A teardrop on Valentine's

It's not what you think.

M'bro, a musician, is on a mini-tour at the moment, bouncing around from Hawaii, to Denver, to New Orleans, to Austin...and while in Austin, he decided to drive up to Dallas for a day and surprise Old Man Pops.  That day happened to be Valentine's day, and so born was "The Awesome Family's Valentine's 2011." 

Old Man Pops was pleasantly surprised, though he played it off, according to m'bro:  apparently he just opened the front door and said "oh, hey, you're here?"  I thought it would have been better if m'bro had torn up his clothes, slung mud all over himself, and staggered inside ala "Shaun of the Dead" style, but whatever.  Instead, he bebopped in and they did electronic-y man things all night.

We decided on sushi for Valentine's dinner.  For some reason, m'bro felt like crying and ordered a Teardrop roll.  We've established that I like it hot,  but that doesn't necessarily translate to food.  Usually with Tex-Mex, yes, the spicier the better.  But when it comes to sushi, at least, wasabi ain't my pal.

I had my first experience with sushi while I was in college (remember 8ish years ago when sushi restaurants suddenly appeared everywhere from out of the blue?).  I had no idea what to expect, as this was back in the day when I was a picky eater and afraid to try new foods.  When I saw the green spoonful of what I resembled avocado, I was relieved.  "This won't be so bad," I thought.  Anytime there's avocado, it's got to be good.  My friends felt the element of surprise would fare better than their warnings.  I.e., my head exploded.

So, when m'bro tossed around the Teardrop idea, I was hesitant, given my history with the green devil.  Described as "seaweed-wrapped morsel of finely diced, pickled wasabi plant," I just wasn't sold.  Our ever persuasive server told us they didn't have any horseradish, so it couldn't be that bad (snickering all the while he convinced us).  Still not sold, but I eventually agreed.  Time to leave the past behind, right?  And truly, perhaps because I was prepared this time, it actually wasn't that bad.  Sure, there is a moment of sheer panic with your first breath after chewing/swallowing and you feel as if your brain has caught fire through your nose.  And there might have been a millisecond of completely losing any sense of smell...and sight...even hearing, possibly...but after the mild panic attack, complete with flailing arms and whimpering, there was a sort of cleansed feeling, likely attributed to the fact that there were no more tears left to shed.  That, and our taste buds were completely burned off.

Teardroppin' all over the place

Turns out, our server was Korean and from Busan, which is the coastal city I'm targeting to live in.  He was born there and goes back to visit every year.  He shared some info about the city and told me I'd really like it. A nice affirmation.

Then, in my wasabi'd state, I asked the native Korean speaker how he learned the language and whether he had suggestions for Korean Language systems.

Here's hoping I don't have permanent brain damage.


This post has nothing to do with South Korea

Two posts in a row about cold, cold Dallas...it's consuming me and I'm snow-ver it.  But!  I'm putting my snow scrooge aside to share the only fun part about freezing:  snowdogs.

Meet Nelson, my current foster puppy.  I was asked to go pick up a rottweiler puppy that had been dumped in the freezing rain, and he turned out to be this mini-schnauzer looking thingie:


Nelson hasn't been a big fan of the freezing temps.  He shivers so much he's like a little vibrating wind up toy.  He spends more time in my arms and zipped in my jacket than in the snow:

Keepin' those paws dry

Mikey, in typical Mikey fashion, goes from one end of the snow spectrum to the other:

Step 1) glare at mom, look around clueless, cry:

hate it

Step 2) figure it, fly like the wind:

love it

It's not just the dogs that make the best of the elements.  Early yesterday, I watched my neighbor sculpting in our courtyard, all alone, totally entertaining himself (anything is entertaining after 4 days of citywide shutdown).  I am impressed that he had a wig on hand for his sunbathing snow-woman:


So, blahblah, this weather can be fun, thanks to snowdogs and sculpting neighbors.  Still, my sentiments remain.  Luckily, we're supposed to resume our 60 degree temps next weekend.  And if we don't, I'm going to Florida:

Until then, go Packers go (really sorry about the Super Bowl weather)!

- K-k-k-kate <---get it?  I'm shivering.


Kate + Cold Weather = cry cry cry

While the city of Dallas drives me insane from time to time for various reasons, I have to admit:  I love the weather.  Despite my being somewhat of an albino, the sun and I get along very well.  Hot: I like it, it's what I do.  Don't get that confused; it doesn't mean I'm "hot."  Quite the opposite, in fact, as my love results in massive amounts of sunscreen + sweat = a general thumbs down in the looks department.  For that reason, I tend to rely on the trusty old "I just came from the pool/gym" excuse, even if it's not true.  I have to somehow justify the reason for why I'm always walking around looking/smelling like a wet dog/rat...

Currently, Dallas' weather is failing me.  Yet again, from sunny and 75 degrees on Sunday, to a high of 20 degrees with snow, ice, and wind that causes tears to stream uncontrollably from my eyes today (whatever, yes, that's actually just me crying because it's so cold, but I'm blaming the wind).  The low tomorrow is 7 degrees.  7?  What is that?  Also, that snow out there?  That snow is covering ice.  That's just tricky and mean.  Even the dogs got duped.

When I'm cold, there's not a thing in the world that will warm me up.  Nothing.  I (stupidly, I now realize) came very close to a job offer in DC last year.  What was I thinking?  There is no way.  No way would I have survived the Snowpacalypse, Thunder Snow, Snowmageddon, and whatever other cleverly nicknamed snowstorms the Northeast keeps getting pounded with.  Also, for the record, nicknaming the winter storms doesn't make them cute.  They still look miserable.

That said, I feel like maybe I should go out and fully brave the current elements for a little taste to prepare myself, because, as Old Man Pops keeps reminding me (perhaps in an effort to keep me from leaving?)  South Korean winters are no joke.  I looked it up.  He's right.  The average winter high is 25 degrees.

The only thing that makes me feel better about going forth into such madness is Ondol.  Kate!  What's Ondol?  Ondol is something I wish I had even on hot summer days.  Ondol is....<drumroll>...HEATED FLOORS!  It's a Korean thing.  It should be an Everyone thing.

You'd never guess, right?

The Waygook Effect says "you will find excuses to read, eat, chat, watch TV, or sleep on the floor because Korea can get so cold" and explains this genius more thoroughly:  "Everyone knows that heat rises, so the most efficient way to disperse heat in a home is to release it through the floor and allow it to rise up through an entire room."  Genius.  And apparently not just in homes, but in public gathering spaces, as well.

So, from 20 degrees in Dallas with cold, concrete floors (I do not live in a jail cell, I live in a loft downtown; lofts have concrete floors), to 20 degree winters in Korea with heated floors...I'm upgrading.

Shiver me timbers -