Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Long time

Well, its been a few months since I've been back here. And a lot has gone on. I think I needed a break. I can't promise I'll be back regularly, but I wanted to come back and update on life.

Life, which has been a complete adventure lately. Full of mostly good things. I've fallen in love. We worked together in DC (we were stuck there for a week working a really boring convention), and have become inseparable. Well, except for now, as he's stuck in Mexico for work. It has been an amazing almost two months at this point. The time has flown by, and we feel like we've known each other for ages. Its a big refreshing after all that I've been through with guys in the past. I'm happy to not be dealing with the constant disappointments that I've lived through lately. It seems we never get tired of talking to each other, and cover any and every topic. It feels good, it feels different, and I'm amazingly happy.

Work is less than fun lately. I'm ready to be done and moving on. The days in the office are tedious, and because I'm back in school, the chance to head out on the road isn't there any longer. I'm searching ads and looking for options in a more culinary focus field. I'm also starting research on starting my own baking company. I spent my weekend making candy corn (which were such fun - its like playing with sugar playdough!) and peanut butter balls for halloween treats. And got to thinking, well, maybe I can sell this stuff. Along with Christmas cookies, and the other candies I make (I'm going to try molded caramels this upcoming weekend). People have always mentioned to me that I should, so I'm going to start researching and trying to come up with a name for myself and design features and website and all that fun stuff. I'm excited about the new adventure this could be. And hope I can make a reality out of it.

So, hopefully I can make a better stab about being here a bit more regularly again. Its been nice to have a break, but I miss my writing and I miss your comments. (on the knitting front, I have six projects on the needles right now - a baby blanket, the Central Park Hoodie, the Somewhat Cowl, the Sizzle Tank, a cowl, and a swirl scarf... and I need to get another scarf made to match my new winter coat... But the last thing I need to buy is more yarn... the corner of my living room has literally been taken over by my stash.)

Happy Middle of the week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A birthday sugar rush

My birthday was a giant sugar rush, from start to finish.

I awoke to chocolate covered strawberries being delivered by room service, accompanied by a bottle of bubby and chocolate covered cheesecake too. (I only ate a few of the strawberries to start my day and have the rest waiting for me to enjoy later today). There is an interesting story of me ignoring the knocks on the door while I chatted with the friend who had sent the tray of goodies and having security barging in the door thinking I was laying dead or something in the room and not just ignoring the door (thinking it was just room service wanting to make my bed).

I followed that up with a waffle, covered in what the mass market refers to as maple syrup (aka maple flavored corn syrup).

I got to work, and was greeted by two dozen of these:
(cupcakes from the Cupcakery)
I was mostly good though, and only at a 2.25 of them over the course of the day. :) My favorite was the german chocolate (capped by pecans and filled with caramel-y coconut filling).

When I got back to my room last night, I was met by cookies and milk, left by the hotel in honor my birthday. I knew at that point that I had consumed too much sugar over the course of the day and refrained from indulgence.

Tomorrow starts the final run of the conference and load out. I'm excited to return home and sleep in my own bed again. I am wishing I could take a day or two off to recover, rather than the diving right into the next show that I have on the burners. At least the money is better when doing another show.

And for now, I count down the minutes until an unlikely nap.... I should have partied harder of my birthday to feel this tired...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Staying entertained...

I'm trying my hardest to stay entertained while here in Dallas. Aside of the speech comments that keep me entertained (did you know that your mascara is as much of a necessity as bread and water??) I've managed to fit in some fun as well. I saw the Aerosmith/ZZ Top

concert last weekend. It was the first time in a long time that a lighting and video design actually made me say wow. And at several points during the show.

I've also had the chance to attend a bubbly wine tasting, which was quite entertaining. I sampled quite a few enjoyable bottles, and several I hope to never taste again. It was held at a small wine shop and winery here in Dallas -
yes, they make their own wine there. They don't grow the grapes, but rather process and blend them and bottle three varieties of wine. Paired with some exotic cheeses, it made for an enjoyable night.

I also got to sneak away last night and do some low key cooking. Nothing stressful, but a quick salad of watermelon, jicama and heirloom tomatoes and a quick saute of yukon gold potatoes with a touch of garlic and lemon. The hosts provided a nicely sweet and spicy grilled pork tenderloin. Making a perfect light, yet filling summer meal. The best part being fresh veggies after weeks of eating restaurant and (not so good) catering food.

I also managed to finish off a hat for mom, and mailed it off. It fits and is a great color for her. Alas she did comment that it makes her look bald... but it made me look bald when I tried it on, and I have hair that hangs half way down my back. I've finished up the first of my socks and cast on for the second. I think the next pair I do will be two at a time though. We'll see. I've got lots of things I've recently added to my I want to make this list. Its getting unwieldy!

We're on our second to last run of the show. Day one is almost over with. At the moment we're in the drawn out part where I think somewhere in the area of 1500 women are dancing across the stage. And man are they excited to be here... I'm in an odd place about it. Its my last week here in Texas after 4 weeks with the same people, in the same hotel room, on the same stage, so it will be odd to say goodbye come next monday. Also, tomorrow is my 31st birthday, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'll be stuck doing set changes and wearing a tux (with tails) to celebrate. I think the biggest part of my celebration with be going out to get some breakfast before show call. I do wonder what this next year of life has in store for me... a return to school for the fall quarter? or a big show that will allow me to work for a bit and save the money to pay for school without loans and debt? Huh, I think I'm thinking too much about what is maybe, perhaps, might be going to happen...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shine On!


Or so says the motto of this convention. We finished up the first round of events (only four more repeats to go). There were over 5000 women present, and will be that many at each of the following four too. And some of them earn commission checks of over $40k a month. Selling make up, and encouraging others to sell more makeup. Its craziness. They have a formal awards night, where the women break out all of the jewels (in some cases, it looks like they wear everything they've ever won from their sales all at once), and their fancy dresses (which range from the overly sparkled, to the bad bridesmaids dresses and former prom spectaculars) and walk across the stage and get crowned queen in some cases. Its all a very interesting thing to watch. Or in my case hide in my corner from as to not get trampled by women who are very excited to be up on stage (a phenomenon I don't understand).

I did get quite a bit of knitting done. I finished up the hank of yarn I had purchased to make my cowl, only to realize I need more yarn. So, I'm hoping that they still have that color at the store I bought it at. And I started in on a hat for mom (seeing as I did promise her hats back in March). I'm hoping to finish up the hat and get the sock done (and then not get second sockitis).

Aside of the normal everyday issues of working through my craziness and learning the fine art of trusting and faith and letting go, life continues on. I'm trying to figure out plans to get home to Boston for mid September (having not seen more than my immediate family in almost five years, I figure I should make every effort to appear at the upcoming wedding). And wondering what work has in store for me for the coming months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I feel like I have so many thoughts of things I want to express when I am not near my computer. And then when I am near to it, I promptly can't remember any of the things I wanted to write. Such is the life of the never ending days.

Bullet points:
* I've opened a moving light hospital this week... its called Moving Light Memorial General. I have all of my spare lights broken at one point this week. And not all of them are fully repaired just yet.

* I've had moments of complete despair and hatred for my job this week, combined with moments of this is why I enjoy doing this for a living.

* I've met a great new friend, who is so like me and so different from me at the same time its uncanny. And several more whom I really enjoy.

* I have my next position lined up - and get to work the weekend following my return to Chicago on a job there. Not the call to join Sir Paul at Fenway Park I was hoping for, but its still work. And in all actuality joining Sir Paul might have been a bit awkward, as my ex Rick (who I lived with for years in Vegas) and C are both on the crew. Which should be interesting enough in and of itself. I sure hope they don't befriend each other or anything of that sort... Or even talk, as conclusions I came to about my time with R that C knows about never need to be told to R.

* I started working on the All Over Town Cowl, and I think I'm going to run out of yarn before I'm done. Sad. I'll have to start searching for the colorway I have so I can finish it. I love what I chose, and its the perfect color combo for me.

* I look very masculine when in tails. (the formal wear that is)

* Eating huge meals late at night is a very bad idea and means I sleep horribly and wake up in a bad mood.

* In 14 days I turn 31. ACK!

So I think thats about it. At least for this evening.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dallas.... week one

I'm losing track of the days. I can't remember what day of the week it is. We're working days that start at 7 am and end around 11 pm. Its been... well, interesting. The personalities of the locals get to me in some cases. But luckily, for the most part, I enjoy working with the show staff and have found some new friends in being here. I've had some good food, I've had some long nights, I've had some moments where I wanted to run away screaming, I've had moments where I have screamed (although not at anyone, just at the situation and it was more of just a guttural release), I've had moments where I've seen that everything really is bigger in Texas (we had 7 ounce freeze pops the other day).

I've been told I'll have tales to tell of the formal wear that the women wear to the awards banquet. I'm hoping I'll have tales to tell of cute cowboys... if I ever find any that is. (there is a western store next door to my hotel, and I'm looking forward to finding a new pair of boots).

Other than long days, I've not had much time for anything. Hopefully that will change now that we are into rehearsal mode. And I finally have internet access!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fly Day, tomorrow

I'm off to Dallas tomorrow. Maybe I'll be better about keeping up with my posting from there. I feel so disconnected from the blog world these days. I think its a symptom of the slight depression I'm suffering from when I am at home. The loss of interest in things that you enjoy part. Its bugging me, and I want to get back to a regular posting schedule. I think it helps me to have the release, the place to vent my feelings out. I need that right now, as I don't have the support system of real life people to vent to. Especially where I'm off to work in Dallas, with a group of guys, none of whom I'm overly friendly with.

I had a decent weekend in Chicago. I ventured out to the beach to meet up with some people I know. It was great to sit in the sun, but I have the oddest sunburn on my back. I learned that you can't adequately cover your back with sunscreen by yourself, even when using those new continuous spray bottles of SPF. I missed some odd shaped areas. Luckily, I didn't stay out too long, and it wasn't too painful of a sunburn. I followed that up with a trip to the - which is a huge event here in the city. It was an ok time... perhaps had I had some of my fellow chefs with me, it might have been better. I had two decent samples, fried raviolis - how can you go wrong, and crispy noodle shrimp - another hard to mess up option. But my third sample was not even passably edible. They seemed to be selling lots, so I risked it and went for the unusual at the Latin restaurant, and tried the banana pork dumpling. Bad mistake. Not a good combo at all. I don't know why I thought it would be - perhaps, I hoped for more of a plantain chip with a flavorful pork on top. But it didn't even come close to that. It was overly fried and just bad. I tossed it.

Other than a night of slight panic and inappropriately over thinking, things have been ok. I do so hate how I can so easily overthink things that really shouldn't bother me all that much. Things in the last days have been easy with C... we've chatted casually and without awkwardness. And then there was a strange situation when I left for home today from the office, and I worked myself up to his lack of stopping to say goodbye to me was more than it ever could possibly be. I something that probably didn't mean a thing into a huge thing in my head. I need to find a way to just relax about what our relationship is and let it be whatever it needs to be. I can't hold on too tight, or force it to be something that it might never be.

And now for sleep, as the flight is early tomorrow. And more to come from the fun of Dallas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Big D

They say everything is bigger in Texas... And that only steers and queers come from Texas. Well, I'm off to find out. I'll be spending the next month of my life in Dallas, TX. I'll be working a large convention there, one that includes a pink cadillac.

I'm up in the air about my feelings on this. I'm excited about a month of work at show rate (more than double shop rate for me). But, I'm a rock and roll girl, and I'm not sure how I feel about the switch to the corporate side of things. I'm hoping its just for the month, and then I'll be off and onto the world of the tour and a different city every day. I'm going with it and trying to just enjoy that I was asked and they want me on something. Which is a good feeling, after my frustrations last week of wondering why I wasn't getting work when so many people who seemed less competent than I were heading off on tours. Its disheartening when crew chiefs hand you plots to set up their rigs over the people who are actually heading out of town with them. Or its a nod of respect and will hopefully translate to more work later. Can't quite figure out where I want to go on that one.

I'm having moments of guilt tonight connected to all of this though. I was invited to the corporate dinner this evening (one similar to the one I cooked for weeks ago), but this time as a guest. I now understand why they were so excited by my food. I feel slightly guilty that I complimented the other chef, as I didn't really enjoy her food all that much. It was bland and lacked excitement and flavor. It was good, but simple and unexciting. I told her I had enjoyed it, but in reality, it was no where near the quality I'd expect from someone who has been cooking as long as she has been. I'm not sure why I feel guilty about telling her it was good food. It was good food, it just wasn't spectacular food.

I hate when I overthink things...

And now off to lounge in front of the fan and lament the fact that I have no air conditioning. Stay cool, stay dry...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Overtime on Monday?

Its going to be a long week. As it started off with overtime hours on Monday. After putting in long days on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week. I won't complain, because I need the money, and there is no looming tour for me just yet, but I know by the time the weekend gets here, I'll be exhausted.

I feel like I run all week and then when it gets to Saturday, I'm so beyond drained, I can't muster the energy to do much of anything, and waste the day laying on my couch and failing to nap. This week was because it was too darn hot to nap. We went from crazy storms on Friday, where it downpoured and created horrid travel conditions, to over 90 degrees and sunny with naught a cloud in the sky on Saturday. Of course, Sunday so the return of the dreary weather. I'm so beyond sick of rain and am really hoping that the sun that arrived today sticks around for a bit.

Because of the feeling of running all week, I feel a bit beat up by life. The touch of depression that I deal with certainly seems to peak its head out on those Saturdays. It makes it hard to motivate myself to get out and enjoy the new home I have here. I really wish I had someone to explore with, but alas, I've not found a partner for that. I do fine during the week, because I have the tasks of work to keep me company, as well as the coworkers to either annoy me or entertain me, depending on the day. But Saturdays just seem to be my least favorite days of the week lately. They loom long and dull. But I survive, and start it all over again. Work has kept me insanely busy. There are so many shows heading out of the shop... all of them without me though. I'm the one they turn to help put them all together, I get constantly asked are you going out with this or with that? But nothing yet. I'm keeping the mindset that something is coming for me, and that I'll end up on the tour that I'm best suited for. I'm slightly bitter that I don't get to go work the Bon Jovi one off on Thursday, as I do have such a love for their show and it is the reason I realized I needed to get the job I have now. But, not much I can do about changing management's minds and sending me instead of others. Except to work harder and hopefully get on the next one. :)

And now, after my dinner of toaster waffles, and a few moments to catch you all up on the fact that my life is just plain crazy and unexciting, I'm off to sleep. So I can do it all again tomorrow. Yay?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Does it have to be Monday already?

Another weekend is over and done with. Its been a tiring one. Yesterday was mostly rain and depression feelings for me. I was exhausted and didn't feel much like doing anything. I didn't leave the apartment once. I lounged on the couch and tried to read and tried to knit and tried to focus on a movie. None of it successful. A very blah day, if I do say so.

Perhaps it was because of how crazy my week was? At one point I was responsible for pulling together the gear for four different shows at the shop, why trying to help another one get prepped and out the door. I also had my nutrition final (which i bombed, but managed to get an A for the quarter... I think it had to do with my perfect scores on the papers, which I don't think she actually read.... cause there is no way I wrote two perfect papers... but I'm not about to complain). I then I finished the week off with an amazing dinner at the restaurant our Chef created and used to own. It was a thoroughly amazing meal, with some great conversation. I must recommend pork belly to you if you ever get to a restaurant that serves it. It was a succulent and tender meat that melted in your month. Alas, the desserts disappointed me. Good thing I had eaten enough food before we got to that course.

So, after my day of being down and blah yesterday, I went to be by 9 pm. I slept well, and woke to a bright and sunny day. I ventured off to the city, where I hit an art fair. There was lots to look at and admire, but nothing came close to being anywhere near my price point. And seeing as that was the case, my afternoon came to an end before I had though it would. I did stroll a bit along the river, before heading home to do a few errands. And now the night is drawing to a close, its almost time for bed, and another week will begin.

I have my last class for the quarter tomorrow, finishing up Soups, Stocks and Sauces. It will be nice to have a break until the fall. And not have the harried running I've been used to. I've still no word on a tour though. I'm hoping something comes up, for the doubling of the salary would be so very ncie.

Hope your weekends were relaxing and full of sun.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Releases

I had thought I'd go see Up this weekend, but the theater closest to me was only showing it in 3D, which makes me all sorts of motion sick. (I think it has something to do with my horrid vision, which I found out got worse this week... through an emergency visit to the eye doc on Wednesday when I manages to drop a contact out of my eye at work... that was a bad way to start the day, but it did get the annual check up out of the way with... ). I did get to see The Hangover tonight though. A friend was going and invited me along. It was cheesy and stupid, but I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I certainly never got in that much trouble in my three years of living in Vegas... I wonder if tourists really do get that adventurous when they are in Sin City??

The part that struck me though, was the previews for what is coming soon. Violence, horror and more violence. Violence by adults, by prisoners, by children even. I saw nothing I have even the remotest desire to see. It was appalling to me that all the movies that are coming soon are of this sort. Are we as a culture really that entertained by violence? Do we accept it as such a part of culture now that we seek to be entertained by it? By murder? By destruction? By darkness? What a sad state the US is in if we seek this as our source of entertainment. Where is the uplifting? The happiness? The values? The good new movies?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Luck had it that I didn't strain all the muscles I thought I had yesterday at work. And I turned today into a very low key, but productive day.

I started my morning with fresh donuts at the farmers market, where I picked up strawberries and rhubarb, and some spring onions and asparagus. Its a smallish market, but had a decent selection of items. The lettuces looked amazing, but I have a Costco pack of lettuce in my fridge, so in an effort to eat what I have, I skipped those. I turned the onions and asparagus into a lovely risotto for dinner this evening. A bit of roasting on the asparagus gave it a great flavor. And turned the strawberries and rhubarb into a crisp for dessert. Its hard to decide on desserts to make when you live by yourself. I'd love a pie, but one person a whole pie can not eat. Ok, so yeh, I could eat a whole pie... but I'd hate myself and my hips in the morning.

I'm making some progress on my sizzle sweater. But I think I may have to frog it all. I'm working my way up the back, but the yarn has so much stretch, I think it may turn out to be huge on me. Judging by the model in the pattern photo, I choose to make a small, but I'm thinking I should have gone with an xs. Maybe I'll toss in a few extra decrease rows and get down to the number for an xs as I work up the back. It felt so nice to sit around a knit today... its been too long since I had time for the simple indulgences.

And I have another day of free time tomorrow! I don't know how I'll feel after two days off with no plans... I haven't had that since i got here to Chicago!

Friday, June 5, 2009

What a week...

After my weekend of being buried in paper hell, I followed it up with a very long week. Work was work, and no more busy than any other week. I did a lot of show prep, which was fun for a change, and got me away from two very negative coworkers that have been getting on my nerves in the service room. One who has decided to not like me, and get all snarky with on several occasions. Like reminding me of pieces of my job that need to be done when she has no idea how to do my job. My job is the same whether I fix a light in room A or room B, and you couldn't fix one if your life depended on it, so don't assume I'm going to not do something because I'm in another room. The downside to show prep is that I'm going to be very sore tomorrow. I lifting things that weight 75 pounds or so today. By myself. I coiled cables, hundreds and hundred of feet worth of cables. I'm hoping my forearms don't suffer too much, as I'd like to knit tomorrow.

The rough part of the week were the thoughts in my head. I got very much into the thoughts of the one things I seem to want in life (marriage and kids) and not having it. I was feeling very lonely and I fixated on the things that are missing from my life, rather than all the things i do have. It took a reminder that I have so many things going for me - school, job, people fighting over me at said job (apparently everyone wants me to work on their teams these days), the chance to professionally cook for people, health, an apartment in the city that I really do love, etc. So much that I thought I had planned out for this year never panned out - some in good ways, as I'm glad I didn't get my original Chicago apartment, as I realize now I'd hate the drive - and some in ways that have yet to be determined - C, mainly (I'm worried about him, and how deeply he takes things lately. Its hard to see someone hate their job so much, when just a year ago he had so much passion for it, and taught me so much about it.). My head went to the deep black hole of feeling so alone, and like I'd never get what I wanted and would always be alone. Its a deep and scary place there, and I cried, A LOT. I'm no closer to figuring out why I'm alone, but I'm trying to trust the plan that is my life. Its damn hard to let go of desires and wants though. And I haven't quite figured out how to do it.

On the good news front, mom had a second PET scan, following up the final dose of chemo. And it came back clear. So, now she's onto the next round of surgery and then that will be followed up by radiation therapy.

More posts to come later this weekend. I'm hoping to hit up the local farmers market tomorrow. I hear they have great donuts :). And get some knitting done. And laundry... And maybe, a trip to Loopy...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I fed him lunch...




ok, so not really. Can you imagine how much he'd need to be satisfied?

But I do complete my second cooking assignment for my company, cooking lunch for the people that were in doing the refurb on him after 3 years on the road. It went quite well and I received all sorts of compliments. I do need to work on portion control, as I overcooked just a bit. But was happy with how everything turned out in the end.

In other weekend news, I got to see a lot of old friends at the Yanni tour. Which is a very visually spectacular show. It would be lost without the video content.

I also spent all day stuck in my nutrition paper. I have to do a final edit of it, but I'm mostly done. Thankfully. It was brutal trying to get it to come together at some points.

And now the weekend is over and its back the craziness of a week. Only two more with classes though. I can't wait for the slow down that will come with that. I think.

Sleep well... until later in the week.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I heart Thursdays

I think Thursday has become my favorite day. Its the one day of the week that I am guaranteed to be home by 830. Its so nice to have a little quiet time to relax and not be rushing to bed or the work or to class. I can't say much for my Thursday night class though... but thankfully there are only two more weeks left. The teacher actually said today, can you repeat that question, I wasn't listening. REALLY? Isn't that your main job?

Its been a bit of a crazy week. Lots of stupidity to deal with at work. I practiced the art of smiling and nodding, know that any argument I put forth for the crazy tasks I was being asked to accomplish would fall on deaf ears. And in the grand scheme of things, they only wasted their own time, not mine. I did get added responsibility of pulling together gear for a show, which was cool. Its great to be in a position where I'm trusted and they want me to learn more. Now if only I can convince them to pay me more, and send me to Australia in August....

Dinner on Monday went really well. The key lime pie was fabulous (I think C ate half of it Monday night) and I was quite happy with my pan sauce for the steak. The conversation was good, for the most part. Its hard to want one thing, and not understand why the other person doesn't want it too. But, the more I think on things, the less I understand him. He's opening up more to me in the last weeks than ever before, but in the end, I'm finding that he is very confused about what he wants... or what he thinks he wants.

There was one interesting question that got brought up, not one that we discussed fully, but got me to thinking... the question being when was the last time you were completely happy? (he was telling me of someone else that asked him this question, I've yet to share my answer with him) For him, he figured it was three years ago, when he was living back in Indiana and didn't have a care in the world. For me, I don't think I have ever been completely happy for a period of time. For a week, or two, yes... but never for months at a time. I've definitely had periods where I am happy with areas of my life for longer stretches of time... but I can't say I've ever been completely happy with my job, my social life and my personal life all at the same time. I thought the move here would be the chance to change that... and perhaps it still is, but right now, I love my job, I'm enjoying school, but I'm not happy with where I am personally or socially. Its a bit deep... and oddly philosophical... but, I'd really like to get to a point where I love all aspects of my life.

On a lighter note, I get to see some of my diamond cohorts tomorrow, as well as a Yanni show... should be an interesting way to start the weekend off....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why do weekends go by so fast?

Another whirlwind weekend in Chicago down. I actually got out and was social this weekend. A friend from NYC was in town, and we hit up a club and a dive bar after an afternoon of sidewalk drinking. A bit too late of a night, but fun was had by all. And many, many, many drinks.

I also have gotten all but one of the boxes out of my apartment. So, we're almost there on the put away and settled in part. C is on his way for dinner to celebrate his birthday, so that was motivation to get the dining room table cleared off (updates on the Key Lime Pie and the Southern Comfort Pan sauce over filet mignon to come later... cross your fingers they go smoothly and I don't burn down the kitchen... )

Its back to work tomorrow, for what hopefully won't be as long of a week as last week. I worked until 12:30 am on Saturday morning... and left most people still there. Its definitely a good thing that so much is going ok, but it really hinders the sleep some nights.

I did manage to have a very productive day yesterday, and got the shopping done for all the June birthdays and father's day, as well as finding new pants and shoes for work. It seems like all those pesky errands get put off so much with the schedule I keep. I don't have the time to hit target or the mall on a weeknight, and have to jam it all into the weekends. This weekend its made me a bit anxious. I feel like I'm bordering on an anxiety attack for some reason today. Although not quite sure why.

Thats about all I have to report on the front of my backwards marathon running life. Things are hopefully going to calm down, and hopefully lead me off to a summer tour to make some more money and get out of the rat race of the back and forth between the city and work. I'm hoping for updates on that soon. I did get a few more rows of Sizzle done, but its slow going with the yarn I chose. Its a 100% cotton and I'm finding it very slippery and that tension is hard to maintain.

And now to finish up dinner, as hopefully C will be arriving shortly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yet another long week

I was home before 8 pm tonight. YEY! It happens so rarely these days, I must celebrate is occurrence. So, I'm enjoying a glass of red wine. And sitting.

Its almost bed time, as the week has been long. Summer has arrived in Chicago. I feel like we skipped spring though. Or I was too busy and stressed to realize spring happened. Either way, it made it to 90 degrees today. If I'm going to be home for the summer, I desperately need to invest in an air conditioner. Hopefully just a fan though.

I almost fell asleep on the way to work yesterday. I feel so burned out some days. Other days, I'm fine. But those days when the long travel times, the long times on my feet at work, and the late nights/early morning combine are the worst. Especially when they usually entail staying late at work (I bailed at 9 pm last night, almost 2 hours before everyone else got to go home). Work has been good though. Mostly. I did explode a light today... not by fault of my own, but for lack of checking work I didn't know had been done by someone else. Unfortunately, it took out the two hours of work I had invested into the project, and several hundred, if not thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I'm hoping to find out if there is a tour for me soon. I do get to see a friend from the diamond days this week, as he'll be back in building The Fray's tour which heads out in a few weeks. That will be nice.

School is good. I'm enjoying making sauces, and I'm at a point where I would definitely say two of the girls are friends. One especially. We email/text outside of class and are trying to plan a night out. Its nice to have the start of a social life here, as I've not been able to get to the knitting night I want to attend, nor have I found any good quality meetup groups to join (which was my main way of meeting people in NYC).

I finally feel like I'm settling in and am home here. I still have lots of exploring to do and some unpacking. But that will come. I had a really good conversation with C over the weekend, and I think we are solidly on the path to friendship. He'll be back this weekend, and I'm roping him into helping to hang some pictures on my walls, and showing him what a real birthday celebration should be like (his is Friday and he didn't understand why I made such a big deal out of my birthday... so i thought I'd show him to right way to celebrate and am cooking dinner for him).

For now though, it feels nice to lounge here and not be rushing off to work, or rushing off to sleep or rushing off to school. Or waiting on a delivery or waiting on the internet. Hope you have great Friday's and have good plans for the long weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm back!

online that is, so perhaps that means I'll be back here more often and keeping up with you all and what's going on in my life.

Its been so long, I don't even remember what I've told you all and what I haven't. So, if I repeat myself, sorry. Bear with me while I get back into a rhythm. If that is possible at this point, that is.

So, anyways, it was a crazy week. I started in on the second culinary course of school. We made roux and cosumme and crepes. All quite tasty. Well, not the roux... I didn't taste that one.

But the highlight of my week came in the combining of work and cooking and my first paid job as a chef. I was asked to step up to the plate on Thursday night and cook for the executive meeting that was taking place. It was a bit like being thrown into the deep end and not having the option of sinking. I found out at 9 am that there was dinner for 22-24 at 6 pm. I was told there are pork chops, rib eyes and salmon filets in the fridge... there is a grill out there... and here's some money for the grocery store and N, who is in charge of the serving side of things and to help you out. And off you go. Have fun, don't stress, and don't use butter or cheese.

Hours later, and many chopped things, I put a meal of shrimp cocktail and bruschetta, pasta with marinara sauce, chopped mixed salad, grilled rib eyes, grilled pork chops with apple cranberry chutney, grilled salmon with mango black bean salsa, olive oil roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower, and strawberry shortcake. I had a few glitches along the way (overly thick pork chops being the major one) but the night ended with the compliment from the owner of the company that it was the best salmon he had had. Followed by the remark that we want you to do this again. Score one for me, and my cooking! It is really a gratifying thing to hear that people like what you cooked and want to experience it again. I know I've always gotten compliments, but part of me always doubts when they are coming from your parents (don't they have to like it?) or the guy who would eat anything... Coming from a known picky eater, who has dined extensively, it was a great compliment and a check in the success column.

So, that's my big story of the week. And I just had to share. Now its time for sleep. More about my knitting (I've got a sock on one set of needles and cast on for Knit and Tonic's Sizzle tank this morning as well) and about other aspects of life soon, I hope. Happy Monday everyone! Hope your weeks start of well and continue smoothly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Must be something there...

Oddly enough, two of my three favorite radio stations here in Chicago-land are Christian ones.  The other is country.  I tend to flip between them a lot, especially on my morning drive into work.  This morning, I flipped to the first one as this song was starting.  After it was over, they started in on their pledge drive talk, which really bugs me.  (why pledge drives are a huge pet peeve of mine belongs in another post though).  So I flipped back to the other station, where I found the same song that had just finished was starting up.

The words of the song struck me...  as I feel like I'm in this huge state of choas (I'm still living out of boxes, have no internet at home, waiting on a couch, trying to find my way and a social life, etc and I'm still trying to deal with everything else that has gone on - mom, C, other past mistakes with the love and personal life, etc).  The first lines of it seemed to speak to me, that its time to move on and heal and fix.  

It was like God was telling me I really should listen to the song and just go with it.  So, here's to letting go, and letting God.  And working on that trusting that He knows what He's doing and even if I can't figure it out, I'm on my way to where I'm supposed to be going.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ARGH!

So, I still have no internet at my apartment.  The upside to that is a found a great little bread bakery to sit in this morning and enjoy my morning coffee and a lemon poppy seed scone.  

I got all of my stuff yesterday, and am mostly unpacked already.  I have a ton of organizing to do though.  I have so much stuff!  Most of it is baking or cooking related...  who'd have guessed, right?  I don't have much in terms of cabinet space - or counter space either - but I have this great walk in closet in my hall entry way that has become my storage spot.  I have pots and pans and plates all stowed in there.  Seems like it will work out pretty well for me.  It was heavenly to sleep in a real bed last night too.  So nice to have that level of comfort back.  

And I need another basket for yarn.  I thought two would be enough, but apparently it isn't.  

I got half of my couch order, so at least I have a place to sit now.  The couch should be delivered next Saturday...  so not too long to wait for that.  

The internet is the part thats annoying me though.  They apparently hooked it up on Friday like they were supposed to.  But it doesn't work in my apartment, unfortunately.  I've been trying to fix it because due to my schedule at AT&T's schedule, the soonest I can get a service appointment is next Saturday morning.  Bah!  I was sobbing when I got off the phone with technical service on Friday night.  I depend so much on the internet these days --- its my entertainment source, my connection to the outside word, my screen to vent on.  And I didn't have it, and won't have easy access to it for another week.  Looking back, it seems very unreasonable to be so upset at the lack of something like internet, but it truly crushed me to know that I have to wait another week to get back on line.  

In other news, I got an A in my first culinary school class.  I passed Intro to Cooking fairly easily, and had fun doing it.  Well, except for those pesky tournes (potatoes carved to look vaguely like a football).  I start soup, stocks and sauces tomorrow.  Which is exciting, as it will be more focused on the cooking, which is what I am looking forward to.  I have to start working on my papers for my nutrition class, as that is going to be the more difficult one.  The teacher used all book/publisher developed materials - power points and quizzes and I'm assuming the final too.  The part that is difficult is that the quizzes often include questions of things that aren't covered in class, which to me, just seems not quite right.  If you want me to know it, go over it during lecture.  

Ok, so I think I've babbled on through a ton of different topics and caught you all up on the last week of my life.  Or perhaps overwhelmed you completely.  I do so miss this outlet when I don't have my internet access.  That and reading all of your blog stories.  Maybe I'll be back later tonight with more updates...  I'm off to Home Goods and Target and my cheap produce store.  

And another note, never got to Costco on a Friday night...  the lines weren't too bad, but the people clogging the aisles drove me batty!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Waiting...

I'm never moving again!!!

Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration.  I'm never moving again without help.  I climbed way too many stairs yesterday.  With way too many boxes.  

And now I wait.  I wait for my internet to be connected (next Friday!  ARGH and no one has a non-password protected connection near me, so I'm at the library right now).  I wait for my furniture (next Saturday!) and I wait for my couch and love seat (bought today, but won't be delivered until the 14th...  but I won't be home the 14th, so I'll have to reschedule that unless they can rush things and get them delivered on Saturday --  cross your fingers for that option!).

So, I'll be back again when I have the internet, as I'm ready to move on from sitting here.  I need to get to the grocery store and then home to study for my first final, which is on Tuesday.  And I need to organize a bit, because there are half empty boxes strew around my apartment.  

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Productive Day

Going to bed early has its benefits.  I was able to turn today into a very productive day.  I moved all the things in my car into my new place - and took all the hang up stuff from my suitcase out and put it in my various closets.  It took a couple of trips to the apartment to take care of this, due to the crazy thunderstorms we had off and on all day.  In between the visits, I hit Home Goods and Target for things I needed (like trashcans and mops and buckets) and attempted to find work pants (unsuccessfully though).  I mopped the floors, so now my place is ready for the furniture to arrive.  My plan is to be moved over there next weekend, depending on the work load of the week that is.  

I also got to check out my LYS.  Chix with Stix was a great little find.  Lots of fun yarn (I left with two skeins, one for a pair of socks and one to make the My kind of town Cowl.  I got this great chunky alpaca for the cowl, in variegated shades of rust and red and brown.  I think it will have a great drape to it when I'm done.  On Wednesday's that I don't work, I think I'll be heading over there for their open knit nights.  

I've finished my homework, made black bean soup, done the laundry, made some granola for weekday snacks, painted my toes (its so time for a pedicure!), and I still have two hours before its time to head to bed so I can be awake for the long week ahead.  (we are constructing new lighting fixtures that have to be out with a tour by mid week...  its taking about 8 hours per fixture right now and we have 24 to make....)

So, I'll be back next weekend.  With pictures of the place.  And maybe a finished hat.  Until then....  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Its 10 pm on Saturday night, and I think its about time for sleeping.  Sad, in a way.  But, hopefully it will allow me to make tomorrow a very productive day.

It was a long week, full of running and lots of traffic.  Both Monday and Tuesday, I barely made school before class.  I sneaked in just under the wire both days though.  Tuesday it took almost 2.5 hours to make the drive.  Between the rainy weather we had most of the week, and Cubs games, the traffic just seems to constantly get worse and worse.  I also worked long hours, staying late on Wednesday and Friday and working part of the day again today.  Overtime hours are key in my money situation though, so I'm not about to avoid those, when they are possible.  I'm worn out though.  I wish there was a way to do something while driving, but that just sounds like a bad idea.  I think I'd be much more content and less scattered if I could knit while I made my way from place A to place B.  I'm going to look into some books on tape and see if that helps with the frustration of so many hours in my car.  

Tomorrow, I hope to start moving into the new place.  I need to pick up a few things at Target for cleaning (a mop and some Murphy's Oil Soap - yay hard wood floors!), and I want to get the stuff out of my car so I can stop lugging a few hundred pounds of stuff around with me everywhere.  I have the movers set up to deliver the rest of my stuff May 9th...  it can't get here soon enough.  I'm also hoping to hit a discount home supply store to see if they still carry the couches I am hoping to purchase.  But then comes the fun of figuring out how (well, mainly who is going to help me) to get them to my apartment.  I really need to make some more friends, preferably male ones, so that they can help me carry the heavy (large and awkward too) stuff up stairs.  

Its hard working more than full time and going to school and trying to meet people though.  I live partially in three worlds really.  School, work and social.  Although there is yet to be much of the third one, due to lack of time to pursue it.  I didn't think I'd feel this crazy trying to undertake this.  I'm hoping having my own place will help alleviate a bit of this feeling.  But right now, I have so much to figure out in regards to the move, that its not helping much at all (I need to figure out where to park, what internet provider to go with, what my budget is going to look like, where the best places to shop are, how long it will take me to get to work in the morning, etc, etc, etc...  the list never does seem to end).  

I did get to spend my night knitting though...  I'm more than half done with a hat for mom.  And I watched Across the Universe, which is a favorite movie - yay for netflix watch it now feature!  

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some pictures of my new place.  I keep wanting to take pictures of my drive, but never have the time to stop to get them.  I'm watching the fields slowly change, from dried corn stalks from last year's crop to newly tilled soil that is awaiting this year's seeds.  The one good part of my drive is that it is through some great country side.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SUCCESS!

I HAVE A NEW ADDRESS!  

I CAN NOW GET MAIL.  

I sign my lease Thursday after work.  And before school.

I can't wait to sleep in my bed again.  And have my pots and pans.  And real dishes and knives and forks (as opposed to the plastic I have now).  

Next up is a couch.  And I think I need a microwave...  

Now its time for sleep.  I just got home from work (13 hour day, before counting drive time) and I didn't do my homework for nutrition class (but luckily did the extra credit work over the weekend to make up for that).  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My ball winder and swift hate me, I think.  Perhaps they didn't like being in the trunk of the car for so long.  I tried to wind a ball up today, and ended up with quite the tangled mess.  I spent well over an hour attempting to untangle it, before giving up and cutting a piece off.  And then created another tangle.  Which also got cut off.  So now one skein is three pieces of yarn.

On top of that, I don't think the yarn is quite right for a hat.  I do love it, but as I started to knit it up, it just didn't say hat to me.  It has no stretch to it, and seemed a bit small, and was frogged back to a ball state.  I'll have to see what I do with it.  Maybe a scarf might be fun?  

I do have four rows of mom's first hat done though.  The second use of the swift/ball winder was much more successful and gave me a perfectly formed ball.  

And a pair of socks waiting to cast on.  (the baby blanket 
is in a box and on its way to MA, for the baby girl that arrived last saturday...  right on time.)

Today was the most mellow day I've been able to have in quite a while.  I saw a couple of apartments this morning...  I'm trying to decide on one of them.  I liked it, but I can't say I loved it.  So, I'm torn.  The price was right, but the fridge was small.  And the toilet was an industrial style one, rather than a home style one.  And for some reason, the flush mechanism on those industrial style ones just bother me in a house setting.  Part of me wants to call and see if I can get a second look at the place, but then I look at my schedule and laugh.  I'm praying for some insight.  I really want to get settled into a place and have a home.  

After the apartments, I hit a Whole Foods...  mostly for browsing and not buying though.  And then headed to this great Latin market I've found here.  I scored on produce, and got 4 avocados, 3 limes, a red pepper, two jalepenos, a bunch of parsley and a bunch of cilantro, a 5 lb bag of apples, a mango, and an onion for less than 10 dollars.  That is just is unheard of.  I've spent the last three days recording my food intake for my nutrition class, and am trying to make an effort to eat more veggies and good for me stuffs.  We'll see how long that lasts.  As I always seem to say that, but never get further than a few days with it.  

I also had my first Chicago night on the town last night.  A girl who was a student of mine 6 years ago is now a student here in town, and I met up with her and her friends last night.  It was fun to get out, and the bar we hit gives you a free personal pizza with every drink ordered.  I was a bit early for meeting them, combined with their running late, and found a new ice cream shop across the street. 
  (the making of ice cream)
It was a cool concept shop - they make your ice cream for you when you order...  you can specify your milk type and the flavor and even the color you'd like.  And they mix it up in a Kitchen Aid mixer with some liquid nitrogen to freeze it.  Alas, the cool factor and the taste factor didn't combine.  It tasted like frozen milk, and not much like ice cream, which was disappointing after a 10 minute wait in line and a 15 minute wait for them to make my "creation."  

And here it is 11 pm on a Saturday night , and I'm ready to call it a night.  I have a paper to write tomorrow, and to decide if I'm going to go for this apartment or not.  And a bit more cleaning up to do around here...  although it seems easier to leave it in piles and not get too settled in...  I can't believe I've been here three weeks already!  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update?

I feel like I'm running a marathon, backwards, in high heels, while applying makeup and reading a book.  

School and work, plus driving is a crazy idea.  I wish I could apartment search and drive at the same time.  Or knit and drive at the same time.  But alas, that ain't happening.  Especially with these Chicago drivers.

The weekend may be peaceful, so hopefully I'll get time here then.  As I know next week is going to be insane...  to the point where we'll be working such long hours, they'll be giving me a hotel room near the shop.  ACK.  Yay for OT!  Boo for the lack of time to think/pray/knit/read/do my homework/sleep.  Maybe its good I don't know people here...  there is no one to be offended I have no time to hang out.  

Happy Friday everyone...  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I think the sleep deprivation is starting

Well, its the day after tomorrow now.  And I'm getting ready to sleep, as I don't know when I'll next get a good nights worth.  I'm just waiting for some laundry to dry a bit more so I can hang it up and hopefully not have to find someone who has an iron before class on Monday.  

Work is going to be insane this weekend.  We worked a long night last night, and tomorrow promises to be longer, with a full (probably extended) day on Saturday and Sunday too.  I can't complain, I need the overtime hours.  But, between the driving (about 120 miles roundtrip a day...  I'm filling my gas tank up every three days!  And don't even get me started on Chicago drivers or traffic...  the worst I've seen, and I've drive all over this country!) and the homework and the classes, I am going to be pushing myself to the edges.  

So far school is great.  I really like my two professors.  And my advisor.  My cooking instructor is a French Chef.  Who says sheet so that it sounds like sh*t.  He's always telling us to make sure we laugh and smile.  He's laid back and relaxed and a lot of fun too.  I'm not so good at cutting straight lines - we have been making perfect dices and the such out of potatoes and leeks and carrots for the last two days.  I can't draw a straight line, so I'm not so sure that cutting a perfect square is in my future.  I'm looking forward to getting into the cooking part of the class.  

And I've made a couple of friends in the class too.  There are two girls who I share a station with who are fun to chat with, and who's stories I enjoy.  

Work, well, that is long hours, but I'm learning a lot.  And I'm enjoying it.  Its a bit hard to work so closely with C, but to also not work all that closely with him at the same time.  We can go all day without even seeing each other.  Which is odd, because there is someone I care about deeply in the same building as me, but I haven't seen them.  I do hope we'll get a chance to talk a bit before he leaves town for his tour the start of the week.  Its so hard to read the situation we have...  And I constantly wonder am I to look to actions or words?  One day at a time, and we'll see what happens.  But, on the work side, I've learned how to tear things apart and put them back together.  I get to get very dirty every day (not the best for when your other career is cooking, but...)

There is still no work on when I might get to move to my apartment or if I definitely have to find a new one or not.  I'm hoping maybe the start of next week might bring an answer.  My body is so ready to upgrade back to a real bed and get off this air mattress.  I've been sleeping ok, mostly.  Having some odd dreams -- D was in the one I had last night, asking me to get back together with him.  I laughed at that suggestion.  

Mom is doing well with her chemo.  They had to adjust some dosages due to yeast infections, but other than that, she seems good.  She had her head last week, so that the losing of the hair isn't as noticeable and drastic.  

I really wish I was close to Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado for this weekend.  I saw photos of their annual Easter sunrise service, and I would love to attend that.  I'm wondering about finding a service if I have Sunday off.  I have no idea what kind of church to look for right now though, in this strange state of religious discovery and relearning that I find myself in.  I'm working on trusting that God does have a plan for me, and that great things are coming.  Yet, I find myself having so much doubt because of how much change and negative things I've had in the last two months.  Its hard to trust when you think you are happy, and then things get turned upside down and switched around on you.  And you don't understand why they had to happen that way.  

But alas, I can't start thinking of that now.  It is time to brush my teeth and fall off to sleep.  I get to get 8.5 hours of the stuff tonight.  And hopefully that will carry me through til who knows when.  I may be napping in my car during lunch...

I hope everyone has a great weekend, full of Easter and Passover celebrations.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

With some luck, tomorrow, there will be updates on

* why I should stick to knitting and avoid sewing

* how to chop potatoes and why I have a craving from french fries, hash browns and chinese food (yes, all at the same time)

* the fun of driving over 100 miles a day

* working full time and going to school part time

* sleeping on an air mattress and missing my bed (well, anyone's bed really)

* how to remove motor grease before getting covered in cooking grease

* adjusting to life in a new city

* trying to figure out how to make a friendship work

* trying to learn to trust that there is some great plan in the works despite being analytical and wishing for tangible proof

* and finally, taking suggestions on what newly added stress factor in my life has caused my eye to start twitching and add to the many things that drive me crazy.

For now, I'm alive, sleepy, wishing that work as 50 miles closer, and not as lonely as I feared.  And that my friends, makes time for sleeping.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunsets and Potholes


(the final moments of my first drive home from work)

So far, I've seen two amazing sunsets here.  One included a combination of all types of weather and a rainbow.  Luckily for me, they all seem to happen in my rearview mirror.  Its so much nicer than driving into a glaring sun. 

   (the view in my side mirror on Friday night)

There are also an insane number of potholes in this city.  Driving becomes somewhat of a obstacle course as you try to not explode a tire or bust up other parts of your car.  (Mine just reached 100,000 miles, and I don't need to do anything to make her not want to work for me right now).

I got out to explore a bit today and hit up a cute shopping center area with a very fun spice shop (www.penzys.com) .  All they sell is spices, and at such reasonable prices too.  I'm excited because now my food can have flavor!  I also hit up Trader Joe's for a couple of things too.  My friend here introduced me to this fabulous Latin market as well.  I'm going to frequent this place -- who can argue with 25 cent bunches of fresh herbs?  Or limes that only cost 15 cents?  In the big chain groceries you spend almost $2 on a bunch of herbs!  I can eat well on my budget after all!  (I think that is the most exciting part...  I splurged on a printer today to make use of online coupons [and some school printing stuff], but I'm all about figuring out how to keep my life relatively the same and keep to a very tight budget.  So far I'm not succeeding, but thats due to house set up costs and initial purchases.  Next month I really need to focus on that.  But I think I'll be too busy to spend any money, so it might not be an issue.)

And up tomorrow - the return to homework, my attempt to hem pants, and general life updates.  Until then, sleep well.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A quick update

Another day comes to a close.  The alarm is set for 6 am, for the drive west to work.  Which isn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Its the drive home that sucks and takes almost two hours to make.  

I'm still trying to adjust to the new environment.  Sleep can be illusive with the strange sounds and fear of not hearing the alarm in the morning.  I need to work on relaxing, or I'm going to be a giant mess of exhaustion and a hazard to myself on the road.  

Work is good.  The friendship with C shows promise of being good for both of us.  But only time will tell on that one.  Chef's pants are the most unflattering piece of clothing I have ever owned (my pajamas and lounge wear look better on me than what I have to wear to school).  And my new knives are strangely disappointing.  But school should be fun.  (orientation was today).

And that concludes the brief update on me.  In short, mostly grammatically correct style.  Perhaps a more in depth look at Chicago life come the weekend.  Until then, enjoy your Fridays.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Safely "home"

Well, not really home.  But to my new city at least.  And in a decent space to stay for the next week until I can figure out what is really going on.  (I wish I could afford this place...  its this fun loft, with parking and laundry...  which prices it way out of my range.  But nice for a few days at least.)

I start work in the morning.  I'm dreading the drive.  And nervous about seeing C - he'll leave on tour in about ten days, but until then, we are working together.  And then Thursday starts school fun.  

I am beat from the last few days, so hopefully I will sleep soundly.  As six am will come really early, I think.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day two, complete

Last night, I had the luxury of a Crowne Plaza hotel. Thanks to priceline.com. At the bargain price of $50. Tonight, I am at a Best Western, which cost me $65. I checked in at 10 pm. You think they'd offer me a better price, especially in this economy. I tried to get better prices, including stopping at 4 other hotels in the area before giving up and settling for here.

But enough about hotels, I need to share my pictures and my day. It was quite a day. I spent about two hours this morning exploring the American side of Niagara Falls and Goose Island. The day started with rain, but luckily, it stopped raining shortly after my arrival at the falls. (I honestly think some of my best travel adventure days have been ones where it has been raining or otherwise inclement weather. I had a fabulous day in Tokyo exploring in the pouring rain and another driving through Yellowstone National Park in the snow. And now I can add today to that list.) The only thing I wished was that I had managed to get the thumbs finished on my fingerless mitts, as I could have used them today to keep my hands warm and fingers free to toy with the camera.

There is no way to accurately describe the falls. They are a sight you must see for yourself. I took close to 400 photos. I said wow on several occasions. I was awed by the magnificence ad the grandeur. The sound alone is breathtaking.

And the Canadian side is even better than the American. The horseshoe falls has even more of an impressiveness to it. And the view of the American Falls is much improved from the other side of the river. Unfortunately, due to my lack of cash (I never seem to carry it with me) I was only able to spend about an hour on the Canadian side. It was much colder, so I think I'm ok with that.

And I do have to return when it is the tourist season so I can take the boat ride along the falls, which due to the cold, wasn't open yet. (You can see the massive blocks of ice that are still at the base of the falls in the pictures).












Day one, complete

I got to Niagara Falls about 9 PM last night. The drive was good... a mostly sunny day all the way through MA and NY. No traffic, and quite a few interesting towns to pass through (Belchertown anyone?).

I took some time to explore the American Falls at night when I got here. I wish I had had a tripod to get better pictures - I was putting my camera on any flat surface I could find in order to get a picture without shakes. I'm glad I got at least a few pictures last night, as today is quite the rainy mess. Not that I'm not going to grab the umbrella, put on the rain boots, and try to keep the camera as dry as possible so I can see the canadian side... One of my best days on my trip to Tokyo years ago was in weather like this. And I didn't even have rain boots then. :)

And without further ado, some shots from day one...

The mist leading as you walk towards the falls
The rapids before the falls
Looking over the falls towards Canada

Friday, March 27, 2009

What a difference a day makes

Today is looking so much better than yesterday was. Yesterday was definitely one of the worst bouts of anxiety and fear I've had in a long time.

It turns out that I wasn't approved for the apartment with my salary, but they are willing to work with me to bring the price lower and into a range I would be able to afford. They really want to get this place filled apparently. I'm meeting someone on Monday to take a look at it and see it in person before I make a decision.

Also, the friend from the original apartment happened to mention my situation to her realtor, and the realtor happens to own a space that is currently empty and is willing to let me stay there temporarily so I don't have to impose on anyone while I figure out where I'm going and what I'm doing. (unfortunately the space is bigger than what I need, and priced out of my budget, so it won't work as a future living option).

So, I have a job, and a temporary place to stay. The rest of the pieces will come together.

I'm packing up stuff and getting ready to load the car. Tomorrow I start my drive westward. I'll get to Niagara Falls and crash there tomorrow night. And hopefully there won't be too much rain and I am able to enjoy the falls and that area. I'm angling to arrive in Chicago around noon on Monday. And then we'll see what comes next.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One giant nervous breakdown mess

I've been a mess today. After a last minute scramble to get my application in yesterday to try and get all paperwork finalized by tomorrow, I woke up today feeling hung over - tired, cranky, achy, etc. Despite the fact I haven't had a drink in over a week - and I haven't had more than one drink in a sitting in over four. It sucked. I was anxious and nervous and doubting and wondering and all sorts of other emotions I'm not sure I can even put a finger on. I've been cold to the bone all day and shake at various intervals.

I sent off my application fees though. And continued to stress. I tried to knit and become absorbed, but I couldn't.

And then I talked to my future job. And the job is great. Its perfect for me right now. But it pays very little. Its a job, so I'm not complaining. It was just less than I imagined it would be (only by 2 dollars an hour), and that sent me off the edge, as I was already in the fragile state of freaking over the apartment and how much it costs to live. With a couple of calculations, this slightly lower salary plummets me into the range of you will need a second job to survive territory.

I'm afraid I can't afford the apartment along with my other bills. It will be a close call on whether all the bills can be paid on a base salary, and I won't be able to have luxuries like internet or tv (and my tv will stop working in June with that whole digital conversion thing). Or the fancy kind of foods I like. So now, I'm sitting here hoping that they tell me "I'm sorry, we can't approve your application" and aside of that, I'm debating losing $250 for the application fee and telling them I can't afford it and its stressing me out. I'm trying to focus that right now, its all in God's hands, and if they approve me, then it was meant to be. But secretly hoping that they won't approve me when they learn of my low salary. Yet, thinking that is giving me remarkable peace about things. And I'm thinking of emailing the other people (that I called and said sorry I had found something else to yesterday) to see if they'll still consider letting me take over their place if they get their mortgage approved. Even if that means I'm out the $250 from applying for this one, and even though its only $50 cheaper. The little difference can make a huge difference in these times.

ARGH. For once, I'd like something to go smoothly. And easily. And without hassle. But this move is apparently meant to teach me a whole lot and test me even more. I sure hope that the good things I know are coming are coming soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small Successes?

Today held some small successes in the apartment search. I have a lead on what my very possibly be my future home. It took four phone calls and three emails before I was able to get someone to get back to me, but I found a place that fits most of my requirements. Its a little bit more than I had hoped to spend on rent, but I think I'll be able to make it work out.

I also am waiting to hear back from a broker who was recommended by my advisor at school on another possible place. Which is steps from the lake, and a bit cheaper. Either way, I think I'm on the way to being sure to have a place to live next week when I get to Chicago.

I can't believe its next week that I need to be out there. Two months ago when I got home from tour, this seemed so very far away, and then continued to get further and further away as time passed. I'm excited and nervous. This is really the first completely new start I've gotten. Yeah, I started over in NYC last year, but it wasn't completely on my own. I never ventured out on my own, but allowed myself to depend on Ds apartment. We won't dwell on the bad side of that decision though. This time, the place will be mine, the bills will be mine, the adventure will be mine. I'm sad that I don't have someone to share it all with (and still miss C and his presence in my life) but I'm excited to see what this path holds for me.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get all this apartment stuff nailed down. I dread the conversation I'll have to have with the original apartment when I don't go with her place. But I can't just sit here and wait and see. I've put my life on hold enough for that situation. I do feel mildly guilty for leaving her in a lurch of having to find a last minute replacement for me if her mortgage comes through for the end of the month. But her situation has caused me a whole lot of stress... and anxiety... and frustration...

So cross your fingers for things falling into place tomorrow. I want to be able to enjoy my drive without worrying about where I'm going to be going when I get there. Oh, and know when that drive is going to be taking place.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Advice to Landlords

I've been a bit one note lately here.  I hate feeling so obsessed by this, but I feel so on hold trying to figure out how I am going to be in Chicago by Saturday.  I know that this too will pass, and that I need to hang in there (Thanks for still reading and saying that, cause just knowing that people are crossing fingers or saying prayers and sending out the positive thinking does make a difference.  And makes me smile).  

And now, in an effort to make you laugh...  some humor from the ads I've seen while searching.  

When advertising your apartments, there are some pitfalls you should avoid.  I've read through lots of ads in the past few weeks, and some have made me laugh out loud.  Some things that are mentioned in ads include:

* Unit comes with securable doors.  (If I'm renting the place, the door damn well better lock!)
* Windows stay with unit (You mean you aren't going to take them with you and leave gaping holes in the walls???)
* Vintage bathroom (Just how old does a bathroom have to be to be considered vintage?  Is it an out house?  A chamber pot?  Or just last remodeled circa 1970?)
* Don't paint anything these colors.  I don't think those colors should ever be used in any sort of decorating.  EVER.  
and in yet another, "Robin," the building manager is very helpful in your day to day activities.  Don't you just wonder what services she provides?  ;-)
 
Also, don't try to sell me the apartment that cost $1000 if I call to ask about the one that is only $800 a month.  Obviously, if I could afford $1000 I would be looking in that price range, as the difference between apartments is HUGE, and I'd go for the nicer, pricier place if I could in any way possible make it work.  Also, don't think I might want a studio that costs more than some one bedrooms I've been looking at just because its in my price range.

Ok, it just started snowing here.  We just grilled out for the first time this spring, the thermometer was reading almost 50 degrees, and then we turned around and there are huge snowflakes flying.  What is up with that?

I'm back to working on the blanket.  Its coming along quite nicely.  I'm about halfway there.  And I seem to be knitting quicker the more I knit.  And it is so much more fun than apartment searching!  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stressed

Anyone want to join me in either running away to a tropical island or hiding under a big giant rock?  

I spent my day going over craigslist postings for apartments in Chicago.  I emailed a few places...  talked to one.  But it wasn't one that was like OH MY, I NEED TO LIVE THERE!  So, I didn't jump at it.  It was further north than I hope to be.  And I couldn't tell if I loved it from the photos.  There was one I did really love when I saw the photos on craigslist, but when they sent me more photos of the actual unit I'd be getting, it just wasn't all that great.  Combined with the fact that it was a first floor unit, which I would like to avoid at all costs.  But this searching has left me utterly drained.  I don't know where to look more.  I don't know what I'm even looking at any more.  I have a week to figure this all out.  Which is stressing me out.  I'm at that I just don't want to play anymore point.  You know?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reminders

Things I was reminded of over the course of today...

* I've posted 200 entries here.  (well, that one I just noticed as I signed in to post this...  but that's a lot of writing and venting and sharing.)

* Staying up past 2 am is not in my best interest.

* Midafternoon naps are great, until the phone rings and wakes you up.  And it isn't even your phone that's doing the ringing.

* I must make sure to drink lots of water every day.  It really does make a difference for me and my attitude.

* Cooking makes me happy.

* Somedays I just don't want to talk to anyone.  Even my parents, which when I'm here can leave me feeling slightly guilty, as somedays mom wants to question all sorts of little trivial things, and I just can't muster the ability to talk.  

* I need to get out into the world and take more pictures.  Its a hobby I really enjoy and want to develop more.

* I really want the apartment I am waiting for.  I don't want to search for another one.  Searching today left me wanting to throw my computer across the room, which isn't an answer, as then I'll have no home and a broken machine.  

* Sometimes, having pretty underthings really can make a difference.

Monday, March 16, 2009

ACK!

I've been in a very disgruntled mood all day.  I just feel so discouraged by the lack of a place to move and the uncertainty that is my immediate future.  

I did hear from the people moving out today, and it turns out, the mortgage company turned them down.  With the statement, we'll be willing to give you a mortgage in about 2-3 months, when the husband of the couple has been working for at least six months.  My immediate thought is that this broker is of the old school sexist nation.  They have a meeting in the morning with another broker, and it already sounds more promising.  So, maybe I'll still get my place...  Although not on the time table I was hoping for.  

I got the delivery delay notification today from the email I sent yesterday about the other apartment I thought might be a good option/substitute...  It seems when I copied and pasted the email address, I managed to leave off the m on the .com.  Now is it a sign?  Should I resend?  
I'm so torn over what I'm doing about this living situation.  None of the pictures compares to what I saw already.  I know none of the neighborhoods.  I don't know if I should wait and see or suck it up and find another place from afar.  I feel so tossed all over the place.

It has been such a crazy two months of life.  Deciding to move, applying to and getting accepted to school, ending a relationship (although still not what I wish had happened there), mom getting sick, having surgery, getting more bad news, and starting chemo (tomorrow that starts), getting put on hold about the apartment, not knowing what to do...  Can someone just tell me what I'm supposed to do?  Please?  

I did remind myself that I'm not a retail therapy person though today.  I can't shop when I'm sad/depressed/bummed out.  I went to look for a new pair of sneakers, and walked in two stores, and found nothing.  I guess that is a good thing...  

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Projects

I've been working on two new projects.  

This first is a baby blanket for the soon to be Emma. 
 She's due to arrive April 11th, so I'm on a bit of a tight deadline.  I choose an acrylic yarn because I want it to be an easy wash and dry for the mom...  seeing as she'll have her hands full with a three year old and a newborn.  But I hate acrylics.  Or at least this one.  It splits and pulls and gets caught on my dry skin.  I'm doing it in pale pink and a creamy white, to match her recently painted room.

My other new project is a second blog, this one focused on my cooking and actually noting my recipes.  You can visit me at Kitchen Adventures.  So far it only has a few recipes (chocolate chip cookies....  the mussels I made the other night...) but as time goes on, I hope to expand it to a more complete site.  I still have a lot of work to do on it, but for now its a start.  

I spent most of my day reading and just being quiet at home.  I had the house to myself most of the day, which was so nice.  I didn't turn on the tv or any music, but just read and relaxed.  I didn't realize how much I enjoy that, how nice it is to be alone for a bit and have no one around.  Especially with so much stuff going on in my life, it was nice to just try to forget it all.  I did email about one place I saw listed tonight on craigslist, but I'm still holding out hope for positive news in the first couple of days of this coming week.  

How was your weekend?  Did you relax or have fun?

Still got nothing

I spent the better part of last week thinking maybe today.  Maybe today.  But got nothing.  I need for this to be the last week I spend here in MA before heading to Chicago.  Its getting dangerously close to the start of school, and I'm still not knowing when I can have my apartment.  

I've started to look on craigslist for other options.  But its so difficult to gauge by pictures what the place might actually be.  I found one listing today for an apartment in the complex that C lives in.  Which I found humorous, but so not an option as he has this scary set up of a door that enters into the bedroom and a door that enters into the living room.  It freaks me out to no end that there would be a door entering into the bedroom.  I could never handle being alone, at night, in a place like that.  But, I'd never know that from the pictures.  

I'm crossing every finger, saying every prayer, wishing on every star that someone makes a decision this week, papers are signed, and I can be moved by next weekend.  Optimistic thinking never hurt.  And pessimistic certainly won't get me anywhere.

I've made the rounds, had farewell dinners, packed all the boxes....  Now to just get those dates in order.  

More tomorrow on my latest projects...  one of which is teaching me how much acrylics really do suck.  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Llamas are just ghetto alpacas

Agree or disagree?  I have to say I love Miranda Lambert's comment about llamas and her wish to own an alpaca.  Who knew they can cost up to 100K though.  Really?  That is one crazy expensive animal!

Its been a long day, full of the tantrums of a almost three year old.  But no news.  I'm tired.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One piece of good news

Mom got good news today.  There are no other spots of cancer in her body.  They are still exploring treatment options for her, she has to talk to doctors about a round of chemo and a round of radiation.  Luckily, we are in Boston, where one of the most world renowned research centers on cancer is located, and they are hopeful that there will be a study to involve her in, as it turns out the cells that were bad were of the rarer forms of cancerous cells.  It is a relief to have that news behind us, and know that the prognosis is all good at this point.  

I still haven't heard anything on my move just yet.  I'm still waiting, and hoping that news is coming sooner than I think.  The moving company is anxious to book my move too...  which is good, cause the last time I dealt with a moving company they kept my stuff hostage on the opposite coast from me for over a month.  I must rather this over eager approach.  I do have a couple of offers of places to stay if I do want to head out to Chicago now, before the apartment is ready, but I'd rather avoid those.  I'm not fully comfortable staying in someone else's space.  And I want to make this transition as easy as possible on my stress levels.  I think I need that right now...  as I've been on over load lately.  

I did manage to finish up the bag that mom wanted today.  Its wrapped around a box and drying after being felted this evening.  She'll be happy to have it, as she requested it for mother's day last year.  It is a slightly different shape and size from the ones I've made before, mostly because I lost the pattern somewhere in the middle of America on one of my tours and had to create it from memory.  But, I think I like the shape better than my original bag.  Now its back to working on my sweater...  

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers for mom and the family was we went through this testing process.