Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Someday is better than never.

In the very beginning, before me (and Georgetown), had convinced Mr. Penny he could shoot higher, he was focused solely on the University of Idaho for law school.

When we came here, the plan was to stay 9 months, save some money, and go home to start law school this fall, 2010.

Well, we got here, and we took a real good look at our finances, moving expenses, college loans and wedding debt --

Just a side note. If there is one possible bit of advice I could give to the engaged, it is this: Under no circumstances should you take out debt to pay for your wedding. I don't care if you want the pink flowers, or that real big dress, or a super great cake. It is a terrible plan. From one newlywed to another. Live within your means.


-- and it quickly became apparent that if we wanted to cut up our credit card, we'd have to stay an extra year.

So, law school was pushed back to the fall of 2011.

THEN Mr. Penny gets the email from Georgetown Law. He's accepted.

Silly Mr. Penny, he never thought he'd get in, but, of course, His Royal Smartness did.

We were going to Georgetown.

Until he realized if one top ten school would take him, maybe a few other would as well.

A month later, we were going to Stanford. Definitely Stanford.

Or Berkeley?

After that, Cornell. Because Cornell is ivy league and we're so going to Cornell.

Then somewhere in Virginia. Or Chicago?

Maybe he'd test again and try for Harvard, but not Yale. Too competitive.

But Harvard's not?

Now, it's Columbia. Definitely Columbia because it's number 4 (depending who's making the list).

And now I'm hearing, "When we move to New York, we won't be able to own a car, you know," and, "I think we can look for an apartment in the 1,000-1,200 range," and, "New York isn't as hot as Korea, is it?"

I believe him every single time he changes his mine, as much as he believes himself, but this time I think it might be real. I looked a few things up, calculated his chances. He's not exactly a shoe-in, but he's got about a 75%-85% chance. Maybe better.

Initially, Manhattan was the only place I didn't want to go. Well, there or Washington, D.C. I was hoping for Cornell, honestly. I love upstate New York.

But, the more we talk and the more we read and look at apartments, the more I remember those dreams of young adulthood to live in a cramped apartment, in the big city. I won't be able to own a fuzzy, lazy, lumpy cat (Mr.'s allergic), but there will be coffee and red wine and, sometimes, noodles and movies and crusty bread. And raw milk from upstate. I looked it up.

I like the countryside, I've realized that as I've gotten oh-so-old. I love Idaho's flat valleys and stiff, desert mountains. I love the bare farmland and the openness of being twenty miles from the freeway and I want to raise babies there and grow old in the dry, cracked desert. I never thought I'd want to stay in Idaho forever, but I do. Oh, how I do.

And not just because we're away now either.

Still, a few years in the city? I'd forgotten that was a dream, too, until we really started thinking.

And I could go to 15th Street Meeting on First Day, which is maybe my most favorite Quaker meeting house of all time.

And M&J Trimmings, which is where I got my wedding pearls. And the Japanese bookstore with its craft books, and they have SANDWICHES in America, don't they? And some of the best in New York City.

So, I think we might be happy. We won't be in the country with the dirt between our toes, but we will be someday and someday is better than never.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Pockets Skirt

Well, I got the camera battery plugged in and ran upstairs for the rest of the light to snag some.. blurry pictures. It was too late to catch the dancers or the giant, roadside TV screen, so I took some of my latest sewing project instead.

Some background info.

I heart sewing, enough that I own not one sewing machine, but three (although only one of them works...so.). They are both, however, in the United States, where I - stupidly - left them.

I never, not in a million years, saw myself sewing by hand. We always had a sewing machine, a giant brick of an Elna that lasted my mother from the time she was 20 until the time I was 20, when I broke it. Eep.

Now, it's mine, and I need to get it fixed.

So, I've always had a machine, right on hand.

Until now.

Now, I'm the dork who sews by hand. Do I feel dorky? Oh, pretty much.

It takes FOREVER. For-freaking-ever.

I knit more than I'll ever sew, and knitting anything bigger than a bootie takes a lifetime, so I've learned a smidge of crafting patience in my short lifetime, but not when it comes to sewing. Sewing projects are supposed to take hours, not days!

I now have a much greater appreciation for the handiwork of all pre-sewing machine generations, and a creepy callous on the inside of my right middle finger where I am forever stabbing myself with the cheap needle I kiped from a hotel sewing kit.

Still. I am able to sew here. And that is a big deal in itself, considering I can't make a sandwich, buy a milkshake, or do a lot of other things. So, I will be grateful for that. And, all in all, it is making me a better, more patient crafter, and it is certainly improving my hand sewing skillz, which is to say.. making them passable as opposed to non-existent.

Anyway. The skirt.

I am okay with it. Not sure if I like it.

But I do that. Go through The Ten Stages of Make.

1. Have an idea
2. Gather materials to actualize idea
3. Become very excited about idea's potential
4. Have an idea crisis, in which the quality and aesthetics of actualization come into question.
5. Resolve myself to finish actualization, even it results in death, because, as Mr. Penny often reminds me, I am fickle and what I hate can quickly become what I love. You can't know if something will be a success until you actually finish it, after all.
6. Start to resent project
7. Finish project and abandon it in ambivalence
8. Find project laying around three weeks later and realize it's not all that bad after all and I can't see the crappy stitching anymore either.
8. Find project laying around three weeks later and dismantle it in frustration.

That only 8. Guess I lied.

Anyway, I'm in the ambivalence stage of make.

I wanted a skirt with four pockets.

I take that back. What I really wanted, was a skirt like this one because we all know there is nothing better than little kid clothes and I can make myself little kid clothes if I want to, so there.

But it has four pockets. It's a little longer than I'd hoped, though.

It seems no matter how much measuring or math I do, things never go as planned. I tend to either abandon dreams of perfection or use/alter patterns. But I don't have patterns here.

Because I brought oatmeal instead.


Maybe it's shoddy workmanship will start to grow on me. We'll just wait three weeks and see, I guess.

I do quite like the buttons, which my mother sent me from America. I believe she picked them up at her favorite thrift store, the one she likes to call, "The Mennonite Place". And I'm willing to call it whatever she wants so long as she keeps sending me it's sweet little treasures.

So far, I've been given vintage buttons (which included little bunches of mother of pearls, buttons my mother guards with her life, so this was quite a sacrifice for her), lots of vintage zippers and rick rack, and this sweet little old darning egg.

Maybe I'll take pictures of those next.

Vintage buttons are like buttercream frosting. They look good enough to eat! I always think they might just mush in my mouth like cupcake tops.

I'll probably come around to this dumb thing and I can always raise the hem to make it shorter.

Whatever. Ambivalence has definitely set in. As far as I'm concerned, if I never have to see the thing again, I'll be a happy camper.

Although I may just put it on simply for the buttercream buttons.....

We Shall Not Be Moved.

The Korean regional elections are coming up. In.. a week or two, Mr. Penny says.

(I can't keep up with American politics, much less Korean ones - thankfully, I married a Politics major)

There is some great campaigning going on. Candidates are wandering around. There are GIANT television screens driving through town on the backs of big trucks. Someone hired about six women to wear orange safety vests and wave Korean flags while dancing by the roadside. There are other dancers riding on the backs of more big trucks, dancing precariously as they lurch along to pulsing K-pop. And still more big trucks with loudspeakers, driving about town, blasting what I can only assume is campaign rhetoric.

I wish I had pictures and I would if, A.) taking pictures didn't make me feel like more of a sore thumb than my pale skin and light brown hair already do, and B.) my camera battery hadn't JUST passed out.

It's not an excuse!

Right now, there's a large choir along the street, singing, "We Shall Not Be Moved", alternately in Korean and English.

Sometimes I wish we were this shameless in America... Something about it just feels so much more honest.

Plus, it's totally funnier.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A Few Tiny Favorites

I am in love with these spoons from finelittleday.com. Everything there is so cute it positively hurts.

First, I want to touch them. Just run my fingers over their soft, shiny selves. Then I want to own them. All of them, every last one.

Oh, sigh.

If you haven't been there, you should check it out. You won't be disappointed. There's a blog too.

And while you're there, snag me one of these treasures...

Do you ever just envy the creativity of other people and covet it for yourself? I'm sure I shouldn't, but some days it's pure lust over here.

Why can't I live in Sweden and be cool? ;)

Oh, well, until then I will live vicariously through the loveliness of others.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Rainy Walk

It's our first spring in Korea, so the cycle of weather is new to us. Being from Southern Idaho, we're used to a dry, arid climate - everything that Korea is not.

So, it's probably normal for here, but to us, it's been a lovely, rainy spring. In the past week, it's stopped raining only twice, and only in order to get blistering hot and humid.

Needless to say, we favor the rain. :)

And today, arming ourselves with umbrellas, we went for a pleasant Sunday walk in it.

I just love the way the streets and pavement look in the rain. As shiny as patent leather.

A little roadside garden. I'm constantly amazed by the creativity of the people in our neighborhood. They can take whatever they have and turn it into something useful. I'm trying to watch closely and learn from them, but I swear they're just born with an innate sense of brilliance.

A couple pictures of my Tea Leaves Cardigan, from the amazing pattern by Madeline Tosh. I know the pictures could be better, but I forgot to have Mr. Penny take any of the sweater itself.

As a side note, I just love Madeline Tosh's patterns. They're always so simple and graceful. The Tea Leaves Cardigan is a perfect rainy day sweater and since I finished it earlier this month, I didn't think I'd get a chance to wear it until fall, but I did! That alone was worth the walk around town.

The roses outside one of our local churches. They smell so good.

Here's a photo of our next door neighbor's roof top garden. The white pipes on top act like ribs to hold a plastic tarp so her garden is a greenhouse in the winter and a garden in the summer.

And our own roof top tomato plants:

Nothing nearly as exciting as everyone else's container gardens, but we hope they'll turn out.

Sorry for the picture overload, the light was just so perfect today, I couldn't help myself.