Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stephen and i had our little date last night and it was great to see him again. who's next, my far-flung friends?

Since i have no available husband on Tuesday nights i took the boys up to my parents' house and then took the Metrolink into the city. $7.50 for a one-way but i didn't have to drive or pay to park the car so it's worth every bleeding penny. And Union Station is soooo lovely. Stephen picked me up as I wandered along Alameda and we had dinner at Phillippe's. S had never eaten there before and it had been years for me so we were bumbling idiots at the counter. Stephen was very upset that the beef dip comes pre-dipped and said insincerely horrible things about the person who suggested Phillippe's. "I am a priss about food," was his explanation. I agree though - I'd forgotten how the bread turns into a soggy mess. This was my allotment of beef for the week, though, so I mostly enjoyed it. S really liked the row of old-school phone booths in the place, and I like the very simple, unadorned design of the place. it's very straightforward, with no artifice.

From simple and unadorned, we then drove to the Orpheum to see Ms. O'Connor sing. Wow, the Orpheum is quite a gem. It is all 1920's luxe - marble walls, fantastically ornate Deco-ish chandeliers, real velvet curtains, buttresses, carved support beams, gold-painted plaster ornamentation, box seats perched right at the edges of the elaborate paneled golden proscenium.... it was a feast for the eyes.

I have already forgotten the opener's name, but he seemed like a painfully sincere young Irish fellow. He had a song actually titled "I'm Never Going to Let Your Negative Thoughts and Vibes Penetrate to My Psyche." It was sung as if he was Bob Marley. Some of his other songs were quite nice (no more reggae vibes) and again I must emphasize how SINCERE he was. there was no irony, no pith, just sad hopeful songs.

I confess I did not understand how big a fan Stephen is of Ms. Sinead. She is quite a fine singer and did some of her hits, which S says she rarely does. Her musicians were very good and there was kind of a rocking "wall of sound" effect. No, I will not digress onto Phil Spector. Ye Gods! Now I have to dig out the two albums of hers that I own and re-listen. I recall that i liked "Am I Not Your Girl" quite a bit.

Stephen drove me home like a bat out of hell (I'm that horrible obnoxious old woman who determinedly maintains the speed limit) and I had an awesome time. We play well off of each other and I am somehow wittier when we are together. Stephen! when are we going out again?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still no news on vacancy dates for the possible rental. That's OK, i can be patient for the right house. I'm already writing up fantasy lists for what we'll do when we have a garage and a yard. Now i just need to find a pre-1991 Suburban 4x4 diesel. One step closer to conquering the world.

I start guitar class this week. It's offered through the school district's adult education program. I was torn between taking beginning sewing or guitar. The idea of me taking beginning sewing is kind of funny, since I've sewed tents, down backpacking quilts and even two down jackets, but the truth is I have no idea how to sew normal everyday clothing. A shirt? With buttons? Huh? I was looking at Cynthia's blog and she has the danged cutest apron on there, and I'm incapable of sewing that. But at least I can show you pictures of the mega-projects I sewed this year, here on my Flickr page. Hmm, no pictures of the down jackets.

Back to my guitar class. It's an acoustic class, but the secret dark and horrible truth is that I want to play an electric guitar. I want to crunch it and make it squeal. Target is putting their guitar stuff on clearance and I am watching for the right price point. I already grabbed a chorus pedal for $19 (half off!). I want this guitar. Yup, I want a pink glitter electric guitar. And then I want pink glitter hair. And to live in Tokyo and be in an all-girl J-punk band.

I have a date with Stephen tomorrow night. I haven't seen him in over a year! We're going to see Sinead O'Connor, if you can believe that. I feel a terrible impulse to go get my hair done. Going to L.A. makes me feel mousy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

OK, we may have found our rental.

my friend Natalie and her family are relocating to Utah. they have been renting their house from her father-in-law for the last few years. The house is in the perfect location - one block from Paul's school, one block from a park (and the Aliso Creek Trail runs through said park), and church is within walking distance. it does add just over 2 miles to Dan's commute, raising it to 5.9 miles one way. yes, that's ridiculously short by soCal standards, but for 5 years he commuted only 2 miles - so it is an increase of more than 100%!! i think i need to get him an electric bicycle.

the house is small, 1200 sf, and on top of that it has FOUR bedrooms crammed in somehow. but since that will give us an office/workroom we hopefully won't miss the spare space in our bedroom. the kitchen is very small and is designed to be an eat-in, but there's no way that's happening. we'll move the dining area to the living room and move the living room to the enclosed rear porch. i'm just waiting to hear when the house might be empty. meanwhile, we gotta get our place fixed up and ready to rent! i need to call our handyman again.

what i'm excited about is the yard and the neighborhood. it's a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood, so what that means to me is we can grow vegetables in the yard and keep two chickens in the back and probably nobody will care. there are so many things i want to do once we have a little bit of land to play with and a garage to work in. vegetable garden, chickens, composting, refinishing furniture, experimenting with running a diesel car on vegetable oil... yes, we are a couple of danged hippies. and we'll just rent until we figure out what the heck is going on with real estate here. if there's a crash (and Dan doesn't lose his job), we'll buy a house.

oh, and Paul loves kindergarten, and it turns out i'm doing OK with it, too. he's happy to go and happy when he gets out, and so far so good. the bad news is that his upper incisors developed an infection and had to be removed today. i feel like the world's best mother. so now i have to torture Eli with toothbrushing in order to keep his teeth from rotting, too. oh, and Paul is having ALL of his adult teeth sealed! i want to save him from becoming a metalmouth like me.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

i cannot stop obsessing about real estate.

somebody is spamming Craigslist with offers to take over their mortgage payments on a house in the "Melrose" area of Mission Viejo. they've posted the same ad at least three times in the last two days. i hate to be so coldhearted, but give me a break. they don't even mention an amount, which makes me assume that they bought it for way too much and with an ARM, and are now desperate to get out of the loan because the payments are too high.

then there is the fug-ugly fixer that needs pretty much everything fixed. carpet, floors, bathrooms, kitchen, yard... it even has a nasty-looking empty pool. and they are asking 575k! what kind of drugs are these people on, and where can i get some? when the market finally and utterly tanks, this is the kind of house that we would make a vicious lowball offer on. it looks disgusting.

and neither of these ads give an address. i DESPISE ads or listings that keep the address secret. hello, location is everything, right? and another thing i'm noticing is that most listings that are under 500k but above 400k are keeping very quiet about whether or not they are detached or attached. most of them are still attached, but i think anybody in this market who is asking above 400k for an attached home is C-R-A-Z-Y.

sigh... looked at a 3/2 rental last night in the Wilderness Glen area of Mission Viejo. it was all dolled up like it was for sale; i wonder if they just got tired of waiting & decided to rent it out. Dan liked it, i was intimidated by it (too perfect, too clean), and there are no shade trees at all in the yard. decent views from the yard, though. arrrgh, i don't know what to do!