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Name: La Nina
Location:
  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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Friday, February 25, 2005
Joint Compound
JOINT COMPOUND - A plaster-like substance used to fill seams and irregularities in drywalling, either the vinyl-based drying type, which hardens as the water medium dries, or setting type, which hardens by a chemical reaction that is catalyzed by water. Also known as spackle. (From PaintIdeas.com)


How crass to leave the price tag on like that...


This Weekend

I tackle spackle. Heaven help my bathroom walls.

This Week

Speaking of joints, I still hurt from the mat theft incident. Revenge plot suggestions welcome.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:59 PM   10 Comments

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Turning
TURNING - Wood that is cut on a lathe into a round object with a distinctive profile. Furniture legs, posts, rungs, etc., are usually made in this way. (from the Creative Homeowner Glossary)

Okay, so I know that I can maintain my car, but that doesn't necessarily mean I can drive it.

I got home from work last night with plans to go to kickboxing at 7:15. Things were cool, I made and eaten dinner, and figured that I had enough time to watch an episode of "Designer Finals" that I'd recorded on TiVo after fast forwarding through the commercials. No such luck. Once the episode had finished, it was exactly 7:15.

Panic, panic, panic!

Run out the door! *pant*

Lock the door! *fumble*

Run downstairs! *thump*

Go out the front door! *slam*

Get into and start the car! *vroom*

Wouldn't it be awesome if I had the technical capacity to write all of my actions in this format?

Fortunately for me, the kickboxing studio isn't really all that far so I only arrive five minutes late. Or it would have been five minutes if I had a clue last night as to how to parallel park.

First attempt: Granted, there was a lot of snow on the curb but I manage to overestimate the angle and start backing up a little too late so that I'm definitely not in the spot AT ALL, but I'm quite certain that I can't ever get out of it either. You know the drill. Two inches forward. Bump. Two inches backward. Bump. I get a wee bit frustrated and reverse my back tires onto the sidewalk. Well, at least I'll be able to get out now. I leave and decide to try and find a bigger space.

Second and third attempts: Drive a block away and follow procedures for first attempt.


Maybe if I'd kept my eyes open it would have been easier.

Fourth attempt: Go back to original parking spot, park as sloooooooowly as possible, hold up traffic, but manage to maneuver into spot.

Believe it or not, that only took seven additional minutes, so I was twelve minutes late to class.

I think that this was the gods' attempt to tell me not to go at all, since during that class, somebody took the mat that I had brought with me, used it for sit-ups (leaving me to have to do them on the hard floor), rolled it back up, and stuck it in a corner somewhere for me to find later. Never found out who did it, but when I got home I got to spray the dang thing with Fantastik to help wipe away the "borrower's" perspiration. I think my Disgust-o-meter this week is stuck on "wretch".

Oh, and I hurt loads now, but not enough for me to stay away from class. I am indeed a big old sucker.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:48 PM   5 Comments

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Overload
OVERLOAD - Too great a demand for power made on a circuit. (From the Creative Homeowner Glossary)

Within an instant, the stench was all-consuming.



What a charmer. In a would-be rapist sort of way.

Ryan and I were killing some time in a bar before our 9:50 showing of Million Dollar Baby. I was feeling exploratory and ordered a glass of pinot noir instead of my usual shiraz. I really don't remember what he was drinking. All beers look alike to me.

I have no idea quite why I was feeling so adventurous after having received a bit of a shock several hours earlier (note: that link is not meant for the faint of heart or weak of stomach), but I guess that all wine is good wine at some times in our lives – and yes, all red wines do tend to look alike as well and perhaps even moreso than beer.

And then these guys show up.

You could have knocked me over. (Again.) I have dealt with some really nasty smells in my lifetime: the emanations of stale beer on clothing, the pungent foulness of what various people leave behind in subway stairwells (you all know what I'm talking about), some of the world's stinkiest foods eaten in really close proximity to me on a Greyhound bus. Those are bad smells. This wasn't necessarily a bad smell, though it wasn't a good smell, but unfortunately its amp was cranked up to eleven.

So..... what possesses a man to wear so much cologne that the entire bar can detect it the moment he lets the cold air in to enter? And what possessed these particular men to peruse the empty bar and calculatingly plop themselves on the stools next to mine?!!!


Am I mistaken, or did the dude use all of these AT ONCE?

To combat my pain, I turn to my time-honored tricks. The "Oh-how-I-love-the-smell-of-Pantene" hair twirl (pretend to entertain your partner with a makeshift mustache!). The "Sideways-taught-me-everything-I-know-about-pinot-noir-down-to-the-edam-cheese-undertones" wine glass move. The "This-is-how-I'd-look-in-a-burqua-if-the-bruqua-was-a-turtleneck" cover-up. To my dismay, my methods proved to be about as effective as a card trick with an Uno deck. The man still reeked.

I didn't see any point in bringing it to the guy's attention, because what could he have done, short of trying to find a spot in the bar where he could go take a shower? The aroma was so awesome (and not in a good way, as I'm sure you've determined by now) that even an airing out would have proved fruitless.

Looking back, I think the best thing I could have done for the guy would have been to set him on fire. It would have been quick and relatively painless as his flammability factor was through the roof, and even a smelly bathroom can be instantly corrected with one swift match stroke.

What? You don't like the idea of me setting people (however rude) aflame? Hey, I call it self preservation from asphyxiation, or at least an opportunity for the other two patrons to get out of the bar so that they wouldn't have to suffer silently anymore. And best case scenario? The ensuing smoke would then set off the sprinklers. There. Problem solved.

So yeah, the "Offer-the-guy-next-to-me-a-light-even-though-he-didn't-ask-for-one" option was there. Instead, Ryan and I paid the tab and left. For some reason, fresh air seemed the better option. Eh. Whatever works.

    posted by La Nina @ 4:30 PM   8 Comments

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Out of Register
OUT OF REGISTER - When two or more ink colors on a pattern of wallpaper are printed out of line with one another. This results in a ghost-type image or total misalignment. (from the Creative Homeowner Glossary)

I should have known why this morning's incident bothered me the way it did.

I was on the train with Ryan this morning as I was heading into work and he was aiming to catch his bus back to Boston. We're both a bit crabby for various reasons and I in particular was itching to find something to complain about. Then I noticed a blonde woman sitting across from us and staring.

"What on earth is her problem?" I thought to myself. Yes, the two of us were definitely acting like a couple -- we were holding hands and occasionally I would rest against his shoulder or he'd slip his arm around my waist -- but nothing we were doing should have provoked the (in my mind) evil reaction that was her staring.

So at first I stared back a bit. No, make that glared back. Eventually we got into a miniature staring contest that looked like this except with puzzled and slightly malevolent looks on our faces to replace these goofy ones.


Who's the guy on the left again?


"She's creeping me out," I whispered to Ryan. He shrugged, not wanting to get involved. I'm dating a smart man. Go me.

Eventually she got off the train and I was relieved. Ryan and I said our goodbyes, and after leaving him, I didn't give the woman a second thought.

Until I read this post from Michele on Espresso Sarcasm (where she is guest hosting this week), and smack me on the side of the head if I didn't remember where I saw her before. Actually, I should probably be smacked on the side of the head regardless, as I have proved myself to be both an idiot and a jerk in one fell swoop.

The woman was my downstairs neighbor.


Smarter than her at least.

I'm definitely going to apologize when I see her next, at the very least for my inability to recognize her and say hello. It's a shame though that I'll remember this incident every time I see her from now on. Fortunately for me, "from now on" is looking pretty likely to mean "for three more months".

Details to come.

    posted by La Nina @ 5:37 PM   10 Comments

Friday, February 11, 2005
Beam
BEAM - Horizontal structural member that sits on posts or walls and supports the structure above it. When bearing walls are removed, they must be replaced by a beam. (from the Creative Homeowner's Glossary)

At the moment I'm in the process of finishing up one of the longest and most tedious projects I've had to do since I've started working here. Run program, open, save under new file name, repeat 54 more times -- no exaggeration. I should be hitting my head on the desk.

However, the truth of the matter is I couldn't be happier.


My smile is THIS big.

Ryan is at this moment on his way down from Boston for a long weekend. I haven't seen him in three weeks. Fortunately for me, I've gotten over the sort of teenage melodrama in which three weeks of not being able to see the high school boyfriend I felt pretty casual about the rest of the time was the most excruciating torture I could personally perceive. The Absence of Ryan is more of a quiet pain, a dull ache that allows me to keep functioning normally but also enjoys leaving these constant nudging reminders of its residence inside me.

But now as I wait to meet him, I feel so moved and elated and full of life that I could cry, and my face feels hot at the thought of it. I'm usually a pretty private person about my deepest feelings, and the fact that I'm sharing so much right now embarrasses me a bit. If it weren't for the fact that I feel that I would burst if I didn't write this down, I'd just as soon lock these emotions away and you'd be none the wiser for it. For once I can't do that, so now you're in on the whole thing. Lucky you.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am well aware of how fortunate I am, particularly since I have so much love in my life, via both Ryan and my family. The timing of this proclamation is strangely apropos with Valentine's Day coming up in a few days, but I've believed this for a long time now and the happiness I derive from that notion can be overwhelming sometimes. I guess it's about time I shared it. Thanks for listening.

    posted by La Nina @ 5:29 PM   11 Comments

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Sunburst
SUNBURST - A semi-elliptical area, the lower center of which contains a sun-like figure with radiating rays; may consist of a wood panel or a glazed sash. (from the JELD-WEN Windows and Doors Glossary)

As I wear my coat in my cubicle because it’s just too bloody cold in here, I find my mind drifting to thoughts of summer. I’m anxious for barbecues and picnics and soft grass and games of Frisbee where nobody involved has an ounce of skill. I stare at the blue cloudless sky on the other side of the window and pretend that it would actually be warm and beautiful should I choose to go outdoors.

All of my favorite memories happened during the summer. 30 birthdays. A handful of June afternoons in Oxford pub gardens with my grad school friends. An outdoor party that lasted until six in the morning. Fourth of July parades and picnics at my grandparents’ house where I’d play fort with my cousins. Rides in my uncle’s motor boat on Lake Hopatcong. Evening get-togethers post-rehearsal for Shakespeare in the Park. Weekends at my grandparents’ summer home in South Carolina. An evening with Ryan involving a boat tour, bad shoes, and meaningful conversation.


The pleasant images of summer. (Hmmmm.... guess I like boats)

Now, as I sit here overwhelmed by gray formica, gray buildings, and a sky that’s changed to gray in the ten minutes since I started writing, I find myself becoming at turns both wistful and impatient. I’m so grateful for all of the incredible things I’ve experienced, and at the same time irrationally wonder if I have to count down the days until I can pull the Smokey Joe out of the closet before I can really start living again.

I’m certain that the latter sentiment is temporary, but in the meantime, can you help me by feeding my summer daydreams? Share with me your favorite summer memory, and don’t skimp on the details – I want to be able to feel the sand in my toes from your beach trip and to smell the fresh cut grass from your baseball game.

Perhaps that will help in making the winter days just fly by. Wouldn’t that be a first?

    posted by La Nina @ 1:45 PM   3 Comments

Monday, February 07, 2005
Energy Usage
ENERGY USAGE - the amount of power required to operate and maintain electrical equipment (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

I am a MACHINE. At least for the moment anyway.


I didn't see Terminator 3. She's a cyborg, right? She is? Cool. Then that's what I'm like right now.

Somehow during this past weekend I managed to do all of the following:

1. Go to kickboxing twice.

2. Clean out my food pantry for canned goods donations.

3. Clean out the kitchen junk drawer.

4. Clean out the makeup drawer in my bathroom.

5. Clean out my utensils drawer.

6. Begin a major walk-in closet overhaul involving the sorting of 5 years' culmination of clothing, by determining what should go to charity.

7. Rearrange the furniture in my parents' living room without their permission with the assistance of my brother. (Sorry Mom! Glad you liked it!)

8. See two movies. (The aforementioned The Wedding Date -- not so great -- and In Good Company -- pretty darn good.)

I'm tired now.

The type of machine that's left after the type of machine I've been.

Think I'll take my squeaky joints off to get some fine-tuning.


    posted by La Nina @ 5:40 PM   11 Comments

Friday, February 04, 2005
Frosting
FROSTING - A white crystalline deposit that develops on the surface of a [paint] coating. (from the paintideas.com glossary)

Save for my elaborate fawning over all things fabric and the oft-mentioned manicure near-fetish, I rarely consider myself to be what would be classified as a “girlie girl”. My winter wardrobe primarily consists of sweaters and jeans (even at work), I go for the bare minimum of makeup, my sense of accessorizing is a joke, and my hair knows but two styles: ponytail or down.


Am I in this picture? Heck no!

So when a friend of mine suggested that we go see The Wedding Date this weekend, I was definitely a bit surprised because she's not much of a girlie girl either. But after a few minutes' consideration, I started giggling and told her to count me in. Who cares if the reviews are less than motivating? I'm looking forward to having a silly cheap matinee afternoon.

I mentioned the outing to Ryan on IM after it was set up. Ryan isn't really into girlie things either so it's good we have that in common. He promptly let me know his feelings about the whole thing with what I gathered was a typed version of a groan. Egged on by his casual disgust, I started developing a schedule for an entire sugar-coated girlie afternoon at the mall.

11:30 AM - Arrive at mall with windows open, sunglasses on, with both of us singing "Dancing Queen" by ABBA at the top of our lungs.

11:45 AM - After a teensy bit of window shopping, buy tickets, Twizzlers, and Diet Coke. Settle into seats with maybe ten other people in the theater.

12: 10 PM - Watch the movie The Wedding Date.

1:55 PM - Leave theater, instantly forgetting anything that happened in the movie The Wedding Date.

2:06 PM - Share a size of veggie pizza (blotted, of course) and a small chocolate/vanilla twist fro-yo with carob chips.

2:24 PM - Go to Macy's and try on prom dresses with no intention of buying. Offer huge compliments on how the other looks in each dress.

3:45 PM - Department store makeover! Choose Clinique counter due to Bonus Time giveaway. Learn that the color plum is my friend.

4:30 PM - Splurge for 15 minutes in aqua massage machine as there is no spa in the mall.


Some people do this while being gawked at by the shopping public. Some people have no shame.

4:46 PM - Feeling pretty and rejuvenated, head to pet store to embark upon the civic portion of our day.

4:52 PM - Get out of the mall ASAP in order to avoid security guards. They are not reasonable people and do not understand that animals do not belong in cages and that something obviously needed to be done about that.

5:14 PM - Arrive home, shake excess gerbils out of coat, grab wine, order Chinese, paint toenails. Reflect on lovely afternoon while adjusting severely smudged eyeliner.

That sort of thing.

Maybe I am going about the girlie afternoon all wrong. Please feel free to offer up a suggestion as to how I might cap off my day at the mall or offer up one of your favorite girlie day stories.

Oh, and another girlie tidbit of the day: it seems that Cathy is reciting her wedding vows as we speak. I don't think you'll wanna miss that. :)

    posted by La Nina @ 3:45 PM   7 Comments

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Shadow Line
SHADOW LINE - The line of shadow caused by the thickness of a course of siding. This term typically is used when referring to shingles or shakes. (from the Creative Homeowner Glossary)

Groundhog Day cracks me up. Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I have never heard of a sillier, more pointless tradition.



Winner of the World's Shortest Mental Journey in Photo Selection Award 2005

First of all, I have never experienced a year where the rodent DIDN'T see his shadow. One would think that he would unless he were a vampire. Or maybe that's his reflection. Whatever. I'm just saying not being able to see one's shadow shortly after sunrise is weird.

Secondly, what on earth is an "early spring"? Does that mean if Phil the Blind Vampire can't see anything through his squinting, the forsythia will get to work on blooming, like, now? Truly that would rock, beause if I hear the words "wind chill factor" again I plan on whimpering under my duvet for a few weeks in anguish.

Punxsatawney Phil, however, is a cautious groundhog. He does not want to make the early spring prediction only to have an angry mob formed outside his tree stump two weeks later. Hence, Phil will not likely be seen in Atlantic City at the craps table anytime soon. (Can you imagine? "C'mon... daddy wants a pair of gold front teeth!")

I was going do some research on this and get the stats on past years, but it appears that Groundhog.org has exploded its bandwidth. At some point when I can get through I'll likely expand this little piece.

What I do know is that this holiday used to be about candles. The day was in the dead center of winter and everyone in the Dutch colony would get free candles. Then the superstition developed that if the weather was fair on this day, the rest of winter would suck. Not quite the glass is half full kind of people, these Dutch colonists. How this event became important enough to generate a mascot is anyone's guess. Or perhaps someone actually knows why. I think it's a safe bet that it was done for a really silly reason.

Since Al Roker hadn't been born yet, the colonists decided the rodent would have to do....

Regardless, for the people of Punxsatawney, PA, it's a marvelous excuse to get up at the butt crack of dawn in the freezing cold or perhaps stay up the night before on a marvelous drinking binge and gather at the tree stump for the world's longest answer to a yes or no question. This year's can be found in its entirety here.

I think Matt Lauer said it best this morning after the announcement was made on live TV. (I'm paraphrasing, so please bear with me.) "Punxsatawney Phil has announced that there will be six more weeks of winter. [After sitting through this announcement] It's three weeks now."

Enjoy the next six weeks, folks. I, however, will be spending that time wallowing in denial. You will find me on my back deck wondering why I'm achieving absolutely nothing with my flower boxes.


    posted by La Nina @ 11:33 AM   6 Comments