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A decade in lists

I tried this a few days ago--and then remembered how dismal-seeming the early aughts were for me. I'm in a better mood now, so I'm going to try again. I guess I forgot it has a happy ending :)

the 2000's: In January, 2000 I was three weeks away from 17; my family had recently moved to Santa Barbara and I was attending SB City College full time.

--joined The Channels writing staff, changed my major from psychology to journalism
--had my first real job at Borders Books, made more money than a teenager needed
--went to Fresno for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges state-wide conference, got caught up in a stupid scandal that actually didn't have anything to do with me
--started shedding some of my excess weight
--was promoted to Features Editor, worked about 80 hours a week between the paper, the bookstore, my classes and work study
--my grandfather had a stroke and was hospitalized
--just a few days later, my uncle died
--when my grandfather found out, he had another major stroke that he wouldn't recover from
--my cousins, 9 and 12 at the time, came to live with us
--I started my first livejournal, aoife28, and met cool folk like Judy, Liam and Whitney (all of whom I'm still friends with)
--I was accepted to Semester At Sea, but after six months of stress I wasn't able to raise the money and had to drop out
--a custody battle ensued for the kids. We lost, and weren't allowed to contact them anymore
--I went on my first date
--I met Adam on livejournal
--I met Heather, Colby and others through Adam
--Adam fucked with my head/heart a lot
--I "took a semester off" from school and never went back full time
--my mom took on the cause of earning my grandpa recognition for his 50 year career, started her own business and became REALLY involved in that
--my grandpa died
--my mom kind of lost it
--I found out that several of the pieces I'd written the semester before were submitted to the next JACC. I won Best Feature and 2nd Place Feature, and an honorable mention for layout
--I started talking to Liam on livejournal, then IM, then on the phone a lot since his girlfriend dumped him
--over the summer that turned into a long-distance relationship
--things kind of fell apart, we had to move out of Santa Barbara. Cori and I crashed on a couch in a really skeezy house in Goleta. I agreed to rent a room there but never actually pulled it together to pay rent, had to leave all clandestine-like early one morning.
--moved back to Nevada County for a while
--Liam came to visit for my 20th birthday, we went to Disneyland which was awesome
--That summer went on a cross-country promotional tour for my mom's business, saw a lot of cool stuff, fought with the family a lot. We picked up Liam on the way and brought him back to CA with us, thinking we would move to San Francisco the next month
--We couldn't get the money together, my parents wanted to move to Missouri, so we had to go somewhere. We took a bus north to Vancouver and stayed with Liam's aunt and uncle on Denman Island for two fabulous weeks.
--They said we couldn't stay forever, so it was arranged for us that we'd go to Sarnia
--Lived in Sarnia for a year
--Liam and I got engaged, then called it off a few months later
--I felt lonely and cold, kind of hated it
--I gained about 35 pounds
--The Missouri experiment didn't work out, Cori left first and moved to Portland
--We started making plans to move back west--in August we came to Portland, and in January Liam moved to Vancouver BC to go to school, we went back to doing things long distance
--Saw Tom Waits!
--worked at Barnes and Noble, scrapped it together for a good long while with Cori. Mostly worked the closing shift, so I'd stay up all night smoking weed, sewing and watching Adult Swim. Really an excellent time, actually.
--started sewing ALL THE TIME, even though I was pretty crappy at it. I had the worst, tiniest sewing machine ever, and mostly did stuff by hand
--Started working at the Zoo. Great job in the summer, crappy in the winter.
--Liam came back to Portland, we got engaged for real
--was ever-more involved in sewing and crafting, started making small things to sell (xmas ornaments, necklaces, embroidered hoodies.) I had no idea how to make a profit
--Got promoted to lead at the zoo my second year, basically used that as leverage to get a better job at OMSI
--my dad was declared healthy by social security (incorrectly) and he lost his income
--Got married June 2007
--moved into our first apartment together, had lots of good times
--got a raise at work
--wanted to give a go at making garment design and construction a real job, changed my schedule to accomodate more sewing time and took a small business training course to get the fundamentals
--had a mini-mental breakdown once I realized my skills still weren't at the point that my ambitions were, broke up with sewing for about a month. Decided to be more patient with myself--that was a long time coming!
--started selling hoodlets (scarves with hoods) on etsy, had a few customers
--found a three-bedroom house for rent in our price range, made a snap decision to move out to "the numbers"
--coincidentally, my parents lost their house at the same time. they moved in with us
--that didn't work very well, was a very stressful time
--the house was a horrible scam
--started doing weight watchers alongside my sister
--got a promotion at work
--got a dog!
--joined a gym, started enjoying exercise for the first time in my life
--finally got Liam officially immigrated
--were able to move out of the house at the end of our lease, into a lovely townhouse, which is where we ended the decade
--By December 2009 I'd lost 55 pounds

See? Happy ending.

Oct. 15th, 2009


I realized I've been lurking and haven't posted anything in over a month. Damnedable facebook has sort of become an instant gratification thing, and I haven't given myself a lot of time for more in depth, contemplative blogging. We are moving--tomorrow! I hired movers for the first time, so I am assuming this will be a breeze. I just have to have everything organized before they get there at 8 am. That means I have a long night ahead of me this evening, but I am so severely stoked to be out of this place that I think the excitement will keep me working into the wee hours.

Mm, other than that, nothing of note to report. October is Birthday Month, plus Canadian Thanksgiving, so I have already had more cake and pie this week than I had in all the previous months of my diet. Plus the beer, which has only just begun. And I'm more or less skipping the gym this week due to the move. All that aside though, I have lost 40 pounds since I started, so I am feeling pretty fabulous. Moving into fall and winter is a little nervous-making, because I am worried the constant festivities combined with the shitty weather will lead me to my usual hibernation cycle and everything will go to hell. But eating well and excersizing are kind of super-ingrained in my lifestyle now, so maybe it won't be as hard as a fear.

Going to see Mike Birbiglia next week! Going to see TMBG in four weeks! Maybe you'll hear from me again by then. :P

Aug. 24th, 2009

Happy birthday to a certain Judith I am lucky to know... :)
Oh, livejournal. It's just too easy to ignore you when I'm not sitting in front of a computer every day. So, I've been gone, at least from work, for more than two weeks now, and I probably won't be reading my backlog of friend's page stuff. Sorry! But Canada was good, albeit slightly dramatic, my week at home was very dramatic, albeit still good. I had many beers, rode some rides, got a sunburn, went to the hosptial (not for me), planned and hosted a 12 year old's birthday party, complete with a KATAMARI CAKE (pictures to come!) and filed my taxes. Woo?

Jul. 20th, 2009

Had a weekend that seemed really long, which was fabulous. It started out terribly though, with a Battlestar Galactica viewing party that did not involve watching Battlestar, but did involve me drinking too much watermelon vodka and puking all night, forcing me to postpone the repair crews that were showing up the next morning to fix all our complaints in the house. Actually, Liam did that. He's a good chap.

But! I felt better after sleeping in, and just lazed around in the heat until I went to the gym to laze around in the pool with my sister and our friend Dee. Liam and I did eventually watch the season finale of s.3 of Battlestar, and WTF?! Revelatory news was sad/awesome, but the All Along the Watchtower thing was cheesy.

Saturday the crews came and fixed almost everything on the list of demands I'd given them, including kill-free mouse repellant, installing an exhaust vent in the washer/dryer room (because come on) fixing ripped linoleum, installing a security light on the sketchy storage unit, all kinds of stuff. Looks like you get what you want when you get all legal-actiony on people! They still have to do something about the dirt pile that is my front lawn, now.

I have been working on this simple little dress I started making for weeks now, because I'd decided to embellish it with embroidery all along the hem and along the shoulders. Finally finished it last night, so I ought to be able to get the dress finished this week in time for us to go to Canada. There are three people I have promised projects to, so this is the last thing I am going to finish for myself before I have those other items finished. You're on the list, Jennie! :)

Saw Land of the Lost in the cheap theater on Saturday afternoon. I thought it was worth the hour and a half spent in the air conditioning, Liam apparently did not. Whatever! It's not like I was expecting cinematic magic or anything.

Other than that, I just ate a lot of fruits and veggies from people's gardens, which makes them better than storebought produce somehow, and spent an inordinate amount of time in a hammock. Lovely!
Okay, this is the bathing suit I want to make!!

Unfortunately, it was created by this awesome Finnish girl who didn't use a pattern. She just made this out of thin air, so I am going to attempt to recreate it, although I need signifigantly more support mammarily (is that a word?) so I don't know if it'll look the same with bra cups in it. We will see, I suppose!

Edit: I think I am going to use this pattern and just alter it to make it a two piece. Brilliant?

This entry has adult concepts.

My favorite kinds of days are ones that are filled with amazing surprises, so when holidays are fun and surprising, bonus!

We didn't have any real plans for the 4th, because we hadn't got in touch with anyone but I knew we'd be hanging out with my sister and we'd probably tag along with someone else's plans. I totally wanted to go somewhere with water, so I put on my bathing suit in the morning convinced it would bring the water to me. It worked!

It looked like it was going to be a sucky day b/c by 2 we still didn't have a real plan other than making some food and going to the resevoir on Mt. Tabor to see the fireworks, but my sister was all mopey and lonely-feeling so it didn't look like it was going to be a good time. But then our friends Ethan and Marcella called and invited us to join them at the river, which was EXACTLY what I wanted! Yay!

So we got some beer and drove out to Sauvie Island to kick it in the Willamette River. Turns out the beach Marcella was taking us to was clothing optional! That's cool, I was raised a hippie going to the Yuba River which is entirely clothing optional. But there's apparently a special community that makes this beach their regular hang out, and they are all 60 and orange and very fastidious about their hair removal.

There was a string of boats tied off just off the shore, with awesome names like "7 Day Weekend". There were mostly older couples and hippies with naked kids lying out on the beach, but LOTS of people spent the afternoon cruising up and down the shore chatting with others, and pretty much casually displaying their nakedness. Highlights of the afternoon included:

Our neighbor, a Rip Taylor-esque gentleman in a pink leopard thong gushing about how beautiful my friend was because she's black, and how great her sense of style and color coordination must be because she's got that "Bermuda ancestry." He also assured me and my sister that he doesn't mind Californians like us moving into Oregon as long as we bring all our California Hollywood money with us, and he asked exuberantly about my husband's "walking disease," complete with hand gesture. His tiny toothless Cuban boyfriend had a habit of breaking into giggles and strange dance moves.

The captain of the 7 Day Weekend was this rad dude with a Sammy Hagar hair cut who would kick it Captain Morgan style on the deck of his boat, then take his boxer out on his smaller motor boat and zip around the shore for a bit, then come back and love up on his lady friend. There was an obvious Uncle Junior situation going on where one old man was flocked by two young stripper girls and one younger guy who stayed in the drivers seat the whole time--possibly the boat chaffeur.

And of the promenadeurs, two men were the clear winners. Cori and Ethan spotted a guy they nicknamed Christmas Tree Dick and we were all lucky enough to see him come back around before we left. From all outward appearances, this guy was just your run of the mill insurance salesman or the like, no tattoos or long hair or ripped muscles or anything else to indicate he was kind of freaky, but the dude had this elaborate piercing/costume jewelry thing going on with his junk. He had a prince albert that was connected via several chains with jangly charms on them to a polished silver cock ring that made his whole unit glimmer in the sun from several paces down the beach. The best part is that his wife wasn't even a nudist, and she looked as average and homely as I would have expected this dudes wife to be if I didn't know about his hardware fetish. There's was clearly a love story of compromise.

This other dude was just unabashedly sporting a visible semi while chatting it up with our naked neighbors. At least we know everyone was having a good time.

Then we followed up the human circus with a nice BBQ at E/M's house, topping off the night with fresh from the fire pit smores. We missed the fireworks, but whatevs. What a great day!
They killed my tomatoes, you guys.

I came home yesterday and the huge tree in my front yard had been cut down, just like that, with the tree piled up in a huge mess, sawdust everywhere, and my garden completely trampled and destroyed. No notice from the landlord--although they did call Liam to ask if they could go into our house and use our electricity to "fix the problem in unit 2," presumably the leak. Well I said no, but I guess they figured out a way.

So that was terrible. I left the landlord a message but she has yet to return my call.

Then I went to make dinner, and discovered that the oven/stove has broken. I suspect it actually happened the night before when I was baking a cobbler, because I came in to check on it at one point and the clock had started flashing 12:00 as if it had been turned off and turned back on. Which I didn't really wonder at, since this house is such a piece of shit, but it turns out that whatever happened actually killed the oven/range and it won't produce heat. AWESOME.

Have I mentioned that the property management has all the utilities in their name, and bill the downstairs neighbor and us independently based on their own division of the power usage? That's it's own sketchy situation, but more to the point, we haven't seen and electricity bill in seven weeks. I plan my budget very carefully, and I've consistently held money in my account until it looks like once again I won't be paying them, but if they were to suddenly bill us for two months of service--and by the way, they only give us seven days to pay or else there are hefty late fees--then I won't have the means to pay them. AWESOME.

The storage unit debacle was worth moving over, and that was DAY 1 of us living in this place. Then there were, and continue to be, the mice that they won't get rid of. The smell from the downstairs neighbors unit is terrible and has never gone away, despite their insistence that once they replaced her carpet all would be fine. The windows are all painted shut--some open as much as three inches but there's no window that could actually serve as a fire escape. There's no exhaust vent for the dryer. If we want to use it, we have to set up this elaborate system with the back door so that it's open enough to not set the house on fire but the cats can't escape. It doesn't always work and sometimes they do anyway. AWESOME.

The curtain rods they bought were made out of such flimsy aluminum that they've all bent in half under the weight of the curtains they provided and I've had to replace them.

But, our rental agreement says we won't get our $1,000 deposit back if we leave before we've lived here for 9 months. That would be Oct. 1. I loathe the idea of staying here for another three months. I have to find a way out of here!
The other night I put the hose out for my tomatoes (which are enormous and happy) and let it run for about 40 minutes when my downstairs neighbor came running up to tell us her floor was flooding again. She's had several broken pipes so that was her first thought, but I turned off the faucet outside and the leak stopped. She is in the basement, flush up against the cement foundation wall that has a huge crack all along the side of it and more cracks on the bottom, so my suspicion is that the foundation is so shot that by me watering my garden the water seeped right through the ground and through the cracks in the cement. My neighbor told me that the property management company actually caused the crack when they tried to power-wash the surface of it once, but they never fixed it.

That makes sense on one hand, but on the other hand, we live in Oregon. It's not like this was the first time the ground had gotten wet, so why now?

My other theory is that it wasn't actually the hose that cause the leak but the outside faucet it's self. Maybe there's a leakage problem with that pipe. That was certainly the longest I'd let the faucet run, so she might not have notice before.

Either way, it's just reason #1,041 for us to move as soon as we've been here long enough to get our deposits back. Which is too bad.

Jun. 29th, 2009

So I'm not totally sure what I weighed to start with, but I would estimate that I've lost 16 pounds since I started weight watchers, and I've gone down like, one and a half sizes. But my measurements haven't changed at all! How does that make sense?

Well, whatever. Since I've reached 15 lbs I've actually reached the goal I set out to when I started, thinking only of hanging out with Liam's fam in a bathing suit and the ill effects of that, but I'm in it for the long haul now, I guess. I am enjoying eating better (although with summer being beer drinking season it's started to get a little harder) but I am officially joining a gym this afternoon so I'm upping the ante. And of course, looking better is nice too. I am really amazed at my willingness to be physically active, especially in public, but I am thinking that I've FINALLY gotten through the life-long paranoia that people are all staring at the fat girl trying to exercise thinking "who does she think she is?! She is too fat to do that." Which I know, is counter-intuitive. Try telling that to 8-year-old me, though, or 14-year-old me in those stupid blue jersey shorts in PE.

Last week my sister reached the point where she'd lost 10% of her original weight. Since she's actually in the program, they gave her a keychain. I hope she'll join the gym with me. Wish us luck!