Monday, October 31, 2016

'Tis The Season

I believe there are two types of people in the world: those who go all-out at gift-giving "seasons" (birthdays or holidays), those who shun all gift-giving, those who "pay it forward" by giving for no specific reason, and those who can't count.

Which type are you?

I have a birthday in June. That means, growing up, every six months or so, I would receive presents! Yay! Then I grew up and married a dude whose attitude was "it's only money", so we stopped waiting for reasons to buy ourselves stuff, which meant that "presents" kind of lost their meaning. It's hard to get a person "that perfect gift" if they just bought it a week ago because they wanted it a week ago, and it's only money, right?

And while I was growing up, so were my siblings. We were all doing our own thing, making whatever incomes we were making, and Christmas and birthdays began to feel "obligatory". So as we slowly stopped exchanging gifts at all, we transitioned into "Thank you for buying me ____ (which I actually just bought for myself). What did I buy for YOU?" That was a fun transition, but eventually, our gift-exchange became more of a phone call exchange. I want to hear the voices of my family, and holidays are a good day to make those calls, because you can be pretty sure of reaching each other. It's not a gift that's "obligatory". 

Lemme tell ya, "obligatory" gifting is the worst, IMO. I have pretty-much always hated Valentine's Day because of its "obligatory" nature. If the person you love most in the world can't feel your love year-round; if you aren't kind and generous with that person all the time, then what makes you think that person is going to appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into picking up that card, or that dozen cut red roses, or the pre-selected heart-shaped box of chocolates? If I am the person you love most in the world, and I don't know it through your actions prior to February 14th, I'm not going to know it on that day. Not even if you bought an incredibly expensive piece of jewelry (and seriously, what are you thinking, buying me expensive jewelry, if I don't already know you love me?)

Which kind of leaves me and others like me in a quandary, come "gift-giving" seasons. Stephen and I are pretty comfortable in our lives. I make good money, when I'm working. Stephen just got a raise. We have a plan to eliminate all of our debt over the next couple of years, and that doesn't include NOT buying for ourselves the things we want, when we want them, if we can "afford" them. It also means that if we happen to find "the perfect gift" for someone else, we'll go ahead and pick it up or order it for delivery, if we can "afford" it. The quandary we face is geographic distance from our loved ones and not knowing what they would consider "the perfect gift". I bet my loved ones face the same quandary with me.

So I got this idea from Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess. She does this thing every year (actually, throughout the year) on her blog, where her readers can contribute to gift boxes for a particular charity, or they can buy books or other things for another reader, or if they are in need themselves, they can create a wishlist on Amazon so that others can help them have a good holiday. Typically, the readers who link a wishlist have children and insufficient income to give them a decent holiday because someone just lost their job or racked up crazy medical bills or something. With the way things are going for us this year, it may be my first time helping a total stranger because of The Bloggess.

But how do I gift my family? Frankly, I'd love to just crochet and crochet and crochet until my fingers fall off, but I need to know what specifically to create, and in what sizes and colors, etc. I don't think Amazon is the right venue for that sort of wishlist. But what if my family has specific things that they'd like to have, now or at any time, that they just don't ever see themselves buying for themselves? That is what Amazon is for! I have gone ahead and created such a list. I don't intend or expect any of my readers to start "gifting" me, But maybe it'll help you to create your own wishlist, that you can share with your loved ones. Maybe it'll encourage your loved ones or my family, hint hint to create wishlists, and then share them with each other.

We don't need a Season of Giving to have a Reason to Gift. But it certainly helps to know what people want, before you go out and blow your money on guesses, right? I would be very surprised if my brother's wishlist were full of elephants, even though every gift I've ever given him (in my memory) was elephant-themed. I wouldn't dare to buy him an elephant-anything now that he's grown up! But what the heck DOES he want? Hmm...

So this is your task: Create a wishlist on Amazon. Make it public or shared, so you can share the link either publicly or just with specific people. Do it NOW, so that if there is anyone in your circle who still feels "obligated" by the Season of Giving, they'll know what to get you. Maintain it. Update it; add to it; delete from it as your tastes/wants/needs change. If you have younguns who should have their own lists, then make specific lists for them. Amazon will let you have any number of lists. Just name them, and again, keep them updated. When your toddler is turning five, there shouldn't be any 2T clothing on the list!

If you are a member of my family, you are welcome to share your link either here, in my comments, or in a group family email. but let's do this, okay? I used to call myself a Great Auntie, and then Rachel made me one for reals, but I haven't been able to be the generous long-distance Auntie that I want to be, because I just don't Have A Clue what the nieces and nephews need or want.

Whaddya think? Sound like a good way to handle The Season?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ten Years Ago

Mommy left my brother's house in the wee hours of the morning, and her good-bye to him was "It's going to be a beautiful day; just look at the sky."

And as she drove down his driveway, he was the last member of our family to see her alive.


It's been ten years. Ten years ago this evening, Daddy was calling my brother to see what time she'd left, because she wasn't home yet. Ten years ago tomorrow, we learned of her untimely car accident. Ten years ago tomorrow, we started our grieving process. We booked travel to Florida for a body-less funeral. We ate ice cream or mashed potatoes or whatever would comfort us while we waited for our flights. We wrapped things up at work, if there was work to wrap up. We cried. A lot.

Over the course of the last ten years, we booked travel to Florida for holidays and birthdays and whatever days. We ate ice cream or mashed potatoes or whatever we felt like eating. We worked, if there was work to be done. We attended weddings or we got married. We had babies. We went to more funerals. We cried. A lot. We laughed a lot, too.


Four Years Ago

Stephen learned that his Dad had been stricken with four aggressive cancers. I finished a summer-long Scripty gig, and then it seemed that everything in my industry was done with me. I had unemployment benefits that were less and less each year, and with Stephen's level of job satisfaction also declining, we made a joint decision to move to North Carolina, close to his Dad, so we could nurse the man back to full health, Stephen could learn a new industry (handiwork) from him, and I could see what the film industry looked like in a right-to-work state.

Four years ago tomorrow, Stephen and I left North Hollywood in my Honda Civic, with two kitties on leashes, and everything we owned either packed in a shipping container, making its way across the country on a truck or train, or packed in the Civic with us, or given away to friends or left on the curb of North Hollywood. We were moving "forever". We weren't rushed. We planned to leave four years ago tomorrow rather than four years ago today, because I wasn't going to be driving on the Sadiversary of Mommy's traffic death. 

It took us six days to drive across the country with the cats. After one night in a "pet-friendly" hotel that cost us more financially and emotionally and in terms of time (trying to get both cats out of the crawl space UNDER the head of the bed), we opted to leave the furbabies in the car each night, taking turns to visit them in the wee small hours to make sure they were okay. They were more than okay; they were fabulous. They had food & water which they barely consumed; they had a litter box which they barely used; they had the run of the car AT NIGHT when they were wired. Had any stranger tried to fuck with the car, he'da gotten his ass kicked by our little fireballs.

Roughly halfway through the trip, we drove up to the Grand Canyon. No, it wasn't technically "on our way", but when your country has something that spectacular just a touch "out of the way" and you've never seen it (Stephen hadn't), then you stop. I spent some time with the babies while Stephen talked to his Dad on the phone. That was the last time they heard each other's voices.

Four years ago, five days hence, Stephen's Dad lost his battle with chemotherapy. No, the cancer didn't kill him, although #CancerSucks. #ChemoSucks too. It was the chemo that killed him. Four years ago, five days hence, I did all the driving. We arrived at my brother's house that evening. His wife was prepared for our arrival, and for our emotional state, and she had cooked a lovely meal for us. We were both pretty much wiped out that day. So we ate comfort food, and we cried a lot.

Four years ago, six days hence, we arrived at Stephen's stepmom's house. PEOPLE arrived at her house. FAMILY arrived at her house. Her Friends arrived at her house. We ate comfort food. We helped make arrangements. We ate comfort food. We got the keys to our new apartment and settled the furbabies in, without us or any of our stuff (we had all of their toys, of course). We ate comfort food, and we cried a lot. We laughed a little, but mostly, we went numb.

Over the course of the last four years, we booked travel to Florida for holidays and birthdays and whatever days. We ate ice cream or mashed potatoes or whatever we felt like eating. We worked, if there was work to be done. We attended weddings or we got married. We had babies. We went to more funerals. We cried. A lot. We laughed a lot, too.



We're back in North Hollywood, California. When we returned from our failed "North Carolina Forever" experiment, I got to work as a Script Supervisor for a phenomenal short film called Fragile Storm. It made its way through the film festival circuit, and it's being released online for all the world to see on November 6th. It is absolutely scary and lovely and heartwrenching, and I'm so #Blessed and #Grateful to have been able to participate in its creation. Whatever it takes for you to see it, please take those steps.

Stephen found employment at a Pet Feed and Supply house with a bit of Hollywood history. During his employment there, he has learned more than you could ever hope to know about dogs, cats, hamsters, and probably birds. He loves sharing that knowledge with his customers, and he's very good at his job. He was even recently promoted, and it would appear that the company is grooming him for a steady climb up that particular "corporate" ladder. So he takes good care of our babies, and everybody else's, too.

My employment has been pretty steady, and my unemployment benefits "bank" is back in a reasonable range as well. My last Scripty gig was another one for the record books, and in just a few days, there will be a Big Announcement regarding that show and plans for the future. I'm pretty happy with all of that.

We have a pretty sweet apartment, and the furbabies seem to like it. They do seem to fight a bit more than they used to, over the catnip toys more often than not, and they've both shown us a concerning (for us) wound here or there. Nothing SuperPetMan Stephen can't resolve.

But also lately, Stephen's Mom has been exhibiting signs of dementia. We can't move across the country again, so he and his brother made arrangements to move her to Idaho, where the brother lives with his wife and sons. Her condition improved in her assisted-living facility so close to her grandbabies. Everything was peaches and cream.

Except that she's gotten worse. She's gotten belligerent with the staff. She's gotten paranoid. She's lonely and afraid, and so she stays in her room all day, not socializing with people who want to be her friend. And she forgets things, and people, and events (like whether or not she has eaten lunch). So she has to be "upgraded" to a memory care facility. We don't know what that really means, in either the short or the long term.

Over the course of the next however-many years, we will book travel to Idaho for holidays or birthdays or whatever days. We'll eat ice cream or mashed potatoes or whatever we feel like eating. We'll work, if there's work to be done. We'll attend weddings. We'll go to more funerals. We'll cry. A lot. But we'll laugh a lot, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October's almost ober

I know I haven't posted much this month, what with all the long Scripty gig and the moving and the background acting and my breathing being fucked up and my tooth hurting enough for me to get it pulled before I lose my dental insurance and the hubby having a birthday and whatnot. Oh wait, you probably don't know about all of those things.

I know you know about the long Scripty gig, and the move. I talk enough about background acting, I imagine you've put the two and the two together, to know that I have of late, been blessed with a day of work each week since the Scripty gig ended.

But I haven't mentioned the rest, so here goes:

You know I have allergies; I've mentioned that plenty. The working long days in a very dry environment, combined with packing, downsizing, transporting, unpacking, and cleaning have really done a number on my sinuses. Some days I clear my throat all day, with short-burst coughs, hoping for a little productivity there. Some days I cough my fool head off all day, hearing my lungs bubble, and I really hope to cough up all that bubbly phlegm. Yum! And some days, I honestly can't collect a full breath.

It got so bad one day, that as I was walking past the Kaiser Permanente facility, I pulled out my Kaiser card and called to make an appointment. That was on a Thursday, and the earliest appointment was for Monday, but the chick told me I could call Friday morning to see if there had been any cancellations. She also asked, very pointedly, whether I was having difficulty breathing right then. The answer was YES, but not to the point that I was incapable of breathing at all. I simply couldn't fill my lungs. I felt like I was at about 65-70% capacity, which, while incredibly uncomfortable and probably not "healthy" in the long run, would be sufficient before my appointment, especially if I could be seen on Friday rather than after a long, arduous weekend. I did not feel a need to call 911 or get rushed to an ER.

I was able to be seen on Friday, and wouldn't you know it? It was a "throat-clearing" day. Like when you finally take your noisy car to the mechanic, only to have it purr like a kitten. Ennyhoo, the doc prescribed for me a rescue inhaler and taught me how to use it. He was unable to specifically diagnose anything, but his assumption was that I had a viral strain of bronchitis, and was in the clearing stages of it anyway. The inhaler would only be used if needed, and if things got worse, I'd check back in, and he'd order some x-rays. I have, so far, taken fewer than 20 "hits", and you take 2 hits each time, so in the past week-ish, fewer than 10 incidents of needing it. That's good, right?

Except today, I was back to wanting to cough up a lung again. And I used it last night, in front of Stephen, and we had a convo regarding my breathing getting better. He seems to think it is; I'm on the fence. It's not like I'm logging when/where I have difficulty vs. am breathing "just fine". This morning's coughing fit combined with insufficient intake tells me I'm not yet outta the woods. I'm okay, though! Don't panic! Not time to say good-byes or anything! I just need to be back to 100% capacity, and I'm really not there yet. The inhaler helps, though. I'm glad to have it.

That brings us to my tooth:

We got back to California a couple of years ago, and somewhere along the line, I started grinding my teeth at night. I bought a couple of bruxism guards, just OTC, so I could stop that. Then I started grinding them in daylight hours, and I noticed it when it was happening; kinda like "chewing" on my own teeth. Somewhere else along the line, I got dental insurance. So I saw a dentist. Had a cleaning and whatnot. Decided NOT to get the root canal and crown, because rea$on$; got my gums irrigated instead.
Slow-forward to today (or really, yesterday)... the infection in my gums was actually in my tooth. My front lower right molar (you might call it your "six-year" molar) has been infected for at least a year, if not a year-and-a-half or even longer. I generally have pretty good dental hygiene, so I just did a little oil-pulling and maintenance, and if I chewed gum, I always made sure it was from Melaleuca, knowing that it was sweetened with xylitol, which is actually GOOD for your teeth, as well as having a little tea tree oil in it, too (microscopic quantities of a healing antiseptic oil).

But anytime I would chew said gum, if I happened to chew on the right side, I started tasting the infection.Yuck. This also happened a little with general chewing of basic foods, but it wasn't as noticeable as with minty-fresh gum. Also, sometimes chewing would cause pain. Huh; you been chewing on your chewing surfaces, unconsciously, night-and-day for eighteen months and you find that chewing something edible hurts? Go figure.

So two days ago, I made another dental appointment, for yesterday. For an extraction. I'm tired of this thing buggin' me; yank it OUT! New dentist, since

  1. we'd moved, and
  2. I wasn't honestly all that impressed with the one who was so eager to recommend crown$ and root canal$
I was seen pretty quickly by new, local (walking-distance) dentist's hygienist, who, after understanding what I wanted, took a couple x-rays... of Just The #BadTooth. Showed me onscreen how we "knew" it was bad, asked if I was planning to replace it (not today), and then sent the doc in. Doc reiterated what Hygienist had said about it being a #BadTooth, beyond hope or help. Recommended that we remove it! Huh! So the cashiers informed me of what my bill would be for the day (not bad at $23 for the extraction and $25 for my not-yet-used annual deductible), they had me sign some more paperwork regarding SURGERY and all the possible #BadOutcomes, and then the doc came back to give me the first (really unpleasant) shot. When he left to let that take effect, I took a pic of my x-ray and then tweeted "buh-bye"... not that that tweet ever left my phone, but whatevs.

Doc came back to check on me; found that my mouth was sufficiently incoherent, and gave me a series of a few more, slightly-less-unpleasant shots. Then he said "you're going to feel some pretty intense pressure but you shouldn't feel any pain"... and then #BadTooth was outta my head and on the tray next to me, after watching his right hand see-saw just a coupla times. Suction out the blood; apply some gauze; gimme after-care instructions and send me to billing. Wham-bam, thank you, Doc!

Part of my after-care instructions involve eating only soft foods. So, so far, I have consumed a fruit-yogurt smoothie that I blended, mashed potatoes that Stephen made, another blended fruit-yogurt smoothie, and I'm currently consuming more mashed potatoes that I just made. Three days of soft foods. Who's complaining? I'm just feeling a little #Bitey, that's all. And curiously wanting to eat salty things. I would kill for some potato or tortilla chips right now, y'all. 

Also have three days of not really brushing or rinsing my teeth, which definitely sucks. Last night, I soaked a bruxism guard in a tiny amount of mouthwash and then slept with it in, so I wouldn't accidently bite/grind into/over a new wound. I've rolled the smallest volume of mouthwash around and then just let it fall out into the sink, careful not to spit. No spitting or sucking allowed until I get a nice big bloodclot in the toothhole, that will fall out on its own in the next (hopefully less than three) days. But here's the upside: I have not been day-grinding! Just no need, I guess. Yay!

So ... you remember when I told you Stephen was up for a promotion? He got it, and that's part of the "why-we-like-the-new-apartment-so-much" euphoria we're experiencing. We bought him a new bicycle so he could easily get to work at his pre-promotion store, but the promotion was also a transfer to another store. The new store is a good hour-long busride from here, but that's only because of waiting for transfers, etc. It will end up being a really good bike ride, once Stephen figures out the best route for that and time-of-day, etc. When he gets fully settled in, his commute will likely be a combo of bus and bike, variable from day-to-day, depending on his shifts.

But He Started Working At The New Store ON His Birthday. In the past, he'd been the kinda guy to request off for his birthday. I have never requested "off" for my birthday, because I have #FOMO, and if I'm at work on my birthday, you're probably going to celebrate with me there, right? And now, with entertainment being my industry, Any Day On Set is A Good Day, so the only way to top that is to be On Set on My Birthday. Right? Well, that's how I feel.

But anyway, back to Stephen's birthday. Thursday the 20th was his last day at the old place, and he came home a bit melancholy. It had been a bittersweet day, because that crew is definitely going to miss him. But also, he was feeling a little trepidation regarding starting the new gig on his birthday, not knowing if his mom would try to call and get frustrated when she reached his voicemail or whatever. So on Friday, he went to work, very early because he had to catch unfamiliar buses, and when I got up, I called his brother. To chat. About the fact that it was Dudebro's Birthday, Dude. He said he knew; he'd already tried calling, and Stephen would be at lunch at 1:15, so he'd make sure that mom would call in that timeframe. Yay. Nice chattin' witcha, Dude.

So Stephen came home from his first day at his promoted position feeling only slightly overwhelmed by the schedule of when he'd need to know all the new stuff he was learning, but overall, he'd had a good day, and we enjoyed a good meal, and all the things were working out. He'd had a brief but lovely phone visit with his mom, and his brother had relayed some lovely things about the extended family as well. And his new team is a good one! And he hadn't had to get to work from our lousy place in Burbank! Yay!

I hope to get back to a more "regular" blogging schedule; I hope you haven't been missing me too much. Comment here, and I'll reply!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A recipe I posted five years ago on the facebooks... updated?

with "saucy" topping
This recipe is cobbled together from three other recipes, as I was unable to find the exact instructions and ingredients that made sense for me.  The result is DELICIOUSNESS; your results may vary. ;)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 ½ - 2 c. graham crackers                             1/3 c. packed brown sugar          
heaping ½ t. ground cinnamon                   1/3 – ½ c. unsalted butter, melted
In a bowl or blender or food processor, combine the graham cracker (crumbs), brown sugar, and cinnamon; add melted butter and mix well.  Press into the bottom of a 10-inch (or larger) springform pan.  You may find that your pan isn’t quite “non-stick” – if that is the case, grease lightly first.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes; cool.

3 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese or variant (I used one pkg. ea. light cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and crème freche)
scant 1 c. sugar                                  4-6 eggs or equivalent liquid egg               1 c. coconut milk
½ - 1 t. vanilla extract                      up to 2 c. flaked coconut
Beat cream cheeses until smooth; add sugar, egg, coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut IN STAGES as your blender will allow.  If you have found UNSWEETENED coconut to use, you may care to not “scant” your cup of sugar.  As I don’t shop at Whole Paycheck, my coconut is always sweetened, so I short my sugar.  Pour mixture into pie crust; bake at 350 degrees for one hour, fifteen minutes (1:15 or :75).  Cool.

10 oz. lemon curd sauce (Trader Joe's has it…mmm)                        8 oz. heavy whipping cream
Depending on whether you want your sauce to be “saucy” or “fluffy”, blend these two ingredients and pour over baked cheesecake in this order:

Curd in blender, liquefying, add whipping cream, blend until BLENDED; pour over cheesecake while it’s still kinda hot (remove cake from springform pan first).  This will ooze over the edges similar to a glaze.  This is how I did it on my first try, and as I said before, the result was DELICIOUSNESS.  MMM!

Whipping cream in blender, becoming “whipped”; add curd and blend until BLENDED.  It’s possible that once you’ve made whipped cream, the curd will be too heavy to blend, so you may have to fold it in instead.  Pour over COLD cheesecake, possibly still in springform pan.  Return to refrigerator; consume the next day or later.

FF to yesterday/today:
1 wrapped pkg within a box of graham crackers produces ~2c crumbs, FYI
I was MOS (mit out sugar {of the brown variety}) when I started this recipe yesterday, so the baking was to wait until today. I wrapped early from my day on set at The Bros, so I immediately un-refrigerated all of the cold ingrediments so I can get this DELICIOUSNESS baked and recipe posted by dinner-ish? Oh, thanks for reminding me to take the pizza dough out so it can rest long enough to bake for dinner-ish. ;)
I used two 8oz blocks of regular cream cheese and one 8oz tub of mascarpone on this one. DELICIOUSNESS (pre-bake, at least). Also, we finally found Bob's Red Mill unsweetened coconut flakes at Big Lots, but it's still sweet enough, if you're using 2c of it (which, of course, DUH, I did), so I still scanted my 1c sugar for the filling.
Planning on doing "fluffy" topping today, so there will be more pics again, so you can decide for yourself which version looks more appetizing for you to try. If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's for your lemon curd, um... sorry. It's just so good.

FINAL UPDATE (7:30-ish in the p.m.):
I have discovered that I am way too FOMO for "fluffy" topping. Well, I AM FOMO, but really, I'm just too impatient for "fluffy". And maybe I should have chilled the lemon curd prior to attempting to add it to my perfect whipped cream. I ended up with something between "fluffy" and "saucy". It's still gonna taste like DELICIOUSNESS, tomorrow. There WILL be "chill" time (blood) tonight! (Thank you, Inigo Montoya).
Also, no pizza for dinner tonight. Yeah, the dough had plenty of "rest" time, but the only other time I've used this oven so far yet, I baked pre-made Trader Joe's cinnamon rolls... on a pizza screen (because I hadn't yet found my baking pans)... and a lot of the goo dripped down onto the oven's bottom... and baking my cheesecake today generated what is probably a lethal cinnamon (i.e. "mustard") gas. I gotta clean the oven before I bake again (come with me), if I want to live.

Here are today's pics:
on the left is the largest mixing bowl I own; it was FULL

these bowls are from my childhood; when I use them, I remember Mommy

yes, I used All Four.
No, I coulda just used largest & smallest.
Yes, I did wash and dry them all.

Gratuitous 4-bowl shot
... for my Tweeps who asked,
because they ALSO have a set,
ALSO from their childhoods.

Ta-Daaaaa! Ready to CHILL (not eat).
Yes, some of its edge stuck to the springform pan, which I DID "lightly grease".
Yes, I made sure the pan went into the dishwasher without food debris attached.
Shut up. This is a thing I made, so I get to eat what I clean.
(Yes, I licked all the bowls. Shut up, I said.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Blogging? What's that?

It's been a LONG time since I've checked in with you fine folks, and

  1. Please accept my PROFUSE apologies
  2. Please allow me to explain my last month or so away (or, ya know, make a buncha EXCUSES)
As you know, I got booked on a long-term Scripty gig. Boy, I sure hope you actually know that. Pretty sure I was still able to post something after my first full week of it. Yes, there's probably a link here, in case you managed to not read that post, so you can read that post. That gig ended, as all showbiz gigs do (yup, even shows like Bones, which provide work for their crews for 11 seasons or more, are still considered "temp" jobs, and at the end of each season, the crews are "laid off" from their temp gigs and have to find other work. This is a fact that a good friend of mine {the best boy electrician on Bones} will easily verify for you, if he reads this blog and you happen to know him). I was able to use my much-needed time off to finalize moving us into our new place.

We Moved! We're back, closer to our old 'hood, much happier than we were in Burbank, and even though we officially rented a place with ~100+ square feet of more space, what we didn't account for was the "additional" storage afforded by the previous space. Yup, we're going to be living out of bins and boxes for probably awhile, this go-round, kids. Nature of the beast. Here's the pluses, tho:
  • we scaled down, AGAIN. We both went through our closet/dressers, and we gave away four or more large bags of clothing. We were going to find someplace to sell them, but that was just another hassle we didn't want, and the day we were planning to walk those bags over to the donation drop-off, we were stopped by a homeless family who were happy to take them off our hands. FOUR (or more?) large bags of clothing. If they wear them, great. If they sell them, great. If they donate them somewhere, great. We win; they win. [I'd love to know what was the final destination of the evening gowns; there were some really nice ones I was sorry will never fit me again]
  • new place has washer and dryer, In. The. Apartment. This may not be a big deal to you readers. It totally is, in Los Angeles. Some places have only laundromats every corner of every block, because they don't even have a single coin-op w/d in the building. Yes, we realize that the space occupied by these two items would be awesome storage. We're okay with being able to wash a load at our leisure; dry it at our leisure; Put It Away at our leisure.
  • kitchen is open and large and has a bar; We had to purchase a new refrigerator. We now have a very grown-up fridge, and we're not stuck with some cheap-ass "apartment" fridge. This beauty may manage to outlast us. Kidding. Or not. I have no idea how long a fridge lasts; I've moved too often in the last decade.
  • we're on the first floor (technically). If you came to visit us and had to park on the street (where there is plenty of parking available), you'd have to climb a flight to get to the security door to have Stephen's phone buzz you in. But if you're riding in my car or have a key to the building, you can enter from ground level and take the elevator up to the "first" floor. This improves the moving experience and the shopping experience and the delivery-of-large-items-like-refrigerators-and-wardrobes experience, as well as the playing of Rock Band 4 drums experience. No Downstairs Neighbors to complain.
  • there's no longer a city ordinance banning smoking for us to feel we have a right to enforce. Our last neighbors flaunted their lifestyles vs. the law, and because we had horrible airflow through the apartment, we suffered greatly. Our immediate next-door neighbors here smoke, and sometimes we smell it in the kitchen. I've spoken with the young man; I've met his mom; he wants both of them to quit; Stephen and I both have our stories to share without judgment and will be able to support Josh and Jeanette in their journeys. As long as they don't smoke in the general courtyard area, we actually experience only about 10% of the secondhand smoke we used to, back when the law was on our side.
  • the new apartment has central heat/air, and the heat/hot water/stove are gas. This is a HUGE "plus", in that the apartment has yet to be uncomfortably hot or cold, and gas is much cheaper than electricity, and Burbank Water and Power was a big Screw-You kind of utility.
  • we've "cut the cable" because the new building doesn't allow satellite television. We're learning what this will really mean for our tv viewing (will we be delayed on our British stuff, like Doctor Who and Call the Midwife? Time will tell), but so far, we're loving the cost savings. This also applies to our internet, because even though AT&FuckingT is one of the absolute worst companies around when it comes to their customer service, and even though I spent about a week babysitting for service calls, and even though it took no fewer than three technicians and phone contact with a supervisor to "Git 'er Done", we did manage to finally get set up for basic internet that seems to be working well enough. We're not wi-fi-ing the streaming tv, that's done through an ethernet cable; what that means is cheaper wi-fi on the whole and uninterrupted streaming video. Win-Win! If you're familiar with the Doctor Who reboot (i.e. are a "fan"), then think of the David Tennant episode "Gridlock" and equate "the fast lane" with actual wi-fi "noise" that steals your signal and eats your car. This is, essentially, how the last tech explained it all to me, and it totally made sense. We only pay for 6 (yup, kids, that's right, SIX) Mbps but because we're never on more than two devices at a time and the streaming is hard-wired, we absolutely don't NEED to pay for more than that. Any single person or couple, kid-less, who boasts about having the "fastest" broadband, is probably paying for too much and has been suckered in by their provider. Jus' sayin'.
What else? I've managed to update my photos over at Central since I've cut off all my hair again, and I've booked one day a week of BG work since the Scripty gig ended. Stephen interviewed for a floor supervisor position that was given to a person who actually worked in that particular store (setting a precedent within the company for not transferring a promotion elsewhere), but has just recently interviewed again for another floor supervisor position in a store that is not technically closer than his current position but is not inconvenient from our new apartment. Oh, and we decided to get him a bicycle when we moved, since the "walk" to his current job would have taken for-freakin'-ever. So he has a bike, and a promotion that will start any day, and a new home, and a busy-enough wife.

And the cats seem to like it here. Daddy asked for pics, so here's what I just took. Yeah, we're still livin' outta bins. Didn't I say that already?
looking out the front door

looking IN the front door/window

central (gas) heat and (elec) air, Baby!

a view from the living room

a peek into the bedroom

the bahth (smaller than prior)

Washer AND Dryer, kids!
If you don't feel "caught up", please comment below and ask me stuff. I intend to get back to my regular program of "tuning in" here. 
it's the little things, amiright?
muh super-short 'do