Sunday, January 13, 2019

Thirteen Hours

My friend Reese told me last week that she wanted to set me up with Julio, a guy she’d met in her English class. She had contemplated organizing a real 소개팅 (sogaeting), a blind date for the two of us, but then decided that the three of us would go hiking. Which I said was fine.

Yesterday morning, after the overnight rain tapered off, they picked me up at 10:15. Julio said his age was “top secret,” but he admitted to being older than us—it later transpired that he’s 55, though he certainly looks younger. Reese joked that I should call him 오빠 (oppa) which is “older brother,” but also a term of endearment for a woman’s male friends. He’d brought a cooler full of fresh picked hallabong oranges (they have an “outie” button on top that is alleged to resemble Hallasan). He kept turning around to talk while driving until Reese insisted he look at the road, which led to a discussion of traffic accidents.

I don’t know how Julio’s wife died, but apparently he has been a widower for about a decade. His 26 year old son is studying at a university in Vietnam, and his 24 year old daughter is at a university in Seoul. His sister is a professional illustrator—17K Instagram followers (we talked to her on the phone later that afternoon), and his brother (and sister in law) are programmers. Julio has a graduate degree in management. He’s from the Seoul area, and moved to Jeju last April. He works as the facilities guy for a local middle school. One of the first things I learned about him was that he likes to cook—he used to own a sushi/sashimi restaurant.

Blue sky was peeking through the clouds when we got to Yongnuni Oreum, which is part of a pony pasture. Despite Jeju supposedly being known for its horses, until yesterday I hadn’t seen that many. There was a whole herd in their fuzzy winter coats munching on piles of huge white turnips near the parking lot. And there were loads of “horse apples” around the hemp matted trail up the windy hill. The cool fierce misty wind sent my baseball cap cartwheeling off, but I managed to retrieve it before it got too far off the trail. The ten giant white windmills on the flat land below were spinning vigorously. I love clean energy. Incidentally, I learned that Jeju-do has 368 oreums (volcanic hills of various sizes) besides the central Hallasan.

After the oreum (half an hour’s easy stroll) and a hallabong snack in the car—more visitors started flooding in as we were leaving, because the Korean national weekend pastime is trekking, assuring that most of the population stays slim—we drove to sunny Hamdeok Beach, which was neatly blanketed and sandbagged for the off-season, except for the 10 meters or so nearest the azure water, where the lovely white sand was riddled with trash. Litter everywhere. Dozens of people were taking photos, oblivious to the plastic refuse, food wrappers, orange peels and cigarette butts. Jeju needs trash bags for its public areas! And an intensive celebrity-led anti littering campaign--people are devoted to celebrity endorsement here. 

From the beach we walked out to a scenic footbridge and rocks, pausing to buy hot fresh cheese-filled squid-shaped pastry for a snack. 

The view was beautiful.

Julio asked if he could pose a personal question, and when I said he could, he wondered why I hadn’t gotten married. I told him I wanted to marry a Christian, and that men of that ilk were kind of thin on the ground. He said that his daughter is a Christian, and his sister is a Christian...but that he “believes in the mind.” Then, we were off to the American barbecue restaurant in Sehwa, where I’d suggested that we lunch.

We polished off our pulled pork sandwiches, and drove to Priya’s pension for coffee. I had tea and a buttered scone, and Priya developed a mad crush on Julio’s sister’s work [Priya also showed us some of the draft spreads for the children’s book she and her husband hope to publish in English, Korean, and Russian sometime in the next few months. (Then comes my book!)]. Julio phoned his sister so that we could gush directly. There was then a flurry of correspondent following on Instagram, and as the sun set we headed to Namwon, where Reese’s husband was meeting us for dinner.

Although I was still full from the eating I had been doing (all day!) at each successive stop, I still managed to make a good dinner of Korean barbecue.

I did avoid the gelatinous pigskin, which came later. I would avoid it anyway, but there's something about eating a substance that given different chemical treatment could be transformed into leather... I will say that Koreans are extremely good about wasting no part of the animal except for the squeal; there are restaurants devoted to the consumption of intestines, and people eat the feet, too. Reese had a small glass of makgeoli, then drank water; the men and I shared three bottles of that local elixir, me also meantime downing several bottles of water. After the makgeoli, I was done, but the men were just getting started. Three bottles of soju later, they decided we’d go to a neat little hole in the wall for our second round. I stuck to water swilled from a huge glass tankard, and they got rosier and rosier on beer and soju. While vintage Toto videos played in the background, I learned how to make a “Chinese pigtail” with a soju bottle lid.

The “toilet” sign on the door nearby was installed upside down—Reese suggested that this was because when you are drunk, you see things topsy turvy, so for the patrons it appeared right side up. I went in search of the facilities through a labyrinth of back rooms and walked in on a guy sitting on the toilet—there wasn’t a lock on the door. Whoops. I went back soon after and was washing my hands when my feet felt curiously damp. I looked down to see water running around my shoes to the drain—the sink just vented out the back and then everything ran to the grill in the center of the floor.

The guys were pretty far gone by this point, but by golly there was one last stop on the tour—Julio’s. He gets loud and cheerful when he’s drunk, and insisted on dragging me, then Reese, into the dark orchard next to his house (where he rents a downstairs apartment only a little bigger than mine) and having us pick an orange. I had never picked an orange before. It smelled divine. (And tasted wonderful when I ate it a few minutes ago while talking to my nephew on the phone.) Reese’s husband was wobbly, but declared that we’d only stay half an hour, by the clock. Meantime, Julio insisted on getting out another bottle of magkeoli (Reese and I drank tea) and a huge bottle of sweet wine homebrewed by his mother. And cooking mandu. And showing off his sushi knives. Reese and I were briefly concerned that he’d cut or burn himself, given his impaired state, but he managed to avoid both.

Reese and I sat on the tiny olive settee and Julio and Reese’s husband plunked themselves on the side of his bed, embracing fondly and knocking back slugs. He kept reiterating that he liked me, and asking if this were our “Day One,” which I managed to evade, along with most of his hugs—Reese’s husband cautioned him about embracing me as I wasn’t his girlfriend yet. And then, right on schedule, Reese’s husband headed resolutely out the door. We tucked into Reese’s tiny car and Julio insisted on kissing the other man’s cheek, twice, in farewell before stumbling back enough for her to close the door and drive away.

Altogether, it was a good day. Julio seems to be a thoroughly nice guy, fond of “skinship,” outgoing, smart. He’s got good teeth and nice ears. He doesn’t smoke, he’s trim and attractive. But not a believer. I did invite him to church, which his landlady also has done (with the remark that they served a good lunch). But, like Albert, I don’t expect he’ll show. Of course, he’s likely to keep calling and messaging, since we’ve mutual friends (who think I should date him) and I need a trekking partner, and he’s holding on to the notion that I may cave if he warms my cold hands regularly and takes enough pictures of the two of us. I hope I can keep my wits about me, particularly after June leaves.

Finally, my tools and aluminum wire arrived (Anita had ordered them for me). The wire's labeled "Made in Korea" which leads me to believe that I ought to be able to restock locally. One of my recent creations, which Maxwell sweetly agreed to display in his shop:

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Seoul Trip Summary

For the first few days of our turn of the year visit to the Seoul area June was sick as the proverbial canine (she started feeling under the weather the moment we got off the plane at Gimpo and after staggering around Saturday with me in 20°F temperatures—Seoul got down to 13°F the evening we arrived—my face went numb walking three blocks from the rail station); she spent Sunday and Monday curled in a feverish fetal position around a box of tissues and spasm-coughing, poor girl. She was still too weak to eat Tuesday, but seems much improved since.

She was patient with me as I tried to find the internet-reviewed outdoor antiques markets Saturday morning, but based on my own street market experience, it was too blamed cold to set up—apparently the vendors had reached this conclusion as well. I went to Lush in Itaewon and had my basket of purchases shipped home, so I wouldn’t have to schlep them in my suitcase. We ate lunch at a splendid (and correspondingly expensive) American style barbecue place up the hill. Saturday night, before she crashed, we started and finished a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle in exactly 3 hours 25 minutes. Which she alleged was far slower than usual when she did them with her sister.

I went out for a late showing of Bohemian Rhapsody at the local cinema. The reserved seat (center, premium) was 14,000 W. I didn’t get any refreshments because they didn’t have any (other than popcorn and soda) that I recognized. There were no Junior Mints, which are essential theater snacks. I would have eaten them before the movie started at 10:50 PM anyway. It wasn’t the final show—there was another at 1:30 AM. Big cities allow for some later entertainment hours. The film was preceded by 20 minutes of 15 and 20 second ads for ramen, milk, credit cards, phone apps, Japanese manga, and cars, among other things. The strangest to me was one for American Standard toilets, in which the camera slid sinuously over the aerodynamic curves, the flawless pale skin of the bowl, like it often does in ads for sedans or body lotion. All ads, and the movie, were broadcast on the screen ahead, but some parts also in surround view on the triangular side walls. There weren’t any movie previews in the American style.

The film itself was formulaic but the music was good. Plus, there were cats. Mercury’s bandmates were all straight and seemingly straightlaced—they may have had wild rocker hair at points, but most seemed to prefer normal clothes when they performed. Not so Mercury, who was about as flamboyant a performer as they come, strutting the stage in sequined unitards. He was only 45 when he died of AIDS. I stayed up for hours after I got home from the movie, reading up on the facts behind the fiction. I also didn’t realize how many Queen songs had imbedded themselves into popular culture since I was young—as the band tended toward experimentation with a wide variety of musical genres, I’d never associated them with a specific sound. And I had incorrectly credited the Rolling Stones with quite a few of their songs. “Fat Bottom Girls” was playing at my gym the other evening...
After the movie I went out and admired the Christmas lights in the broad quiet plaza. Naked trees were decorated with color changing balls and Moravian stars, with breeches of white fairy lights. The many signs up and down the boulevard were still flashing their neon messages to empty streets. Taxis and a few cars circled the island. Another woman was out alone at 1:30 AM taking pictures of the lights. I like being able to walk around in the wee hours without worry.

Monday I went down Itaewon’s Antique Furniture Street. I discovered I could acquire additional pieces for my Wedgwood considerable expense. One teacup and saucer were priced at 69,000 KRW. Other pieces were somewhat less, but six to seven times, on average, what I have paid for them over the years I have gradually assembled my massive assortment. Most of the shops, though, didn’t have any price tags on anything. This is a signal that if you have to ask, you cannot afford it. And that vendors exercise the prerogative to pull any number out of their heads upon inquiry depending on their assessment of the customer’s finances and level of gullibility. I do not like shops without price tags.

In a considerably less expensive area (although at the foot of a luxury apartment complex), I explored a whole district of street markets. There were alleys twisting and darting off every which way, many partly occupied by stacks of boxes and odds and ends associated with the tiny shops jostling for space. I really enjoyed looking around that area. The food, fresh, salted or cooked, all smelled divine. There were baskets of hot pepper powders, an of deeply offended sea creatures, some standing on their heads, others lying pinned open to their viscera like high school biology dissections. And, as it was a fish market, there were cats: an ancient crippled beast that hobbled over to sit and groom itself in the center of the corridor, an well-fed orange tabby with a clipped left ear (the universal sign of TNR) who glared at me, and a black adolescent so preoccupied with playing with a piece of silver skin in and around a white styrofoam box that it was heedless of the cold. And the cold continued considerable. Over my regular underpinnings I had pulled on silk longjohns, then a turtleneck and yoga pants, then a sweater and ankle length skirt, and finally my long wool coat, scarf, hat and gloves. I also wore thick socks and hiking shoes. My hair is a disaster, my hat is losing its pompom (again), my wool coat is ten years old (thank God it’s black!), and it’s likely that I had a “country come to town” aura, but most people didn’t give me much attention.

There were a couple of streets of used goods, mostly mechanical. There were piles of old motors for bench top grinders, burnt up circular saws, and rusted tools of all descriptions. Men covered with grease and metal fragments were attacking samples with cleaner and torches, removing the abuse of years on the select few while most accumulated in sharp tangled piles on either side of narrow walkways. If I had a decent artistic camera that would be a place to get some good shots.

My final stop for the day was the indoor traditional folk market… where on the second floor there was an entire row of sex toy vendors, selling everything from plush vaginas to plastic dildos. It was embarrassing to walk past. The first hint I had that something was amiss upon rounding the corner was the distant sight of a large-bosomed Western woman on a poster. I thought it was just an optical illusion that she was lacking clothes. Nope, in fact she hadn’t on a stitch. By that time I was well down the aisle stacked with unnaturally pink...things. So, the folk market didn’t impress me. In the antiques section, there were a lot of decades-old paint-by-number pictures (this must have been a fad back in the day), ormolu clocks and gilt-edged furniture, old chests of dubious integrity and value, and stacks of reproduction pottery. Nothing lurched forth from the dust to demand purchase. I did buy a battery operated bicycle light for 3,000 KRW.

I had had ambitions of watching the Seoul fireworks, but the journey from the city center to the outlying area where we were staying (Ansan) was too long to make more than once a day, and June suffers from severe claustrophobia in crowds. Plus, she still felt wretched. And by that time, I was coughing and sneezing, too, although not incapacitated. We went out for jjajjangmyun for 4,000 W, but June couldn't eat. So we rang in the new year by going to bed early.

The local wine bar patrons, on the other hand...

I spent most of New Years Day resting. We strolled several miles in the afternoon looking all over for a second jigsaw puzzle, eventually finding another 500 piece at Daiso. It was more challenging than the first, and took us almost five hours to finish. I wish they had jigsaw puzzle vending machines, like they do for flowers...

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy 2019!

My 2019 Hopes and Dreams list:

1. Get not just one, but two books published: Two Motherlands, Two Fatherlands (currently under contract) and a children’s book (that Priya has agreed to illustrate—hopefully she can begin work sometime in February). And get ten more poems published. (Which will evidence an improvement in my poetic skills!)

2. Save more money for a house downpayment.

3. Start a fine romance.

4. Visit three more countries.

5. Find a literary agent for the 2nd major memoirs project (that I have been working on, in fits and starts, for thirteen years now).

6. Host a family member on a visit to South Korea.

7. Be an extra on a Kdrama.

8. Learn enough Korean to carry on basic conversations (asking and answering routine questions). 

9. Become a better teacher, who knows when to speak and when to be silent. Pray for my individual students and learn how to better meet their needs.

10. Continue to work out and slowly regain my trim university years figure. Goal weight: 53-54 Kg. And meanwhile develop my spiritual discipline!

Review of 2018 List:

1. Although I didn’t learn enough Korean to carry on an ordinary conversation comfortably, I did learn more words and became rudimentarily capable of responding to basic remarks.

2) So far as I know, I didn’t meet *that* “good and Godly guy” and I certainly didn’t wed anyone. After ongoing and severe insomnia for much of the year, my sleep has improved over the last three weeks, though, and for that I praise God.

3) I signed the contract for Two Motherlands, Two Fatherlands!!! The major sorrow was that Irina died, but I am glad she knew we’d gotten the offer before she went. I am still in a state of disbelief that she’s gone.

4) I got to visit one other country: Taiwan.

5) No family members came to see me here, but I was able to see quite a few during my visit to the US in June.

6) I don’t know whether I actually hiked 100 more miles of local trails, but I most definitely made it to the to the top of Hallasan!

7) My name is in the front matter for editing at least 10 academic articles, but that’s not the same as writing them. On the other hand, I did get 3 poems published!

8) I am blessed to have more firmly established at least two friendships. Here’s to more and more deeply in the coming year!

9) I wasn’t a total wastrel when it came to Bible reading, but prayer for myself and others tended to be on a periodic rather than regular schedule.

10) I did save money for a house downpayment, but less than I had hoped.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Twas The Week Before Christmas

...And on this morning's warm walk to the seaside, I could understand why some people perceive Jeju as tropical...

Blog writing is like drumming steel cans on a sidewalk. People stroll by, compliment you and occasionally drop a handful of change into the hat or plate you have set out. Less jaded folks clap and remark audibly to one another about how impressive your skills are. However, unless you somehow get a regular gig, there's no way to make a living at it. Busking is good practice, but it's the concert contract (the book deal) we're ultimately aiming for. I think that's a subconscious motivation behind my seven months' interest in rebranding myself as a poet, when I'd written perhaps two verses in my life up to that point. Not that English language poetry sells, but short pieces seem to have a better chance of getting published than extended prose. Or at least of getting a response back from the editors you send them to.

I've reached the century mark of literary submissions. I've only gotten one or two rejections in the last fortnight. Those will come in the new year, since most lit magazine staff are volunteers, and they are swamped, I expect, what with panicked "I told myself I'd try to get X number of things published" last-minute manuscript dumping and with the end of year "real" jobs which allow them to feed and clothe themselves. Working double shifts retail, if my experience is anything to go by.

My gym has a cute little frosted artificial tree out next to the locker hallway. They've recently updated the interior design (the place is only a year old, but mildew was coating the corridor walls because of the damp) by epoxying large motivational posters onto to the walls, and covering the ceiling with an upside down thicket of green plastic weeds. I don't know how the foliage can possibly be in accordance with fire codes, given it intrudes on the spotlights, but I don't spend a lot of time at the end of the hall in the changing room anyway. It's always a bit odd to shuck my shoes and pull aside the curtain to go in and there are ladies just standing around in their birthday suits. I just don't make eye contact with anybody there or when I'm working out, sweating in my own little routine bubble and trying not to hurt myself. I did have to cut my recumbent bike time the other day because a young man sat down on the machine next to me and he absolutely reeked of cigarette smoke. He must have consumed a pack in his car right before he got to the gym, because even in the provided fresh uniform and a meter away he exuded stifling tobacco odor. I hate smoking.

The last several days I have been assisting a young lady my niece's age with her writing. She attends one of the local international schools, and felt like her skills weren't up to par, so her mom asked my hagwon if she could get tutoring during her winter break. She writes better in English than I did when I finished high school. Thankfully, there is a new coffee shop with a pleasant seating area on the ground floor right next to the hagwon, so we've been meeting there rather than all the way upstairs in my classroom. She's a BTS fan, so I first had her write an essay about them. Over the weekend, I assigned a Ted Kooser poem for her to analyze. His language is plain, but his imagery is intricate. I told her that the basis of good academic writing is a beautiful taut introduction. It sets the tone for the whole piece.

My adult students did their self-introduction PPT on Friday evening. There's an IT engineer who sings acapella, a mother of three who majored in agriculture, a policeman, an actor/theater teacher, and a pediatric development specialist, and two others of similarly diverse background. In contrast to my old morning adult class, all of the students are young (twenties to forties), local (only one is originally from Seoul), and focused. I am terrified of disappointing them. And I am determined not to fill up empty spaces with my own words--they need to talk, not me! But in person, as (obviously) in print, that's a huge challenge.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pants & Plans

You know it’s Friday when you finally get to go to the toilet after a long day at work and discover that you have had your pants on backwards the whole time.

There are almost 100 poems with my name on them scattered around the planet in various literary magazine inboxes. Even if only ten percent are presentable, that should be a decent slate for publication in the coming months.

June and I found out on Wednesday morning that we’re to be given SIX consecutive full days off over the new year! We haven’t had this long a vacation since Chuseok 2017. Again, we contemplated going to Taiwan, but as the hagwon union only gave us a fortnight’s notice, air tickets were grossly expensive, and the AirBNB we stayed at last year wasn’t available. Same story with other overseas locations. So we decided to stay domestic and go up to Seoul. We found a place about an hour out of downtown for $25 a night per person and got $75 round trip airfare.

I am looking forward to the fireworks. I also want to hunt up antique shops. We are thinking about taking the fast train down to Busan (at about 200 MPH, it only takes a little over two hours to go from one corner of the country to the other) one day—they depart every half hour from Seoul Station. I need to buy a long puffy winter coat before our trip, though, or  I am going to freeze to death. My ondol (floor heat) here in Jeju is set at 50C and I am under six blankets in long sleeves and yoga pants. And still cold.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Invertebrates Have It Hard

I could never be a starfish. The sensation of needing to extrude one’s insides is distinctly unpleasant. In fact, I believe I could manage with chronic and severe insomnia for the rest of my natural existence if I was guaranteed never to be nauseated again.

Roxanne and her husband sweetly drove me over the mountain to the hospital tonight where I was scheduled to have a sleep study. However, upon our arrival there, we discovered that it actually been scheduled for the morning, not the late evening time (that I had repeatedly confirmed with the lady who made my reservation—“this is at night, right?”). It seems they are in two parts, sleep studies, one in the morning where one meets with the doctor, and another scheduled for an overnight later on. I can’t complain because I don’t speak Korean, and perhaps this would’ve been clear if I did. But I do feel a great deal of debt to Roxanne and her husband for their going out of their way to take me on what was ultimately a fruitless trip. And then there was the fact that I was terminally carsick on the way there, and then again on the return; I had to vomit over the guardrail at the last of several stops they made for me to get out and try to settle my stomach in near freezing temperatures. I was carsick as a child maybe one time, if at all. Now, I cannot handle curvy roads at all. I was miserable. Both tremendously grateful for their generosity and utterly nauseated.

But it was lovely looking up at the stars from the darkness on the mountain road—I could see every major constellation clearly in the night sky. I may write a poem about it. First, though, I need to sleep. And tomorrow I have to call the hospital to see whether and when I can reschedule the study. To which appointment I’ll follow the flat highway around Hallasan, even if it takes me more than twice as long to make the trip. Another bout of carsickness like that might well send me to a different part of the hospital. It’s been an hour now since I returned and I am still a somewhat queasy.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Seven Against Concord

I read a tragic Russian novel (is that redundant?) this past week: Leonid Andreyev’s Seven Who Were Hanged, translated by Herman Bernstein. The story comprises the passion of a fool, a brigand, and five aspiring assassins, all sentenced to death for murder (realized or attempted). The psychological torture of impending execution undoes most of them, who are imprisoned in solitary confinement in the St. Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg and finally taken to the local rail station before sunrise to be trucked out into the countryside to the gallows. It’s beautifully, poetically written (at least in this authorized translation), and its message reputedly impressed the group that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, thereby precipitating World War I. I would be interested in knowing more about facts that might substantiate this last claim—if it is so, an impassioned dramatization of the injustice of the Russian imperial death penalty actually led sequentially to the unnecessary death of tens of millions of people throughout Europe. Both Andreyev and Ralph Waldo Emerson, with whom he was briefly a contemporary (Andreyev was born in 1871 and Emerson died in 1882) rejected the traditional Christianity of their respective societies. Both wrote about death. And in doing so, how typically American Emerson was, all couched in pleasant dreams of eventual unity with verdant nature! And how Russian Andreyev was, with his raging against visions of judicially fated strangling in the snow! The cozy comforts endorsed by the patrician New Englander are a world and time away from the miseries depicted by the Russian former court reporter.

As a child I was traumatized by pimento cheese. The way my mom said “pimento” was “p’minnow” and those red slippery things in the little glass jars really did look like small fish (doubtless relatives of the red herrings I’d heard adults talking about). The whole notion of using a blender to chop up those poor baby p’minnows and mix them with cheddar seemed a barbaric process. No doubt my parents were thoroughly puzzled by my refusal to taste the concoction. It wasn’t until high school, or maybe even university, that I figured out that my parents weren’t necessarily ruthless fish-mincing psychopaths, although by that time my dad was chowing down on oily sardines packed flat in thin tin sarcophagi, so my childhood perception may not have been too far off.

I went to the gym tonight for the first time in two weeks. Current weight 57.2 kg. I got a small paper sack of nut-shaped pastries at a street stall on the way home--the peanut ones have a peanut in each, and the walnut ones have a dab of sweet potato filling.

I’ve written and submitted more verses—a total of 88 submissions since June, of which 39 have been rejected (all but one of these have been reworked and resubmitted), three accepted, and the balance is (are?) still pending. Actually, two of the latter are flash fiction pieces, not poetry. They began life as attempts at poetry and then I realized they really were prose, no matter how creatively I tried to break them into shorter lines.

Whenever I get too optimistic about the state of the world (OK, this never occurs; I’m actually just in the mood for a walk to gather several pocketfuls of sea glass), I go down to the ocean to do some modern day beachcombing. That is, I pick up trash, particularly plastic. Within 20 minutes to half an hour, I am cursing the idiocy and general messiness of human beings, who simply throw their garbage wherever it is convenient for them. And micro plastics. Don’t get me started on micro plastics! Every yard contains a tiny twist of indissoluble stuff in all colors. Mind you, today I limited myself to maybe 500 ft.² of beach. A small sample of this fallen planet. And I came away with a bagful of trash, once again thoroughly convinced that the majority of humanity is traveling to hell in a (plastic) hand basket.

Speaking of baskets, I need to go grocery shopping. Maybe after church tomorrow, if it isn’t too cold. It was pretty bitter today.