Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gen Con Bound

Well, it's official. Don and I will be attending Gen Con together this year. I really wanted to go but wasn't sure if I would be able to swing it what with the expenses (refer to my last post about the impromptu giant screen t.v. purchase) and with the new job. However, today, Don was able to find roundtrip tickets for the pair of us for $530 - that's together not a piece. With that great of a deal I decided it was worth it to check with my boss and see if he could live without me for those four days. He said that we could make it work so I just gave Don the go ahead to purchase the tickets. So I am very excited. Not only will this be a nice vacation time with Don but a chance to see other friends from Tacoma that we no longer live close to. Plus, I understand that DG is not going to be working their own booth this year but instead will have a designated presence at the Paizo booth. Hopefully that will mean that there will be less business obligations and time for more fun and relaxation. The ... how shall I say ... interesting thing at the moment is that since I told Don earlier that I couldn't go he and Stevie had already reserved a single hotel room to share. So it looks like Don, Stevie and I will all be sharing a King Sized Bed. Aren't vacations fun????

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Toys

It has been a while since my last post which means I am getting busier at work... thankfully! It definitely makes the day go by faster when I have active deals coming across my desk. And it reminds me that I do like the kind of work I do. The big highlight of my work week so far has been going to Office Depot to get some office supplies. I got some things to organize my desk and my inbox and some nice pens and highlighters. I also brought in some pictures and stuff from home to decorate my desk. It is amazing what a transformation it has on my mood at work. It makes it feel a little more homey and like I belong here as opposed to being the new person who is out of my element. So I am excited and having a good week so far. Plus I found out yesterday that we are closed three whole days next week in honor of the fourth of July. HA! How awesome is that?! A 5 day weekend! And I don't even have to take any vacation time. I'm not sure what I will do with myself during that time since Don will be working but I'm not complaining by any means. Maybe I will get out and find the dog park or something.

Since I last wrote to you, Don and I have purchased a new toy - a 42" High Definition Television. It is amazing how much money you spend moving into a new place and the things that you convince yourself that you "need." Like the big blank white wall in the living room that our 27" television just looks so small and out of place. We "needed" a bigger television to balance out the room. Boy are we suckers. But at least we found a good deal on it. We did some research, read some reviews, checked out the stores and costco, and then found one that we were satisfied with on Craigslist for half the price.

So given the good deal we found, we are happy with our purchase and enjoying the luxury of our new toy. We watched Pan's Labyrinth and Bridge to Teribithia on it last weekend and the quality was excellent. Of course now that we have an HDTV, Don is convinced that we "need" an XBOX 360 because our Play Station 2 can't produce as high visual quality games as the XBOX Zombie game he really wants. Well, given the amount of cash we have spent recently in the process of moving and settling into our new home, after this last purchase it will be a while before we buy another new toy. But at least we will have something to do now while we are staying in and not spending money.

Don and I have also started going to a new church the last two weekends. They are pretty great - a Reconciled in Christ Congregation which means that they welcome gay people into the full inclusion of church life. They actually have an intentional ministry to the GLBT community but they have a few straight folks as well. Don and I just like the church because it is a real Lutheran Church with a real Lutheran Liturgy and very good preaching. We feel comfortable there and it is so exciting to worship together again after having been on such different places on our spiritual journeys in the last couple of years. When Don and I started going back to church together, I thought I would like most the fact that I had somebody to sit with in the pew. While I certainly love that of course, what I am finding that I love even more is the theological conversations that we have on the car ride home about the sermons. That was such a big part of our relationship throughout our friendship from the beginning and I didn't realize how much I missed it and how much I enjoyed it until these last couple of weeks.

The pastors both seem very cool as well. Last night Pastor Sue had us over to her house in Burbank for Dinner and we had a great time telling her about ourselves and hearing some of her story as well. She was among the first generation of women who were ordained and it took her two years after she graduated from Seminary to even get an interview! And her favorite quote is, "God promised us the kingdom but instead we ended up with the church." She is an insightful woman and a hoot. I think she will be a great mentor and pastor. The church's name is St Matthew's if you would like to check it out. The website is a little bit outdated but it will give you an idea about the place.

Also, on Sunday night we had a chance to catch up with an old friend from PLU - Curt. We hadn't seen him since our wedding (3 1/2 years ago) and he looked great! Right now he lives about 20 minutes away from us but he and his fiance are getting married in a few months and they are looking to sell their current place (he and his sister own the house together) and move into their own house a little further out. Anyway, it was wonderful to catch up with Curt and his fiance was just wonderful. Despite the fact that she had a migraine she cooked us the most amazing homemade enchilada dinner and hung out with us all night and was a completely gracious host. We approve Curt! We are looking forward to seeing them again and spending more time with them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We Ate Tongue

I did have a dinner planned last night, but when I mentioned it to Don, he really wasn't excited about it. There was other stuff I could have prepared in its place but by that time we had lost our motivation to cook. And I was getting hungry. So we decided to drive down to Ventura Blvd and stop at the first place that looked good.

And the winner was a place called Japanese BBQ. We had no idea what was inside but it sounded interesting so we went for it. For those of you in Tacoma, it ended up being a place a lot like the Melting Pot - a fondue restaurant where you receive your dinner in different courses and cook it right in the fondue pot at your table. Well, here, instead of a fondue pot, they had a little gas grill right in the center of the table. So they brought out sliced vegetables and meats and you just throw them on the grill and cook them for a minute or two. And there are a variety of japanese sauces to dip them in when they are done cooking. Also, since it was a Japanese restaurant, they served Miso Soup and Edemame for an appetizer. The Miso Soup was the best Miso I have ever tasted by the way! For desert they gave us each a marshmellow to roast for a nice little smore treat. I'm not sure how that counts as Japanese.

But the most interesting course by far was the paper thin slices of tongue that Don ordered. To be honest, I forgot that we had even ordered the tongue and ate it thinking it was a regular slice of beef. It didn't taste as strange as I thought it would, just like really tender beef. I don't think I would eat it in larger quantities though. I think it is pretty funny that I actually ate real tongue last night when I wouldn't eat Shrimp for years because I thought they looked like little tongues.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ups and Downs

Well, this morning I was feeling a little depressed - probably the first bit of genuine homesickness since I've been here. I missed my old job. I miss already knowing exactly what I'm doing, the familiarity of it, the relationships with my coworkers and my brokers and my customers, the fact that everything is already well oiled and perfected over time, the fact that I really didn't mind getting up and going to work in the morning and for the most part enjoyed my time there. I don't miss not getting paid very much.

Here, I definitely wouldn't say that I look forward to going to work in the morning. I don't dread it either though. And I have had jobs before that I dreaded going to work so I know the difference. It's not like that. I am in the job I want to be in. I have a lot of freedom. I have a lot to bring to the company. Right now it is really easy since everything is still in startup mode. But the days are a little bit long and boring and it's difficult to get any momentum and motivation going. But I am slowly getting more organized and proving my worth to the company. And my boss is easy. He doesn't care if I come in late, go home early, surf the internet, even read a book as long as I get my work done. This morning he joked around and said that we should bring in a monopoly game or something to entertain ourselves until business picks up.

This morning I called up a titling service and got some information to start working with them on our titled transactions. It is very nice considering that they handle both instate and out of state titling so they will be a good source of information on all of our titled transactions. This is a good thing since my manager does not know anything about titling and I will be able to be the authority on that subject. So I got the information I needed from them on the current transaction that I am working on as well as an application for future services. They can also invoice us for payment so that we do not have to have all fees in order prior to submitting for title transfer. So I am excited now to have them as a resource and feel like I accomplished something valuable today. So I am feeling more excited. Again, it's not that I'm unhappy here, it's just that I miss what I had to leave behind. Basically, I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's hard to believe we are already over half way through the month of June and on our way to July. Everyone tells us that July is when things really start to warm up around here and all of the forecasts say that we are in for a very hot summer. So far things have stayed primarily in the 70s and 80s. Even when it has gotten up to 90 or so it doesn't feel as warm as I thought it would. It's the days where it is going to get up into the tripple digits that concern me. At least it is dry here and cools off at night. When it gets really bad you just stay inside and turn on the air.

Don and I had a pretty good weekend for the most part. We didn't get a tremendous amount of stuff done around the house - didn't get to the laundry, or the groceries, or any more unpacking. We did however, get some important chores done outside of the house. Don and I spent the majority of our morning at the DMV getting our new California Drivers' Licenses and car registrations. It was quite the zoo with the amount of people coming through the offices - but actually more organized than I thought it would be. It took us about two and a half hours but now we are done and don't have to go back. My picture on my new Driver's license by the way, is AWFUL! Really really bad. She didn't tell me when she was going to take the picture so I was totally unaware and unprepared and the flash was blinding so I like like an addict in a police lineup.

After our Saturday morning at the DMV, we mostly lazed the rest of the day. Don tried out his new computer game - City of Heroes - and I watched one of my netflix movies - Tristan and Isolde. It was one of those romantic star-crossed lovers Braveheart style movies. I didn't really care for it but the cinemetography was beautiful. And now I can send it back and get something else. Saturday night was the first night sitting around the house where we realized, 'gee, it would be nice if we knew a few more people down here.' Not that we haven't had the most amazing time catching up with our few friends down here that we have not seen in a long time, but they have lives and other obligations and we can't exactly call them every night to do something. Plus, even though we were feeling a bit social, we were also still feeling like quite the hermits and didn't want to go out. That's when it's nice to have about 20 friends so you can call all of them up and somebody is likely to feel like coming to your place instead of having to get up off our lazy butts and go someplace else. So we did in the end finally get out of the house but not to go and visit other people. We went to In-N-Out burger for and did the Fast Food thing California Style. The burgers were as tasty as I remembered them even though I hadn't been to an In-N-Out in probably at least 5 years. I didn't care for their fries but I suppose that is a good thing.

After dinner we went to check out a mall that I discovered was in our neighborhood the other day on my way home from work. It was a decent sized mall, two main anchor stores (Macy's and Bloomingdales) and about 50 other smaller stores inside the mall. The best part about the mall is that it is somewhat hidden and out of the way. I don't think a lot of people know about it and the parking even is not so bad. We didn't stay long or do any actual shopping, we just kind of wanted to see what was there since it was getting late and Camille and I had plans to go shopping together on Sunday anyway.

When we got back to the house we decided that it was the dogs' turn to get out of the house and took them for their first walk around the neighborhood. There are quite a bit of people in the neighborhood with Dogs of their own so it turned out to be a good way to meet some of our neighbors. We came across about 4 other people walking their dogs all of whom stopped to chat and introduce themselves. So it is a very friendly neighborhood and it was nice to see other women out walking their dogs alone at night. It is a good indicator that our neighborhood is pretty safe. Cordy and Seumas also had a great time of course. We did meet one other wiener dog named Allison whom Seumas of course had an instant crush on. We want to try to get the dogs out in the neighborhood a little bit more so that they can get more relaxed in their surroundings and not feel as threatened.

Unbeknownst to us, the dogs would have their second opportunity to get out of the house. Sunday night Don and I were getting ready to go to bed when I found that the dogs had knocked over one of the garbage cans and eaten some very toxic and dangerous items. So after calling the Animal Emergency Clinic for advise we had to take both dogs down and get their stomachs pumped - even though we suspected it was all Cordy - and the evidence in the end showed it definitely was - we had no way to know for sure so poor Seumas had to get his stomach pumped as well. Luckily we caught them before things had started digesting and there didn't appear to be any permanent damage. The whole adventure cost us about well over $300 and we got to start off the week grumpy with a lack of sleep. Needless to say we have found a new place for the garbage can secure from stupid wiener dogs who eat gross things.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Dachshund Diner

I am getting tired so I will have to post pictures of the other rooms later. But I just had to show you these adorable photos of Cordy who decided she was going to join us for dinner last night. By the way, the dinner we just polished off was a Cooking Light Recipe called The Guadalajara Burger. It was delicious! I highly recomend it.

Living and Dining - Two of our Favorite Things

The Living Room and Dining Room are where we spend most of our time when we get home from work. We have been making dinner when we get home in the evenings and eating together on the dining room table most nights. Below is our gated enteryway and front door which brings you right into the living room. We are very happy with the way the living room turned out. It is very light and airy and has a nice feel to it. With our comfortable couch and recliner it is a great place to relax too. The fireplace is a working gas fireplace but we probably won't use it. I can't imagine ever being cold in California.

The Dining room is a very nice space as well. As you can see we got the China hutch all set up in here, bought a new wine rack, and a nice shelf for my cookbooks. We don't have a dining room table yet so for now we are using a folding table but it actually looks decent with the tablecloth and place settings on it. I am not in a hurry to get a new one. There are other things we would rather spend our money on at this point. The room even has a not too tacky chandelier with dimming switch on it so we can set the mood.

Our Old Kitchen

Welcome to our Kitchen. As you can see the cabinets are very, very tall. The first thing I'm sure you will notice is that there is no dishwasher. So far it has not been much of an issue. With only two people in the house it is pretty easy to wash up pretty quickly after dinner and it keeps things clean. Since we do not want to get cockroaches, we are pretty good at cleaning up after ourselves. This is a very good motivator. No crumbs = no disgusting monstrous bugs. I'm sure the not having a dishwasher thing will get old after a while though.

On the otherside of the kitchen is our ancient stove and refrigerator. Ancient though they may be, they both seem to work fine and we are happy to have a gas range. It is so much easier to cook with - nice consistent temperature and everything cooks so much quicker.

To the right of the stove is our cute little Breakfast nook. When we first saw the house we thought it was kind of tacky. Well, we are quickly falling in love with it and ate dinner there for the first time last night. We are lucky to have so much space with a dining room and kithen with eat in area. And if there is one thing aI have learned living with a businessman, you can never have too much surface space.

I thought these little shelves were cute.

The Early Residence

And now the moment you have all been waiting for... Time to see a couple rooms of the house that we have completed. To start with here is a picture of the front of our house from the street. The gigantic shade tree in the front yard shades the entire front half of the house and front yard. It is very nice and helps to keep things cool. To the right obviously is the driveway and there is a little gated entrance to the front in the middle of the house. The front yard is a nice size but so is the backyard so we really don't use it that much.

Our first week here, Don went to Home Depot and got some vinyl lattice which we fastened to the front gate to help patch the larger gaps that the dogs were able to get out of. It worked really well until tonight when Seumas found a gap in the fence in the backyard behind a giant tree that we weren't aware of. So he had his first big adventure in the neighborhood and that is going to get patched up immediately.

The front porch is where our mailbox is located over behind Don who in this picture is giving his mom and grandparents a visual walking tour of our house via live webcam. There is also a nice space for our garbage and recycling bins.

To the right of the house is a drive way. It is a single car lane which opens up a little wider in the back to accomadate the two car garage. Stacked behind each other we can fit about 4 cars in our driveway inside the gate and another one on the otherside of the gate. There is also a nice tree and severa rose bushes along this side of the house along the driveway.

Well, today Kristy is at a conference so I am all by myself at work - no one to instant message with. So I guess I will write in my blog!

Our house is coming together very nicely! We got many rooms completed this weekend, including getting some of our artwork hung which of course brings a lot more life to the place. We have quite the fung shue going on in our house. A very nice arrangment of space and very homey and inviting. Basically at this point we have completed the Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, Bathrooms, and Master Bedroom. The Den is pretty much arranged but still needs little bit of cleaning and organizing. And I'm still not sure what I think about the arrangment of food in the cabinets. I think I still need to switch a few things around to find the right flow to the room. We have TONS of cabinet space but the cabinets are very tall as well and many of the upper cabinets I need a two step stool to reach. So I have to figure out how to arrange things such that the most common items are within easy reach and the uncommon things out of the way.

The two rooms that need the most work at this point are the spare bedroom and the office area. The spare bedroom for the moment has become our junkroom for boxes that we have yet to unpack, empty suitcases, everything that doesn't have it's own space yet. The office is looking a little better. Don brought the last load of our stuff home from the work on Monday night which basically was all of the DG office Equipment. So we got all of the filing cabinets and desks arranged in the office - or should I say the new DG Office. Now we can start unpacking all of the office supplies and files and all of that. There are a couple of medium sized storage closets in the office which will be nice to store old file boxes and such. Don also found a great deal on a refurbished flat screen monitor for the DG computer which will be a great spacesaver. Also, we did get our phone and internet installed this weekend so we are looking forward to having the office cleaned up and functional and we can get back to taking care of some of our paperwork again. The funny thing is we got our phone and internet through a cable provider but we didn't order the cable. Our phone does come with free national long distance though so we are excited about that.

Last night I cleaned up the back porch and we had our first Grill out at our house. Matt and Camille have appointments in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday nights just a few blocks from our house so they came on by afterwards and Rian and Jayden came over as well. We grilled up some steaks, gourmet sausages, and vegetables with this amazing simple yogurt pesto dip for the veggies. Also we sliced up some watermelon and drank some beer of course. Camille and Matt bought us this adorable delicious chocolate raspberry cake that said "welcome home" on it. It was very cute and very thoughtful and did I mention delicious!? It was so great to have people over and to be able to entertain now that our house is put together.

Well, it looks like I actually have some work to do now.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend Fun

So Friday night was our first night out in California. We met up with Matt and Camille at their place after work and after a short visit we headed out toward Hollywood and Highland to have some dinner, see the strip, and finally the long awaited Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at El Capitan Theater.

After parking and parousing the dinner options, we finally decided on a steak and seafood bistro called The Grill. It was phenomenal! We started off with a round of cocktails: Manhattans and Margaritas for the boys, a Lemon Drop and Cosmopolitan for the girls. All very very tasty. For an appetizer they brought out bread with a tasty antipasto topping on the side. To be honest, this was the only o.k. part of the meal. Don also ordered a soft shell crab appetizer that came in a rich buttery lemon sauce. We all tried a taste of it except for Matt who doesn't eat things without a backbone. It had a great crisp juicy flavor! Then we skipped the salad portion of the evening and told them to bring on the meat! Don and I both had the Filet Mignon but I ordered a peppercorn cream sauce on the side. Delicious! Camille ordered the Skirt Steak with the house bacon herb sauce which also was divine. Matt ordered the Halibut which also came in some sort of cream sauce and gave it rave reviews. At that point we were completely satisfied and so passed up dessert as well. Although they did have some amazing dessert options and I wouldn't mind going back sometime to check them out. They brought us our check and we spent way too much money and left a huge tip and didn't regret it one bit. The evening was off to a great start.

After dinner we had about an hour and a half to spare before the movie started so we split up so that the girls could do some shopping and the boys could do whatever boys do in a big mall on Hollywood Blvd. At which point Camille and I promptly discovered that all of the clothing and shoe shops had just closed and so we decided to head down to the Boulevard to read the stars names and check out the hand prints and foot prints in the cement. On the way down, we stopped and split a cream puff and talked about girly things. After checking out the stars names we met up with Don and Matt again at the designated meeting area - outside of Victoria's Secret of course - and discovered that they had been more successful at the shopping part of the evening than we had. They had found an entertainment store that was still open and both purchased a small collection of DVD's. As Don was showing me one by one all of the movies he bought, a security guard came over and told Don that he wasn't allowed to sell things in the marketplace which was pretty hilarious.

Then it was on to the theater. The theater was pretty impressive. Down stairs they had an entire exhibit of props from the movie including costumes from the stars and the monkey, maps, Jack Sparrows compass that points to what he want's most, bottles of rum, and much more. As the movie got ready to start they had a whole staged preshow with motion lights, sound, they had Davey Jones Organ rise up from the stage and at the end Pirate Gold (in the form of paper confetti) rained down on us from the ceiling. Much fun. The movie itself I really enjoyed. In the end I would say I probably liked the first two better but there was a surprise twist toward the end that really caught me off guard and had me on the edge of my seat. My recommendation - go see the movie. It was a good time.

After the movie, we got lost for a brief few moments in the parking garage which was not such a great feeling at three o'clock in the morning, but quickly found Matt and Camille's car and headed back to their place where we had a real L.A. Moment - our first California Parking Ticket. We'd specifically parked in a place where there was no limit to parking after 6:00 p.m. only to discover another sign behind it which said no parking between 2 and 6 am. Can you believe it? Whoever heard of such a thing? Oh, well. We learned our lesson. Always read the parking signs in California. And read all of them.

Well, it's been a long Monday and it's time for me to hit the hay. Godo night all.

I Can Add Titles Now!

So, I figured out how to do a few new things with my blog since my last post. The most obvious one now is that I can add a Title to my post (if you didn't already pick that up from the title of this post.)

Also, I now know how to link words to websites. For example, I discovered this cool new website during my many hours of websurfing I have done since I started my new job. The website is called The Daily Puppy and features posts and posts of adorable puppies of all breeds and mixes. If you click on the title it should take you to the website. But I warn you, only go to this website if you have some time to kill because you will spend hours and hours of looking at adorable puppy pictures as I have. It is addicting.

Another website I adore is called Show Us Your Wiener. Now, get your mind out of the gutter. I promise it is not dirty. It is pictures of all sorts of wiener dogs posted by a company that is doing a documentary called Wiener Takes All about the exciting world of Wiener Dog Racing. If you look through enough of the pictures, you will even find a couple of pictures of Cordy and Seumas that we submitted to the website.

I still have yet to figure out how to add links to my website so that I can feature my friends blogs as well. That is my next goal but I will probably have to rely on some of you blogging professionals out there to help me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It has been a very lazy Friday. My boss has spent all day researching software options for our company and he it appears he is a news junkie. He keeps giving me hourly updates on Paris Hilton which I think is hilarious. She started her jail term... no, wait, she gets to go home ... house arrest... no wait, they are sending her back to jail... unconfirmed reports say she was dragged from the courthouse kicking and screaming. He says he wished they had given her the death penalty. Anyway, I have been left pretty much alone for the day to surf the internet and chat on Instant Messenger. This morning I called all of my bill companies and updated my new address.

Yesterday was a little chaotic. I had my first set of documents to do and the customer was coming in the afternoon to fill them out in person. Anway, since I haven't set anything up yet, it was pretty crazy digging through everything and finding everything I needed to complete them. So I spent the first half of the day doing documents and the second half of the day prepping checklists and doc examples etc so that the process would be much more streamlined next time. I can tell one thing, this place definitely needs me. My strengths definitely match up with my bosses weaknesses so I can have a lot of control in what happens here and over my own processes. Needless to say, the day went by a lot quicker with actual work to do!

Last night I had intentions of doing some errands but I thought I had better get home first and let the dogs out. Well, my evening got a little side tracked because Cordy stepped on a bee outside and hurt her poor little foot. It was very sad. She woudn't stand on it and she kept looking at it. She was definitely in a lot of pain but not yelping or anything so I was pretty sure she was o.k. I couldn't find the stinger. It was burried somewhere in her black fur. I also had no phone book, no internet access, and no local vet. I called Don who was still at work and he looked up a veterinarian in the neighborhood for me. The phone number didn't work so I ended up just driving there and explaining my situation - that I was new to the area and my dog stepped on a bee and I think she's all right but could they take a look at her or refer me someplace else. By that time she was already doing better and putting some of her weight back on her foot again. But they looked her over anyway and said things looked pretty positive - they couldn't find the stinger either. They said to monitor her and if she continued to improve as they expected her to then very good, but if it looked like she got worse as the night went on then they gave me a pamphlet for the Animal Emergency Clinic in the neighborhood. They were very nice and didn't charge me anything and we will definitely be taking the dogs back there in the future. And it is good to have the Emergency Clinic info for future reference.

I am still enjoying exploring the neighborhood where I work on my lunch breaks. So far this week I have eaten at an Arminian Deli, gone to the local pet supply store, gone grocery shopping, eaten at the Manhatten Bagelry, gone to Trader Joe's, gone to the Public Library, Eaten at a Hawaiian BBQ place, and today I got a haircut AND manicure on my lunch break and was back to work within an hour. They both were reasonably priced too. Granted the haircut is not the best haircut I have ever had but it will do for a quick easy fix. It is shorter now and feels a lot better in the warm weather.

Tonight is our first night out with Friends in California. We are getting together with Matt and Camille to do dinner and then see Pirates this evening. We are very much looking forward to it. Saturday and Sunday we hope to get a lot more work done on the house. It would be nice to be all moved in and settled so that we can start inviting people over and such. Just another hour and a half to go at work and then the weekend begins!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

So my job is very relaxed right now. Since we are new we are still in startup phase and business is slow. I have lots of side projects I can work on as I feel like it but I don't want to do it all in one day and then have nothing else to work on. I have been getting out of work a half hour early this week and my boss even told me today I can bring a book with me to work if I wanted to. It was impecible timing because I was just googling the neighborhood library to see if it was close enough to check out on my lunch breaks right before he mentioned that. Kind of funny. And yes, the neighborhood library is less than 2 miles away from my work so I will be able to go there and relax or check out books when I don't have other errands to do on my lunch break. It looks like I will be taking most lunches out of the office as we don't really have any type of employee break room. Probably I will bring some food to work and eat it at my desk during the day and then get out for errands on my lunch break.

Today I worked on building a couple of forms and going through our existing files to get them organized and get a feel for what we have done so far. It is a different operation than the bank I worked for in Tacoma but my experience is helping a lot. The documentation is much simpler. Even though we have no software system yet it still will probably take me half the time it took me before. Other than that I spent most of my day browsing the internet and chatting over instant messenger with my sister in Ohio. That's right, we have instant messenger at work! Now I don't feel so isolated. Right now it is just me and my boss and we are not really connected to the other company except for the fact that they are owned by the same individual. So I spend the majority of the day by myself and it is nice to have contact with someone.

I decided to pass the time while we are still slow I was going to go back and read some of my friends blogs from the beginning. I started with my friend Camille and it is so interesting reading her entries back from when she first moved to Cali and was going through all of the experiences Don and I are going through now. It seems so funny now that they have been here a couple of years and are so familiar with the area and life down here. They are our California experts and it is fun to read back when she was a "newbee" like me. It makes me excited to think about coming back and reading my early posts after we have been living here a few years.

On my lunch break today I decided to go check out a Meat shop in the neighborhood to see if they would be a good place to buy our meat from. I am afraid of the meat at Ralph's and Whole Foods is good but outrageously priced. Most good cuts of red meat here are around $17 bucks a pound or more! I really got spoiled with Tacoma Boys when I used to splurge on a nice NY Steak or Ribeye for $8 bucks a pound. Anyway, I was not impressed with the butcher this afternoon so I have decided that we are probably going to have to resort to Costco for our main meat supply. Usually they are pretty good and if I keep stocked up on the main stuff from them then I can always supplement it with a little variety whenever we make it out to the farmers market.

Anyway, I am getting off of work now and have a couple of errands to do on the way home. Ta Ta.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Things I like so far about California... You can buy liquor at Costco in Costco sizes. It only takes 2 minutes to dry your hair in the mornings. Gasoline is CHEAPER than in Tacoma. I haven't even laid out in the sun yet and I am already getting a tan.

Today Don and I both started our new jobs. On the way to work I accidently turned left on a street I was supposed to turn right on and drove 30 minutes in the wrong direction. So that made me an hour late to work on my first day but my boss was quite understanding. He knows I am from out of town and still getting to know my way around. It was a pretty easy day. The atmosphere is very laid back and casual. I am definitely the most formal type A personality in the joint. I was wearing a three button pinstriped skirt suit. The owner of the company was wearing jeans. My boss did say that he decided to shave this morning in honor of my first day though. Note to self, business attire and shaving optional.

So the office is definitely disorganized. But luckily I pretty much have free reign to whip things into shape and set up processes according to my own preferences. I spent the first half of the day waiting for my computer to be installed and rummaging through the storage closet for office supplies. Then we broke for lunch at this AMAZING Arminian Deli that had the most incredible pastrami wraps I have ever tasted. I will definitely be going back there... over .... and over... and over. The second half of the day I spent getting my desk organized and starting to go through our existing files to get a feel for what we have going on. Overall the day went pretty quickly and Don and I both were out the door at about 4:30. The funny thing is that we just moved to Los Angeles and both Don and I have a shorter commute than we did when we were living in Tacoma. It is only about a 15 minute drive. Don will probably beat me home most nights which works out well for me because that means he will be able to get the dogs fed and dinner started.

Our house is coming together well. Don posted some pics on flicker. If you didn't get the email link send me a note and I will send it to you. Most rooms are nearly finished but we still have a lot of work to do on the office. Our last load of stuff arrived today at the main warehouse and will be at Don's location tomorrow. So he will bring the remaining few items home with him in a couple of loads throughout the rest of the week. The first priority is getting the barbecue home. Oh, how I have missed my barbecue! I actually had to make ribeye steaks in a frying pan the other night!

Also this weekend, we got to have Matt and Camille over and we had so much fun! Matt helped Don set up the den/gaming room. Camille helped me get my closet organized and then we picked out some recipes for dinner and scoped out our local Whole Foods Market for groceries. At first our Mio GPS tracker lied to us about the location so we spent a few minutes roaming around until we found it. But when we got back we cooked a fabulous four star meal for our men while they played on the Play Station after all their hard work on the Den. We made grilled Ribeye steaks with an Avocado Salad on the side and toasted olive crostinis with sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and melted gourmet swiss cheese. We even topped it off with a blended nectarine margarita that Camille picked out of one of our drink recipe cookbooks. Don and Matt were quite happy. After dinner, we all played a round of Vegas Showdown (a really fun simple boardgame where you compete to try to build the most successful casino) and Don kept pouring Matt glasses of Rum and Coke. Needless to say we had a fabulous time! I think we calculated out that Matt and Camille were here for almost 12 hours but it sure went by quickly and we are looking forward to seeing them more often now that we are down here in cali. Next Friday we are going to see Pirates III with them at a really fancy theater of which I can't remember the name. The show time is 11:40 p.m. Looks like I will have to get used to the night life if I am going to survive in LA!

Friday, June 01, 2007

We are here in California safe and sound. It was a very long car ride but we still managed to arrive in one piece without any major fights or car troubles. The dogs have been troopers. They were very much freaking out as we got closer and closer to the move. I don't think they were thrilled about the long car ride either but they were just glad we didn't leave them behind. Now that we are here and are getting our stuff moved in they are finally starting to settle. Cordy I can tell is still stressed out. We were in such a quiet neighborhood in Tacoma and now there are lots of strange and unfamiliar noises to get used too - much more pedestrian traffic, buzzing bugs, other dogs in the neighborhood that bark. So of course she is barking at everything that moves and feeling stressed about protecting the family in this new environment. Seumas on the other hand, is perfectly contect and still wants to play fetch all day long - big surprise.

Enough about the dogs. I am sure you all are wondering about how Don and I are doing. We are having a lot of fun right now and loving our house. We were kind of wondering on the drive down here if the house was going to be anything like the images in our mind remembered it as. The best surprise was that the house was quite a bit larger than either of us remembered it being. So that is a bonus. It is an older house and we are slowly discovering some of the quirks. Like the fact that the kitchen countertops only have one single outlet. Or that there is no towel closet for the bathroom. Or that you have to walk through the spare bedroom to get to the office area. But in all we love the place and are having fun unpacking and setting things up. It has been two years since we have lived on our own without roomates and we are enjoying the process of unpacking and setting up house without having to take anyone else into consideration.

One of the biggest surprises upon arrival was discovering that our washer/dryer hookups were for a gas dryer instead of electric. So we found a replacement on Craigslist and will have to sell the one we bought in Tacoma before we left. As we were wheeling the electric back out of the house to store in the garage until it finds a new home, unfortunately it fell off the dolly and completely smashed my pointer finger up against the wall. OUCH!!! It hurt so bad but luckily I did not break anything. I did, however, have to run (physically, not drive) to the grocery store a half mile away and buy a bag of ice since we did not have any yet in our new freezer. After 24 hours the swelling and pain has finally gone down enough to be able to type. I am relieved because I didn't want to start my new job on Monday incapacitated considering I am on the computer all day.

The other thing about our old quirky house we were surprised to discover was that our very tall kitchen cabinets had these annoying childlocks on all of the upper cabinets but not the lower ones. It was the wierdest thing we had ever seen since kids can't even reach the top cabinets. So we asked our landlord if it would be all right to remove the child locks from the kitchen cabinets... at which point she informed us that they were not child locks, they were earthquake proof locks. Oops! So of course we opted to keep them. I guess us Seattle folk have a few things to learn about how things work down here!

There is so much more I could type, but alas there is still much work to be done and Don needs my help. Cheers!