Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog moving: Bluebonnets and Breakfast Tacos

I am no longer living LA life. It's sad, but true and, slowly, I'm coming to grips with it. For this reason, a blog called "Living LA Life" is a bit of a misnomer, and I thought I ought to address it.

So... I'm moving over to carmenite.com, which is a fun name that's significantly more generic. Which will be helpful for when we move to London and become soccer hooligans and my blog becomes "Gunner Girl" and when we move to Sydney and become beach bums and my blog becomes "Surfing Sheila" and when we move to the moon and I start working at Moon U (I haven't come up with a name for that bog yet) - the carmenite.com won't ever have to change!

And what better day to move my blog than my birthday? I think I more or less have this new blog thing figured out, so that's promising. Head on over, and if I'm lucky enough to be bookmarked or on an RSS Reader of yours, please update them!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Parking Problems

After having lived the past 11 years on a college campus (with the exception of one semester of grad school) I have to say I'm pretty used to having less parking options than I'd like. At two of the schools I worked at I actually got a reserved parking spot, but there was the occasional student who "was just there for a minute, I promise!" and the random RA who thought that the RESERVED FOR RESIDENCE LIFE STAFF sign meant RAs rather than professional staff and I guess thought that we had reserved 4 spots around campus for the 70 RAs as part of an awesome, no holds barred, "first come first serve" grab-the-parking-spot game.

(Which, now that I think about it, would be kind of fun.)

But now we're in an (OFF CAMPUS!) apartment complex and the parking is pretty decent. We can usually find a spot right across from our building, but sometimes we have to walk an extra 15 feet to the cul-de-sac next to our building and park there. However, some people in our building seem to think that the 15 extra feet is HORRIBLY IMPOSING and have instead decided that they'd rather park in the fire line. You know, the one that's red and says NO PARKING.

PEOPLE! WE HAD A FIRE LAST WEEK! Do you remember that? Fire trucks came, a great big hole was carved in the ceiling of one apartment to get to the attic where the electrical fire was, and a fireman burst into our apartment, without a word went straight for the fire extinguisher under our sink, pulled the tab, and when he was halfway out of our door yelled back to us "Get out. Now." Which, after we gathered our laptops and new camera, we did. (Amy Adams in Leap Year totally would have refused to marry us. In my defense, I couldn't remember where we'd decided to store our wedding album, or else that's what I would have grabbed. (Along with my laptop.))

Hmmmm, maybe I should have led with that story. That might have made for a more interesting blog post.

Anyways, we were fine, and no personal property from the apartment with the fire was ruined, but nonetheless, if someone had been parked in the fire lane, it would have been a problem. So seriously, don't park in fire lines! ESPECIALLY not overnight!

Plus, it makes it really hard to pull out my car when you do.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chair Assembly

Today, with the help of my boss, I turned


Because my office is actually a former student workroom and still has a student worker in it half the day, there wasn't a real desk or chair here. The plan was for me to order new ones once I got here, but the desk has been working out so far - it's the chair that had been a real pain in the rear (PUN!). So I hopped online and did some searching and found this one, leather, high-backed, and relatively cheap since it was on sale. It came in the mail yesterday and this morning we put it together.

In the grand scheme of things it's not that big a deal, but I'm still pretty proud. Just a word to the wise to anyone who may be putting a chair together soon: don't wear a skirt, because it makes the kneeling and sitting and squatting a little awkward.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Conversation

Me: You know, going to bed at 10:00 every night has been a huge change in my life lately.

Will: You know what else has? Moving. And starting a new job. And living off campus. And having to commute to work.

Me: Yeah, but I think going to sleep at 10 is probably the biggest.

Will: *rolls eyes*

People. I start getting tired around 10:00 every night, and by 10:30 I am very close to being unable to function. While this is all well and good on most weekdays, it means that on weekends I am a very boring person to be around. Two months ago my regular bedtime was somewhere between midnight and 1am, but those days are LONG gone.

It's just a coincidence that I turn 29 in a week, right?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Moving

So you know the stairs I was complaining about a couple of weeks ago? The big ones that Will has been carrying things up multiple times a day, and I've been carrying things up 2-3 times a day? Well, the other day, Will came across something that he wasn't able to carry up by himself.

Our dresser.

Let me tell you, that thing is HEAVY. And we had to take it up two flights of stairs. And we couldn't get the drawers out. We could have emptied the drawers, (and at one point, halfway up the first flight, we considered it) but they just had a few sheets and towels in them, so we ended up not.

It probably took us around 30-45 minutes to get it up the stairs, partially because I was both too weak to do the hefting up from the bottom and too weak to do the pulling up from the top, so each step was way more of an effort than it should have been for a healthy 28 year old. But I never claimed to be in shape, so there's that.

In the end, though, WE DID IT. And I felt very accomplished because, while I didn't do a humongous part myself, I had to have done SOMETHING because there's no way Will would have been able to do it by himself.

I also resolved to start going to the gym regularly so that I can be helpful whenever it is that we move out, but that has yet to happen. Baby steps.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Flash Mobs

So this past week my alma mater had a flashmob at the all-campus picnic before classes started. I wasn't there, but through the wonders of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, I was able to see it. And as a result have spent the whole morning watching YouTube videos of flashmobs (specifically, the spontaneous bursting into song ones).

Fair warning: if any of my friends know of a flashmob that's looking for participants and doesn't tell me? We're no longer friends.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Third Floor Apartments

My suggestion: don't get a third floor apartment. Sure, you may be at the top of the building so you don't have to worry about anyone above you, but the catch is you have to walk up THREE FLOORS.

We're still in the slooooooooooooooow process of moving, since (a) we don't like walking up 3 floors, and (b) all of our stuff is in my grandmother's garage in Pflugerville so it takes a few trips to get stuff from there. Will brought back another load today and unloaded some of it earlier, and we got the rest tonight. At 10:30. HOURS after the sun had gone down. When it was still 90 degrees outside.

Three loads completely wiped me out. On the bright side, I will consider this my exercise for the semester! And I don't think I've fully expressed how amazing Will is, because he does this more than 3 times, at least once or twice a week, when the sun is out and it's close to (or over) 100.

Best. Husband. Ever.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Continuing Transitioning

We're in a new apartment (NEW APARTMENT!!) that's not on campus (LIVE OFF POSITION!!) which is both weird and awesome at the same time. I like having a home that's just ours, even if having to commute to work is a little weird.

This home does not yet have internet access or tv, which is really weird since we're a bit addicted to both. But between moving and unpacking there's plenty of stuff to keep us busy. In an effort to avoid moving and unpacking, I've also been reading some, which is nice. I need a library card soon, but in the mean time I'm keeping my local Borders and Half Price Books in business. (Oh, how I missed Half Price Books!) Also, we're keeping our local Starbucks and Panera in business, since they have free wifi.

I'm hoping that when we get internet and cable on Tuesday we won't fall back into bad habits of always having one or the other (or, often, both) on, but I guess we'll see. The fact that we're lacking furniture will probably help that, since there isn't anywhere for us to sit near the tv. Because, apparently, when you move off campus, you usually have to furnish your own place. Weird how that works!

Things are going well, though, and aside from almost melting multiple times a day, we're enjoying it. Which isn't to say that we don't miss our friends back in LA, because we seriously do. It's just that San Antonio has a lot to offer us as well, so we're making the most of it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Bachelor Pad Snark (because I had to watch it alone)

There are 3 kinds of shows that I watch: shows I admit I watch freely because everyone watches them (i.e.: Community), shows I know not many people watch but I admit to watching them anyways (i.e.: Star Gate Universe, Caprica), and shows I know I shouldn’t admit I watch but I do anyways (i.e.: The Bachelor/ette, Real World/Road Rules Challenge). The Bachelor/ette is a series that, when I lived in LA, a bunch of the RDs used to get together to watch, because it’s more fun when you can snark and OMG and oh no they didn’t! with others. But I no longer live in LA, so until I find a group of Bachelor/ette watchers here, I’m forced to go it alone. Which may not have been that big a deal because I had some time before the next season started up, until ABC decided that they would mate two of my category 3 shows (The Bachelor and Real World/Road Rules Challenge) and come up with… Bachelor Pad.

Which started last night.

When Will was out of town, so I didn’t even have him to make snarky comments to.

So… instead, I will inflict this on you, few and far between readers of my blog.

Thus I present to you, Bachelor Pad: Season 1, Episode 1

It opens with them in front of the mansion, and Chris Harrison is standing there, introducing. Actually, that’s not entirely true – it starts with showing us all the previews they’ve been playing on abc for the past few months. Just in case we didn’t know, though if we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be tuned in right now. And then Chris does the introductions, and the limos start driving up. I bet Chris has always wanted to be the one receiving the contestants on the original series, so this is his way of getting to do that.

So, on to the Bachelor Pad cast...

Tenley’s up first. She was cute on her season, and I really liked her (though I didn’t want her to end up with Jake, since I didn’t particularly like him.) So I’m glad she’s on the show, and hope she doesn’t end up drama-ing it up. A cute relationship with Kyptin like they’ve alluded to in the trailers would be fine. And her doing air-cheers all by herself? Team Tenley!

Jesse Beck I remember also, since he’s only one season away. He was a cutie, but I don’t remember much else, except that my friend Meredith loved him because of his tattoos.

When Natalie introduced herself, it was obvious they were doing the whole “you have no idea who this person is, so we’ll have them introduce themselves again.” Not that it really helped. However, Tenley obviously knew who Natalie was, based on how much she shrieked. Were they in the same sorority also, or was it just their time together on Jake’s season?

David from Jillian’s season is next, who was a total doucebag if I remember correctly. And as soon as he opens his mouth, I realize that I do remember correctly.

Gwen is another “who the are you again type?” but even moreso. She’s a season 2 person, which was before I watched. David made a mean comment about her age, but then when I go online and try to find it I can’t, so maybe he’s right?

Jessie (girl) is next, and I only remember her because she’s the one who helped the wrestler’s girlfriend contact Ali last season. So this is what, her third season in a row to be on a Bachelor or spinoff?

Weatherman! Behive of knives! There’s something about him during Ali’s season that was almost painfully awkward, but he’s also incredibly entertaining as well, so it works. My friend Jen liked him, until he got all awkward.

Nikki – no idea who she was either, but apparently she’s from Jason’s season. I’m pretty sure they only chose her because she has a history with Juan, which means drama. We know she has a history with him because she talks about how the only person she doesn’t want to see here is Juan.

So, of course, Juan is the next one up. Seriously, this may be better than Real World/Road Rules Challenge! I think she’s shooting a beehive of knives out of her eyes to him. Juan is from Jillian’s season, and all that I remember about him is that he did well around the Globetrotters.

“I want Wes to be here too,” says Natalie, so of course, next up is Wes from Jillian’s season. Chris makes sure he’s actually single, which Wes confirms. And he brought his guitar.

Krisily, who are you? No one in the room knows either, since they’re all “…hi?” and aren’t sure if she’s a PA or a contestant. It’s kind of funny, actually. She’s a contestant. Final two, dumped by Charlie.

Elisabeth, who is now blonde, though I don’t think it’s working for her. She wouldn’t let Jake kiss her, and then kept asking him how much he wanted to. I wonder if she’s going to kiss people this season – my guess is yes.

Jesse Kovacks from Jillian’s season, who Elizabeth is kind of in love with, apparently. Also, another Jesse, which I’m not thrilled about. Hopefully one of them will be gone soon. Also, Elizabeth wants him to buy the cow, and Jesse just wants the milk. So this’ll be good.

Kiptyn! He’s a cutie from Jillian’s season, and right off the bat mentions Tenley (foreshadowing much?) Tenley’s all “I don’t know if he likes me, but I’ll get Natalie to pass him a note during study hall to ask.” (LOVE. HER.)

Peyton, Andy’s season. Ashley, Jake’s season. Quick introductions both of them, also known as “we don’t expect you to remember them, so we’ll do this quickly.”

Michelle, Jake’s season. Elizabeth mentions that Michelle is crazy, for which there is some pot-kettleness going on.

Gia! She’s the swimsuit model from Jake’s season. All the boys are kind of drooling over her, probably partially because she’s taken and these boys want a challenge.

They do this whole bit where the Weatherman REALLY doesn’t want Craig from Ali’s season to show up, and thinks everyone is here and relaxes. And then, guess who comes in but Craig M! Shocking, right? By the way, I’m totally get him confused with David ALL THE TIME because they were both jerkwads on their season which makes them one and the same for me, so apologies in advance.

Chris Harrison gets them all together and explains the rule. You have the chance to find love – a couple of the girls cheer; and the chance to win $250,000 – everyone cheers, and Wes’ eyes turn into dollar signs. He also introduces the co-host – Melissa Rycroft. When you consider the fact that she was once one of them, but now she’s a co-host, it’s pretty impressive. I suppose it’s fair for getting brutally dumped on national tv. Because even though that happens every season, hers was worse than most. THEY WERE GOING TO GET MARRIED, Y’ALL.

Chris and Melissa explain the show: basically the way it works is that there’s a competition every week, and the winner gets a rose and is immune at that week’s ceremony. Then the winner gets to chose 3 people of the opposite sex to go on a date with, and they give an immunity rose to the one of those 3 they like the most. Then at the rose ceremony, the boys vote off a girl, and the girls vote off a boy. Weatherman says something funny about how if he hooks up with multiple girls, it might affect his chances for the next round. Oh, hun, I really don’t think you have to worry about that.

Mansion exploring ensues, and they discover that there’s only one bedroom! It’s not nearly as entertaining as when they’re finding rooms in Real World and claiming the best room and drama and whatnot. Everyone fling themselves on beds to claim where they’re staying (with the requisite “who wants to be on top,” jokes about the bunk beds). Natalie tells us she’s not wearing underwear, but we had already kind of figured out by the blur-out black box over her privates. It only took *checks clock* 28 minutes!

First competition time! It’s twister, and all the girls want Craig to lose so that they can vote him out. Elizabeth heckles him because he was mean to the Weatherman and also because he pulled her pigtails on the playground. Aaaand… it comes down to Jessie and Craig, and Craig wins! The Weatherman decides that this means there’s no God, all the girls are grumpy, and I am too. Elizabeth decides that she’ll refuse the date if he offers it to her because she’s sure she’s safe at the first ceremony, which seems like a pretty stupid thing to say because then everyone will want to prove you wrong even if they like you. Also, because she’ll end up eating her words.

Which happens, because he asks her on the date, and she says yes. Michelle calls her out on it, saying that you can’t talk smack about someone behind their back and then be nice to their face, to which Krisily response “It’s a game!” Only took *checks clock* 49 minutes!

Nightcam. Shadows and movement. Kissy noises. Commercial break!

The next morning, they’re trying to figure out who was doing the hooking up, and the rumor is that Tenley saw Craig M. and Michelle. I guess she took the “It’s a game” statement to heart. They try to figure out if they had sex, and aren’t particularly subtle about it, so Michelle overhears them and swears that it wasn’t her. No one believes her, and she doesn’t like that!

The date card comes, and Craig chooses Jessie, since she was the last girl standing, Gwen, because he doesn’t’ know her well, and Elizabeth as per the conversation yesterday. Elizabeth is all “Jesse K knows that I’m not interested in Craig and is okay with me going on a date with him,” to which I roll my eyes because Jesse K is okay with Elizabeth going on the date because HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO HER.

Beach. Bikinis. Frolicking. Craig repeating “I’m the bachelor!”

Jessie and Elizabeth talk about whether they’d make out with him for the rose – Jessie’s a nay, and Elizabeth’s a yay. Elizabeth and Craig talk, and she gets all flirty and he seriously considers kissing her, but doesn’t. Jessie and Craig talk, and and Craig tells Jessie that he can keep people from voting her out.

Back at the house, Jesse K. reminds us that HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO HER (Elizabeth) and tells the guys that lying and deceiving is his middle name. Maybe not something to admit to people who are supposed to help you? Krisily reminds us that it’s a game. Jesse B and Natalie talk about feelings by a fire while drinking wine. Natalie decides that she now wants to win the money AND the guy, and they make out by the fire.

Gia and Juan are watching them nearby (creepsters!) and have both said that they’ll vote couples out to break up alliances, and vote out friends to win the money.

Next stop for the date is the Greek theater, and Craig has to send two of them home RIGHT NOW, and give the rose to only one. Elizabeth is all “why wouldn’t he pick me? I’m the one he needs to win over the most!” But Craig didn’t get the memo and he chooses Jessie. The other two go home and Jessie and Craig get a private concert by The Calling. I’ve always thought those concerts were awkward - I what if you don’t like this surprise band? You have to fake it, because they’re RIGHT THERE and they can tell if you’re not enjoying it.

Now that Elizabeth’s back at the pad, Jesse K is having an awkward conversation where he’s telling her that he’s just not that into her, and she’s not getting it, and keeps asking why he wants them to pretend like they don’t like each other. Eventually she just emotionally blackmails him and tells him that if he doesn’t tell people he likes her, she’ll get the girls to vote him off. Which is a great way to hook a guy.

And now we’re back on the ‘did Michelle make out with Craig thing’, and she decides she’s going to confront Tenley. There’s a brief shot of Tenley brushing her teeth which grosses me out and WHY DO THEY INSIST ON SHOWING PEOPLE BRUSHING THEIR TEETH. Michelle follows Tenley in the bathroom and confronts her, and Tenley talking heads that she’s really scared of Michelle. Someone whispers “Michelle locked Tenley in the bathroom and made her cry,” which makes me laugh even though it shouldn’t. Tenley is crying to Elizabeth about how she’s scared of her, to which Elizabeth responds “don’t worry, no one’s going to vote you off.” But the thing is, I’m really getting more of a “I’m afraid Michelle is going to hack me in a million pieces and hide me in the freezer” vibe from this cry than a “I’m afraid Michelle is going to get them to vote me off,” vibe. Either way, it’s awkward.

Jessie talking heads that there’s drama goes over what we’ve spent the past hour and a half watching. The one that we haven’t spent much time on yet was the Juan/Nikki thing, so they do now and he apologizes, though you can totally tell even though it’s only because he doesn’t want to get voted out. As a sidenote, Nikki really looks like Sandra Bullock at times.

Girls are talking again, and Krisily suggests they should get the guys out that are on top of the game – keep the Weatherman around, and vote out the athletic and strategic ones. Natalie overhears this and tells David, since they’re BFFs. Natalie and David are trying to decide if they would rather have Krisily or Michelle out this round.

Elizabeth emotionally blackmails Jesse again, and tells him he needs to tell people that he really likes her and wants her over the money and tell people he’s in love with her. She is so crazypants, and he basically has to go along with it in order to have any chance of winning. It’s kind of amazing.

Chris Harrison comes to the group and says that it’s time for the Rose Ceremony. They go into the room and all the pictures are there. To vote someone out, you take their picture and put it in a box. The last minute finagling during the ceremony has Jesse on edge because of the Elizabeth drama, Juan on edge because of the Nikki drama, Krisily on edge because she’s drama and the boys are trying to vote out drama, and Michelle on edge because she knows she’s crazy. Juan talking heads that he’s not nervous because Nikki still likes him, and comes off as a total jerk while doing so. Craig votes for Michelle, but when she asks, tells her he didn’t. He also talking heads that she’s his “bunk buddy,” but I maintain that he could totally be lying.

And now… the Rose Ceremony. If you’re safe, you get a rose, if not, you’re going home. Gia’s safe. Jesse B’s safe. Doomsday piano plays. Payton. Kyptin. Tenley. Nikki. Ashley. Weatherman looks smug. David. Natalie. Wes. Gwen. I’m enjoying how dressed up the girls are are, while the guys? Notsomuch. Elizabeth. Weatherman. Reminder that there’s 4 left, but 2 roses. Krisily. Kovak. Which leaves Michelle and Juan without roses, and those two are left to say their goodbyes. Juan talking heads that he’s confused as to why Nikki didn’t say goodbye, which makes me think that he might be a little crazypants as well. Tenley talking heads that she’s glad that Michelle is gone, and Michelle cries in the back of a limo.

Next time: scheming, crying, trusting, not trusting, making out in hot tubs, mascara running. It’s going to be awesome!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Internet and Egg Souffles

We have no internet in our temporary apartment at the moment, so we're currently utilizing public places for their WiFi. Will's favorite is Starbucks, but mine is Panera, because I am obsessed with their egg souffles.


While I'll be glad to have permanent internet again eventually, I will be sad because it will mean an end to my semi-regular egg souffle habit. My waistline may be happy, but my taste buds will not.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The 10 Commandments of Apartment Review Sites

So part of the moving process is figuring out the whole apartment hunting thing. My new job was awesome enough to give us transitional housing on campus, but as the space we're currently occupying is very small, we're hoping to get out of it and into a permanent place sooner, rather than later.

Searching for apartments is a little frustrating. I've only done it one other time in my life, and that's when I was entering grad school, and my parents helped, so I don't really remember much of the process. Aside from that, I've had on-campus positions where you don't really chose anything, except for maybe the color of the paint on your walls - they do all the choosing for you. So this has been a new experience for me, and even though Will has had more experience than me with it, it's been a few years since he's had to apartment hunt as well.

Looking at online review sites is incredibly frustrating since it seems like the only people who post on them tend to be the ones who are PISSED OFF at their current place.
  1. If you write your review in all caps, I will ignore it completely.
  2. Same if you don't capitalize at all. I understand it's a stylistic choice, but an apartment review website is not the place for it.
  3. If you give someone 1 star based solely on your apartment tour, I will ignore you.
  4. If you're complaining about it costing too much, and you knew how much it cost when you signed on, you're being a bit ridiculous.
  5. I have spent the past 5 years dealing with students who complain about things being broken and not getting fixed who didn't tell anyone that they were broken. Don't do the same, and then whine about it in a review site.
  6. If their policies are clearly posted about late rent, and you turn in your rent late, don't complain about that either.
  7. Same with any other policies, including trash, cleaning up dog poo, and loud parties.
  8. If you score your place with 5 stars, I'm going to look at it with a keen eye. It looks very suspicious if everyone else hates it and you're the only 5. I won't discount your opinion entirely, but I will take it with a grain of salt.
  9. If you're racist or bigoted in any way, I will discount your opinion as invalid.
  10. If you write about animal sacrifices, hooded figures, and ghost midgets, I will mock you openly.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In San Antonio!

We made it! The road trip was fun, and I'd tell you I was going to go back and recap it, but I still haven't finished recapping our trip to Thailand and Singapore last summer, so don't hold your breath. This way, if I do it, you'll be pleasantly surprised, rather than just being sad and disappointed when I don't.

So far we're finding San Antonio nice, but hot. In some ways, it's really weird to be back, because it seems like we never left, but in other ways it's weird and foreign because San Antonio has stayed the same, but we've changed. I suppose all that is normal, though.

So now it's just the adjusting, the apartment hunting, the settling in, and on Monday, the work starting! I'm nervous, but also excited about all of the above - hopefully the excited will be more warranted than the nervous!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


So yesterday was Will's and my 3rd wedding anniversary. On our 3 month wedding anniversary, as well as our 1st and 2nd, we went to BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica and stuffed ourselves with steak and seafood. This year, knowing that it was going to be our last in LA, we went to their Hollywood location to mix it up a bit. It was a little fancier than the Santa Monica location, but we still stuffed ourselves with steak and seafood and had a grand old time. And, in a very LA moment, about halfway through dinner Tyler Perry was seated next to us! He was eating alone and a handful of times people stopped to talk to him. I'd think that'd get really annoying really quick, but he was very gracious about the whole thing.

In other news, packing is going well, and I am so incredibly grateful for my husband. I hate packing and moving, and he's really jumped on it all, so that I'm mainly just doing the stuff that is specifically mine, and my office. He's made about a billion trips back and forth from the storage unit and Goodwill, and to drop off items we're selling on Craigslist and everything else you need to do when you move, and I don't know how this would have happened without his amazingness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

3 conversations I fully expect to have in the next few months

Me: Ugh. *comment about how transitioning to middle management is hard*

Me: Ugh. *comment about the weather*

Me: Ugh. *comment about politics*

Sunday, July 18, 2010


We got a packet from our moving company, and it has this whole list of things that you need to do when you're moving. Will and I were flipping through it, and saw that it starts with "6 weeks before you move." We kind of chuckled and kept going through "4-5 weeks before you move," and past "3 weeks before you move," settling at "2 weeks before you move." Though, really, we're at 10 days before we move.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


So I've accepted a position at a university in Texas, and our time LA is quickly coming to a close. It's been a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, because I've made amazing friends here and have grown and learned so much over the past 3 years. Even though I know that the decision to move is the right one for personal reasons, and that professionally, this new position is going to be a great step, I kind of wish we could just stay here. But everything changes, so I guess you have to change with it.

The timeline is pretty quick - my last day of work is on the 23rd, the moving company comes on the 26th, and we drive out on the 27th. At some point in that we have to start packing, finish packing, move everything from our storage unit, close out all my work stuff, and figure out our drive from LA to Texas. Oh, and maybe squeeze in a goodbye party if we can make that work as well.

Here goes nothing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Road Trip

Friday was my last day of work until the middle of July, and in order to celebrate, I decided we ought to go on a road trip. However, we didn't really feel like doing much planning, so we decided to just get in the car and drive. We had a general idea of where we were going (East, and visiting the Saltan Sea at some point) but aside from that, we were really open.

Will sent an email to our parents detailing the trip, so rather than re-creating the wheel, I'll just quote the email. He included links and everything!

The trip was really fun. We ended up having Mexican food in Palm Springs, looping around the Salton Sea, staying overnight in an almost-border-town called Brawley, and then driving back through Anzo Borrego state park.

The Salton Sea area is a very strange place... there are tons of abandoned towns and houses, ruined beaches, and dead fish line the shore. Nearby Slab City is an abandoned military base inhabited by drifters, with one man's painted mountain becoming a lifelong obsession. Brawley was a tiny farm town with a surprisingly nice Best Western and a great diner in the middle of nowhere called Brownies. On our way back we drove through a surprising desert town called Borrego Springs, which is what people say Palm Springs was like 30 years ago. It was designated as California's first International Dark-Sky Community so it is really popular with astronomers. Then we ascended a pretty steep mountain that reminded us a lot of the Northern coast of CA and also driving up Haleakala volcano in Maui (so we were well prepared). We passed by picturesque Lake Henshaw on our way back to southern LA, and then we finished off the trip in Irvine at a microbrewery!
Here's a map of the trip, in case one of your Strengths is input, and you need to know more.

Some of the things we saw included:

Lots of palm trees in Palm Springs, and then palm tree nurseries in the middle of the desert as we kept going east.

Salvation Mountain, also in the middle of the desert.

A diner with some surprisingly awesome chicken fried steak.

And some pretty great views.

All in all, a really fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Sister, JD

So this past weekend we took a quick trip back to Texas to see my AMAZING sister graduate from law school. I left Texas and moved out to LA right before she started law school, so in some ways it's weird for me to think that she's all done, since for the most part, the only real glimpses I saw of the process were via phone conversations, tweets, and facebook updates. But nonetheless she's done! Now she just gets to study for the bar, which I hear is a blast!

A hundred years ago, UT decided that their graduates should start wearing regalia, but no one invited the Law School to the meeting where they made that decision. So, in protest, the law school decided that they wouldn't wear any, and instead just wear white suits, and upon crossing the stage be pinned with a sunflower. They call this the Sunflower Ceremony. This makes my sister rather grumpy, because she wanted regalia, gosh darn it! But she didn't get any, so instead pretend like she's wearing poofy Doctoral gown and a velvet tam. And a purple hood! Sometimes, I think I should go to law school just because they get purple hoods, and my hood is just light blue. But enough about me. MY BABY SISTER IS A LAWYER!

So proud.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You!

I'm a nerd. If you're reading this, you probably knew that, but just in case there was any doubt, here's confirmation. Totally a nerd.

One of my nerdier loves is Star Wars. I grew up watching it, and when my dad (also a nerd) got surround sound for our living room, he'd always show it off by playing the Endor speeder chase scene to anyone who came to visit. It definitely highlighted the awesomeness that was our surround sound, and increased both my sister's and my love for the trilogy.

So today, the most awesome of days, is May 4, also known as "May the fourth be with you" also known as "Star Wars Day." For the past 2 years I've hosted a May the Fourth be with you party in my apartment where we watch one of the movies and eat Star Wars themed food. Today is no exception, though I've gone significantly less elaborate with the food choices this year, since I'm on duty and can't spend a lot of time preparing. Nonetheless I'm excited - this year is Return of the Jedi which is totally my favorite (partially because it has the speeder chase scene that was a crucial part of my fanboy formation.)

For those of you who aren't able to make it to my party, but still want to celebrate, I leave you with the original trilogy in 2 1/2 minutes, with legos. It's kind of awesome.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cleaning out our storage space, or: Carmen is a pack rat

So this weekend Will really wanted to start going through our storage space to see if we could downsize it. He brought me along because I have, like, 4+ boxes that I brought from Texas that haven't been touched. I went through it, and decided that I definitely have a packrat problem.

I found, among other things, a bunch of notes from grad school, my RA training binder from my senior year, a script from a Star Wars fanfilm that my friends in Australia made in 2002, the notebooks that Will and I got at Engaged Encounter, RA training schedules from Trinity in 2005 and 2006, forms for room changes at Texas State in 2004, unopened statements from ING (what? I track online!), and lots and lots of books.

Some of it I tossed, some of it I didn't. In the end, we decided to toss a box, sell a box, donate a bag, and take a bag home.

I'd say it was a very productive day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Afternoon and Evening

My afternoon consisted of going to the annual awards ceremony and see a number of totally amazing students win awards for the awesomeness that they've achieved in their one, two, three, or four years here. I nominated a few of my own students, and one of them won, which was very exciting and made me feel a bit like a proud mama.

My evening consisted of inviting the students from my Alternative Break trip over for dinner, and hanging out with them, playing some Mafia, and eating creme brulee.

(I made sixteen of them to commemorate the occasion. And to make sure I didn't run out.)

And they pay me to do this?

Sometimes, my life is pretty amazing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Springtime in California means:
  • Very, very windy days. The past few days have been crazy, and I've been a little concerned that a palm tree branch is going to smash into a window in my building.
  • Season finale filming. They're filming the Glee Season Finale across the street from Will's work. I am considering calling in sick one day and just going and sitting outside to see if I can spot stars. Or try to convince my boss that we should go whisper for a free cupcake at Sprinkles, and then eat it while trying to spot stars.
  • Stressed students. They've got finals, they've got papers, they've got projects. For some reason, all this extra work stresses them out. Who woulda thunk?
  • Graduation. All of my awesome seniors leave every year around this time, and it's always sad. I know that they're going off to bigger and better things, but part of me wants to figure out how to hack into the school system and have them fail so that they can stay for another year. (Don't worry, I don't actually do it.)
  • Closing. Not on a house, which is what everyone thinks when I talk about closing. Closing the building and sending all the students home for the summer. I always have mixed feelings - sad that they're going, glad that the summer's coming and I get a bit of a break.
Springtime in Texas means


I miss bluebonnets.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The LA Galaxy

If you had told me 3 years ago I would be a season ticket holder to a sporting event, I'd have thought you were crazy. Nonetheless, Will and I are now season ticket holders to the LA Galaxy.

Things change.

There had been a couple of games already in the pre-season and season that I wasn't able to make, due to work. But this past Saturday I got to go to my first game, which was against Real Salt Lake! One of my RAs is from Utah, and is a big Real fan, so he was there too, but across the stadium, in the Real supporters section.

It was actually pretty fun! Not even just pretty fun for a sporting event, but pretty fun in general. I'm not going to give a play-by-play of the game - I'll leave that to Will, but Galaxy won, and our seats, which are right by one of the corners, gave us an awesome view of some pretty good shots.

So, another thing that I can only really do while we live in LA crossed off! Living up my LA life!

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 12 of 12 (Or: I WENT TO THE FRENCH LAUNDRY!)

Since I moved out here, Will and I have worked to widen our pallet, spending way too much money on food and not regretting it at all. I've already made a post where I come off sounding all snobby and pretentious, so I won't make the mistake of doing it twice, but on March 12, Brandon, Moye, Will, and I made our way up to Yountville to eat at The French Laundry.

Getting the reservations was a bit of an adventure in and of itself. We started calling when the line opened up after their holiday break, and between the four of us called on and off throughout the morning. I finally got through at one point, and then got put on hold, and then disconnected. Arg! But Brandon finally made it through, and the only option was a lunch, Friday, March 12. So we did that, and were all lucky enough to get the day off so that we could go.

Brandon is from the area, so we stayed at his mom's house, which was awesome, since it saved us a hotel bill. We flew up on Thursday night, on a tiny plane (2x2x20) that you had to go outside to get on, and which had actually propellers where the engines usually are. It seemed especially small because we loaded right next to a China Air 747.

We got in, and crashed relatively early.

And now... my 12 of 12 (and the day!):

When we got up, it was a little rainy.

We got ready, and Will and I improvised some Heart and Soul on the piano, while Brandon and Moye went to get the rental car.

And then we were off! The trip took about an hour, and I was awake the whole time! (Though I would fall asleep on the way back, and the other times we went there that weekend, for ad hoc and just general merriment.)

When we got there, we were promptly seated, and spent a few minutes trying to decide whether or not it was okay to take the clothespins home with us.

We eventually decided that we could.

The menu was awesome, and we planned it such that when there were to options, one person from each couple had each option, so that we could try everything.

Lots of amazing courses, though we didn't take pictures of most of them, because Moye is morally opposed to that. Well, except the fois gras. Because it was pretty.

Oh, and the picture of the dinosaur salt! There were 3 different kinds of salt for the fois gras, and one of them was 40 million years old! So we called it dinosaur salt.

The only course which I didn't share/get to taste the other one was the dessert. Because I got peanut butter chocolate, and will had some citrus thing. And who trades peanut butter chocolate for citrus?!

Then we got chocolates to top it off. They were awesome.

Our waiter asked which ones were our favorites, and Brandon and I told him the peanut butter ones (peanut butter chocolate!), and Will told him the cinnamon. Moye was too full to think of a favorite. And he gave us more. (!!!!) And I tried to take an artsy picture with the macro setting on my camera.

After an amazing lunch at The French Laundry, the only really reasonable thing to do is go on Chat Roulette. Moye and I showed off Brandon's Ninja Turtles action figures to some guys from Russia who showed us snow in exchange, some guys from Toronto, and a few other people. We only saw one really offensive thing, which is probably pretty good, considering we were playing around for about an hour.

Dinner (once we were able to make room for it) was this awesome cheese spread on a bagel.

Moye updated her blog with the experience much more promptly than I did.

And what better way to end the day, than a little bit of the UK version of The Office?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Love what you do

Once again I dragged my feet to a late night meeting, very tired after a loooooong day of selecting RAs and then showing off my building to eager freshmen.

And once again, I got so wrapped up in the conversations that happened that I lost complete track of time, and left the meeting rejuvenated and excited about my students, my job, and my chosen career.

One of these days I'm going to remember that this always happens before I start griping about having a 10pm meeting on a day when I'm ready to crash around 9. But until then, I'll just continue to be pleasantly surprised when it does.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Marci and AJ have spent the past 20 minutes video chatting each other - from the same room. I don't think I've laughed this hard in a long, long time. Jen is torn between laughing, and watching along with a bit of confusion.

Quote of the night:
Marci - Why have we never roomed together before?
AJ - Um, because we all have our own apartments.

I am so thankful for my coworkers, who I can also count among my friends.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Balanced Meals

I'm trying to do this cooking thing where I actually create balanced meals. I consider a balanced meal to be a protein, a veggie, and a starch.

Will doesn't like this. Well, in his words, "It's not that I don't like them... I just... don't like them."

Thanks hon!

He keeps trying to cut out the veggie part. Potatoes AND salad doesn't really make sense to him, and if we have a side dish of rice, then why do we need Brussels sprouts as well? (Because they're awesome, that's why!) And when we have spaghetti, he needs bread as well. As if the pasta isn't enough carbs! (Well, to be fair, I'm a fan of that one.)

I'm still working on him, though. One of these days, he'll be just as excited about the veggies as he is about the meat and potatoes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


You would think that rain wouldn't be that big a deal as I grew up in Texas, but after almost 3 years in California, it's become kind of a big deal. We almost never get it, and when we do, it's not something that in the past I'd call rain - it's more like this misty stuff that's here for a minute or two, and then gone.

But over the past week we got rain. Like, real rain. At least a few hours a day, from Sunday through Friday. It was crazy, and what I really wanted to do was curl up in bed with hot chocolate and an open window and read, listening to the rain.

Unfortunately, I have a job that keeps me from doing that. So instead, I did the whole responsible adult thing, and grumped at the rain.

However, the way LA looks after the rain is definitely my favorite. All the haze and smog and ocean layer or whatever you want to call it was gone, and we could see clear to the snow topped mountains. It was kind of awesome.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas ends

When I was growing up we always kept our Christmas lights up through Three King's Day, the night of January 6. I was totally into this whole Three Kings thing, since it meant an extra day of presents, and what kid doesn't want that? The night of the 5th we'd go pull some grass and set out some water for the camels of the Three Kings, and in the morning they'd be gone, and we'd have presents instead.

I remember the year we stopped doing milk and cookies for Santa - the truth about him was out, so there wasn't really any point. But we kept doing the grass and water, I think because of the cultural connection we had to it. So now, as an adult, even though I don't get presents anymore, I'm still very aware of the fact that it's Three King's day, and what that means, both in the story of the nativity, and culturally.

I kept our lights up through last night, and actually spent some time sitting in the dark so that I could really enjoy them. And while I didn't really set out grass and water for the camels on the night of the 5th this year - it would have just made a mess that I would have taken way too long to clean up - I definitely considered it, and I know that once we have kids we'll have them do it as well. I still struggle with figuring out how to raise our future children so that they feel a connection to their Puerto Rican and Lebanese heritage - especially since they'll be an extra generation away from it, but I feel like that will be an easy step in the right direction.

And I figure that since it means they get extra presents, when they're kids, it won't be a hard sell.

Tuesdays Unwrapped: My coworkers

One of the blogs that I stumbled across while blog-hopping was Chatting at the Sky. I discovered it when someone was participating in Tuesdays Unwrapped where you're encouraged to celebrate the small things in your life. I love the idea of Tuesdays Unwrapped, and want to make a conscious effort to appreciate the everyday, so I'm hoping to participate in it with some regularity.

Since it's Wednesday, I know I'm a bit late, but the MckLinky on this week's post is still open, so I'm going to go ahead anyways.

I'm lucky enough to work at a place where everyone really seems to enjoy their job and the work they do. Among my colleagues we have various backgrounds and came to the decision to work with college students in different ways, but what really matters is that we're all here now, doing what we do. And in addition to really enjoying our work, I feel like we really enjoy each other.

Over the holidays most of us went home, and we've slowly been drifting back as the expectation was that everyone return by Friday, and most of us wanted at least a day before that anyways. Today was the first day that we were all back, and after picking up Marci from the airport we headed to Iggy's to grab lunch with everyone else. And we were all crammed in that corner of Iggy's that we love, talking about all sorts of random stuff to AJ's ridiculous plane flight to Marci getting up around the time that I was going to sleep, to Nate's New Years resolutions and everything in between. And it was just fun.

There are 11 RDs and then another 6 professional staff members in the department, and by no means are we all best friends, nor do we all get along all the time. But I still feel like there's a real sense of camaraderie, and that most of the time it doesn't really take an effort to enjoy each others company. I've worked in places where that wasn't the feeling at all, so I feel lucky that at this school, for this year, it's the case. We're a good group, and we're all bound by the fact that we're here to help college students, whether this is just the stopping point before a different career or something that we see ourselves doing in the long run, it's what we're here for now.

So this year, I really want to make an effort to appreciate my coworkers and the fun that we have, and what everyone brings to the table. We all have things to learn from and about each other, and there's no way of knowing what next year will look like - we may all be back in the positions, or we may not - so I want to make sure that I'm making the most of this time and these great people that I'm working with, because it won't last. But it's here now, and it's the gift I was given today to unwrap.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Queer the Census

Regardless of what you think about the LGBT population and the gay rights movement, it's very difficult to deny that there is a significant LGBT population in the United States. However, we don't have an official count, because that is something that's not included on the census. On the short form, they ask about age, sex, race, marital status, and home ownership, but they don't ask sexual orientation. On the long form they go more in depth, but still don't ask about sexual orientation.

The mission of the Census Bureau (I looked it up) is to "[serve] as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy." But when they're leaving out information about the sexual orientation of the population, how are they really providing quality data about the nation's people?

In the words of a friend of mine
it's not on the census? yeah, I'm a conservative/against gay marriage/think it's morally wrong . . .

but seriously? It's a legitimate statistic.

Queer the Census is a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is working with the Federal Census Bureau to include LGBT counts in the 2020 census. I encourage everyone who is concerned with

I know that I have friends and family on all sides of the political spectrum - if you feel that excluding GLBT counts keeps the census from being a good picture of our country but don't feel comfortable aligning yourself with the NGLTF, I encourage you to find a way that you do feel comfortable to make yourself heard.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Eve Dinner

Since we spent New Year's Eve in, we wanted to do something a little special, so we decided to try a few new recipes for dinner. But first we needed to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get new kitchen supplies (including a dutch oven, which I am SO EXCITED about) to make these new recipes.

We went with three recipes - from Pioneer Woman we made Goat Cheese Polenta and Short Ribs and a Brussels sprouts recipe that we got from our good friend Kate. You can find the short rib and polenta recipes on the linked pages, and the Brussels sprouts recipe is below.

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta (adapted from Mario Batali of Babbo)
4 servings

Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, blanched and cut in half
6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
large pinch chopped thyme, more if needed
large pinch chopped parsley, more if needed
freshly ground black pepper.

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the halved brussels sprouts, and cook until they are tender but still slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of salted ice water to cool; then, drain. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise and dry thoroughly on a tea towel.

2. In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, cook the cubed pancetta until most of the fat has been rendered and the cubes are crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon, and reserve.

3. Increase heat to medium-high, add the brussels sprouts and cook until they are browned on the edges and tender, turning often, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add reserved pancetta, thyme and parsley, and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

This New Year's was relatively quiet for us - I was on duty, so we cooked a nice dinner, and then went outside to watch the fireworks the marina and the rest of LA from the bluff.

There's a Puerto Rican tradition where you go pour out water in order to get rid of the bad luck from last year, so we did that early on the 1st (I'd filled up the glass the night before, but forgotten to pour it out because we were so tired.)

Happy New Year, and I hope that any ickiness that you experienced last year has been flushed out for a better 2010!

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