Creating a sanctuary.

Monday, June 27, 2011
First thing after I woke up on Saturday I called The Madre and we embarked on a mission to find a new ceramic fountain bowl to replace the one broken in the move (her treat!) Apparently, tabletop fountains have fallen out of popularity and we have checked three different stores earlier in the week with absolutely no luck. After a little bit of online research she found some leads at a popular nursery on the Eastside, but I really wanted to check out the Indoor Sun Shoppe first since so many of my friends had raved about it and their website also suggested they had fountain supplies.

Just in case you're doing your online research and thinking you can trust the sparsely updated local store's websites - DON'T. Seriously folks, it seems no one makes their own tabletop fountains anymore. My cats love the damn thing and it always gets a good giggle out of guests who catch them drinking from it, so I couldn't imagine not fixing it.

The Indoor Sun Shoppe sold us a nice, used (workable) bowl that we found tucked back by the gravel for practically 70% off the original price so Ma decided we should also pick up the gorgeous orchids that caught our eye(s.) After that, we still thought it might not be a bad idea to trek over to the Eastside to check out the other nursery's fountain making kit.

Guess what? Yeah, they didn't have that in stock either, but I picked up some extra rocks, chocolate and Moroccan mint to grow on the balcony and some chive seeds to plant then spent the rest of my afternoon assembling, planting/re-potting and arranging my living room. As I laid on my couch that evening barely able to keep my eyes open I could feel the bruises smarting while I cuddled with Bread.

After sleeping in as late as possible, I unpacked boxes all day Sunday and took a walk over to pick up some groceries once it cooled down to make sure I got out to enjoy at least a little of the fabulous weather we had. As I wandered through Westwood Village I couldn't help but smile - despite all the black and blue, I am so happy to be back in this neighborhood and so thrilled to see my home coming together. I definitely have plenty more boxes to unpack (mostly books and the fra-gee-lay stuff now) but I can see the bones of a place where I can be safe, comfortable, creative and content.

It's time (again.)

Friday, June 24, 2011
I have to stop smoking...Again. I had been doing really well until earlier this year when the ex came back and we both started puffing socially more and more until it had once again become a regular habit.

Gawd, it's just so disgusting and awful and expensive and stupid. I really can't afford it financially or physically.

I'm back on the patch and as per yooj, this will coincide with increased amounts of physical activity and a small tweak to my regular diet to fight the smoberiety weight gain. Too bad it also comes with killer headaches and freakish lucid dreams.

Watermelon juice: in the running to be the new summer mixer?

Thursday, June 23, 2011
While my apartment is not really ready for hosting friends, I get a little restless during the summer if I don't get enough socialization. I'm hoping most of the people who have been suggesting a happy hour outing lately will be willing to stick close to home and come enjoy adult beverages on my beautiful balcony (while saving money!)

I'll usually keep a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer around, but the warmer weather definitely has me craving cocktails (and technically you get more bang for your buck, which fits into my super tight budget at the moment.) I figured vodka was a decently adaptable base booze to start with and I could change it up with different juices when I got too bored with one flavor. Greyhounds and vodka lemonades have become my go-to drinks when I'm
out, but when I made a stop at the juice section the other day I found a newer juice flavor I felt I had to try: watermelon.

It's so new that it's not even on the Dole Juice site yet, or maybe it's just a Target-specific product but I'm excited to try it - it seems so very "summery." I found a great thread on Chowhound with some inspiring ideas, but I think the following Watermelon Martini recipe (found in numerous places on the web) will be my first foray into experimenting with this recent cocktail trend:


*1 cup watermelon juice (press watermelon through a sieve or cheesecloth, juice it in a juicer, or buy bottled watermelon juice)
*1/2 cup (4 oz) Vodka
*1/4 cup simple syrup (optional)
*juice of 1 lime
*3 tablespoons salt (optional)
*3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
*Watermelon slices, for garnish (optional)


Mix together the sugar and salt if using. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with a piece of watermelon. Dip the rim into the sugar and salt mixture. Repeat for other glass. Place the watermelon juice, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Top with ice. Shake well. Pour contents through strainer into martini glasses. Makes 2 servings.

I can still be a Domestic Goddess even if I don't own martini glasses, RIGHT?

6 weeks on the cheap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
After Wilson's vet bills earlier this year, moving, tire blow outs, parking tickets and carrying the financial burden of a 2 person household for almost 2 months on my own (he paid his share of rent, but I paid all other bills for a 2 person/bedroom apartment from February to date as well as essentially forfeiting all my deposits at Jefferson Square) and moving again, my checkbook is looking so very sad.

Being broke for the first 6 weeks of summer and playing catch up for the rest of the year wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I suppose it is a small price to pay for my freedom and ultimate happiness.

So, until the beginning of August I'll be living "on the cheap" - which typically entails a lot of not going anywhere (gas is expensive!) and doing a lot of catch-up projects around the apartment and dining in a more frugal manner. Please feel free to share your tips on inexpensive meals and ways to have fun with practically no money.

It looks like the upcoming weeks will see a lot of settling in, yoga-ing, reading, sewing, Breaking Bad watching (and possibly True Blood,) and homemade cocktails whilst sunning on the balcony. Friends in the Seattle area, consider this an open invitation to join me - it is a pretty big balcony!

Back and better than ever.

Monday, June 20, 2011
After what I would call "an incredibly successful move" with the help of some of my best friends and a few more good friends I don't get to see nearly enough, I spent my first night at the new place on Saturday (if coming home at 2 AM on Sunday morning after dancing my heinie off at Trouble Disco counts.) I slept in a bit and then after a quick trip to Jamba (oh, so glad to be back within walking distance of my smoothie "dealer") I returned to the old place and did the final clear out/clean up.

Once I arrived home and unloaded, I got down to trying to fix the minor damages to my stuff that occurred during the move and setting up my electronics/entertainment center before the exhaustion took over and I settled in to start re-watching Breaking Bad with a six pack of Red Hook Pilsner and a pizza. I found the focus to call Comcast to activate my services just in time for the Game of Thrones season finale and then crawled into bed by 9:30 to continue reading the first book of the series.

I'm a bit anxious to have a housewarming shin-dig considering we were mere weeks away from one at Jefferson Square before things ultimately feel apart, so I'm grounding myself at home this week to unpack. I think by mid-July I should be completely settled in and ready to celebrate (in a more official capacity.)

My new apartment!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Ah yeahhhhh, I'm on my way back to Westwood! I have a feeling I'm going to be here for at least a few more years, which is good because moving twice in 6 months is one sure way to ensure your friends never want to help you move ever again.

At my "old place" (as The Madre has already taken to calling it) the art is down, the nails are pulled, rugs are rolled and besides the kitchen almost everything that will be packed, is. Now I've set myself to the task of rallying friends to help and by Saturday I should be totally ready for the final move.

It feels a bit strange to be leaving stuff behind but I'm actually really glad I don't have to worry about moving the huge new couch the ex bought. Besides the couch, he will be returning to an apartment that contains only the following (as agreed upon) : a dining room set, bed frame, dresser, large desk, mini fridge, bedside table and one grill pan. I've been tempted to leave him a list of things that he will probably want to get as soon as he returns, but as I've been reminded: I'm "not his mother." I am leaving a few things to at least help him through that first night home (like toilet paper, paper towels and a liner curtain for the shower so they can freshen up after the long flight back to Seattle) so I'm not feeling too terribly guilty.

So, here's to moving onward and upward and forward and all those other good things; soon enough I can go back to my search for the perfect set of curtains.

The credit check waiting game.

Monday, June 13, 2011
This Saturday I put down a holding deposit on what will hopefully be my fantastic new apartment and immediately rushed home to do the online credit check. As a slightly impatient person (I can hear my mother's eyes rolling from across the city,) the wait between the credit check and the "okay, come get your keys" kills me. Each time I fill out that application I am slightly nervous despite the fact that for my last two places I've been told afterward that I passed with flying colors.

My new apartment (let's be optimistic, shall we) is around the corner from and eerily similar to my last singleton place: older male on-site manager, one bedroom previously inhabited by two women, top floor and west-facing. The grounds are much nicer though and there is a ELEVATOR this time, thank the gods. Same amenities: secured building, fireplace (wood-burning instead of gas - yay,) washer/dryer, dishwasher - the works. The balcony is bigger AND at least partially covered, which is a big improvement over the last abode. The floor plan is much like my last apartment and it's going to be a little bit of a challenge to make sure I don't have the same exact layout in regards to furniture, but I have gotten rid of a few pieces and plan on upgrading a few others as my budget allows.

So, now it's just the waiting game.

Being "ex"-communicated.

Thursday, June 9, 2011
A while back, a guy that I have known since I was 19 broke up with his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. She had been to numerous parties thrown by our long-time group of friends and I had gotten a chance to become better acquainted with her, intrigued by her young age, old-soul wisdom, dry wit and fun fashion sense. After the break-up, our group of friends basically dropped her like a hot potato, no longer inviting her to any of the many get-togethers that were thrown on a regular basis. In my opinion, it was all kinds of bullshit to basically abandon someone we had gotten close to, especially at a time when anyone would need the support of their homies. In the following months as she became one of my favorite people I slowly distanced myself from those who had been so quick to dismiss her when she had done nothing to deserve it.

Fast forward to my recent break-up - his amigos that had been so insistent on forming a friendship with me are now nowhere to be found. There's been not a single peep of support from then since then and it seems in some cases they were actually coaching him to treat me negatively. As an adult, I find this incredibly petty and unnecessary - my ex and I were not and are not on bad terms. That feeling of "he is my best friend and I love him" is long gone, but I harbor very little (if any) ill will towards him and definitely haven't tried to prevent any of my peeps from hanging out with him nor encouraged causing him any kind of grief.

For those of you who might find themselves in a similar situation when their friends break up (where nothing unpleasant has been done to you personally,) I will offer the following: let them deal with it. There is no reason you can't be friends with someone just because they are not in that relationship any longer. Planning an event? Invite them both and politely let them know what you have done and that if they can handle it/behave properly then they are both welcome to attend. Offer support - that doesn't mean you have to be responsive to bitching and snarking about your friend, but you can make that clear in a gentle and mature way. Be a grown up and hopefully they can do the same.

Something something KARMA something something...

Speaking of abstinence...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I have less than 10 days to get ready to relocate and technically no place to go (yet.) While this situation might drive most people to drink, I have actually been inspired to try to lay off the booze until after my move.

Recently a friend was telling me that he was attempting to abstain from alcohol for 30 days. Well, he failed, but 30 days is a really long time, right? Especially over Labor Day weekend...Like, C'MON. I thought about it for a while after we talked though, and thought to myself that it probably couldn't hurt to try to avoid drinking for a while. During the week I'm usually pretty responsible with a beer or a glass of wine in the evening, but on the weekends I'll get buzzed and end up spending more money than I want to which is a very bad idea right now.

Between now and the 18th there is one birthday party that I have to attend (at a bar, of course) and an entire weekend but I'm confident that I can keep liquor/beer from my lips until after all my stuff is moved to wherever it is going to be.

Ten days isn't a lot, I know, but it's a decent enough test of my willpower as later that night I'll be getting together with my homegirls, throwing on a hot dress and some sexy dancin' shoes & rewarding myself like crazy at Trouble Disco and The Stranger present Pre-Pride Bouncy Ball benefiting the It Gets Better Project. Supposedly, in addition to Vockah Redu and the Cru, Scissor Sister's tour DJ (Sammy Jo,) a Savage Love advice booth AND Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 3 winner Raja, they are going to have "A Giant Bouncy Castle." I'm not sure if you been to Fred Wildlife Refuge, but the general consensus among my friends is "how the hell are they going to pull that off??" so it's something I couldn't imagine missing (annnnd I'm definitely gonna deserve an adult beverage by then.)

Some new dating rules (for me.)

Monday, June 6, 2011
Since the end of my most recent serious relationship I've had some time to re-evaluate my goals and get back into the swing of casual dating, which has brought me to some very useful conclusions.

*Dating has been moved to the bottom of my list of priorities. More important things: ummmm, pretty much anything right now.

*I do like creative types but it is highly unlikely I will ever successfully date a full-time musician/actor/writer. "Part-time" would also be questionable - unless it's just a hobby it's likely that the talent (or motivation) just isn't there to support it full time and then I feel bad that I can't excitedly champion their artistic endeavors.

*I need to date men with transportation or a good knowledge of the local Metro system and the willingness to use it.

*I will never again choose my nail polish color/clothing style/hair color/heel height based on whether a dude likes it or not. You don't like my 4" heels and navy blue polish? SUCK IT.

*They're gonna have to have decent taste in clothing for themselves too. I'm cool with jeans and a t-shirt as long as they're cut right.

*They have to be somewhat social and willing to hang out with my friends as much as we hang out with theirs. PERIOD.

*Not a deal breaker, per se, but they should have at least one awesome tattoo for each shitty one (or absolutely no shitty ones, but that's a stretch.) Or, if no tattoos (how these boys find me, I have no idea) then they must LOVE my ink and/or be completely supportive of future expansion.

Honestly, I'm incredibly picky right now because I can be and should be. I'm going to have to take a few weeks off from boys anyway - funds are tight and I should be packing, not flirting.

I've got my hopes up for a place around the corner from my last apartment with all the amenities that I realized I really don't want to give up. I'm praying I can get that nailed down by the end of the week and relieve a little bit of the anxiety I'm dealing with about this scenario. In the meantime, it's work and The Wire and reading and packing and...growing.

I like funny people. (a belated Shameless Plug)

Thursday, June 2, 2011
This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending a local(ish) sketch comedy show featuring Ubiquitous They and the Peter 'n Chris Show. I say "ish" because the latter is technically from Vancouver, BC but if I had more room I'd kidnap them and keep them in my basement and make them perform for me like cute little Canadian monkeys. I'm probably a bit biased since I was lucky enough to hang with both crews after the show and close down a nearby bar over pitchers of beer, but damn - I like funny people. Here's one of the clips they did at the show:

And one performed by Ubiquitous They:

If you ever get a chance to see either troupe live, DO IT.