mollyringle: (autumn leaves & cup)

There's no way to write a subject line like that and not sound like a spam generator, is there? Nonetheless, here you go; three life-hack-ish tricks I have found useful lately:

1. Borax and sugar to annihilate odorous house ants (a.k.a. sugar ants or soil ants). You can find various methods for this all over the web, but basically you mix equally parts sugar and powdered borax (not Boraxo) with a little water in a small low container (I used bottle lids) and put it where the pesky ants keep getting into the house. They'll zero in on the sugar, take the mix to the nest, and get themselves and their nestmates killed by the borax. These teeny ants have plagued us ever since moving in, and despite regular exterminator visits, have been invading the kitchen this season more than usual. So in desperation I tried the borax trick, and hey! Invasion over! They swarmed the lid for about a day (which in itself was an improvement, since then it meant they weren't roaming the dining room table), then their numbers dropped dramatically. Fully worth the cost of a box of borax.

2. Alternate hot and cold water in the shower for overall well-being. This is an ancient custom, of course; the Romans with their many-temperatured baths knew of it, as do spas all over the world. (Those intrepid Scandinavians sometimes like to hop from their jacuzzis straight into a hole in the river ice. Naked. You're hardcore, people.) I'm more or less switching from 30 seconds of comfortably hot water to 30 seconds of "as cold as I can take it without screaming," back and forth a few times. The cold part is not particularly fun. But the process does seem to leave me feeling rejuvenated, and many people claim it's excellent for your circulation and immune system. So. Try it if you dare.

3. This isn't new, but is worth a repost, and anyway you can't have just two items on a list; you must have three: my cure-all spice drink. Helps with headaches, digestive issues, bloating, colds, PMS/hormonal blahs, and probably more, given all the crazy-high levels of antioxidants in herbs and spices. I'm having a cup right now and my "been a long week" headache is already improving. We all might need it as Election Day draws nearer, eh, America? (Seriously, world, we're so sorry to have subjected you to this.) Be kind to each other out there, everyone.

mollyringle: (moon over ocean)
I seldom come up with science fiction ideas, but here's one that occurred to me lately while dealing with our flooded basement (puddles and rivulets, not inches or feet, but still a nuisance):

Once science has figured out how to teleport matter, maybe involving those odd particles that act on one another at a distance or something, the world can set up a water exchange program. Via the future's version of the internet, a person or group who has too much water can hook up with someone who doesn't have enough, and, poof!, the water gets whisked away from the flood-stricken and given to the water-needy. So, for example, our basement's water could go to some parched home garden in Australia. Or, on a larger scale, the floodwaters rampaging riverfront property in the state of Washington right now could be spirited away to supply the city of Los Angeles or other desert metropolises. Handy, huh? Get on that, science.

In totally different news, I finally got around to watching the "making of" featurette for HBO and [livejournal.com profile] grrm (George R.R. Martin)'s "A Game of Thrones," and I am officially excited!



Yowza, talk about eye candy--on the part of actors and set dressing alike. Scenery, too, as apparently they filmed in both Northern Ireland and Malta. And the cool thing about Martin's story is that it's not merely eye candy; it's brain candy as well. Mind you, given the sex-and-violence level, I'll have to find a way to watch it when my kids aren't around, but this looks worth it.
mollyringle: (Rain - leaves)
The other month we tried some Oreo knockoffs from a brand called Back to Nature. The name spawned many jokes: ah yes, nature, where chocolate sandwich cookies grow on trees. Monkeys flinging them at each other, squirrels carrying them off to their nests. A real bitch when you park your car underneath one, though; the filling smears all over the windshield.

Anyway, that brings up the question of whether "natural" is always better for you. In the case of cookies with some heart-healthy fat instead of Crisco, then yes, I suppose it is.

But when I want to know why we need to clear all the dead leaves away from the garden, justifying my laziness by pointing out that forest floors are covered with dead leaves and are quite fertile and happy, the "nature" argument doesn't quite hold up. Yes, forest floors are covered with dead leaves, and as a consequence they are also crawling with bugs, many of which would love to eat more plants, or hey, move into our house. Since that is not acceptable, I become willing to clear the dead leaves. Thus the difference between a garden and the wilderness.

Similarly, I find myself thinking things like: "It's silly that we shouldn't walk around barefoot for fear of putting too much strain on our feet. We were designed to walk barefoot! Our primitive ancestors must have done it all the time!" To which Anthro brain has to answer: "Yes, and look how long they lived. Why, a good 32, 33 years." Ditto for worrying about how the sun, or tooth decay, or sleeping on uncomfortable surfaces, might hurt us. Since I hope to live a good three times what our hominid ancestors did, I will be trusting in science and technology to help.

Luckily science and technology help bring us cookies. Which, in the case of Back to Nature, are really good. Better than actual Oreos, if you can believe it. You win THIS round, nature...
mollyringle: (Rain - leaves)
Thank you to those who helped expand my reading list last entry. I will be following up on your suggestions enjoyably, and maybe even commenting if time allows.

If you want to continue to be helpful, let's play Name That Plant. What is this, which hath sprouted in my garden? Flower thing )

Keep in mind I'm in Seattle, therefore it's probably not tropical. For ID help: the flower has no scent that I can detect, nor do the leaves. I wish it weren't pink, but since it's so low-maintenance, it's welcome to stay. Why are so many flowers pink? Oh well.

Want your kitchen to smell good? Buy a small amount of garam masala spice mix from the bulk spice bins at your grocery store. Leave it in a plastic bag on your counter. Voila--whole kitchen permeated with aroma of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and whatever else goes into garam masala. At least, that's how it has happened for me.

P.S. I had to delete a Shakespearean greeting using the name "Coriander" just now.
mollyringle: (Dirk - wrath)
Ants. My biggest pet peeve in the world right now might be ants. It's not like we're slobs. It's not like we leave sticky Twinkie wrappers all over the floor, and globs of gravy on the counter. But from the number of "odorous house ants" in our life, you would think we did just that. They will find anything available. No human can keep up with them. They're always inside the dishwasher. A single muffin crumb under the table will attract dozens, as will a single drop of French toast batter on the stove from one hour earlier. They have bored into apples in the fruit bowl, zeroed in on a speck of something in the bathroom sink, and climbed the shower curtain in search of God knows what. You'd think the bedroom would be safe, being food-free and on the second floor. But no! They prove me wrong. There was a bit of food. There was a tin of Altoids, in a drawer; the top drawer, in fact. But they got into it. You caught me, you clever ants; stupid me, daring to keep anything edible anywhere within reach of you. You also caught me in my slovenly habit of putting a glass of water on the headboard at night. Yep, there were about 30 of you swarming it this morning. Water. Heaven forbid I should do anything irresponsible like keep water in the open. We've put out bait traps, but you only seem mildly interested in those. Glasses of water and individual molecules of jam residue are far more enticing, apparently.

I look it up, and find that even exterminators have trouble eradicating this type of ant, since finding the nest is often difficult. And even if you do find one nest, there are likely lots more that you haven't found. You just have to do what you can to discourage the critters. Which, when your hands are full with a baby, is not as much as you might normally be able to do. Having a baby around also makes you warier of using poisons, so pesticide is not my favorite idea anyway. Thus we're back to not being able to keep Altoids, water, or fruit in the open.

I just hate how much of an inferior person it makes me feel--I mean, it seems that you must be some kind of lazy disgusting loser, to have a bug problem in your house. So, reassure me, people: tell me you have bug problems you cannot conquer. I know there are worse ones to have, so remind me. The bright side is they're not fire ants, scorpions, carpenter ants, termites, funnel-web spiders...OK, fine, things could be worse. Still. It's hugely annoying. I blame the former homeowners, as with everything else that goes wrong in this structure.

Baby is well, though. New-ish pic here:
http://pics.livejournal.com/lemonlye/pic/0000q5q3

On a tangent: though all his hues-of-blue clothes are pleasant, I find myself wishing I had picked up a gaudy Hawaiian-print onesie while we were in Maui. They had them in the gift shops. Would have been cute.
mollyringle: (Default)
I always have liked January. Fresh new start; clearing out the weight of the holidays; putting the new loot away to sparkle on the shelves. Clear-headedness; increasing sunlight.

And this January should be especially interesting. I have nine more working days before retiring to become a mother - or fewer, if Lemondrop so decrees - and am feeling quite optimistic about it. I don't mean I expect it to be easy, but at least I'll know it's important and is definitely a job I personally am meant to do. Our house now has objects like newborn diapers (they're teeny!), onesies (footed and non-footed), a stroller/car seat system ("European design with American conveniences" - by which I think they mean a cup holder), and many waterproof-yet-absorbent lap pads with cute patterns like tiny bees on them.

However, rather than spam you with pictures of that, behold our reassembled kitchen! First, the way it looked when we bought the place...

Before ("their" work):

(That was a cast-iron sink, by the way. I think the house shifted when we moved it. Not pictured: screwed-up plumbing behind wall.)

After (our work):


Yes, I cheated by using softer lighting on the "after" shot, but all fashion makeover shoots do it.

Anyway, it's just as well I will be hanging around home more often. They installed a new firewall at work, which is liek OMG fascist about blocking sites. I can't access Webshots, because it counts as "freeware/shareware." I can't access KEXP.org to see what song they played on my commute, because it counts as "music downloads/radio." And I can't access LiveJournal, because it counts as "clubs/message boards." Hmf. However, they haven't yet blocked Gutenberg.org, so my coworkers will be able to download e-texts of classical lit and read them for free, at work! Hahaha! (Yes, that is about the geekiest form of subversive behavior I can think of.)

And FYI, it is now the Year of the Dog, so remember to stop writing "Year of the Rooster" on your checks.
mollyringle: (Seattle - Pike Place)
I've been working like a dog lately, but it looks like a quiet mid-day/afternoon may have finally fallen into my lap, so I shall take advantage of it and say a few words of greeting here.

Did you know your gums often get more sensitive while you're pregnant? I got accustomed to them bleeding more often when I flossed, but I was not ready for the sheer torture of the metal pick against the gumline when I got my twice-yearly dental checkup last week. And to make matters worse, they said I needed a crown replaced, AND a filling aside from that. So yesterday we had part one of the crown replacement, wherein they numb you (thank the gods), hack and drill for half an hour to get the old crown off, and fit you with a new one. Okay, fine, no caramels on that side of my mouth. But the positive way to view this is:

a) I survived these appointments without being so traumatized that I was sent into labor.
b) I only have the one appointment left, which is supposed to go much faster.
c) It makes me more confident about getting through labor. After all, though labor and childbirth involve a lot of interesting pain, the pain is all part of a natural process. Also, childbirth almost never involves metal being directly and violently applied to your bones, an event which is not natural in the slightest.

As to the labor issue, I feel like I'm ready, but my house is not, my replacement at work is not, and it would really interfere with my holiday plans, so my deepest hope is that we can hold off till around mid-January. Got that, LemonDrop? Good.

As to why the house isn't ready: we had this sweet little plan to enrich the aesthetics of the main floor by putting down new flooring, replacing the dishwasher and microwave, and installing new countertops and backsplash in the kitchen. Not too difficult, in theory. Then, in removing the old countertops, some of the kitchen wall came off and revealed the water pipes behind the sink, and, oh my, one of them was leaking. Furthermore, the deeper the investigation went into the house's plumbing in general, the weirder it looked. We brought in a plumber, who ascertained that in his four years of work here so far, he has never seen such a screwy system. And it definitely needs replacing, because not only was some of it leaking, but it was a mix of old galvanized pipes and newer copper pipes, and evidently that's a bad interaction, because copper accelerates the deterioration of galvanized metal. (I write this tidbit down because I won't remember it a year from now otherwise.)

In addition, just to be weird, the previous owner had sent some of the new copper pipes in a roundabout maze in the walls, for no apparent reason, before routing them where they were supposed to go (i.e., a shower). And the plumber found at least one spot where two pipes were joined together, but not soldered, and thus would have burst any day. Now, we know the previous owners were flakes, and the man of the house in particular liked to hit the cheap vodka a little too hard, but we had at least hoped that the plumbing would be in decent shape, because he was a plumber. Turns out he wasn't much of one.

So, of the previous owners' work on the house, we have only changed the floor coverings, the ceilings, the paint colors, the electrical wiring, many of the light fixtures, the heating system, and now the plumbing. And in future we plan to replace some of the windows, doors, and staircases. In fact, we're kind of hard-pressed to think of anything they did right. However, once again, let's face the bright side:

a) It was a damn good thing we discovered the plumbing issue this way, rather than through more disastrous means, and could get it fixed now, while the kitchen walls were torn open anyway.
b) The new stuff is going to look beautiful, especially in comparison with the previous look.
c) Likely enough, points a and b, along with all our other work, will increase the value of the house.
d) I personally don't have to do any of this. Being 8 months pregnant is a great excuse to stand aside and nod and say, "Yeah, I like that blue. Looks good." But a thousand kisses to Steve, who is tackling a great deal of it; and to his parents, who are here helping out; and of course to Vassily, the nice Ukrainian man from Beacon Plumbing who is replacing all our pipes with good new copper, properly soldered together, while Steve and in-laws lay down the new wood floor. We have proposed naming our son Vassily in tribute, if this job gets done in the two days promised.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah (to go with my calendar's spelling) to you all!
mollyringle: (Dirk - crayons)
I feel obliged to tell you that I was wrong. Ants do like bananas. (And may I add: "yuck.")

Also, I should officially mention here that my other LJ, [livejournal.com profile] mollyringwraith, is now my fandom journal. It used to be my LOTR-only journal, but since the news and obsession with LOTR is dwindling from a mighty cataract to a manageable trickle, I have thrown the doors open to all my other entertainment interests. So, go there for film/book/music discussions from now on. Or at least until I say, "Screw this; we're collapsing the journals back into one."

Discovered this weekend that the DH and I (oh how trendy! I used "DH"!) are safety-conscious dorks. We each tried, about five times, to climb from the top of the ladder onto the roof of our house, for the purpose of taking down the chimney. We each failed, every time. Technically we each managed to get a knee on the roof, and then said, "No #$&*^@ way," and got back onto the ladder. Too steep, no toeholds, nothing to catch you at the edge if you slide, no ropes, no nets, no hooks, no harnesses, no railings, no scaffolding--dude, I work for a construction company, and I see the Safety memos, and I know the kind of risk inherent in falls. This was not safe. We've both gotten on roofs before, but in this case our instincts were flashing red alerts, and I think we were wise to obey them. So now we face the fun task of finding and paying someone else to get on the roof and take down the chimney. Yay.

But we did start bashing apart the bricks around the wood stove inside the house, which is going away to make way for a new furnace. I hear in some houses people can actually hit a button and turn on the heat. Imagine what that would be like! We will know, in a few weeks. Provided we don't fall off the roof.

The plus side: we'll end up with hundreds of red bricks for use in landscaping. That beats grass any day.
mollyringle: (MST3LOTR-dance - arwen_elvenfair)
Last time I checked, we still don't have DSL hooked up at the new house, which is where we are finally living. Guess what: moving still sucks! But it does go easier when your relatives show up in various combinations, bringing new things for the house, or helping you carry stuff or clean up or unpack. My extended family is pretty rad that way.

[livejournal.com profile] kenshi (one of the extended family) has pictures up on his LJ of a bunch of us being loonies on Xmas Eve and Xmas proper. Did you know you can throw glowing hoops at each other in one of Seattle's best restaurants, and not get thrown out? Our group got away with it, anyway.

Life is on the up-swing but still busy. Think my New Year's resolution is going to be to stay out of internet arguments--so flame-baiters might as well get out of here and quit lurking on my LJ. I can use the time to work on novels and home improvement projects (of which there are lots and lots to be tackled). But, thank you to all who have, one way or another, sent greetings and well-wishes and happy thoughts and assistance. It's been a nice way to end the year.

But I'm supposed to be working, so...right! See you.

^
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Dumbest post ever.
mollyringle: (bite me)
There is so much cruelty, ugliness, and evil out there whose existence I cannot fathom. For example, why, I ask you--in the name of mercy and everything decent--why, oh why, did anyone ever, at any point, think it was a good idea to spray popcorn ceilings on in their homes?

Priming and painting; calling furnace contractors; installing new floors; packing all our stuff into boxes--all of those things are looking downright fun in comparison to getting those &$#@% ceilings scraped clean.
mollyringle: (chocolate)
Uh-oh! Unrelated list of stuff!

1. For those following Lost, I highly recommend reading the show recaps on Television Without Pity. I got into the show late (just the last 2 episodes so far) and am using TWoP to catch up. Their recapper is hilarious. For example:

"Previously on Lost: Plane crash, drug stash, Marshal Shrap sustains a gash. Polar bears in tropic climes, Kate's committed nameless crimes. The Iron Giant kills and maims! Backgammon's a better game! Jack the Hero saves the day! Pleas for rescue en français!"

Hah! Oh my God. *stands up and applauds* (No, the whole thing isn't in rhyme. That was just a special opening act.)

2. I am apparently now 2 degrees from Spanish royalty, as one of my bosses is over at the art museum right now rubbing elbows with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. For what that's worth.

3. If you're ordering online from The Gap anytime soon, enter the code "HOLBOX2" at checkout, and you'll get a 10% discount. Hey, they send me these things, I pass them along to you.

4. No big updates on the house yet, except that we got more keys yesterday, and they promised to get the place cleared out by the end of today, so we're going over there after work and seeing what's up. Changing of locks may occur. (They have a new house; it's not like they WANT to be in ours; they're just being slow and have a ton of possessions. In a way this is reassuring: clearly the house can hold a lot of stuff.)

5. Despite my sending a publisher a wry email a month or so back, asking if my bad luck with communication mix-ups on this novel was the result of a voodoo curse, the publisher did not blow me off. She got back to me, assured me the email was taken in the spirit intended (as humor), and said that while the novel was not quite what they were looking for, she did enjoy reading it and it kept her interested, and she suggested a couple of resources for other places to find publishers. I already had these bookmarked, but I'll share them with you guys in case any of you are aspiring novelists:
Preditors and Editors - massive list of agents, publishers, etc., and whether or not they appear shady
Piers Anthony's big huge annotated list of internet publishers, with similar notes on shadiness

6. If you want to make yourself hungry for Thanksgiving, browse Recipezaar. Mmmm. Food.
mollyringle: (bite me)
A few days ago we signed closing papers for a house. Yesterday our escrow people confirmed everything was complete and the place was ours. Last night we drove over there, hoping to get a hold of our realtor and get the keys and walk into Our New House, just to look around and start dreaming of paint colors.

Imagine our confusion to find the lights were still on, the doors were open, an old truck was backed into the driveway, and one of the previous owners was directing some guys carrying stuff out of the house. Yes: They were still moving out. They were nowhere near done. It looked, in fact, as if they had just gotten started. We made some small talk and introductions with the woman, who was cheerful and seemingly oblivious as to their obligation to actually be out of the house by this time.

Being nice and non-confrontational people, we excused ourselves and wandered aside and called our realtor, who was not amused with the other team. He told us to get a key from the old owners, and figure out what was going on; and meanwhile he would leave a seriously unpleasant message for their realtor (who apparently neglected to make his clients understand that they actually had to, you know, vacate the premises by Friday). We got a key from Mrs. Oblivious, and decided, what the hell; we weren't going to get much done Friday night anyway, so we would come back Saturday morning. They swore they'd have the house cleared out by then, and would just have the outbuilding to clean out--which they would do over the weekend. Okay, fine, if you must. The house is the important part anyway.

So this morning we drive back over there. No one is around this time (they said they had to work Saturday), but:
a) The key Mrs. Oblivious gave us does not work, and
b) A look into the windows, and around the yard, indicates pretty clearly that they are not done clearing out. In fact, their stuff is still everywhere.

Today, we are not so inclined to be nice. This isn't just "kind of" our house. We aren't in a legal twilight period where it's "partially" ours and partially theirs. No. This is completely, legally, totally our house now--and we can't get into it and their stuff is all over the place. Our realtor has been unreachable today, but I'm sure he will have some choice words for them and their team, which I can't wait to hear. In the meantime I ask you...

[Poll #388622]

Other suggestions welcome in the comments. There's actually even more to the unprofessionalism and tackiness of these previous owners, but I'm too polite and disgusted to go into right now.

Ugh.
mollyringle: (angsssty)
The house-hunting has begun.

Gracious.

Okay. At the start of these things, you do see the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it's all a learning experience. Is it ever. Behold! In the city of Seattle you can get a 1,700-sq-ft vintage house (built in, say, 1909), which only needs new floors, new windows, a new foundation, a new roof, new paint, new appliances; what the heck, new wiring and plumbing too; new landscaping unless you like weeds; a full clean-and-disinfect to banish that gag-inducing smell permeating the place; oh, and I'd budget for an exorcism too, just in case--the "unfinished" basement with the dusty bathtub and overturned mildewy mattress in the dark corner does have a certain negative aura--yes, my friends, all this can be yours for the low, low price of $279,950!

Only the people from NYC and the S.F. Bay Area didn't blink at that number, I'm guessing.

There have been perfectly charming houses too. They've just tended to be rather tiny, in our most-desired neighborhoods. Fortunately, there are better places with enough room out there, in our price range. We just have to decide whether we want to live in a much farther-distant neighborhood. Got to say, though, West Seattle is looking good right now, longer commute be damned. Saw a couple desirable things there for only around $250,000. Which is still a freaking humongous sum of money, but at least it doesn't go into a black hole where you'll never see it again, like rent money does. The mystical forces of Appreciation are strong at work in a city like this one (brains, beauty, jobs--Seattle has it all; thus the prices, I guess); and since we're not banking the whole economy on Microsoft or Boeing alone anymore, it ought to stay that way for quite some time to come.

But, jeez. Stressful little process, this. Reminder to self: it gets better with every outing. We learn more every time. We get better at eliminating properties without having to see them. The right house is out there. And no one will force us to keep that pink-and-orange contact paper in the kitchen cupboards.
mollyringle: (Parrish Stars)
One more week of this lazing around and putting things into cupboards, and I'll probably be ready to start sending resumés out into the world. But not yet.

I did not overestimate the loveliness of the sea air and the tap water in Seattle, while I was away. It smells so good outside. The breeze is always cool and fresh. Our clothes are soft again. I prolong showers because they feel so gentle and soothing on my skin instead of harsh. Plus, I bike ten minutes to the top of a nearby hill and get to see a big expanse of Elliott Bay, with rugged mountains behind it. How lucky are we, to live here?

Of course, it's also more humid here than in the Sac area, due to all this water. It's only 80 right now but it feels sort of sweaty and sticky. However, as showers are forecast for tonight and tomorrow, I shall only smile and remind myself that at least I no longer live in a desert.

Saw Pirates of the Caribbean downtown last night, which was quite the good time. I went in fully expecting to be embarrassed for all the actors, but they did much better than I anticipated. I enjoyed watching Orlando get soaking wet as much as the next girl, of course, but must admit that Johnny Depp stole the show. He's a longtime favorite of mine anyway, so there are no regrets in saying it. By the way, is it just me, or does Orlando almost lisp sometimes? In LOTR, I thought it was just his way of doing an Elvish accent, since Elvish contains a lot of "th" sounds. But then he did it sometimes in this movie too. Hmm. Still, he's definitely hotter as brunette!pirate!Orli than as Legolas. Stab me with an arrow for saying so if you wish.

You know that dishwashing method that your mother handed down to you, where you fill a plastic tub in the sink with water and suds, and soak and scrub the dishes in that, and then set them aside to dry? I do not approve of this method. The plastic tub just collects all the scraped-off food, and the grease floats to the top and gets on the other dishes, and knives hide at the bottom under the suds. It's a gross and slightly dangerous way to do dishes, I say. I much prefer using clean running water and a sponge periodically re-doused with soap, instead. Maybe it wastes more water. This could be. But it's less gross.

That is all for now. Thank you.

We made it!

Jul. 3rd, 2003 09:39 pm
mollyringle: (Parrish Contentment)
Whew. Am finally in Seattle for good! I'll spare you the long, boring tale of the move ("...and then I wrapped the dishes in newspaper...and finding a safe place in the truck for the plants was tricky..."), and will give you yet another list instead.

Tips and observations:

1. If you're moving 800 miles, across a mountain range, and plan to be pulling a car on a trailer behind a 15' rental truck, don't. Pay other people to move your stuff instead. We were going all of 25 mph through the Siskiyous (a mountain range in Northern California/Southern Oregon). It turned a trip that is normally 12 hours into 18 hours. Just: don't. Remind me of this next time I'm tempted to say, "Oh, we can do it ourselves; it wasn't that bad." Yes, it was.

2. I'm an incredible wimp. I thought I had good muscle tone, but about two hours of carrying boxes and furniture was enough to turn my so-called muscles into jelly. Time to join a gym.

3. You can see the Olympics (another mountain range, snow-capped and particularly picturesque) from our street, just outside our house! I somehow forgot that. There are no views like that in the Sacramento Valley. None at all.

4. There is a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie billboard about half a block from our house. Heheheh. Johnny Depp in alarming amounts of eyeliner, and Orlando Bloom in frilly pirate goodness, brooding down upon me every time I walk that direction. Too perfect. Dare I hope they'll put up an ROTK one in that same location in a few months?

5. To the woman in the blue Jetta on 15th Ave. this evening: I'm sorry I was over-cautious in merging in front of you, and forced you to slow down, and probably bugged some other drivers too. It has been a while since I drove in Seattle. I could tell you hated me from the way you shook your head to yourself and refused to look at me, when we ended up next to each other at a stoplight a minute later. And I know you were probably thinking, "*&@%# California drivers," based on the license plates on my car. But I want you to know that I am not a Californian; I am a Northwesterner like you; and I forgive and indeed share your healthy dislike of California drivers. But you will probably never read this, and I will have to live with your displeasure forever. Alas.

6. While web-surfing, I came across the blog of someone who was ranting about slash. He (I think it was a "he") picked especially on LOTR slash, and said that while he could sort of understand Elf-based slash, he was totally nauseated by those who fancy hobbit-slash. He compared us, in fact, to "furries" - that is, people who get off on bestiality or tales thereof - based more or less on the fact that hobbits have furry feet. I'm deeply insulted as there is no way my attraction to yon Frodo is bestiality-related, and bestiality, in fact, disgusts me greatly, but then I can't really expect everyone to understand about One True Pairings and so forth. I don't shove it down anyone's throats, and really all that needs to be said is the incredibly simple and oft-ignored rule: If you don't like slash, don't read it.

7. The air here smells like the ocean, lightly, and the tap water not only tastes fine but does not leave my hair crispy and my skin itchy the way Davis water did. Amazing.

8. I've left very few comments on friends' posts lately, for reasons involving moving trucks, but I still like you all.

9. Happy Independence Day, United Statesians. I'll be taking another few days off to visit the fam at a nearby beach house and dodge the fireworks. Catch up with y'all after that. Back to taking the newspaper off the dishes...

-Mol.
mollyringle: (kodama)
...Which is a very brief sum-up of our trip to Seattle. Ah, my darlings, I have missed you, and I look forward to typing these missives from up there (Seattle) rather than down here (Davis) - which I should be doing in about a week and a half.

Long story short on the house search: by a bizarre turn of events, we will be moving into the same exact place we moved out of three years ago. Stressful, looking for rentals, but it turned out well in the end. I'll have to get used to the traffic again, but the Seattle neighborhoods are so cute, and have so many cool shops, and the weather was so gentle and mild (mostly cloudy, about 60, some rain), that I'm quite sure this is a good choice.

Random things regarding the visit:

1) We owe [livejournal.com profile] kenshi and K8 big time for their hospitality, good nature, and occasional taxi service. Must bring them some California grocery store liquor next time.

2) I am apparently not too bad at bowling - which is good, since it's a popular pastime in our new neighborhood, and also there are several shops in which you can buy really cool bowling-style shoes to wear around town. (OK, yes, Seattle can be geeky-chic in a lot of ways. That's about the only kind of chic I can ever hope to attain, however.)

3) Yesterday we wandered down Market Street and noticed lots and lots of sidewalk-chalk graffiti done by kids and adults who had been waiting outside a bookstore for the Harry Potter book that morning, or the night before. There was a fair amount of "Ron + Hermione" and so forth, but I was pleased to notice that one person, at least, had scrawled "Frodo lives." ("Not for long," someone else had added, which had then been crossed out. Hehe. Symbolic, in so many ways.)

4) The swishiest boy imaginable served us our lunch yesterday. As this was in Ballard and not Capitol Hill, I was rather impressed. Ah, the big city.

5) Seattle is even Gothier than I remember. Which, needless to say, is a good thing.

6) You know how you get to choose your names on the computer screen keeping track of your scores, at the bowling alley? Most of the people around us had the usual "real" names: Mark, Stacey, Doug, etc. The four of us were Dactyl, Ringwraith, Viper, and Raptor. Heh. Yeah, we're fearsome, all right. (Take a wild guess which one was mine.)

7) Got my mini Swiss Army knife confiscated off my keyring at Sea-Tac Airport. *sniff* Stupid of me. Should've known; should've remembered. Though, in all honesty, I could probably wound someone more efficiently with the Nissan key than with that tiny knife. But who am I to contest the Almighty List of Prohibited Items?

Seven is a good number; I'll stop there. Next up: a post about a cool feminine hygiene product! (No, seriously. Exciting, isn't it?)
mollyringle: (Parrish Stars)
Turned in my last assignments today, so I am absolutely done with my Master's degree. Just like that. How anticlimactic. This means I now have to turn my attention to the small matter of moving to Seattle by the end of the month. Though moving generally sucks, and though I'm sure it will be somewhat stressful, I'm finding the idea isn't bothering me much. After drawing up the lists below, regarding the pros and cons of living here in Davis, California, I think I see why.

Things I will miss about living here

Being able to dry clothes outside on line (between March and October, anyway)
Edible stuff growing everywhere
Our big wide kitchen sink
A few select people
Yellow-billed magpies (normally hate birds, but these are nice to look at, and they run around in pairs, which is cute)
California nights


Things I won't miss about living here

California days (sun glare)
California drivers
People bicycling while talking on cell phones
Every fourth pedestrian talking on a cell phone
Drunk college students yelling "Woooo" after midnight on quiet residential streets
Star jasmine (I originally loved the stuff and thought it smelled heavenly, but lately it has struck me as cloying and perfumey, and the town is absolutely covered with it)
Total and complete lack of topography
Being at least a two-hour drive from anywhere interesting and/or attractive
No rain for five months straight
100 degrees being normal and 90 degrees being "not too hot" for June through September
Sales tax AND state income tax (Washington at least doesn't have the latter)
High rent prices, low vacancy rates, dinky square footage
House being so lacking in insulation that temperature inside is always within ten degrees of temperature outside
Sugar ants
Black widows
Homework
University politics
Having to water lawn all the time
People asking if Oregon has paved roads
Sacramento radio stations
People wrinkling their noses and saying "Oh, but the RAIN" when I tell them I'm going back to Seattle
Hard, sulfurous, chlorine-laden tap water
The pollen/smog/dust clogging up the air
Only bodies of water in town being puny ponds infested with ducks and mosquitoes
Living across from Co-op, which means hearing really loud delivery trucks at all hours, not to mention hippie live music on occasion
Being owned by Co-op (seriously, they own our duplex)
Dark-colored clothing being highly impractical most of time
Having to shave legs way too often since wearing shorts is necessary most of time
Not having bathtub (and try shaving legs without one, incidentally)
Sycamores (they're everywhere, they smell weird, they drop leaves and junk constantly, they are not very pretty)
Having very little, in fact, in the way of attractive autumn foliage – stuff just turns brown here
The dork who rides past the house every night on a teeny motorized scooter that sounds like a cross between a mosquito and a jet-ski


And just to round things out...

Things I look forward to about Seattle: )
mollyringle: (Default)
There is a black widow spider living in our garage. I am not pleased. This may be the first time I've seen one "in the wild," and it has unraveled a lot of the progress I had made toward liking spiders.

Ever since moving to California's Sacramento Valley a couple years ago, I have pretty much walked through a spiderweb every single day. The little suckers get busy spinning at night here, and in the morning you go outside and get those invisible sticky strands across your face. But I almost never saw the spiders when this happened, and when I did they were very small and unassuming, and anyway they eat all the OTHER annoying bugs here, so I began to relax my hatred for spiders and let them live. Since they theoretically ate mosquitoes, the aphids that munched on the roses, and the sugar ants that periodically invaded the kitchen, then fine, their lives could be spared.

The Northwest had worse spiders anyway--these huge, gnarly "aggressive house spiders" (their actual name), a couple inches across including leg-span, dark-colored, spindly and sinister, who had a habit of running across your carpet or appearing in your bathtub at unexpected times. They liked living in houses. We did not like to have them in our houses. It was something of a war.

Here, I was pleased to see, there weren't really any of these. Just a myriad of daddy long-legs and small garden spiders. Oh, and yeah, people mentioned that black widows live here too, but they're shy and don't like being around light and noise, so you won't see those unless you dig through woodpiles, probably.

Or maybe you'll just open your garage door someday, and notice an evil little bulbous-bodied, long-legged, shiny black spider hanging in a web under your husband's project sportscar. And maybe, when you get closer, you'll notice some interesting red markings on its belly. Oh goodie. And then maybe, like me, you'll attack it with a long-handled scrub brush (the nearest and most viable weapon available), but it will skitter with lightning speed into some hidden crevice in the car, where you will never find it.

So yeah. That's where we stand: something that is most likely a black widow, most likely still alive, lurking in the garage.

I no longer feel kindly toward spiders. The war is on.

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