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 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


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


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


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.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Maybe Tomorrow?

For a few weeks now the date of March 10th has stuck in my head as a day I'd learn something about my move.  Tomorrow is March 10th, so here's hoping that the feeling stuck in my head holds true and I do hear something.  I am trying to keep the mindset of I'm closer than I think.  Pray I'm right on this one.  

Today was a truly gloomy day here in Southern Massachusetts.  I needed to turn on the lights as soon as I woke up...  usually I get to sit curled in the sun for the first few hours of my day as it streams in my windows.  I did finally finish up the second of my fingerless mitts though, as I needed a quick project to get some level of satisfaction for completing something.  I've just got a few rows of the thumb left to do.  I'm slightly upset that the thumb on the first one had to be pulled out (and destroyed) due to my knitting it in a counterclockwise direction, which gave me a purled thumb rather than a knitted thumb.  Because of this, I need to break into the second ball for just the thumb.  I do hope to make a hat as well out of the same yarn, so I guess its good that I bought multiple balls.  

I'm feeling a bit blase lately.  I feel so run down by life.  I want to have a place where I can curl up and forget about everything that is going on.  I kind of want to talk, but I don't know who I want to talk to or words to say what is going through my head.  I guess I just want someone I can be quiet with then.  I want to know when I get to move.  I want to know the results of mom's tests (she goes for those tomorrow afternoon).  I want her to not be worried or stressed.  Or for dad to be either.  I know all of these things will come with time.  

I just really hope that tomorrow brings good news all around...  for mom to not have any other spots of bad cells, and for a moving date to be set.  Say a prayer...  Cross your fingers...  Light a candle...  Find a four leaf clover...  And send me a laugh if you've got one.  

Saturday, March 7, 2009

People say the darnedest things...

Said by my 60+ year old aunt, in front of my mother, in regards to her up coming hip replacement surgery:
"Well, I've just got to think to myself, its only a hip replacement, at least I don't have cancer like Betty (aka mom)."

Said by my favorite 3 year old, while we were out shopping the other day:
"My jacket is a slippery little sucker.  It keeps falling off."  

Her mom had no idea where she came up with that one.  She's also request that I send her postcards when I move away...  refused to discuss (using those words) potty training...  and knows that credit cards are for shopping.  She keeps me laughing constantly.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still Waiting

It seems like I spend so much time waiting these days.  Waiting to hear this or that, get this news or that news.  It drives me a bit crazy.  I'm working on staying calm and not letting it get to me too much.  But, right now, I'm feeling a bit anxious.  

The last I heard on my apartment was Saturday.  I don't know when I get to move yet.  I really just want to know that date.  It seems like so much will hinge on that information.  When I can book the movers, who came back with a very reasonable price quote.  When I can be on the road.  When I can start working and make some money to pay off the loans I just took out to pay for school.  

I'm developing a nervousness about it all.  I'm questioning whether or not its going to work out or not.  And that is driving me crazy.  I'm trying to stay focused on positive and relax...  but I feel on edge as this week draws to a close with no more news.  I actually took my friends advice this morning and woke up and screamed.  It let a bit of the tension out...  especially when I woke up still exhausted (which could be the combo of being out til 2 am with friends who were in town with their tour combined with the stress of waiting)

Mom had a PET scan today.  They gave her this note to take home saying that she would be radioactive for the remainder of the day and that she wasn't allowed to hold any babies or play with any kids.  I found that entertaining, as we joked that she'd really been making WMDs in the backyard.  She'll find the results out on Tuesday, and hopefully that will be good news.

I've been doing lots of praying and trying to focus on being calm and focused and positive and knowing that good things are coming.  Its a different way for me to handle things, and has left me feeling calmer and less agitated and worried.  

I just hope I get news soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Making Progress

Check one of the to do list: The movers came today and checked out my boxes.  I'll hopefully have my dates soon, so I can get stuff on the truck and start on my way.  I'm excited to stop at Niagara Falls.  And to start decorating my new place and making it a home.  

Check two on the to do list: I electronically signed all the documents for my school loans...  UGH.  More money I owe to Sallie Mae.  

I'm also making progress on my Somewhat Cowl.  
I've started in on the waist decreases.  I need to do some needle switching tomorrow and try it on again and see how its working.  Its been a quick knit so far...  I've been working on it for just over a week now.  

Mom has to go in for more tests in the coming week...  a scan to make sure there are no signs of suspicious spots any where else in her body.  But due to a complication of the first surgery taking too long and her blood loss, there is a high chance she'll have to go through another surgery.  I think the part that bugs her the most about that is spending another 6 weeks post that surgery recovering.  She's been laid up now for 5 weeks, and is slowly going a bit stir crazy as her inability to "live" life.  I can't imagine what another 6 weeks added onto the 3 more she still has to go will be like for her.  

Hopefully tomorrow will bring dates for the move...  I'm anxiously awaiting news as to when its REALLY going to go down.  

Monday, March 2, 2009

Boxes and Tape

Well, a couple of boxes are packed.  A couple of items are in the donate to charity pile.  A ton of papers have been burned up (yay for fireplaces and it still being winter).  Several loads of laundry are done.  But there is still so much more to do.  I must be productive tomorrow.  

I finally had the conversation I've been waiting to have for the last month.  After a conversation with a good friend and mentor last night, I couldn't take much more waiting.  I tried calling C, but when I didn't get an answer, I sent an email that bordered on over the top...  I was angry and hurt and felt like I had been cast out and lied to.  Granted, it could have gotten his attention because I mentioned mom's bad test results...  but either way, we talked and maybe we are on the path to the friendship part of things.  I think it will be a slow road...  Not that that is a bad thing.  And now I have someone to help lift my tv onto its table when I move to Chicago.  And help me get a couch up two flights of stairs when I purchase that.  

I also got a bit more done on my somewhat cowl sweater.  I joined it into the round, so now its time to figuring out the shaping for the bust and the waist.  I've already made a couple of modifications, after measuring the raglan sleeves on my FLS I decided to only do a 7 inch diagonal rather than the 10 that the pattern called for.  I can't even imagine how baggy the arms would have been if I had stuck to the 10 inches.  

And now as its almost 2 am...  I think its time to try and get some sleep.