October 31, 2004

Buying Spree

We have some extra money leftover from the house purchase as we ended up spending less than we originally anticipated. So with this cash, we've decided to finally furnish our house in real furniture (read: furniture we don't have to assemble ourselves). We really like Mission style furniture (thankfully we're in agreement on this) and we've been doing a lot of research into different retailers. We found one that had some very nice looking stuff, Barn Furniture, and we went up to Van Nuys to check it out. Well, we loved it!

I have been wanting a bedroom set since I moved out of the dorms many long years ago, but have never really been able to afford it. I wanted to get some really decent and stylish furniture and would rather do without than get cheap stuff I'd have to replace. So finally my dreams come true. Today we bought a bed frame, mule chest, mirror, lingerie chest, and two night stands, all in the same style (click on the extended entry for pictures). We also got a darling Mission style secretary desk for me. They were having a big sale (I don't know if it was a special sale or one of those situations where they're always having a "sale") but the prices in the store were lower than they were online. Plus the best part is that it only cost us $125 for delivery for the whole set. So I'm happy with the deal we got and the furniture is solid wood and appears to be quite well made. It will be delivered on Wednesday. I can't wait!

The mule chest and mirror:

The lingerie chest:

The bed and nightstand:

Closer picture of the nightstands:

Posted by Shelby at 05:13 PM | Comments (2)

October 29, 2004

Good Dog!

A heartwarming story:
Dog Saves Woman's Life by Calling 911

Posted by Shelby at 03:59 PM

It's Official!

As of yesterday evening, we are officially homeowners. We get possession tomorrow when we'll pick up the keys and let the exterminators in (the house is being tented). We'll actually move in next weekend when we can go to San Jose and get our stuff. I can't tell you how thrilled I am!

Posted by Shelby at 03:47 PM | Comments (6)

October 25, 2004

Flu Shot

I got my flu shot today (with my heart condition I really need it and qualify for it). My parent's primary care doctor has some left and seems to be the only person in town who does. When I walked into the very small waiting room, there were already 11 people there, not a one under 90. I took the last chair but when 4 people in walkers shuffled in I offered it up.

I had to wait for over an hour, which my mom had warned me about so luckily I brought a book. It wasn't too bad. I expected to just get a shot in the arm from a nurse but I actually saw the doctor. She was Russian and really quite funny. First she asked how I came to her and I explained that my parents are patients of hers and I just moved to the area and will be moving soon to Anaheim and blah blah blah. She asked who my parents were and I told her and she became very animated. "Oh, Shirley! What a wonderful person! I took a trip and she told me 'go here, go there' and I did and I had a wonderful time! She was so helpful! And you look just like her!"

Then she said, "You better start complaining to me because the Attorney General says I can't give you a flu shot unless you are complaining." So I said, "well, I have cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure..." and that set off a whole round of effusive talking ("So young!" and "No family history?!" and "transplant list!"). I then had to give her a play by play of the last 3 years, which she found extremely interesting.

She asked when my last blood test was I couldn't produce a satisfactory answer ("um, over a year ago?") and she insisted on doing a full blood panel for me, which "my new doctor in Anaheim will thank me for." So in addition to the shot I had to get my blood drawn. The shot was no biggie (for once it really was "just a pinch"), but I kind of dreaded the blood work. I have very small and difficult to find veins and I rarely get away with only being stuck once. Often I have to let a couple of people get a shot at me before they get it. When I was hospitalized I used to forbid the floor nurses from trying and specifically ask for a trauma nurse (general hospital tip: the people who are the best at drawing blood are the trauma nurses and the phlebotomists--not the floor nurses). Anyway, the first girl looked at one arm, looked at the other, tapped around a bit, and said, "I'm going to get the nurse." THANK YOU! There's nothing better than a person who realizes their own limitations and gets someone else instead of trying 5 or 6 times on you.

The nurse came in and got it right on the first try, with only a minimum of digging. As soon as the blood started flowing I said, "Good job!" She smiled and said, "I bet you get stuck a lot." Yep. So anyway, the whole thing took an hour and a half, but I'm safely innoculated now and will know in a couple of days what my blood has to say.

Posted by Shelby at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

October 23, 2004

It's Almost Ours

We had a walk-through of our house today (note the use of the word "our" now). It was to check that the things we asked to be fixed were fixed (they were). We also checked the jacuzzi (it works) and got an extended tutorial on the sprinkler system. After a few false starts Kevin arranged phone service for us. The first time he filled out the form it said we were going to be in the 999 exchange so the first three digits of our phone number would be 999. He thought that was cool but I thought it was slightly creepy (not like 666, that would have been cool) but the second time he did it we ended up with some other innocuous number so we're not a 999, although apparently all the payphones at Disney's California Adventure are.

The house needs to be tented and some termite damage fixed and barring any other complications (there should be none) we should take possession next Sunday. We're very excited!

Posted by Shelby at 10:46 PM | Comments (2)

October 20, 2004

We're Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In

Well it's been pouring off and on here for the last couple of days. Oh the indignity! Hasn't the weather ever heard the song "It never rains in California"? And of course there's the usual Southern Californian reaction to rain, which is "It's raining! Oh my God! Quick--everyone forget how to drive!"

It wasn't a good night for the Rosiak's party tent on the back porch. My dad has this tent on the back porch and during a storm a couple of years ago the tent came loose and ended up on the roof. So to solve that problem, Dad bolted it into the deck boards. Last night it was very windy and we could hear the wind whistling through the tent and a lot of flapping around. After a while Kevin came in and said, "I think your Dad's tent just bought the farm." Sure enough, it was pretty shredded and flapping in pieces.

The good news, however, is that the posts that are bolted to the deck are still standing. Kevin helped my Dad dispose of the tent remnants this morning and now there's a mere skeleton of the poles left on the deck.

To make matters worse, this house has its furnace on the roof (a very poor idea). This morning Kevin discovered that rain was leaking through the air vents. Luckily there was no damage but it was one more thing Dad had to fix this morning.

Extra bonus points for naming the song in this entry's title.

It's Fixing a Hole by the Beatles.

Posted by Shelby at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2004

Beagle, Meet Beagle

Our two beagles cuddling:

Click to see a larger image.

Posted by Shelby at 10:13 PM | Comments (3)

October 14, 2004

I'm a Winner!

I also thought I'd let you know about how lucky I am. Over the past few days I have gotten several emails notifying me that I have won the UK lottery! You know how they say "You can't win if you don't play"? Well obviously that's untrue, because I am a certified winner! All I have to do is send a LOT of personal information to my "Claim Agent" and they promise to send me a check. Oh boy, I can't wait!

Yes, I know this is just a scam to try to get me to send my personal information out to someone. Don't worry, I'm not taking it seriously.

Posted by Shelby at 10:32 PM

I Am the Voice of the People

So I was polled tonight on the phone. They called on my cell phone, which was a little weird, but I just love taking polls--particularly political ones. I got to say who I would vote for for President (Kerry), who I would vote for for State Assembly (um, undecided?), and whether or not I approved of the job Governer Schwarznegger is doing, regardless of my personal feelings towards him (I thought that part was funny). They didn't ask about any of the state propositions, unfortunately, since I've just been doing a lot of reading up on them.

Posted by Shelby at 10:24 PM

October 13, 2004

Jennifer Weiner

Tonight I met my friend Cari in Pasadena to see author Jennifer Weiner. That would be Wyner, not Weener. She has written three books, two of which I've read and enjoyed. She was absolutely hysterical in person. Cari and I were cracking up the whole time. There was the one dumb lady who asked not one but two really lame questions and Jennifer kept a great sense of humor throughout. We had a really good time.

Jennifer Weiner also has a blog that I read religiously. She was late to the reading tonight because she got stuck in traffic on the 110 (that's funny, so did I!) and then she got rear-ended by a guy with no insurance. Welcome to beautiful Los Angeles. So maybe she'll write about her trip to LA in her blog.

Posted by Shelby at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

Pictures of the House

Kevin took some pictures of the house yesterday at the inspection (which went really well). Be sure to read his narrative to catch up on all the details.

Posted by Shelby at 03:38 PM

October 09, 2004

How Can You Be NOT Happy to Win a Nobel?

Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek is the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Strangely enough, she is less than pleased. This article from the Guardian has the story, and it's a little strange.

"It's accurate to say she is not cheerful," says her English publisher. Apparently she does not plan to go to Stockholm for the ceremony because she has a social phobia.

In fact, the extremely unflattering picture really says it all:

(Yes, this is actually a picture of Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek.)

Hat tip to Dave.

Posted by Shelby at 02:38 PM

October 07, 2004

Great News!

I know it seemed like I had great news before, but trust me, this news is even greater. We have successfully renegotiated the price of the house--and this time very much to our advantage! We'll sign all of the paperwork tomorrow to make it official, but we've shaved off $10,000 off of the asking price and are getting a fair price on the house. So the next big hurdle is the inspection, which we don't expect to find any major issues, and then it's just letting the clock tick until we take possession. Since we're already in escrow, we should be taking possession on October 24th!

Posted by Shelby at 06:38 PM | Comments (2)

The Torrance Turn

Tonight (or actually early this morning) I'm here to talk to you about a phenomenon I call the "Torrance Turn." A little background first. Torrance, California is a lovely city of about 140,000 in the Southwest corner of Los Angeles County. It's a very nice city (I grew up here), quite close to the beach, and with good schools.

Torrance residents, however, exhibit a behavior not seen in other areas of the country, or even other areas of California. That behavior is a very strange predilection towards making impossible left hand turns--what I call the "Torrance Turn." Typically seen pulling out of parking lots or driveways, a dedicated Torrancian would rather spend 4 hours waiting for the traffic to clear to cross 5 lanes of highway in order to make a left hand turn than making three rights and ending up going the same direction in 1/16th of the time.

Torrance hosts some of the busiest streets found in Los Angeles County--Sepulveda Blvd., the aptly named Torrance Blvd., Hawthorne Blvd., and the infamous Pacific Coast Highway to name a few. Some of these streets are wider and larger than the freeways of many Midwestern towns--for example, at times Hawthorne Blvd. is 8 or 9 lanes across.

You'd think these large streets, many of which boast a 50 mph speed limit (which means people are going at least 60) would deter people from wanting to turn left anywhere there isn't a light. But no, that's not the case. In Torrance, you'll make that left hand turn, and everyone's gonna wait until you do it. In fact, I've found that unless there's a physical barrier in the street like a concrete island, people will turn left just about anywhere, anytime--sometimes in clear violation of posted traffic signs (you know, the ones that read "No Left Turn"). I've yet to see anyone muscle up over a concrete island but frankly I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen, particularly an SUV.

And those are just the people who turn out of parking lots or driveways. Then there are the people who are driving in the left lane of the street and decide that they want to turn into a parking lot or a driveway. Yes, those 4 or 5 lanes of opposite traffic speeding by at 60 mph might deter some drivers, but not a Torrancian. No sir. They'll just stop in the middle of the lane and wait for that opposing traffic to clear. Sometimes they'll even use a turn signal, although that doesn't usually stop people from having to slam on their brakes when they're driving along and suddenly find that the car in front of them has stopped in the middle of the street for no apparent reason. Nope, we're going to stop and wait for that ever-elusive break in traffic that allows us to make that left hand turn. Going up to a light, making a U-turn, and coming back on the right side of the street? That's for wusses--like people who live in Redondo Beach. A real Torrancian will make the left hand turn, and proudly.

I grew up in Torrance and learned how to drive here, so I admit I'm as guilty as the rest of them when it comes to the Torrance Turn. I've been known to have the following conversations while driving:
"You're not turning left here, are you?"
"Why not?"
"Because we're all going to die, that's why!"
"Nah, I'm from Torrance. We do this all the time."

I never really noticed the Torrance Turn until Kevin brought my attention to it (primarily by exclaiming, "This guy/girl is going to turn left here?!? Is he/she crazy?!?), but once he pointed it out, I see examples of it everywhere. I think you don't fully appreciate it until you've lived and driven somewhere else, but it's definitely unique to Torrance. Come to Torrance and experience the Torrance Turn yourself! Or even better--experience the frustration of being the driver who wants to go straight or right stuck behind the driver making the impossible Torrance Turn. That's where the fun starts.

Posted by Shelby at 01:57 AM

October 04, 2004

House News

Well the appraisal came in at a disappointing but not surprising $20k below the asking price. Some things are still in negotiation. Next step: Inspection!

Posted by Shelby at 10:41 PM | Comments (1)

October 03, 2004

Exploding Meat!

Well one of Scout's greatest fantasies came true tonight. My mom was cooking ground beef on the stove when I heard a loud pop and an almost simultaneous startled cry from my mom. After a shouted "Are you okay?"--"I'm fine." I went to investigate. Apparently there had been some sort of air bubble in the beef that was frozen and in the hot grease blew apart. The best part? Ground beef all over the floor. We called Scout in and she got this look on her face that said, "I've been waiting my whole life for this!" She quickly got to work on clean-up duty. What a helpful dog! She cleaned the entire floor. Okay, it wasn't really that much, but it was a beautiful moment for a small dog.

Posted by Shelby at 10:30 PM

October 01, 2004

I Am Employed!

I'm back among the working world!

I've been silent about this because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I just got final word today and can't wait to share the news. I am now a contract technical writer for Access-Commerce, a software company based in Chicago and France.

A few weeks ago, my cousin Kurt (an Access-Commerce employee) let me know that they had an opening for a technical writer to do some contract work. He asked if I would be interested in applying, so I did. It was very difficult to put together some writing samples as it's been 2 years since I've been out of the market and all of my job-related stuff is still in San Jose, but I was able to find 3 short pieces. I also offered to do a "test" document for them--to take something they had written and comment and change it to let them know what kind of work I would be doing if hired.

My test document went over very well, and I was selected for the position! I'll be getting started soon, in a little under 3 weeks, working on expanding the test document and then moving to a few other projects.

And the best part is, I get to work right here from home. It's really a perfect setup for me as I'll be able to schedule my own work for the most part and I don't have to sit in an office. It's very exciting to be using my skills, which I was afraid had rusted and decayed (they didn't).

Please join me in celebrating my new job!

Posted by Shelby at 02:18 PM | Comments (4)