February 24, 2010

Life is Hard Without a Sink

Of all the nice things about our apartment (size, neighbors, refurbished), sometimes I'm sure none of those can outweigh the bad.  Mostly because the bad things are recurring and ANNOYING.

Today's bad thing: our plumbing.  I don't know what crappy plumber they had in here to redo all the plumbing fixtures, but 2/3 of them didn't work when we moved in.  On top of that, last night we got our third clogged kitchen sink since moving in here.  I swear, I have never had so many plumbing problems in my entire life, and the house I grew up in was 100 years old.

After the first time (2 weeks after move-in), we got a letter from the landlord telling us that if they could prove we clogged the pipes, we would be responsible for the repair costs.  Ever since then, we do not use our brand new garbage disposal, and every drain has a catch in it to keep all food, hair and whatever else that isn't straight liquid out of it.  We don't even put coffee grounds in the drain, because that was in the letter.

So today the plumber is coming, and we're praying they don't pin this on us.  And we're also praying that disgusting, foul smelling, impossible to clean off black goo doesn't come spraying out of the wall again.

For now, I have to constantly remind myself not to use the sink.  I can't believe how much liquid gets poured down that thing... it's very hard not to dump stuff in there.  Good thing this doesn't seem to affect the shower or toilet...

February 15, 2010

LA Zoo

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Unforeseeable circumstances have postponed our trip to the San Diego zoo. However, with the LA zoo still on the list of zoos I need to visit, we decided to go there as it was much closer and decidedly better on the budget.

I have to say, for $13/ticket and free parking, this zoo was a steal! The weather was perfect (apparently 80, but no humidity, a slight breeze, not a cloud in the sky), the crowds were only bad near the most popular animals, the lines are went surprisingly quickly. Even in the crowded areas, people didn't linger overly long, or get pushy. Kids were not bumping into you, or climbing the railings, or screaming at the animals. Even when we felt the need to get away from the crowds, I didn't feel like killing anyone.

The absolute best part though? The babies!! I mean, we saw a baby koala (OH MY GOD!), wallabies, twin pigs, colobus monkey, gorilla, twin snow leopards, giraffes. Granted, some of them were more along the lines of young than brand new, but they were all so ADORABLE.

Also, kettle corn.

February 09, 2010

Stream Hiking

A view typical of the tamer parts of the creek we splashed through.

On Sunday, a group of my friends went on a hike through Seven Falls Trail here in Santa Barbara. Because this is such an arid climate, the falls are only active during the winter rains. I use the word winter very loosely. It was 65 during this hike.

This trail is famous for having stepped pools where the falls have eroded pits in the rock. It was amazing. There were groups of young people in bathing suits and wetsuits using the falls as natural water slides and just generally having fun. None of us had swimming clot
hes on, so we weren't too keen on running around soaked afterwards. However, Nell and I were interested in how the rest of the pools lo
oked. You can't really see all of them from where the trail comes in, so viewing the rest requires some climbing. Nothing major, as at some point there were little foot pockets carved into the rock, but probably intimidating to someone who has never done any kind of climbing before.
Right Photo: Looking down on the pools where people swim. We climbed up this.

We braved it, knowing that if we fell, we'd just be wet and get over it. We said goodbye to the rest of the group, planning to meet them where the trail reconnects to the stream. I suppose we should have planned that in actual words though. We continued scrambling up boulde
rs, through the stream, for 2 to 3 hours after that. We were sure that if we kept going, we'd find the trail. Turns out, the trail came back right after the pools, which was not even 10 minutes after our separate. Whoops. All in all, we were hiking for roughly 4.5 hours. Granted, we spent some time ogling the scenery.

Despite worrying our husbands, ruining our pants, and being utterly exhausted afterwards, this was the best hike of my life. Generally the water was only a foot deep at most, though there were some places you could fully swim in, and some places unexpectedly were up to our knees or even our hips. The water was also COLD. We did a lot of jumping from rock to rock, and scrambling up the bigger boulders. There were so. many. water falls! We kept picking out the ones that would make the best natural showers for when we decide to live in the forest.

Seriously people. Hiking up a mountain stream is the best. We even found this big rock face covered in different kinds of moss. There were teeny tiny little mushrooms growing out of it. So adorable. And so soft! I'm sure that's where the magical fairies live.

We had both left all of our belongings with the group when we separating, because we didn't want to get anything wet. So I have no pictures to share. However, I did search the internet, and I'm sharing what I found out there. These aren't mine. Some are linked to websites that have even more photos if you're interested.

This photo is with a lot of other cools ones, and an article. I recommend it. This is also a good example of the more difficult stuff we had to do to not go swimming. There wasn't quite so much of this as you'd imagine.

February 04, 2010

UofL Scarf Finished!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

I finished my brother's scarf! I feel safe posting it here, because I can't imagine he's ever been here. I doubt he would even know where to find me. Regardless, it's late, so I guess it doesn't hurt if he does see it here first.

Happy 25th Birthday Brother!

An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Tonight I had the privilege of sitting seven rows away from Neil Gaiman as he read unpublished stories, answered questions, and told us snippets of things about life and writing. He spoke about how much he loves audiobooks, and making his own. As I sat listening to him read The Thing About Cassandra, I found myself both awed by how mesmerizing his story telling powers were, and feeling cheated that the only one of his books I've listened to was read by Lenny Henry. That's not to say that my experience with Anansi Boys on CD was anything less than great. But after listening to Gaiman speak for two hours, it occurs to me that my public library will need to be thoroughly picked clean of anything they may have recorded in his voice.

He also mentioned Twitter a number of times, and from his references, I'm guessing I should be following him. Such a wonderful, funny man. Bless you Santa Barbara, for finally giving me something truly amazing.

*Both stories that he read to us have publishers, and will be available soon. Though I can't tell you what soon means. The other story, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, was about a dude at a B&B along the seaside in England. Both were wonderful, though Cassandra was longer, and had, for lack of a better phrase, more teeth.

**Did you know Blueberry Girl was written for Tori Amos while she was pregnant? *swoon*

February 02, 2010

Weaving Experimentation - Soumak Weave

I'm working on a belated birthday/Christmas present for my brother, whose birthday is the day after Christmas. I'm attempting to weave designs into the fabric in support of his favorite team, the University of Louisville cardinals. After planning out the lettering on some grid paper (well, homemade grid paper... I really should buy some of that stuff; making your own grids is needlessly time consuming) similar to a cross stitch pattern, I went about weaving them into the fabric using what's known as a soumak weave. For you embroiderers, this is basically a stem stitch. Which I realized after painstakingly weaving this in between each plain weave row. I think for the image part, I will just embroider the design.

At any rate, I'm pretty pleased with how the UofL part came out. Very simple, striking, and not too fancy looking for a dude to wear even though making it feels very fancy. I should have photos once the whole thing is done.

February 01, 2010

Craft Room Makeover

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Photos of my newly arranged craft room. I took the month of January off from crafting, as I was a bit burned out after the mad dash to Christmas. I just put the finishing touches on the room yesterday, just in time to resume crafting for February. I have a couple of projects for specific people that I need to get done, and then the shop should start seeing new items for sale.

Side note: DS has a fourth interview at U Penn!