Friday, April 30, 2010

A short sayonara

[apartment, emptied]

I took today off to ensure enough time (and energy!) to finish well before handing in my keys.  Got there about 10:00 to pack the last carload and get my clean on, with a midday appointment for the final walk-through.

The landlord arrived first, with his handyman; his wife came about 15 minutes later. I was still cleaning the stove (baking powder works like a charm!) and giving the kitchen cabinets a last wipe-down.  They didn't stay long, and from what I could make of their conversation, were preparing for the new tenant.  That's cool.

I came downstairs about an hour later, and my landlady was ready to give me back my full deposit, plus some extra for the bathroom mirror I added.  Wow, that's never happened before!  She said goodbye and good luck, I got in my car and drove off.  And that was it.

It was so brief.  Yet so... final.  And I make that observation because the very reason I'm leaving is in order to prepare for a lifelong relationship.  A kinda interesting contrast.

Fresh out of college, or soon thereafter,  or years after, I would have written a very melodramatic post about such an incident.  But age, experience, and being closer to God leave me okay with relationships that come to an end (though I suppose the contractual, business nature of this one is less emotional than the end of a friendship would have been).

I no longer feel the need to chase after people, to keep in touch with every single person I ever met.  I like being free -- in both my heart and my calendar -- to pursue new interests that lead to new friendships, or simply free to greet (i.e. not be annoyed by) the day's encounters.  And I like the fact that saying goodbye to those who know God is only really a "See ya later" untnil we will meet again on the true side of eternity.

Besides, saying goodbye to my landlords means saying hello to the life that lies ahead!  Onwards!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Starting backwards

It seems strange that my first entry is about my last days here. In this apartment. Where I've lived for 13 months. On my own. For the first time since Japan [eight years ago]. But it makes sense to me to look back. Before I go forward. To search within. Before I seek out.

The decision to move out on my own (read: no more roommates) was a tough one, especially when it came to finances. Could I afford 1.5x what I was paying in rent? Would it be worth it? And -- crazily -- Should I just move home and save $$$? Despite my BFF's advice, 'Peace of mind is priceless,' the reality of my financial situation (let's call it 'puberty' rather than 'immaturity') made that harder to put into practice... But I did it. Chose the apartment that was $50 cheaper and closer to family to boot; packed up and shuttled boxes by the carload, and with the help and heft of family and friends, moved in to my very own one-bedroom apartment.

And I've loved it.

From setting up my tabletop burner for a quick fix before the gas was turned on,

[first meal: popcorn]

to furniture configurations and reconfigurations (made easier to do on a whim thanks to hardwood floors),

[living room, initially]

to putting up art and holiday decor,

[living room, bedecked]

to growing a windowsill garden and, in the last four months, adding a desk and getting the best living room set up

[living room, perfected]

it's truly been a great experience of living on my own. I've enjoyed the freedom of not always having to be neat as well as the responsibility and joy of creating a home and haven for myself. I was also really lucky to have mom n' pop landlords who were responsive (they replaced a ceiling fan, installed a hood over the range in a weekend, and put up shelves and art at a phone call's notice) and also grateful to have a low-maintenance, clean tenant.

I learned a lot over the past year here. To enjoy cooking more. To try new things. That I like change every now and then. That classical music over brunch on weekends is delightful. That south facing light is the bomb.

Funny how, as I'm packing up, the apartment looks so much like it did when I moved in: boxes every which way and lots of empty floor space. I'm happy that some of the improvements I made (that entry mirror used to be in the bathroom, before I replaced it with a proper cabinet) were happily embraced by my landlord and will remain for the new tenant; I like the idea of leaving a place a little nicer for the next person. Before I leave, though, here are a few more images of my apartment as it was for me.

[craft corner; that top wall shelf stayed, too]

[living room: ode to japon]

[entry: scarves + sandals = so california]

[bedroom, corner]


[bedroom, closets]

I leave this place with the last of my belongings (from the fridge), exhaling with satisfaction over the time I've spent here. Ready for what's ahead. Onwards!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Liberty Loot

Even before our London trip, blogland was abuzz with news of the Liberty for Target collection.  There was a lot of anticipation in the air, and sadly -- sadly -- I gave in. 

It was the first weekend after returning from London.  I got up early and hightailed it over to the local Target.  They were still putting up the displays!  But I managed to nab a couple of items.

Later, I went to a couple other Targets, 'just to see what they have.'

[liberty loot]

By the end of the day, here's what I'd collected: a couple of dresses, garden gloves, notebooks, a canister, a couple of girls dresses.  Oh, and a pair of rain boots that I'd asked my brother to pick up, 'just to see.'

[liberty boots]

And when I looked at all that I'd 'scored,' I realized that I didn't need nearly any of it.  I'd just got sucked into the hoopla.  And it really bothered me because I like to think that I'm cool and utilitarian and minimalist and above the hype.  When, really, I'm much more easily influenced.

Which kinda got me thinking how the blog world is incredibly inspiring, but is, simultaneously, incredibly consumer- and collection-driven.  At least for someone like me, who is like a naive little sponge when it comes to all that visual stimulation.  I love looking at it, but it remains a cyber-world that I haven't yet been able to bridge with reality (despite all the 'normal people' photos and home tours).

So... I went back to the reality of my Liberty loot, chose a few items that I knew I'd like and wear, and returned the rest.  I ended up with one dress, one girl's dress (which, in XL, fits me like a tunic, or a very very short dress, if I am so daring), garden gloves, and a tie for DC.  Oh, and a random recent rainy day made me keep those rain boots after all.  And it was delightful to run up to my office, nearly late, without fear of getting wet or slipping.  So: worth it!

These days I have also limited my blog intake, especially as I try to find my voice again as well as my own inspiration.  There's a place for it on the screen that I appreciate greatly, but with SoCal weather and, more importantly, the right attitude, inspiration abounds all over the place.  And I'm out to get me some!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes, crochet!

Being an aunty makes me crazy for baby crafting.  I've spend an inordinate amount of time looking up patterns -- seriously, I could be knitting until the GreyBaby starts kindergarten.

And yet, when it came down to it, I looked through my stash, found some sock leftovers, grabbed a crochet hook and went for it.


Yes, crochet.  It's much faster than knitting -- which is very handy because the entire first few months of a baby's life is one big growth spurt.

This hat I had to re-do a couple of times as the GreyBaby's head was bigger than I'd thought (or grew a lot while I was making it).  Good thing I see him at least weekly.  We had fun fitting parties (mostly while he was asleep). I finally finished, just in time for his first road trip!


Isn't he just the cutest thing?!

I can hardly believe this was nearly two months ago!  Happy to report that the hat still fits, albeit barely, and he turns around so much now that the next one will have to have a strap to fit under those chins.

Oh, and did I mention that since GreyBaby, no less than four births have taken place.  With two more in as many months!  Just call me Jean, Jean, Crafting Machine!