31 December 2011

looking back at 2011

Well it's about 8 hours until the new year rings in.

This past year has been chock full of the good, the bad, and the horribly ugly. I'm just going to list as many major things that I can remember, about this past year, negative or positive. No chronological order to it.


• I graduated college in May, finally receiving my B.F.A., although my parents were not able to attend my graduation - but my uncle and aunt did

• We moved from Lancaster, PA to Alexandria, VA in the hopes of starting my career in the design industry

• I gained a lot of experience in interviewing for positions...

• My grandfather died at the age of 95, on July 11th, 2011

• I worked for 1 year plus some, as a dog walker, and loved the opportunity to be around dogs again, every day

• The relationship between my younger brother and the rest of us, his immediate family, has seemed to deteriorate even more

• Takeshi and I went to the Spy Museum in D.C. for the first time. Still no where NEAR my favorite museum in D.C.

• I got to reconnect with my older cousin Matt, and his wife Kathy

• I got to reconnect with a friend, Ashley, from college who lives in VA - to realize I had made a real friend and someone I really do love to visit - and to see her as a mum, now! ;)

• Takeshi and I celebrating our 3rd marriage anniversary, which included going to Florida. There were a lot of firsts for me there - being in Florida for the first time, being to Disneyland for the first time (as an adult, haha...), swimming in the ocean together for the first time

• Hoping for the best, and trying to plan out things for my career/our financial savings to begin, etc. and having everything fall through

• Wanting 2011 to have been our year where we finally were on an up-curve. To be able to have moved for the last time. To settle down somewhere, and find jobs that support us and that we actually like - and not getting any of it, in the end

• Seeing mum and dad again in the summertime


Hub and I have many hopes for 2012. Maybe this next year will OUR year. The one we're not in a hurry to get through. Oh, but it goes by so fast, no matter what.

But what is even better than us hoping for better - is us planning and working towards better. Because in the end, that's what will get us there. I have a feeling that in a year's time, there's a good chance we won't be Frederick, because like I said, this area is pretty much a dead-end for us (= hub's career). But who really knows? At the start of 2011 we never thought we'd be here, even!

I hope everyone has a safe New Year's Eve. I hope you're able to be with friends or family. I hope that if this past year hasn't been all you've wanted it to be, then you look towards 2012 with renewed motivation for your goals, continued passion for what you love to do, and an never-ending eagerness for a better future.

27 December 2011

xmas day & new year's plans

Heyla everyone. Another belated post!

Forgive me if this post is short and sweet (although I may ramble). I'm having a bit of a nightcap before bed. I wake up for work at 10am tomorrow.

Christmas Day was really great! Takeshi and I drove to Forest Hill, MD to spend some time at my uncle's (my mum's oldest brother) and aunt's house. There ended up being a lot of people there! Most of the people I knew, some I had met a LONG time ago and had since forgotten. It was good to see everyone again and touch base. Good food was eaten, good drinks were drunk, good conversation was had. My uncle and aunt have 2 airedale dogs, my other uncle has a German sheperd, and my cousin and his wife brought their pug - so it was great to have so many puppies around to hug and pick up (mostly the pug!). Being away from dogs constantly, with the dog-walking business in Alexandria, made me really pine for some dog-attention. Darn, we've got to get our own doggy sometime soon in the future! ;) I was a little nervous about Takeshi trying to mingle with my relatives again, since he's a bit shy when it comes to people he's only known for a little bit, nevermind all of the people he didn't know at all, who were there. But he seemed to rub along with everyone, and that made me happy. It's what I yearn for these days - the coming-together of my family no matter what side of the 'family' they're on. And to have it go well! ;)

Our plans for New Year's Eve are to once again have my best friend from high school come over! It's really becoming a tradition I think! I have my fingers crossed that the hub will come home that night before 1am, and to not be too toasted. I know how the restaurant crowd can get together for drinks after dinner service, on holidays (and any other excuse they can pull out of their ass).

We're planning to have ODEN! Oh - my god - so delicious! It's been so long since we've had it. We already bought 2 packs of ready-made tofu delectables/fish cake items at the local asian mart. That stuff isn't cheap either! $10 a pop. Jeeeeez.

I also bought some konnyaku (I'm more of fan of it, than TK) and some napa. Hub has already prepared the broth for it. It just sucks that we don't have the traditional "ceramic oden pot" for it. I looked for it in the couple of asian marts we frequent, but they were either too expensive for me, or, they were "cheap Korean/Chinese knock-offs" as hub put it. Ahem. >__>;;

So we should have a good night. It stinks that I'm due in New Year's day to work at around 5pm-ish I believe. But I can't really turn it down. I needs' the money and all...

It definitely will be the first time in a while that hub will have off when I don't! Hehe. Have a good weekend everyone.

16 December 2011

brooding

I'm writing a quick post before I'm due at work at 5pm. I have about 1.5 hours till then.

Lately, life has been ok. With me, the internship is great. I'm getting some good chances to bulk up my portfolio, and the people I work with are probably the some of most easy going men on the planet. I just wish I was getting paid for something I actually like doing, instead of cashiering. The part time job is what it is. I just hope to get the most hours I can out of it, which = more money. For the time being, I'm going on a good track, until hopefully we're able to move AGAIN next year perhaps. I hate moving around. I wish we didn't have to. But Frederick does not offer much of anything to Takeshi's career. He's having a tough time with his current job right now. Which translates to frustration at home.

I want to help him. I always do. But this is something that I can't fix right now, it seems. This restaurant is the best he could find in the area, when we put ourselves into this mess of moving from VA, etc etc.

I can't MAKE him be happy about his situation, or demand that he deal with it better, though I wish he would just a little. He's not. Sometimes I don't even ask him how his day was. Good chance it was, "ok...I guess." Or he rants about stupid things that happened there that day. (And I listen because I know that if you don't do it, your brain would explode.) It's awkward. I don't want to remind him about his crappy feelings about this job. But for the time being, we have to be here, since the internship is the best thing that came out of the whole thing. It's not a paid design job, but it's the next best thing.

Ideally I'm sure we'd like to move to a bigger town/city. Where he can find a restaurant he wants to work at. Sometimes I think his standards are too high, for the right job that he wants (because of the type of dishes/food he likes to produce). Sometimes I think that he'll never be happy, EVER TRULY happy, no matter where he works - unless he works at the Alinea restaurant in Chicago, etc. But that's a hard place to get into, I believe. Insanely popular, fine dining sort of place.

I know, that for him, he's not pleased with his lot right now. But sometimes I just can't stand to see him glum and frustrated because that makes ME depressed. I still have a lot of hope for the future, especially with getting the internship. I can't be depressed every day about how all of our plans fell through, and we were pretty well forced to move here. It's not a shitty place. It's just not for us, in the long term.

I guess I just usually try to be mostly happy with what we have, wherever we are. Try to enjoy little things, like days off together. It just seems that he can never really do that; his job and surroundings are always bringing him down.

I just hope that the new year brings some POSITIVE changes for the both of us. I want to see him eager to go to work everyday, because I know, at the core, that the culinary field is where his heart is. I hope we're able to start saving financially. I hope that I keep moving upwards in my field as well. We'll just have to see!

To end, a random photo of the Frederick library we visited the other day! Have a good weekend everyone.




08 December 2011

turkey day photos

Photos of our quiet Thanksgiving. The chef outdid himself as usual. ;) I helped though! And made pumpkin pie.




We put up the tree a few days before


A present sent from the inlaws! Incredibly adorable!!


Wonderfully painted ornaments from Armenia, given to us by my parents


my pumpkin pie ;)


hub pickling some veggies


brussel sprouts, eventually was sautéed with onions and bacon


the chef at work


stuffing made with homemade turkey broth


Everything together! They made awesome leftovers.


02 December 2011

quick post

I'm planning to post about Thanksgiving for us, which will mostly be photos of the yummy food Takeshi cooked that day. (I helped!) Work has kept me busy mostly, and the internship as well. Working on Black Friday was crazy, though I didn't have to go in at midnight or whatnot. I came in at 8:30am and worked till 2pmish but it was still steadily busy all day. I cross my fingers that the hours I asked for, or that I'm available for, are given to me consistently. I know it won't be perfect, but I hope to earn at least enough each month to help us earn savings instead of just 'leveling off'.

I'm sitting at the desk now, still wearing PJs. I go in today 4pm til 9:30pm. Not too bad, but I could do more hours. Tomorrow was originally free on my schedule :( but a manager came up yesterday and asked if I could take on a shift - UH YES!! So tomorrow I work from 6pm til 10:30pm. Hurrah.

Today, the 2nd, is Takeshi's birthday!!!!!!!!!! He is 25 today. I'm gonna call him じじ "jiji" from now on. Hehe, just kiddin'! ;) Here's to 25 more years of celebrating his birthday. TK あいしてる。^3^)

More soon. Have a good Friday everyone!

23 November 2011

holidays and family

This is a rant post for the most part....so mum and dad (and other relatives who may read), sorry - I just have to rant sometimes.

So it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thousands and thousands of people are traveling as we speak to get back to family, relatives. But another year goes by, and it's just the two of us, hub and I. I have a lot of bitterness sometimes when thinking about how distant my relatives can be most times towards my immediate family. Especially my dad's sister, my aunt, and my brother. I've always wished to have a extended family that is close to each other. Where I know all of my cousins well and they know me well, and we're like best friends. The only problem is that almost all of them are not close to my age, they're either way younger or way older. And that makes it hard to connect with them, IF we had better communication to begin with.

I feel as if my family has always been the "black sheep" of my entire family, on both sides, mum and dad's. I think sometimes it's because of politics or religion - which in my opinion is a sure fire way to end relationships, if one cannot abide the other. I always feel that the rest of my relatives have their own "circle" to worry about. Almost like 'clicks' in grade school.

I could never see myself and hub going to my dad's sister's house for holidays, even if she wanted us, which she doesn't. My brother and I have never ever been her 'favorite' niece and nephew. That title has always been reserved for her husband's daughter's children. My aunt to this DAY hasn't been able to spell Takeshi's name right. My 80-something year old grandmother says it fine.

What's my aunt's excuse? It's pretty easy to see that it's because she doesn't give a rat's ass. What's more important? To ramble ON and ON about her adopted son, who lives in San Francisco who is ALSO a chef, like hub.

The thing she chose to do recently made my blood boil. A little while ago my grandfather passed away. My dad and mum had coincidently planned to fly to the States to begin with for their usual visit to the States. My aunt had been talking with my father about the funeral arrangements and such and I believe he had informed of which day they would be flying in. So please schedule the funeral on a day after they've arrived to the States, so they can attend. (Nevermind the sad fact that my dad hadn't been able to be there when his father passed away.)

This women, his OWN SISTER, "forgets" the dates my dad gave her, and schedules the funeral on the day before they're supposed to land in the States.

So because my aunt didn't think TWICE about re-asking him about the dates - my father is not able to attend his own father's funeral.

My father may not get too hot over it, but I sure as hell am. That's lower than low. You would THINK that the one person who'd look out for you, so you can make your parent's funeral, is your sibling. But that doesn't happen in our family too often.

Sometimes I really think we're all not made of the same blood. It's ridiculous. I'll probably never forgive her for it. Not that she and I were great girlfriends before.

On my mother's side I have my 2 uncles, and 2 cousins.

My one uncle (mum's oldest brother) and aunt live in the same state as us. I'm very grateful that they seem to genuinely like Takeshi. It's a lovely change from my dad's sister. Last year they actually did ask us to come over for Thanksgiving. We ended up declining because we had already made plans to cook at home (again, we never expect relatives to call us for this reason). This year we haven't heard from anyone, and I'm afraid that since we said "no" last year, that that was our last chance. Hence the no asking-again this year. I like my aunt and uncle and would like to see them more often.

This goes for my uncle's son, my cousin, as well, and his wife. I've never known my cousin really well, but they're lovely people. And they also seem to like Takeshi some. My cousin and I are far apart in age. So this makes it's hard to find things to talk about. Their professions are totally different, they have more money than we do. They're not struggling financially, they a social life. They have a better life, as far as I can see it. Conversation just ends up dying after a while. I feel bad. I feel like a little kid compared to them. How can we ever stack up? It's awkward.

With my mother's side of the family, I always wonder if they only contact hub and me to get together out of some obligation. "It's the nice thing to do." But we're not FAMILY family. We're not at their 'core'. So I wonder if they really like us being there, or if they take pity on us, since my mum and dad don't live in the same country right now.

I want to be wanted by my relatives. As much as I want to be asked over for the holidays, I am NOT going to call them up and invite myself. "Can we come over this year for Thanksgiving??" - It seems so pathetic of me to beg them. And I feel that since all of my relatives know and relate to my parents more - that without them in the States right now - I don't have a lot of 'pull'. How can I ever cross their mind NOW, since my parent's aren't physically here to invite over. I feel that since my parents moved overseas for my dad's job, that they are out of sight out of mind to our relatives for the most part - and so is my brother and I. It's as if we went and moved with them.

I envy people who have families and relatives that cherish each other and have each other over for the holidays (or during rest of the year, even). I daydream about it sometimes.

But you know what? We DO have family members who truly want us - it's just that they don't live in the same country. Takeshi's family would DEFINITELY have us over for every holiday no matter what, if we lived close by still. GOD I miss my Japanese relatives! Lol.

So, in closing I'd just like to say that, again, this was a rant. A way to get this off my shoulders and speak my mind. I hope to not offend any of my relatives who read this. (but how many of them do, anyway???) I always welcome a chance to strengthen bonds with family and friends, since these relationships are important to me.

In the future, Takeshi and I will have a little family of our own one day. But until then, it's just the two of us. Hopefully soon it'll be the three of us, because I'm desperately wanting a doggie! ;)

17 November 2011

orientation, chores

Another huge gap in my posts! Yikes.

Since my last post, I have been able to (FINALLY) find a part time job at a local retail place. The last 'cloud' over me though, is that the position is seasonal and I will be up for evaluation at the end of the year. I hope that they decide to keep me. I'd rather not have to do this search AGAIN in a month's time...One month of pay...yay. I went out today to buy the necessary khaki pants for the job, since I do not own any.

The internship has been great. I enjoy going there on my 2 days a week. I wish I could work there more, but right now, the *paid* part-time work needs to dominate my week.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the motor vehicle building to hopefully get my Maryland license! I've been waiting forever to obtain it, since I needed the last of 2 proofs of residency here. I finally got it, so off I go again. And also to hopefully get MD tags for the car as well, on the same day. Personally, I'd rather stay in bed tomorrow morning with the hub.

Hub and I have been slowly searching for a bed and bed-frame for the guest-room, mostly to be used by my parents when they visit in January. We decided to check out the local Mattress Discounters Warehouse, since neither of us had ever set foot in one. We just wanted to peak at what they had and for what price. What we had to deal with was a bunch of old, fat, rude salesmen. I've dealt with the usual salesperson who prods and pokes you, and drops hints to buy something. I get that. But these guys were borderline MEAN. The first guy talked our ears off for what seemed like 20 minutes, showing us one mattress after another without giving us a word in. After telling him that we were just LOOKING and not planning to buy anything TODAY - he pretty much ignores what we say and pulls over his bloated associate to show us more mattresses in the back. We finally were able to get out of the conversation and were walking off to the door, when they start, LOUDLY, talking to themselves about us, "What happened?" "They didn't want to see them, I dunno." "What???"

Y'know what? Screw you fat blowhards. I'll never buy anything from anyone who acts like that.

So that soured our morning just a tad, that day. But we had a good weekend over all. Takeshi's birthday is coming up soon! :) About 2 weeks away, on December 2nd. He'll be 25! I've already bought a couple presents online. I always like to make his birthday card, so I gotta make time for that.

I end with recent photos! :)



We recently went back to Old Town and ate at Pizzeria Paradiso


While in Old Town, we could not skip visiting Restaurant Eve (hub's previous work), so we sat at the bar for a little while and he caught up with people. Yummy things I had - 2 drinkies and we shared some smoked deviled eggs and fresh pork rinds. We left happy. :)


View from the MVA parking lot. Not used to seeing mountains everywhere!


My FAVORITE guilty pleasure. 'Bath bombs' from Lush. I got me' a Satsumo Santa recently. Can't wait to try it out!


So, Mr. Chef accidentally placed a hot sauce pan ONTO the kitchen rug the other day. Now we have a circular spot of half-melted rug there.


The inlaws sent us a box the other day! Totally unexpected. Good stuff - shirts and socks mostly. Also, I need someone to tell me HOW to wear the leg-warmer things?? I've never owned a pair. O_O Help.


We had homemade gyoza the other night for dinner! It went pretty fast with the two of us.




05 November 2011

one down, one to go

So, since the last time I posted, I ended up getting the internship at Frederick Magazine!! :) やかった〜!

I started this past Wednesday. I'll be going in on Wednesdays and Thursdays from about 10:00am till 3:00pm. The art director is a really nice guy and it turns out that he went to the same art school as me in Lancaster, PA! What a small world huh?

An even weirder coincidence - a long way back (when we were still in VA) I had traveled to Annapolis, MD (close to where I'm originally from) and had interviewed at a magazine firm, which I ended up not getting. Come to find out now, from talking to the people at FredMag, that before me they had another intern who interned there for about 6 months. She ended up leaving because she had gotten hired!.....Guess where? At the same place I went to in Annapolis. Damn. She's there now. I lost that job to her, and NOW I'm where she was!

This just makes me feel even more motivated. If she interned at this place, gained experience, and ended up having a full-time job because of it (and a glowing recommendation from the art director here), then that's what I want. I've always wanted it, but hearing about her good fortune, makes me yearn for it even more.

So my plan is to intern here for at least half a year (that'll make it at least until next May), puff up my resume and get some good pieces to add to my portfolio. Right now, they have me working on ads, and working my way up to articles. I work with two graphic designers Matt and Joe, who are very nice and patient with me (but in my opinion, I've caught on just fine so far). I'm the only girl there in the design department, so that makes me the prettiest by default. ;) But I can run with the boys, no problem.

Now that I've thankfully found the design portion of it, my only concern is finding a part-time job still. Fortunately, I've been offered a part-time position at a local retail store. I also interviewed at another retail store the day after that, but I won't hear a decision from place #2 until the middle of next week. This worries me a little, since I don't know how long place #1 will extend their offer to me, while I wait for place #2's answer. I plan to call place #1 tomorrow, to let them know the situation. If they cannot wait until the middle of next week, I'll just take their offer instead.

If place #2's answer is 'yes' then I can always turn around and take their offer instead. So I'll see how the game plays out!

I end with some recent random photos. Have a good weekend everyone!



downtown Frederick at night, totally empty and still


TK and I walking through downtown


my work space at FredMag :)


first snow of the year! In October?? wow.


I caught this before it melted! interesting, 'wrinkled' snow


26 October 2011

renn fest and the search

Well how about the job-search update first. Which isn't much of an update. Since we've moved here, I've applied to about 11 local retail businesses and haven't gotten a word back from them. I've called back to most of them, but it hasn't really gone anywhere. Which is not really surprising. Different place, same shitty job industry. But what else can I do?

I can only keep doing what I'm doing - sending out applications/resumes.

The only thing that is resting HEAVILY on my mind every day now (and I'm sure hub's as well), is that we are definitely LOSING money every month that I don't have a job - ANY job. And since we moved (since moving = $$) our savings were cut into. Even with a slightly lower rent, we still can't afford to live with just Takeshi's salary.

I *am* going to meet with the art director at a local magazine business tomorrow about interning there (unpaid). I had sent out a bunch of emails to "design" places in the area a while ago, asking general inquiries about interning/working at ANY place to get me some more industry experience. I'm crossing my fingers. I'd really like to work there, gain some experience, put it on my resume. But you never know. And even if I get it, I still need to find a job where I earn $$$!!

Takeshi is probably going to meet with a manager/chef? person next Monday at a restaurant in Woodley Park, D.C. As far as I understand it, they've been favoring him to be possibly be a sous chef there. But he is unsure if he will like them - what the cuisine is like, what the pay will be, etc. So we'll see about that when he goes.

On a happier note, this past Saturday I was able to make it to the Maryland Renaissance Festival with my high school friend Natalie! Hub, sadly could not go this year, (since he never EVER has Saturday off without asking in advice, and) since his new days off are Mondays and Tuesdays. So no weekends off right now at all. But it's actually nice sometimes to have weekdays off with him since places don't close earlier, and there are less crowds out in the middle of the day, since everyone's at work!

My other best friend Todd works at the festival, and was able to give us 2 free tickets! :D Yay. The weather was lovely and bordering on cripse, I ate things were bad and yummy, drank a new favorite drinky, a "Snake Bite" (half hard cider, half beer), and bought a few trinkets for the hub and for myself. We took in a sword swallowing show which was quite good, got Starbucks on the way back to her house, and had a quick dinner. We ended up meeting quite a few people from high school (some people I remembered their names, other I didn't...). It was fun to catch up with them. All in all, it was a good day. I felt like I was back in high school in a sense, before hubby and all (not that 'after hubby' was bad! ;D). It was just me and Natalie chatting, being silly. It made me forget my new 'adult' woes for a time - but only a short time. I definitely want to go again next year, with TK! :) Have a good rest of the week everyone.




Natalie and Todd


Todd and I being weird. But mostly him ;)


16 October 2011

new apartment

So far, the new apartment has been quite nice. It also seems that the neighborhood has improved as well, over the last one. It's quieter, and has less bratty children running loose in the parking lot.

This 2BR apartment has about 900-ish square feet to it, while our last 1BR apartment had about 775 square feet. We have a lot of closet space, with 2 in the hallway and 1 in each bedroom. We did end up having to sacrifice on kitchen space a little. Our last kitchen was a nice square-shaped space, whereas this new one is a 'single-line' space with parallel countertops. It's a little hard to move around in there with 2 people. But thankfully we ended up having enough drawer/cabinet space to put our HUGE amount of kitchen tools/food.

So we're all settled in pretty much; everything is out of boxes and we have all the utilities/service stuff figured out and set up. The only thing that takes more time is obtaining new state tags for our car. Takeshi was able to get his MD license pretty much within one day of going to the motor vehicle administration (MVA). My process to get mine has proven frustrating...I've had to go and get a 'new' Maryland birth certificate (was born here!) that the MVA would accept ($30). Also, I need another piece of paper that shows proof of residency in MD. So far, my name (and new address) is only on the apartment lease agreement. Hub put his name on the cable account so that's a no for me. Just waiting for some mail with my name on it, so I can go get this license already! I hate going to the MVA and so far I've been there 2 times without success.

I've been applying to tons of retail places in the Frederick area, and calling back later on to follow up. Tomorrow I call some more places I sent applications to. Fingers crossed for a job SOONER rather than later. Seasonal job opportunities have also been listed lately, since the Christmas season will be upon us before you know it!



panoramic of living room/kitchen area


bedroom 1 - for us! ;)


bedroom 2 - storage/future guest room


06 October 2011

late night wednesday

Hub's first day at work was today, and we found that his hours are about half of what he worked at his last place. The hours, so far, for the morning shift at this place are crazy because he's due into work at 6:00am! Which means he's getting up at about 4:45am. But he gets off at around 4:00pm. That's about 10ish hours of work. This WOULD be an improvement IF he was getting paid more at this job, but he isn't getting paid more than his last job. Which means he may not be earning as much as he thought he was going to.

Which makes my finding a job even more important. I've applied so far to some general retail-ish businesses in the area, and plan to start calling them to follow up.

I do wonder now if I'll ever get a job as a professional graphic designer, the thing I went to college for. It's painful to see certain other former fellow students at my college in PA, who have design jobs right now. They're not the most awesome jobs ever, but it's graphic design. My dad told me that the time might come where I may have to essentially give up mostly on the idea of trying to land a design job, and try to find something else to delve into, for our financial future, for just a chance to move up professionally, somehow.

I hope that doesn't come to pass, but I have terrible thoughts of just doing something mundane and totally not design-related for the rest of my life. Telling people, "Yeah I have a major in Graphic Design - little good THAT did me...". I don't want to end up a jaded failure, forced to do something I don't really like to do, just for the sake of a paycheck and being able to LIVE.

Right now, it's what we need, more or less. So I have less of problem of doing that for now. But I'm uncertain about my future as a professional designer. Maybe freelancer at best?

Facebook is 'poison' for me, most days because I end up scrolling through people's 'lives' and comparing myself to them. "Oh she's already an assistant manager at suchandsuch...he just bought his first house....". I end up feeling like I'm behind on my own life. :/

03 October 2011

new place

So we didn't end up moving to Florida. We ended up not moving too far away from our last apartment in Virginia.

After my food poisoning episode push our schedule off course a little, we started to doubt the move to Florida. Too far, too much money and all without either one of us already having guaranteed jobs there to begin with. I had one second-interview scheduled but there was no guarantee of that going through in the end.

So we started debating 2 alternative choices; lay low by staying in our current apartment, buying back the lease, and getting TK's old job back, and me getting a job anywhere - or - still move somewhere where it's cheaper to live, but somewhere that's closer to us = less moving costs and time.

We chose to move. Takeshi, a year ago, ended up "staging" (chef term for work for a day(or more) without pay) at a restaurant called Volt in Frederick, MD. Afterwards they, at that time, extended a position to him if he wanted it. It just happened that, in the end he took a job at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria instead.

So a few days ago, we went to Frederick and he spoke to the chef/sous chef again. They gave him an unofficial 'yes' and told him to come back a day later for another 'stage' just to get the feel of the kitchen again yadda yadda. So hub was pretty well sure of his job. So that solidified it for us.

Time to pack all our crap up and go! With just the two of us. Argh. And one of us *ahem* doesn't have very good upper-arm strength. ^__^;;

But we did it. It was painful at times, since the hub ALWAYS packs the "books" boxes so full that it's about 80 pounds...Good thing for us that most of our furniture is from IKEA so it can be broken down. Since it was only two of us, we ended up packing for about 5 hours during the first day (the 29th), took a break for dinner, and then went BACK out to the truck and carried out lighter stuff until about midnight. The next day (30th) in the morning we packed the rest of the small things in the truck and our tiny car and just left. Drove up to Frederick, signed the lease 1 hour before the office closed and got our keys to our new apartment. We then started UNLOADING the truck and the car, and was carrying in the last piece, our couch, in the evening just as the sun was going down.

While we were sitting amongst our heaps of boxes, Takeshi told me that this process reminded him of a man in Japanese history called Toyotomi Hideyoshi. According to legend, he built a castle overnight. Yeah, our story seemed similar I suppose. We ended up packing and unpacking all of our belongings in about 2 days! We were moved into our new place pretty much overnight.

So here we are. Hub starts work on the 5th or 6th I believe, and before that gets here, we've been working on getting as many things set up; new car tags, internet, possibly cable, calling our old services to cancel them, etc.

I'm searching for job openings in the area. I don't plan to hold out for a design job up here, for the most part. This area's definitely not as bustling as the area we were in. I need to have a job somewhere, so it'll probably be some kind of part-time gig.

Here are some photos from about a couple weeks ago, before we moved. TK and I went to D.C. one day, and I took some photos on my rainy, cold last day of dog-walking. Have a good Monday everyone.







24 September 2011

back from FL

I actually started writing this post on Thursday, the day after we returned from our 4 day trip to south Florida. But on Friday we decided to see my best friend in MD, since it was our last chance to do so, before the move.

We had dinner at some restaurant and went to his house to say goodbye to his mum, who I've grown close to as well. Played with some cute doggies. :)

The next day we decided to wake up early and take a fairly short trip up to Lancaster, PA (where we lived while I was going to college) to go to their farmer's market. We both miss it, and the hub wanted to say hi to his old fellow chefs at the restaurant he worked at in Lancaster.

I felt fine when I woke up, but as we were driving up there (which takes 2 hours 30 minutes) I felt a knot in my stomach that wouldn't go away, and began to worsen.

So long story short, and a few disgusting details later, I definitely had a stomach flu/food poisoning. Not good to have while on the move. Takeshi asked if I wanted to go back, but by that time we were more than half way there. So I said (stupid me), no we should still go. And at the moment we are driving through downtown Lancaster I end up having to open the passenger door to puke. Takeshi is freaking out a little, trying to find a place to pull over. And everyone around us is, I'm sure, is wishing they hadn't just seen that happen in front of their eyes. And it's pouring rain outside.

Our plan is to drop me off at a local cafe (because I just CAN'T be in a moving car anymore), so he pulls over in traffic really quick and drops me off at a small outdoor parking lot which is literally about 20 ft. away from the cafe. I stumble through a line of bushes to be in between two parked cars - and I can't stand anymore.

I never made it to the cafe. I end up in a fetal position on the ground next to a storm drain in between the cars. I'm getting soaked, my shoes, my socks, my pants, and I don't care. I want to be unconscious at this point.

I feebly get out my phone and text Takeshi through pain and nausea:

"I need you

Can't get to cafe

Outside now on grpound

in bushes where you left me

need to lie down

please

come find me

in parking lot outside

Please"

After what seems to be forever, I hear him calling my name. He finds me and tells me he'll have to run back to the car, where he parked it. He comes, he parks the car in that same parking lot, and I throw myself into the backseat and lie down. I'm just so happy to be inside somewhere, that's dry and quiet.

So anyway....after that we get home a lot later than we had thought, with traffic on the way back.

This morning at 8am we went to an urgent care clinic, and they pretty much told me the same thing I already knew. They couldn't give me anything to treat/cure it - the only thing they said they could do is give me an injection of anti-nausea medicine, but since we don't have health insurance, it would have cost a fortune, on top of the price of the visit itself. So we left, came home, and I promptly fell asleep.

Hub ended up coming in later and falling asleep as well on the bed. I woke up at 8pm feeling better, and just didn't want to be asleep/laying down in bed anymore. He woke up a few minutes after me, and being the wonderful man he is, made me chicken noodle soup from scratch! So, so good. And while I was asleep, he did the laundry and went out and bought me some juice. Did I mention I love my hubby?

So. It's good that I'm getting better (knock on wood). The bad thing is that this knocks our schedule totally off. Originally we were planning to have been packing our stuff and picking up the truck tomorrow or Monday already.

So we may still move to Florida. But we are talking about alternatives now, perhaps just finding a cheaper apartment in this area. I don't know. We'll see.

09 September 2011

throat scratch/research

Hah. What a weird combination for a title.

So I guess I scratched the back of my throat somehow a few days ago. Thought I was coming down with something (OH my god - anything but THAT right now). But I took a look with a flashlight and I can see a mid-sized red scratch on the right side. Ouch. Gargling with salt water will hopefully help it.

The research continues full-throttle, as well as me sending a TON of emails to....pretty much everywhere on the east coast. I've already sent about 20 emails tonight, to at least 8 states. It's part of the plan we finally came to put together today, of how the rest of the month will go. Since we were able to extend the apartment notice until the 30th.

You cannot BELIEVE how....horrible it's been to debate this issue of, are we moving? Or not moving? What if this happens? What if this happens?? What should we do?

There's been a lot of sleep lost, a lot of late nights talking until 2-3am. Frustration, a lot of helplessness, etc. All of the usual happy stuff. :D

I think things are still tense but in a better way - in a focused way, since we've made a decision on what to do. We can actually now work towards something.

Today was my last day with the dog walking. It was very anti-climatic. I guess it wasn't as hard for me to say goodbye to the doggies, because my mind is too busy thinking about our plans to move. Though it will suck to go from seeing them everyday, to not having them around at all again..........

We need to get a dog sometime sooooon! xD Heh.

07 September 2011

plans?

So this whole business has been going on for about a month now. And it's almost too much to spit back out in a blog post, but I'll do my best to sum up.

Basically, hub brought this up a month ago, saying that it was about that time for him to move on from his present job. He's big on what he can learn as a professional wherever he works. When the learning starts to ebb, he's usually ready to find another job. That time period, so far in the past, has been 1 year. We have been in the D.C. Metro area for 1 year.

And in that 1 year, I have unsuccessfully searched for a graphic design position. I have not been able to, in my eyes, start my career. I want to be employed. I can NOT dog walk or do other part-time job crap until I'm in my 30's or something...

So.

We hatch this 'plan'. For him to leave his job (which he was already going to do), and for me to quit my part-time dog walking, and to kick my job-hunting really into high-gear. And to move from our present apartment to perhaps somewhere else in the Metro area. We were more optimistic/hopeful about this plan, because recently I've been off to multiple interviews/hearing back from people I've applied to - the most I've had since we've moved here.

And to do this within a months' time.

But now.

The time is getting damned short now. The 4-5 interviews I went to ended up in nothing. I still have no sights for a job. Takeshi's culinary industry has always been, and probably will always be more reliable, compared to mine. And he's been out of college, working professionally now for at least 3-4 years.

But we've made decisions to end certain things now - we have until the 25th to move out of our current apartment. Both of our last days of work are this Saturday the 10th. Takeshi can only start looking for jobs until after he's left this job. Bad thing about being a chef is the hours. He doesn't have the time to actually go to interviews because he'd have to take time off. He works at least 15 hours a day.

It does feel like we were too hopeful, like I said. It feels like we've chosen to dig ourselves into a hole, we've chosen to be so risky. We've never been in such a clueless situation before.

So. What to do?

Last night we had a debate after hub got home from work at 11pm until about 2am.

These were our thoughts that night:

Basically, the way things are going (or NOT going...) with my job search, there is a HIGH probability that we'll have to move, again, with only Takeshi's new income at wherever he gets a job. But the cost of living in the D.C. Metro area is crippling us financially, since we got here. It's too damned expensive. We don't know if we'll be able to stay in this area that way.

A different way to look at my particular situation is that, with my entry-level experience that I have right now - perhaps I'm trying to reach a level in the D.C. Metro area, that I'll never be able to get to. The standards of, or what constitutes an "entry-level graphic design position" this area is more difficult than what I can qualify for. I need a stepping stone to start my career, but most or all of the "stones" in the D.C. Metro are too far away for me to leap onto. (Weird metaphor?)

So. With the issue of the cost of living, and my career troubles, we had to come up with a different way to try to obtain those things.

And our thoughts are now geared towards moving to a smaller city/town. Quite possibly not even within Maryland, DC, or Virginia. Smaller towns have lower costs of living for sure, and their standards for design jobs are different.

We saw both of these things in Lancaster, PA when we lived there. We actually saved money on TK's income ALONE, and I was still in college. We need to save money right now. And I need an easier way to get into the design industry. And if, in the worst case scenario, I'm not able to get "hired" in that new city/town right away, we need the backup plan of being able to sustain ourselves with his income alone. I could work as an intern somewhere to gain experience, and get another part-time job.

So yeah...........these past couple of months have been....heavy. And it's not over yet. It's going to get even crazier. But hopefully for the better.

I've started researching some locations already. Since we're working on a fast schedule anyway, we'll be hoping to make the best decision soon. And then even more decisions after that. There are so many "what-ifs" and so much that's just going to BE unknown. We just need to make the best 'educated' decision.

We have to make it work somehow, anyway. We don't have a choice. We have work to do. We have until the 25th.

Send us good vibes and rainbows. D:

Night all.

running out of time - where to go

I'm going to blog about this whole recent situation when I get home today. There's so much to say about it, that I've wanted to blog about it, but just started to talk about it tires me out!

Gloomy/rainy weather today too. Bleh...where am I, London?

More soon.

27 August 2011

tropical storm and me

First of all, I'd really like to thank GaijinWife for recently sending us some goodies in the mail from back home! :) Everything has already been dug in to believe me, because it's all delicious. Hehe. And I finally got the two green ceramic bowls I'd been wanting from her. They've already been used for things that aren't tea. Lol. Perhaps their tea-holding days will come soon.
ありがとうございます!

~~~~~~~~~~~

So anyway, it's just me and the dark, rainy weather today. I was hoping Takeshi's restaurant would close today or something. Though I'm sure I'll have fun driving in this same weather, to get him tonight! Waah. ;__;

Oh! - I know what will pass the time!



Thank you Katy!! Oh Chocochip what can't you make better? <3



This morning on the way back from dropping him off, the rain hadn't started just yet, just ominous clouds. Just as I got home it started and won't stop until tomorrow afternoon-ish they say? Just hoping the power doesn't go out today or tomorrow. The lights have been flickering a little! I was being lazy today and hadn't taken a shower yet, and thought I'd just wait. But then I decided to take it a few minutes ago, because they keep saying things on the news like, "Well if you're water goes out blah blah."

This is me in the shower:

(taking shower at normal leisurely pace) scrub....scrub....scrub

(big light flicker)

............SCRUB.SCRUB.SCRUB >____>;;;

Now I'm all squeaky clean. Yay! And the lights are still on for now.

A few days ago when Takeshi was still taking off from work, we decided wake up a little early and to go to the farmer's market in Dupont Circle in DC. Takeshi says that it's one of the largest farmer's markets in the area? Something like that. It was humid and hot outside that morning which was gross, but the market itself didn't disappoint. It was very large compared to the ones we've been to the in the past, and in the end we bought a lot of good produce. I decided to buy a small canary melon, which I had never tried before. It's pretty good, I like it. A very light, sweet melon. We didn't buy anything really perishable like dairy or meat, because we had to ride the metro home after that.




patterns/textures of the marketplace


our haul :)



And now for some miscellaneous pics and a vid. :)
Have a good weekend everyone.




the hub at Starbucks


GaijinWife squid! with a drinkie :) once the hub opened the squid, it didn't last the night.



video

Ralph doing his 'dead poodle' trick!


17 August 2011

wordless wednesday

This past weekend we had a visitor! :) A client needed me to dog-sit their Beagle-mix, May.









My recent attempt to make tatsukuri! I think I succeeded on the taste of it, but the "mixture" ended being a little too stiff. Next time I'll cook the liquid combination for a little less (soy, mirin, sugar).







a good bounty from the local HMart :)


15 August 2011

some days

For a while now I've seen this "exercise" done on other people's blogs. Thought I'd take a stab at it.

- Some days I'm tired of hearing other wives or girlfriends moan about how their husband or boyfriend doesn't get home until 8pm or something like that, when I WANT to sneer at them and tell them to stop bitching about it. Because my husband doesn't ever get home before 11pm on weekdays and never before 1am on weekends. And that the only CONSTANT day off he has is Sunday, but his other day off always changes, so it makes it near impossible to plan anything to do on his days off. But most days, I remember that I knew the kind of hours he'd be working in the food industry when we were dating, and that I could never ask him to do anything different, because it's what he loves.

- Some days I actually take naps that are only about an hour and a half. But most days I end up taking 3-hour naps, even when I set the alarm on my phone. Because I like naps, and I like sleeping, even though I usually feel really groggy after a nap!

- Some days I really start to resent the choice I made to be a Graphic Design major, because I haven't been able to find a full-time design job in over a year now. Some days I feel like Takeshi resents me being the weak link in the marriage. I feel like I'm stuck somewhere between a student and a professional, still. But most days, he tells me that he supports me and has faith in me. I remember that I can't see myself doing anything else as a career and be happy. I want to work hard for our future, because I know he works hard for it.

09 August 2011

weird list

Hiya everyone (all three? of you. haha...) Just working on the freelance project I was hired for, surprisingly by the natural history museum I interned at in PA for college. Nice people, close-nit. Just doing their seasonal newsletter. Mostly just plugging in articles, info, and pictures.

I've made a list of recent weird and/or not so great events that happened to me. Thought some of them were funny. Maybe you can relate!

-- It's morning and I'm on my way to drop off hub at work, as we do everyday. We're on the main road, and we're in the center lane. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye to the right, I see something ricochet off of the windshield of the car next to me. It flies over to land right in front of OUR car, and I roll over it.....and see a ploof of feathers fly up. Oh jeez. That's the first time I've ever hit something while driving (though I hope the poor guy was dead before I rolled over it...).

-- It's morning again on another day. I'm making breakfast, and am about to slice a bagel down the center. We don't have room for a bagel slicer, and we don't really eat that many bagels, so I am using a bread knife. And I proceed to miss the bagel all together and slice my finger. Nice way to start the morning. x__x It wasn't deep by any means, but it HURT. Ugh. This is why my chef husband watches me when I use things in the kitchen!

-- So about 2 weeks ago-ish, we're in the car together in Old Town, and we find ourselves with a sudden flat tire! Our front right wheel just deflates in a matter of seconds. It's a good thing it didn't happen with just me because, I have never had to change a flat tire. And I don't think I could EVER get those damned bolts off of the tire to take it off in the first place anyway, they're so damned tight. So Takeshi fixes us with the spare tire. I go to our local dealership the next day to have them repair my flat. They say it will take an hour - 2 HOURS later they're finally done. What the hell?...But I didn't have to pay so all I did was give up my time. Whatever. It repaired right? Not even. That NIGHT the air-pressure light comes back on. So, I go back to the same dealership a couple of days later, when they have a spot, and THIS time it's with Takeshi in the morning. We figure we can get him to work afterwards. They say again - it'll take an hour...An hour and a HALF later, hub is seething and for good reason. He goes out to talk to the idiot of a service-department guy we've been dealing with and complains. The guy acts all huffy and bothered - so sorry we're ruining your day. Takeshi comes back in and swears that WHEN he said that, he looked out there and saw our car just SITTING there! And a minuted later they drive it back to work on it. Oh shit....that's not even acceptable. But we wait for another 20 minutes until they drive it up for us. The guy's like, "Uh so we patched it, but no guarantees it's gonna hold...". So we just sat here for almost 2 hours again, for you to tell me that you couldn't really fix it, and that I might need a new tired anyway???? THANKS a ton. But at least, this time as well, we didn't have to pay. --- Switch to that night - guess what light comes on again? WHELP - new tire here I come! I call the local Firestone tire place and make an appointment. I go and they check out my tires. And they didn't have good news for me. The front tire with the slow leak in it? Actually had had a NAIL in the shoulder of the tire. No wonder it kept leaking...=__= Not ONLY that, but all four tires were officially balding and deemed unsafe for the state of Virginia. AND they were unbalanced to top it off. OK true, I needed to think about my tires more - but how, HOW could the other dealership NOT tell me these things? "Oh and uh yeah there's a NAIL in your tire." Unbelievable. So I have no choice - I need to get 4 new tires now. So a purchase of only around $70 turned into a purchase of $500. And I had to stick around for 3 and a half hours for them to install them and balance them. Sometimes I feel like I LIVE at these car places!

-- Have you ever had a cat jump on your back from behind you? Because I did, a few days ago and it's scary!! And painful. :( I had been doing some cat-sitting for work. The cat did not mean it in a mean way (he's really sweet), he mostly did it to get my attention. But GOD his claws are long and sharp! My back was all scratched up from me twisting around to rip him off of me. I look liked I had been attacked by some movie-poltergeist or something. xD

-- Have you ever been riding around at midnight on a major road and seen a fox standing on a street corner? Because I did, a few days ago. And it was weird. He was standing there looking around, probably wondering where the hell to go! I was hoping we wasn't going to get hit.

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So that's my list. :)

I'm currently looking to go shop for things to ship to GaijinWife and family. :D Exciting! I love receiving and sending parcels. And I get those green cereal-maybe-tea-ceremony bowls. Yay!

おやすみ, all.

05 August 2011

moving on

So hub and I have been talking recently for the past month-ish about moving on.

Moving on from his current job, and moving to wherever the next job opportunity takes us. Or should I say HIS next job opportunity. Because I am still, as I always have been, the weakest link, the dead weight.

Oh yes! maybe I can move to another great big city and get hired by a bigger and better dog-walking business.....shoot me now. I know Takeshi has been saying to me that he wants both of us to move to any place based on the fact that we'll both get hired there. But sadly, it's still a matter of ONLY him, leading us, supporting us, having a guaranteed job. In over a year, I haven't had any luck in this area, and right now, for weeks, I've been applying to places all over the country, and yet again have not heard a word from anyone.

Somedays I really do start to resent my major in Graphic Design...Maybe if I had gone into another field, I wouldn't have all of this grief. It's true that many other industries are taking a dive in job openings right now, but still, maybe I would be better off financially if I had chosen another career path. But at the same time, no one really knew how bad the economy would be around this time, and how long it's still been declining for.

Hub told the head chef today about his plans to leave the restaurant around the end of this month, and had told the executive chef a few days before. And he's been met with well-wishes and support. People will miss him for sure. He's definitely a hard worker and gains respect wherever he works.

I got jealous of him, when he was telling me these things in the car last night.

I don't have a "team" at my job.

In this type of job I don't every talk to my "fellow employees". I work alone every day. I don't talk to anyone. Hell, I've never really met any of them in person. No one's going to miss me when I leave this job. Dogs may miss me for all of about 3 minutes. I'll probably miss them more, because then I won't even be able to spend time with other people's dogs when I'm still pining away for a dog of my own.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mum and Dad left a few days ago. They'll be back in January they say. They're usual month-ish long stay before they fly straight to their new country, Jorden for 3 years. Not really soothing my nerves at all, knowing what kind of area of the world they'll call home. Why couldn't they have had the option of going to the embassy in Barbados? ;-)

Since we're doing the whole moving scene again, there's a high chance we could be in another state when they come back! I wonder if they'll be able to even visit us then, since it would be out of their way. They usually have always stayed in the D.C. metro area, since it's what they know.



Mum and Dad with their old friend Darlene (far left in white), who we met at lunch one day


This is where I get my weirdness from :)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Takeshi and I finally got to go eat at Restaurant Eve (where he works!) a few weeks ago. The day before that I actually ended up buying a a one-piece dress that I got to wear at dinner, since it is a fine-dining establishment. ;) I felt very feminine indeed, since it's the only dress I've ever owned, other than the godawful thing I wore for one night only, to high school prom. We arrived for our 7pm reservation, and stayed untilllllll abouuutt 11pm!!! We got a 9-course tasting menu, and then got a drink at their bar - so those types of things take a while. =__= All in all, a delicious meal at Eve.





Oh my such awesome deserts


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I apologize for having to look at that damned white line in all of my photos lately. I need to take in my iPhone to the Apple Store and have them fix it. I think it's a case of a dead pixel...