Wednesday, December 14, 2011

His First Room

As I mentioned previously, around about the time I painted the bathroom, I was having something of a mental/emotional breakdown about the baby's room. I knew there was plenty of time to take care of it, I knew he wouldn't have a clue what he was looking at in there anyway, and I knew there was no reason to get bent out of shape. I knew all of this, and yet the unfinishedness of it was just eating away at me. You know how they say pregnant women can sometimes be a tad irrational? Yeah, that's a thing.

In the weeks following our move into the apartment,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Barrettes

I don't know why, but this year I'm more into Christmas than usual. Nevermind the fact that I haven't really done any shopping and I worry friends and family are only going to get rain checks and apologies from me. I'm into it, damn it.

I even did some crafting in the form of poinsettia barrettes to add a little festive touch to any old outfit.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Happened In Vegas

As we count down the weeks 'til the arrival of this highly-anticipated baby boy, one thing's for sure: I'm stressed the hell out. I'm happy. I'm excited. And I'm stressed out.

Fortunately, the weekend before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to give myself a break and get away for a few days in Vegas. Of course, this destination wasn't exactly my first choice since, in this phase of my life, I can't drink, smoke, stay up late, make irresponsible choices with money, or successfully wear slutty outfits. However, I had a pass for a 2 night stay at The Cosmopolitan that I'd been hanging onto since January... and I can't say no to free. And the hotel has a spa, so.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bathroom Break

One room I really should be delving into with great excitement is the baby's room. So far, we've acquired and assembled furniture, and Devin spent 3 days painting. It sounds like it's all coming along, but actually I'm going a little crazypants about it. I'm crippled with indecision. And I can't figure out how to nicely arrange the approximately one million new things we have.

To avoid losing my mind, I decided to give myself a break and work on something I knew I could handle: Painting the bathroom.

This is how it was.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Further Adventures In Space Saving

I've got good news and bad news. Let's start with the bad news.

Space bags? More like space drags. I take back any endorsement I may have offered up in my post about them because they are ruining my life. Seriously, they're the pits. I can't think of enough ways to express that.

Here's why: They don't stay vacuum sealed. Give em a few days -- or in some cases, a few minutes -- and air starts leaking in from some mysterious opening and filling them up like balloons. Every single one that I'd tucked so neatly and proudly into a closet or under the bed has puffed right up.

In a move that really speaks to my confidence level, I assumed surely the bags couldn't be failing me; I must be failing the bags. And so I opened them all up, repositioned everything inside them, sealed them meticulously, and revacuumed them. But again, bag puffery. I'm so disappointed!

In response to my original post, I received a comment from someone actually affiliated with space bags -- true story! The correspondent thanked me for my in depth look at space bags and suggested I join the online space bag community for tips. I guess this means I should log on and see if any fellow space baggers have found this product to be a let down. Correspondent, if you're reading this, help!

Now for the good news. In the home entertainment sector, I'm a space saving genius.

This story goes back many many years, to when I first moved in with Devin and his shelves full of DVDs.

Here they are in the background of a picture of me and his sister, looking our best. (Hey, it was St. Patrick's Day)

I wasn't sure how he'd managed to acquire so many DVDs, but over years of observing him and his behaviors, I reached a better understanding. It seemed he was fond of buying movies he'd never seen before, assuming he'd probably like them and then, bonus, he'd already own the DVD. And if he didn't like the movie, oh well. Or, he'd see an older movie on sale for $5.99 at the grocery store checkout, feel nostalgic, overstate its greatest, and we'd wind up with Mr. Mom.

And so the collection grew and grew, and it didn't really bother me until we moved into the house in Pasadena and there wasn't a good place to put the shelves in the living room. Instead, they got put nicely out of site and out of mind in Devin's play room.

You can probably see where this is going. When it came time to pack up and ship out again, I instantaneously despised the DVD shelves and all of their cumbersomeness. Knowing what we were working with in the new place, it was clear they were going to have to go. The solution, quite obviously, was to move all of the DVDs into binders.

Back when I was packing up to move into the dorms for my freshman year of college, I took all of my CDs and put them in a big, zip-up Case Logic binder. I did this for two reasons: 1) To save space. 2) Because all of my friends were doing it.

But I had a weak spot for all of the CD cases. They had nice artwork... and lyrics... and what if when I'm out of college and living in my very hip downtown loft I wanted to proudly display all of my CDs in a tower? This was back when CD towers were still in fashion, mind you. So I saved all of my cases, and continued to do so for every CD I bought over the next 4 years.

Now jump back to when I'm moving out of the old apartment and into the house, and I uncover a bag of CD cases under the bed. Wait a minute... had I actually personally driven these empty cases all the way across the country, then held onto them through 3 moves into 3 different apartments? What was wrong with me? I threw them out immediately and didn't look back. (In fact, I don't even think I've unzipped the CD binder itself in a good two years. Must not be so into The Cranberries anymore.)

You could say I'd learned my lesson. And since showing off one's DVD collection is about as cool these days as showing off one's CD collection, I could see we'd have no problem moving into binder land. Plus, I fully intend to get on the movie downloading/saving movies on my computer/somehow figuring out how to play computer movies on TV bandwagon.

By the time I'd decided all this, there wasn't time to act on it, so I boxed up all of the DVDs -- over 300, many of them box sets or whole series of shows -- and we lugged them to the new place.

I sold the shelves on Craigslist and later learned that Devin had never paid anything for them in the first place because he found them in the trash (ew). Nothing but profit so far!

Then, after some online research and mental calculations, I concluded we'd need 2 of the biggest storage binders I could find.

And finally, after the binders arrived in the mail, I set to work removing all of the DVDs from their packaging and putting them in the sleeves of the binder pages, alphabetically. Simultaneously, I catalogued them all on an excel spreadsheet for easier browsing in the future. I toyed with the idea of trying to put in key words on the spreadsheet like "comedy" or "Naomi Watts," but then I remembered the K.I.S.S. principle and kept on trucking with my simplistic approach.

All the while, I let the DVD cases pile up in a very obnoxious fashion to encourage Devin to see my point that they should be all thrown away.

He didn't have the benefit of my empty CD case experience and hadn't learned the thrill of detachment. I told him he could hold onto all the cases if he wanted, for when we're living in a mansion with a home theater and can have these all displayed on shelves. But, by the way, I'll be damned if I'm the one who winds up putting all of the DVDs back into their cases. In the end, he decided to part with them and now I love him even more.

The whole binder assembly process only took... oh... 7 hours. But it was 7 hours well spent.

Because look at our DVD collection now!

Wait, are you having trouble finding it? It's right here!

Isn't it marvelously little?

Now if I could just find a way to put our extra bedding into binders, I'll be all set.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Evil Gourds

Now that Halloween weekend is over with and pictures of costumes and shenanigans are going up on Facebook, I'm really feeling like I just sucked this year. It definitely didn't help matters that I've had a cold for the last 9 DAYS and I may never recover.

But I'm not going down without a fight. I bought a bag of candy "in case we get trick or treaters."

I baked a delicious pumpkin bread...

From a boxed mix at Trader Joe's.

And I sat down for a little crafting. Presenting, Martha Stewart's Fanged Pumpkins:

Yeah, those are hers. Mine will come later. And I'm renaming them Evil Gourds.

I saw this idea back before I got sick and generally meh, and hurried out to buy a few gourds.

Then, on my next stop at the drug store, I looked for a few sets of Dracula teeth. Weirdly, all I could find in the seasonal aisle was a sack of 15 sets of RED teeth.

I could've kept looking for some less odd ones, but they were on clearance and came to about $2. You can't pass up a deal like that.

The instructions for fanged pumpkins call for map pins to hold the teeth in place and to create the beady little eyes on these suckers. In an uncharacteristic stroke of luck, I already had a set of red pins from a sewing project. Score!

My materials sat around for days and days until finally I realized I was running out of time. Devin ran out to the store to get me a pumpkin carving kit so I could get started. He came home with a motorized one that seemed pretty bad ass.

Time to get to work! Step 1: Draw a mouth.

Step 2: Cut the mouth hole.

Done and done. What? That's totally the same gourd from before. Ok, you got me. I had a little trouble, even with my power saw. Turns out gourds are hard as rocks. It broke my little poking tool. Evil gourd! I switched to this mini pumpkin and the knife went through like butter.

Step 3: Scoop out the guts.

Step 4: Adhere the little teeth to the mouth hole with pins.
Since I kept the holes kind of small, the teeth mainly stayed in on their own.

Step 5: Shove in 2 more pins for eyes. And behold...


I was going to give up after this one, but then I decided to try another.

Again, it was hard as a rock, but poking holes along the cutting line helped a bit. Although I nearly broke my fork.

Once I conquered that one, I had the confidence to go back and try the original gourd and in the end I wound up with quite a spooky trio.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Paranormal Apathy

I always think I can't handle horror movies so I avoid them at all costs. But every now and then, I'll give in and give one a shot and find that I'm completely disappointed. There are a few moments of tension, sure. And the occasional something popping out from a closet and making me jump out of my skin. But the rest is usually bad dialogue, fake blood, and obvious plot points.

Now here we are in Halloween season and I'm still trying to find ways to get me into the swing of things. So why not try watching a horror flick? And why not pick the low budget phenomenon that launched two sequels (and counting)?

I'm going to watch Paranormal Activity.

Oh, and I'm going to live blog it. Here goes nothing.

1:10 - Wait. This is supposed to be their house? Oh I'm sure. That's a reasonable home for two 20 somethings in San Diego.
8:56 - Katie discovers her keys in the middle of the kitchen floor. My first thought: the cat did it. Then I remember not everyone lives in a house full of unruly animals like I do.
21:12 - A door opened and closed a little. Getting kinda bored here.
22:40 - A terrible scream from the other room!
22:47 - It's just a spider. It IS a really gross spider though.
27:00 - We have a nightmare. Katie wakes up and is out of breath. I had a nightmare last night. Devin said I was making frightened noises. She wasn't even making noises.
27:30 - A clomping noise downstairs. Let's go investigate. Better be murder. Oh, nope nothing.
28:40 - Why don't they have to go to work?
30:02 - Micah promises not to buy a Ouija board. Do you think he will? I think he will.
31:42 - A loud horrible monster scream! And then nothing.
33:40 - Micah keeps asking Katie "Do you hear that?" I hear nothing. Maybe it's one of those sounds that only younger people can hear. You know, like how they have those ring tones that you can only hear if you're a tween and adults can't hear them so tweens can get secret phone calls?
34:45 - Crap I haven't been paying attention and now we have a microphone involved to pick up ghost noises.
38:30 - Katie got out of bed and stood around for a while. Then she wandered downstairs. I thought maybe the ghost demon was going to throw her down the stairs. It didn't.
39:40 - She's on a swing and she doesn't want to go inside. Wait, Micah! Don't go back inside to get blankets.
41:08 - Or else the ghost demon will turn the TV on in the bedroom and play static...
44:04 - Oh snap! He bought the Ouija board! I called it.
46:05 - Katie got mad and they stormed out of the house, leaving the ghost demon to start moving around the little Ouija thingy. And THEN the board caught on fire.
47:57 - Now they're back home and they're fighting. This is awkward.
52:40 - Micah baby powders the floor.
54:38 - Monkey foot prints in the baby powder!
56:19 - An open crawl space!
57:20 - A mystery object in the crawl space intrigues Micah and he goes in to investigate. Now we're getting somewhere!
58:00 - No, we're not. It's a picture of Katie as a kid that's all burned around the edges. So this demon ghost collects pictures. Maybe it's into scrapbooking too.
1:00:02 - The light just came on downstairs and now there are a lot of banging noises and the door slammed closed. There are only about 20 minutes left in the movie so this must be the exciting conclusion!
1:00:04 - They made it through the night. Damn it.
1:07:30 - Ghost demon broke a picture of Micah and Katie. Then it breathed in Katie's hair.
1:10:02 - Ghost demon came into the bedroom and pulled back the sheet, exposing one of Katie's feet. Now her foot is going to get so cold! She's done for.
1:12:25 - I have to pee. Let's wrap it up, folks.
1:15:32 - Katie is mysteriously a crying heap on floor. And... I guess it's just going to stay a mystery because that was the end of that scene.
1:16:50 - Ghost demon yanks Katie from bed and pulls her across floor!
1:18:13 - Katie is alive but with a bite mark on her back.
1:19:00 - Katie is now catatonic, holding a cross, which is making her hand bleed.
1:19:36 - Hideous leopard print rug they have in the living room.
1:21:29 - Katie is sleep walking again. Now she's head downstairs.
1:23:00 - Horrible scream from downstairs. Micah runs to help Katie.
1:24:29 - Ohhh... So that's how it ends. Hmph.

LAME. 2 minutes of minor fright, 10 minutes of spookiness.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ghostbusters on the Big Screen

Fair warning: you're going to be disappointed by this post. It's a brief interlude, but I felt it important to prove to you that YES I still get out of the house. Regularly. Honestly.

This year my favorite holiday, Halloween, is getting buried under the new apartment shuffle and the general distraction of pregnancy. I don't have a costume underway... I don't even have an idea! But last night I managed to do something that was Halloweenish, however tangentially. Devin and I went to the movies to see Ghostbusters.

I don't know why, but I thought this screening would be more of an event. Something like Rocky Horror Picture Show, although no one gave me any information that should've led me to this conclusion. I thought there'd be people in costumes, a packed theater, maybe someone selling merchandise. But it was just kinda like going to any other movie, any other night. There weren't even many people there.

Still, I think there's benefit in seeing something in theaters that you've seen 100 times before on TV. There were moments and jokes I'd completely missed before like, "Listen! Do you smell something?" and "I recorded a 20 minute work out and played it back and high speed so it only took me 10 minutes."

There wasn't a whole lot to take pictures of to document this little outing. I tried snapping a few from our seats but it seemed to be embarrassing Devin so I stopped.

It may not have been a big to-do, but it was a nice night out. If this ho hum post in some way made you want to check it out, there's one more chance to see it next Thursday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

First K.I.S.S.

If there's one lesson I've learned from moving in and out of our house in about 18 months, it's that it doesn't pay to be awesome. By this I mean that I was so fueled by a desire to be awesome that during our time there I made-over nearly every single room AND the backyard so it could really be our own and reflect our style. But as we were packing up and I was yanking down wall decals and window treatments, I asked myself, "What was the point?" Perhaps it's because I'm seeing this all in crystal clear Pregnancy Vision, through which even making my own sandwich seems like too much work.

So now that we've dug deep and pulled together enough stamina to get the new apartment mostly unpacked and settled, it's time to think about how to dress up the place. And I've decided, this time around, to adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle. As you may know, K.I.S.S. stands for Keep It Simple So-I-don't-drive-myself-crazy-and-spend-money-I-don't-have-on-an-apartment-I-already-know-we-won't-live-in-forever, stupid.

Allow me to offer up the dining room windows as a case study.

Notice the light pouring in, illuminating the clutter. Welcome to my nightmare.

All of the other windows in the house are covered with blinds. And not vertical blinds that I hate. Nice blinds. Phew. But these dining room windows are bare.

My first instinct was to repurpose the cherry wood blinds from the spare bedroom in the old house. This would be preferable to curtains, as the blinds could stay raised halfway to steer clear of the air conditioner.

At the time this thought occurred, we still had possession of the old house and I took a moment to measure the blinds... only to discover that actually the windows they covered were two different sizes and thus, so were the pair of blinds. I guess I'd forgotten all about that. This would mean I'd need to make a trip to Ikea to buy another set in either of the two sizes, then take down the blinds from the old place, then take down the curtain rod already in the new dining room, and then install the old blinds.

But that was the old me. Applying the K.I.S.S. method, I said "eff that" and left the wood blinds hanging in their place, telling the old landlords they could keep them. And I decided to just take advantage of the perfectly good, already installed curtain rod hanging over the windows when we moved in.

Luckily I still had the curtains from the old living room. So after about 10 minutes, our sunlight and privacy problems were solved.

Ok, I took this picture several days later after I'd had more time to clean. I WISH that part had only taken 10 minutes too.

"But wait!" you exclaim as you closely study this picture. "What about the air conditioner? The curtains are blocking it and if you open them, you're back to being exposed."

Very astute observation. You know what I'm gonna do to solve that problem? Absolutely nothing!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Moving Update

Ok, so we're in the new place. There are still some stragglers and bastard boxes left at the old house that I cannot for the life of me get motivated to deal with... but we have til Saturday so I'm just counting on some form of divine intervention to relocate them and then do a light cleaning.

The main event took place on Saturday. Most of our belongings were boxed up and ready to go when our movers showed up. I should point out that our movers this time around were Becca and Ross. Last time, we hired a moving company because I insisted that asking friends to help wasn't en vogue for people of our age. And while having professional movers was fine, it ended up costing about 3 times as much as we'd planned and I just wasn't prepared for that kind of expense again.

So for the price of a Uhaul, bagels, beer and pizza... we got some much needed assistance. It was actually way more fun having them around -- I'm sure they just had a blast shlepping things in and out of the truck -- and they moved just about as quickly and efficiently as the "real" movers. I, on the other hand, was completely useless owing to the very publicized rule that pregnant ladies should not be lifting heavy objects and moving furniture around. I tried to busy myself but scooting around the house like a fat crab, gathering loose ends, tv cables, and whatnot.

Within a few hours we had the Uhaul absolutely stuffed and left behind a heap of things to be moved via car in future shuttles back and forth. At the new place, unloading went even faster, particularly since we had reinforcements -- Ryan and Steve (just in time for lunch... clever).

It was at this point that I realized the carrying stuff around part of moving is perhaps the most physically grueling, but it's all the peripheral stuff that really crushes your soul. Packing, unpacking, organizing, searching around in boxes for your belongings, closing up old utility accounts, setting up new ones. Movers don't help with all of that. I don't doubt there are people you can pay to do it for you, but I'm sure they're out of my price range.

I spent the rest of the weekend being depressed and irritable because I was living in what I considered to be a hell hole, or what most people would consider to be a new apartment that just needs to be set up. In response to my frequent sighing, whining, groaning, and yelling, Devin kept reminding me that everything was going to be fine. My stance was more, "Shut up and let me be miserable because this sucks."

Monday night, Katie and Becca came over to help me arrange and clear out the living room. It was then that we established there is absolutely no logical place to put the television (pictures to come later). The apartment was built in the 1950s before every home needed spots to clearly place a couch and TV. We eventually reached a conclusion that involved improvising a TV stand out of one of those $10 Lack Ikea tables that everyone has at least one of. What really would've come in handy as a temporary solution is the TV stand I JUST FREAKING SOLD during my craigslist fury. Sigh.

Anyway that's been the only major disappointment now that I've calmed down and am settling in. That, and the fact that we -- for whatever reason -- don't get cell service in our apartment. We'd planned on getting a land line anyway, so I suppose in this phase of our lives we'll be kicking it old school on a cordless phone. Or maybe one of those ones that mounts on the wall in the kitchen and has a really, really long spiral cord. You know, the ones you don't ever want to be on because texting is so much simpler. Devin says it'll be nice not to be reachable all the time. Yeah, we'll see.

More to come!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Space Bags to the Rescue!

I've already started complaining about my spatial concerns for the new apartment. So in keeping with that theme, let's move on to my worries about closet storage, shall we?

In our current living situation, we have 2 full size bedroom closets, each with their own wall of cavernous built-in cabinets, shelves and drawers that we've managed to pack to the gills with clothes, luggage, old paperwork and god knows what else. We also have 2 hall closets, also filled with odds and ends -- extra bedding, camping supplies, Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes.

In the new apartment, we'll be confined to one small bedroom closet, no built-in anythings, and one ok-sized closet in the living room. Technically there is a lovely-sized closet in the baby's new room and since his clothes are tiny and he has no clue what's going on in the world, we could take over his closet. Right?

This is what I thought until gifts started showing up by mail off our registry and are now cascading throughout the living room, hallway, and half the spare bedroom. Apparently babies require a disproportionally massive amount of stuff in order to exist. (Or so Babies R Us would have me believe...)

I was dwelling on all of this back on my sick day the other week, as I launched my Craigslist venture (btw - I've sold or gotten rid of everything but the desk!). Then, as luck would have it, I saw this lengthy commercial for Space Bags.

I actually saw it about 15 times while watching a marathon of Snapped on Oxygen. But it only took til the second viewing for me to hop online and order me up some space saving technology!

Then, 400 other things happened in my life and took up all of my attention and by the time the bags were delivered to my office on Monday, I'd kind of forgotten all about them. But their arrival renewed my vigor for sucking the life out of everything in my closets and I spent the rest of the day showing off my new purchase to anyone who would listen. Actually, I didn't bother opening the shipping container, so really I was just marching around the office, cradling a cardboard box and shoving it in coworkers' faces. Look what I've got! Jealous?

When I got home, it was time to get to work. Starting with the "cube" bags, which are meant to be ideal for bedding. Here's a heap of stuff.

Into the bag it goes. Don't worry, Midge the Cat was not included.

Presto, sucko and...

Ta-da! A rock hard sack... that isn't exactly cube like.

A little disappointing, but moving on... old Halloween costumes, including this little number. These were taking up a whole box in the closet. Totally unnecessary.

Give em hell, vacuum hose attachment!

Oooo. Now I've got a pallet of Halloween fun.

Time to try the cube again. They're supposed to fit in the little zip-up organizer included with the bags. Looks at those neat little cubes!

An illustration on the bag says to put the cube bag in a box, and then I guess it takes the box's shape as you vacuum seal it. Fine, I'll try anything. Into the box it goes.

What's that you say? You also have no life and get excited by storage solutions? You'd actually like to spend time watching the air be removed from a bag o' bedding? Well, I aim to please. (See what happens when I don't drink?)

And we have... another not-cube to put with the lumpy pile. Oh well.

Here I stopped, unsure of what I could bag up next. All of my non-maternity, normal human clothes are a good candidate, but they've already been brought to the new place. I'm tempted to seal up things that we need on a regular basis, like towels, just for kicks. I've still got 6 bags left! I'm sure there's loads more pointless air in our house that I can get rid of!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Friend Craig

Much the same way it's said that a goldfish will grow larger depending on the size of its tank, Devin and I have a habit of spreading out and obtaining as many belongings as are necessary to fill our current home. And in all of the years we've lived together, we've always had two bedrooms that we could really fill up to our hearts' content.

Now we're getting ready to move into our new apartment, but this time our home will be smaller. And, for the first time, we're going to have to confine ourselves to one of the two bedrooms so that our brand new baby can have a place of his own.

But what can we get rid of? I'm no hoarder but I want all of my things.

After humming and hawing, breaking out the tape measure, and weighing our options, I came up with a list of stuff that had to go. And then it was time to embark on my biggest Craigslist venture ever.

The patio furniture, office furniture, pub table, tv stand, the fridge, old air conditioners, gardening supplies... everything must go! As hard as it was to think of parting with some of this stuff, once I started posting things, I turned into Crazy Gideon. Asking prices got lower, my sales pitches got pushier, and I tore feverishly through the house seeing what else I could get rid of.

Once everything was put out there into the internet universe, I waited impatiently. By coincidence (or maybe as a result of overexerting myself), I came down with a nasty cold and stayed home sick the day after I went live with my moving sale. I spent the whole day on my couch, next to my laptop and surrounded by used tissues. By late morning, the first few emails came in.

And they were dismal. Confusing sentence fragments, spam, and my personal favorite, an email that just read "Joe" with a phone number. I responded to everyone anyway. But once I'd answered questions or placed calls, the trail went cold. No one went any further. New emails would come in and I'd answer them psychotically quickly, but there was no promise.

By early evening I'd given up hope. I know, I'm quick to throw in the towel. But I was sick so everything in life just seemed worse than it was. Then, between my 86th and 87th attempts to clear a particularly difficult level in Super Mario 3 for Wii, a glimmer of hope appeared in my inbox. A perfectly constructed email from a woman who wanted the patio furniture set. I sent my desperate response in about 4 seconds. YES YOU COME HERE AND BUY NOW PLEASE I NEED HAPPINESS. To my delight, she wrote back again within a few minutes and we set plans for her to come by and get it that night.

She, her roommate, and some guy they'd coerced into using his truck and carrying things, showed up at my doorstep after dark. They quickly decided they wanted the table. Then, admiring the string of lanterns I had hanging around the backyard, one of them commented they'd need to get some for their own patio. "OH! Take them!" I blurted out.
"How much?"
"Oh, you can just have them. Do you need other stuff for your apartment? I have so many things."
"Um... mostly just outdoor stuff. Like a fire pit..."
"I have that! It's yours. 10 bucks. And here, take this firewood too."

By the time they pulled away with a truckload of backyard stuff, precariously tetris-ed in and tied down, I had the feeling things would turn around.

Since then, I've sold off the pub table, an office organizer, TV stand, and the old fridge (I think... if she actually comes to pick it up.) I gave away the grill for free since I felt ridiculous asking anyone to pay for that beat up old thing. Of course, when the girl came to pick it up and remarked "Oh! It looks great!" I wondered if perhaps I'd cheated myself out of a few extra bucks.

With a few items remaining, I've so far earned $280 (More if the fridge works out). Enough to be a big help paying for all the new stuff I'll need to fill every nook and cranny of the new apartment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Notes From the Pregnant Kitchen

One of the reasons I love my midwives is because they are so very attentive to my diet and nutrition. In my first trimester, before I switched over to their care, I felt pretty queasy most of the time and seemed to only be able to eat ramen noodles, cereal, peaches, and nothing. Then, when my appetite eventually returned, I was all out of whack. During an appointment, the midwives (There are 2, if you're wondering. It's not a giant team or anything.) asked me about my usual diet. Most of my answers were met with polite responses, though I could see the concern in their eyes. They had me keep a food journal for two weeks, then come back for another visit.

When it came time to review my journal, there was a great deal of silence, punctuated by brief comments or questions. "Not a lot of protein at breakfast... What's a McFlurry?...Oh dear what happened Saturday?"

The conclusion was that I wasn't way off, but I definitely needed some help. One of the biggest problems was that it took me 5 days to get one day's worth of vegetables. I didn't think this could possibly be right, but that's because I didn't know just how many vegetables they were expecting me to eat.

6 servings A DAY. Not fruits AND vegetables. Just vegetables.

Do you know that commercial for a fiber supplement where a woman sets her alarm to wake up and gnaw on a broccoli crown while sitting in bed? I pictured me doing that to fit in these 6 servings. But challenges are good. And I don't want an unhealthy, fat baby. So I was going to need to find a way to get into it.

The remedy: weekly trips to the farmers market. Whereas I'd casually dabbled before -- picking up a few odd items for somehow $55 and letting them all rot in my fridge for a week -- now, I'm a pro. I can be in and out of there in 15 minutes, and only spend about $20.

The produce all tastes better. And the farmers seem so kind. And for the last two weeks I've gone after a yoga class that concludes with 15 minutes of meditation so it makes for a whole mother earth, space case morning. In short, it's all much more exciting this way.

So here is what I've been most excited about eating lately: Heirloom tomato bruschetta and sauteed kale.

For the bruschetta, I chop up 2 - 3 large tomatoes of various colors. Then I add 3 cloves of garlic (which is slightly nuts; 2 is plenty but I just love garlic), then a sprinkle of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It's so easy and so flavorful. In this batch I threw in a little fresh basil, but I have to say I think I preferred an earlier batch without it. Basil may be one of those random flavors that makes me gag these days.

I bought some sourdough bread at the market too since they were out of Italian. I think it added a nice flavor. I toasted the slices in the oven under the broiler.

The kale, admittedly, came from Vons. I think it's not locally in season right now. It IS extremely trendy, however. I didn't think vegetables could be "in" but kale so is. I'm reminded of a line from Modern Family. Mitchell comes home from the farmers market and says to Cam, "Guess what the new spinach is. Kale" "(Gasp) No!" "I know, it's not ready to anchor a meal."

I sauté mine in some sesame dressing to make it taste not terrible. The nice thing about this is the little ridgey edges get crisp. This was a vegetable the midwives mentioned about 400 times for all of its benefits so FINE I'm eating it. As well as the even-lamer swiss chard.

But hey, it's all for a good cause. And by that, I mean of course to counteract my astounding new addictions to both candy and ice cream.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Movies + Food Trucks

If you're like me and you enjoy watching movies outdoors, but the thought of going to Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery makes you want to strangle someone, then fear not... there is still hope! It comes in the form of Outdoor Cinema Food Fest.

Setting up in parks around the city all summer long, OCFF screens favorite movies on a massive inflatable screen and charges only $10 admission. The best part about this is that you can buy your tickets online in advance. Then, the night of the screening, advanced ticket holders are given a one hour head start to get in and grab space on the lawn. This means that even if you do need to wait in a line for a little while to get a good space, you have a ticket that guarantees you WILL get in. Take that, Cinespia.

Oh, AND dogs are allowed to come with. We nearly brought Seamus, but worried he'd be all restless and get in the way.

In addition to the movie, there is also a band. And although I never much care for local bands I've never heard of, I appreciate the effort to up the night's entertainment factor.

The more important bonus is the collection of food trucks at the event. While you're also allowed to bring in your own food and drink (booze included), it never hurts to supplement your pretzel thins and pub cheese (my favorite snack lately) with some greasy food truck fair.

We checked out OCFF on Saturday. The movie was Fight Club, and the location was Exposition Park, over by the Coliseum and USC. Devin and I arrived shortly before the gates opened at 5:30. There was plenty of parking. The $10 fee was a bummer, but pretty standard. We spotted our friends Elizabeth and Jamie in line, just as people started filing in. We pulled a chat and cut to join them, but I don't feel THAT bad because we all had tickets and even if they got in before us they would've saved us a space.

The lawn was just barely filling up so we set up camp, spreading out blankets to ensure space for the 4 remaining folks in our group. Then there was nothing to do but wait... for three hours.

May as well eat stuff!

Food trucks

Tater tots with cheese sauce from Dogtown Dogs

Liz with mashed potatoes and spicy pork from Jose O'Malley's

Don't be fooled, he really did enjoy his hot dog

My companions cracked open beers and bottles of red wine, but you KNOW all the cool kids are really drinking root beer these days.


As the sun started to get low in the sky, I took note that the place had really filled up.

But even so, the lines at the port o potties never got to be completely hopeless. This is how I evaluate the abilities of an event's organizers. Good work, guys.

By the time the movie started I was already getting a little uncomfortable from sitting on the blanket. About 2/3 of the way through, I decided it was easier to lay completely flat and just listen instead of watching. Then, I kind of dozed off. I just can't do late nights these days! But a nap in the cool night air is nothing to complain about.

Leaving the event meant dealing with a little congestion in the parking lot, but not the worst I've ever encountered.

There are still a few screenings left for the summer so if you're trying to plan a movie/picnic night with friends, do yourself a favor and stay the heck outta the cemetery!