Thursday, November 08, 2012

Plotting improvements

A long weekend is on the way, and the past two weekends have been busy with socializing and activities so I am plotting household improvements. There may be rain, so Matt might not be able to make further progress on exposing the sprinkler system to inspect the pipes for leaks. I think its time for more painting. So far only the kitchen, entryway and one small accent wall in the living room have been repainted. The rest of the house interior is a depressingly yellow-red shade of beige.

I have to be careful not to bite off more than I can chew. Besides painting we want to replace all the loose-fitting electrical sockets (plugs just...fall out of them) and install skirting boards to replace the 2" flat molding that barely covers the transition between wall and floor.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


A happy result for the election last night! Plus record-breaking numbers of women in senate.

On a lighter note, I got buzzed by a hummingbird this morning as I left for work. I heard a familiar bzzzzzzzzt of little wings as it zoomed over from our neighbor's tree to investigate a hummingbird-attractant plant I added to our front patio over the weekend, but stopped and hovered a little behind the plant and stared at me for  a moment before zooming back to it's perch in the tree. After I walked by it came back and thoroughly checked out every flower on the plant. I guess it really does attract hummingbirds, that's the first I've seen since we moved. I shall have to get a couple more of these plants and put them near windows the cats sit in so they can be entertained by the birdie action.

I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the plant, but the flowers look like pink broom, and it's a low shrubby type thing suitable for full sun and arid climate and must not be fed/fertilized. Perfect for some of our rockier patches of ground.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage

This very well-done parody/tribute to a Lady Gaga song and video is one of the reasons I make sure to vote whenever I can. I learned about the women's suffrage movement in school, at an all girls school that was founded four years before British women were granted limited voting rights (married women only, and only local elections). Full voting rights for women in the UK did not come until 1928. Less than 100 years ago!

In the USA, right now, there is another battle being pitched. Bodily autonomy and equal pay are still political footballs to be kicked back and forth instead of the fundamental protected rights they should be.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Resorting to the prompts

It only took me 4 days to run out of things to say. NaBloPoMo prompts to the rescue!

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States? 

My thoughts on tomorrow's election are that I really bloody well hope that Barack Obama is re-elected. The current Republican stances on many things frankly terrify me. Especially as a woman of childbearing age. They would have me die of eclampsia rather than have a late-term termination. How nice of them.

My views on elections in general are that I like them. I have voted since I turned 18, first in the UK then here in California. I'm still getting familiar with the system here and I end up leaving no vote for local things like education board supervisor positions because I have no clue who the candidatesa re and what policies they advocate. It's hard to find concrete information because all of the candidates say "I will improve things!" but I want to know what that improved school system or local city council will look like after said improvement. What if said improvements are actually thing I consider worse than the status quo? How will these improvements be brought about?

My favourite part of elections is sitting with Matt and looking up the California propositions. It takes a few hours of homework to prepare for a general election!

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Saturday morning I participated in the Color Run San Diego, a 5k event where volunteers bombard the runners (and walkers) with brightly coloured cornstarch at every 1km marker. Simple, a little odd, but very fun. We started off looking like this:

And an hour later (we were strolling the route pretty slowly). We looked like this:

A the blue station, Matt and I both grabbed some colour and went for the braveheart look. His was much more effective as he started with a clean face, I had already acquired some smears on my face so my attempt at a blue woad effect looked a but more muddy.

Photos courtesy of Rachel, who is the one who started out with bright red hair even pre-powdering.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Search terms that bring you to my door

Given that this is "all time" search terms it's clear that not many people arrive here through Google searches. Moving into our house seems to have boosted my Google traffic as three of the top ten searches relate to the theme of "ranch style house". Perhaps I should turn this into a home-renovation blog. Considering current budget and time constraints it would be a very slow and seldom-updated home renovation blog. I doubt anybody wants to hear about how it's taking us nearly 2 months  of Saturday mornings to uncover and repair our sprinkler pipes in preparation for re-seeding the lawn.

"An embarrassment of bacon" will take curious searchers to this post about my surprise 30th birthday party where I received a pound of bacon.

I hope I have not contributed to fear of rodent-flu with my facetious posting years ago about our lab full of mouse researchers all coming down with flu. For the record: there is no such thing as mouse flu. Rodents can carry hanta virus though, so it is still recommended to get rid of any infestations promptly.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day of the Dead

Yesterday ended with a panic attack. Frozen in my seat, weeping, eventually finding the breath to ask Mr Riveter to help me find the anti-anxiety medicine I'm to take (ideally) before it gets to that point. Sometimes it sneaks up. There is a lot of pressure in parts of my life. We bought a house in February that is needing more work than we expected, my parents and sister are all living together in Berlin while Schwestie undergoes chemotherapy for stomach cancer, I'm still settling into my job, and we've been trying to short sale our old condo since we moved out of it in February.

We have been inching closer and closer to closing the deal on selling the condo, and yesterday I found out that it might fall through after all. We're still figuring out what the financial implications of that might be. The worst case scenario relates to certain tax exemptions not being renewed for 2013 and us possibly ending up with a Very Large Tax Bill™. We'll see.

This evening we are going to see the Dia de los Meurtos procession in Old Town, then to visit the most famous haunted house in San Diego, the Whaley House. Hopefully nothing there will be panic-inducing.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


On Halloween night I got home last night after dark. My husband had lit a wood fire in the fireplace, the porch light was on to attract trick-or-treaters, a basket of fun-sized sweeties was set by the door and we shared a meal of tomato soup and cheese on toast while waiting for the hoards of adorable children in costumes to arrive and demand their sugary tribute.

The first callers were the four young teenagers from next door, in very well done costumes. Some people frown on teens trick or treating, but I say it's fair enough if you make the effort to dress up. The boys were a teenage mutant ninja turtle and a skeleton, the girls were a princess and a fairy. They had their chihuahua dog with them, in it's own little super hero costume. Half an hour later a father and his son of 3 or 4 strolled up. The boy was in a ninja costume and seemed much more interested in seeing a cat and admiring our solar garden lights than in bagging some candy. Then a solo pre-teen dressed as a mafioso came by and that was it! No more visitors for us, and our ridiculous stash of candy was barely touched.

This morning I filled my lunch bag with the surplus and added to the heap of sweets on the sideboard at work. Leaving all the favourites at home for us of course.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Marking Time

My sister starts chemotherapy tomorrow for advanced stomach cancer. My parents are there with her, I'm 6,000 miles away. We are all terrified.

I am living in limbo, waiting to hear more news. Hoping for good news after a month of bad to worse, hoping for an easy and effective course of chemo. Hoping for another year. Or five. Twenty would be even  nicer.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Déjà vu

I have been using Google Documents a lot recently. We use it at work, and it reminded me what a handy tool it is. I've started creating the agenda for our Fellowship's Social Action Committee meetings as a Google Doc and now I don't have to remember where I left that slip of paper last month, I can just grab it from my email account and re-edit for the new month. This morning I was going through to see what else I had created, deleting obsolete files and making folders, tidying up my virtual desk. I came across this list of things to do from a few years ago. 

Weekend Household Chores: a list made with all good intentions by yours truly, Nov 2008

  • Install floor transition and last of baseboard in master bedroom
  • Install remaining baseboards in hall & dining area
  • Caulk Living Room
  • Plastic Drawer Unit in Study
  • Attack Master Bedroom closet shelves - what the hell is all that stuff and do we really need it?
  • Organize underbed drawers- Same as closet. Reclaim space!
  • Go through ornaments & tchotchkes - throw stuff out
  • (Reorganize Rosie's Yarn stash)

We moved out of that flat in February of this year. We left behind spare planks of laminate flooring, and the uninstalled transition strips and baseboards for bedroom and dining area. Just add handyperson for a finished living area.  We did caulk the baseboard/floor join in the living room, though probably not that ambitious weekend. The ornaments and tchotchkes were never thinned out, we do have a little more space for such things but a purge is still in order. After we actually unpack them.

My favourite is "what the hell is all that stuff and do we really need it?"

Amen sister.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Object Permanence

Our bed is positioned in the corner of the room with the foot against the wall so that we can have our dresser and reading lamps at the head of the bed and maximize the remaining floor space. An added bonus is the ability to lounge in bed and look straight out the window at the trees in the back garden. It means I have to clamber over Mr Riveter to get in and out of bed, since we're rather fond of each other the clambering isn't a problem. It also makes changing the bedding a little ungainly, but sometimes having a good view of the space between the wall and the foot of the bed has unexpected payoffs.

The day after moving I could not find my wallet. I had had it when we went out for dinner on moving day, but it wasn't in my handbag, nor on my dresser, nor under the bed, nor any other place I thought to look for it. I had been carefully hanging my handbag on the bedpost so I would not lose it's contents in the chaos of the move. Whoops.

I had a little cry about the $230 cash that had been in left in my wallet after the movers ended up costing a lot less than expected. I shed an extra tear for the nice wallet itself, a peacock blue fake-leather beaut I had taken a year to hunt down on sale. Then I remembered that I'd tucked my social security card in there for safe keeping and had another little cry. At least my passports were safely in a different pocket of my handbag, so I could identify myself as a citizen as long as nobody minded them still being in my maiden name.

Life moved on. I called banks and credit card companies and told them "I need to change my address and get a card reissued, I lost my wallet, yes it's really me, please don't send the cards to my old address". A smaller replacement wallet was bought to house the replacement cards. I got a replacement driver's license with the new address on it and even received the new Social Security card in time to get paid at my temporary job in March.

On Saturday morning I was making the bed, and as I tucked in the foot of the sheet I noticed sunlight glinting off a mysterious object wedged between the frame and the box springs. I reached down and pulled out...the beloved peacock blue wallet. Right where I'd left it. Sort of.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Adventures in homeownership.

Yesterday was the hottest day so far since we moved in, it was a little over 90ºF and the house stayed under 70ºF, even with a window open, and coming and going to the hot garage. This bodes well for the days over 100ºF in the summer!

We tried to hook our dishwasher up over the weekend, but after 3 trips to Home Depot we finally managed to find a long enough hose, but not the right valve. The valve labeled with the right size doesn't work, so it was either in the wrong box, or what we have isn't really a "half-half-three-eighths" valve. We even took the old valve with us to "make sure we got the right size". On Sunday afternoon I came back into the kitchen from starting a load of laundry in the garage and the doorknob came off in my hand. Cue 4th trip to Home Depot. At least doorknobs don't come in a plethora of sizes.

Meanwhile, the fridge is in the dining area, and will stay there till Matt gets home from Japan unless I decide to figure out the circular saw and cut a board to prop up it's back half to get it level. Even after that I'm not entirely sure I will be able to haul it up on to the board. So I will be going back to Home Depot for the 5th time in 3 days to get green paint. I might as well paint that wall while the fridge is pulled out. Should I have had my mail redirected to Home Depot instead of the house?

Friday, March 02, 2012

Happy Friday

I got the job! Clinical research project coordinator on a study related to Alzheimer's Disease. I'll be working in an office building very close to my old lab, so I can even meet my old workmates for a beer after work.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yellow house on the hill

Moving day was two weeks ago, and if moving house wasn't excitement enough I have also had two job interviews and started a temporary position (one month of full time work at the very end of a contract). They contacted me with an email that arrived just after the movers departed, and I felt very accomplished to have moved house and lined up work all before 11am. Around noon on the same day I got a call asking me to come in and interview for a permanent position at the University, this particular job is in "dream job" territory for me, and little fireworks started going off in my brain. I was (barely) sensible enough to request that we interview on Monday, not the very next day, giving me the weekend to locate a suitable outfit in the boxes labeled "Rosie's clothes". At least we were sensible enough to mark the clothes boxes "his" and "hers".

The house:


Classic 1970's "ranch style" California house. I like the cheerful yellow and white. We are almost at the top of a hill, you can see the fence at the top of the neighbour's property, and our lot actually extends a tiny bit further and includes a sliver of the top of the hill. It's very steep and the soil is sandy loam so at present all we can do is slither up, admire the view of the valley, pick our way down carefully, then knock the sand out of our shoes. There will be terracing once we learn more about landscaping and come up with a plan. The front lawn has held up rather well for being neglected for a couple of months, if this had been summer it would be dead from lack of water. I have seen a gopher in his burrow (grrr) in the back yard, a bunny (no warren) in the front yard, geckos skittering across the tree branches, magpies and crows trying to nab a gecko, and lots of little sparrow-ish birds I have yet to identify. No hummingbirds though. I will have to plant some hummingbird-attractant plants, I love watching them zoom about.

We get morning sun for about an hour coming in the front windows, and a little evening sun through the kitchen window on the side of the house, but overall there is little direct sun. It's an adjustment from our flat, which got sun almost all day through the side windows, but the place is still bright because we're in California. I suspect a similar place in Edinburgh would be quite gloomy.

Here we see Marble (left) and Taliesin (right) checking out the view from the dining room window. This was on the first morning when they were still trying to figure out what on earth was going on.


They seem to have settled in quite well. Lots of cuddles and reassurance from their pet humans, a regular supply of kibble, and interesting bird life out the windows make for happy cats. Tali loves playing peekaboo through the decorative wooden screen that separates the dining room from the living room, and made a bonus discovery that he can perch in one of the gaps and get the benefit of the electric convection heater beneath him.

Smugness incarnate:


The fly in the ointment: discovering surprise! water damage (with bonus black mold) in the kitchen, which means installing the dishwasher we brought with us from the flat is going to end up costing $2,000 for wall repair and half a new kitchen. Of course, had we not brought the dishwasher with us, we'd have been ignorantly adding to the water damage every time we ran the older, poorly installed model that came with the house.

Monday, February 06, 2012


Movers are scheduled to arrive first thing on Thursday, which means everything has to be in a box by the end of Wednesday. I think it was a little ambitious to think I could prepare to move inside two weeks while recovering from bronchitis.

Monday, January 23, 2012


es·crow [n. es-kroh, ih-skroh; v. ih-skroh, es-kroh]  

1. noun: a contract, deed, bond, or other written agreement deposited with a third person, by whom it is to be delivered to the grantee or promisee on the fulfillment of some condition.
2. verb (used with object): to place in escrow: The home seller agrees to escrow the sum of $1000 with his attorney.
: in escrow, in the keeping of a third person for delivery to a given party upon the fulfillment of some condition.
4. Rosie Idiom: to be in limbo, unable to blog or broadcast news, while compulsively drawing floor plans for furniture arrangements, plotting terracing schemes, browsing washing machines and clothesline set-ups and simultaneously trying not to get too attached to the idea.

The idea in question being a house we put an offer on late last year, and we have been in escrow (contract negotiation) over the holidays. Last Thursday we signed all the closing paperwork, so now it's just up to the selling bank (it's a repossessed foreclosure) to process everything and fork over the keys. Until we got the closing paperwork we did not feel we could count on the sale going through. Now we feel we can tell people, and start packing. Or at least thinking about packing.

It's a south-facing single-story "ranch style" house built in 1970, which almost counts as old here. It's in a safer neighborhood than our current place, a more residential area and is on a street that is not a handy shortcut for people getting bored with waiting for traffic lights on the nearby parallel main road. We are gaining 2 bedrooms (4 total, all on the small side), a garage, and our own garden. Front and back! the front garden has a large long-needled pine tree, some decorative palms, and a lawn, the back yard is lawn and a fence, then a steep hill behind the fence with another large long-needled pine tree. We get the hill too, but it's going to be much more useable once we get a chance to terrace it. We'd really like to put a deck up at the top and make use of the view out over the valley. 

We are very excited to have space to store and practice our hobbies, and to grow things. The weather here means we could have everything from guava and citrus fruits to lettuce and spinach. I think my parents are particularly excited that they will no longer be sleeping on the futon in the living room when they visit. Some days I'm most pleased about the prospect of a dedicated craft room, others it's the ability to install a washing line and take advantage of the giant natural dryer known as the Santa Ana winds. Condo complexes here don't allow drying of laundry out doors, it's seen as "trashy" to display one's freshly laundered underthings. 

Here is a short video I took the first day I went to view the house. Matt was away on a business trip so I was filming it for him. Hence the emphasis on the existence of a coat closet.  It was one of his criteria. The man in a black sweater is our Realtor.