of the folks suffered major causalities in upwards of 30 or more bites a piece. But before you casually blow off those measly two bites, I can assure you, my few bites were ferocious. So incensed in fact that they swole to 2 inches in diameter.

In the evening I lay in bed, with as few clothes as I can manage, praying for a breeze, a slight movement of the air. Trickles of salt water tickle my neck as they run their course downwards. My body softens in the heat, like an apple in an oven, and slowly the molecules break down into mush and finally liquid. I am no longer in solid form, but liquid Vanessa. I slide into the creases of the comforter I have on the bed for extra cushioning, slipping and sloshing as I become a river within the wrinkles of the yellow comforter. I imagine this happening, as the night air refuses to release the heat, but the savage stinging and itching caused by my monstrous mosquito bites bring me back to solid form.

Our A.C. should be fixed within the week, but by then I might actually have melted only to evaporate into thin air.