Immortality

Reflections upon nearly completing a long four day weekend:

If I only had 80 days to live I’d want to spend them in Anjeong-ri. Every day here seems like an eternity.

Coincidentally, I have 81 days left in my life. My working life that is.

I’m ready to be reborn in re-retirement.

Hurry sundown!

Making friends

Well, I achieved the 500 facebook friends milestone. That’s my limit. Any additional adds means someone gets cut. Won’t be a problem though since I’m probably only interacting with 50 or so of these “friends” anyway.

In the realm of “real” friends, I want to give a shout out to Evangeline. She’s someone I’ve “known” online since 2009. When I made the decision to marry Jee Yeun I needed to end our contact. That hurt her I know, but I didn’t have any choice. Once I committed to married life, I had to leave the Philippines and Filipinas behind. A lot of good that did me.

Anyway, after the breakup Eva left a comment on my blog and we reconnected. I had her over for a visit last year and showed her around Korea. It was nice to finally meet her in person, but we were in different places emotionally. I was in denial about my love for Loraine and she was I think hoping to rekindle our previous online romance in the 3D world. Well, that didn’t work out, but to her credit and my good fortune we have developed a very robust and satisfying friendship. I actually consider her my best friend these days. We are open about the things happening in our lives, good and bad. We share words of wisdom, comfort and support with one another. There is a level of trust and honesty between us that has been pretty rare in my life. It’s meant a lot that she has stood by me during my recent heartbreak. Thank you for that, Eva!

Also in the realm of online friendship, I reached out to a fellow member of a PI Forum I’ve communicated with in the past as he hadn’t posted in quite sometime. Turns out he is doing quite well these days. He read about the spectacular failure of my “brand new plan” (hiring someone to be my caregiver/girlfriend) and shared these insights:

Hi John,

I remember your plan about the care-giver. I have not kept up with the PA updates since June of last year. I am reading now your developments since then. quite an emotional trip you’ve had.

We have some similarities in our experiences, you and me. As you know, I struggled for a couple of year to understand what I was going through. This is not easy stuff. PA addicts helps open our eyes and put things in perspective a bit, but it does not solve the problem. The Filipina is on one extreme of the continuum and the BMs here are on the other extreme, but the solution for you and me is in the middle-ground.

You are right in your description of the old foreigners in the bars and in SM, how they look lonely and empty. I see it in the eyes and on their faces every time I am there. Don’t buy their bullshit that they prefer to live this way, just meeting up a girl for p4p twice or three times a week, then live a lonely and empty life the rest of the week. This is all bullshit, they just don’t want to spend the money or they can’t handle a basic relationship. I feel sorry for them too – to drag their asses all the way to the Philippines so that they can live a lonely and purposeless life there? How sad is that?

There are a lot of foreigners who live in the PI who are in very happy relationships with Filipinas. Some have a traditional type relationship and some are swingers and are in open type relationships. If you are willing to spend the money, you can have any type of relationship you want over there. This is what I have learned. The girl will give you anything you want for the money, including affection and loyalty… everything for a price, and yes, that includes devotion and loyalty. Their minds just work different than ours, it is all about survival and the long game. BMs tell you that Filipinas live day by day and don’t think of the future? This is the biggest piece of crap I have heard, it is all about the long game and about the future with Filipinas, all about security in the LONG RUN. You have seen it with your girl and I have seen it with mine.

When I am in the Philippines, I stay in Angeles with my girlfriend. If you recall, she purchased a town home on the hills above Clark, I stay with her over there. We have an open relationship and we are having a lot of fun playing together with all kinds of other people. We are pretty much like Timanglove and his partner. After all that soul searching and deliberation, I have found that this is the only way I am comfortable in a relationship with her. It is not what she prefers, but it is what I prefer. And since I am the one with the resources, this is how it is.

Am I taking a chance that one day I might lose her to a Kev? Yes, but I have learned the hard way that the only way you can have a decent relationship with these Asian beauties is to make your rules clear and be willing to let them go if they cannot meet those rules. So far she is sticking around and she is fully devoted to me.

I will talk to you soon, keep your chin up, what you experienced is normal over there, her choice is about her not about you… long-term security is in their DNA, you cannot separate it from love, the sooner you accept that, the better off you are and the more likely you are to succeed and to enjoy your relationships.

I would love to meet you when I am there so we can chat a length. My girl is only 23 and she is truly a very decent person and very loving and very caring… yet, I know that what keeps us together is money and I accept it now… And until I accepted it, I was not happy, and I could not enjoy myself or optimize the relationship, or my life…

Best,

George

Now, me and George see things a bit differently I think. I’m hoping that someone real will find me in the wilderness of my life and love me for who I am, not for what I have. And I honestly believe that is possible if I’m patient and refuse to settle for something less than that. But I’ll give George his due for accepting his reality for what it is. And choosing to be happy and satisfied with that. Anyway, I do hope to meet him one day and share our joys and sorrows over some cold beers.

Here in the real world I had the pleasure of some company this weekend.

Nephew Justin, and friends Becky and Wan Jun came down from Seoul for the wedding reception….

After a dinner of meatballs and shrimp (hey, it works!) we ventured out to IDK bar for some darts while we waited for the reception to begin at 8 p.m.

Except it didn’t begin at 8:00. The bride and groom arrived at around 10:30. So there I sat, a lonely guy.

The groom, Daniel.

The bride, Dela.

The bride and groom. At their request I offered up a drunken toast in honor of the marriage….those sober enough to remember tell me it was well done. Hope so!

Don’t you think Daniel and my nephew bear an uncanny resemblance?

Breakfast with my guests before their afternoon departure for Seoul.

I did the Hash this afternoon. It was just me and the “Hare” (the guy in charge of making the trail). But we had a pleasant walk together and some good conversation. Then I told him about the new Wolfhound Pub in the ‘ville (he frequented the one in Itaewon). He was pretty excited about the news, so we headed over for some beers. Made for an enjoyable afternoon with a new friend.

Life is good.

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go?

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then every thing’s all right

Doggone

Happy Lunar New Year and welcome to the year of the dog!

The Korean Employees Union President sent me a kind holiday greeting and a gift box of assorted dried seaweed. Yummy!

In a rare alignment of the stars I’m at the beginning of a four day weekend (Monday being the American holiday in honor of our Presidents).

So, what’s in store? Mountain hikes today, tomorrow and Sunday.

There’s also likely to be some drunkenness. Got some practice for that in last night.

My friends Daniel and Dela are now legally married and we will be celebrating with a huge reception here in the ‘ville on Saturday night. The nephew, and friends Wan Jun and Becky are coming down to stay with me and join in the festivities. Always nice to have company….

Saw this alongside the trail I was hiking the other day. I assume they are those tectonic plates I read about after Korea’s recent earthquake activity.

It’s funny how that works out…

Speaking of time travel, It was one year ago I was falling in love (unbeknownst to me) in Olongapo. I can’t go back and make it right, so I will plod on to the unknown and uncertain future.

And that’s it for now from your humble correspondent. I’ve got mountains to climb!

Scenes from my beautiful life

It’s not all gloom and doom all the time here at LTG. There are some good moments too.

This came in the mail from my sweet granddaughter Sydney. She really loves me. Or pizza. One of those….

Had a wonderful lunch with the staff at the Hwa Hwa restaurant in Anjeong-ri. My work family is a constant source of joy in my life.

The food was excellent too!

And today I tackled a new mountain–Younginsan, about 20 minutes drive from the house….

Nice trails…

…and much like my old friend Namsan, a stairway to the summit.

Made it to the peak without much trouble. Air not as clear as last weekend, but the view was still awesome…

Rafael, a friend from work, was my tour guide once again…

I wonder what this looks like in summertime?

This looks like a pretty cool cabin to camp out in…if I could only find a date.

Anyway, this is the best hiking I’ve done since I left Seoul. Really enjoyable and there are many more trails on this mountain to explore. I have my new Saturday routine now!

The Hwa Hwa restaurant reminded me of my first Korean girlfriend, Se Hwa. I came across this old picture of us from 2007 and it made me smile.

Exactly 90 days left in my working life. A brand new beautiful life is on the horizon. I’m looking forward to that.

Against the wind

And another weekend draws to a close.

I climbed a mountain. Played darts. Did a Hash. And learned of a death in the family.

Much easier climbing Mount Asan without snow on the ground…

Made it to the top….

….and planted the flag.

And we were rewarded with views like this…

….and this.

Yonder lies Camp Humphreys and lovely Pyeongtaek city.

Rafael, a guy from work was my hiking partner. It was a cold day with a brisk and frosty breeze, but we enjoyed our time on the mountain regardless.

Saw several of these grave sites on the way up and down. Maybe they are for the unfortunate hikers who make a tragic misstep….

Also came across this Buddhist Temple which appeared to be abandoned.

Last night I broke out the darts and played for the first time in several months. I was rusty of course, but still managed a second place finish. Tournament kept me out later than normal (and caused me to drink more as well). It was after midnight when I stumbled on home.

Did a two hour morning hike today, then met up with the Humphreys Hangover Hash House Harriers for my second Hash with the group.

Learning the trail markings for the Hash. Today’s hike was really easy and on terrain I have incorporated into my own walks. The biggest challenge is finding the chalk markings on the pavement and interpreting them correctly. I’m getting a little better at that now.

I enjoyed the company, which included my friends Daniel and Dela.

This morning I learned the sad news that Jee Yeun’s younger brother (technically still my brother-in-law) died. Not exactly sure of the cause, but Jee Yeun said he’d been drinking heavily since his marriage broke up. Sounds oddly familiar. Anyway, Jee Yeun is obviously upset and I offered all the comforting words I could muster. At least he is no longer suffering.

And that’s that.

Heart and Seoul

Back from a quick jaunt to Seoul.

On Thursday afternoon I did a some strolling down memory lane. This is my first residence in Seoul (2005-2010)

And the last Seoul abode (2015-2017). Now of course I live in a palace…

Met up with the nephew for an early start at Shenanigans….

My friend Eve captured the Thursday night action at the bar…

I got comfortable and suggested we just enjoy some pub fare for dinner. Loaded nachos, lemon pepper chicken wings, and my favorite, pulled pork quesadillas. We were joined by our mutual pal Wan Jun. A good, but drunken, night for me.

Of course, the purpose of the trip was for some medical tests, an ultrasound of my abdomen and a CT scan of my lungs. They did the ultrasound first and while I’m waiting for the next test my phone rings. Well, sadly my phone rarely rings, but it was more than a little disconcerting to be called by Dr. Lee from the clinic on Camp Humphreys. She had the results of the ultrasound and advised that I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Shit. What do I do about that, Dr. Lee? Nothing now apparently. It is 3.5 cms (normal for males is 1.7. They don’t consider surgical correction until 4.5. There are no symptoms to deal with and the only course of action is to continue to avoid high blood pressure, which I’m doing through meds. Based on my internet research, if the aneurysm ever bursts I’ll be a dead man. Ah well, we all have to die of something, and I reckon that something will be something else. At least that’s my plan!

I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Lea soon to go over the rest of the results and she has graciously agreed to go over my report from Good Morning Hospital with me as well.

Alright, gonna go climb a mountain now.

Frozen

Damn, it’s been cold. Coldest I can remember it ever being in Korea.

I’d mentioned my water pipes freezing, well yesterday the plumber came over and “fixed” the problem. The result was not what I expected.

Impressive, no?

From the inside…

And they cut a hole in the damn ceiling. Well, the landlord was here so I guess he approved the work around.

Bottom line is the result I suppose, and I do have water downstairs again.

In other weather related news, yesterday I had my car washed. Maybe not a good idea because this morning the driver’s door was frozen shut. Wouldn’t budge no matter how hard I pulled on it. Had the bright idea of pouring some hot water around the door frame to loosen things up. The result? A puddle of frozen water on the ground. I finally crawled in through the passenger door and put my shoulder to the door until I busted it loose. Oh boy, that was fun.

Anyway, it is my last winter so I might as well feel the full force of it. I reckon some sweltering future January in the PI I might just be missing the cold. Naw, I doubt it.

And so it goes

Well, the government shutdown has come to a screeching halt two days after its implementation.  But not before some damage was done.

In my little corner of the Army alone I had to cancel long planned professional development seminars scheduled at Yongsan and Humphreys this week.  60+ participants were disappointed, but damn, the instructors who flew in from DC on Saturday had to get back on a plane Monday morning (no travel expenses allowed during shutdown) and go home really suffered.  By the time they landed, the furlough was over.  Government at it’s best ladies and gentlemen.

I’m especially disappointed because I didn’t get the chance to try out any of these pickup lines…

There is no question that the Democrats blinked.  Their lame efforts to blame the shutdown on Trump weren’t fooling anyone but the most ignorant of partisans.

It’s all about the math.

Ah well, enough of politics.  I need to prepare an AAR (after action report) sharing the lessons learned with the CG.  I’ll be better prepared come the next go-round in February.

In other news, I’ve got a slew of medical stuff on the horizon.  Went to the on-base medical clinic today to get new prescriptions for my COPD drugs.  Had a nice female Korean doctor who had actually treated me way back in 2008.  She didn’t remember me (other than from my medical records on her computer) so I told her “yeah, back in 2008 you said I only had 10 years left to live!  Oh hell, it’s 2018!”  I guess my “humor” went over her head, but the young soldier nurse chuckled.  Anyway, she wants me to get a CT scan to check out some lung nodules.  I’ll have to go up to Seoul for that, which gives me a good excuse to visit the big city.

Thursday I go to Good Morning hospital to see my prostate doctor.  The pee is flowing better these days, so that’s a good thing.  Need those prescriptions renewed too.

And then on Friday I’m doing the complete physical regimen at GMH, including the dreaded colonoscopy and endoscopy.  Hope they knock me out for both.  But I want to have a clean bill of health (or at least be aware of any potential problems) before I make the big move to the Philippines.  So, another step down that road.

And finally, a friend posted this on Facebook and it really resonated:

Commenter Kevin had quoted a Gibran poem I really liked a few days ago. And this quote, well, damn. It is so fucking true it hurts. Love. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

Hope springs eternal nonetheless….

I’m exceptional!

Well, excepted anyway.  Excepted from the furlough I mean.

As most of you are surely aware, the Congress critters have seen fit to not pass a funding bill, thereby forcing the government to shut down.  Which means that most federal employees will be furloughed come Monday morning.  Our workforce in Korea has been spared that fate because of our national security mission of deterring northern aggression.

Here’s what the big boss had to say about it….

Practically speaking, the impact here is that we are required to work but we will not be paid until such time as Congress gets its shit together.  We also can not take any type of leave–if you get sick you get furloughed.  I devoted 4 hours of my Saturday in meetings with Eighth Army leadership as we planned the way ahead.  Fun times!

Got a late start on yesterday’s walk due to my unplanned work intrusion, but I did get to see a colorful sun. So there’s that.

And then up early this morning for a walk in the fog.

Here’s a throwback to 1986. I was transporting our horses from Oklahoma to the new residence in South Carolina. That would mean I was 31 years old. I’m happy to report that I judge my current belly to be similar in size to the one on the younger me.

On the subject of moving, today Facebook reminded me that it was on this date in 2005 that I first moved to Seoul.  Thirteen years gone by just like that.  And I’m very aware that my remaining days in Korea are drawing to a close.  Things are getting real.  And a little scary.

Interesting times await!

Smoked

I gave up on waiting to get a date to join me at the new BBQ joint here in town.  So last night I dined alone at Smoke Town.

I had walked by before but never checked the inside or the menu.  It did come highly recommended to me however.  When I entered I was surprised at how small the place was.  Three tables and counter seating along one wall and the front window.  I also didn’t see a restroom and thankfully didn’t need one.  I assume there is a community CR located in another part of the building. They seemed to be doing a brisk business (tables full and several folks waiting for take out).

Here’s the menu. Somewhat limited and a little on the pricey side. I really dislike eating out alone and one of the reasons is that whole “for two” bullshit. Us single guys need to eat as well!

I opted for the pulled pork sandwich ($7) and sides of beans and slaw ($3 each). Cheapest beer was a Hoegaarden for five bucks. Although the menu shows dollar pricing, I paid W18,000 so it was actually a little cheaper than it appears.

How was it?  Well, I thought the sandwich was one of the best I’ve had.  The beans were very good and the slaw average.  As you can see, the portions were fair.  How does it compare to Linus’ or Manimal in Itaewon?  Eh, too soon to tell, but I’d rate Smoke Town as competitive with those venues.  Of course, Smoke Town wins hands down for location convenience.  So there’s that.

Spent the remainder of the night getting drunk at various venues in the ‘ville.  I came home in a foul mood and woke up feeling depressed.  I’ll see if I can’t walk those blues away this morning.

I really need to get out of here.

Go tell it on the mountain

A co-worker invited me to join him on a mountain hike this morning.  It was snowing when we headed out at 0930 but had stopped by the time we arrived 20 minutes later.

I’ve gotten so accustomed to flatland walking that climbing today was a bigger challenge than I thought it would be.  And coming down was a slick slip and slide. I was happy for the change of pace for sure.

I don’t know the name of the mountain, perhaps these signs say?

I’d judge the climb up to be similar in difficulty to the trail ascent of Namsan (not the road up).

Some nice views…

And lots of these grave shrines…

I guess you’d call this the semi-summit…

….we elected not to continue on to the top of the peak behind me. My co-worker said there were places you had to climb over rocks holding onto a rope. He was concerned about coming back down where a slip might well prove fatal. Saving that portion of the hike for a dryer day was fine by me.

It was a good morning’s hike.  I look forward to coming back for more soon.

Stuff about things

Just some random ass shit from my so-called life.

I guess the highlight of the week was doing a meet and greet with the new Secretary of the Army Mark Espers. And perhaps the final photo op of my 35+ year career….

It’s been cold and snowy, but I’m still walking to work.

A winter wonderland perhaps, but treacherously slick in places. I’ve shortened some walks because I don’t want any broken bones. Still getting at least 20,000 a day though.

Speaking of walking, I did my first Hash with the Humphreys Hangover Hash House Harriers (5H). It was a small group to begin with (maybe 8 at most), and the majority said they were too hungover to participate…

It seems with this group following the trail markings is half the battle, and some are even intentionally misleading. Not sure why. Anyway, I got a crash course in reading the signs.

So, in addition to the “Hare” (the who marks the trail) it was just me and another couple….

Speaking of couples, I’m not part of one. Hence, I had no one to share this fine dinner I prepared. It was still good, but would have been twice as good with company. Too bad for you Mi Young!

Anyway, it’s all good.  Another day, another turn of the wheel in the sky.  Each day brings me closer to a new and better future.  Just wait and see!

The present

Presently, my wonderful life finds me immersed in my WWD routine.  That’s the lovely Pyeongtaek skyline reflected in the glass…

Work: As I wind down my career (again) it sometimes feels like I’m closing a loop.  Yesterday I was preparing for a Monday meeting dealing with whether our Korean Service Corps (KSC) employees are direct hires or indirect hires.  Not to get into the weeds on this, but direct hires are people who are hired by and paid by the Army.  Indirect hires are employees of the host nation government and supplied as needed in support of the Army.  All of the Korean Nationals working for the Army are direct hires.

This shouldn’t be an issue at all.  Except there is a Department of the Army regulation that states KSC employees are indirect hires.  This probably dates back to the Korean War when the ROK government did provide the manpower to support the KSC battalions.  I vaguely recalled dealing with this issue in the past and asked a staff member to pull up anything she could find.  And sure enough, there was a memo I signed and sent to Army HQ noting that the regulation was in error and needed to be corrected.  That was in September 2010.  Army responded that our KSCs were indeed direct hire and the regulation would be amended accordingly.  Except it hasn’t been.  Hence the need for a meeting to once again explain the difference to local leadership.  And by God, I’m determined to see that regulation updated before I leave Korea!

I’m getting some arm twisting to stay until my current appointment ends in September.  I actually do enjoy my job and the people I work with and for, but the other 16 hours of my day pretty much suck. I know it is time (past time perhaps) for me to move on with my life.  May it is!

Walking:  This morning I hiked to and through Pyeongtaek city and back.  Took almost four hours.  I’ve discovered there is a local Hash House Harriers group here and I’m excited about doing my first (well, second) Hash with them tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully I can meet some interesting people and discover new trails to hike.  I’m pretty bored with my current walk routines.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the only way I can get through the night here in Anjeong-ri.  Five more months!

Drinking: Nothing significant to report.  I’m friends with the bartender at Shooters and enjoy cutting up with her.  There’s a couple of other places I frequent to change it up a little now and then.  And I’m somewhat smitten with the Filipina bartender at AR, even though she is half my age.  I invited her to join me for dinner but have not received an affirmative response.  Yet.

That’s Hanna. What’s not to like, right? What I enjoy about her is she has a great sense of humor (i.e. she laughs at my jokes) , she’s witty and can hold an intelligent conversation. I fear I’m the creepy old guy in her life though but she is too kind hearted to tell me so.

But I am philosophical about it all.  The owner of AR was wearing this wisdom on his back last night:

Yep, that’s my plan!

And there is the latest update on my so-called life.  Wonderful indeed!  And things can always be worse I suppose:

Yeah, maybe not having a girlfriend is a blessing…

UPDATE: She declined dinner.  “Headache”.  Haha, told you she was a smart girl!

Everyone needs a little Seoul…

…so here I am.

My flight departs at 0750 and getting to Incheon from Pyeongtaek is a pain in the ass.  I just didn’t have confidence I could get there earlier enough.  So, I’m spending the afternoon in the big city, will drink some beers in Itaewon tonight, then set the alarm for 0400 in the morning.  I’m just going to grab a taxi from the hotel.

Been a while since I’ve had a brisk hike on the Han, rather enjoyed it.

Settled into my hotel room and figure I’ll log a couple of more hours on the road before nightfall.

Stay tuned for all the excitement that I’m almost certain to experience during my journey to the Philippines…

Christmas Eve

Seasoned Greetings!

Have a gander at the Christmas lights on Camp Humphreys to put you in the holiday spirit…

They actually look better than my photography skills demonstrate…

Even Anjeong-ri is making the effort…

Didn’t cook last night….

…..well, I did fix up some Brussels sprouts…

And Fitbit awarded me the NIle badge…

 

Superb!
You’ve earned the Nile badge
By walking 4,132 miles, you’ve walked the length of longest river in the world and added a new badge to your stream of accomplishments! There’s no deNILEing how impressive that is.

 

And so I rewarded myself:

Nothing like a pedicure for tired aching feet…

Speaking of rewards…

I bought me these new hiking shoes…

…and sexy long underwear as Christmas presents to myself…

This morning when I woke up my computer was updating Windows software, so I had to busy myself without the assistance of the internets…

Regular readers will know what those ingredients add up to….

Yep, Aunt Pat’s Recipe World Famous Fruit Salad!

Damn computer was still not ready (upload 84% complete).

So, I got most of my packing done for my upcoming trip.

Still at 84%…damn…might as well commence walking!  I planned a longish walk to Pyeongtaek city….

Damn, it was raining though…oh well, grabbed the umbrella and started walking.  At least it wasn’t very cold out…

And beauty is where you find it, even in the rain.

Wound up walking almost 5 hours. That’s the longest I’ve done non-stop…felt it in my left foot this time…

So guess what?  I get home after that long ass walk and my computer update was still at 84%!  What the fuck?  Turned it off and turned it back on again (contrary to instructions on the screen), but no result.  Turned off and waited awhile, and when it rebooted, it still had the 84% screen.  Shit.

Well, I went into a panic.  It is Christmas Eve.  No way it’s getting fixed before I leave on my trip.  And I’ve got to have a computer when I travel.  Smart phones just don’t cut it for me, especially in the PI where coverage is spotty at best.

Well, I rushed over to the PX and bought a new laptop.  Merry Fucking Christmas to me!

First blog post on my new unit.  I see no improvement in quality.

I’ll get the old laptop repaired when I return from vacation.  I actually planned to take a new computer with me when I moved anyway.  Electronics are pricey in the PI.

Alright, that’s where things stand on the night before Christmas.

I’ll come back tomorrow and wish y’all a very Merry Christmas.  Now it’s time for the drinking portion of my day….

 

‘Tis the season!

On the best of days I’m not exactly full of the Christmas spirit.  My kids and grandkids are thousands of miles away and even the nephew is leaving the country for the holidays.  As things stand now I’ll be spending a solitary Christmas here in the countryside.

But all is not lost because I spent a wonderful day yesterday with my work family.

I lead an amazing team of hard working professionals. It truly is an honor and privilege to be associated with this cheerful bunch!

Were it not for my Deputy Donna I’d actually have to work for a living!

The staff did an amazing job decorating our office suite…

Me and the Mrs….

And we treated ourselves to some sweet treats. I baked the cupcakes and brownies, Leb prepared his renowned rum cake and it was damn the carbs, full speed ahead!

We went off site to AK Plaza in the afternoon for a Korean buffet dinner…

Played some games and did a gift exchange…

It’s good to be the boss man! I know I am going to miss my working life more than I care to admit. But all things must end. Going to do my best to enjoy every minute I have left before my May departure.

Best wishes for the holiday season to all my faithful readers.  Here’s hoping 2018 will provide many cheerful experiences to blog about.  Hey, it could happen!

Out on the weekend

Winding it down on another boring Sunday evening.  Changed it up a little bit though with a quick trip up to Seoul on Friday.

Had a lunch meeting with the Korean Employees Union leadership, President Choe and Secretary Sohn. One of the things I’m proud of in my working life is the cooperative relationship I’ve established and maintained with the KEU. Katchi kapshida~

After work I did a Namsan hike…

Hello my old friend…

And nice to see a real city again as well…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

everywhere you turn.

After the hike, I cleaned myself up and went out to visit my old haunt Shenanigans…it was good to be back. Still treat me like a regular there…

Met up with my nephew Justin and buddy Wan Jun for some cold ones…

Up early Saturday morning to beat the traffic.  On the drive home I had to pull over to get a picture of this:

May the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten…

Dropped off a trunk load of toys for the local orphanage…

And did my usual Anjeong-ri hikes…30,000+ both yesterday and today…

Even ran out of road!

And it was colder than a woman’s heart as well…

You find words of truth in the strangest places, like the back of a Korean kid’s jacket…

And so now I’ll gear up for another week in my beautiful life.  After a few beers of course.

The woman I’m thinking of,
she loved me all up
But I’m so down today
She’s so fine, she’s in my mind.
I hear her callin’.

See the lonely boy,
out on the weekend
Trying to make it pay.
Can’t relate to joy,
he tries to speak and
Can’t begin to say.

Too low for zero

Two pair of socks. Underwear and long underwear. T-shirt, dress shirt/tie, fleece jacket, sweatshirt, ski jacket, scarf, gloves, knit cap, hat with ear muffs. That’s how I make winter my bitch and walk to work when it’s -12 C.

Not bad for a cold ass weekday, eh?

And even though the weather outside is frightful, Anjeong-ri is looking delightful…

well, at least more delightful than usual.

My last winter in Korea.  Gonna make the most of it.

I’m too low for zero
I’m on a losing streak
I got myself in a bad patch lately
I can’t seem to get much sleep
I’m too low for zero
I wind up counting sheep
Nothing seems to make much sense
It’s all just Greek to me

You know I’m too low, too low, too low for zero
You know I’m too low, too low, too low for zero

What’s cooking?

One of the lonely paths I traveled yesterday on my way to…

…over 40,000 steps. A good day for sure. Followed with 30,000 today. And I weighed in at 206 pounds, down 20 since October and 7 pounds away from my goal.

Started the day with this hearty breakfast.

Then pulled together the ingredients for a pot roast.

Put them all in the crockpot…

Set the timer, then slaved away all day cooking…

Decided to ingest some carbs, so I whipped up some corn muffins…

Pot roast is finished…

Let’s eat!

…and so ends another rainy Sunday from yours truly…

And if you think my blog is boring, you should try living my life!  It’s bound to get better.  Or so I keep telling myself…

 

A river runs through it

More of the same from my so-called life.  Working, walking, drinking.  Luckily, I am pretty damn good at all of them.  Anyway, just filling in the hours, however comfortably and well.

So I drive to the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Drop off my garbage and take care of errands (shopping, getting my mail, banking, etc). Then I come home at lunch to drop off the car and walk back to work. So, yesterday I get home and this car is completely blocking my driveway. Who does that? I called the number on the windshield and expressed my displeasure in English while some woman expressed not understanding in Korean. Eventually she figured out that I did not approve of her parking. A few minutes later she came out of the beauty salon across the street from me and moved her vehicle. Pain in the ass!

Took a long riverside walk home from work yesterday. The river looks nice at dusk, don’t you think?

Last night I did my typical beer drinking tour of Anjeong-ri.  What was atypical was running into a woman I was formerly acquainted with.  I had met her several months ago at Galaxy bar where she is friends with the owner.  I had a falling out with said owner and no longer frequent the joint.  I popped into Crystal Bar for a brew and was surprised to see Yun in there calling me over to the barstool beside her.

We had a nice little chat and then she asked me if I still had her phone number.  I checked and I did.  She said “how come you never call me?”  I honestly told her because I never thought you were interested.  We’d been out as part of a group a couple of times, but I didn’t get the sense she was looking for more.  Last night (and maybe she was drunk) she gave every indication that she wanted to see me.  So, I finished my beer, said it was good running in to you, and left.  Why?  Well, she is pretty enough and I’m damn lonely, but 1. She is Korean and 2. I’ve got six months left in country.  I’ve had a bad history with Korean women and what’s the point of starting anything that is destined to end in a few short months anyway?  Just not worth it to me.

I’m still looking forward to meeting Gem at the end of the year, but I’m also keeping my guard up with her.  Yeah, I have some trust issues.  Go figure.  For example, today I logged on to Filipina Cupid for the first time in a couple of weeks.  It’s time to renew my membership so I was going to cancel and save the money.  While there I noticed that Gem had been active within the last hour.  Kind of a red flag don’t you think?  I asked her if she was still looking and she said “no, I only chat with you”.  Maybe, maybe not.

Anyway, I finished my Friday night at the 3 Stooges Bar.  Only the second time I’ve been in there, and I was enjoying myself and the music.  Especially this song which features a really great video:

See how happy it made me?  A bit later I was told I couldn’t vape in the bar, so of course I left and I’m unlikely to return.

Up early this morning for a long cold walk into Pyeongtaek.

I took the river route of course…

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
–Robert Frost

Two hours later I was on the mean streets of Pyeongtaek city…

…where I rested up with a warming cup of coffee before the long walk back home…

Admired these pillars which seem to have been erected for no apparent reason in a little neighborhood park I passed on my journey home.

I was damn hungry when I made it home so I grilled up a steak with a side of asparagus. Hit the spot just right.

27,000+ steps all told.  Going to head out for another hour now and get that up to 35,000 for the day.  That should have me primed for a beery Saturday night.

And they say I have no life…

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That’s where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

All I wanted
Was to be free
And that’s the way
It turned out to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town