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Name: La Nina
  New Jersey

I'm a Jersey girl without the big hair or the accent (well, most of the time anyway), but with all of the bad driving and the penchant for weekly manicures.
Oh, and I'm an interior design student. That's how all of the weird terminology comes into play.

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Monday, January 31, 2005
Light Sources
LIGHT SOURCES - Any device that creates light and any opening that admits light. Consider lighting variables before choosing colors, textures, shiny or dull finishes, etc. Variables include direct or reflected natural, incandescent, or fluorescent light. (from the Creative Homeowner's Glossary)

I've been chilling out for the last couple of days and really haven't had the inspiration to write, but that's partly because of all of the wonderful things you guys have recommended for me to do (Yes, I blame you. Hee.). I now have lots of new books, games, hobbies, and even relaxation techniques to try out, so thanks to each of you for your awesome suggestions.

Thanks for all of the ideas, guys.

Speaking of hobbies, tonight I'm signing up for a drawing class in the interim between now and when my potential master's program starts (Fingers crossed, hope, hope, hope! I should be hearing from my first choice school sometime next week as to whether I've been accepted). Tomorrow I'll be looking into a course that'll teach me how to sew. Then I'll be able to make my own curtains and cushions instead of having to continually wipe the sides of my mouth while staring at the likes of those advertised in Elle Decor.

Hope you can forgive the filler post, and thanks again for everything.

    posted by La Nina @ 5:14 PM   10 Comments

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
NOSING - The leading edge of a stair tread, usually rounded (from Whitton, Interior Design and Decoration 5e, Pearson Education, 2002)

I noticed her the second she got on the train. This was because she was wearing a hat similar to one I own and wear a lot in this ludicrous weather, yet it was not very flattering to her.

"I hope that's not what I look like when I'm wearing my hat." I thought to myself with a touch of panic in my inner voice. Then I told myself to shut up because she seemed like a nice lady and nobody should have to care what they look like when it's this friggin' cold and I'm hardly a fashion maven anyway.

I should just get one of these and quit worrying...

She sat down across from me and I witnessed her in the midst of what I thought to be an inexcusable act. I caught her blatantly reading over this poor girl's shoulder. I'm not sure what she was reading, because I'm not a nosey parker like that. "How impolite! How distracting!" I thought. The abhorrence and smugness was seething from my pores.

These lucky schmoes get enough room on the train to carry around really really big books.

After I decided to quit watching to see if the lady would stop reading, I realized that I didn't have anywhere else to look. Then my peripheral vision picked up an article from the Wall Street Journal Marketplace section about the difficulties of hiding one's job search. And how, you ask, was I able to pick up so much detail? I was reading over the guy's shoulder of course! *sigh* It was rude, it was wrong, I totally knew it, and I did it anyway.

I've figured out that over-the-shoulder-readers don't mean to, and I should shove my indignance ... um ... well, somewhere out of the way. Those who do this are just bored and need something to do.

Please suggest something for me to do on the train. Recommend a book or game to occupy my 14 minutes each way. My fellow passengers will thank you for it.

    posted by La Nina @ 5:34 PM   48 Comments

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
SCAVENGERS - In garden ponds, crea-tures such as snails, mussels, clams, or tadpoles that feed on fish wastes, algae, and dead organic matter. (It's from the Creative Homeowner's Glossary and yes I realize it's a stretch.)

Welcome scavengers from Michele's site! What a fun game this is, eh? *Getting my Canadian on in her honor*

As I'm a little devil (or angel, depending on how long you've been searching), I'll make this easy on you. I'm clue #2, and I'm extremely flattered that the divine Ms. M thinks I have good taste.

No need for Clue(s). I'll just give you the answer. :)

Happy hunting! I hope to have an extended post later today.

    posted by La Nina @ 10:46 AM   20 Comments

Thursday, January 20, 2005
CASHMERE - twilled fabric, originally from a Cashmere goat (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary of Terms)

Lesson of the Day: A girl will go to ridiculous lengths just for a stupid (but very lovely) sweater.

Lucky girl me received an Ann Taylor gift card for Christmas. Ann Taylor is my most special place -- well, save for pretty much any home store on the planet which actually maybe makes it my 287,513th most special place -- and of course I was thrilled. Well, last week I finally got around to using that bad boy online. Lo and behold they were (And still are! Hurry ladies!) having a super cashmere sweater sale! Fantabulous!

You see, I I luuurve cashmere, I loave it, I luff it, two F's, yes. It is so super soft and warm and holds such brilliant colors. So after some deliberation, I picked out this sweet little number:

Oh, it HAD to be green, didn't it Nina? Do you like any other colors? At all?

When I got home last night there was a notice on the door that DHL tried to deliver my package. My heart sank. Why on God's green earth (yes, more green -- get over it) did they have to ship via DHL? They're the only shipping gig in town that doesn't have a backup plan in the case that the recipient, oh I don't know, has a job during the day and won't be home to sign for the dang thing.

This would have been so much easier. Just give 'em all wings, goofy grins, and homing devices so that the packages can just come and find us if we're not at home.

Long story short, I now have to drive the Jersey Turnpike to Exit 13A / Elizabeth, New Jersey to go get my sweater tonight. Not the fun, Jersey Gardens / IKEA Elizabeth but the dark, behind-a-truck-depot-and-the-company-that-makes-fake-eggs Elizabeth. This is sooooo not my bag.

Ooh. Bags. *checks Ann Taylor site again* Some nice ones on there.

Okay, back. Sorry 'bout that.

As I was saying, as much as I'm not looking forward to it, it shall be done. All for cashmere. Beeeeeyoooooteeful cashmere. I shall enjoy wearing it while I'm in Boston this weekend.

Question of the Day:

Clothing obsessions are fun (or funny, whichever you prefer). Please share with me your favorite clothing item. You know, the one that you buy in triplicate or subject yourself to bodily harm in order to wear said item. Examples of instances like these are fun to share as well.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:20 PM   11 Comments

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
DIY - (Brit.) do-it-yourself: DIY house decorating. Also, D.I.Y., d.i.y. (From the Random House Unabridged Dictionary on

This is probably the stupidest thing in the world for me to get excited about, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

I am two steps closer to becoming a grease monkey.

On Monday I was on my way home from Boston and was dealing with some really yucky weather, so I'd have to give my windshield a little splash every couple of minutes. Well, whaddya know, I discovered that when you do that a lot, you run out of wiper fluid. So what did I do?

I refilled it. Myself. Without assistance from anyone and really having no idea how to do so going in. Oh, yeah. I am AWESOME.

Check me out! ... Not you, Hasselhoff, you helmet-headed cheeseball. (And that's not actually me. That's Patricia McPherson. Okay, I thought it was funny at the time.)

Now I'm also here to let you know that I did not do this without trials and tribulations. I bought the fluid. That was no problem. Then I popped the hood. Now the fun begins.

So I go to the front of the car in order to lift up the hood and rest it on that little arm thingie (Hey, I managed to complete the task; I don't need a quiz on the components.), and the hood's stuck on something. What the heck is it? I try just pulling on it really hard. Usually the simplest method is the best method, well, most of the time anyways. Not here.

I squat down and peer into the crack. Dang latch is stuck on something. Or maybe that is the latch. Oh, I don't know. As I stare at the mechanism, I grasp that the hook end of the latch has to go up in order for the hood to be able to open. I get to work on lifting the hook end. Crikey, this thing isn't easy to lift, and I think my face is turning red from the effort. Not good. What's Plan B?

Plan B turns out to be the "stare at the latch some more" plan. I proceed with Plan B for a good five minutes. Then I realize that the latch has a push-down mechanism. Plan B successful. Rawk!

The little arm thingie part goes without a hitch. That's a relief. It was certainly easier than looking down at the engine and realizing that I have no idea where the fluid is supposed to go. Time to modify Plan B. What feels like hours pass. Then I find this in my engine:

DISCLAIMER: This picture in very few ways resembles what I actually saw in my engine. The colors aren't even close, it was a lot smaller, and the cap was kinda roundish and not rectangular in the least. The symbol's right though.

By now I've been in the freezing cold for like, twenty minutes, I'm filthy, and I've totally ruined the paint job ... on my nails. And now the friggin' cap won't come off. The only thing I can think of at this point is to start cooing to the old girl. "C'mon baby," I purr. "I know I call you a piece of s&*# all of the time, but you know I don't mean it, so c'mon and open for me, okay?" And golly gee willikers it works! Note to self: keep on file as Plan C.

After much spilling of fluid, closing all of the things that need closing in swift succession, and a quick (and thoroughly awesome) test run, I'm back on the road. How cool is that?

It's just occurred to me as I write this as to precisely why I am so pleased with myself. A year ago I wouldn't do any manual labor. I don't think it was out of snobbishness per se. In fact I think it was the opposite. I just completely lacked the confidence to do it. And now I paint with aplomb, do the hammer and nails thing with ardor, and now I can maintain my car. If that's not a huge step in personal development, I don't know what is. Have to say it one more time: that is so awesome.

A Couple of Quick Updates:

1. Thank you for your concern over my Diet Coke consumption. For the most part, I have cut back to 1-2 servings a day.

2. The Cow has relented! I have a phone appointment this evening with Cow Tech #13, during which I will make arrangements to ship my cruddy computer to them at their expense and they will either fix it or send me a new one. Phew!

    posted by La Nina @ 5:06 PM   12 Comments

Sunday, January 16, 2005
FAUX - The French word for false. With regard to painting finishes, it is used to describe any technique in which paint is manipulated on a surface to imitate the appearance of another substance, such as wood or stone. (from the Creative Homeowner's Glossary)

Turns out that one of my readers clearly thinks that I'm pregnant. I'd like to state for the record that I'm not.

I actually find it quite amusing that I need to clear this up in a public forum. Makes me feel like a bit of a celebrity. Next I'll be fighting off the tabloids.

I can only hope that my fake little guy may someday live up to these fake little guys...

The first time that this rumor came about in my comments section, Ryan and I managed to laugh it off and I got extra special treatment for about an hour afterwards. He moved furniture out of my path and helped me to prop my feet up due to my "delicate condition." Then he tried to take away my shiraz and that joke was over.

On Wednesday, the rumor reared its head again. It's possible that I reacted a little harshly and that this post may not even be the best countermeasure, but I've never had to diffuse a rumor about myself before, so I'm having to wing it.

That's not to say I've never had a rumor spread about me in the past -- in high school I noticed that any bulletin boards on which I was listed, the word "dyke" would be scribbled next to my name. I knew the boys in school did it because I was an art-loving girl who wouldn't give them the time of day, much less put out for them. Back then I knew to simply ignore to whatever they wrote about me and start dating college guys.

This feels different though, since everybody who has commented here has been pretty supportive, and even the rumor itself was borne (ha) with the best intentions. This is the best way I know to set things straight, and to direct the respect to the actual parents out there.

Okay, now that that's been said, let's take the focus off me for a moment (I can hear it now from my parents: "She SAID that?!"). Has there ever been a false rumor about you that you'd love to dispel now? Funny or serious -- take it away.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:02 PM   9 Comments

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
APPLE: A fine fruitwood used in colonial furniture. (From the Rob Stucky Finishes Glossary)

I am completely out of love with technology at the moment.

A few of you may have noticed that I have not been blogging much or visiting other sites as of late. A good portion of that has come from my inability to work out my differences with The Cow. I've spoken with three more Cow Techs and everything seems to be up and running except for the Internet (okay that's a biggie) and the fact that my monitor only now displays 16 colors (also a biggie). I've had Ataris that looked and worked better.

So let's just say that it's been a very slow process. I wonder if I can beat the hell out of the thing and get a replacement since it's still under warranty. Maybe I could throw a little party like these guys.

The rat takes the cheese, the rat takes the cheese. Hi-ho, the derry-o, the rat takes the cheese.

Furthermore, my current hatred of all things with a motherboard has been compounded from a well-intended act of kindness. You see, content spammers managed to collectively overwhelm Ryan's site and now he's had to have it upgraded, redesigned, and he's had to manually re-insert a lot of his content. He was understandably upset about it and so I thought I would try to cheer him up by sending him an e-certificate from Apple's iTunes store. This was on Monday. He still has not received it.

Note that I am not linking them. That's because they are resplendent with idiots.

Yeah, I bit into that. Boy have I got a hangover now.

My most pertinent concern with the Apple systems people is: "How on earth does one ship an e-certificate to a house?" Yes, you heard me right. I believe that this is where I believe my gift has been sent. My invoice indicates my own apartment as the shipping address. I reiterate: how is this possible? When I first received the confirmation via email and saw the aforementioned shipping address, I phoned them to make sure that it actually wasn't going to be sent there. Oh no, they assured me. It's definitely on its way to Ryan's email address.

Now the order tracking page is indicating that the order is complete, but Ryan hasn't gotten it yet. I've made two phone calls and filled out two customer service online forms, but haven't managed to make contact with anyone who can sort out this mystery. Where's Scooby Doo when you need him?

Smarter than the customer service reps I've spoken to.

The thing that disappoints me the most is that Ryan's surprise has been ruined. He has long since gotten over his bad day and the romantic spontanaeity of the whole thing has past. I hope this doesn't become the story of my life. That would suck.

So I desperately want to just give up on my computer (don't worry, P-Dookie, the hissyfit you told me to have at them is forthcoming) and now I'm seething over online shopping as well. Is there anything else that I could possibly spew my blistering venom of tech hatred on?

Okay, fine. My Launchcast station keeps crashing and thinks that I want to listen to Limp Bizkit and Boyz II Men. I'd love to fry them too.

That should just about cover it.

UPDATE: The damn thing finally arrived! In his email, not at my house! Now all I have to figure out is why the billing and shipping address were both listed as my apartment. Then again, maybe I should leave that one alone.

SECOND UPDATE: Figures that as soon as I write a long post about how I hate technology, my site becomes so damn popular that I finally know what it means to destroy my bandwidth. Coincidence? I think not. Actually, it probably is a coincidence but a conspiracy theory is much more interesting.

    posted by La Nina @ 2:29 PM   13 Comments

Friday, January 07, 2005
Acid Demand
ACID DEMAND - The amount of acid required by a body of water to raise the pH to neutral (7). (from the Creative Homeowner glossary)

I've just gone stupid with my Diet Coke habit as of late. I'm up to six cans of the stuff a day. Should I be concerned?

Champagne tastes, Diet Coke pockets. What's a girl to do?

It starts in the morning, as I take my breakfast with caramel coloring. This is because I don't like coffee. I know a lot of you fine folks out there loooooooove your coffee, but I think it tastes like bitter crap. No offense. I have to say, having a Diet Coke with an egg white omelette wrap is really really weird and I totally recognize that. However, I'm getting that energy jolt that other caffeine addicts generally get from their java.

Then there's the two I have during lunch. My choice of beverage seems to make a little more sense here, if only I would try to be a little more adventurous with my epicurean selections. I mean, perhaps I could try a seltzer every once in a while?

The mid afternoon energy crash requires yet another DC. I'm beginning to sense a pattern here.

Dinner = Diet Coke x 2. Perhaps I could substitute those with a martini and a valium. Only that concept conjures up images of face masks, caribou-lined robes with kitten heels, chain smoking, and a serious case of ennui. *thinks for a bit* Carbonated aspartame it is.

As somewhat distasteful as my current habit is, I know I'm not alone, and I'm not the most hardcore either. There are blogs whose titles reflect the writer's junkie status, for goodness sake.

The swatchdogs, the Diet Cokeheads, and me!
(Not to mention my mad Photoshop skillz. Whatevs.)

Also, check out this quote I found in a piece entitled The Cult of Diet Coke:

"I have been told 'if you knew what was in them, you would never have another one,' but I don't care," says Janis Chamoun, director of marketing at the Regis Corporation, who has six to eight cans a day. "I don't smoke, don't drink coffee, don't eat junk food. My Diet Coke addiction is my only vice. When I ask for a Diet Coke in a restaurant and they say, 'Is Diet Pepsi okay?' I say, 'No, just make it water then.' And then I make a note not to go there again."

At least I can handle Diet Pepsi if need be. I guess that proves I don't have a problem.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think that the soda machine wants to tell me something.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:29 PM   12 Comments

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Plan Drawing
PLAN DRAWING - A drawing which gives an overhead view of the deck showing where all footings and lumber pieces go (from the Creative Homeowner glossary)

One of the affairs that I managed to see to during my stopover with my parents is that I now have a legal notarized last will and testament. To me, this just seems a little creepy and very weird, but overall sensible. Even though I don't enjoy thinking about my death as much as the next person, I am also fiercely possessive of my stuff and don't want the wrong folks (e.g. the government, my ex) making off with it.

My heirs are gonna have to do some mad crazy stuff in order to get their inheiritance, like this guy.
(5 points for the movie title)

To that point, as fabulous as I consider my public to be, none of y'all are mentioned in said will, so I shall provide you with a moment to lament the fact that my eBay art collection has slipped through your fingers.

There. Let's move on.

My brother had his done at the same time, and took the opportunity to express his morbid sense of humor. "I want to be buried in the ground, like a dog, and have a tree grow out of my remains," he said while laughing maniacally.

"Sure, buddy." I replied. "We will all stick you in a hole in the backyard and let the cat pee on you to solidify your oneness with nature."

He then changed his mind pretty quickly. "No wait. I wanna be buried in the most expensive mahogany coffin imaginable with a satin lining and be buried in a mausoleum and whatever money is left I want to surround me in my casket."

I laughed. "Who are you, Tutankhamen? Anyway, that is totally fine with me. I just hope I manage to break in and clean you out before Peter Sarsgaard does."

"Will not!" he shouted.

Then my father made us shut up as he pulled the car into the lawyer's office. Some things never change.

The guy in the middle is waiting for my brother to bite the dust.

The whole process only took an hour of our time, as we knew who our, um, heirs were going to be as well as the executors so the whole thing was already drawn up. Here's what I've learned during this process as my advice to all of the newly eager (after reading this post, of course) Last Will and Testament creators:

1. Speak up about wanting to be an organ donor. The LW&T default is an X in the "No" box, and I figure everyone should be able to feel good about providing infinite value even after death.

2. Even if you don't have a lot of money (goodness knows that I don't need to invoke a spendthrift provision like some people), it's important to have a will to determine who will be in charge of what you have.

3. You're forced to look at all scenarios in order to determine backup. If my primary recipient and initial backups kick the bucket all at once, I'm spreading the love to four other members of my family. If all of us should happen to die from Aunt Iris's Thanksgiving cooking, my executors will hold a garage sale for all of my stuff, convert the profits into five dollar bills, and shower them on commuters in Grand Central Station. Yep. That's what I've decided.

4. Anybody with kids should put something together pronto. Kids shouldn't have to deal with chaos on top of grief should the worst happen.

I guess that's my PSA for the day, although I haven't seen many "The More You Know" segments on documenting the provisos of one's death so I guess I've found an untapped market here. Go me. Seriously though. As much as it sucks, I urge you to think about it.

In the meantime, have a nice life. :)

    posted by La Nina @ 2:39 PM   6 Comments

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Handicap Accessibility
HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY - allowing an individual to visit and utilize a building without assistance (from the Dezignare Interior Design Collective glossary)

I haven't been writing much lately, and I haven't been reading many blogs either. I haven't checked my email on all three of my accounts; I haven't paid bills online. I haven't checked my Yahoo! horoscope in what feels like a month, and my daily reading of the comics and Dear Abby has been put on hold. Now that I'm back into my daily routine, the catch-up feels almost crippling.

Sorry, Abbster. It happens.

Wow. That sounds really.... pathetic. I should be happy that I haven't been home much and out enjoying life. I am, actually, but I also know that I've started this hobby that I enjoy (blogging, not Dear Abby) and when I'm out of touch with something like this I find it hard to pick it up again. I also want to give my blog friends the thoughtful attention they deserve in reading and commenting on their sites. I'm just finding that a little hard to do right now. Heck, I'm having enough of a hard time just writing this entry.

So while I catch up, I'm going to refer you to a few of the great bloggers out there whose blogs I rushed to go read (even if I didn't have time to comment) once I got back to my desk at work since I haven't yet installed the new hard drive The Cow sent me while I was away.

Their sites are better than mine! WAAAAHHH!

dimmer twins - Host of the world's snarkiest New Year's resolutions (I embarrassed myself by laughing out loud at work)
Michele Agnew - Hostess of the world's most interactive game of telephone tag
Sigmund, Carl & Alfred - Host of the world's most thought-provoking blog reviews
Aussie Mama - Hostess of the world's most scroll-worthy New Year's Eve party (truly addictive reading)
Wading in the Velvet Sea - I can't do a "host of" here because I'd probably only say something disgusting but I obviously read his site first. Go because I told you to, stay for the grin-inducing, self-deprecating humor and gut-busting pop culture references.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year to everyone!

    posted by La Nina @ 1:41 PM   7 Comments