August 26, 2008


Tuesday, August 26, 2008 Posted by Ryan , , , , 1 comment
You know how some days you're all, "What! it's 4 o'clock" and realize that the work day is almost over, and then there are other days where it's, "OMG, it is only 1:32." Today is the latter. Some days there are those projects that you don't want to do, so they take even longer to do than they should, and the day feels longer than it should, so now you've wasted almost three whole days doing something you didn't want to do. Yeah. I feel all unproductive since it's taking forever on this thing at work (that I don't even care about) and haven't cleaned the house up yeat, and all those weeds sprouting in the front yard...they're still there and still growing. I did do all the laundry this weekend (even the linens) so I guess I got something done. Last weekend I installed a new doorbell but haven't taken pictures yet so I won't say too much about that since you can't see what I'm talking about.

Paul is coming home tomorrow at 5, which is why I wanted to clean the house. And by clean the house I really mean that I just want to pick up all the shoes and clean off the dining table and maybe do the dishes - nothing hard. But last night after I ate my frozen burrito and chips with salsa I just didn't want to. So, I watched Army Wives and then Mad Men on the PVR and went to bed. I keep reading advice on "how to keep your house from getting so trashed you want to burn it all" and they all say to spend 5-15 minutes everyday just picking up the clutter, throwing away the junk mail and maybe doing a few dishes. And when I do these things I'm still amazed at how big of a difference I can make in such a short time but usually I just can't make myself do it. I look at that plate and glass on the table, or that pile of junk mail, or the two pairs of shoes under the table and something inside me just goes, "Uhg, I can't." And I don't. I walk away, and then I'm embarrassed that someone might see that I live in clutterdom and can't manage to take my laundry detergent to the know, since I'm going down there anyway?

Tonight I have rehearsal again, so when I get home tonight at 9 or later I'll have to make that final decision, "do I pick everything up, or let Paul come home after 4 months to a messy house." I guess if it was clean it might give off the impression that I've kept it that way all summer, which would be a lie. But I do feel a juvenile sense of accomplishment when the house is tidy, almost how I feel when something grows in the yard like, "oh, look, I made a flower!" Ridiculous-I know. However, right now I have made lots of flowers and if I just cleaned up the shoes, vacuumed the floor and cleared off the table I could put a bunch in a vase and feel like I live like a normal person - or at least like the kind of person who cleans their house and has cut flowers.

*or, How In the Amount of Time it Took For Me to Write This I Could Have Finished Everything I'm Dreading.

August 11, 2008

100 most "popular" books

Monday, August 11, 2008 Posted by Ryan , 1 comment
I stole this quiz from Camels & Chocolate (via She Like Purple).

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.


1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
4) Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (I read at least three of them, just haven't gotten to the rest.)
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6) The Bible (Well, you know, most of it.)
7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8) Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
9) His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
10) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
11) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
12) Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (I read this because it was on a list of banned books, which is also why I started ready Harry Potter too.)
13) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (I bought it once, but never read it)
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare (my parents had the actual complete book)
15) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
16) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (and yet I've never read the Lord of the Rings books)
17) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
18) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
20) Middlemarch by George Eliot
21) Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
24) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I read this in HS and didn't really enjoy it)
25) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
26) Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (Is it bad that the upcoming movie makes me want to read this book?)
27) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
29) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
30) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
31) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (I think jr. high was a little too young to read this though, I should try it again.)
32) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
33) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
34) Emma by Jane Austen
35) Persuasion by Jane Austen
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
37) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
38) Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
39) Memories of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
40) Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
41) Animal Farm by George Orwell
42) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (I'm not sure I would ever want to read this book, except to understand why everyone loved it so much.)
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
45) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
46) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
47) Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
48) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
49) Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I re-read the entire book for the third time in one night in HS trying to find a passage referenced by my english teacher.)
50) Atonement by Ian McEwan
51) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
52) Dune by Frank Herbert
53) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
54) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
55) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
58) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (This was my favorite book for a while)
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
62) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
63) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
64) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65) Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
66) On The Road by Jack Kerouac
67) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
68) Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
69) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
71) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
72) Dracula by Bram Stoker
73) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
74) Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson
75) Ulysses by James Joyce
76) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
78) Germinal by Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession by AS Byatt
81) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
82) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
84) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
86) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte's Web by EB White
88) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
92) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
94) Watership Down by Richard Adams
95) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
96) A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98) Hamlet by William Shakespeare (although wasn't this already covered in the complete works?)
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I always meant to, it was a popular book in jr. high)

Seriously I think some of the contemporary books on this list will not stand the test of time, and I can think of some other books I've read that should make the list. Of course this is the list of the 100 most popular books, not books that everyone should read. So what's my total? 49. But then some things on the list are collections, and some are individual books in a series. In addition to books I italicized, I expect I would read a number of the other books that could be considered "classics."

August 8, 2008

The Magic Hour

Friday, August 08, 2008 Posted by Ryan , No comments
This morning I logged in to my computer at 8:08 (on 8/8/08). What does this mean? Am I destined for a lucky day, I mean everyone seems to think there is something special about
The Summer Olympics start today in China at 8:08 pm (in Bejing time, not here obviously, in fact, I think it's already started) I've heard of at least two people (that I know) that are having c-sections or inducing labor today and I'm sure a legion of couples chose today to get married. In Chinese numerology, the number eight is related to prosperity or wealth, but do most of us really believe in that kind of superstition?
From a MSNBC article:
Along with great fortune, the number eight is the atomic number for oxygen. There are eight days of Hanukkah. The symbol for infinity takes on the shape of eight, and there used to be eight planets until Pluto was demoted.
I don't know, that seems like we're reaching a little
here, I mean really? Eight planets in our galaxy is some sort of cosmic significance (and then we can't even decide exactly what constitutes a planet?). And the author is wrong anyway since there were nine planets until Pluto was demoted and NOW there are eight. So, magically the number eight is significant (more so than the number 9 apparently) an just in the last year there are officially eight planets in the solar system. Pluto will always be a planet to anyone born prior to 2000 because you can't just start thinking, "oh, yeah, Pluto is a member of the Kuiper belt."

August 5, 2008

Five Things

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 Posted by Ryan , , No comments
I am starting my own Five Things tag because I don't have any blogger friends yet to tag me.

1) What were you doing 5 years ago?
Five years ago...I was working for the City as the Human Rights Specialist where I facilitated the Human Rights Commission (meetings, etc), took complaints, and served as a resource for the City and community. But, all this was only a 1/2 time job, so I also worked for PJALS (Peace and Action League of Spokane) and at Bethany Presbyterian Church. I was also sewing costumes for the production of Winnie the Pooh for Spokane Children's Theatre. It wasn't all big furry animal suits, 'cause those are scary. The animals all had ears and tails if appropriate, but Kanga and Roo wore matching blue print dresses with pink ruffled aprons, Eeyore wore grey chords and a big baggy blue cotton sweater (and of course had the pink ribbon on his tail), I also had a whole chorus of 5-year-old bunnies so they were outfitted in green t-shirts and khakis and bunny ear headbands with rabbit #1 and rabbit #2 in plaid button downs, sweater vests and vintage ties. I think the whole scheme worked well with a hint of 1950s inspiration. Of course I don't have any pictures, too bad.

2) What are five things on your to-do list today?
I usually don't have a to-do list, since I do the same thing most weekdays, but today:

1)Go to work

2)Send e-mail about getting quote for a new natural gas furnace to replace our oil furnace that could cost us in excess of $1500 to heat the house this winter.

3)Remember to turn the water off on the soaker hose that I left on along the house this morning and maybe get the other side of the house watered a little too.

4)Go to call backs for Oklahoma! auditions.

5)Try to go to sleep before 11pm

3) What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
I try to keep food in my desk at work so I'm not starving but I've gotten a little low lately. So I like 1) fresh fruit (what ever's in season or in the store during the winter. 2) Almonds (roasted salted ones from Costco) 3) Dried fruit (mostly goes into my oatmeal in the mornings) 4) Carrots and 5) then there's the stuff I love but try to not eat all the time (so it gets grouped into one item) like ice cream, cookies, an occasional chocolate bar, and a good stiff cocktail (not a snack you say? I disagree).

4) what are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
I don't know what the average person's priorities are for this, but most of the other blogs I've read this post on are also people renovating their old houses and in general are normal people (normal like I'm normal, so what does that me). So, if I were a billionaire (funny how a millionaire isn't sufficient anymore) I would 1) pay off my house 2) pay people to finish the big projects I'm totally dreading like electrical and refinishing the floors 3) Do something for my parents (like send them to that trip to Europe they've talked about) to pay them back for everything they've helped with over the last 12 years since I've become and "adult" 4)Set up some sort of investment retirement plan (just in case you know) and 5)give a lot of money away.
There are a lot of other things I'd do with that money too, so I guess this is just the top five things.

5) What are 5 jobs you've had (or 5 places you've lived)?
Since I've already talked about jobs, I figure I could say five places I've lived, but then I've lived in a lot more that five places. Since I've lived in 5+ cities I thought I would specialize this answer to the five places I've lived in Spokane since moving back.

1) I lived with my parents for six months after moving back to Spokane and did a little house sitting so I could finish a few classes, find a job, and pay off my $900 credit card balance which seemed really big at the time since it was the first time I carried a balance on a card (and I had no income).

2) I moved to a little basement apartment in December (2001) with a roommate (Issac) downtown. I could walk to work, movies, the theatre, the bus station, bars, grocery store. Did I mention that I didn't have a car?

3) Issac moved to Boise for grad school in March of 2003 and Paul and I had gotten involved the previous September and was practically living in my apartment already, so we both moved into a new apartment that he'd signed a lease on across the river by the Courthouse.

4) By the summer of 2005 we were both itching for a little more space and the real estate market kept going up and I started to worry that if we didn't buy soon we'd be priced out. We were in a place where we could afford a house (even though I wasn't working full time again yet after being downsized during city budget cuts) and we started looking for a house. Our budget was $70-85,000. Laughably small now, but I remember then looking at houses I loved that were $92,000 and realizing that we couldn't afford them (now those same houses are 30% more at least). We found a house that I though had potential, it was little (700 sq ft) but had a little basement, but no garage, and the kitchen layout was funky, but after our inspection we had to pull out becuase there were just too many problems. At the same time my mother found us the deal of a century for a rental. All we had to do was clean out the entire house of the previous tenant's stuff, fix everything that had been neglected over a few decades (rip out carpet, paint absolutely everything, replace floors, and clean, clean, clean) but the location was terrific, the rent was a steal, and we could get a dog, so we moved up the hill to 25th.

5)After 2 years of fixing someone else's house and wanting to do even more (but realizing it wasn't worth our time when we'd be moving soon) We started looking for a house to buy again. By this time the market was even hotter than in '05 and even though we had a higher income, we were still looking at the same houses. And some of them literally were the SAME houses back on the market 2 years later but priced 30% higher (and not any nicer than they were before). Our budget started at 100-115,000 this time and we looked at a number of houses. After finding only 2 that were even in reasonable shape (since I was looking for a fixer-upper anyway) and dismissing one because the only bathroom was downstairs next to the kitchen and there was a really weird slope to the floor, we put an offer on a house that was super, but needed a TON of work and wasn't in a great location but close to downtown, close to an emerging neighborhood and on a bus line. Again after the inspection and finding out in addition to all the work I knew about and was cool about (like re-doing all the electrical, replacing the heating system, gut and re-do both bathrooms, fixing the slope in the kitchen floor, re-doing the floors, adding insulation) the roof was also failing. Since the owners weren't willing to budge on the price, or fix the 30 year old roof that they insisted wasn't as bad as the inspector said (he had pictures though, I saw it) we had to let the house go again. And that led us to this house. Our brick bungalow that I saw online and after peeking in the windows one afternoon fell in love with. We got a walk through and made an offer that day. we paid more than the top of our budget, and we still had to replace the roof, and the electrical, and re finish the floors, and scrape paint off everything, but it is in a super neighborhood (sadly no grocery store anymore, but maybe, someday) and we love it here.