Sunday, 22 September 2013

Here we go again

Remember last night when I mentioned I was a little nervous about the ice maker in the fridge?  Well, my worst fears came true last night.  Not only was the fridge not making ice, but the temps were creeping upwards.  Along about 10:00 pm, I emptied most of the food from the freezer that I had been stockpiling for my journey and took them up to the bunkhouse freezer section of that refrigerator.  I’m sure glad I did.  By this morning the freezer was at 50* and the fridge part was at 70*.

I’ll be doing battle with Samsung once again.  It is almost two years ago that the same thing happened to me while I was traveling.  At least this time, I’m at a place where I could move my freezer contents to a safe place. 

I called Samsung this morning, and they are supposedly finding someone to repair it.  Of course it will take up to 2 days for them to get a hold of me to set up an appointment.  If I receive no contact, I’m to call Samsung back.  I don’t have a very good feeling about this in the pit of my stomach.  I’m not exactly close to a metropolitan area.

I reread all of my blog posts from two years ago to refresh my memory on what happened last time with the same situation.  I would just like to say that this sucks!  In the meantime, I’m once again using my bottom freezer area as a cooler.  I’ll be making trips to town each day to buy ice. 

I really doubt I’ll be able to leave by Thursday, and that makes me feel bad.  My plans included stopping at Sam and Donna’s place near St. Louis to visit for a few days, and Donna has already arranged some time off from work.  Last time, no one would consider fixing the fridge, and I had to hot foot it to my favorite repair place in Scott, LA, for a replacement.  I can’t believe I got two lemons in a row!

I sure hope ‘Minnesota Nice’ means someone will fix my refrigerator…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

New Norm V

Sometimes living in a different country you forget that some of the very odd and different things around you are in fact...odd and different, they instead become a 'new norm' of sorts. So here are a few things that when I first came to Korea seemed odd but now are overlooked.


.being treated differently because we are foreigners. Now, this isn't always a bad thing and I really can't complain about ever being treated badly because we're foreigners. And every once in awhile, we'll get a special treat only available to us. Like at a local Italian restaurant, we get free drinks on certain nights with the purchase of a meal. How this is allowed and the restaurant doesn't get in trouble for being discriminatory...I have no idea but you won't hear me complain about it. Pass the wine please. 
.there are...ahem...different snack options at the local convenience stores. I don't know about you but when I'm hungry and we stop for food, I'll choose the chips over the dried variety of squid any day.
.being called beautiful and handsome by random strangers while walking down the street. I've never been complimented so much by complete strangers. Not that I'm complaining, it's actually quite nice. And I think the US could take notes on being so complimentary to people you just meet. There's nothing wrong in complimenting someone you don't know on the way they're dressed, the way their hair is done or something of the sort. But it kind of shocks you when you walk down the street and a group of middle school girls walks by and tells you and your husband you're good looking. Or you meet a students wife for the first time and the first thing she tells you is that you're beautiful. 

.Tour buses. Tours are so popular in Korea! The roads are always full of tour buses going to every place in Korea imaginable. You can often find them parked on the side of the road, in parking lots, or in this case, under a bridge with all the passengers sitting outside of it eating lunch.
.Things being blurred out on television. That's right guys. If there's a knife...it's blurred out. If there's a cigarette...it's blurred out. If there's a gruesome wound on someone...you got it. It's blurred out. I'm not sure what their thought process on this was, if they thought that we wouldn't be able to figure it out or it it would be less violent to only see the blood dripping from the knife but not the knife itself. But I will say this, it adds a sometimes needed comic relief in the middle of an intense scene in a scary movie.

Have you ever stepped back and realized some of the very 'bizarre' things about the culture you live in? 

For more installments of this series, check these out:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Yahoo! The sun returned.

There was fog when I woke up this morning, but the power of the sun with no clouds in the sky soon burned it off.  Hot dog!  I hung out a load of laundry, and then got ready to greet my morning visitors.

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Bridget and John of Travels of John and Bridget….and Fred, finished their camp host volunteer assignment in North Dakota and stopped by for a visit while spending some time in Detroit Lakes.  What a beautiful morning we had for a tour of the refuge.

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My friend, the young bald eagle, was perched as if on cue by the Chippewa Picnic Area.  I parked the refuge truck, and we were able to walk right under its favorite perch without it spooking off.  It only screamed at us a few times.  We even witnessed a small kettle of northern harriers catching a thermal to spiral up over the Otter Tail River so they could attain altitude to continue their migration south. 

IMG_9458It was a stellar morning to be out and about.  We could hear the far off guns of the waterfowl hunters, but we stayed in areas that were closed to hunting.  The trees are just beginning to turn their fall colors, the Chippewa rice harvest is over, and it just felt good to enjoy the scenes without overcast skies and sprinkles.

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I was hoping to see the brilliant reds and oranges of fall leaves before I headed south, but I’m not sure that will happen in the next several days.  I’m scheduled to pull out on Thursday, but tonight I’m a little nervous about my refrigerator.  Even though the freezer says it’s –2*, it doesn’t seem that cold to me, and I’ve suddenly been having trouble with the ice maker.  It’s reminding me of the troubles I had in 2011. 

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During out tour, I spotted this caterpillar.  Isn’t this the one that predicts how long the winter is going to be?   I think the size and place of the brown is supposed to tell the length and severity of the winter, but I just can’t remember.  Can anybody help me with this?

I did want to announce that there was a winner to last night’s little bird identification contest.  While three people came close to identifying the ten species, one person got them all correct.  That person is Brigitta!  She got all ten species correct by guessing white-throated sparrow, ruffed grouse, black-billed cuckoo, brown thrasher, indigo bunting, rose-breasted grosbeak, golden-winged warbler, woodcock, veery, and mourning warbler.  I think Brigitta writes a wonderful blog, but viewing it is by invitation only.  I’ll be getting in contact with her about the little prize.

Tomorrow, I’ll be checking to see how my freezer is doing, and continuing to get ready for departure.  I sure did have a nice visit with John and Bridget, and they are thinking about volunteering here at Tamarac next summer.  Perhaps we’ll meet again?

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                                                                               THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Puerto Galera Paradise-Deecoded

Right now we're saying goodbye to Tokyo and Jeremy's family and getting ready to head back to Korea. It's been such a great trip with his family seeing as how Jeremy and I dated long distance until our wedding and then moved across the world four months after that. So it's safe to say it's been nice to spend some time and actually get to know my extended family a little bit better. 

Today I have the ever so lovely Dee from Deecoded filling in for me today. She's talking about her trip to a beautiful spot in the Philippines. We've only visited this country once but it's one that once you see it's simplistic beauty, you can't help but want to hop on the next plane out! Don't believe me? Keep reading.


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Hi there, Lost in Travels readers! I am Dee and I blog over at Deecoded. Like Chelsea, I like to travel too, and I thought I'd share one about one of my travel experiences in my own country, the Philippines. Now most people who hear of the Philippines immediately think of one place: Boracay. Who doesn't love the beach, right? I would have loved to go to Boracay every chance I got, but it wasn't exactly cheap to go there. Luckily, I could make do with a place called Puerto Galera, AKA as "poor man's Boracay."

Puerto Galera is dubbed thus because of its white beaches' resemblance to Boracay. But the getting there is cheaper, instead of riding a plane from Manila, you just need to ride a bus to Batangas and ride a ferry from there, and the food, accommodation, etc, is a lot cheaper there too.

Compared to Boracay, Puerto Galera is a lot smaller, but the island is still big enough to have several different "beaches." The one we went to on the first day was called Tamaraw beach and it was so pretty because of all the green foliage and an inland pond.



We bought halo-halo, a delicious and famous Philippine treat made of shaved ice topped with beans, fruits, milk, sugar, custard and ice cream. I know it may sound weird to people who are not accustomed to it, but it's the biggest hit of Philippine summers.

We enjoyed our goodies while lazing on lounge chairs, and when we got a bit bored by inactivity, we decided to do some water sports, of which there are a lot in Puerto Galera too. We decided to rent a kayak as we had never tried that before. It was surprisingly not as easy as it looks!


Behind us you can see a banana boat, I had tried that before, and it's also really fun! The best part is when your banana flips, and you get thrown into the water. You have life savers on so it's totally safe even for people who don't know how to swim.

Later on, we got massages right on the beach at sunset. BLISS.



Later that night we watched a free concert of a famous Philippine singer who happened to be there. See how happening the place is? But before that we stopped at one of the many bars that littered the island and tried a jug of the island's famous Mindoro Sling. The stuff is a sweet cocktail that tastes so good that you don't realize it has alcohol in it, and the effect doesn't hit you immediately, so you drink a lot and suddenly an hour later, it hits you full force and BAM! you're drunk. So drink with caution.

The next day, we continued to enjoy the island and discovered that the best swimming spot was a lagoon that you can reach through a tunnel that's big enough for just one person to crawl through. It was so fun!


And that, dear readers, is the tip of my iceberg. Head on over to Deecoded for more! :)


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Friday, 20 September 2013

Are you ready for a little contest?

I had my scissors ready for cutting this morning as I headed for work.  Last Monday, during the rain, I spent the morning finding good pictures on the internet of 10 different bird species.  The Tamarac Fall Festival will be happening about a week after I leave here, but one of the activities for visitors will be to learn to identify these ten species.  After Janice, the volunteer coordinator, printed my found pictures off, it was my job today to cut all their silhouettes out and then laminate them.  They’ll be posted in trees and grasses at the festival site.  Visitors will be given a pair of binoculars and asked to find these breeding birds of Tamarac at one of the activity stations.

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After I got them all cut out, Janice gave me a run through on how to operate this large laminator.  Most of the laminators I’ve used at other refuges have been little desk top models that are quite easy to use.

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One of the challenges of using this bigger model is its location.  Since the normal office and visitors center has been closed for a year, all of the equipment is crammed into the maintenance buildings.  I won’t go into all the details of operating this thing, but just let me say it was interesting for a vertically challenged individual.

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Janice got the first batch going, and it really took two of us to manage it in a timely manner since it was too high off of the ground, and you couldn’t get behind it to keep the laminate taut as the pictures rolled out.

After lunch, I spent some time trimming all of those birds so they could be used individually.  Not very exciting, but it was something to do on another dismal rainy day.

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                                                      Here’s half of what I ended up with. 

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              And here’s the other half.  (You can ignore that dark chocolate Milky Way on the right Surprised smile)

There are some duplicates, but all in all there are ten species of birds displayed.  So, here’s the little contest.  Can you identify what ten species are represented?  They are all birds that breed on the refuge in the summer, and there aren’t any exotic birds in their midst.  I even have a small prize in mind for the person that can name the most amount of species correctly. 

I know most of you aren’t bird nerds, but if you have a bird guide it shouldn’t be too difficult.  You also have to understand that after seven days of rain, fog, and dreariness, I’m getting a little desperate for blog topics.  Here’s a hint to get you started: the bird in the top center of the first pic is a black-billed cuckoo.

Tomorrow, some fellow bloggers will stop by for a visit, and if the drizzles ever stop I’m hoping to dry my outside rug and pack it away.  Slowly but surely I’m getting things packed up for my departure.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Thursday, 19 September 2013

This and that

I was off early this morning to get the new tires on the toad.  I only had to wait about an hour or so, and I was back in business.

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One of the forecasts I read said it would be bright and sunny today.  So much for the weather guessers.  This is Balsam Lake that is a pretty good size, and you can normally see the treed far shore.  I took care of several other chores in town, and then headed back home.

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By the time I got back, it was noon and those sunny skies surely hadn’t shown up yet.  Believe it or not, there are five trumpeter swans and a couple of ducks on this pond.  They’re hard to see, but they’re there just right of center.

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Can you see the visitors center and headquarters through the fog where I was watering the sod last weekend?  I kind of enjoyed this softer view of the refuge.

About a week ago, while I was out checking signs for painting, I came upon some trash at one of the boat launches.  It seems some boaters left a six pack of glass bottles of Miller Lite Beer behind.  Three were empty, one was half full, and two were unopened.  It made me think of Sam Weibel when I saw it.  Winking smile  I don’t drink beer, but I do use it occasionally for beer battered shrimp.  I don’t know of any place where you can just buy one can/bottle of beer, so I put those unopened bottles in my fridge.

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Yesterday, I decided to fix some shrimp, but wasn’t interested in having them in batter.  I just wanted cold cooked shrimp to be dipped in my homemade cocktail sauce that leans heavily on Hellman’s Mayo, a squirt of ketchup, and a scoop of horseradish.  A cookbook I have from the Mississippi Gulf Coast suggests boiling the shrimp briefly in beer for added zest, so I used up one of those bottles of beer.  The shrimp were delicious, but I sure didn’t taste any difference over using boiling water.

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I got an email today from my son, Dan, telling me I hadn’t made my picks yet for this week’s football games.  He’s the one that talked me into joining a fantasy football pool.  I’m not doing very well, but that’s to be expected since I don’t follow football.  It does give us something to chat about weekly though, so it’s worth it to me.  Anyway, that email surprised me since I made my picks yesterday while chatting on the phone with him.  I needed some clarification of the statistics that were showing up on my pick list.  He didn’t know where I was getting these statistics from, since they didn’t show up on his pick list. 

After his email warning, I decided to check it out.  It seems I was making picks on the CBS network as opposed to our football pool, and was competing against four of the top football announcers and analysts.  Ha!  What a hoot!  I hadn’t made any picks in that pool the first two weeks, so I am in 71,400th place.  I don’t know how I ended up in that guessing game.  I finally got back to the right fantasy pool, after writing down my picks from all the ‘analyzing’ I had done.  Open-mouthed smile  I’ll see how that goes.  I’d just like to beat him one week, but I doubt that will happen.

Tomorrow, I’m slated to be the ‘Laminating Queen’ on the refuge after cutting out pictures of birds with a scissors.  Now there’s something to look forward to!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Letters/68

Dear Seoul, I'm such a sap but every time we leave you, I well up a little bit. Seriously. I'm not sure what it is but I've grown attached to the city and I can't wait to call you home this spring (more on that announcement later, I promise). Dear Spring, hurry up. Dear Shoe Shopping, I don't think I've ever hated you so much as when I have to go with my husband. But I think that's only because the prices here are sometimes twice as much in the states, there's no discount shoe stores, and we are only guaranteed to find 'large sizes' (aka anything over a US size 10) in one area of Seoul and most of the time they are sold out. Dear Rant, I'm now finished. I realize this is only a small annoyance in comparison to all of the positives to living in this country. Dear Readers, I know I've been quieter than usual in social media this week. I'm spending some time away from the computer as much as I can to enjoy time with family and traveling around. I'll be back in full swing next week with stories of our trip to Japan and our family's visit to Korea! (trust me, there's some good ones just waiting for you)! Dear Jeremy, we celebrated your birthday yesterday in style and I must say, 30 looks good on you. Bring on the grey hair.