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. elann.com--gotta see their newest updates
3. www.thebreastcancersite.com--to 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?????

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Good Morning and don't mind the meows!

Gratuitous cat pictures! Ok, I just really wanted to post some pictures and since I forgot to take pictures of the knitting I did this weekend, this is all I've got. I spent the weekend working on 5 hats for the Afghans for Afghans kids' wool hat drive. Unfortunately I ended up doing the last 13 rows of hat 5 at around 2:45pm--the mailman comes around 3 so my fingers were a flying' to get it finished. I was in such a rush to get them into a ziploc bag, into an envelope and down to mailman before he left our building that I completely forgot to take photos of them. You'll just have to use your imagination: 3 were basic striped hats in reds, browns and greens with a 1-inch seed stitch edge, 1 was a jester type wedge hat from the winter Interweave knits magazine and the last one was a ribbed-edge hat using a slipstitch ladder pattern from the Reader's Digest Book of Knitting and Crochet stitches. Or ask Darcy, she saw me working on one.

Magellan (above) made this face because I showed him some of the bazillion pages of forms we have to read and sign for our new condo. He was so amazed by the amount and complexity of the documents that his tongue fell out of his mouth and he was bored into a deep slumber. It is unbelievable the number of trees that had to die so we could have a place of our own (huge contribution to The National Arbor Day Foundation as soon as we pay off the mortgage, in like 2046). I have signed so many papers and read so many things that are too confusing to understand even on the fourth read through that it is possible that I have not only agreed to pay a pro-rated share of next month's homeowner's association dues but that I've also agreed to give Oprah Winfrey and the Devil equal and non-severable rights to my soul, my first-born and my key lime pie recipe. This attorney can't remember the last time she read such convoluted crap referencing other pages of crap in separate, yet equally long and obnoxious, documents.

This beauty below is Amanda. I don't know what kind of kitty she is--any guesses? I refer to her as the long-haired brown one who is nice but skittish and I really need something shorter. She made one of her rare appearances downstairs yesterday so I just had to memoralize it in non-existant film.

Today, however, she and the Siamese Samantha spent the whole day under the bed. It had to do with a visitor we had this morning. They refuse to come downstairs when there is a stranger in the house. Both yesterday and today I was awoken before 9am by a 4 ft 4 in Asian man waving a paint brush and gesturing at my door. It seems our building is getting a face-lift. Last week they painted over the horrible color that was stuck somewhere between silly putty and pepto-bismal and replaced it with cream and a nice sage green trim. They said they'd give advance warning before they painted the apartment doors but I guess they forgot. So yesterday I asked the man to come back tomorrow because well, it was a holiday, I had just woken up and was wearing pajamas with little moons and stars on them and I really was not in the mood to herd 3 cats into the office with their litterbox, food and water where they would have to stay until the paint dries enough to shut the door. Because frankly, they would kill each other and I would likely go insane from the noise.

So he went away. Last night there was a paper on our door saying that the apartment doors will be painted on WEDS JAN 18th. Thinking I was off the hook, I slept in. Again, at 8:55am I had to open the door to the man waving the paintbrush. I said, can you give me 5 minutes to get the cats locked up? I turn around to start looking for them and he says "oh, cat" and throws the door open and stars slathering it with paint. At that very moment, Magellan saw his moment of freedom and began making a quick bee-line for the door. I almost had to tackle him to keep him inside. I picked him up, threw him in the office and grabbed the litterbox which I also put in the office/guest bedroom as quickly as I could before he realized he was about to be caged up for awhile. I kept him in there while the man was painting and as soon as he left, propping the door open so it wouldn't latch I made up a little cardboard box deflector and put it in front of the door to prevent an escape. I then let Magellan out (who was practically hoarse from 20 minutes of intense meowing) and then spent the rest of my day with one eye on the door.

Well I was playing prison warden, I started looking at some of my school stuff because classes start next week. I've been trying to ignore the reminders to sign into the class website etc... My classes are mostly online so we have to post pages about ourselves and do little "getting to know you" exercises since we won't meet face to face until April. One of the assignments is to list 3 websites that are either entertaining or library-related that you particularly enjoy. Ok, the websites that I frequent are: ebay, knitty.com, elann.com and other knitting blogs. Oh, and I check the LAPL website frequently to see when my books are due. Yeah, so I have to find some websites to make myself seem more interesting fast!

I googled "librarian websites" to see what I came up with and I found Spinster Librarian that is somewhat entertaining. And it had a link to an internet quiz. Which is fun and a good way to avoid packing and other stuff. It was the "The Obnoxious French Slang Test." Turns out I'm 72% fluent in French slang. Yes I did have about 6 years of French but my high school textbook was full of people wearing side ponytails and leg warmers so I'm sure my "slang" was a bit out of date. In fact, I'm sure that when I met my French penpal in Arles, France in 1997 I sounded like a kid from the French equivalent of the Cosby Show or Saved by the Bell.

Maybe I'm a bit of a nutter today or maybe it's just the paint fumes....

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Half-way Grown-up, sort-of!

This has been one crazy week! I thought my month-long school break would be a time of relaxation--of reading novels, eating chocolate, knitting and watching netflix movies. Huh, yeah Lori--great call on that one because the dream, as usual, is so far from the reality its scary...

The reading novels...In anticipation of this extended break, I put myself on the waiting lists for quite a few books at the LA Public Library. If you're not familiar--it's a great system where you just add your name to the books catalog list online and then they send it to your local branch and email you so you know to go pick it up. There were several books on the NY Times bestseller list and a few LA Times book review books that I wanted to read and they had gigundo waiting lists (you are number 344 and there are 40 copies available for borrowing etc) so I put my name on those lists in November. Then I went on in December and added some other books that were less in demand. Well, be careful what you wish for folks because I now have about 20 books to read before Jan 27th--when they are all due. And, since they are in demand I'm not sure I can even renew them...

So I've been using the bookstand and doing some knitting while I read. Because, um, I still haven't finished some Christmas presents....Yes I know it is January. And no they are not for next year. They are the 2005 edition. I'm aiming for Chinese New Year, maybe--that's in February right? One present I did finish on time was that plaid wrap I've been showing you bits of over the last month. I'm quite pleased with it--so pleased that I may have to make one exactly like it for myself...In like October 2007 when I finish all my current projects. I gave it to my husband's aunt on Saturday when we had our "Christmas."

Also, I've been trying to work in a few wool hats for kids. Afghans for Afghans is desperately trying to gather 500 wool hats for children by January 20th. They received a donated airplane trip or something of that nature and would like to fill it. Check out their website. Even if you don't have time now to knit anything up, they will be collecting wool hats, mittens and other items later in the year. Even with the new postage hike, one wool hat doesn't cost much to ship in an envelope!

Speaking of that Christmas get-together with Tristan's Aunt Marilyn and her husband Ken... Ken lived in Alaska for a while and he bought a beaver pelt at some market there--fresh off the beaver folks--and commissioned someone to make him a hat out of it. Only it turns out it takes 2 beaver pelts to make a hat-who knew? So now we know for next time. This is Tristan modeling said hat...Hey folks, don't judge, I only married into this family...

So when I haven't been knitting or reading or dining with relatives, I've been packing because...drumroll please (or eggroll, those are tastier, uumm, eggrolls)...we bought a condo. Yes it is official, I own property--and a mortgage. Does this mean I am a sort-of, almost grown-up? Next thing you know I'll have a Roth IRA and an investment strategy. Wait, no I won't--we have to pay the mortgage.

The condo is in Hollywood but close to Weho and eveything important--it's in a 1950s building with only a small number of units. It's a huge 2 bedroom and 2 full bath and it has a huge kitchen, hardwood floors and a woodburning fireplace. It is actually big enough to have dinner parties--whoohoo! So now I have a month to pack up the apartment--escrow closes Feb 10th. At least I was able to watch "Out of Africa" while I packed up the living room. I've been packing the breakables first--surrounding them with yarn and quilting fabric, so much more environmentally friendly than packing peanuts! Magellan has been helping me by making sure there is nothing in the crates and boxes before I try to fill them up. He is so helpful that way...So exciting but now I've got lots to do before my classes start Jan 25th. If I actually know you, email me for pictures of the condo--don't want to put it up on the 'internets' while someone else is still living there....

Oh, I have been eating some Stauffer's chocolate holiday stars--a real Central PA Christmas treat--dark chocolate covered graham crackers shaped like stars and sprinkled with white non-pareil dots.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Resolution Solutions

Ok, so I'm a bit late. Yes I do realize that January 2006 is five days old already but I've made some resolutions that will hopefully be the solutions to unfulfilled wishes and dreams of last year, not to mention the minor vexations and the all-too-familiar "oh great Lori, just great" whispered under my breath. No, this year is going to be different. I will not give up on my resolutions by the end of February. Tristan suggested that I look at them not as resolutions, but as decisions--things I have decided to change about my life. He also suggested not writing them down because if I fail to keep one, I might become discouraged and feel guilty. He said "just decide you're going to do it right before you do and then do it." Sounds simple, right? However, I am a person who delights in lists, as does Crazy Aunt Purl, so I must write them out. Well, that and I can't remember anything without writing it down. Plus there's the "cross-off accomplishment factor"--funny how a check mark or a skinny black line drawn through a to-do item can give a person such satisfaction...

Here they are in random order:
1. eat healthier--this means eating at least one thing a day that did not come out of a can, box or shrink-wrap (with the exception of plastic-wrapped leftovers)

2. plan out weekly menus and shop for food once a week--no more monthly stock-up trips that result in 4 boxes of pop tarts, 3 bags of chips and absolutely nothing that could pass for a decent entree

3. Get to know my surrounding environs by walking more--other than my usual routes to the Farmer's Market (for Stitch n Bitch thursday nights), the library and the grocery store (added bonus of exercise!)

4. Try out the stationary bike in the fitness room--at least 3 times before calling it pointless

5. start my Christmas gifts for next year in FEBRUARY

6. Clean more frequently--pick a day of the week and stick to it

7. Keep in touch more, especially with friends in faraway places

8. Do not buy yarn until my yarn stash has been reduced by at least 1/3

9. Read 15 more books next year (2005 total: 58)

10. Quilt more often

11. Call my parents more frequently

12. Stop beating myself up for not completing every task on my daily to-do lists--I'm too ambitious and set myself up for failure

13. Watch less tv (movies without commercials, even though they are on tv do not count)

14. Try to finish my library school assignments at least one day in advance of their due dates

15. Make time for charity knitting

16. Take a Spanish class

17. Make an earnest attempt to declutter

18. Take more pictures

19. Give sushi another try

20. Be less of a hermit--several people remarked to me at Christmas "how come you aren't tan? are you really living in California?"

Of course there are a thousand other things--like filing bills in the filing cabinet the day we get them instead of adding them to a "to be filed" stack on the coffee table until the pile threatens to topple over and smother one of the cats under 13 lbs of dead tree. Ooh, that's another one, use less paper....

Really, it could go on forever but 2006 only has 365 days (well only 360 as of today)in it so I can't be too ambitious.

As a side note, if you happen to have a copy of the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health, take a look at page 33--an article I co-authored as a law student was just published. Now my resume can have a 'publications' section, not that that will do much to get me hired...