30 January 2011

pizza, car brakes, snow

So we had our first big dose of snowfall so far this winter in northern VA. For this past Wednesday they were calling for snow to accumulate in the afternoon/evening hours and boy did we get it. Enough to throw everyone into a panic anyway, of course. I was walking dogs that same day and it was cold cold cold. Mostly the wind that makes it seem 15 degrees colder.


video




spray paint? on a building under construction


choppy cold waters



Takeshi was home that day as well. The past week before that, I had called the local Hyundai dealership to schedule a day to fix our extremely squeaky brakes. Wouldn't cha' know it, it was the day we were supposed to get all of this snow! But we headed out anyway after I got home from dog-walking. It had started to flurry a little bit as we made our way to the place. Once we got there the dude behind that counter says, "Um, we don't have you scheduled for today at all. Maybe you called the dealership in Fairfax?" What?? No, I know I called the right number, but whatever it didn't mean anything now. Fortunately, he was able to pencil us in still on short notice. Yaay! So we ended up sitting around and drinking free Starbucks machine coffee in their waiting area, for about 2 hours in total before heading out finally. While we were there it SNOWED. And the streets and street signs were almost unrecognizable.



while we were waiting...uh oh



We had the commute back from hell pretty much after that. What should have taken us about 25 minutes to get home, it took 2 hours. That's what all the radio/weather stations had ended up calling the evening, "the commute from hell", since the snow started right before rush hour, making travel unbearably slow for thousands and thousands of people across the D.C. metro area, Virginia, and Maryland. Reports of thousands of people just abandoning their cars. I know we didn't get 2 feet or anything and people who live in snowier areas may be scoffing at me right now, but it still sends everyone around here into chaos, and it's still annoying to deal with!



day after the snow, walking on Old Town streets



Onto warmer things like....pizza! :) Lately Takeshi and I have been very fond of seeking out places that serve Neapolitan pizza. That's Takeshi favorite type of pizza and I'm just happy eating pizza anyway! Heh. After we've been to a new place, we usually rate them and compare them to the other places we've been to. And also - I've started to really like...olives. I've ALWAYS hated olives since I was little. My mum is the olive lover - I'd always give them to her to eat instead! But at one pizza place, they serve a little complimentary dish of olives, lightly covered in olive oil before your meal. And I decided to try for kicks - and I really liked them. I couldn't believe I'd ever say that, but I did! Maybe I just never had a good olive before now. Is there anything you guys hated (or liked) when you were little, that you feel differently about now?



"2 Amys" in D.C. near Georgetown/TK having a coffee :)


interior shots


19 January 2011

ice, fog, wordpress

Out-of-the-ordinary weather we're having in our area of Virginia recently. Yesterday evening we had a bunch of freezing rain and sleet come down on us, to turn every flat surface into an ice-skating rink. Always fun when walking dogs who are "pullers"! And tonight we had a thick level of fog everywhere in the area. I was driving to pick TK up from work at around 11pm and it felt like I was driving through a dream!

Also, I posted again on Wordpress. Password has changed so comment me below if you'd like to be considered to get it again. :) Just give me an email to send it to.

e*m*t on Wordpress

I miss Suzuka. I miss Japan. I wonder what the in-laws did today?

おやすみ。

15 January 2011

matcha mochi

Yum I love mochi (sorry GW! ^_~), and the today I finally got to make a recipe for matcha mochi 'cake'. Link is here. It's a nice thing having mochiko be affordable! I've already made lots of chocolate mochi before this, but the matcha version is yummy too!



the good stuff


very good stuff



Takeshi gets to try it tonight! I'm sure he'll like it. :)

Speaking of things from Japan, Takeshi tells me that this year, my SIL will be coming to visit the States!! I'm so excited I can't wait to see her again. We never got to 'bond' as much as I would have wanted when we lived there. She's the closest thing I'll ever have to a sister, and it's funny that she's the same age as my younger brother as well. Both Takeshi and I are the oldest child in our families, and have 1 younger sibling.

She knows a good amount of English so that was always nice, but so much of her time was taken up by finishing off college and/or working part-time in Nagoya. So needless to say, she wasn't home during most of the day. She'll definitely stay with us, so there's a good chance we'll try to go out and buy an air mattress for her (and any other future guests). TK also told me that his friend/coworker Kato-san might be visiting the States as well. This is also cool news. :) TK will probably ask for days off of work, for both visits, so all of us could go somewhere together.

In some bad news, the 2 washers and 2 dryers in our apartment building have stopped working...Takeshi tried doing laundry on his day off this past week, and ended up wasting a $1.75. Great. Now we've returned to the time when we lived in Lancaster, where we have to go OUT and drive to a laundromat. Such a pain in the ass. And we called the office about getting them fixed, and they said, "Uh that's not what we do here - call the number on the washer." ...... So we called THEM and they said they'd give us a refund (however that's gonna happen), but - they can't tell us at ALL when the machines will be fixed. Seriously?

Gotta' love this American customer-service... God I miss Japan's customer service. Seemed to have a lot more competence. So that's what we'll being doing tomorrow, doing the laundry, down the road.

Hope everyone has (had) a good weekend! Recent photos:



finally bought a jewelry box, instead of keeping my earrings in an old 'Dean & Deluca' tea tin!


tadaa


finally, finally finished this oil painting - now to wait for it to dry


14 January 2011

again

Another deadline by which a possible future job is supposed to call me with a yes or no or anything has passed. Again, I send an email and leave a voice message on the interviewer's phone to hope for some kind of answer. Again another chance of receiving some human decency is nonexistent.

I'm feeling down today to say the least. Yes, I have a part time job, so I have some kind of money coming in, but it's not enough to actually make any kind of savings per month.

Again I am not being useful at all to this household. When will I be proud of myself? And have a full time job doing what I got my degree in?

I hate trusting people right now at all with "getting back" to me, or saying "hey I know someone in the industry etc etc maybe they could help you find something". It all turns to shit, and it ends up being nothing.

They say it in the beginning, but later on, I email back again and again - and I get dead silence. Not even a "Hi, sorry I can't help you" response. Or when they finally do email me back, it's about 2 weeks later with, "sorry we filled the position already." No shit? You THINK? I think I got that by now...

I hate people right now. I want to put them in my place, to be hanging on every response, that might mean a job in the end. They may have been in that position before in the past, looking for a job, but they obviously don't give a shit now.

I continue on my search, it's my only option. I try to "numb" myself as much as I can now, with interviewing and such, so I don't get my hopes up. But it's hard not to feel something every time.

08 January 2011

runaway furball

I had a BIG scare this past Thursday when walking one of my usual dogs. The dog has a history (with other walkers who work for my boss) of running out of the front door within a split second if you don't stop him, and to wiggle his way out of his leash/harness. I knew about the slipping out the door problem, but I've had a pretty good system which I use on him - throw treats as far as I can, down the stairs to the den and then whip out of the door a second later. He falls for it every time. ;) Oh puppies, so gullible. Sometimes on walks, he's very ADD when it comes to where he would like to walk. As soon as he sniffs out something in the air, he pulls really hard in a total different direction all of a sudden.

But this day, he didn't want to go a certain way (which is the same path I take him everyday...) and he pulled really hard. So I stop for a second and try to coax him etc. - and he just wiggles up and out of his harness and runs. And I'm left there with my jaw open and an empty leash. I try to call him because he's only a few feet away - and he just BOLTS into the strip of woods behind the town homes. I start running full throttle after him up this hill. Every time I try to sweetly call him and walk towards him, he runs farther away. Shit. Not good.

And as luck would have it (said sarcastically) his owner was home with a cold. So I ran, panicked back to the house and had to tell the guy that basically his dog escaped from me just then. Happy news I'm sure he wanted to hear through the haziness of sickly-ness. So, frustrated, he asks me what my plan is. Uhh....I don't know. I'm a search party of one, dude. I'm mine own task-force. So with his suggestions, I run out of the door with a box of treats, and a huge bag of dog food to try and entice him to me. I run to the last place I saw him, spot him, and continue to follow him into the next neighborhood. I'm climbing through people's back yards, and showing him the food and treats but he doesn't want them. Just stares at me for a minute and then scampers off again. Obviously, me with treats and food, can't compete with running free in the woods.

So long story short, the dude finally comes out to help me! Thank gawd. Even though I did feel bad for him that he was outside and sick... We ended up cornering the pooch in someone's backyard. I threw down some treats on the ground in a line, closer and closer to the guy - and we pretty much tackled the dog onto the ground while he was still munching away on a biscuit. I'm just glad we got him before dark! >__>;;

So that day was eventful. And I got some good exercise anyway!

I've starting walking a new dog recently. A German Shepherd name Pete. Nice boy, does well with commands. I little to energetic at times though! And a huge crybaby. :) Some recent photos of Pete and of the poodle trio again, since I know my mum fell in love with them when she ended up meeting them over the holiday.



Ralph


Mimsy


the Trio; Mimsy, Hugo, Ralph


On my walk with Pete, down to the water's edge in Old Town


Mr. Pete :)



Here is a video I took the other day of another dog I walk, a black lab named Sydney. He's the sweetest dog I've ever met! When I started having to walk him with another dog to save time, I would walk Sydney to the dog's house and tie him up outside for a minute to go inside and fetch the second dog. Evidently Sydney pitches a fit when he can't come inside too! And he howls and howls until I come back out again after 2 MINUTES. Crybaby! He's a good boy, though. :)


video

04 January 2011

interview, chinatown, kushi

Good evening. I'm in my PJs on my laptop. Comfy. :) Takeshi's at his laptop on the couch.

Today I travelled yet again into D.C. for an interview for a Graphic Design position. Takeshi dropped me off at the Huntington station, which is the closest to us in the area, because it was his day off today as well. I didn't want to hog the car! He went off and visited some places he fancies including some herb/spice shop in Falls Church. I rode the metro without too much hassle and arrived at my destination waaaay too early. I walked up and out of the Stadium Armory station at around 1:18pm but my interview was at 2pm, and it was only about an 11 minute walk to the office from that location. Shit. I lingered around in the nippy-cold for a short time at the station's entrance, but decided against staying in one place for a while. The office I interviewed at is in northeast D.C. which is not an area I already have stereotyped, but after seeing the area, I have to say it was pretty...shady. Half-residential area with the typical rundown row houses smashed together with the black rod-iron fences in the front.

The interview itself went well. Prettily-dressed Laura wasn't the only person there for an interview though! Argh. I know other people (who knows how many) are going to be competing with me, but it's another thing to sit with them in the same room with your portfolio, waiting to be called upstairs. The lady interviewer was very nice and laid back. It seems the position went from sounding like just a basic "Junior Graphic Designer" position listing online - to actually being "the only Graphic Designer at this company" position.

As in - you are THE Graphic Designer. Everything design comes to and through you. Hah.

Oh well - I actually still am very interested in working there. But, like all interviews I'm lucky to have these days, I'm trying to not all moon-faced about it. They may choose me, they may not. I move on in the meantime.

After the interview process ended I headed back towards VA on the metro. When I jumped back in the car, Takeshi suggested we check out a place in D.C. we've been interested in, called Kushi. Some Japanese small dish/sushi restaurant. Close by Chinatown. So we ended up deciding to ride the metro again, to save us from evil D.C. rush hour traffic, and sparse parking. I was in my interview outfit which included shoes that aren't meant for walking long distances. They chafe awful...maybe time for some better dress shoes! Once we walked out of the Chinatown station....

Me: Hey, guess what nationality you are now?
Takeshi:.......Chinese.
Me: *snigger*

I'm a mean person. It's true though! People just assume he is if he's in a particular area. The other day we were in a international grocery store in an area of Virginia that has a large Korean population. We were in the checkout line and the jiji bagger dude smiled and said something to Takeshi in Korean (probably something like, Thanks, have a good day). Takeshi just stared at him and walked off. I couldn't help but laugh as we walked out...poor Takeshi.

Anyway, we went to the restaurant and had a very yummy meal, and then went to the Starbucks afterwards to get Takeshi's coffee-fix, before getting on the train back home. Some photos from today!



me on the train back to VA after my interview


heading to Kushi in D.C.


Takeshi at the table looking at cooks behind the counter


some interior shots of the place


yummy food :) click for a larger view!


interesting sculpture on the way back


shot from the Starbucks across the intersection from the Chinatown station


Takeshi! with coffee!


new year's summary

New Year's night ended up being not as celebratory as I had hoped it have been, like last year. For me New Year's usually starts when Takeshi is able to get home that night from work finally. And it's usually always, always after midnight anyway, so I'm used to that at least. But this time, he finally got home (after we went to pick him up, and drive home again) at around 3:30am. Ho' boy. My friend Todd came over as planned and we goofed around with his new shiny iPad. We had gone and bought some snacks and a four pack of Guinness for Takeshi (his favorite). Todd brought a whole bar with him in several large bags, so we really didn't need to buy anything for drinks except things like juice, soda, etc,. to mix with.

So yeah, by the time Takeshi got home we were all feeling a bit sleepy. Takeshi tried to stay up for a bit with us but soon went to bed. Todd and I stayed up for a little bit, until about 5am watching half of a rerun of Star Trek and then watching a weird infomercial about some exercise plan that makes you look like the incredible hulk afterwards. Doing rapid-fire chin-ups on some sort of contraption attached to your doorframe, stuff like that.

Todd had to leave for work the next morning (aww c'mon it's New Year's day for christ-sake). I finally woke up at about noon to have some breakfast with him, while Takeshi was still asleep. He never woke up to see Todd off, but I figured I'd let the poor guy catch up on some sleep for a change! So yeah, not the party I thought we'd have, but I mostly knew the game was up, when it was already 2am and we hadn't heard from Takeshi yet. Ugh. Oh well there's always next New Year's. :)