Friday, December 01, 2006

How is it December?

Yes, just to get it out of the way, I suck. I haven't been blogging. But for the record, I haven't been doing other things I like such as sleeping or even charging my cell phone. Same old story--school and work are kicking my ass. I actually found time to type this only because I can't sleep and my school's virtual classroom is currently down for its nightly maintenance, otherwise I'd be doing schoolwork. But the end is near--after December 8th I'll be a free woman until the end of January! Well, I'll still be working 2 jobs but at least I won't have any schoolwork to worry about. How will I fill my days... Oh right, with the 17 bazillion Christmas presents I have to finish. I must say that I am doing better than last year (last year I had to give people parts of gifts, like sleeves or the front of a sweater which I then took back to finish about 10 minutes after they unwrapped them). I actually finished a few things so far and I am well on my way with a few others. I totally do this to myself each year. I know that Christmas comes the same time each year and I should start on the presents in February. But you know what, it seems like in between Christmases there are a bunch of birthdays and weddings and new babies to make crap for so really, it's not like I have that much extra time.

Aside from working on the presents, I'm having a tough time getting into the whole Christmas spirit thing. I love Christmas--this is the time I look forward to all year. I like the flowers and the smell of spring but it usually only feels like spring for the last few weeks of Spring semester so I spend them attached to a computer instead of napping in the green grass. I love Fall, well Fall on the East Coast with the changing leaves, crisp air and rainy afternoons perfect for sipping tea. I totally hate summer and as a kid when we would go to the beach in July or August I'd lay on the hot sand slathered in SPF 45 and think of snow and Christmas carols and cider and people being nice to each other for approximately 25 days straight (aside from the people at Toys R Us fighting over the last Cabbage Patch or Tickle Me Elmo). But you know, now I'm living somewhere without snow, where they string lights on PALM TREES and it's 90 degrees (well, it was last week, anyway). Last year at least I was going home to Pennsylvania for Christmas so I could get excited about that. This year the flights were no less than $500 a ticket and Tristan and I can't really afford to lay out $1000 to go home for 4 days. It totally sucks. We couldn't go back for Thanksgiving either because of our work and school schedules. So you know what, we're celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with my family (my very pale family of German and Swiss abstraction). My mom has invited all the cousins over to recreate Christmas dinner that weekend and they are buying a fake Christmas tree this year because my mom was worried that the dog would drink all of the water in the base of a real tree and it would dry out long before we arrived on January 13th. The upside of this arrangement is that I get a few extra weeks to finish their gifts! And I will probably see some snow. Oh well, being with family is all that matters, no matter the actual date that you visit them. I promise you all some photos in a few weeks, when I have time to find my camera.

Well, I really should make another attempt at the whole sleep thing. Lots of schoolwork to do tomorrow and Tristan wants to go chop down a Christmas tree--he "knows a place" where they give you a saw and let you have at it. This could end in a trip to the emergency room but it wouldn't be the holidays without someone getting injured!

I'm looking forward to returning to the world shortly--and I'll be doing it as a 28-year-old. Yep, that crazy B-day is coming up on the 16th. I actually forgot all about it until Tristan's aunt asked me what I would like as a gift. Seriously, I want to tell her a secretary to remind of things like MY BIRTHDAY. Oy! I'm thinking this year I'd like to do something fun, maybe dancing or some totally drunken karaoke. Anybody in?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh Baby, that was a bad idea

Last night I decided to take the night off from schoolwork and veg out on the couch. It was also a good opportunity to catch up on the 7 bazillion catalogs I've received in the last few weeks when I've been too busy to really sort the mail except to pull out the bills. Catalog number 7 was a makeup catalog that I have no idea why I get--can't say as I've ever actually ordered anything from it but it has been following me around the country on my various moves. It offers a variety of discontinued and hard to find brand name cosmetics--including a few "relaxation tools" for women that seem a bit scandalous when juxtaposed with wrinkle cream and eyebrow-shaped wax strips. They also have a huge selection of perfumes--mostly of the "old lady" variety. But there was one that flashed me back to middle school--Love's Baby Soft. I had no idea they still made this stuff. When I was about 12 or so every girl in my class had a bottle of this stuff, in one of its variations--I think there was a blue one, a green one, the original pink one and a yellow one. I had the green which I think was called "Rainforest Rush" or some other such nonesense. At the time, we all thought these were so cool but looking back I really wonder about this perfume. See, Love's Baby Soft smells like baby powder, like a baby's behind if you will. I suppose it was fine for adolescent and prepubescent girls to wear this stuff and maybe that's the age group they were marking it to. But really, did any woman of dating age really wear this stuff? Picture a lovely date and at it's end, the guy leans over to kiss his date and she smells like BABY! Wouldn't that send most men running away in a panic? She's got a kid! Or she really wants a kid! Something along those lines. Doesn't seem like a good way to get a second date. Totally ridiculous train of thought, yes, I know, but I'm too burned out to tackle the important issues at this moment in time. I am voting on Tuesday, though. I might be up all night cramming with the voter book that explains the propositions just so that I can pick the right ones on Tuesday morning. Don't forget to vote! Because if you don't vote you don't get that cool "I voted" sticker which means people won't look at you as "an informed, politically active intellectual" which we all aspire to be, right?

Friday, September 29, 2006

As one departs, two arrive....

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

I am so sad. My friend Michele is moving to Pittsburgh, this weekend! We haven't had much time to say goodbye but we did have a "going-away dinner" Wednesday night at McCormick & Schmick's where Michele used to be a server. It was a fun evening, despite the occasion. But we know she'll be back. One or two Pennsylvania winters oughta have her running back here to sunny California (at least we hope so!). Who is going to catalog the things that suck about LA with me now? Michele and Darcy were the first people I really met here in LA that a) gave me the time of day and b) didn't think I was too weird or too "girl from rural Pennsylvania" to hang out with. Seriously, the night I met you guys at SnB I came home and told Tristan "I think I made friends!" Something that I worried might not happen so thank you!

Here's Wednesday's gang:

Back row: Me, Michele, Christian, Emily and Mike
Front row: Sarah, Sam, James (also Annie in the second pic) & Mike

We dressed up for fun--see Michele's blog for more info. I'm wearing a dress that Tristan bought me about 5 years ago when we first started dating. Since it still fits, I had to wear it (overlooking the fact that it is made of stretchy material, mind you).

Christian, Michele & Me. Christian was at a swank Louis Vitton party. Quite dapper in that hat, no? Doesn't Michele look great? Pardon my cleavage...

Saturday we are off to Runyon Canyon. I've never been and I'm glad I have one more chance to say Michele, not to Runyon Canyon although since I go hiking like, once ever 15 years it might seem like that.

I am so sad to see Michele go and I will visit her next time I go home to PA. Only a 45 min flight from Harrisburg or 1 hour from Lancaster (thats Lanc-astor, not LAN-castor like you crazy Californians say)!

On a happier note:

Tristan and I added to our family in the last few weeks. Magellan needed a playmate so we went to look at some kitties up for adoption at our vet's office (Laurel Pet Hospital in West Hollywood--awesome vets, by the way). These kitties had been brought in when they were 3 months old and relinquished to the vets. They are now 8 months old--5 months of living in a little cage together! Well, we wanted just one when we left the house but they were obviously bonded and if we took them both they would neuter them for free so we got them both. Yes, we are officially CRAZY CAT PEOPLE. That's 5 cats. But the two older ones spend most of their time under the bed or in the closet so it's really like we only had 1 to begin with...

But the kittens are just so damn cute. And they lay (ly? lie? never did get that right in English class) together so much that it's really like we just got one large, 2-headed cat. We named them Pierson and Post. It's a law school joke. The first case that just about everyone in law school reads is Pierson v. Post, about a guy (Post) who is tracking a fox through woods and valleys for hours only to have another guy (Pierson) step out and shoot it as it went past, having expended zero effort to actually hunt it down. The question was "who owns that fox?" The court decided that the guy who shot him had dibs. Yeah, that's exactly how they said it too. Anyway, Tristan and I met in Property class and we joked a long time ago when we first started dating about getting two cats and naming them after this stupid case which is really a hallmark of the law school experience. So here they are. See, 2-headed kitty...
Close up of Post--who is a bit more skittish than Pierson. He is more grey with very pronounced black stripes. He is also very sweet and likes to eat my hair. When scared he runs and sits in the litter box. Ew! But he makes up for it by doing this very Stevie Wonder head rolling thing when he is puzzled by something that is just adorable.

His wiley brother Pierson (see why we didn't name him Post?) waiting to pounce on his brother's tail. He pounces on everything. He's especially fond of biting my kneecap through the comforter which hurts even more than you imagine it would. He also gets confused by our sheer curtains and on more than one occasion has tried to leap through them to get from the windowsill onto a nearby chair, bringing down the curtain rod, the curtain and a floor lamp or two. He finds that this activity is best undertaken at 3:30 in the morning.
Two sleepy kitties. That's Pierson in the front. He is more of a brown-grey and has white tips on 3 of his paws.

Close up of Pierson. He had to inspect the camera's zoom....See his black mouth? I think he's sort of Goth.

And here's Post after I'd taken like a zillion pictures. He figured he'd better just pose and get it over with. Doesn't he look like he's about to say "are you quite finished?" I think he has a Bitish accent though I can't explain why...
Just to give you an idea of how big these boys are. They are only 8 months old and their paws are huge....and they are lying on a king size bed. We may have to move to a bigger condo in the next year or so just to accommodate them.

Well, I have other fun things to tell you and I promise to do so soon. I got a new job, we just had to make some major, super fun emergency home repairs which might mean some fine dining on Ramen until, oh, about Christmas and I have some finished knitting projects and works in progress to share with you all...

But now I'm going to go get some sleep so I can get up early to do my homework. Because, um, tonight I had to watch Grey's Anatomy and stuff and all the things I thought I would get done are still, um, not so much done (or, ahem, even started).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My newest obsession

A few months ago Tristan and I were shopping for a new dining room table so we decided to go to Venice Blvd and see if there was something suitable at Levitz or one of those other furniture stores in that area. We parked across the street from the store and when I got out of the car I turned around and fell in love. No, I'm not leaving my husband. I fell in love with a car.Yes, you read correctly, this girl who HATES to drive fell in love with a CAR. But not just any car. No it was a pristine white Karmann Ghia. A who with the what-now? Yeah, that's what I said when I read the name scrolled near the tire.

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

It is just too cute. Really. Don't you think I'd look cute in this car, tooling around town or zipping down the coast? I just have a few things to do before I'm ready to buy one:

1. Figure out how to drive a stick. I've never tried it but how hard can it be? I multi-task a thousand times each day, surely I could handle driving with both feet...

2. Learn about car repair because apparently these babies need a lot of TLC but like human children, they look so damn cute that you forget about the bodily misfunctions and the disconcerting noises....

3. Pick out which color I want and then try to find one on ebay. Preferably find one in a city close to where friends or family live so that I can squeeze in a visit when I fly out to pick up my new car (see multi-tasking yet again!)

4. Pick out a fabulous scarf and big dark glasses (should I decide to go with a convertible)

5. Think up a plucky yet lady-like name for my new transportation

6. Stop hating driving (this may involve moving out of LA but it's a small sacrifice to pay for a pretty car)

7. Graduate from school, get a full-time job and finish some of my knitting/crafting projects before I pick up this new "hobby."

Oh, the best part? They are starting on ebay for between $500-$1000 and most are selling for less than $5,000.

Good night all, I'm off to dream about myself behind the wheel of a sporty little number....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

30 Days and this is all I have to show for it?

Wow, yeah, so it's been 30 days since I updated ya'll. Mhhmm. Yeah, I'm not sure what I was doing, probably just sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Lifetime. Oh wait, that's the dream I should be having right now, if I were actually sleeping--which I should be. But no, I'm wide awake and sitting in my dark kitchen typing on the laptop (trying to save some electricity--of course I do realize that this laptop takes way more juice than the floor lamp to my left but whatever, I'm trying...).

Let's see in the past month:

1. Went to my sister's wedding. Yep, my baby (and only) sister got herself hitched to a wonderful boy (I suppose I should call him a man since he's married and stuff...). I took a bunch of pictures which you can see here. And, before you ask, I'm only in a few of them because I WAS TAKING THE PICTURES. Rest assured, other people took photos as did the photographer and I'm pretty sure I got into at least a few of them, which I will share with you when I get them. Feel free to comment, particularly if you can think of titles for the last 10 pictures or so--I uploaded them pretty late at night and I just can't be witty after midnight unless I've been drinking. And no drinking after midnight on a Weds, unfort.

The wedding was beautiful, the couple was happy and in love and it seemed like they got a pretty good haul in the gift department. And so did I--well not really, I actually just HAULED the presents from the reception site to the car and then from the car to the house.
It was hot in PA but not as hot as it's been here in the last few weeks. The wedding was at my parents' church and the reception at the local Jewish Community Center (as an aside, when I was home in May I went to the JCC with my sister for a final look-see and casually mentioned that I worked at the Skirball in LA--Yeah, I got the full-on tour after that!). Other than a few minor mishaps--seriously, I don't think it would be a wedding without some tiny, last-minute crises--everything went just wonderfully. I had a few dress issues though. The bridesmaid dress was in junior sizes and apparently my hips and bust (ha! yes, feel free to laugh, I am aware that the only bust I have to speak of is courtesy of Victoria's Secret and their well-placed wires and elastic) are not in "junior proportions." I vaguely remember mentioning this to the saleswoman back in December but she apparently didn't hear me.... So the dress was a bit tight. Well, actually it was so tight that I was worried I wasn't going to be able to take a deep enough breath to get through the one-page reading I was giving during the ceremony. And I only ate about 2 bites from my plate at the reception before my dress hit maximum capacity. I was complaining about the boning in the dress and how it was cutting into my hips when my cousin goes " is it maybe too tight because you're expecting?" Ha! I said "oh that is so definitely not it." It seems that when you have been married for 2 years, people expect you to start popping out kids. Sorry folks, no popping here anytime soon. And by soon I mean never. Seriously, I do not have the energy for children.

2. I've been working. Two jobs. At the same place. I've been both an Administrative Assistant and a pseudo-librarian for a few weeks now. It's been fun. No really, I have enjoyed it but I'm phasing out the Admin work as the library project heats up. Each day I think I breathe in about a pound and a half of dust just moving the books around--or at least that's my explanation as to why none of my shorts fit. I've found like 20 books I want to read as I sort the books but I'm not sure how to squeeze them in....

3. Yep, I'm still in school. Well, actually I'll be out of school in about 3 weeks but then two weeks after that I'll be in school again. I know, hard to keep up. Just assume that I am in school until I say otherwise. I've had some marathon reference scavenger hunts for my research class. The good news: I finally went to Central Library and it is beautiful. The bad news: I had to miss a day of work, walk about 6 blocks in the heat and then spend 5 hours in the library, running from floor to floor looking for the answer to a very important question: "What is the most landed on space on a Monopoly board?" Well, thank god I found the answer because I don't know how anyone would have slept if I'd have failed my mission. But YOU have to wait until my next post to find out what it is...

4. CNN-crafting news nuggets:
a. I've been working on this brown skirt forever and still not done. It's for me so it merely gets a purple flag (ha, ha, office joke for those of you who are regular users of Outlook).
b. I finished a purse for my mom for her birthday--first time I crocheted something without a pattern--I'll put pics up soon, I promise.
c. Crocheted a hat for my friend Grady's birthday. And of course I forgot to take a picture of the hat and him in the hat. I am so bad at that! I hear he's been wearing it a lot so one of these days I'll corner him and snap a photo.
d. Finished a ladies small size sweater for the Afghans for Afghans drive, unfortunately not in time for their current deadline so it will be going in the closet until their drive at the end of September.
e. I'm still working on some other projects--I have a few things I'm doing for people at work or as I keep saying "I'm taking in piecework to supplement my income"
f. I just started a pair of mittens for the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation--I found them on yahoo groups. Check them out, they are looking for a lot of different things and not just wool, like the Afghans for Afghans, which can get to be expensive.
g. tried to get to SnB, but not as much as I'd like to!

5. Went to a Flaming Lips concert with Michele, Mark & Darcy. Loads of fun even if it was hot and sticky at the Hollywood Bowl. Check out Michele & Darcy's pictures on their blogs because I am so lame--I totally thought cameras would be verbotten.

6. Sleeping--I'm gonna get on that one right now! She says as two cop cars go by her house and a helicopter shines a giant searchbeam into her kitchen (Damn, did Tristan not pay that parking ticket he got in May?) Oh, gotta love LA and their stupid car chases. I swear this happens at least once a week...I have got to update more frequently--it's so hard to squish everything into one post.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Nocturnal Amiss....

Ok, so we'll add another anecdote to the "only in LA" category. Last night I'm lying in bed reading a novel (about a ghost that helps her niece solve mysteries--quite cute and very British!) when I hear this gigantic BOOM. My first thought--somebody had a ginormous accident on the 101 (which is about, oh, 50 yards from my bedroom window). I listened for sirens but didn't hear any and the traffic seemed to keep flowing. So not an accident. Oh, I know!! It was gunshots. Oh my god, someone got shot near my house. Two minutes of panic and still no sirens. At this point, Tristan comes to bed and says "hey, did you hear that thunder?" Yep folks, apparently I've been living in the big city too long because I no longer recognize the sound of THUNDER. Or maybe it's because it doesn't rain here during the summer and I was subconsciously aware of that fact--thus my brain thought it couldn't be thunder.

I've been experiencing a lot of things that go bump in the night lately. Most of it has to do with the construction on Cahuenga. Ok, so they can't start their jackhammers until a civilized 7:30AM (whatever, that is still WAY too early) but they can drive their HUGE dumptrunks and earthmovers and other digging machiny-things made by Caterpillar (shout out to PA) past my house at 5:30 AM. I hear their air brakes as they stop at the stop sign and their backing up alarm noises as they realize they cut the corner too short and can not possibly make the turn onto the next street. I want to write to the city and complain. For a week and a half I've been awakened a full hour and a half before I have to get up (on work days) and about 4 hours before I have to get up on non-work days. That's precious sleep that this busy girl can't afford to lose, people!

As if the trucks weren't bad enough, we've got some nightingales living in the tree outside our bedroom. Well, they might be finches or some other bird creature, I don't know my birds. All I do know is that they are night owls--hee-hee--who chirp incessantly like it is dawn at 2AM. They call out to other birds, they chat it up and they sing--which I'm sure to themselves is a beautiful noise and if I were hearing it at 3PM instead of 3AM, I might just agree. But how do you shut birds up? I thought maybe we could shine a huge search light directly into the tree, thus mimicking the sun which should send those bird-brains straight to bed, right? The problem, that tree is directly between our house and the building nextdoor which might not be so thrilled to have a searchlight shining in their window. But then again, maybe they are bothered by the birds too....

Lastly, all the scantily-clad, drunken club goers park on our street to avoid having to pay for parking or to tip the valets. But they don't just go to their cars and leave, no they mosey down the street to their cars, usually treating us to an off-key rendition of some ridiculous club song that's most likely made with computers and was never intended to be mimicked by the human voice. When they do get to their cars, they have a nice little chat, about thirty decibals louder than normal speech because they just blew their eardrums out dancing in front of the club's speakers. I do get to live vicariously through them as I get to hear "I can't believe she did it with that ass, whatever, she's got no standards..." yadda, yadda. On tuesday I actually heard someone say "foshizzle." I kid you not. I thought the only person who said that was Snoop Doggy Dog--or maybe it was him, the lighting is a bit dim down there....

Oh well, I'm off to PA tomorrow for my sister's wedding so maybe I'll get some sleep there. Or maybe not. I'm hoping to get some knitting done, though. Hmm, maybe I'll knit myself a eye mask and some cotton earmuffs before I return home....sweet dreams, ya'll, I'm taking a nap.....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Completely Unforgiveable...

So yeah, it's been, um, AWHILE since I've posted. Funny right since I'm finally done with school. Oh wait, no I'm not. I'm in my second week of summer semester. Woohoo. I'm also planning my fall class schedule. I'm hoping to graduate next spring so that I can FINALLY have a summer free from studying. See, I've been going to school during the summer since the summer of 1998. Three years of summer classes in college, three years of year-round law school, studying and taking the Massachusetts bar exam in 2004. After I passed that exam I thought, that's it, I'm done with school and studying. I figured I'd just go get myself an attorney job and that would be the end of it. Until months of job searching failed to turn up anything--anything at all. I wasn't being picky, my only requirement was that it not be insurance defense because I really don't need a one-way ticket to Hell. Not that I believe in Hell but if anything was going to send you straight to burning brimstone (do not pass go, do not collect $200) it'd be doing insurance defense work.

So then we moved out West, like true pioneers (I our U-haul truck and thankfully no wheels got mired in mud and we never had to form a circle with other moving vans for protection in the Holiday Inn parking lot) to seek our fortunes, or at least enough to live on. But what to do once we were here? Well, sticking with what I knew, I decided to study for and take yet another bar exam. Yep, I decided to take the July 2005 Cal bar exam. So yet another summer spent sweating over an open book instead of working on my tan (er-freckling actually since I use SPF 45 and I DON'T TAN). Then I started working on my library science degree and here I am again, taking classes during the hottest months of the year. It seems that from September to May I forget how hard it is to concentrate when you brain is melting. Seriously, it is that hot. Yesterday while waiting for the bus in the Valley, my plastic sandals (vintage 60's? or 70's? They were my grandmas) actually melted onto my foot. Yeah really, it sounded like velcro when I tried to pull them off after I got home---ew!!!

So I've been working and going to school now and I promise to try to write more. In between everything else I'm doing since in July I'll sort of be working 2 jobs for the same museum while I continue to go to school. Well, I hate to be bored. Although I suppose this post is sort of boring but after like 45 days of silence, this is sort of the chit-chat leading up to the meat of the conversation, if you will. I've also got to remember to bring my camera with me when I go places. Like to PA or just downtown to the Fashion District with Darcy (we went on Tuesday to buy ribbon and stuff for my sister's wedding--Thanks Darcy for trudging through the heat with me in search of variegated pink fading ribbon in pale, petal and fuschia!)

In crafting news...I've been working on a project that I can't talk about because it is a present and it is not knitted, it's some other crafty thing I do. More details to follow ...see how I got you to come back? Other than that, I have about 8 inches of a brown skirt knit in a pattern from the free patterns section of

Ok, back to that schoolwork--gotta be at work early tomorrow!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

School + Work = NO SLEEP, NO BLOGGING...

Hey All, I apologize for the lack of updates. I'm in my last few weeks of school and things are a bit crazy--oh wait, haven't they been crazy ALL semester? No matter, they are even crazier now as deadlines loom in the near future. I'm also still working. Yes, I know I said I'd be done soon and I will be, temporarily. See it turns out that the person I'm filling in for won't be back from maternity leave on the day she's supposed to because she had the baby late and the doctor won't let her. Well, I definitely need time off during my final week of the semester and I'm flying to PA May 11-17th for my sister's wedding shower so I'm working until May 5th and then doing my thing and then going BACK to work May 19th-31st. Yep, I will be working through my vacation from school. Sigh. How do I get myself into these things? Do I carry too much personal guilt? I can't understand why, I'm not Catholic or Jewish but I got the guilt thing down pat. Middle class guilt maybe? Although I'm not sure there even is a middle class anymore in this country. Anyway, I didn't want to leave them in a bind. It's not like I was going to go anywhere over semester break because Tristan is still in school (he's on quarters and won't be on break until the middle of June). And I'll only be working 3 days a week so maybe I can tackle those lingering boxes in the crap, I mean the craft, room.

OEN (Other Exciting News): One of my two very bestest friends from way back (since we were 12!) called me this week to tell me she's pregnant! You know what that means, I finally get to use those baby patterns I've amassed since no one I know has gotten knocked up since I started knitting. Yeah! I hope she has a girl because there are so many cute girl patterns out there--and I'm pretty sure I'll be better at knitting butterflies into sweaters than I will be trying to do a fire engine. Not that girls can't have sweaters with fire engines on them, but you know, it's harder to do. I'll get to see her when I go to PA because her brother is getting married that weekend. And my other best friend from way back will be up that weekend too. I'm so excited, I get to see my two oldest friends together for the first time since last February.

We may be adding to our own family as well--no I AM NOT PREGNANT!!! Just wanted to clear that up--we're thinking of adding another cat. Magellan really needs a playmate and since Tristan will be working this summer and I will probably be working at least part of the time, he won't have any humans to play with during the day. We went to and found a kitty named Franklin who loves to wrestle and play--Magellan tries to wrestle with Amanda but she wants none of it! Franklin is a black and white kitty about the same age as Magellan. We're going to go see him sometime this week to see if he wants to come live with us forever.

Knitting News: Since I've been cleared for knitting by the doctor (only an hour or so a day and I get up to stretch periodically) I've started working on my green sweater again. I'm almost ready to begin the neck shaping so don't worry Darcy, I'll finish it soon! I'm hoping to get it done so I can wear it in PA but I'm not counting on it with all the schoolwork I have to do.

Well, I gotta go break up a cat hissing contest. Samantha is behind the TV making a sound that sounds like a fork that got stuck in the garbage disposal because Magellan is blocking her escape route. Oh yes, and I really want to be a mommy for a fourth time? And then back to the drudgery that is my current project.....

**addendum added 5/8/06---um, it's actually my sister's wedding shower not baby shower that I am going to, talk about putting the cart before the horse! Sorry Mic, didn't mean to imply that you're having a shotgun wedding or anything....

Monday, April 24, 2006

At least we got to go for pancakes....

Saturday night Tristan and I went to see "The Black Rider," a musical written by William S. Burroughs and scored by Tom Waits, at the Ahmanson Theater dowtown. Tristan is a huge Tom Waits fan and bought the tickets months ago, as soon as he heard that a Tom Waits play was coming to LA. I had no idea what it was about when we got there--and neither did Tristan. I figured it would be a bit "out-there" because, come on, the man wrote songs called "Chocolate Jesus" and about pianos that have been drinking...Well, this was even more out there than I anticipated. It was so far out there that I think it may have been in Orange County. The story line itself is sort of Faustus-like, a man sells his soul to the devil for magic bullets so he can shoot some game and win the approval of his sweetheart's father so that they can get married. The songs were good--they are off of the album with the same name but the rest of the play was pretty otrocious.

First of all, the tickets were $60 a piece and for that price we were way up in the balcony, so high up that I had a few moments of vertigo when we first sat down. We were also getting a bird's eye view of the top of the actor's heads for part of the performance. This was opening night and at the beginning of the play it was announced that this was the first run through of the play, that in fact the last 4 scenes had only been practiced "ONCE" on the stage. Hmm, didn't inspire confidence in me, let me tell you. The play itself is a lot of stilted dialog punctuated by a motley of various sound effects--ticks, pops, clangs etc. Except, that since they hadn't done a dress rehearsal, the sounds didn't match up to the actions and there was about a 2 or 3 second delay. Then there were the shooting scenes when deer fell over before the gun went off... Little things, people, but very key. I worked the sound board at a Children's Theatre when I was about 13 and we managed to get this kind of stuff down before opening night...

Also, the dialog is hard to follow and there are foreshadowing scenes except it's really hard to figure out if what's going on is a dream or if it's really happening or what. During intermission I was standing in the lobby trying to figure it all out and wondering if I was the only one who didn't get it when two guys walked out the theatre exclaiming "WTF?" So I guess I wasn't the only one. Perhaps I'm not artsy enough to get it. It felt sort of like a Tim Burton animated movie with real people and hokey sound effects. There was also a soliloquy near the end by some character, who's name/part in the story I did not understand, who uses three different voices and talks about a contract and movies and other stuff. A few people in the audience laughed but I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE GUY WAS REFERRING TO! Everywhere I looked in the theatre there were sets of two head together--one person who thought they got it explaining it to the person next to them who was shaking their head in agreement but whose frowning face clearly indicated they had absolutely no idea what was going on.

Afterwards we walked out into the misting rain and got back on the Red Line. We got off at Sunset and Vermont and walked up the street to Fred 62. I got a Cherry Coke and some apple pancakes. Tristan had fried mac n' cheese balls (which were pretty good--doesn't get more American than frying cheesy pasta!) and a fish sandwich. We then thought we'd catch the 217 Bus home, since it was raining, but after about 30 minutes of waiting we decided to walk home in the mist---for about 2 miles--so glad I went for the sensible and not the cute shoes! We got home around 1:30am and crashed.

I spent all day yesterday working on projects for school and then doing a little quilting during Sopranos and Big Love (east coast feed so it doesn't conflict with Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy--gotta love satellite). I was a bit bummed that Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy were little catch up thingys for people who couldn't be bothered to watch this season. So ABC forced me to do some more schoolwork before going to bed.

I'm so happy that today is finally here--I get to knit again! But only for one hour. Medium had better not be a re-run or heads will roll!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hippity-Hoppity Easter dinner...

Yours truly decided last Thursday to make an Easter dinner this Sunday. Yes, I am aware that most normal people don't plan a holiday meal 3 days before the holiday but I've never claimed to be normal. It wasn't so much that I wanted to celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday, I just wanted to eat ham and mashed potatoes. Luckily my friends were free on short notice so there were 8 of us for dinner yesterday. Tristan pitched in with the cleaning and the house was actually looking presentable--well except for the office but all the crap had to go somewhere....I was making stuff all day but I still didn't seem to time it right and dinner was not on the table at 5pm as planned (more like 5:45?). Anyway, at least we put out a bunch of appetizers so there was no coup! Our group, clockwise from the left--Tristan, Darcy, Mark, Michele, (picture Grady's girlfriend Yumiko in the empty chair--she came after I took the picture) Grady and Grady's brother Randy.
Here's the spread. I was so excited to use some of our wedding gifts such as the placemats, napkins, the dragonfly napkin rings and the red goblets. I thought we had 5 yellow plates and 5 red but somehow we only have 7 altogether now so I got a purple plate. We had ham, Tristan's chicken enchilada suisa, mashed potatoes (which Darcy mashed with a whisk because I stupidly cooked them in a pot that was so deep the hand mixer couldn't reach the bottom--whoops! Thanks Darcy!), green beans, corn and biscuits. Michele and Mark brought lovely pink tulips, baked beans and some cheezy au graten potatoes--yum! Darcy supplied us with chocolate mouse cakes for dessert. We also had key lime pie and a strawberry pie and Yumiko brought these fabulous deserts that were little works of art. Pear tarts, chocolate tarts with little crepes, and a few other pastries that were all hand made and yummy!

In preparation for company, we decided to have Magellan and the other kitties "sheathed" with soft paws so we could roll out the rug we bought last Saturday and rolled up again the next day as the cats had attempted to destroy it overnight. Tristan picked orange to match Magellan, and of course Samantha & Amanda had to have orange too because you get like 40 in a pack. They are little vinyl things that you glue onto the cats nails. Don't be horrified! It's all edible. The cats can eat the glue and the claw covers and be just fine! We had to clip their nails first then you put glue in the little claw thingy and stick it on. Tristan came up with a way to hold them down--straddling them on the bed without sitting on them while I filled the things with glue. I think Tristan was more scarred by the whole experience (literally) than the cats were. They licked at them for a while but now they don't seem to care that they are on. They all look like they had their nails done. It seems to be a good alternative to declawing your cat which is cruel and should be illegal. And our rug is still intact!

Since the house was actually clean, I decided to take some pictures of our living room for you all to see. Especially my family and friends who keep asking for pictures. And yes, curtains are on the "to do" list. I'm thinking whispy gold sheers on either side of a taupy suede-like roman shade. I'll probably have to make it myself which means it will be up some time in 2008 when I have time....

This is a shot looking into the dining room. Once I finish all the dishes from yesterday, I'll take a shot of the kitchen/dining room. You'll have to wait for the other rooms because they still have a ways to go.... and no knitting updates because, since my shoulder has practically imobilized me, I have been forbidden to knit. I know, it's been awful. I don't know how to keep my hands occupied while I watch tv. I've done a little bit of quilting instead because it consists of smaller movements and doesn't involve my shoulder muscles as much. Oy! maybe I'll feel better once school is finished for the semester--only 5 weeks left!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Only in LA....

Our city actually hires a whole bunch of goats to eat the grass off of hillsides to avoid summer fires. The news advertised it as great family entertainment, parents take the kiddies to watch the goats stuff themselves on weeds! And they say Pennyslvania is full of redneck simple folk--I don't remember ever going to see a bunch of goats eat, unless you count the goat pens at the county fair but that was really just a shortcut from the games' booths to the cotton candy seller...

Friday, March 31, 2006

Knitting is in my blood, well almost...

Yesterday my new friend and carpool buddy Claudia, who is from Germany, pointed out that the German word for knitting is "stricken." Today I looked up "knitter" in an English-German Dictionary and in German it is "stricker." Apparently it seems that I was fated to be a knitter since my last name, Strickler, is only one letter off and I am of German descent so it is entirely possible that my forefathers (and mothers!) were knitters. Fun little trivia for me. Now if my mother's maiden name turns out to mean "one who talks too much" then I know I was meant to be who I am...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

If it's not mad cow, it's the bird flu...

Woo boy is it raining today! I left the house this morning with an umbrella, got halfway to the train station and the wind blew it inside out and broke 3 of the metal bars so it refused to stay up. I then got on the train, got on my first bus and was waiting at the corner for my second bus (that's right a train and 2 buses to go like 8 miles because it's like that here in LA) when it started to pour. And this bus stop, oh yeah, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE TO TAKE COVER. So that 5.5 minutes I spent blowdrying my hair this morning were a total waste. I was soaked when I got to work. I finally dried off about 3:30. Of course Magellan doesn't really care what the weather is like outside so long as it's warm and toasty behind the computer monitor.

Tristan was reading an article a few days ago about the bird flu and how it's coming for us. As we talked it over, we decided that maybe we better stop eating poultry, just to be on the safe side since we are so close to Asia and everything. Then we remembered that book Fast Food Nation that we both read which talked about how the meat industry grinds up chicken beaks and feeds them to cows. So we thought, hmm, we better stop eating red meat too, just to be on the safe side. But we will continue to eat fish and seafood because, um, what are the chances that a sick bird dies over the ocean, falls in the water and gets eaten by a tuna? Ok, so that could totally happen. But really, I can't subsist on pasta and cheese alone--wait, could there be bird flu in the cheese??? NO! I will not sacrifice the cheese. Because, to paraphrase Bush, if I give up cheese then the bird flu has won. So we will try to be vegetarians--after we finish all the meat that's in the freezer. We're a little concerned about the cats though. I'm not sure that they will adjust well to tofu....

In knitting news:
I finished off 2 pairs of newborn baby socks for Afghans for Afghans. I was working on the striped ones on the bus last week when a man offered me his seat saying "oh, jeez miss, take my seat." I was delighted and slightly shocked, thinking, there IS a civilized man left alive! Then I looked down at my knitting and realized that he probably thought I was pregnant because I was knitting a baby bootie. I decided then and there never to wear that particular pair of pants again because obviously they reinforced this guy's notion...

In other knitting news, Darcy and I are progressing on our knit along. Well, Darcy is anyway. I've finished the back and have about 4 inches of the front done but Miss Darcy is just about finished!

I'm technically on Spring Break this week but I have too many papers and projects to be working on to really take time off. I declared last Friday and Sunday Spring Break for me. Except I got sick Friday night and couldn't go bowling with our friend Daniel. I felt terrible, since it was his birthday celebration and all but I thought I was going to keel over, and not just from the thought of wearing those funny looking stinky shoes. Luckily I recovered by Sunday and was able to go to Al Gelato's with Tristan, Darcy, Michele and Mark. I had some yummy gnocchi and then some pear sorbet with a "taster" (i.e. a 1/2 scoop) of cabernet sorbet on top. Heaven! The pear was delicious. I know, it was a healthier choice when compared to the gelato flavors containing cream and I apologize for that but I had eaten gnocchi for dinner which are delicious little pasta rocks that land in your stomach and don't leave much room for rich desserts. Darcy came back to our swanky (read: somewhat less messy than last week) new pad for some knitting and Sopranos watching. But alas, the weekend is over. Back to schoolwork and regular work. I'm gonna go change into pjs now, grab my knitting and cozy up on the couch to catch up on Ti-vo'd "Knitty Gritty" episodes before I read another chapter of my Information Retrieval textbook (works better than a nightcap). Stay warm and avoid the rain--just remember it only does this like 10 days a year here!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ashes, Snow, Sand & Silliness

Tomorrow is Darcy's Birthday so today Michele, Mark, Tristan and I took Darcy to Santa Monica for a birthday celebration. Our original plan was to see the Ashes and Snow exhibit at the pier and then have dinner at Ye Olde Kings Head on 2nd Street. But we were all "famished" (just for you, Darcy) so we opted to have our fish and chips and THEN get a little culture (well, I had the mushroom and chicken pie which came with a pastry thing on top that looked like a conch shell, no lie). Darcy got her picture taken and a weird fruit/custard thingy with a candle in it. They give you your picture in a little "frame" with a history of the restaurant on it--very cute. Next time we go it will be my birthday (or somebody's because they didn't check Darcy's ID and we all decided we want pictures too!) We walked down to the pier and Mark thought he saw Aaron Spelling--but none of the rest of us did (guess we just missed him....). Luckily, Michele, Tristan and I had student IDs so we got in for $10 instead of $15. The photos are amazing and the film is good too, but just a warning, it is an HOUR long. So if you go, muscle your way to the handful of seats up front, and maybe drink some coffee before hand because the music is so soothing it just about puts you to sleep.

Afterwards we took a walk on the beach and snapped some pictures, because it was sunny and we all have blogs to fill with stuff.

Michele, Darcy (birthday girl!) and Me

Mark, Michele, Me and Tristan

Tristan and Me
Michele and Mark looking so cute!

The Guys bonded over discussions of computers, electronics and Bill Maher.
In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, Mark entertained us with an authentic Irish Jig, performed in the cold, cold, water of the Pacific... No pictures of all 5 of us though, we had trouble finding someone who was close by who didn't look like they'd run off with our cameras...Ok, now back to schoolwork. Gotta get all my stuff finished so next Sunday we can go to Al Gelattos!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Flowers, chocolate and scary nature...

I've been quite the busy little bee the last few weeks and my husband got this bee flowers last week! Tristan's not really the romantic type, which is fine with me because I'd rather he clean the bathroom (which he also did) than feed me strawberries by candlelight. But last week I was just so tired that I kept falling asleep while doing my reading for school and then hubby went out to have dinner with a friend and came home with the pretty bouquet above, just because. Brightened my day considerably. And, because he knows me so well, he also brought me these:

Nutty Bars are one of my weaknesses. Tristan has really been helping out quite a bit since I started working--doing the dishes, cooking dinner, going to the grocery store, cleaning the cat box and even dropping my library books off for me. Sometimes I really hate being an over-achiever. I thought of course I can work 3 days a week and take 3 graduate classes and move and finish those Christmas gifts I just haven't quite gotten around to (those ones from 2005 that haunt me from their tote bags each time I pass by them...) and a million other projects I have in my "to do list." Afterall, in college I managed to complete two bachelor's in 4 years, be president of our women's caucus, vice president of the Circle K volunteer service fraternity and participate in weekly service projects, write for the student newspaper, maintain active memberships in three honor societies and two major-specific clubs and have a social life. How? I don't know. I look back and think perhaps I had one of those crazy time thingys that Hermione (had to look that up on Amazon because I had no idea how to spell it) used in the newest Harry Potter movie, so she could go back and forth in time and appear to be in two places at once. Or maybe it's because I'm not 18 or even 21 anymore. Does old age start at 27? Whatever the reason, I just can't handle as much activity as I could when I was young. It doesn't help that I decided to move and start a new job all in the same week, about two weeks before my midterms. So if you see me soon and my eyes look a little glazed--believe me, I want to pay attention to you but about 1/3 of my brain might be sleeping--it's taking shifts.

In knitting news---well, there isn't any. I made one washcloth for the yahoo group Loves Many Cloths and one pair of newborn socks for Afghans for Afghans, which is having a drive to collect 100 hats and 100 socks/booties for newborns by the end of April, if you've got any soft wool to spare. Other than that, I haven't had time. I manged to work on those two things on my lunch break at work and while I waited for journal articles to finish printing. Oy vey! One of these days I will be all caught up and even ahead on my school work and my house will be all unpacked and clean and my taxes will be done and the Siamese will give up her most recent hobby of peeing on things...and Magellan will finally be able to get that grasshopper who's taken up residence in the flowerbox outside our living room window.... yeah right.

Which is scarier--this grasshopper or Laurie's square watermelons?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cat People v. Dog People

So have you ever looked at someone and thought "he's a dog person..." or "oh she's definately a cat person.." ? Since I now often take public transportation and I have a job that puts me in frequent contact with all sorts of people, I've felt the psychology major in me seeping to the surface of my conciousness. Yes, I admit it, I've been theorizing. You see, I'm a bit of a chatty cathy and I often end up deep in conversation with complete strangers who feel compelled to tell me about their kids, their jobs and even their pets. Most times though, I don't need them to even tell me what kind of pet they have or prefer because I CAN JUST TELL.

Just a warning, what I'm about to say may be offensive to dog people. I'm sorry, it's just the way things go---not everyone was thrilled with Freud's penis-envy stuff so really, you can't please everyone. To better understand my theory, I ask you to picture in your mind someone you know who owns a cat (or cats because cats seem to be like potato chips, you can't have just one) and a separate someone who has a dog--leaving out for the time being those persons who own both types of animals. Still thinking, ok, I'll give you a minute, I want to break into that Take 5 bar I have in my purse anyway...Ready, ok moving on.

Ok, now think about the stereotypical characteristics of dogs. Dogs need lots of attention, you have to walk them and take them outside to do their business (not to mention pick it up and carry it around til you find a trash can) and you can't leave them home alone when you go on vacation. Also, dogs are continually amazed and overwhelmed that you actually come home to them each and every day--there's barking and tail-wagging and a plethora of sloppy wet kisses (and if they had aposable thumbs I'm sure there would be "welcome home" banners). Dogs also constantly want to play fetch or play with toys, usually involving their humans in the game. Dogs must also be registered yearly and get shots yearly and .....well, you get the picture.

Alright, shift gears just a bit and consider the attributes of cats. Generally, cats decide when and if to show you affection. They don't need your assistance to go to the bathroom--although you do have to clean their commodes eventually. You can go on vacation for a few days if you leave out enough food and water and not have to worry about them. When you come home, the cats might even be asleep and really they don't care all that much that you have returned, so long as you feed them. Cats generally entertain themselves by pushing fake mice or the plastic things from milk carton lids, no human required. And you don't have to take cats for shots very often nor do you have to register them with the city.

Ok, you're thinking yeah, yeah so that's what dogs are like and that's what cats are like but how does this relate to those people I've got hanging in my mental picture frame? My theory is that some people who prefer dogs are seeking to fill a void in their childhood. Perhaps they didn't get enough attention or affection or maybe they were never really given responsibility and were allowed to do whatever they wanted as a child. They may need to feel needed and appreciated and a dog is more than happy to provide those experiences.

Cat people, on the other hand, seem to me to be more well adjusted. They don't need effusive displays of affection when they return home each day. They are happy when their cats snuggle with them and ok when the cats decide to sleep on the other end of the house, under the bed, for hours. Cats and their humans can be together without doing something together. Ok, I am tremendously biased and this is not so scientific a theory and I have no real means available to test it but it's just a wisp of a notion I've been pondering recently...

And for those people who have both--they might be even better off because they don't need constant affirmation of their cat's love but they do have the patience and attention to give to their dog. Of course, this theory is based on sterotypes. All cats and dogs may not behave the same. For instance, Magellan is usually waiting for me by the front door when I come home at night and he likes to play fetch with me.

Just something to mull over. I wish I'd thought of this 6 years ago when I dated a very clingy guy--guess I should have just bought him a dog instead of moving out of state to put some distance between us...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

No, I didn't move to Swaziland, I've just been busy...

It feels like I made this lapghan about a million years ago but turns out it was just last month. In case you all didn't hear, we moved on February 17th from West Hollywood to Hollywood. There are still boxes everywhere because that week I also started a new job. Oh, and I'm taking three Master's classes and so is Tristan and...we can't afford to hire someone to unpack for us so lots of stuff is still trapped in cardboard. I'm slowly making dents here and there over the weekends but it might be April until I get some pictures up here. (Hey Michele, if the gnomes are finished with your place, could you send them over here?)

In the mean time, I thought I'd post pictures of the afghan I finished a few weeks ago but didn't get up on the blog because we had no internet--story for another post! Anyway, I did this crocheted afghan in Rainbow colors of Sugar n' Cream yarn that I bought from createforless for cheap! I sent if off to a friend of mine in North Carolina as a birthday present--only about a month after her birthday, surprise! I did the traditional granny square, starting the squares with different colors, doing 6 rounds per square using an H hook. It took about 3 balls of most colors but 4 for the purple.

I laid them out like this: (the color is the first starting round in the inside of the square)
R=red, O=orange, Y=yellow, G=green, B=blue and P=Purple







I tried several different ways to join them but nothing seemed quite right. I wanted to have some black showing around the squares to sort of frame them. So I made up my own way. It's fully reversible and I honestly can't decide which side I like better. The photo on the left is the "right side" and the photo on the right is the "wrong side." Squares will be joined first into rows and then the rows will be crocheted together, followed by a border.

1st: Hold two squares wrong sides together and line up the corners.

2nd: Slip needle under corner space of square closest to you and do one single crochet.

3rd: place hook under corner space of other square, making sure that wrong side is facing you and do one single crochet.

4th: turn work slightly so that you can comfortably slip hook under the corner space of the first square and do another single crochet.

5th: turn work slightly again to whatever angle works for you and do one more single crochet into the corner space of the 2nd square.

6th: slip hook under the first stitch after the corner space on the 1st square and do one
single crochet.

7th: turn work slightly and make one single crochet under the first stitch after the corner space on the 2nd square

8th: keep alternating back and forth from one square to another, making sure that at the end of the squares you do 2 single crochets into the other corner spaces but keep them alternating so you don't end up with holes. You will be making one stitch into each chained arch too, not just into each double crochet stitch from the previous round

Joining the rows:

1st: do the same thing that you did to join the squares, line up the rows with wrong sides together.

2nd: Alternate from one side to the other doing single crochet, making sur
e that you do two stitches in the corner spaces at the beginning.

3rd: when you get to the point where you joined the squares together, make sure that you are doing 2 alternating stitches into each corner square so that you actually have 4 single crochet stitches over the black yarn that joined those particular squares before you start doing stitches on the colored yarn. Again, make sure you keep alte
rnating to avoid holes.

To finish, I used the "Shallow Scallop Edging" from the Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches (p.311) just to give it a little more pizzazz (sp?) except that I just picked up the edge and did a row of single crochet to start as my foun
dation instead of working the edging as a separate piece and then attaching it as it is pictured in the book.

Today, March 7th is Magellan's birthday. He is one today. I can't believe my baby is all grown up. He got extra treats as a birthday present but I told him he'd have to wait at least another year for that pony. At least now we are living somewhere with flower boxes so he can watch ladybugs to his heart's content... from the top of the vacuum cleaner box that mommy still hasn't opened--guess you know I haven't done any vacuuming recently....

Monday, February 13, 2006

Calgon, take me away!!!!!

Who needs reality TV when I've got lots of drama right here? Since Thursday morning I've:
--skipped with glee
--discussed paint chips and painted "virtual" rooms at the Behr paint site
--signed paperwork that has obligated me to pay a large chunk of change every month for the next 30 years
--discussed, with an air of longing for simplier times, the merits of various Nintendo games (um, that's the first Nintendo--Duck Hunt, Super Mario
Brothers, Tetris etc)
--ate crepes at IHOP
--tried to get my own money out of the bank for our downpayment and subsequently:
--screamed in a public place
--swore at several people I don't know
--expressed a building sense of homicidal rage growing within me (justto Tristan so no charges will be filed or anything)
--took 3 buses and a train to get to a job interview that lasted 7 minutes and then took 2 buses and a train home...
--cried in a bank lobby--sobbing, crying--it wasn't pretty
--won a $500 library scholarship
--AND, spent 3 hours last night in the emergency room with my husband after receiving a call that he had ploughed head first into the back of an SUV that swerved in front of him on the road and yes, last night he was running late and forgot to grab his helmet!!!

Thursday: Oy! so Tristan and I closed on our condo--well we signed all the paperwork. Then we went to IHOP for a breakfast celebration (I actually skipped part of the way because I was so happy). Then onto the bank, the Bank of EEEVILLL, to get our downpayment wire-transfered to the mortgage company so that we could close and get the keys to our new home on Tuesday or Wednesday. We get to the bank, we wait in line for about 10 minutes because none of the customer service reps would meet our eyes so we could get their attention. We get up to the teller who tells us we have to go fill out this form and then get back in line to talk to someone. I have never sent a wire transfer before and let me tell you, that form was confusing--beneficiary, beneficiary bank's account number the mortgage number etc. I filled out what I could and then we got back into line. We sat and waited for another 10 minutes for a "customer service" person to see us. He pulled up our info and said, "oh you're an out of state customer, we have to verify you account, it'll take about 10 minutes."

Because, see even though we moved here a year ago and changed our address with the bank and have been doing all our banking in CA, we are still considered "out of state" because we opened the account in MA. Hello, they are a national bank! Why would you have to close your account and open up a new one with them when you move? However, having had past dealings with the Bank of Evil, we anticipated this being a problem. Three weeks ago, Tristan called their customer service number and explained to them what we wanted to do, that we had opened the account in MA and that the amount was several hundred thousand dollars so we couldn't just get a cashier's check. Their response: "you'll be fine, just go into the nearest branch with your driver's license, have a nice day!"

So here we are 3 weeks later, trying to get the money out. Turns out, that they can't actually access our account info because the states aren't hooked up to one another through the computer system. "Could you please go sit over there so I can help the next customer while we wait for your previous branch to call us back?" Half an hour later, we are talking to a different rep who tells us that we can't get our money out without a copy of the "signature card" we filled out when we opened the account 5 years ago and that this piece of paper is not scanned into the system and can only be gotten from the branch where we opened the account. And said branch closed at 4pm Eastern time on Thursday and we were informed of this about about 4:30pm Eastern time. "Sorry, you'll just have to call back tomorrow. We'll TRY to get that bank to look for the card, but other than that there's nothing we can do. Now I need these seats for our next customers...." As a side note, I just finished reading "Talk to the hand: the Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door" by Lynne Truss on Wednesday, perhaps I can collaborate with her on a sequel...

Friday: I go off to my interview in the morning--and I missed the bus that goes to that town because it was 25 minutes early and the electric sign on the front of the bus was malfunctioning and only displayed 2 letters and absolutely no bus number so I had no idea that was the one I needed to flag down... So I had to find another bus that went part of the way there and then wait for the next bus. Craziness. I got to my interview on time, was there for 7 minutes and then back out on the next bus home....

While I was riding all sorts of public transportation, Tristan was on the phone with the bank trying to get them to call Boston. He finally ended up calling the branch manager in Boston himself who said "I don't have time to talk to someone in California. I have to take care of my customers here." And then he hung up. Tristan kept calling back so he could explain that we could LOSE OUR HOUSE if this transfer doesn't go through and that, in fact, we would be losing our apartment too since it is already rented and we have to be out of it by Feb 20th. Finally the CA bank called the guy in Boston and he started looking for the card 5 minutes before he closed (again, at 4pm--what kind of bank closes at 4?). And nope, he says he doesn't have it.

Saturday: 9am, the CA branch manager's office. Tristan was supposed to take the CBEST test today so that he could become a substitute teacher while he works on his masters. But we had to straighten this thing out so he forfeited his registration fee and now he has to wait until the end of April to take the test which means he can't get on the teaching list until next Fall. Again, the manager's like,"I don't know what we can do." We have to have that signature card to verify who you are. I said "you need verification of his identity, won't this do it?" And I proceed to dump an entire folder of crap on her desk: passport, birth certificate, marriage license, taxes going back 5 years, copies or our leases from here and Boston, old checkbooks full of carbon copies from when the account was opened and other official documents. And guess what, this couldn't prove who his is to these people--only that little piece of paper could. That piece of paper that THEY lost.

Their proposed solution: How about you just write a personal check? Which will take 10 days to clear and force us to put our stuff in storage and live in a motel and possibly stay there for over a month if the seller decides to back out of the deal and we have to find a new condo to live in, go through the escrow and so on... The branch manager was on the phone with customer service while Tristan said, "if you can't get this straightened out today, I'm flying to Boston on Monday, getting the money out in person and you will pay for my ticket and hotel!" I sat there and imagined the worst: that our seller would back out of the deal, we would be thrown out of our apartment, we'd have to rent a storage unit and live in a cheap hotel for God knows how long. I couldn't stop myself, I started bawling in the lobby of Bank of Evil, in front of all their other customers. The branch manager looks at me and says, "wait don't get upset. I'll just authorize it myself. Let me make copies of all the IDs you brought with you and I'll put it through on Monday morning. I'll take personal responsibility for it." So apparently folks, the only way to reach the human beneath the Bank of Evil alien employee is to CRY! Sobby, snotty, hiccuppy crying.

Sunday: Still worried about the transfer. Hoping it will go through. I was watching a 60 minutes segment about severe head wounds and thinking I would follow Darcy's advice and just take a hot bath and go to bed after it was over when the phone rings. It's Tristan's friend Grady and he's telling me Tristan was just hit by a car while riding his bike, that he hit his head and there is blood pouring from the wound. Can I grab the bike rack, throw in the car and pick him up so we can meet Tristan at Ceder-Sinai's ER? So that's what I did and on my way out the door I see Tristan's bike helmet, laying on the table. Three hours and 12 stitches later, Tristan is good to go home. No broken bones, just a bunch of bruises and a Harry Potter scar on his forehead to remember this accident by. He is very lucky. He was riding down Hollywood in the right lane behind an SUV that slowed down like it was going to turn into a parking lot. Tristan moved over to the left lane to pass it and at that moment the guy swerved into the left lane and slammed on the breaks. Tristan tried to stop but couldn't and his bike wheel locked up, he flew over the handle bars and slammed forehead-first into the SUV's huge bumper, hitting the round hitch for dragging a boat or whatever. Luckily, no sign of a concussion. The guy felt really bad and drove him to the hospital (with Tristan bleeding all over his expensive leather seats) and offered to pay his medical bills. Our insurance will most likely cover it all so no worries there. Tristan has promised that from now on he will wear the helmet I bought him as a wedding present (just like Lance Armstrong's helmet, by the way).

Monday: Tristan's phone/pda got smashed in the crash and they are replacing it for him and he's excited because his model is now obsolete so he's getting the improved version which apparently has more megapixels and blinking lights or something. The wire transfer finally posted and I am taking the day off from worrying about anything but packing and some schoolwork. UGGH! I thought weekends were for relaxation....

In Knitting News: Darcy and I have been working on our knit along project--the short-sleeved Michael Kors sweater from the Holiday 2005 issue of Vogue. Yep, so far we've done the ribbing and the first 11 rows. Tonight Darcy and I will be tackling the first decrease row and it's all downhill from there, folks!

So that my crochet skills don't get too rusty (it has been about a week, appalling, yes!), I made up a square to send to Drew the Crochet Dude who is collecting 12 inch squares for afghans for Heartmade Blessings. You can see all the details on his blog. And yes, I do realize this isn't quite square--I was watching the Olympic figure skating pairs and my eyes were focused on the Russians who were skating a perfect program instead of on my stitches and...I lost count somewhere on the second to last row or thereabouts. OOps! Hopefully someone will be able to finagle it--put it on a corner, Drew!

I'm going to try to score some Valium (kidding!) and some more boxes (not kidding!) and then chill our for the rest of the afternoon. So everyone, take your drama someplace else, cuz we're all full up here!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oh the places I've been....

I actually found this map thingy when I looked at Michele's friend Amy's blog. Pretty cool. Though I must admit, some of these were places we stopped to use the bathroom on our cross-country trip--but only a few, the rest we actually did stop in and look around!

create your own visited states map

Looks like I need to do more international travel--glad I just renewed my passport for another ten years--I've only visited 4% of the world's countries!

create your own visited countries map

Where have you been? Where should I go next?

I'm reading a book right now that is set in China so maybe I'll have to plan a trip there--guess I better start clipping coupons if I have any hope of saving enough money...

The book is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (It'll be back at the LAPL in about a week if you don't want to buy it!). I'm about 1/3 of the way through and this book is not for the faint of heart. There are several chapters that discuss footbinding in painful detail--describing bones breaking as she walks etc. Why anyone thought having a foot that was only 7 centimeters long was a necessity, I'll never know. Oh, of course, it was to keep women in their place--they certainly couldn't run away from abusive husbands or even engage in business or anything else that requires you to walk more then ten steps at a time. For those of you who are metric-challenged, like me, my shoe size is size 6 and my foot is 22 1/2 centimeters long. Yeah, so 7 cm is like ridiculous. Yet again, I can never see this happening if men were the ones supposed to be bound. Same with the whole abortion issue--there's no way the government would even think of telling a man what to do or not to do to his body...ok off subject but I got all fired up watching the State of the Idiocy, I mean, Union, address the other night. Turns out there was a sizeable anti-Bush demonstration in Hollywood that night. I guess I should have gone there instead of yelling "ha, you liar!" repeatedly at the TV all by myself.

And in knitting news: I'm one row away from completing the granny-square afghan and I'm exploring decorative edgings to give it just a bit more "ummph." I've also started working on a pair of alpaca socks--another Spring birthday present. However, I seem to have misjudged the amount of yarn necessary so I will be substituting some other AIS alpaca (Already In Stash, people) for the heel and toe so all should work out in the end. The yarn is Classic Elite Inca Alpaca from The Knitter's Studio--purchased during their sale a few weeks ago. It is beeeuuutiful--all different shades of green from lichen to olive to a muted chartreuse but they're gonna have chocolate brown heels and toes. And if you recognize the pattern, I'm doing the same cable pattern from the orange socks I made a few months ago...but on size 7's instead of 2's so it is going much faster! I'm actually reading for class while I knit, except for the cable rows.

Also, Darcy and I have started our own little knit along project. We're both doing the short-sleeve sweater from Vogue Knitting's Holiday Issue--they've taken down the picture from the website since the new issue is out. I'm doing mine in Tahki cotton classic in a pretty Avocado green color (the one that's displayed in that link) and Darcy is doing hers in Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride in a very pretty oatmeal-type color (not sure exactly what it's called). So far I've just swatched and done the ribbing on the bottom back. Pictures to follow when I've done more...Or if you're in the area, come to the Farmer's market tonight at 7pm for the WeHo SnB and you can see how both of us are doing...

And did I mention my Christmas present finally came? It's a Scunci steamer--I am so totally excited. However, I haven't finished anything yet since it arrived last Thursday. Some good motivation for me to finish something quick, just to try it out!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm it!

I've been tagged by Carla (sappmama) and because quizzes are much more fun than reading or packing or sleeping:

Four jobs in your life: (best to worst)
1. Legal Researcher at the Tobacco Control Resource Center in Boston
2. Yarn store sales clerk (up until the paychecks stopped coming in...)
3. Fine Jewelry Sales Associate at Walmart (I was in high school, way before I realized they
4. salad bar girl at the Ponderosa steakhouse (chickpeas and thousand island dressing, folks!)

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. Sleepless in Seattle--I'm a sucker for a good love story!
2. Tootsie-don't know why I always feel compelled to watch it when it's on
3. Forrest Gump
4. Dances with Wolves

Four TV Shows you love to watch:
1. Lost
2. Medium
3. Scrubs
4. Ghost Whisperer (don't laugh, it's interesting--if you ignore all the Jennifer Love Hewitt boobage, unless you like that sort of thing..._

Four places you have lived:
1. Dallastown, PA--if you know where it is you were probably either born there or you car
broke down and you were stranded with no hotel in sight....
2. Shippensburg, PA
3. Boston, MA
4. West Hollywood , CA

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Hawaii (Honeymoon, is that considered a vacation too?)
2. Paris
3. Belize
4. Toronto

Four websites you visit daily:
1. the SJSU mlis site for my class stuff
2. see their newest updates
3. click their daily "fund a free mammogram" button
4. All my friends' blogs

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Gnocchi--yummy, yummy
2. crab cake subs from Roma's Pizza in Dallastown PA
3. Fontina or Port Salut cheese and Trader Joe's woven wheats wafers
4. Pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream

Four places you'd rather be right now:
1. Maui
2. my new home--moving in less than two weeks!
3. in bed (but I'm not sleepy and its 2:30 AM...)
4. My parents' kitchen--because I'm hungry and they have more food on-hand than we do...

Four bloggers you are tagging:
1. Tami
2. Michele
3. Darcy
4. Mark (you may regret giving me your blog address, walrus!)

Monday, January 30, 2006

It has been 13 days since my last confession...

Don't adjust your computer monitors--this is not a warehouse, it is my spare room/office! Well, half of it. The other half has so much junk piled and awaiting boxes that I can't even get to it. Indeed, there is so much stuff in here that I couldn't even back up enough to get you a shot of the whole cardboard tower that stretches nearly to the ceiling (or at least another foot and a half above my head--did you just say we must have low ceilings? for shame, I'm not that short--wait, yes I am, moving on). Lest you think I've only packed up like 15 boxes, here's a shot or our living room:

Yes, there is a fireplace in there somewhere. A fireplace that we've never lit in the 10 months we've lived here and will probably not light before we move because, hello, huge pile of flammable materials within inches of the gassy-fake log goodness. There are 2 chairs in there too, I think. We'll know for sure when the movers come on Feb 17th. We've decided to be relatively cheap with this move. Our initial cross-country move and the April move from Covina set us back about 2 semesters of SJSU tution. We're going to take over as many of the small boxes ourselves before the movers get here and then have them take the rest over with the furniture. It helps that we are moving, like, 10 minutes from where we live now. For anyone who is thinking about moving, don't get your boxes at U-Haul, get them through Used Cardboard Boxes. They have pickup sites across the US. They collect usable sturdy boxes from companies and people who have moved and you can buy them to use for your move at less than 1/2 what U-Haul charges. We opted for the 1-2 bedroom house unit which gave us 45+ boxes, 2 rolls of packaging tape, a huge roll of bubblewrap and a box cutter for $65--have you seen what U-Haul charges for their boxes? Oh, did I mention they gave us lollipops too? And when you are done, you can take your boxes back to them and they recycle the ones that are too damaged to use again and the others they sell to other customers.

We are using the Delancy Street Movers again for this move. We used them when we moved from Covina to West Hollywood and they are awesome. Reasonable rates and they really were very quick and careful with our furniture. You can find the LA phone number and address for them here. The Delancey Street Foundation was founded in San Francisco and provides training and housing for people with substance abuse problems, repeat felons and the homeless among others. They give them marketable skills, such as learning to be experienced movers so they can start their own moving companies or earn a living working for another moving company. They are definitely doing great things.

In between packing I've started on my schoolwork. Yes, I'm FINALLY back in school. I quite enjoyed the long break, even if I did spend it packing and signing paperwork. I had my first trip of the semester to Fullerton yesterday. This was the first time I actually drove there. Last semester my classes were on weekdays so I took the Red Line to Union Station and then took the Metrolink to Fullerton station and after a 10 minute bus ride I was at the campus. I much prefer public transportation to sitting in traffic. Gives me time to read and knit and eat breakfast! I lucked out in the morning, no traffic but the ride home took twice as long because there ALWAYS seems to be traffic on the 5 and the 101 once you get into the city.

Last night we went out to dinner with Michele and Mark and Darcy. Michele and Mark will be living in our apartment when we move--they were nice enough to take over so we don't lose a whole month of rent because of the move. We went to El Compadre on Sunset which has yummuy Mexican food. Usually when we go in there, the place is pretty quiet but apparently Sunday nights at 7pm is El Compadre's rush hour. We opted to sit out on the back patio which was fairly empty and quiet (until a bunch of kids came with their parents and they all decided to wait for their table on the patio--more proof that our decision not to procreate was a good one). Great food and great conversation!

I've been crocheting too--trying to finish a granny square blanket for a friend's birthday. I'm putting the rows together now so stay tuned for a picture of the completed blanket later this week.

I've gotta run--I promised myself I would pack up at least one more box today before doing a few more hours of school work. I'm trying to work ahead because I'm sure that when we get the keys to the new place on Feb 9th, it'll be much more tempting to unpack and paint than it will be to read and write papers.

Oh yeah, and as you look at the pictures above, let me know if you see a cat--I may have accidentally packed one up with the pots and pans. Magellan,where are you?????