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    Tuesday, December 07, 2010

    Pearl Harbor Day

    A song that always pops up in my head on today:


    © 1941

    Lyrics: Don Reid, Sammy Kaye,
    Music: Don Reid

    "History in ev'ry century
    Records an act that lives forevermore.
    We'll recall, as into line we fall
    The thing that happened on Hawaii's shore

    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    As we go to meet the foe
    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    As we did the Alamo.

    We will always remember
    how they died for Liberty
    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    And go on to victory.
    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    As we go to meet the foe
    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    As we did the Alamo.

    We will always remember
    How they died for Liberty
    Let's remember Pearl Harbor
    And go on to victory."

    Have you been on the Memorial atop the Arizona (in Oahu, Hawaii)? I have. Tis something not easily forgotten.

    Not only do I remember all the brave boys who died that fateful Sunday morning, but I remember all the veterans who fought in that war that have since died (post war) - including my Grandpa Art (Thelin Jr.). He may not have been drafted till near the end of the war (he was a farmer in South Dakota up till then), but he was a part of the in the Pacific War and then Occupation of Japan (US Army). He has a TON of cool pictures (lots of them are tiny - about 1" x 1" if I recall correctly) and one of these days I really need to scan them so there's a digital copy of them. :)  He even has some pics of when General MacArthur came to visit (he wasn't close to the General, but you could see the crowds in the shot). Unfortunately I can't give you too much more info about my Grandpa's WWII days right now cause most of the information & pictures (including the ones we scanned already) from these days are still with my folks, though I do have a copy of some items (such as his discharge papers) at home. (And if it isn't obvious yet, I'm not at home at the moment - on my lunch break at work - while I type up this blog post :).

    In the meantime, here's a few pics of my Grandpa Art from the WWII that I do have scanned (and already online via my Flickr account):

    Colorized picture of Art Thelin Jr (probably taken soon after being drafted)

    Grandpa Art in Japan with Survey Equipment
    Taken inside a Japanese home. (I don't have a date/year) To see the handwritten notes on the back, click here


    "relaxing" for a pose (pic taken in Japan)

    Pic of Grandpa Art using the survey equipment (in Japan)

    Another posing for the camera picture :) (Pic taken in Japan)

    So for those of you who know my brothers (and my dad), can you see their resemblence to my Grandpa Art? :)

    Oh, and in case you wanted more info on Pearl Harbor, here's a link to a previous post (2008) that I did on Pearl Harbor Day (when the day fell on a Sunday, like in '41).

    Monday, November 01, 2010

    Perfect weather for baking...

    now I just need to find the TIME to get some baking in. :)

    I recently bought a bunt pan that has a really cool design (its cast aluminum) and I SO want to try it out...especially as I'd like to make something for my next Civil War re-enactment (Moorpark - in 2 weeks) but should probably do a test run before I do a 'final run' on something to bring. :)

    Plus with the fall weather, I love PUMPKIN items. Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cookies, Pumpkin Pie...Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks ;-).

    I just found this Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe on and want to either try it or compare it to another pumpkin bread recipe I have. (Pumpkin Cranberry bread. Yum! :). Of course, it doesn't have to be "Pumpkin" Spice could be any spice bread. I just have a hankering to do a spiced bread and that's the first one that comes to mind. Any suggestions for another spice bread recipe I could try out? (Also, I guess I should check my historical cook books - both reprints of actual historical cook books and modern ones put out by interpreters, like Old Sturbridge Village's cook book).

    Oh, and Molasses Ginger Cookies. I should totally make those too (especially for the Moorpark event). Sigh, so many things to do, so little time after work especially as I'm trying to be good and follow my Dr's advice at getting more sleep. :) (Hard, but working on it. I know I need it :).

    Of course, I guess I could always try my hand at an old fashioned Pound Cake recipe. :)

    And then there's Lemon Squares. (Always make these from scratch - using a recipe from my mom's old Peanuts/Snoopy cook book that's psychedelic green & fuchsia colors. Makes fantastic Lemon Squares! :)

    Or a Lemon Custard...or a Pudding (one of the many English style ones, not the custard style American dessert that we call pudding...though that's yummy too :).

    Can you tell my brain is focused on cooking & baking right now...and not on my work at hand? Speaking off....must get back to work now.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Attempt # whatever at keeping a diary

    ok, so if you didn't already know, I stink at "follow through" in keeping a diary. :) I like to write and talk (with friends), but sitting down *every day* to write in a diary...not so much. Some days I just never get around to it. Same with Letters. Love to handwrite letters, but hard to get myself to sit down and keep up the correspondence over long periods of time.

    Blogging helped a bit, since I didn't need to do that *every* day, but lately I've been so busy (or avoiding things cause I need a break ;-) that I haven't gotten around to updating this blog as much as I otherwise would have liked. (Twitter is basically a form of a Mini-Blog, so I'm glad I joined that bandwagon. Its fun and easy for me to use to share my thoughts.)

    Let's see, I'm still dealing with moving in to a new place issues. House is coming together (still no couch, comfy chair, or spare seating to speak of...but one day I will :). Its definitely feeling more like "home" than before (which is good) and its been like over a week since I've been invaded by ants (YAY!...or should I knock on wood? ;-). Still trying to figure out my "routine" or schedule for evenings, etc. now that my commute to/from work is longer. And I've not been getting enough sleep for a while now (my Doctor said that's a priority to concentrate on fixing). Plus being sick (a lot) last month or so certainly hasn't helped the energy levels or motivation at finishing doing stuff around the place.  Needless to say, I've canceled on doing a lot of things with friends or going places, so I can relax and or do things around the place.

    At least I finally started going through & sorting out some digital pics that I took (August - October) and had just dumped the pics into a "to sort later" folder on my computer. (Yes, the folder literally was called "to sort". ;-). As of last night I've now cleared that folder (sorted & stored properly in related sub-folders on my hard drive) so now I just have one more memory stick to dump onto my computer and then to get to uploading a bunch of these to my Flickr account, etc. (I did get my pics of babysitting my niece in August online as of last night. Such a cutie! :)

    Anyhoo...back to this diary thing. So a couple of friends of mine joined the (a kind of visual diary that's kept online) back in/around I decided to give it a try too. I started in September, but I haven't been able to manage taking & uploading a pic a day (which is the point of the project), but I'm not giving up! I'll keep trying, and maybe one of these days I'll actually start remembering to take (& upload) a pic for every single day. We'll see. :) But for now, I'm still enjoying the experience (even if I'm a slacker and not diligent at remembering to post ;-).

    If you'd like to follow me on 365Project (or join & try out the program yourself - its free), you can find me at .

    Well, I better get back to work now. (Slow day so far, but still, at least I have a job! :) Later all!

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Break Time for Cuteness!

    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    I've *Finally* gotten around to sorting through and uploading some of my backlog of pics. :) Here's a set from babysitting my adorable niece Chloe on her 9 month birthday (August). (C'mon, it just happens to be her 9 month b-day *on* the day that Sara-&-Jeremiah needed a babysitter, so OF COURSE I'm taking pics & videos! :) More pics of stuff I've done or things I've been at will be gone through & uploaded later. Maybe one of these days I'll actually have time to upload to Facebook as well :).

    Any-hoo...To view all 60 pics & 2 videos (I warned ya! :) of Chloe, here's the direct link to the Babysitting Chloe Set:

    Enjoy the cuteness!

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    I'm Not Dead Yet!

    Hmm, a camera...wonder if I can grab it?
    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    I know its been AGES since I posted last to this blog, so I have a LOT of catching up to do. Lots of things going on, and will try to find the time soon so I can sit down and write about it (and post!).

    In the meantime, hope you enjoy this pic of my lovely little neice Chloe taken at the Orange County Fair last week (August 13th). I was holding her and snapped this picture as she was obviously contempating if she could grab the camera (or any loose part of it)...and shove it into her mouth. ;-)

    If you'd like to see other pics from that trip (which includes a few videos of some music groups I happened to watch perform on the Fair Streets) as well as stuff from the Weird Al Concert that night, visit my Flickr Set here:


    Monday, June 21, 2010

    a brand new chapter

    Considering its been *a month* (Sorry!!) since my last post about "stuff" going on related to the Escrow of my place & my (then) upcoming Move, and SO much has gone on since that time, I guess its time for me to write again and catch everyone up.

    If you've been following me on my Twitter updates (and or Facebook status updates), you already know the *Wonderful* News: Escrow Closed!!! :) (May 18th, actually - the day after I wrote my last housing related blog entry ;-).

    Now comes the headache(s) of meeting with contractors in earnest, making decisions on what improvements/fixes I can afford now vs what will have to keep for later, how I plan on organizing/arranging the place, etc....the Fun part ;-). Pictures from my planning trip (meeting with 2 possible contractors - painting & window treatments) on May 15th are now online at my Flickr account.

    Also - I moved out of the old place (completely!) on the Saturday, May 22nd, when I moved the stuff I still had at the old place (including my bed, desk, dresser, etc. - stuff not already moved to my temp. storage location) to my new place and started my temp. residence with my folks. (I'm not living at my new place till certain plumbing things are/were fixed, plus I get a opportunity to organize and start putting things away BEFORE I live there, which is something few people can do. :) Pics from that moving day (not many taken, as I was busy, are up on Flickr here). We went back to clean the old place Sunday afternoon and spend a few hours cleaning that place. My dad spent a while getting the yrs of built up gunk off the wardrobe mirror door track (which wasn't done before I moved in, I'd like to point out - so we left that in better condition than I received it in).

    The days following are starting to blur together a bit, but I know there were filled with lots of my day job work (during the days obviously) and trying to get down to the new place to work on things when I could, and also trying to catch up on stuff (other commitments I had) which I had fallen behind on (such as my share of the work for Costume College planning committee - I missed a few deadlines for turning in stuff from my dept. Whoops!)

    Plus I've been driving around to different stores trying to figure out what 'handy' organizational & storage solutions might best help me out as I start to unpack my kitchen, bedroom, & bathroom items. Heck, just window shopping for ideas takes time. Lots of time.

    Oh, and I also bought a new fridge. Yay! :) You know me and my love of cooking (and baking) this little splurge is great! Found a nice Whirpool fridge that's slightly larger than my (then-)current fridge (a 10 yr old Admiral) and was way more energy efficient. It was at Costco for a decent price, but Costco doesn't do delivery. So we thought about it. And next time we were at Lowe's for some other items, we decided to drop by their appliance section to check out what fridges they had and compare. (Mind you my old fridge was still serviceable, but with changing the door swing from one side to the other after 7 yrs of the door opening in one direction, the cushioned seal around the door wasn't springing  back into shape and forming a seal very quickly. So we were entertaining the idea of maybe it was time to get a new fridge. [Side note: the seal did spring back eventually - took a few days]) At Lowe's we found the exact same fridge that Costco had, but $100 more. Though they DID have Free Delivery, so that was a plus. We decided to ask if they would match the price...and after the Sales guy consulted his higher ups, they did! Woo-hoo! Same price as Costco plus free delivery? Awesome! PLUS since its more energy efficient, there's 2 programs I can apply to in order to get a rebate - 1st one was for SCE to take my old (working but not energy efficient) fridge away and I'd get $50 ; 2nd one was to see if the new energy efficient model was listed on the Rebate List (limited models) that qualify for another $50. And my choice of new fridge WAS on the list - so I could potentially get another $100 back on this deal. SOLD! :)

    Now to arrange for delivery, etc. They were out of stock at the time we were there, but were expecting in a new shipment and could delivery on Friday of Memorial Weekend. Ok. We're fine with that. Thursday night we get the call that the delivery window is during the afternoon. While I'll probably get off early for the holiday weekend, it most likely won't be early enough. But my mom was willing to hang out at the new place working on lining shelves (Yay, Thanks Mom!) and so was my Dad (his work is only a few miles/minutes away, so it was easy for him to go straight over to join my mom in the afternoon - Thanks Dad! :). I joined them when I could, but it was still late afternoon by the time I arrived. Only thing, the Delivery Guys hadn't shown yet. Turns out they were running late cause they had to make a delivery down in Laguna and got stuck in traffic on they're way back Northbound on the 5 Fwy. (Ugh!!). It did eventually arrive though (Yay!:) and while I was waiting I got to meet my next door neighbor, her almost 7 month old baby girl, and her husband. (I'm blanking on all their names right now, though. At least I know their faces! :) Very nice little family. :)
    So, new fridge is installed (all goes well, water line is even hooked up to a nearby valve just for such a thing - I now have a fridge that makes ice and has a door dispenser. Nifty!! That wasn't a selling point for me, but since it came with it, and with a water filter, cool :). The old fridge was moved down to my garage space to finish defrosting and wait for pick up by SCE. Only thing, I hadn't called SCE earlier in the week to schedule pick up so I called that day while waiting for Lowe's delivery to show - and got the run around. After calling the number on the flyer, I was told that this was NOT the right number, but here's another number I should call instead. Um, ok - strange though to not list the right number on the flyer (and I told them so). I dialed the NEW number and was told basically the same thing...though this time the number was for the local place they had contracted out to do the pick ups. So I finally call this 3rd number and was told that they're computer system was down and they'd take my name & number and would call me back when the system was back online and set up an appointment for me. (And they said they were open Friday evenings - calling late Friday afternoon by now - and Saturdays when I spoke to them). So I waited for a return call....and waited....and waited. Monday I decided to call to see if by chance anyone was there (even though a lot of businesses were closed for Memorial Day) - they were closed so I left a message. Tuesday morning - no return phone call, so by mid morning/day I place another call to this service and FINALLY speak to a live person who says they'll take care of me right now and get an appointment set up. Everything goes great until I find out that I have to have the fridge plugged in for 24 hrs prior (so that its working when the pick-up guy arrives and he can verify its a working fridge). Uh, oh! I had it moved to the garage (think converted carport). I don't know if there are any accessible outlets in there. Doh! Fortunately, it turns out that there *was* an electrical outlet that was in the back wall, kinda more near my neighbor's stall than mine (garages have individual doors, but no separating walls between parking stalls) and we were able to plug in the fridge. Yay! When the fridge guy showed up, he was able to stick his hand inside & verify it was working, and then proceeded to collect the fridge/have us sign off that he picked it up. Whew! :)

    Um, what else? Oh yeah, I also did my *final walk-thru* with my former landlord. That was bad. :( Very Glad my folks were there with me (as moral support, etc.), and when he started nit-picking about stuff...well, it all kinda went downhill. On the plus side, though - I'm DONE with him. Even got what's left of my Security Deposit back recently. (Note to self: deposit that check ASAP! :) At least he didn't take the WHOLE amount. And I don't want to drag this out any further by taking him to Small Claims for the items he shouldn't have charged us (they were normal wear & tear, especially since we had been a tenant for 5 yrs & the Lease said "broom clean condition" for moving out ). Anyhoo - its now done. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!

    So where am I now with the new place? Well, I got some plumbing stuff done (no major stuff - wasn't touching the pipes or anything w/in the walls), but I figure spending some of small budget I had for improvements on plumbing stuff NOW was a good idea. So a couple of the things I did: swap out the toilet (I'm DONE with toilets that don't flush well) for a new one and replace the valves under all the sinks in the place. One was corroded so badly I couldn't have the water on without it leaking...and since I was replacing one I might as well replace *the rest of them* now so I won't have a future headache. I also got a couple of new chrome fixtures (including a S-neck extension piece for the shower head to raise it up higher - I can stand upright under it...yay! :).

    I also wanted to turn the upstairs (loft) "built-in entertainment center" into a closet. I was in the middle of getting quotes on various things, and thought I was going to use someone through work (handyman type of guy, not a general contractor) when an old friend (Julie) that I hadn't heard from in a while called me up to remind me that her hubby is a *licensed* contractor and could give me a fair quote (and peace of mind if I didn't already have someone that I could *trust* to do the work). Turns out her mom (hi Kay! :) had been reading my Blog and caught my mention in one of my earlier blog posts about wanting to do some construction type work. So, after thinking it over, the next day I called Brandon (Julie's husband) to set up a meeting for a quote. And you know what? I ended up going with him as my contractor after all. Not only was the quote w/in the range of what I was expecting I might have to pay (decent price), but it was nice *knowing* the person...and that the person doing the work *is a licensed contractor* who can handle any surprises that might pop up as the job starts. ;-).
    And as of last week, the demolition of the entertainment center & framing of the new closet being built in its place has started! (I was just over there on Saturday and saw the progress for myself :).

    So, since construction has started, I've slowed down a bit with unpacking since I don't want to take everything that's currently nicely sealed up in boxes and put it out on shelves/in the open where construction dust will accumulate on it. (I'm specifically thinking of *all my many books* that are sealed up right now in boxes even though I finally assembled my Ikea Expedit bookcase and have it firmly secured to the wall with earthquake safety screws ;-).

    In other news, I did order a new land line for the place to start service as of 6/1...a bit over a week later I found I still had no dial tone. Doh! So I called them up and they scheduled a repair technician to come out. I waited to hear that the guy had come out and the results of the technician's visit. And waited. I never did get the call saying the guy had actually come out and done anything, so I finally called them up. Turns out the guy HAD come out the day after I scheduled the call - and after a miscommunication with the first guy I spoke with that day at AT&T customer service, I found out (talking to the 2nd guy) that yes, he HAD repaired the problem and I should have dial tone. (Thank you, that's all I was asking for - confirmation someone had indeed gone out and I could go over & test to see if I had dial tone!) This Customer Service guy said the repair guy had 'attempted' to call me (and he noted he called the cell number) but was unable to reach me. I, however, did *not* have any missed calls from an unknown number (and I pointed that out the customer service guy - my first response to the fact he attempted to call me and didn't get ahold of me was 'which number did he call? Did he try the AT&T number being serviced, cause obviously I wouldn't respond on THAT being the one currently under repair, etc. But technician had noted he attempted to call the cell number listed. Weird.) So what do I find when I get to my place and see I have 6 MESSAGES on my brand new answering machine? The *very first one* is from the AT&T Technician Repair guy saying he had fixed the problem and my line should be working now. (Doh! LOL :) At least it really WAS working now.

    However, the downside to the fact that the new land line didn't start when it SHOULD have started means it screwed up the transfer of my DSL service (I use DSL Extreme) which was set to transfer same day. :( That meant I had to wait 7-10 *business days* to before they'd try again. And a week or so ago I finally got my email saying that they were re-trying to establish my Internet service and that (hopefully) it'd be active as of Wednesday June 16th. So when I stopped at my place Saturday afternoon I turned on my computer and checked to see if I had an Internet connection...and....Nothing :(. No Internet connection at all. Ugh! What gives? I then see that I have a new message on my voicemail....from AT&T (um, ok). From an AT&T Repair Technician, to be exact. And the really weird part about wasn't addressed to me but to someone named "Denise" and it was about an order for "R. Thelin" and installing a DSL circuit to go on top of the dial tone of my (new) land line number. (Yes, it was the actual number). And then he said he try calling some 818 number that was listed and hoped he could reach her there. (Note: I certainly don't have an 818 number :). So I'm guessing that my DSL company found they couldn't activate the DSL service for my new number because of a problem on AT&T's end and set up a fix with AT&T.  Not that I've had any emails or updates from them yet about this. :(

    Seeing as I'm planning on heading over to my new place tonight to do *a bit* more unpacking (after I finish writing up this blog post on my work's computer ;-), I'll check *one more time* to see if Internet is now actually on. (Doubtful, but we'll see. Fingers Crossed! ). If its still not on tonight, then it looks like I'll be contacting my DSL company to find out what's going on with my order.

    At least I've managed to get most of my kitchen unpacked and in a semblance of order (I'm currently working on organizing the pantry :), the basics of my bedroom in order (bed is assembled & made up with bedding, dresser is in place...though empty of clothing right now ;-), and my computer desk is where it should be (and desktop computer re-connected so I can at least turn it on...even if I can't get Internet to it). Oh, and a good chunk of my previously boxed-up bathroom items are unpacked...but I can't do too much more in there until the baseboards are put back in. (New ones need to be bought & painted & installed since the old ones were destroyed when they ripped them out when the new vinyl flooring was installed in the bathroom. Looks much better than the old stuff! :)

    And it turns out that my missing window screen on the lower window (between my staircase & fireplace) wasn't "gone" but just had fallen downstairs! A kind person walking by (neighbor perhaps) noticed it and brought it up to my door seeing that I was obviously there (windows & door open for airflow!). The one time I was down on ground level on that side of the house was during the Home Inspection before Escrow closed and I never saw it sitting there...but I wasn't looking too closely at the time (I was looking for the water main for my unit since I had no water and the home inspector was there). I'm so relieved that I don't have to go out and buy a new screen for that window! :)

    I did take MORE pictures of the place (and one small video) of the progress made so far. I'll get those uploaded to Flickr eventually, but at least for now I'm finally writing up this way overdue post about what's been going on! :)

    Ok. Must really finish this up so I can grab some dinner and get a *bit* of work accomplished tonight at the new place. :) I still have non-moving work to accomplish too (like Costume College prep stuff! ;-)

    So...Later Everyone!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Nom, nom, nom....Mother's Day cards are tastey!

    Nom, nom, nom....Mother's Day cards are tastey!
    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    So I *finally* got my couple of pics from Mother's Day up on Flickr. (About time too! :).

    To see the rest of the (small) set, you can go here:


    Monday, May 17, 2010

    where did I leave off in this tale? (House Hunt/Purchase)

    So it seems I last left off on my story stating that yes, the bank (BoA) liked my offer, but Escrow had mis-read my offer and wrote up the info wrong to the bank & therefore we had to resubmit my actual offer to the Seller's Bank. (See my post on May 6th for more details.) Bummer, huh?

    Fortunately, I didn't have THAT long to wait for a response. On  May 7th (5:43p) I posted to Twitter the following Update:
    "Has Great News! Bank has approved my *Actual* Offer to purchase the Condo! Finally! :) Deposit $ to Escrow will have to wait till Monday... "

    (considering it was after 5pm when I found out that we were actually approved by the Seller's bank, etc., there was no time to get $ to Escrow that day in order to actually START the Escrow process).

    First thing Monday Morning, my Deposit $ went over to Escrow and Escrow got their Escrow Instructions to me (via email) so I could start printing off pages and signing them. Fortunately, I could sign & scan the pages in order to email them back to Escrow.

    An interesting twist is that the Seller REALLY wanted to close by THAT FRIDAY (5/14). Wow! That would mean a 5 Day Escrow!! Um, ok, but let us get our Home Inspection in etc. So I quickly scheduled that for Wednesday (5/12) but then discovered that Utilities were off and the Seller had no intention of turning them on for a Home Inspection when they were trying to close in just a couple of days/by end of the week. So *I* had to call to schedule Electricity (SCE), Gas (SoCalGas), & Water (Irvine Ranch Water District - IRWD) to be turned on by Wednesday (if possible) so that my scheduled home inspection was actually worth doing. (Kinda pointless to have a home inspection when the guy can't check anything).

    Got ahold of SCE & IRWD first and got those scheduled. They said "no problem" for getting things turned on as of next day (Tuesday, 5/11). SoCalGas, however, was another story. They need at least 2 days lead time so earliest spot they had was on THURSDAY (5/13). Doh!! However, after explaining my situation, that I needed it on for a home inspection and just found out that utilities weren't on, etc, the gal I was speaking with was able to get approval to have the time rescheduled to Wednesday (tacked on after the existing jobs in the area were done). Yay! But wait! Problem - they need someone home or access to the inside. Uh, oh! I don't have keys yet and the unit isn't on a combo lokbox....that's gonna be a problem.

    So some scrambling around and a few phone calls later, one of my work's vendors who's already helping me out with stuff related to my move and said he'd look over the unit & give me his opinion on it/what might potentially need fixing (free of charge for the looking over of the unit) said he had a spare combination lokbox and would loan it to me/put it on the unit. Whew! Plus the Seller & the Seller's Broker decided to meet with me (and my folks) on Tuesday and give us keys to front door (not all keys) even though the deals not final - that way we can come over whenever to look it over or have workers in to give us estimates. Yay! So by end of day Tuesday, I was able to call back the gas company and tell them that Yes, the unit has a Combo Lokbox and give them the combo (so they could get inside and test/turn on the gas).

    Wednesday, May 13th - Home Inspection Day (rescheduled for 1:30pm from earlier in order to hopefully give time for SoCalGas to get over there & turn on the gas before we get there :). In the morning I get a call from the Termite Inspector, who was also scheduled to do his inspection that day. His first call was 'cause he didn't have the right combo (turns out his secretary transposed a number or two in the combo) and then later to give a verbal report/update saying that Things Look Pretty Good to him. (Whew!) I'll get a physical copy of the report later. (Now bank at this point said they didn't need a Certified copy, so I was just planning on getting a plain ol report from them). Also, while he was on the phone he mentioned that the gas company was there at the same time he was. (Yay! They made it in time! :) However, the only thing that was of concern to me was that the Termite Guy said the water wasn't on. What?!? It should be on by now.

    So I call IRWD and confirm with them that Yes, according to their records, the water is on and was turned on as of Tuesday. Um, ok. Weird. I'll check it when I'm over there fore the Home Inspection then.

    1pm I'm picked up at my work to carpool down with my mom to the place for the Home Inspection. (We stop briefly at my dad's work, which is nearby the place in question, to pick him up as well.) We get over there and another vendor friend of mine (through work) is there to walk through with us (yes, another favor :). Only had to wait a minute or two before the actual Home Inspector showed up and we all got started. First thing, however, was to figure out why the lights weren't coming on. Home Inspector found the main breaker down by the street/side of building (not the inside the unit breakers) and turned them - problem solved. However, Water STILL wasn't turning on. We looked all over and couldn't figure out why. I ended up calling the property management company just to make sure there wasn't another valve or something that was related to HOA/property management that we were missing that needed turning on. There wasn't. (They don't touch any utilities related stuff that deals with the individual units.) So then I called IRWD and had them on the phone while they directed me to the street side water valve/meter. Looking at the meter, it appeared it was on for our side - the handle/lever was turned into the on position whereby its parallel with the pipes - but there was no water flow. And obviously the Meter had been Reset cause it was at 00000, so the water guy had been there. This is getting really strange now! As I still had IRWD on the phone, they put in a request to have a technician come out as soon as possible to figure things out. Of course, by the time the technician GOT there, we had already left (by a 1/2 hr).

    Technician calls me on my cell phone and says there's an oddity - he's looking at the street side meter that's marked for my unit (19C) but the meter number doesn't match his records. He'll have to investigate further & call me back. An hour or so later (however long it actually was) I got another call explaining that at some point the meter was replaced but IRWD's records were never updated with the new meter number. How weird is that? So end result of this call - THIS guy turned on the water at the meter. Ok. Finally! (Weird that in the IRWD's records it shows as being turned on, when it obviously wasn't, but now this guy turns it on. Right?)

    Of course I want to test this claim that the water is actually on - so my folks go by the unit on Thursday and test out the water. Yes, it IS on (yay) but it turns out that there's a leak under a sink in the bathroom (a valve is corroded), so the water is turned back off (our side of the valve at the street side meter) until we get the valve replaced/fixed. At least we know about this problem now.

    And since the Seller's Broker has been on our case all week about getting $ & all signed docs over to Escrow ASAP so they can close Friday (something about being Seller being assessed $1700 in additional Fannie Mae...if it doesn't close on Friday - none of which we can find in writing anywhere, nor does BoA know anything about these supposed fees that will be charged if it doesn't close 'on time') on Thursday morning (first thing) since we've had our inspection and better know what we're getting into with this deal (and yes, still want the place) we get a cashiers check over to Escrow with various original signature (my signature) documents so that things are 'done' on my end. At that point, we could only Wait while Escrow did its thing.

    Theoretically, it could still close on Friday, but Friday came and went with no word other than a note saying that BoA signed off and forwarded the package to Fannie Mae and we were left waiting to hear back from them on their approval of funding/financing (or whatever).


    So, that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Waiting for it to close. Fingers crossed this comes through soon cause it would be really nice if it does close today (or just this week) and then I can start scheduling contractors for various small repairs and improvements I want done BEFORE I move in. (There's no *major* work that needs to be done fortunately. Whew!) If all goes well, then I can use my scheduled move date of THIS SATURDAY (5/22) to move my appliances (Fridge & Clothes Washer/Dryer) and furniture (bed, tables, bookcases, etc - I have no couch right now as my roommate is the owner of most of the living room furniture right now ;-) straight over instead of going into storage. Then I can temp live at my folks (spare bedroom) while the work is being done and move the rest of my stuff over after the work's done.
    That's the ideal plan at least. We'll see what happens.

    Oh, and this past Saturday I was there to meet with a couple more vendors so they could get me quotes (like from our Window Shades guy and from a Painter we use - heck, with vaulted ceilings, I'm not painting this place myself!). So if you saw a picture of my niece that I uploaded (to facebook) when she and my sis came to visit (they were bringing me boxes for packing), yes, I was still at the unit from meeting with the vendors earlier that morning - which meant I was able to show off the place to my sis. :).

    Well, that's the update. We *might* close today on this place. We'll see what happens...and of course, you guys know me. I'll keep ya in the loop. :)

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    They liked my offer!?! YAY!!...But wait a minute, um, *that's* not *my* offer!

    The continuing saga of my hunt for "affordable" housing in Southern CA...

    So if any of you were following along via Twitter, on Tuesday (5/4) you saw the following excited posts (or Tweets to use the correct Lingo ;-):

    OMG OMG OMG!!! Mega Exciting News!!! Seller's Bank (Short Sale) has approved the offer I made (April) on a Condo in Foothills Ranch!! #fb

    and then:

    and the Seller's Bank even wants to close in 2 weeks!! That's AMAZING!!! :D

    (For those on Facebook, yes, you too also saw these posts - 1st Tweet was imported to Facebook, and 2nd tweet I added as a Comment on my Facebook post).

    However, since then, things have developed an interesting Twist (& complication).

    Yesterday (5/5) morning while reading through the paperwork, it became obvious that the Bank's Letter of Acceptance was referencing wrong information (not part of my original offer signed by both Seller and myself). Doh!!!

    Doh! Finally got to look over paperwork that bank wrote up for their approval & Seller's broker (or escrow??) wrote my offer wrong... :(
    Which means that I now have to resubmit to the bank for clarification on various points. Boo! :(

    By 4pm (5/5) I got an email from my broker (also my aunt :), who had been on the phone basically ALL day trying to straighten out this matter (and another one - more details later in this post). Goodness!

    Basically, the escrow officer read my offer wrong and presented his/her misinterpretation to the bank for approval. DOH!!!!

    Some background: There are 2 units with identical floor plans (1 bedroom + loft, 1 bathroom, 900 SF) that were Available in the same complex in Foothill Ranch and I liked them both, so I put offers in on both. One was significantly cheaper than the other but it had $10K in back owed HOA fees that *had* to be paid before the bank would sign off on a sale. (Reminder: Both are Short Sales so need Bank Approval.) By the time you added in the back owed amounts (etc.) on the cheaper one - #19C - it was only $5K cheaper than the other unit (#39G).
          [Other differences between the two: #19C would also need to be painted as it has blank white walls; a mirrored closet in dining room area that I'd want torn out to use as space for say a China Hutch; would need to look into sun blocking window shades for all the windows facing west - there's a lot - and some quite high up!, and a couple of light fixtures were OK but could be updated to 'nicer' ones...while 39G was already painted in colors I actually *liked*, had nice pretty nice light fixtures already, had that unnecessary dining room closet torn out, etc. Oh, and 39G is Poolside. Overlooks the complex's pool area...which is good and bad :). ]

    Anyways - I first saw (& yes, actually walked through) both units on Sunday afternoon April 25th. My broker did her comps and figured out the best deal that I could afford that would still be enticing to the Seller (and did her homework on what 'hidden' costs might be lurking...such as back owed HOA and property taxes, if any - yes in the one instance), and after I agreed with her suggested offer on each unit she wrote up both offers and I signed both sets and we got them off to the respective Sellers' brokers. And then we set ourselves to wait. But we didn't have to wait for long! I believe we actually got responses from both brokers the very next day (or so) saying their respective Sellers/Owners were defnitely interested and would sign off on the deal. Um, ok wow. Both accepted, huh? Wow. Guess we'll see *which one* really follows through (or follows through first) or else I will get to make a decision between the two. :) Not a bad position to be in, obviously.

    By Friday (4/30) we had received a Seller's signed copy of my Offer from the broker on #19C. (But nothing back from 39G who keep *saying* the Seller was going to sign and was still saying he/she would.) We also go word from the Broker for #19C that they had already forwarded the now signed Offer to Escrow and the Seller's Bank for Approval and that they expected the Bank to approve it early next week (1st week of May). Wow, that would be fast if it happens, right?

    So we're waiting, and then on Tuesday - I get the call from my broker that yes, the bank accepted. (YAY!) Only problem is that Escrow misread my offer and presented it wrong. For example: I said I'd Pay X amount and that figure *included* payment for the back owed HOA fees (up to the $10K). Seller's Broker wanted it all listed on the first page of the Offer so it'd be clear & 'easy to read' and we complied and wrote it up that way. Deposit amount "A" plus $10K ("B") plus balance of purchase price ("C") = "X" amount paid (Total Price). Easy, right? Wrong, apparently. Escrow read that I'd be paying X *plus* an additional $10K. Um NOOOO!!!

            Also, the box was checked on my Offer saying the Buyer - that's me - would pay for Termite Inspection. Normally, yes, the seller pays for it, but on Short Sales my aunt has found that typically the Bank hates that. We didn't want to have the bank come back with a counter saying that the they the Bank objected to the Seller paying the Termite Inspection so we were proactive in just saying that I, the Buyer, would go ahead and pay the Termite Inspection. **However**, Escrow wrote down that the Seller would pay for Termite Inspection in their Presentation of the Offer to the Bank. Ugh!!

    Isn't Escrow supposed to be careful in reading these things? (They're *supposed* to be very detail oriented, right?) MAJOR oversight here!!

    So now (5/6) we  have to get Escrow to fix their mistake and re-submit the presentation to the Seller's bank for approval. We'll see what happens. Possibly fixable.

    But Wait! There's More!!

    In the meantime, remember that 39G unit (poolside, with nice paint & fixtures) which said the Seller was interested & would sign, but I never actually got a signed contract back from the Seller?

    Yesterday, my aunt got a call from ANOTHER Escrow company wanting my mailing address, phone number, Social Security number, and date of birth. Um, why? She got ahold of the Escrow officer and asked "what's going on? Why do you need the SS no, date of birth, etc.?" Turns out its for the 39G unit and Escrow officer said the negotiator wants it because the Bank is requesting it for their files. Jody, my aunt, then says "I don't have a signed contract from the seller, so why does the negotiator have the offer?" Escrow officer wasn't sure herself but needed the requested information "in order for the negotiator to continue processing the offer." Period. That's it on the explanation. (By the way, my offer is an All Cash offer, so why do they need that info for an all cash offer?? I could understand if they wanted the info to do a credit check on me if I was doing a bank loan, but I'm not doing a loan. I'm doing cash. Plus I already provided proof of my finances when I first submitted my offer.)
          Next my aunt (finally) gets ahold of someone in the Seller's broker's office and ends up talking with the Agent's assistant. He tells my aunt that they sent the offer through to the bank WITHOUT THE SELLER'S SIGNATURE to just get the process going and that he'll get my aunt an update later via email.

    Um...say what?!? Who in their right mind sends in an offer to be processed *without the Seller signing off on it*?


    What drama! :) Laughable - and hopefully fixable - drama, but drama nonetheless.

    Hopefully *one* of these offers/deals actually goes through soon. That would be really nice. :)

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    May the Fourth be with You!! (Happy Star Wars Day! :D )

    Happy Star Wars Day!
    May the Fourth be with you...always! :D 
    "Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?" (Intergalactic STAR WARS Status Day - so you know I'm going to be posting a bunch of Star Wars Quotes on Twitter/Facebook today ;-)

    It's May the 4th (Be with You): Intergalactic Star Wars Day !!!

     In Honor of the Day (& Trip down Memory Lane for some of us): "Troopers" COPS parody: 


     for a cool Behind the Scenes/Interview with creator of Troops: 

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    call for help moving :)

    Anyone available Saturday, May 22nd to help me move out of my current place?

    I'm thinking it might be the best date to move my furniture (etc.) to storage so that
    A) my friends/family who are helping me move don't have to give up part of their Memorial Day Weekend to help me move, and
    B) I have time after I move to work at cleaning, patching nail holes is walls, & repainting, if necessary (etc.)
    I want to make sure I leave this place it good condition so I can get my Security Deposit back, after all!

    Anyways, that's my thought process right now. Any chance that anyone is available to help me move that date? (Moving from Irvine, CA to Garden Grove, CA)

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    further updates in my Housing Adventures

    since I haven't published a blog entry on this subject in a while (most just twitter & facebook status updates)'s what's been going on lately.

    Part of my crazy schedule these days, when not packing (or cleaning) has been spent touring potential places with my Aunt Jody (who's representing me as my broker - she is a residential broker, though she's San Diego county based) and my folks. I've placed multiple bids on potentially good places for me, but most have fallen through (I've been put into a Back Up position) even with my Cash offers. Almost all of these places are Short Sales, too, which means even if something IS accepted by the Seller, the bank may take its own sweet time. 

    Never know though. :)

    I've mostly been looking in the Lake Forest area, since prices are cheaper than Irvine, though as of last Sunday (4/25)  I'm also considering Foothill Ranch. (Found a few units that were cheap enough and seemed perfect for me so I placed a few bids. We'll see what happens. There's potential there, but I don't have any confirmations I can share at this point.)

    As of TODAY, I'm sending in my 30 Day Notice to my landlord telling him I'll be out by May 31st (along with my reduced rent check - hey, he had said if we keep the place clean & allow people to tour, then we can have reduced rent for both April & May. Not reduced by much, but something. Also I don't think he realized how long it would take to market & sell his place even though its not a short sale. It didn't help his case when he RAISED the listing price on this condo. He's now lowered it some since then...I could have told him this place isn't worth that much! Of course he wouldn't want to listen to me. Hehe ;-).

    Where am I going? Well, at this point, all the stuff I've been packing up has been going into some storage units my folks built on their property in Garden Grove. (They were going to store their own stuff from the garage in it, but they've kindly held off transferring their own stuff and let me transfer my own stuff in there for my temporary storage needs. Huzzah! for my parents! :) I'll continue to transfer all my stuff to the storage sheds as I now pick up the pace on packing. Also, now I'm not going to care as much about making a packing mess as I go ;-). As for me personally - my parents have also graciously suggested that they have a spare room (half home office & half guest room) that I can use while I'm searching for a place and or waiting for escrow to close (if any of my bids ever make it that far in the process). I have no other plans for housing as of June 1st, so I'm taking up my parents offer of the spare room. It'll be an adjustment living there. For one thing: I won't have much access to most of my stuff for a while; plus, it'll be a longer commute to/from work for me. And finally, I haven't lived at home for...oh, over 10 years! :) Since college at least.

    Like I said, it'll be an adjustment, but should be temporary. :) And I'm VERY very glad that I even have this as an option!! :) So to my folks who *might* actually read this article (Yes, I'm looking at you Dad! ;-), THANK YOU so very much for all your generosity, love, & support. :) (Both now and over the years.) Love you back! :)

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    finally looked at my Costume College Reg Book

    So I *finally* got a chance to actually *look* through my Costume College (2010) Registration book and I'm just excited about all the classes! Yay! :) I'm torn, though, on what (if any) limited classes I should apply for this year. A couple I'm interested in are out cause I'm teaching my classes against them (there's overlap in times which won't work). And a few others I'm interested in taking...they're against when the guest teachers (Shelly Foote and Shawna Trpcic) have their (unlimited) classes scheduled! Agh! (The ones by Shawna Trpcic are listed as "To Be Determined" right now, but considering I'm a fan of her work - she did the costumes for Firefly, Angel, & Dollhouse! - I'm totally game for attending any and all of her classes. :)

    And with how busy I've been with packing & house hunting (and the emotional drama of dealing with my landlord and his broker while they're trying to show the place and get the condo sold), picking limited classes has not been a top priority right now. If I'm gonna turn in my form, its gotta be received by May 9th...and the longer I wait, the lower Recieved Number I get assigned (each form is assined a number in the order its received as its processed by Programming staff) which would affect my chances of getting into some classes (depending on how 'popular' the are with others wanting to be in the same class).

    SOooo...maybe this year I just don't do any limited classes :). Might be the easiest solution for me. Certainly less stress NOW to not have to think about picking a class and getting my forms in right away.

    Fun Find last night ("Yo Becky")

    Just had to share this fun License plate I found last night:
    "Yo Becky"

    LOL! Wish *I* had thought of that years ago when I got my license plate for my car! :)

    How fun!

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Costume College 2010 Registration Book Arrived!

    as my Twitter post said yesterday, I got my Costume College Registration book in the mail! Woo-hoo!

    Like the new layout and larger format (more magazine style). I haven't had a chance to really look through it yet, but will try to do that today at some point. MUST go through and figure out what classes I'd like to take, especially Limited Attendance classes (registration forms due very soon! May 9th I think?), and when I'm teaching.

    View of the Registration Book Cover (taken via my cell phone):

    and here's the page showing the 2 Guest Teachers for this year:


    I'm *very* excited about this year's convention! (And not just cause I'm on the committee ;-).

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    attempted unauthorized entry into my place!?!

    So this morning, as I was just about to hop in the shower (took a day off of work and was doing things, such as cleaning, before I finally got around to showering) when I heard someone at the door trying to use the keys in both the deadbolt and the doorknob locks. What the...???

    I quickly peeked through the Peephole and verified it wasn't my roommate. It was a guy (stranger or possibly my landlord?1? - hard to tell from the angle) attempting to use keys to get in. Good thing I had flipped the Security Lock that CANNOT be undone from outside! So, feeling relatively safe knowing that lock was in place, I showered. Afterwards I sent the following email to my landlord and his broker (who's selling the place...if you haven't been following along with the latest drama):

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Rebecca (ME)
    Date: Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 11:09 AM
    Subject: attempted entry at [xxxx] around 10:30a?
    To: Broker & Landlord
    Cc: Roommate

    Ali & Fred,

    Did either of you or someone you sent over attempt to enter [xxxx] this morning around 10:30am? I was home and just about to step into the shower when I heard someone attempting to get in (using the key in both the doorknob lock and the deadbolt). As I was planning to shower and had received NO notice of anyone coming over, I had earlier this morning used the Security Lock (installed by my roommate and myself 5 years ago) that can only be undone from the inside to secure the front door.

    I took the day off work and will be in and out all day. If you have people coming by, please let me know in advance of someone attempting to enter to view the place. 

    Thank you.

    [xxxx], Irvine, CA


    And NOW I just got an emailed response from my landlord. Turns out it WAS him and he had some kind of appointment with a carpenter (LOTS of termite damage outside on the stairs leading to our place...we're on the 2nd floor) and the carpenter wanted to see the inside and make sure there wasn't additional damage (besides exterior). So my landlord thinking it was no big deal, attempted to get inside. UGH!

    Here's his email to me in response:

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Fred (landlord)
    Date: Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM
    Subject: RE: attempted entry at [xxxx[ around 10:30a?
    To: Me & Fred's Real Estate Broker
    Cc: Roommate

    I was meeting with a carpenter this morning to look at the stairs and some other exterior items that need fixing. While the items in question are the associations responsibility, they are slow and I wanted the estimate as back-up in in case HOA was not able to expedite the repairs. I was not expecting the need to come inside.
    After inspecting the exterior, he asked if he could look inside to make sure none of the items did extend beyond what was visible. I rang the bell a few times and did not get a  reply. I assumed you are not home and  tried to open the door and was not able to do so. So we left. I am sure based on the inspection done previously, fixing what is visible from outside will be adequate.
    Sorry about not providing you with the notice. I was not expecting the need to come inside. I told him to limit his estimate to what he saw and we will take care of any additional items if we come across any. Thanks,

    Seriously?!? That's his excuse? He didn't think he'd need to come inside so because the guy wanted access and he assumed that we weren't home (doorbell doesn't sound in the master bedroom or master bathroom - no way I would have heard it) he thought it would just be OK to let himself in? Uh, No Way! We have rights to privacy still. Just another example of how he thinks cause he owns the place he can let himself in whenever. I'm sorry, per our Lease (and CA law), he must give us "REASONABLE NOTICE" of his intent to enter. Ringing the doorbell was not reasonable notice.

    My landlord just sets my teeth on edge. I can't WAIT to get outta here!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Follow Up from yesterday's post (housing hunt)

    So, at end of the work day yesterday, I got a response (via email) from the poster of the 3 bedroom condo for rent. And I gotta say, it was a little weird. Perhaps the gal is just overly enthusiastic? (Also, I can tell that English isn't her first language just by the sentance structure and some of the word choices. My co-worker, who's married to a Chinese gal - she's from Taiwan & she's so very sweet/a fun person! - read part of the email response to me and remarked, 'you know, based on the writing, it almost sounds like this person could be Chinese.')

    I had a co-worker do a search on Win2Data (provides property information including owner name) and my aunt do a title search...just cause I wanted to be sure that this person really does own the place their listing...and I came up with a weird discrepency. So guess I need to contact her and ask her how long she's owned the place. (Unless she's not the owner but a renter and needs to sublet while she's away? Hmm....but she did say "I owned the home you are interested in". Past tense, but could be just an issue with not having English as a first language.)

    She's going on some trip and says that the place is available for up to 5 years. Um, ok. Good to know upfront I guess.

    Also, my email had specifically asked to tour the place, meaning the INSIDE of the place, but she responded "You can go ahead and view the surrounding of the house and the neighborhood area". Um. Thanks. Not exactly what I meant. Ok, maybe she just didn't get what I was asking. It's possible....I guess. 

    Another weird point (maybe she's just overly concerned about the care/condition of the property??), she states outright that "also i will be come once in 4 months for visit to see how you are taking care of the home, and if any thing need to be repair inthe home, and fix it back!" I appreciate the willingness to be available to fix things, but having someone Check In on me every 4 months? Kinda weird.

    Obviously she's requesting some information from me (reasonable, when your considering leasing to someone - name, contact info, number of people who'd live there, proposed move in date, etc.). No biggie.

    She also finishes off the email with "Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt in your name and contacting you. Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the documents and the keys to you..."
    (she goes on about giving this based on trust, etc.), like I said. A tad weird of a response. But then again, I'm used to dealing with commercial brokers and commercial tenants and our process of leasing here. So maybe just my perception of things.

    And to respond to her point about documents & keys - there's no way I'd sign papers/give over any money WITHOUT looking at the layout of the place (inside & out). I gotta know what the insides look like and if it'll even work for me. Like I said all sounds good on PAPER. Gotta see it in real life.

    So basically, I haven't responded yet. Still thinking of what to say. I mean, she just could be a very nice person who isn't as comfortable with English as I am and has a lot things on her mind and hasn't got much time to lease this place.

    Thoughts anyone?

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    New Development in the Housing Hunt

    OMG, OMG, OMG......

    My roommate found a rental listing last night (posted last night - so NEW) on Craigslist for a rental property here in Irvine that sounds too good to be true! 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 carport spaces, larger square footage....and for $100 less monthly than what we are currently paying! (Landlord pays for water & association/management fees vs. in my *current* place we the tenants pay for water in addition to all other utilities. Thought we don't have to pay the association fees. Written in to the original lease.)

    Also, I know the area that this place is located in, and its a pretty nice area. Ok, yeah, I know what you're thinking...its IRVINE. Irvine doesn't really have a lot of "bad" areas with all their focus on community planning, etc. ;-P Whatever. :)

    Moving on now. The write up says "spacious kitchen" and "gas range" - which you KNOW immediately got my attention! :D I have truly MISSED having a gas cooking range and would love to have one if given half a chance. But alas, the last whatever number of years all the rentals I've lived in have only allowed for electric cooking ranges.

    Anyways - I've already emailed the contact person who listed the rental. Waiting to hear back about touring, etc.

    Fingers Crossed!!! :)

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    another annoying message from my landlord

    So tonight I came home to yet another message (left on my home phone) from the landlord about the state of the master bedroom. Apparently, now the "brokers" are complaining that its not organized enough to show it off as well as they'd like ("they're concerned that its not showing well"). Well, tough! This is not a model home, I live here...and I work full time. It takes time to box everything up. And there's no way I can box EVERYTHING up to be out of site. I've got projects I'm in the middle of (including stuff for committees I'm on) and research for classes I'm committed to teach in a couple of months - so I've got deadlines.

    And his suggestion that the items I box up (to create more open room in the master bedroom, in order to show it off better) are stored in the downstairs closet is laughable.
            1) The key doesn't always work - there have been periods of time (*months* at a time) when I could *not* get the key to turn in the keyhole of the doorknob in order to open the door. I've come to think its some weird fluke of the weather affecting it, cause other times it works so easily its like night & day. (And yes, I'm using the SAME key each time. Not grabbing the wrong key and trying it in the lock. Trust me. I double & triple checked :).
            2) We already store things down there's no room to add up to 10 additional boxes (he left 10 empty boxes). Also I don't store things in cardboard boxes down there for a reason (see next item for reason).
             3) We've had rodents in the complex, and they have specifically gotten into that storage closet. There's rodent droppings and dried urine over most of our items down there (one reason I don't access stuff in there much) and the few things I haven't stored in heavy duty plastic/rubber bins have been chewed through and I had to toss. So I'm having to store things off site, which means trips to take said boxes elsewhere. (Yes, I have a lot of stuff, but I also have a lot of hobbies & interests...which means I have to cram them all into my room. Its a bedroom, office, & sewing room all combined into one.)

    I realize that brokers recommend a place be pretty much in 'model-home' condition in order to show off the place in the best possible light to potential buyers. But c'mon! Be realistic! The only *real* way to achieve that look is for there to be no tenant at all! Its one thing to do when you're motivated to sell your own place - but as we all know, this is NOT my place and I live here. So, yet another reason for me to pack up as much as possible while I try to look for a new place to live.

    And before anyone suggests to me just give him my 30 day notice - Not yet. 1, that would be unfair to my roommate to do w/o discussing with her first. And 2, I want as much time to find a place as possible...and time to pack so I don't have to take days off of work. So for now I guess I just get to suffer through things a bit more (and cancel appearing at some of my previously scheduled engagements/events) so I can focus on packing & finding a place to live.

    Whew. Rant over. :) No back to your regularly scheduled evening. (And I'm back to packing :).

    Friday, April 02, 2010

    catching up on stuff (March 2010)

    So it seems like I haven't posted in a while on here. Sorry about that!
    Things have been kinda crazy busy lately.

    First, I started attending Ren Faire Workshops (held weekends beginning March 13 on the Faire site - Irwindale - while Building was going on to turn the area into Faire as we know it) cause they were interesting and good improv/character development practice. I could see how some of the classes could be adapted for other groups that portray different time periods, such as one obviously dear to me - American Civil War. Though it was interesting stuff, and I enjoyed attending the classes (and challenging/stretching my creative side - Improv has never been my strong area, though I'm working on it) I actually hadn't completely decided if I was going to "participate" this year with one of the Guilds. Part of the issue was that I knew I couldn't commit to the *entire run* of Faire as I already had specific commitments for some upcoming dates that conflicted with Faire Dates. Committing to be there every weekend day for run of workshops, with the Dress Rehearsal date falling on Easter (4/3) this year, and then every weekend for run of Faire which starts April 10th and ends May 23rd...and then helping during Tear Down in the weekends that follow is a LOT of commitment. And already busy enough with other things that are important to me, so there's no way I could ever commit to ALL of that. There was a slim chance that one of the Guild's (St. Cuthbert's - Parades & Pageants) might take me in even if I couldn't attend the entire run or make all the 12 required workshops for a 1st time/year newbie (aka "apprentice").

    Turns out, however, that I didn't have to make a decision - it was made for me in the form of my landlord giving me (email) notice on Thursday, March 25th* that he's selling the condo that I rent. Gah! And he insisted that the place be more clean/organized than it currently is for showing (and a bunch of other unreasonable demands given the time frame he gave me - he wanted it lok-boxed & signage up by end of week and clean/organized for show-able condition by end of Month...which meant Wed, March 31st!). Which means that a) this last week I've been busy cleaning organizing in almost all of my spare time, and b) I'm now looking for a place to live (rest of my spare time). I have no idea if my roommate wants to stay roommates and we find a place together or if she wants to go our separate ways (she told me she's exploring all her options right now and won't tell me either way at the moment), which leaves me in a bit of a quandary. And while the new owners (which may be in as little as 30 days, since landlord is advertising 30 day escrow cause he wants this place SOLD quick to earn some money - and no, he has no mortgage or liens on the place, my aunt did a title search and this address came up clean, so he's just trying to make some money...not being foreclosed upon) may be ok with tenants, there's NO GUARANTEE  that they will want tenants. They may want to live here themselves. (By law, since we've been here over a year...actually its been 5 yrs now...we're required to have 60 day notice. BUT apparently there's a loophole that says if an escrow is open, only 30 days is required. Boo!!! Not that I've been informed escrow has started yet).

    There was also the added twist of seeing if I could possibly afford to BUY a place. I've never seriously considered it, knowing that I would never qualify for loans, or whatever, just on my current income alone. Plus So California (and Orange County) is just plain old expensive! But they still have that government 1st time homeowner's incentive ($8K back) and my folks were willing to crunch some numbers to see if they could perhaps loan me the money (instead of me going to the bank) so that I could actually buy and have an investment for the future. (And of course I'd pay them back!) This looked like it may be possible, but we had to rush our thoughts and decisions so much, we felt pressured in making decisions - which is never good. And after looking at some possible places listed - I took one Saturday and drove around neighborhoods in Lake Forest to get an idea of where those listings where and what the places/neighborhoods looked like, how was parking, etc. - we discovered that with lower prices and enough investors plunking down cash still out there, there wasn't that much wiggle room for negotiating the price down (repairs, etc.) and you had to make a deal there and then when you found it or someone else might beat you too it. AGH!!! Don't need that pressure right now when I'm cleaning & organizing and just about to start packing up! So we're back to the drawing board right now. Focus on packing up and start looking for a short term lease so perhaps I can look for a place to buy later in the year. (Who knows? The Government may extend that 1st Time Homeowner's incentive again? They already did it once when it was expiring in November '09 and extended it through June of this year - so its conceivable. )

    So THAT'S been my crazy hectic life so far. Things have been going better at work at least. Haven't had any more problems with my accounting software since they did the system maintenance on 3/25 (yup same day as my notice) and updated things & migrated the software to a new server. So that's been nice to not have to worry about randomly not getting into the program cause of a stupid glitch or getting kicked out while in the middle of using it cause of a different glitch! :) Also been able to get almost completely caught up on my back-log of work. Also nice feeling! :)

    Must run now - if I don't leave, I'll be late for work. Eek!


    - - - - - -

    *Yes, got the notice same day as my trip up to Hollywood to see Tommy & the High Pilots perform at the Viper Room. That was a LOT of fun, and a good distraction from my troubles. I'll write a separate post about it and links to my pics online (there's some cool ones! :).

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    planning for St. Paddy's Day cooking

    so currently I'm planning on cooking up some Corned Beef, Cabbage, and other goodies...including trying out some mashed Turnips. :)

    Which means WAY more food than I can actually eat. (Of course I'll keep & use my leftovers. :) But if *anyone* in the area wants to join me for eating this feast, let me know. Soon!
    Consider this your Invite.

    If I can borrow a crock pot from my mother (since mine apparently will be used by my roommate), then I'm planning on cooking this up on Wed, March 17th. If I can't get the crock pot in time...then either I'm cooking this another way than with the crock pot or I'm cooking this meal on another day. :)

    Friday, March 05, 2010

    Finally Got a New Phone!!!

    So today on my lunch break I *finally* broke down and got myself a new cell phone. I've been putting it off for a long time, but I decided that Enough was Enough - It's time to Make a Decision and get it over with. (I can be so indecisive, I know :). And now I've done it.

    I re-upped with T-Mobile, and managed to get grandfather'd in for the new contract with a lot of my old contract terms (YES!!) and just added a Data (Text/Web) on top of managed to get my AAA disccount with made the monthly price definitely more reasonable. (Whew!)

    So - all in all - I'm quite excited that I finally have a snazzy new phone. Yay!!!

    (p.s. - I got the Motorola Cliq, which works on Google Android. And Yes, I still have my same number :).

    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Dolly Madison Special on PBS - Tonight!!! (check your listings)

    Hey all! In case you didn't know, PBS is premiering Dolly Madison on American Experience tonight!
    ("The American Experience," at 9 p.m. It's on KCET, channel 28 for some of us).

    Below are 2 different emails I got today about it airing tonight! So far I've checked out one of the Behind the Scenes Online segments (1st one listed - with the Costume Designer) and really enjoyed it!


    Thanks to Val & Dana for both getting the word out about this new special about to air!

    aka - Miss Violet Johnson, Johnson Oak Inn (47 Oak St)

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Val
    Date: Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM
    Subject: [CGWcostumers] Dolly Madison on PBS and making her costumes & turbans

    PBS is premiering Dolly Madison on American Experience tonite, but unfortunately for us San Diego folks, it won't be on for two weeks. My friend, Angela Burnley, of Burnley & Trowbridge, Williamsburg, pointed out the behind the scenes videos on the trailer at PBS' website. The trailer starts up immediately but you can click the pause button. (IT HAS SOUND)
    Move your cursor over to the right of the black screen and some boxes pop up, with Behind the Scenes- Dolly's turbans, that show them making them from straw hat crowns, and with the costume designer.
    Great stuff!!


    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Dana
    Date: Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 4:54 PM
    Subject: Dolley Madison special on "The American Experience," Monday night at 9 p.m.

    Fellow Colonial Folk,

    She served as hostess of the White House for 16 years, under two administrations.

    Dolley Madison, as the wife of the secretary of state, organized the White House social functions for Thomas Jefferson (who was a widower) for eight years. Then, when her husband, James Madison, succeeded Jefferson as president, she was White House hostess for eight more years.

    And what a hostess she was! Such charm, such grace. She was the Jackie Kennedy of her time. An invitation to one of her parties was a prized possession.

    She was very helpful to her quiet, scholarly husband. The social bonds she created, quickly became political bonds for him. There were those who said that the reason he won a second term as president was that everyone loved his wife, Dolley.

    She was considered quite a looker in her time. James Madison always referred to his wedding day as "the luckiest day of my life."

    Do you know who the first president's wife to be called first lady was? It wasn't Martha Washington. And, it wasn't Jackie Kennedy. It was Dolley Madison.

    When she passed away, that was the largest funeral there had ever been in Washington, D.C.

    So, when someone asks you what you are doing tomorrow (Monday) night, the answer, of course, is watching the Dolley Madison special on "The American Experience," at 9 p.m. It's on KCET, channel 28.

    Happy viewing,

    Dana Parker

    P.S: In case you want to see a preview, or how they made the show, or to find out how the bodice and stays were the 18th-century version of the Wonder Bra, check out: