Friday, January 31, 2014


So, as you know, we're trying to get ourselves "home" to Los Angeles.  Stephen continues going to his job, not only because that's something that you just have to do, but also in the hopes that when we get closer to our June target, he'll be able to transfer.  He also continues to sell our shippable stuff, and we talk to local folks about selling our non-shippable stuff (like furniture).  He also looks at different ways to transport whatever we actually MOVE with us (lately, we're leaning heavily towards trading my car for a minivan), as well as looking online at potential apartments.  Meanwhile, I continue applying for gigs that will take me home, at least temporarily, so that I can do some in-person apartment hunting, with the possibility of actually leasing something and then having an address he can ship stuff to.  And, while I'm at it, I get to pack up and ship the items that get sold.

This week (as of today), I will have been to the USPS three times to ship items sold on the website.  We had a neighbor drop in this week to buy some comic books OFFLINE.  I have a potential buyer for some of my furniture, including my computer desk, so I cleaned it up and sent a picture/text message and am now just waiting to hear back.  Stephen has a potential buyer for our couches.  I have a friend lined up to get the chest freezer, whenever she decides she really needs it.

The apartment we're in doesn't really look like we're downsizing, but we absolutely are.  Every day, we make some progress.  Every day.  That sense of accomplishment is important, you know?  I feel blessed to be in my current circumstances, because while I am not employed, it frees me to maintain the household, and make little steps of progress toward The Goal.

June, folks.  We'll be home then.  For now, keep sending us your good vibes, and if there's something you wanna buy from us, check in before it's gone!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waiting, and my parallel life

It's cold today.  Damn cold.  Stephen drove in to work and then called to tell me he was having difficulty parking, because the lot was already snowed-in.  Then later he sent me a text asking me to text when it starts snowing "moderately" here.  It's amazing that being 25 (or so) miles south affords significantly different weather.  Not snowing here... not likely to, or at least not "moderately" before he gets home from his short-ish day.

Yesterday, when he got home, we went through the comic collection and bagged-and-boarded a big chunk of it.  We still have a bigger chunk that needs attention, but that requires another trip to a comics store for supplies.  He also did some research into the value of most titles we handled, and it's good news (if we can actually sell them).

Today the payment for the four titles he'd sold earlier this month arrived (yay!).  And two of our five w-2's have arrived (um, yay?).  But I'm still waiting for my last UI benefit, and the paycheck for the work I did that caused me to have to file UI on paper instead of electronically, and for one check I've written to clear, and the resulting benefit of that written check to arrive in the mailbox.  It feels like a lot of things floating around in the ether of electronic and by-mail transactions.

I hate waiting.  (I know, I know, "Get used to disappointment.")  But mostly I hate the cold.  If I were already home, I would only have to hate waiting.  But I probably wouldn't even BE waiting, because I know that once I get home, I'll finally be reconnected to my network of work, and when you're working, you're not waiting.

... unless you work in the entertainment industry ("Showbiz"), like I do, and then it's all "hurry up and wait."  But in a good way!  UGH.  I had thought I was inspired to blog again today.  THIS is not feeling "inspired" - at least, not to me.  I'm back to living my parallel life.  Today's a very parallel life day.  That's what it is.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I'm unemployed, and I live on the wrong coast.  I think I've told y'all that, maybe.  Being unemployed is probably not too dissimilar from being retired, in that you tend to lose PURPOSE.  Today, at least, I have purpose.

Yesterday evening, Stephen noticed that his store on Amazon had another sale.  I noticed today, when I printed out the shipping label, that this particular customer was a repeat buyer.  This makes me very proud and happy for us, and more so for Stephen, because it means he's managing his store well, and for me, because it gives me something to DO in a day - a PURPOSE - when my reason for getting out of bed is to visit the post office to ship something.

So before I went to the PO, I checked our mail here at the complex.  The mailman was there, and we chatted about us getting home to Los Angeles.  Another resident walked up, and they chatted about her moving in with her son and how to handle mail delivery.  Somewhere in the chatting, I mentioned the online store, and BOTH of them asked if I'd talked to David yet, because he buys A LOT of comics online.  I don't really know the folks in this complex, beyond my immediate neighbors, so of course, I had to say that I had not yet talked to David.

Then David walked up.  Both of the people already at the mailboxes introduced us, and we chatted about online stores and comic collecting, and we essentially made a "drop-in" appointment for David to buy out Stephen's comic inventory.  Well, the appointment is for him to SEE the inventory; I embellished that last bit.

Now I have to visit an actual brick-and-mortar comic store, so that in the next two days, Stephen and I can make the collection as appealing as humanly possible (bags-n-boards, for anyone who has a little knowledge of comic collecting).  Which means the rest of my day today, as well as tomorrow and even Wednesday, have



Friday, January 24, 2014


... for a coffee grinder.  I was going to say "Ode" but frankly, I'm not sure I'm capable of writing an epitaph, much less an ode.

Today we say goodbye to our dear, departed, Cuisinart Grind Central Coffee Grinder.  I don't remember if we received it as a wedding gift or purchased it for ourselves around the same time.  Either way, we've had it and used it at least every-other-daily to make a perfect pot of coffee for the last four years.  I don't know what the normal "lifespan" of a grinder is, and we COULD HAVE ordered just the little part that's broken, because actually, the motor has NOT given up the ghost.  But that would have cost us MORE than a new grinder will, picked up locally, because we'd have had to wait for Cuisinart to get it to us.  And we'd have had to wait for Cuisinart to get it to us.  Did I mention we'd have had to wait for Cuisinart to get it to us?

So Stephen's on a run to get the replacement GRINDER, and the Cuisinart has already found its new foster home that is the dumpster.  Farewell, dear friend.  You were great.  We loved you.  But then you started throwing chips of plastic and steel in with the beans that you refused to grind, so you're dead to me.  I don't even think I'll miss you.  Pbttttttthhhhhh.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm recovering, thank you

Last Wednesday night, I was abducted by aliens, who installed a tracking microchip under my lower right 6-year molar.  I know this because Thursday, I had pain in my right lower jaw whenever I tried to chew anything.  And then Friday, I pretty much hurt all day.  Then Daddy sent me this link, and between the applied heat and the "exercises" and ibuprofen in increased dosages, I've managed to make it bearable.  I know that it's NOT the microchip that's hurting me; it's got to be just post-oral surgery recovery pain.  I'm cool with that.  Just wanted to keep you all in the loop, especially if you find yourselves experiencing this, so you'll know WHY you hurt.


Or, well, it could be that Wednesday was the day that I decided to (wrongfully) "own" all of the things that aren't going right towards moving (I don't tend to "do" guilt), and it's just stress-induced TMJ. ;)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'M RICH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • an email (worded exactly as received, although the spacing was changed in the cut-n-paste process):


From:CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA ( Your junk email filter is set to exclusive.
Sent:Fri 1/17/14 2:15 PM
This message looks suspicious to our SmartScreen filters and we'll delete it after ten days.
Direct Line: + 234-816-9665-900


After our meeting today concerning your unclaimed fund in this Apex 
bank, I was instructed to contact by the board of directors and the 
senate committee on foreign matters.

Before I proceed, I decided to stop communication with you because you 
have always doubted all my words which I gave to you and decide to 
follow the instructions of hoodlums and impersonators who are only 
interested in extorting money out from you and use you as their prey.
I want to ask you a question and do not be offended "since you stop 
communication with me and prefer to follow the impostors rather than 
me, have you finally received your fund? Is there any hope that you 
will receive the fund in near future if you continue to follow their 
The board and senate committee has been asking me why I returned your 
fund to the Government reserve account without your knowledge and I 
have given them the reason, to allow you follow the hoodlums and know 
what the outcome will be and to see if you will follow my instructions 
this time.
Anyway, I decided to contact you and to alert you on the status of 
your fund, during our meeting today on the round-table with the 
Presidency and senate president including your representative 
barrister, I have been advised to contact and to make sure that your 
fund is transferred to you before the closure of the payment system in 
no distance time.

The ball is now in your court as I have been advised to allow you 
choose the way the fund can be getting to you which will be easy for 
you and stress free which are as follows:

1) Do you authorize me to continue in the Swift wire transfer process, 
if you choose that, you will be needed to come down here to sign your 
original hard copies and if you will be unable to come, I can dispatch 
the documents to your doorstep through a certified courier company 
which will cost $890

2) Can the fund be sent to you through diplomatic process? There 
letting the fund into a trunk box as a consignment which will be 
declared as a family treasure in other for the customs not to 
intervene into the consignment box which will be sent to your doorstep 
by the diplomatic means which will cost $2,600

3) Can you travel to Spain so that we can re-lodge the fund to our 
affiliate bank, whereby you will be there in present and witness the 
transfer of your fund in your presence? If yes you will be going there 
with charge of $6,700 to witness transferred in bank.

4) We can also package the funds in an ATM card and deliver it to your 
doorstep and this will cost $350 only.

These details and update was instructed and given during the 
round-table meeting held hours ago and you are requested to comply and 
respond to this letter as urgent as possible.

Strictly follow my instructions.
Thanks for your anticipation and understanding.
Yours Sincerely,
Executive Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Direct phone: + 234-816-9665-900


Now - which one of my "lackeys" will take care of all of this on my behalf?  I promise I'll reward you well. ;)  You know I'm good for it, because OBVIOUSLY, I've been allowing the "hoodlums" to control my movements up to this point, and I've been schooled in this email in the error of my ways.  I don't even know HOW MUCH my "Immediate Inheritance Contract" is for!  It's GOTTA be gobzillions, though, right?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Even as we work towards moving, life continues to happen.

I got to go to work yesterday.  It was only for a day, and it'll cut into this week's UI benefit, but on the plus side, it was only for a day, and it'll provide income against this week's UI benefit!  Not only that, but I had a reason to get out of bed, shower, and leave the house.  Bonus points!

Today, we shipped out two more books from Stephen's Amazon store, "Nixon's Stuff".  On his last day off, we had taken a bunch of paperbacks to a local used-book dealer, but they only offered us store credit.  Having sold three items in less than a week from a brand-new online presence is very much a boost to our egos and morale, as well as the coffers.  We're not trying to sell stuff so we get rich; we are slowly but surely downsizing.  On the other hand, we're not quite ready to be "raped" in our efforts to downsize, so it's not likely that we'll return to that particular bookstore, since they weren't even NICE were actually downright rude about only offering store credit!

I've got some friends who are planning to drop in sometime next week to look at some of our furniture.  Stephen's got a coworker who may want our COUCHES.  I'm pretty psyched about the possibility that we will have to alter our personal space this early in the game.  We're both still USING the items that may get sold here.

We have five months left to make it all happen.  In the meantime, there's still work/jobs/gigs to attend to, cats to feed, and items to sell.  If you happen to visit our online "store" looking for something in particular and you don't find it, inquire here!  The "shelves" are not yet as stocked as they'll ever be - we've only just begun this process!

Life is good.

*** if you're following my blogging progress, please join me in welcoming China and Italy to the readership!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Someone in Germany still loves me

But apparently, no one in Malaysia cares anymore.

Before I post a new blog post, I look at my stats for the week and for the day, and I get to see "who" is reading me.  I get to see which of my posts are "moving" and which aren't (pretty much, the most recent posts get the most traffic, and the older ones sort of "age out" - this is likely a very typical blogging result).

When I first started this blog, I had A LOT of traffic in Malaysia.  Sometimes more than in the US (well, in any given moment, not necessarily sustained through any particular week).  I've had hits in the Netherlands (I think I know who that reader is) and Thailand, Serbia, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, and Mexico (no idea about those readers).  Most of my hits are US (expected) and UK (also expected, as that is where my niece currently resides).

I hadn't considered myself a blogger or a writer or anyone who could be mistaken for either of those things before I started here.  I'm not sure yet if my personal POV has changed on that front yet.  But I'll keep posting, because I think of stuff to say.  Today's probably not terribly clever or interesting if you're not "into" blog stats, but I'm finding it curious that I still have a reader in Germany but have lost the entire country of Malaysia.

I wonder if saying "Malaysia" so many times in this post will bring back that audience. ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014


The other day, I made a FOUR-HOUR round-trip drive JUST to go sing karaoke at a house party.  Am I insane, or has living on the wrong coast just enhanced my need for creative outlets, damn the cost?

On the other hand, after a mere week of "trying his hand" at selling stuff on Amazon, today Stephen SOLD SOMETHING!  It was a comic book, Wonder Woman #1, and we got it shipped out to the buyer before the post office closed.  TODAY.  We're makin' progress!

California, here we come. ... well, ya know, once we've sold the remaining 600 comics, 60 hardback books, and 150 paperbacks.  And the furniture.  And figured out EXACTLY what mode of transport to take to get there.  And put in for a job transfer.  Ya know.  All that stuff that looks like progress!

Today's a good day.  Hope it's been successful for you, too. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

"things" are afoot

Yes, I have submitted myself (and been submitted by my agent) for a LOT of gigs this week, so there's that.

And I've created a spreadsheet (a work-in-progress, I'm sure) listing the pros and cons of the various methods we've so far investigated into getting ourselves and our stuff back home, when we're ready to do that.  There is a clear winner, at this point, but I have to be intentionally vague here because there are certain steps to follow to make any of these paths a reality, and I don't want to put the cart before the egg... um, chicken before the horse... 2 + 2 = 1... or something.  There may be even more potential methods that we haven't somehow thought of, so we're keeping our energies focused on the "what" (getting home) more than the "how".

We're still looking into and trying various methods of selling our personal property.  So far, no good hits, but it's been less than a week, and it's still pretty close  to the holidays that've just passed.  And while we're out of that truly icky cold snap, we're into some yucky wet now.  This only makes us long for home even more.

So here's what YOU can do to help:  keep sending your own positivity vibes our way, and if you get an inspiration of a "how" (shortcuts in downsizing, places to sell stuff, leads on work or housing or ANYTHING), be sure to forward that info to me here or personally, through your other "contact me" channels.  Hmm... I wonder how to add a "contact me" link to this page, or if it's even necessary.

That's something for a later date, I guess.  Have a great day, and if I don't see you, be sure to spread that into a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

working vs. "not"

Have you ever been "gainfully unemployed"?  I have, a few times in my life.  I am currently unemployed, and gainfully so in that I am blessed to collect unemployment insurance benefits ("UI").  I'm required by the agency that distributes my money to twice look for work every week that I collect.  No problem.  If my unemployment weren't "gainful", I'd have to spend every available moment looking for work, because I'd need to create real income right away.  This was our case when we first moved to the wrong coast, and Stephen had to find a job.  In the current job market, it is incredibly demoralizing to have to put applications in for positions for which you are overqualified but would probably thrive in, only to never hear back or not succeed in the pre-qualifying test you take online.  Just about all applications for "real world" work are online these days, and most come with a test.  You never get to hand a resume to a PERSON anymore, or even a filled-out-by-hand application!  Some jobs still do it the old-school way, but those jobs are few and far between.  If we are judged solely on how well (or poorly) we guess at the answers to "how would you handle this particular situation?" before we've learned the policies of the company asking the question, how can we possibly feel good about ourselves in our earnest quest for a fulfilling position?  We don't just work for money; job satisfaction is key to continuing the work.

My preferred industry, film and television (entertainment), doesn't work that way, thankfully.  There are referrals and meetings and emails and phone calls, and if you have any experience doing the job you want, you've got a resume and a listing on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).  If you don't have experience for the job you want, then you either pay a tech school for some training, or you take a few unpaid ("intern") positions, or you go back to your "network" so you can get referrals and meetings and emails and phone calls.

This week, I intend to book a gig.

  • As of yesterday, I've been submitted by my agent for two commercials (neither of which I even got the audition for, but still - the "look for work" requirement is fulfilled right there).  
  • Today, I submitted myself as a PA for two days in-state, just to get myself back on set.  I'm overqualified to be a PA, and I don't have a network on the wrong coast, so whenever I submit for a PA gig, it feels like a shot in the dark.  At least with THESE online submissions, the part of the "demoralizing" equation, the personality test, is missing.  You still at least hear back from them in some way; "your resume has been viewed" or "job poster hired someone else."  It's fine.  
  • In addition to the acting and PA submissions, I've just learned that a wonderful production that put plenty of money in my UI coffers has been "picked up" for a second season.  That SHOULD mean that they haven't shot it yet.  It SHOULD mean that I'm in the running to do the same job I did in the first season.  It SHOULD mean that the email messages I've sent, and the "positivity" vibe I'm trying to rock, will result in more emails and phone calls, and that I'll BOOK this gig and get to go home to California before the deadline we've set for our household move!

I AM currently "gainfully" unemployed, but I would SO LOVE to be gainfully EMPLOYED before my UI runs out.  I'd love to be in the position that I have Things I Wish To Say (here, on my blog) but no time in which to get them spilled out of my brain into my keyboard.  I don't MIND "not" working, but I'm not a lazy bum or anything.  I DO want to be working again, in a fulfilling position on a film crew, doing a job I do well, and being paid commensurate to my experience.  And SOON.  Yes.  Let me rock this positivity vibe!  I will BOOK something THIS WEEK!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Living in a Parallel Universe

We were having a conversation this morning regarding our move back to California.  We both know that Stephen has to continue working at his warehouse club job and that I have to keep looking for film industry work.  We both know that downsizing, for us, doesn't ONLY mean giving/throwing our possessions away, but that A LOT of what we redistribute will be SOLD.  We both feel like we're living parallel lives.

One life is happening in the here-and-now.  It's the JOB that he goes to and the domestic activities that I participate in.  It's any writing that either of us do; it's meal-prep and cleaning and checking the mail and getting gas or groceries and paying the rent.

The other life is currently ethereal.  We know that we need to take both vehicles to CarMax to see whether we'll be taking either of them across the country or using the offers to build the coffers.  We know that we need to get books and comic books and other small items listed in our Amazon "store" ("Nixon's Stuff").  We know that we need to get rid of big items, like couches and bookshelves, and we haven't yet decided whether craigslist will be the best route for that stuff.  We know that we need to decide HOW we will transport any of the items that we DO decide to keep; how much we'll decide to keep, based on the size of the transport; WHERE we will actually end up living.

What makes living parallel lives so interesting, or confounding, really, is the space-time continuum, if you will.  We had said, during the holidays, that we would start selling stuff after the holidays, because no one who is shopping for Christmas cares about used books (or anything used, really) for their own collections.  And here it is, January already, and we've got two books listed for sale, and they haven't SOLD yet!  It's January!  We're running out of time!  (You see the conundrum, right?  It's ONLY January 6th.  There's PLENTY of time).

When we were younger, time dragged its feet.  It took FOREVER to get from summer break to Christmas!  And then it took FOREVER to get from Christmas to summer!  This is no longer the perception when you're out of school, and "old" - our six-month schedule is going to FLY by if we don't find ourselves keeping pace with building coffers, downsizing, and actually MOVING.  On the other hand, if the downsizing results in coffer-building and feels like a good, steady pace (or possibly a momentum-building one), there is the chance that this will be one of the longest winters of our lives, because we'll continue to see ourselves living and working and DOING all the things that need doing, here, on the wrong coast.

Have you ever found yourself aware of the parallel life you were living?  It's fascinating, and scary, and exhilarating, and frustratingly DULL.  I highly recommend it. ;)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I laughed a lot today

Three times, in fact, were big, hard, belly laughs that took over my entire system and made it hard to breathe, so of course, when I'm holding myself upright in a doorway, squeezing in the occasional "Ow" and trying to breathe, it's that much harder to stop laughing.

Three times, today.  I love that.  Overall, a day full of laughing for me.  But the three big, unstoppable belly laughs were the best.

its funny because it is.

OR, how writers of blogs, especially NEW ones, occasionally feel

and yes, I DID intentionally leave the apostrophe out of the title.  Is THAT what brought you here?  Comment below!

And then, have yourself a lovely little day.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I WILL be productive today!

I watched my downstairs neighbor leave this morning, ~ quarter to eleven, so by eleven I set up my drums to play Rock Band.  I was playing short setlists, not trying to "accomplish" anything but practice, and he came home from wherever he'd been.  Shortly after his return, I heard some banging, this time coming from my bedroom rather than the kitchen.  I was honestly NOT playing that loudly, and it was the MIDDLE of the day, so I just continued playing (when you're in the middle of setlists, it's not really something you want to stop before the end).  The banging ceased, so I continued playing.  Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, the song I was playing STOPPED - like there was a power surge - and the game disconnected.  But it still sounded like the heat was running, and the microwave didn't beep or lose its time, and the PS3 reset itself back to one.  So since I had already lost my progress on the setlist, I went into true "practice" mode to try to learn ONE song at the expert level (because that will accomplish a drummer's Goal in the game).  I can still only play that song at about 97% proficiency, and when I'd been playing for over an hour, I called it a day.  At that point, I was sweaty, anyway.  That's usually when I know I've played enough.  Funny that drumming makes me sweat.

So now there's really nothing left for me to do - I've checked all my online crap.  I've checked the snail mail - nothing there but COLD air.  I've emptied and reloaded the dishwasher and started it back up.  I guess now I'll shred some of that stuff we separated out in our downsizing the other day.  And blog.  And... ?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I did NOT want to start the new year grumpy! ... OR, apartment living and noise "pollution"

Happy New Year, everyone.  What a crock.  As if January 1 is really any different from December 31.  Sure, we've got big plans in the works, what with selling just about everything we own, and donating or throwing away whatever's left, and then moving back home to California.  But today is still just another dreary winter day when the banks are closed and no one gets any mail, and if you need to grocery shop you're mostly SOL.  So I'm bored with it.  Whatever; maybe it's just me.

I've checked all of the online stuff that I could possibly check today, and played all of the offline computer games I can stand, and I've fed myself and the cats a few times, and then...

Stephen started mucking about with Rock Band.  He invited me to join him, so I did.  He plays guitar or bass, depending on his mood (or how recently he's played with any regularity), and I play drums or I sing.  Since I sing all the time anyway, I only sing "with" Rock Band (into the mic for points, you see) if someone else is over and wants to play drums.  For the most part, with Rock Band, I play drums.

Now, the Rock Band instruments do not produce any ACTUAL music, but you can hear the "playing" of the instruments... guitar button "clicks", drumsticks on the pads, and the kick pedal is spring-loaded, so it probably sounds a little "stompy" - if you're listening.

I have lived under some REALLY NOISY people.  Unless the noise is being produced at an unreasonable hour, I don't say anything.  I've only ever called the cops when the noise was unreasonable and OUTSIDE, because there are usually noise pollution LAWS in place.  My cats make more noise running through my apartment than I make "stomping" on my Rock Band Drums kick pedal.  The only noise I ever hear from my kick pedal is the squeak of the spring.

But somehow, I manage to piss off the neighbors, or at least it feels like it.  Today is EVERYONE's day off.  And we were playing in the MIDDLE of the day, in the MIDDLE of the living room.  We were wrapping up, playing our last setlist, when we hear this VERY LOUD banging.  It sounds like it's coming from the kitchen.  So I step out onto the patio to look for the source, and see nothing.  I step out front and ask the neighbor whose wall I share (along the living room and kitchen) whether we're being too loud for her.  She wants to know "when? I never hear you - you never make any noise."  My immediate downstairs neighbor, with whom we share floor/ceiling, has not stepped out, or come upstairs to complain.  I don't think it's him; I think it's actually the downstairs adjacent, because they's ALWAYS making noise.  But to "keep the peace" we quit playing anyway.

It's not fair, and I don't like it.  If your work schedule forces you to sleep in the daytime, sleep in your bedroom, not the living room.  If I REALLY am making too much noise for you, invite me in to hear what you're hearing (and have Stephen "play" the drums).  Don't just bang on the ceiling and expect me to know that it's ME you're addressing.

And now I'm grumpy.  I was having fun.  I LIKE Rock Band.  I LIKE the drums.  I KNOW I'm not really any good, but it's fun, and it makes me sweat, which can't be a bad side effect.  Why do I have to give in to YOUR unreasonable expectations?

Do you have an opinion regarding this rant?  Any experience with apartment living and noise?  I'd love for you to "weigh in" - in case there's a side of this coin I haven't considered.