Quiet desperation

And another weekend draws to a close.

Spending time in bars, more often alone than not, provides ample opportunity for introspection and observation.  I’ve mentioned before my growing sense of disconnection from the Korea life I’ve lived.  Several old time friends have departed recently and I’m not really putting forth much effort to make new ones.  Seems I’ve become the proverbial old man living with his memories of happier times.

Well, obviously whatever isolation I’m experiencing is largely of my own making.  I’ve gotten better at being alone and the truth is I don’t really have the patience or willingness to allow someone to intrude into the relative peace and safety of the solitary confinement I’ve constructed.  It’s not the life I had imagined, but its good enough.  For now, anyway.

Anyway, don’t mistake this meditation as me feeling sorry for myself. I’m actually quite optimistic about the future.  A future in which I put 12 years in Korea behind me. I think what prompted this thinking was encountering some other folks this weekend who seem to be struggling with their own versions of isolation, remorse, and hopelessness.  In a city of 13 million there are bound to be many lonely and empty lives on display.  It still makes me sad to see though.

Having said that, I had a pretty fine (and drunken) Saturday night hanging out with my nephew Justin and my communist friend Choonae.

And this was when we were just getting started!

After reaching the appropriate level of inebriation I suggested we abandon Shenanigans and make our way up Hooker Hill for a visit to the oldest bar in Itaewon, Grand Ole Opry. Justin and Choonae were drunk enough to agree and so off we went.

Choonae had never been to a country Honky Tonk so it was interesting to see her reaction.  She’s also quite a dancer (Salsa being her specialty) and she was fascinated watching folks do the Texas two-step and Country Swing dances.  She stood beside our table and emulated the footsteps involved.  And after one particularly good dancer (a Korean gentlemen) returned to his seat with his date, Choonae walked over and asked him to show her how to dance.  He did, and she picked it up right away.

I might have mentioned that I was drunk, which gave me the courage to do some dancing myself.  I’m nowhere near as good as I once was (nor even as good once as I ever was), but that didn’t stop me.  Justin captured some video evidence of my foolhardiness.

Anyway it was a fun time and I successfully stumbled home sometime after 2 a.m. (with a detour to Taco Bell).

I was hungover and lazy most of the day but forced myself to get off my ass and take a walk in the afternoon.

Not bad considering.

And the good news is my new meds seem to be helping quite a lot.  Haven’t needed my nebulizer at all today and just used my inhaler a couple of times (pre and post walk). Here’s hoping that continues!

Onward!

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb.

 

 

What’s up, Doc?

Where I need to be. Doctor’s orders…

Yesterday afternoon found me back at the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital for a follow-up visit to get the results of my two CT exams (chest and abdomen) and my PFT (pulmonary function test).  This was my fourth visit to the base hospital and also the fourth different doctor I’ve seen there.  Not getting to see the same doctor twice is a function of being in the Space A (space available) category.  Soldiers and their families come first, as it should be, and us civilians are at the bottom of the pecking order.  So, I call in and get assigned to any doctor with an open spot.  Honestly, each of the docs have been excellent.  They actually come and spend some quality time having a conversation about my health issues and there is never a rush or a sense that they have better things to do.  A much more satisfactory experience than anything I’ve encountered in the Korean hospitals, and truthfully, better than any care I received back in the USA as well.

I had the chest CT a couple of weeks ago.  A nurse called me and said my lungs looked pretty good considering the abuse I’ve put them through (25 years of smoking).  There was a small nodule on the left lung that might be nothing, but she advised I needed to have another CT in a year just to be sure.  She told me the doctor wanted me to do an abdomen CT, so I got that done on Tuesday.

No, I didn’t try suicide. It took the nurse three tries to find a vein that would accept having the CT dye injected. Finally had to settle for the wrist…

During the CT the fire alarms went off which was a little disconcerting.  They finished the test though, then escorted me out of the hospital.  I’m pretty sure it was just a drill.

Anyway, my physician yesterday was a young Army Captain.  Even though Dr. Pence had not ordered the tests, he had obviously reviewed the results before he sat down with me.  He said the lung nodule was 3 mm in size and could be from previous damage or could be a precursor to lung cancer.  So yeah, I’ll get that checked next year for sure.

The abdomen CT was clear.  Woot!  What about the PFT?  Well, it confirmed the COPD diagnosis and revealed that my lung function is at Stage 2 (moderate) of the disease. COPD is progressive and irreversible.  All that can be done is to take steps to slow its progress and delay reaching “end stage” for as long as possible.  So, that’s my plan.  I figure on dragging it out for 20 years or so.

I told Dr. Pence that I planned to move to the Philippines in a few months and asked him if the hot and humid weather would cause me any problems.  He said that on the contrary, those conditions would be much better for my condition than the cold and polluted environment of Seoul.  So, there you have it.  I’m going to live in the PI because it is what the doctor ordered!

Anyway, I’ve not had the shortness of breath issues that led me to the ER last month.  I have a chronic cough that wakes me up at night and I’m still hocking up sputum. I’ve been using albuterol in my nebulizer and through my inhaler.  Dr. Pence noted that during during my PFT the albuterol had limited effect.  So he prescribed two additional meds to be inhaled.  Both are in a powder form, sorta like cocaine I suppose.

They come with these fancy dancy inhalers so I don’t have to roll up a dollar bill and snort it up my nose. Not that I wold know anything about that…

That’s the story of my health.  Long may I live!

In other news…

I’m not letting diminished lung capacity keep me from completing my appointed rounds. I have noticed I don’t have the stamina I used to enjoy, but with my trusty inhaler I’m still able to get the steps in.

And I’m dealing with the agony of de feet…

And it is encouraging to know that there are in fact honest women out there in the world!

Hope springs eternal.

 

 

With a Spring in my step

Springtime has arrived in Korea!  Weather is warming up, gaenalee is blooming, and the cherry blossoms can’t be far behind.  I think spring is the best season of the year here and seeing as how it is likely my last one, I intend to enjoy the hell out of it.  Spent 18,000+ steps doing just that today.

Had a rather strange and different weekend, but different is good. That’s about as far as I’m going to take it, at least for now. Oddly enough, on Saturday’s walk I encountered two people I know.  Both of them bar owners in Itaewon. What are the odds?

Friday was St. Patrick’s Day and I dressed for the occasion.

Josie, my Filipina housekeeper and bartender at Shenanigans celebrated her birthday with an ice cream cake I was proud to provide…

Had my taxes done and was rewarded with being elevated to the 28% tax bracket. These posers can’t hang with me, that’s for sure.

Sorry baby. But we’ll always have the Philippines….

Speaking of the PI, here’s a shot of sunset on the bay courtesy of my new friend John. I’m looking forward to enjoying this view every fucking day for the rest of my life. However long that may prove to be.

Back to the Army hospital in the morning for the abdomen CT.  No idea why the doc ordered that. but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

Ah, the season of love you say?

Don’t tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
I don’t want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
From a lifetime of cares
Because if love means forever, expecting nothing returned
Then I hope I’ll be given another whole lifetime to learn

Runaway train

Doctor’s office called today.  Apparently the chest CT came back clean enough that I don’t need to worry about it.  Well, there is a nodule in the left long that he wants me to have checked next year.  I guess something else showed up on the periphery of the chest CT because now he wants me to schedule an abdomen CT.  Sure, why not?

I asked about the PFT results and apparently they are not in.  Oh well, the suspense won’t kill me any faster than the COPD does.  Meanwhile, I walk.

Took the long way home (around 1 hour 45 minutes) along the Han river today…

Made it home by sundown. Logged just shy of 24,000 steps for the day.

I don’t seem to be losing the weight I gained during the height of my illness.  But I’m staying on track regardless.

can you help me remember how to smile?
make it somehow all seem worthwhile
how on earth did i get so jaded?
life’s mysteries seem so faded
i can go where no one else can go
i know what no one else knows
here i am just drownin’ in the rain
with a ticket for a runaway trainand everything seems cut and dry
day and night
earth and sky
somehow i just don’t believe itrunaway train, never goin’ back
wrong way on a one-way track
seems like i should be getting somewhere
somehow i’m neither here nor therebought a ticket for a runaway train
like a madman laughing at the rain
little out of touch, little insane
it’s just easier than dealing with the painrunaway train, never goin’ back
wrong way on a one-way track
seems like i should be getting somewhere
somehow i’m neither here nor there

runaway train, never comin’ back
runaway train, tearin’ up the track
runaway train, burnin’ in my veins
i run away but it always seems the same

Up and at ’em…

A hump day mid-week post, what are the odds?

Woke up at 0430 with a coughing jag which gives me an extra hour to fill, so why not spend it with my faithful reader(s)?  Which is not to imply I actually have anything of interest or value to share.  That’s never stopped me before!

I did have my chest CT and PFT on Monday as planned.  I need to wait on the results which I guess will be contingent  on my securing an appointment with one of the two Army doctors who’ve seen me and ordered the tests.  Given my space A status (space available) hard to say when that might be.  In the meantime, I’m better than I was but not as better as I hope to be.  My nebulizer and inhaler are keeping me in the game, so there’s that.

My first appointment was at 0800, so rather than burn sick leave I reported to my office at 0600. My reward was this fine full moon. Sadly, my photography skills were insufficient to capture its full glory.

Where the hell are impatient people like me supposed to park?

While awaiting my pulmonary function test I killed time reading this pamphlet. Got me thinking maybe these questions would be appropriate to ask the women I meet as well.

I posted a few days ago about my planning for some spontaneity in my life. Daughter Renee reported she got the same message when she popped the cork on a bottle of wine. Made us feel connected while thousands of miles apart.  Randomly spontaneous if you will.

It is a little known fact that my failure at statistics is why I can’t claim a masters degree. 30 of 33 hours completed. Damn statistics!

Oh, I filled in for the dart team at Shenanigans Monday (the soldier members of the team being otherwise occupied with Key Resolve).  Played a singles match and went 3-0.  It was good to be throwing again.  I look forward to restarting my darting “career” in the Philippines.

And that’s all I’ve got this morning.

In other news

This morning I will be visiting the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital.  I’m going to have a chest CT and a pulmonary function test.  Although I am much improved, I still encounter episodes of shortness of breath and an occasional coughing jag.  I’d rate myself 90% better, and with my trusty inhaler and nebulizer I can self-medicate when I have an incident.  These tests today ought to help confirm the earlier COPD diagnosis and might lead to a different treatment regimen.  We shall see.

Got in some decent walking this weekend, although my stamina is still nowhere near what it was prior to my illness.  I’ll keep after it though.  One step at a time.  Heh.

And now for some pictures!

Some might say HUGE!

So, my Korean haircuts include this facial thing. Daughter says I look like Hannibal Lecter.

Hmmm…

My son celebrated his 39th birthday last week. By my reckoning that makes him several years older than me now.

A nice memory of my recent visit to the PI where I made the acquaintance of John, Joe and Anna. I’m ready to go back!

Walked home from work one day last week and encountered some snowflakes.

Out for some drinks on Friday night and who shows up but Ben and his lovely wife Leah on a date night. First met them back in Columbia, SC a few years back and now here they are again.

Other friends I encountered on Friday night, Mike, Eve, and Choonae.

Bullshit!

Saturday was Namsan day…

I observed the last dying embers of winter…

And a sure sign of spring…rooftop dining!

But best of all was finding these fresh strawberries at a local market in Kyongridawn. Made my Sunday smoothie sweet indeed.

Out alone as usual on Saturday night. I’m such a rogue after all…

Wound up in Grand Ole Opry where I ran into a memory of Eun Oke.

And finished the weekend with a Han River walk.

And that’s the way things roll around here.

 

I plan to be spontaneous tomorrow…

…right after I stop procrastinating.

Sorry to have devolved into a once a week blogger.  Honestly though, work has been sucking the life out of me.  After 35+ years of government toil I’m still amazed and confounded about just how inept and cowardly bureaucrats can be.  No details that I can share, but my head has been exploding in anger and frustration.  Beyond my power to fix but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear.

I guess another reason for the dearth of posting is that after all these years there is just not much left to say about my life in Korea.  The fact of the matter is that I’m more or less disconnected these days.  But no, a better description is unplugged.  I’m still here, just like the lamp in the corner, but I just ain’t got no juice so there is no light.  Which is a sure sign that it is time to move on to something else I suppose.

I’m going to keep my promise and get us through the move to Pyeongtaek.  Then I need a change of scenery.  I truly do love much of the Korea life, but I’ve accumulated too much baggage to ever be truly happy here again.  Hell, I may hate the Philippines, but it will be a change.  And that’s what I need most of all at this stage of my life.  Worst case scenario, I’ll have something to blog about again!

“It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived. Life is lived for better or worse in life, and to a man in life, his life can be no more absurd than it can be the opposite of absurd, whatever that opposite may be.”  –Archibald MacLeish

 

The first weekend in March…

…is in the books.  Let’s go to the photos:

Friday night I brought my darts out of semi-retirement in honor of my old friend Tom (next to me in this photo). I’ve been knowing Tom since I first came to Korea and he was one of my early dart mentors. Tom just retired from the Army and flew home to join his wife yesterday. Good luck Tom and thank you for your service!

As for the tourney, I faced off against my old nemesis Brandy…

And as usual, he was too tough to beat. My partner Ricky and I settled for second place money…

The folks who finished in the money…

Now, any of my readers here at LTG that are also my Facebook friends, you’ve seen the pics from my Namsan hike already.  But recycling is good for the environment, so fuck you very much.

Sometimes its just too much to bear.

I wouldn’t draw any conclusions…

Getting there is half the fun…

And I was up for it…

Break time…

A pause for patriotism…

The soul of the city…

No “Gangnam style” dancing allowed!

Why ride when you can walk?

Love. What is it good for?

My towering achievement for the day!

Build that wall!

Pondering that age old question, am I on the right path?

That rings a bell!

I was hoping to exercise here but it didn’t workout.

A bridge too far?

I’ll have one permanent resident visa, please.

It was a good hike and the first time I’ve tackled the stairs in a long time.  Came home with a powerful hunger.

Threw some steaks on the grill…

And made a meal out of it…

Had a drunken Saturday night.  Saw a friends wife with another man.  Not my business of course, but it made me sad anyway.

The pot roast ingredients for my Sunday crock pot adventure.

Walked the Han for 20,000 steps and came home for a simple little salad…

And I used ranch dressing. Fuck the Russians!

Alright, back at it tomorrow.  My Deputy has moved on down to Pyeongtaek so it will be a little tougher to dump my workload on to her.  Damn it!  I hope to join her down there in a couple of months.

And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A sunny Sunday

…on the water.

The voice in my head kept telling me to “walk towards the light”. I did, and it was almost heavenly.

The “Throw a Child in the River” attraction was closed for the day. Guess it was too cold out.

It was good to be out walking about again, although truthfully, I feel that stamina wise I’m only a shadow of my former self…

….Still it’s all coming together. Or maybe apart?

Blue skies, blue water. I’ll take it!

My lengthy time being mostly housebound has taken a toll…..back up to almost 215 pounds.  Time to get back to work!

Shows improvement

I won’t call it a miracle, but I’m feeling almost normal these past few days.  Practically no cough, little sputum, sleeping through the night, and most importantly, no breathing issues.

Maybe it’s the drugs.  The Prednisone (a steroid) keeps the lungs clear.  The Azithromycin is a strong antibiotic. The Albuterol is a  bronchodilator that I’ve only used a couple of times so far, mostly as a preemptive measure before engaging in physical activity.  With the exception of the inhaler, my meds run out this week.

Shouldn’t be an issue as I was instructed to do a follow-up visit on Wednesday.  Ah, but I got caught up in a classic Army catch-22 situation.  I called to schedule the appointment but was told as a “Space A” (space available) patient, I can only call in at noon on the day I want treatment and will only be scheduled should, well, space be available.  Now, I understand and support that military members should get first priority.  But it was an Army doctor who told me to come back.  The schedulers couldn’t help, rules being rules and all. I called the patient advocate and she confirmed that notwithstanding doctor’s orders, I could not schedule an appointment in advance.  Given that it took me three days of trying to get my first appointment I expressed concern that any needed refills of my prescriptions would not be forthcoming in a timely way.  She suggested I use on off-base provider.  So, it looks like the Hilarious Dr. Yoo remains in my future.  It’s okay, at least I have a diagnosis.

These kids came marching by my villa making a gawd awful noise at 0900 yesterday. Not sure why. The first full moon of the lunar new year perhaps?

It was a bitterly cold morning but I got out in it anyway determined to tackle my old nemesis, Namsan. Made it to the base of the steps to the top and then thought better of it. Too soon to push my self that hard. Did get in close to 20,000 steps though.

Sometimes there is a poetry to walking…

…if you know where to look, the signs are all there.

Not bragging but one of my staff members suggested I be nominated for an Equal Opportunity and Diversity award.

“- You’re all about providing equal opportunity to Asian women who want to date you.
– You promote diversity by connecting with various women in Asia.
– You frequently visit Asian countries and promote their economic growth by spending your money at their hotels, bars, shopping malls, and restaurants.
– And lastly, you adhere to equal employment opportunity by hiring a Asian women who’s also over 40.”

Oh lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way!

Speaking of the office, we have a new addition:

It’s kind of an intimidating photo, don’t you think? I feel like he’s saying “get to work McCrarey or you’re fired!” No worries, his civilian hiring freeze is keeping me plenty busy these days…

What else?  Well, this proved to be a sad reminder of my reality:

Well, I won’t be fooled again!

I leave Friday for ten warm days in the tropical Philippines.  Am I excited?

Why, yes. Yes I am!

Pulled pork in the crock pot and a Han River stroll on tap.

Life is good when you are feeling good.  Let’s keep it that way!

Perfect timing!

Feel free to skip this post if you are weary of hearing my tales of woe regarding my health.

Okay, for the rest of you then…

Today I successfully secured a coveted appointment at the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital on my third day of trying.  Oddly enough, I started experiencing shortness of breath about an hour before my 5 o’clock appoint.  And it was the worst occurrence I’ve ever had.  I was having difficulty even talking to the intake nurse about my symptoms.  The took my blood pressure (185/100!) then I met with the doctor.  He could immediately see I was in some pretty serious distress and asked me how often this condition occurred.  I breathlessly explained that I never let it get this bad since acquiring my nebulizer.  The good doc said let’s get you some nebulization going now and while I was inhaling that sweet relief, he listened to my chest and apparently didn’t like what he heard.

As is usually the case, I felt better almost immediately.  But apparently my blood oxygen was staying in the low 80s (normal is 95+) which meant I was experiencing Hypoxemia. That’s not good and the doc wanted me to visit the emergency room then and there.  And so naturally I did.

The took my blood pressure again (still over 180), did an EKG, and started me on another round of nebulaziton.

Suckin’ in the ER.

Then they wheeled me down to x-ray to get a gander at my lungs.

My first ever ride in a wheelchair on the way to the x-ray department. Whee! (I’ll be happy if it is my last ride in one though).

At least I had something to read.

By the time I got back to the ER I was feeling much better and my vitals confirmed it (blood pressure back down in the normal for me 140s, and blood oxygen back in the high 90s.  So, now I wanted to hear the long elusive diagnosis.  Doctor says it seems to be a case of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Damn, I was afraid he was going to say that!  (A couple of friends had suggested that may be my problem, but I was in denial).

There it is, the price I paid for 25 years of moderate smoking.  The fact that I’ve been off tobacco for over 2 years now is certainly a positive.  It appears my COPD is still in the early stages, and there are things I can do to slow it’s progress.  So, that’s what I will do. We all got to die of something, but my death is far from imminent.  My dad had COPD and made it to 83.  That’s a worthwhile goal I reckon.

I came home with some drugs and an inhaler and instructions to return for a follow-on visit in a week.

In the meantime, it is always possible I will run into someone like this:

And maybe she’ll live up to her name!

It’s all good.  Onward!

 

 

Everything is just super

Even when it’s not.  Great game today though.

We had a little Superbowl party in the office this morning…

Good people, good food…

….and lots of it…

No way anyone comes back from being down 28-3 at the half, right? Right?

In other news…

baby brother turned 60 this week…

Tried to walk on Saturday, this is as close as I got to the Tower….

But I had enough energy to make it out to Shenanigans…

And later enjoyed some delicious grilled pork belly. Soju was not my friend that night however….

Thank you Facebook for reminding me of the ex-Korean girlfriend, Se Hwa.  Well, I’m sure she is still Korean, but you know what I mean.

Happier days….

I’ve learned a lot since then…

Bitter and disillusioned is not too attractive I reckon…

Speaking of Facebook, this is some of the troll bait I’ve been chumming to my lefty friends…

Seems a lot of lefties these days are engaging in the same eliminationist rhetoric of their ideological predecessors…

Open up and let ’em in!

And this about sums it up…

What else?  Well I’ll be heading out to the Philippines later this month to do some retirement reconnaissance.

Will look at some places on the old Subic Bay Naval base…

Not sure I’m completely down with moving to the PI and living in an American subdivision….

But then again, I do like creature comforts like a big ass kitchen…

A backyard patio…

And waking up each morning to a view of the bay like this one…

Of course, I need to make sure I’ll still be waking up every morning.  Still not completely recovered from whatever it is that ails me, but I’m getting increasingly concerned.  This afternoon I again experienced the shortness of breath thing which is quite disconcerting. So I was motivated to go on over to the Army hospital on base and get registered.  Well, actually, turns out I was still registered from my former tour of duty here.

Couldn’t get an appointment today though.  Civilians are at the bottom of the pecking order.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  Just want to get another opinion about what is happening and hopefully a resolution.  Time will tell.

Rollin’ on the river

Weather warmed up to a almost sweltering 1 degree today, so I decided to head out for walk on the Hangang.  About five steps out the door it started spitting snow, but what the hell, I was well bundled up.  It felt damn good to be out again!

Started with a hearty steak and egg breakfast before hitting the road…

A snowy morning on the river…

…but like a good boy scout I came prepared.

Nice ice!

Better to be walking than driving I suppose.

And came back home to the wonderful smell of a pot roast cooking in the crock pot…

All told, 21,000+ steps in just over 3 hours.  Longest walk since 3 December.  I was tired but it felt good.  And it seemed like maybe I had turned the page on this illness.

Went to the bar this evening and had a coughing fit.  Calmed that down with a couple of Hot Toddy’s.   Then about the time I started walking home I experienced that shortness of breath thing.  Made for an uncomfortable walk home, that’s for sure.  Did a nebulizer treatment and now I feel much better.

Nothing really matters to me…

My lunar new year holiday is over, so it’s back to work for me bright and early in the morning.  Thanks for dropping in!

Death and taxes

The blog is not dead and neither I am!  So far anyway.

Apologize again for the dearth of posting here at LTG.  The cold weather and diminished lung capacity have pretty much clipped my wings lately.  Which leaves nothing significant to report.

Well, people are dying.  I’m not talking about Mary Tyler Moore or other famous folk.  For example, there’s Gavin.  He was the long term manager at the Arizona Resort in Barrio Baretto, Philippines.  Had a few chats with him over the years and he scored me a nice discount during my visit this past September.  The reports from the scene say he had been feeling poorly for a couple of days, then encountered difficulty breathing (which sounds eerily familiar).  Went to the ER and suffered a massive heart attack.  By all accounts he was a great guy and he’ll be missed by all who knew him.

Closer to home, two long time expats in Itaewon have recently departed the land of the living.  I did not know either one personally, but I’m sure we frequented the same bars, likely at the same time.  One had a fatal heart attack while enjoying Seoul Pub, the other passed on outside the Itaewon McDonalds.  In a freaky coincidence, he had been drinking at Shenanigans and then left for a late night snack at Mickey D’s.  I had done the exact same thing only a couple of nights previously.

Anyway, being ill and hearing reports like these certainly brings home the fact that I am mortal and subject to the whims of fate at anytime.  I do feel the clock ticking on the rest of my life and have a sense of urgency that I should be getting on with the business of living it.

In that regard I’ve been spending countless hours on the internets gathering data about living the life of an expat in the Philippines.  Going to do some boots on the ground research for ten days next month.  I’ll keep you advised.

One of the tidbits my PI research revealed. That’s mighty cold beer!

At any rate, I’m not 100% healthy, but I’m doing much better than I was.  I do hope to have kicked whatever it is that ails me completely before I head out for my next Philippines adventure.  I can’t wait to stop being impatient.

President Trump issued an order freezing hiring in the Federal government.  That’s thrown a monkey wrench into a lot hiring actions here in Korea (including some in my shop) and has made my working life a little more interesting than I prefer.  I’m sure it is going to shake out in the next several days, but in the meantime I guess I can honestly say I can’t quit my job because I’m irreplaceable.  Heh.

Speaking of the President, he’s featured in a new commercial for Rush Cash here in Korea.

And let me leave you with this little gem from the past for your viewing and listening pleasure.

You are welcome!

Oh yeah, taxes.  I’ve got all my documents together.  Now I just need to get motivated to scan them and email them off to my accountant in South Carolina.  It’s always fun to anticipate how much my Uncle Sam will be ass raping me this tax season.  Oh well, I’m proud to be an American.

This day so far

Welcome to Friday!

As I mentioned in last night’s post, a big day in store.  Starting with a bus trip down to Pyeongtaek to check out the new office space.

Time to get up!

Already? Okay, let’s get on with it then.

Better check the weather…

…..hmm, not promising.

Fixing my morning beverage…

Ingesting my morning pill regimen.  Don’t ask me what they are.  Doc prescribes, I take.  They help some I suppose.  At least for the symptoms.  Haven’t seen a cure yet.

Time to check the internets. Yep, still there.

 

 

Nebulizing to the rockin’ beats of Hairy Chasms.

Blood pressure a little high this morning. But it’s been higher…

Time for a shower…

….and a shave.

Dressed for success. I don’t know, it’s all still a little blurry…

Snacks and lunchee for the trip…

And then I get the call. Trip cancelled. Don’t report for duty until 1200.

Nothing to do now but blog about it.

And here I sit.

Fuck that

Fucking hilarious.

Had the pleasure of being treated to dinner at Casablanca in HBC last night with my friend and renowned blogger Kevin Kim. I wasn’t very good company I’m afraid because I experienced a coughing fit that lasted throughout the fucking meal.  Kevin was gracious about it, and I also appreciated his encouragement as I struggled up the hill to my villa. It was a really fucked up situation.

Today I’ve felt mostly fine, not sure what the fuck is up with that.  If I’m not fully recovered when this round of meds is completed I am going to have to get more assertive about finding out just what the fuck is wrong with me.  Kevin sent me a link to pneumonia symptoms, but given the tests I have had done I’m thinking that’s not it.  I hope the fuck I’m right.

Tomorrow is inauguration day and I’m sure liberal heads will be exploding across our fair nation. I suggest putting that anger into meaningful action! Why the fuck not?

And no, I’m not serious.  I want all my liberal countrymen to stick around and enjoy the ride of a lifetime.  No fucking way he can be worse than Hillary, right?

I wish the fuck I could learn to be more tolerant though…

I’m off to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek at 0700 tomorrow.  They say we are in for snow tonight, but the Captain I talked to said the bus would roll regardless.  The Army always goes rolling along after all.  Fuckin’ A!

 

What dreams may come

These past few nights my dreams have all been Philippines related.  Not in any specific way, they just took place in the Philippines or featured Filipinos.

While my sub-conscious has apparently taken something of leap into the future, here in the present I’m consciously aware that I’m withdrawing from my Korean life.  Such as it is.

Yesterday was the opening night of the new dart league season, the first season in over 10 years in which I haven’t participated (well, except for the year I was stuck in the states waiting on the green card for Jee Yeun).  I was at the bar of course to cheer for the home team, but more and more it feels like I have one foot out the door.

Eight or nine months to go yet, so I need to maintain some focus on reality, but I’m very much aware of the fact that a new life beckons.  I’m not so foolish as to expect it will be better, but given my state of mind, different will suffice.

Korea for me has become a land of broken dreams and broken promises.  And there always seems to be something to remind me of that sad fact.  So I need to let go and move on.  I’ve been wallowing in self-pity for far too long, I fear if I stay here I may drown in it.

In other news, it was back to the doctor on Monday morning.  Dr. Joe did the honors this time, and I walked out with another impressive collection of pills.  I honestly do think I’m slowly getting better, but without the meds I can’t get a decent nights sleep.  And it’s no good being sick and tired.  Trust me on that.

I will likely feel better about things when I can start walking again.  It’s just been too damn cold.  No matter how warm I dress, breathing that cold air wreaks havoc on the lungs. Hopefully next week I’ll get back in my routine.

Ah well, enough of this.  Things change.  Stick around.

If there was an award for most pessimistic, I probably wouldn’t even be nominated.—anonymous 

 

Time for a post

And so here you go. Not much to say, but that’s never stopped me before, has it?

Work is work but it’s been a pretty decent week.  In the midst of expanding the role of my office in a way that I think is both overdue and adds value to the command.  I’d call that a win.

Still dealing with the cough, albeit not as intense.  I’m sleeping better as well.  Tonight is my last round of medicine so here’s hoping I keep making progress without it.

It’s been too damn cold to get much walking in. Yeah, I could just man up and do it anyway. Actually tried that the other night after work. About halfway through my planned 1.5 hour jaunt I started having a coughing fit. Finally had to concede defeat and take a cab home.

It’s never too early to plan ahead…

Table for one please.  Again.

But I’m not giving up on happiness! My tour guide posted one of my favorite poems on her Facebook page.

Thanks for the inspiration, Loraine.

Meanwhile, Facebook continues reminding me of memories from years gone by…

Like this one from six years ago….

….and this one of my brothers and mother who will be six years dead next week. Miss you mom!

What else?  Well this was my epiphany of the week:

I’m not afraid of love. Just like I’m not afraid of poison. I avoid both, because love is poison to me.

I’ll keep reminding myself of that each time temptation rears her foolish head.

And finally, let me share another vignette from a writer who seems to speak to me on a level I can understand, Steve Rosse.  Your mileage may vary.

Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.

And that’s all she wrote.  Well, all I did anyway.  Until the next post.

Old mountain, New Year

Today I decided not to do something. Later on I didn’t do something else. Tomorrow I may not do one of a selection of other things.

Having said that, one thing I did do was take a 2 1/2 hour hike around Namsan.  Not up to the top, wasn’t feeling quite ready for that yet.

I walked at a comfortable pace and experienced no real difficulties with the lungs or the leg. Progress!

I choose to ignore any possible negative consequences of breathing whatever it is in that haze. Zero vaping during the hike, so maybe that cancels it out…

Something else I didn’t not do today…make a hearty breakfast!

Prepared this after getting my pulled pork roast simmering in the crock pot…

Just so you know….

And finally, in the category of things I’m going to miss about Korea…

….my favorite flower ajumma. Been seeing her in the bars for I don’t know how many years now. Always has a big smile for you whether you buy flowers or not. I usually make it a point to drop man won on a bouquet, even though I have no one to give it to.

When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange–my youth.

–Sara Teasdale