Monday, January 29, 2007


Tri-Tip: So do you still want to go to lunch tomorrow?
Me: No. I got "Bobby" to take me instead.
Tri-Tip: LAME.
Me: But the next time you want to go to lunch, I will! I'll be your date! Not that you would EVER have a problem finding someone to eat lunch with, I'm sure.
Tri-Tip: Whatever, now I am annoyed, and I have work to do. Lameass.
Me: WHATEVER! I offered! And you rejected me!
Tri-Tip: No, I will not be responsible for you spending money! I don't want you blaming ME for your brokeass in your blog!
Me: That blog has become an animal.
Tri-Tip: Uh-huh. A scary one.

The Boy Currently Known As Bobby:
"Check out the girl to your left. Do we know her?"
Me, after a subtle once-over: "I don't think so. But she does look familiar."
TBCKAB: "She looks like a lot of girls I knew in college."
Me: "Me too! It's because she's so vanilla."
TBCKAB: "HA! No wonder she looks nothing like you."
Me: "That was random. What?"
TBCKAB: "You are nowhere near vanilla! You are the Ben and Jerry's Everything But... flavor!"
Me: "HA! Everything But! They should hire me to sell the flavor."
TBCKAB: "They'd have to make a vegan one."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Seattle Saga, Continued

Hello, my name is Aarwenn (Hi, Aarwenn, and why the hell couldn’t you have picked an online handle that would be easier to spell?) and...hey! Want to go ride bikes?

Hello. I am easily distracted. As a person, as a writer, as a thinker, as a resident. Some of you may remember the Seattle Saga from before. Just now, in writing this post, I re-read a lot of my old posts from March and April. I can’t believe now how scared I was to move, and how scared I was of the crippling emotions that haunted me in West Seattle, and how scared I was to live alone. I moved in April, and it was such amazing experience that I never looked back! I forgot that I was scared! I finally have this “living” thing all worked out!

HA! Said Fate.

The Seattle Saga, Continued

In September of this past year, a very weird and bad and scary thing happened, and I talked around it at the time, but there’s no point in hiding the truth now: Titan attacked the mailman at my old apartments.

It was a random and terrible occurrence. I had Titan off leash and he ran down the stairs ahead of me and before I could get there, the damage had been done. The mailman was fine, physically, but he was extremely unhappy. It was not good. I was terrified that Titan was going to have to be put down. In the first few hours following the incident, I would have happily pushed the plunger myself. I owe a lot to Tacompton Tiffany and T-Town, who consoled me over the phone for many hours as I roamed the streets on that warm September night. The Animal Control Officer came two days later to assess the situation. Fortunately, he loved Titan—who doesn’t?—so the incident passed with just a report and a small fine for his unlicensed state. (Who knew you had to license your dog in Tacoma AND Seattle?) No doctor’s bills, no lawsuits. And as far as I know the Post Office has not been purposely sneezing all over my mail.

I was in the clear with the law and the Postal Service, but the apartment complex refused to renew my lease, not surprising, although they gave me an additional month to find another place to stay and wrote me (and Titan!) a good recommendation. Not that it helped. In early October I was still pretty shaken up, and in the middle of October I was celebrating the LT’s birthday, and in late October we were in Boston, and so it got to be the 24th or 25th of October and I still had no place to live. Come November, I would be homeless.

It was around this time that I thought I might buy a condo instead of renting. Someplace permanent! They couldn’t just kick me out! I wouldn’t be wasting rent! Ha. Yes. Has anyone ever tried to look for a condo in the dead of winter in the Rainy City? In the first two months of my search, maybe two or three condos appeared that would even come close to fitting my criteria. And they were terrible.

So, my condo search was failing and I hadn’t put any work into finding an apartment instead. Enter my friend Bobby, who had this on-and-off boyfriend, named Mike, and Mike owned a house in the Central District, and he had an extra room, and Bobby, may his possible children be blessed for all eternity, approached Mike FOR me and asked him if he’d be willing to rent to me, and Hecate be blessed, he was. So much so that HE emailed ME and offered his extra room. October 30th had arrived and suddenly a new place had fallen into my lap.

“It’s for six months or less, because I’m looking for a condo,” I said, and he said, “Great.”

Hello, January. By early January, a scant two months later, I still couldn’t find a condo, I was getting tired of looking, and Mike got some news: He was being transferred to the Heartland of America and had to sell his house! He sent me a frantic email: “I need you out ASAP! Sorry! No offense!”

Me: “...ohshit.”

The condo market was still sluggish and I was giving up hope, and so I decided to look for apartments again, and within five days, I found two perfect ones. I lost the first one and got the second one, and so, ladies and gents, on February second I am MOVING AGAIN. This will be the third time I have moved in ten months, but of course that is nothing unusual.

The new place is great, and I have included another map. This lease is a year long. The idea of not having to rent a moving truck for the next twelve months is my idea of heaven.
Labels make everything better.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sure Happy I Passed

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade US History

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

...Since I tutor high schoolers and all that.

Another fun test option that I visit: SAT Question Of The Day.

Enjoy, all you trivia nerds. And I know almost all of you are!

Monday, January 22, 2007

2007 Resolutions!

Click the title to see my 2006 Resolutions.

SO! It's that time. I've been slow on this, partly because I've been busy living my life and skiing and stuff instead of thinking about living, but it's a slow Monday here at work AND it's lunch time, so...well, it's perfect.

I resolved to do a lot of things in 2006, some of which I did, and some of which...get recycled! Yay recycling! Um.

2007 Resolutions, For Real This Time

1. I resolve to DRINK MORE WATER. Sheesh.

2. I resolve to DETOX MORE. Again, sheesh. How hard can it be to not consume coffee, alcohol, or salt for just one day?

3. I resolve to never care about my skin again. So far, as it sits dirty, and has for days, it looks better than it ever has.

4. I resolve (again) to take a business training class! (Fun stuff, like applied microbiology, or composites. See? My job is awesome.)

5. I do NOT resolve to take a language class! Instead, I resolve to buy Spanish on tape and teach it to myself.

6. I resolve to write up a list of things I would like through the year, so that when Christmas rolls around, I won't be stuttering, "Um, er, gift cards," although they are awesome.

7. I resolve to continue creating a stranglehold on my finances, so that I can save for a condo down payment in 2008.

8. I resolve to try mineral makeup, which may seem petty, but it protects your face from the sun, doesn't clog pores, and is easy to wash off! Can it get better?

9. I resolve to listen to the stations 103.7, 98.1, and KEXP more.

10. I resolve to download KEXP programs and listen to those when contemplating buying more CDs.

11. I resolve to USE THE DAMN LIBRARY when I want new reading and listening material!

12. I resolve to NOT see a movie or read a book that I've already seen or read, when there are literally millions of amazing movies and books that I have not yet experienced.

13. I resolve to take my grandmother to see the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit.

14. I resolve to listen to more live music!

15. I resolve to go to Central Cinema, literally a stone's throw from my house, to watch cult movies and have a pint.

16. I resolve to investigate getting free tickets to events, and coupons for products.

17. I resolve to grocery shop on Member Days at Madison Market.

18. I resolve to buy books and media used, not new.

19. I resolve to pack my lunch EVERY day.

20. And my breakfast.

21. And not go to the cafeteria "just for coffee".

22. I resolve to send more thank you notes.

23. I resolve to clean out my cupboards, stationery boxes, and collections of "inspirational" magazine spreads, and either use what's there or toss them.

24. I resolve to make only TWO trips to the grocery every month!

25. I resolve to buy no indulgent coffee during the week!

26. I resolve to stop talking about saving money!

And finally...

27. I resolve to Attach Monetary Value To Everything I Own. With a label-maker, if necessary. Then, when I forget about a chapstick, I will think, "That's 2.74 down the drain! FIND THE CHAPSTICK!"


Anyway, if you got this far, thanks for reading, and this is always my favorite part of the post because I get to talk about the Things that I DID Do in 2006:

1. Resolved to move to Seattle...and did so!
2. Resolved to keep weight steady...and did!
3. Resolved to stay out of Starbucks...and did! (Mostly.)
4. Resolved to be overdrawn less...and I was!
5. Resolved to love my job more...and I do!
6. Resolved to get less involved in church...and I did!
7. Resolved to get involved in Youth Programs...and I did!
8. Resolved to finish cataloging and organizing my mp3 collection...and I did!

Yay me! I hope everyone is just as excited about starting 2007!

We Regret These Errors


2006 Regrets!

You all may remember my long, slightly TMI post from last year, and if you don’t, be thankful. I’ve edited it slightly for the increased, rather mixed audience, so if you DO remember it, have fun trying to figure out what I’ve changed and erased!

Insert Evil Laugh Here.

2006 has not been as crazy a year as 2005. I’ve moved less and dated less. I accomplished some resolutions, which is good, and…well, I got to keep others! (Read: they’re still on the list as unaccomplished.)

In fact, I regret very little, so little that I can’t think off the top of my head anything I regret, at this moment, and if I can, it’s all little stuff. I regret miscalculating and becoming overdrawn at the bank this month, for example. I regret losing the cell phone charger that goes along with my phone (Read: The LT’s phone that he is lending me after I lost MY phone in Houston!)

I guess now I might as well make a list:

1. I regret LOSING STUFF LIKE IT AIN’T NO BIG THANG. It’s ridiculous, juvenile, and more importantly, expensive!

2. I regret penny pinching on small things and throwing money away on big things.

3. I occasionally regret being a very typical yuppie, i.e., spending tons of money on coffee and groceries and no money on credit card payments.

4. I regret not drinking enough water or eating enough celery.

5. I regret never sending out Christmas cards this year, although on the plus side, I'm all ready for next year!

Ho-hum, I know. I can’t decide if this is a good sign or a bad sign, but no matter what, this post is way shorter and more boring than last year’s post, and although that is bad for you, my blogging audience, it means I move into 2007 with fewer regrets. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.

Things Done, Things Not Done

Things I Have Done:

Washed Helter Skelter (Jeep)
Bonded with Titan over a weekend and a long walk
Switched insurance companies for a much lower rate. (Anyone else have Esurance?)
(I sound like a commerical.)
Made lots of food over the weekend.
Set up my tutoring schedule for the week
Successfully avoided Starbucks for two days.

Things I Have Not Yet Done:
Found a new place to live. :(

Thursday, January 18, 2007

In No Danger Of Staying Organized

I have a personal organizer and it is my new favorite thing ever:

No, you can't search inside this one. Try here.

And now I spend all my time with it instead of on the internet or with this blog!

But have no fear. I am Not, Under Any Circumstances, the kind of person who can be Personally Organized. The affair will be short.

It’s lipstick red pleather, which is hot, and it has a bunch of sections, which is also hot, but I worry about their practicality. “Calendar” is actually being used, so far, although I’m not used to having to label my own days. It feels sort of like I paid for a device that will continually test me on my ability to recognize and record the passage of time, perhaps not a bad idea. (Now that I have typed this, the LT will make me get a watch I have to operate by manually filling in the LED screen with a red pen, in the vain hope that I will eventually gain a grip on just how many minutes it actually takes me to get ready to go anywhere.) “Addresses” is clearly a holdover from another time, or perhaps another universe. It has one address, my tutoree, who calls me “Toot-toot” and treats me as one big joke she’s playing on her parents, and enjoys getting into my stuff and leaving “CLAIRE WAS HERE” signs, like many high schoolers do.

My “To Do” Section has been used; it has exactly four entries, one of which is “Recover from Hangover.” (It’s been checked off.) The others are, in succession,
1. Create Budget
2. Find new place to live
3. Peruse more secondhand bookstores.

Or, in other words,
1. Track money so you can save it.
2. Spend a lot of money all at once, erasing spending money for anything else.
3. Spend your spending money instead of saving it or buying a condo.

Obviously ALL of my personalities were involved in this particular activity. Way to work together, guys. Next time, let’s at least agree on a general direction first, okay?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Evening

Much like many Sunday evenings, I am making dinner and sipping a glass of red. I'm trying to get better about both eating more cheaply and cooking more sustainably, as in making enough for leftovers and NOT using an entire paper towel roll just mindlessly. I would talk more about it, except that Crazy Aunt Purl has already said everything I would say, and ten times better.

More in-depth explanation: Crazy Aunt Purl has started a regime--I think it's for three months--in which she is not buying anything that is not NECESSARY FOR BREATH OR FOOD OR SHELTER, a noble goal. And I was inspired! And I thought, I will do that, too! Hah. Let me tell you, it is more difficult than it looks. I did okay yesterday--if you don't count the Soy Chai at Tully's, when I was tutoring, or the Cinammon Dolce Latte today. (Ahem. Or the eight bucks I spent at Ross, or the fifteen dollars I spent at Target, or the forty-three dollars I spent at Circuit City.) (I swear all of them were necessary. I SWEAR.)

I'm also trying to make this policy extend to groceries, as it has become apparent to me that expensive groceries are sucking up most of my paycheck, so I'm cooking at home a lot and desperately trying to make the groceries in my cupboard already and the last thirty-seven-dollar bill at TJ's stretch all week.

Statistics aside, I've had an interesting weekend, not because I did anything, but precisely the opposite: I've had an interesting weekend because I did almost nothing. Because, you see, after six days straight spent in each other's presence, the LT ran off for a "ski with the boyz" weekend, and frankly it has been a pleasure to see Other People, as in my own personal friends, and go out, just a big group of single and single-for-a-night people, and come home and wake up when I wanted to and loll about Saturday night in bed, doing nothing except surfing the web and reading magazines and watching a movie that I know the LT wouldn't be interested in. I read Boobs, Boys, and High Heels, a used copy of which cost me 37 dollars on, and thought about me and life and Titan and houses and furniture and really, anything that came into my head. Lovely, and restful.

Listening to: The Very Best of Maria Callas

Currently Consuming: Glass of Target Cube Wine, Red.

Cooking: Aarwenn's Specialty: Mexican Flavored Veggie Nonsense. (A more complete description is here.)


Update: I did NOT burn the garlic! I am awesome!

Further Update, just for the LT: All this talk about the value of alone time aside, I miss you, sweetie.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I'm in Seattle! On a main street! There is a Starbucks not four blocks away!

It's not that I didn't like Texas--in fact, I did. It was big, and empty, and flat, and SUNNY, and it had the Gulf of Mexico and houses on stilts and boardwalks and beaches with actual sand, sand so real and densely packed that you can DRIVE on it, for miles and miles. There we were driving on the beach, watching pelicans hunt down dinner, it was completely surreal. Because where I come from, the beaches have rocks, not sand, and we are so afraid of disturbing our natural habitat that Titan, much less a car, is not allowed on any Seattle beach for fear of him "threatening" the local wildlife. My ass. Like seagulls need protection?

Anyway, it was extremely restful, and we did lots of touristy things, and it was very lovely. I spent six days non-stop with the LT and we are still together and even, indeed, still speaking to each other. It's not that Texas was so different, although it certainly was, because obviously the idea of a permanent home is not anything I need to stay mentally stable, although some would argue that I'm never mentally stable.

The thrill of being home, even in a bedroom which I am only renting and has no permanent value for me whatsoever, is in recognizing the magazine titles on the newsstand, and recognizing freeway signs, and knowing which direction the water is, and hearing the "skkkkkhhhhhssss" of milk being foamed, even at ten at night, and admiring the Seattle fashion in the airport, and taking a deep breath and filling my lungs with Pacific Northwest air.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Big, Quick Update

I'm in Texas, and so is my work laptop, iPod, camera, and most of my jewelery.

Which is good because had it been in Seattle, it would have been taken when M's house was robbed yesterday afternoon.

We didn't lose much, thank God--I didn't lose my skis, which for obvious reasons I did NOT take to Texas--but M and his boy lost their laptops and iPods. The theives dumped out my purses, although the overall mess level in my room probably didn't change much, and tried to take M's big flatscreen off the wall, unsuccessfully. They left all his stereo equipment.

Everyone please send good thoughts as we deal with the aftermath.

And also: wine.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Out-Of-Office Assistant: On Vacation


We are way past the suburbs, y'all.

On the plus side, it's only an hour to a town with a Starbucks, and at least it's not dry; I'm on the Gulf Coast, so there's lots of water. And also: fire ants.

I haven't met those yet, though.

So far I have spent a full day riding around in a big pickup with the LT and my hosts, the country music on high. I have been in stores that sold religious artifacts, lots of them. I have drank at a refined honky-tonk. I have been in restaurants in which you can smoke at the table. I have met parrots, seen pelicans and herons, driven by several oil refineries, and been on a boardwalk on the Gulf. I have eaten at Landry's. I have been to Galvaston and walked on The Strand.

I have been to church, wearing a skirt AND pantyhose.

I can only imagine what wonders tomorrow holds.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Before _______________, I Have To _____________, a Mental Exercise.

Fill in the blank.

I drive more than three miles: Stop for gas.

I buy gas: Withdraw money from Bank Account #1.

Bank Account #2 goes overdrawn: Put in money from Bank Account #1.

I get home: Drop by company store. (Insert soul-selling joke here.)

I leave work: Retrieve food from fridge.

(And I am stealing space in someone else's fridge, because MY office's fridge is now a mold colony and NO ONE HAS MOVED IT OR MADE AN EXECUTIVE DECISION ABOUT IT WHATSOEVER. It's been sitting there with mold on it for three days now.)

I leave for Texas: Bake cookies.

I leave for Texas: Pack.

Packing: Do Laundry.

Texas: Send out tutoring paperwork.

Texas: Make Briefing Chart for a meeting almost two weeks from now.

Said Meeting: Make an agenda.

The End of February: Move Out.

I move out: Find another place to live.

I find another place to live: Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

I get pre-approved: Wait for my raise to come through.

I implode: Scream.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Something Heavy, Many Things Light

Today, there was a shooting at a high school in Tacoma, my hometown. One shooter, one fatality, sadly not the same person. Not much is known about it yet, but it's on BBC news and CBS, and of course in the hometown news, too.


In lighter news, I finally rolled up my sleeves and fixed my completely fubared Firefox, something plaguing me for six months at least, and I am pleased to report that I'm sporting the brand-new version AND Google Toolbar AND I finally re-installed Sage and rebuilt my feeds! So beware, bloggers. I will be a commenting machine.

I have a new boss at work, and I wish she and I had met in a former life and she could adopt me to be her little sister. THAT'S how cool she is. Although I wouldn't make a very good little sister, and I get the impression that she wouldn't make a very good big sister, either--we're both pretty competitive! Fortunately as she is my manager, the lines of communication are clearly drawn, and I hope I can manage to bond with her as my mentor, without making her feel like I'm sucking up (I'm not!) and also make her proud by successfully wrangling my projects, especially the one that I'm leading. Yes, leading.

You know your gchat profile is good when you edit it, and ten seconds later, three people gchat you to talk about it, and it spurs discussion in other gchat circles, and don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about when I say gchat circles.

I started with: "I'm pro-environment, but that’s like saying I'm also pro kittens and daisies. Because who isn’t for the environment? Who screams, “Down with the ozone!” while crazily releasing chlorofluorocarbons into the air? No one. At least no one I know."

Within two seconds I got:

Well I'M anti-environment!
Me: You would be!

Kiwi: I totally do. I'm like, fuck you, mother earth.
Me: Actually, I burn plastics in front of big fans.
Kiwi: Sinner. I'm totally pro kitten though.
Kiwi: "Fight Global warming. Leave your fridge doors open!"

I know, I know. Everyone's a comedian.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Anyone know how to make this image slightly more format-friendly?

In Which The Universe Laughs at Me

I haven't made resolutions yet this year, much like I haven't yet sent out Christmas Cards, even though I've bought them, and I barely even wrapped my presents. (This whole "Christmas Spirit" thing fell completely by the wayside in competition with things like long skiing trips and my birthday!)

So it would be silly to say that one of my resolutions was to bring my lunch from home more often, since I don't HAVE resolutions.

But it WOULD be safe to say that I have a lot of leftovers in my fridge, and that some more of my (non-existent) New Year's Resolutions are to stop food waste and stop wasting so much money on food, a fact pointed out to me by the LT every damn time we go to one of my overpriced yuppie grocery stores and he looks at the price of meat (not meat for ME!) and says, "I can get four times this much meat for half of the price! THIS is where your money is going! Quit complaining about being broke!"

"I don't know what you mean?" I say politely, as I buy Tofutti Sour Supreme at 3.99, two blocks of Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet fcheese at 3.49 a piece, guacamole for 4.69, and a dark chocolate bar for 2.19, not to mention four frozen meals at 4.59 a pop.

Sigh. (AlsoIhavenotevenlookedatmybudgetsinceSeptember.) So far, though, I’m avoiding being quite as broke as I was LAST year at this time, barely barely. Barely.

It’s really only my own stupidity that has kept me from saving money on food, thus far. I don’t make big versions of things at once because I don’t like leftovers. I don’t like how leftovers, left in the pan, dry out at the very top. Some leftovers taste better the next day, but others really don’t, and I end up having to add sauces and things to them, not a bad thing in any case but it begins to feel like I’m cooking them again, and I don’t know. I have a block about leftovers. Especially when I make a large bread dish, for example, in a pan, and then I take out servings one at a time and the bread begins to gray on the edges because the pan is old and transferring its metal content to the bread, and the bread begins to taste rusty, almost bloody, and I think about throwing the whole thing out. And then I’m talking to T-Town and she says, “Why don’t you just split up the dish into Tupperwares? That’s what I do, right away, or else I won’t eat it.”

Like, DUH. Brainwave, anyone? This does mean, of course, that I’ll have to wash more dishes, but whatever. Landlord has a very nice dishwasher. But, anyway! Tupperware! How easy! I immediately divided the LT’s Christmas dinner leftovers among tupperwares, washed out the big pans, and felt very Betty Crocker.

And so this morning, when I left for work (first day back, hi everyone!) I just grabbed two tupperwares, and when I rolled into work, happily skipped to the fridge to put them in cold storage until lunch, and almost threw up.


Who in their right mind, may I ask you, unplugs a fridge without checking it first? Who unplugs a fridge and leaves it CLOSED? The entire office mini fridge is covered with green mold. It’s on the shelves, it’s on the walls. I don’t think it can be saved, and even if it could be, I’ll never put my food in there again. Oh. My. GOD. I almost hurled. And then I almost punched our secretary in the throat, because it was MY food that was in there! I mean, sure, I should have taken it home, but who doesn’t know that if you unplug a fridge, you should OPEN THE DOOR FIRST? Hello! The fridge is a sealed object! If you unplug it, the ice will melt! And then the humidity in the fridge will rise to an all-time high! And then it will mold!

I really, really want to ask for my money back, for my fifteen-dollar calzone, my three dollar nacho fcheese, and my four dollar fsour cream.


And now, on my first day back from break, I sit here eating my bread and tomato sauce, going rusty on the edges, and hope that my shepherd’s pie and alfreda sauce doesn’t go bad before lunch time.

I’m off to track down another fridge.