Posts Tagged ‘moving’

Without getting political, although I’m sure you can guess who my November vote is going to, I have to comment for a moment on Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight.

Pure class, grace, and style personified in a stunning Tracy Reese dress and shoes from JCrew.
(Photo from Huffington Post).

Michelle Obama’s speech brought me to tears.  She was eloquent, ingenious, and real.  She made her points while weaving in the personal experiences of herself and the president.  Brilliant.  She spoke from the heart, and showed emotion and energy, but remained powerful and in control.

And that dress?  She was gorgeous!  Her elegance reminds me so much of Jackie O, yet she gives off a much greater sense of confidence than the young Jackie O did when she was First Lady.  Michelle Obama is a woman who inspires me.  From her stance on childhood obesity to her obvious adoration of her husband, Michelle Obama is the type of woman person I aspire to be someday.

Michelle Obama is my hero, and I am proud to call her my First Lady.


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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Here it is the last week of 2010.  The time has flown by, especially since September!  The latter part of 2010 has brought with it so many positive changes, which I know will continue well into 2011.  There’s so much going on this week, and I can’t believe I’ve already been on my Winter Break a week and a half. Her’s a bit of what’s been happening for me:

  • I saw Black Swan with my friend Alice last Tuesday, and it was better than I’d hoped.  It was a haunting, dark movie that showed the seedier side of the ballet world.  It depicted psychosis, obsession, compulsion, and manipulation.  It was intense and shocking, and Natalie Portman definitely deserves a nomination, if not the main award for her portrayal.  If you like psychological thrillers,  go see it.
  • I helped my sister pack, and as we added dishes to boxes, we started imagining how wonderful her new life (and by extension of how close we’ll live, my new life) will be.  It’s overwhelming and exciting, all at the same time.  It’s well past time, but the perfect time. Everything has fallen into place and it’s definitely meant to be.
  • Christmas Eve I went to my parents’ house and had a delicious cioppino dinner with my parents and my mom’s cousin and his wife. We spent a nice evening catching up on all of the events of the past few months and looked forward to the new year.  They came back to my house for dessert, and really made me feel great with all of their compliments.  They were amazed at the size of the place, but also extremely impressed with the way I had set it up.
  • The morning of the 25th I finally unpacked the last of the 10+ boxes of books that it took to finish my bookcase.  It feels good to have that task completed, and while the room still looks under-furnished and undecorated, it’s filled with a bit more pizazz now that the  bookcase is done.
  • Christmas Day my sister, nieces, and Minnie arrived and we had a great time.  Dinner with my parents at their house, games played, presents unwrapped, and love all around.  Then LC and the girls headed back to my place for the night.  Once everyone was settled in, I felt a contentedness that I haven’t felt in so long.  It was nice to know that everyone was safe and sound and about to embark on a whole new future.
  • The 26th the girls’ father picked them up (an hour and a half late, ahem) and LC and my dad spent the day painting their new bedroom.  Meanwhile, I took care of the pups.  It was nice to have my sister to myself that night, when she stayed over.
  • The next day, LC & my dad finished painting, transplanted LC’s roses and calla lilies.  They look fantastic, and will look even better when everything is in bloom.
  • I’ve been reading an amazing book, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, by Therese Walsh.  If you’re looking for something smart, quick, mysterious, and captivating, definitely check it out.
  • Lulu & Minnie have become fast friends, and they play together all day long.  Here’s a little sample from last night, before bedtime:

The rest of this week is sure to be a blur of activity:

  • LC and my nieces move in on the 29th, and I’ll spend that day helping her unpack and get the house organized.  I am so excited!!
  • I still have to organize my closets, and I’m while I’m really dreading it, it won’t be as daunting as I’m making it out to be.  2 hours, tops.  It’s one of those things that I just have to start, but once I get going, it will be faster than expected.  I’m going to get to that today, for sure.
  • Sometime before Monday I have to find time to grade those 45 essays. Yuck.  But, it has to be done so that next week and the one after aren’t miserable.  I’ll be able to carve out a couple of hours on Thursday and Friday and get them done.
  • I’m seeing my friend Di on NYE day, which will be nice.  She’s a single mom so it’s not easy for us to find time together, but she’s anxious to see my place, say hi to LC, and catch up.
  • My yoga studio is offering free classes on the hour all weekend, so LC and I are definitely going to attend a Bikram class (or two).  It’s the ideal way for her to start her new life, and for me to start the new year, refreshed, renewed, and balanced.
  • I’ll be finishing up my Reverb10 posts this week.  I’ve enjoyed writing them immensely, and while it wasn’t always easy to find the time to write each day, I did it, and I’m glad.  A few themes/topics were prominent in my posts, as Carina pointed out to me.  (She said the same was true of her Reverb10 posts, too).  I agree with her assessment that this means that “we have a good perspective on the past year and lots of drive to ACHIEVE the goals we’re setting for 2011.”  I’m hoping to find some other writing prompts like Reverb10 to write throughout 2011.  If anyone has any suggestions for sites, please let me know.  The Reverb10 creators mentioned something about it continuing periodically into 2011, so here’s hoping.
  • I’m looking forward to writing two other posts this week – my 2010 wrap-up post and my 2011 goals post.  Look for those soon.

I hope all of you have a fabulous week.

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Did you guys miss me?  It’s been a crazy week and a half, and I apologize for my absence.  Anyone who’s moved knows that no matter how well-prepared and organized you are (neither of which I felt I was for this move), it always takes twice as long to get everything done as you plan.  I don’t have time for a formal, well-organized post, but I did want to check in with some random thoughts:

  • I moved!  I am loving the new house, and once I get more boxes unpacked and some pictures and decorations hung up this weekend, I will post photos on here, on FB, and maybe even a few on Twitter for you to see.
  • There was some major drama with the management company of the old place, but I’m happy to say that I did not let them intimidate me, no matter how many harassing emails and phone calls they made.  While they weren’t the most responsive company in the world for the 4 years I lived there, I never expected them to be shady.  It saddened me that they were trying to take advantage of me, and I’m glad that I didn’t bow down to their scare tactics.
  • The new place is big!  Well, bigger than I’m used to, anyway.  It’s a little more than 1200 square feet, which is more than enough room for Lulu and me.  It’s really nice having all this space and not feeling so cramped in.  Plus the cabinet/storage space is ridiculous.  There is absolutely no reason for me to ever be disorganized, again.  Love that!
  • Lulu is slowly adjusting to the new house, and she loves having a yard to run around in.  The first few days have been bark-filled, which is annoying to my new neighbors, I’m sure.  She never, ever barked at the old place (unless something scared her), and she had so many reasons to bark, what with the wacky neighborhood and crazy neighbors.  Here, though, she’s barking all the time, which is weird.  I’m sure once she gets used to her new surroundings and all the noises that go with it, she’ll go back to her usual, happy-go-lucky self.  The nice thing is the neighbors seem very patient, and told me not to worry about her barking when I went over to apologize to them.
  • I cannot wait for the house to be completely organized and everything to be in it’s proper place so I can get back to my normal routine.  I haven’t worked out (big surprise), and I am missing it (that’s the surprise). Plus the fact that I know working out will get me to my goal of losing 24 lbs for the surgery that much sooner.
  • Thanks to Scale Warfare for introducing me to a new breakfast idea – Overnight Oats.  I highly recommend that you try them – they’re delicious, and the flavor combinations are endless.  I haven’t had any Greek yogurt in the house, but I did have light sour cream, so I’ve been making my overnight oats with 1/2 cup each of whole, rolled oats; light sour cream; and almond milk; plus a TBSP of molasses.  Yummy!  The combination of the sour cream and the molasses is really heart-warming and so delish.  This is going to be my daily breakfast from here on out.  Plus, it keeps me all morning.  I eat them at 6:30am and I’m not hungry again until lunchtime.  Definitely try it out if you haven’t yet.
  • I’ve been tracking for the last several days and without even meaning to I’ve been eating really low carb, which means that I’m staying fuller longer because of all the protein.  The oats and fruits I’m eating do have some carbs, but I haven’t had rice, pasta, or bread for a couple of days.  I think I may try to do this several times a week for the next few weeks.
  • My new neighborhood is so nice, and Lulu and I have already begun to explore it on our walks.  I love looking at all the beautiful houses in the area, and she loves the well-manicured front yards carpeted with grass.  Win win.
  • I have a garage in the new place, and I can’t tell you how nice it is to know that my car is protected from the elements.  No more scraping the windows in the winter for me.  (Now, for those living in the Midwest or in the East, I know that my version of scraping windows is nothing like yours.  I just have to clear them of a bit of ice sometimes – you guys have to literally dig yourselves out of snow banks.  Still, it is nice).  Plus, it’s going to be great not to have to brave the rain and wind first thing in the morning on the way to the car.  It’s the small things, folks.
  • Once again, Lulu and I have our beauty appointments in sync.  I’m going for my hair in a few minutes (just a regular color and trim) and she goes to the groomer’s tomorrow.  Boy, does she need it!  She’s looking a bit scraggly.  Still cute, but just “overgrown.”
  • The weather today has been a bit cooler and overcast, which makes me long for fall.  I can’t wait to start using my croc pot for chili, soups, and stews.  I’m looking forward to the clothing of fall, too – the sweaters, scarves, boots, and jackets.  What’s your favorite thing about fall?
  • I have tons of your blog posts to catch up on, so this weekend, I’m going to take “blog reading breaks” from unpacking. I need to know how everyone’s doing!

That’s about all I have time for.  I’m hoping to get back to my regular blogging on Monday, because I always feel more organized and “on track” when I’m checking in here regularly.  I hope everyone is well!

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If only moving were this easy!

This is how busy I am: this morning I didn’t even realize it was Wednesday until I got to work.  Which means no weigh in this morning.  Which I’m taking as a sign to just wait until next week.

I’m now at the point where if I’m not at work teaching the young minds of America I’m at home packing boxes.  No more working out (we’ll pretend like I was working out before, shhhh), no more cooking (thank goodness Subway is close by), no more free time of any sort (ok, ok, I will spend at least 1 hour a night watching t.v., because I need the break).  And, unfortunately, no more blogging…until Monday once I’m in the new house.  (That’s assuming all goes well this weekend with the Comcast installation of internet/cable).

I am so excited about moving to the new house, and that’s really keeping me going through all of the work I’ve been doing.  And believe me, I’ve been working!  I have sore muscles to prove it.  🙂

One of the nice things about moving is that it’s given me the perfect reason to go through all of my stuff and purge the non-essentials.  I have more than 4 huge garbage bags full of clothes than I’m donating!  All of this sorting takes so much time, though, and I still have so much packing to do.  I’m thinking that it’s a good thing that the movers won’t be here on Saturday until noon-2pm, because I’m probably going to be packing right up until that point.  But once I’m in the new house on Saturday night, it’s going to be sooooooo worth it.

Now that I have the video camera, I think I’ll take some shots of my old house (boxes and all) just so I can remember what I loved about this place (all the charming 40s-style architecture), rather than leaving with the terrible taste in my mouth that my trashy neighbors have left (see mini rant, below).  I’ll also take some shots of the new place, so you guys can see they way I incorporate my interior decorating skills there.

Mini  rant: I haven’t written about this yet, but I might as well, since I have a moment.  This weekend my oh-so-considerate and ultimately klassy (yes, that K is on purpose, because these people are real charmers) neighbors decided that it was the perfect time to have a “professional art show” in my backyard.  Right?  They used those words in a text to me.  Maybe I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the art world, but where I come from an art show isn’t a bunch of paintings hung on the backyard carport fence.  But maybe that’s just me.  I knew things were going south when they started building the world’s biggest skate ramp.  Just picture it.  100 drunk, loud, obnoxious douche bags skateboarding on this ramp, music blaring.  That was my Saturday late afternoon and night.  Oh, and yes, they did have some paintings hung on the fence for all those patrons of art who were going to be buying them.  After a screaming match in which I told the neighbor that if I was a man he’d be out cold on the floor because I would’ve punched his lights out, I stayed in my house as much as possible.  When I finally called the cops, they told me that this was their 7th call of the evening from neighbors in the area.  Which made me feel good that I wasn’t alone, but also made me wonder what the hell was wrong with the police in my area that it took 8 phone calls before they finally sent a squad car out to take care of the situation.

Since then I haven’t really seen them, thank God.  I’m going to do my best to avoid them at all costs and hope that everything goes smoothly on Saturday.  And if a huge moving truck just happens to block the driveway for hours, preventing them from leaving if they’re dumb enough to keep their car back there, so be it.  I’m so over trying to be considerate of people who are obviously pigs. {Good thoughts, Bella, you’re almost out of CrazyTrashyTown}.

I hope all of you do well this week, and I look forward to catching up on all my blog/Twitter reading after the move.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Whew!  It’s busy around BellaLand, let me tell you.  For those who don’t know, I’m moving on September 11th; school has just restarted, bringing with it all of the chaos that becomes my life for 10 months of the year; I’ve quit smoking (today is Day 21 smoke free!!); and I’m trying to lose a certain amount of weight to get scheduled for lap band surgery.  Any one of those things is enough to deal with, but putting them all together has proven to be quite a formidable challenge these days.

So after sharing my feelings of being a bit overwhelmed with Scale Warfare, I finally had the epiphany that I just can’t do it all.  Well, let me rephrase that – I need to focus on a few of the things right now, and then incorporate more of them as other “to-do” items fall off the radar.

Forgive me if this post is a bit of a “thinking out loud” type of post.  I really just need to work some of the organization of my life out, and it always helps me to write it on here, get feedback from you, and then set out to make it happen in my life.

Obviously work is a top priority, and as this is my 11th year teaching, I have that pretty down-pat.  I just have to get used to getting up at 5:15 and going to bed at a decent time so that I can get at least 7 or so hours of sleep each night.  I also have to figure out a way to get the grading done now that I have to get home earlier to be there for Lulu.  (Last year I started staying at school a  couple of hours a day to get grading done little by little, and it worked out really well, because once I left school for the day, I left work at work.  You see, I’ve always struggled with a work-life balance and I finally got it sorted out when I changed to this method last year.  Now that Lulu is going to be home alone during the day when I move to the new house (she’ll have a doggie door to potty outside at her leisure), I don’t want to leave her alone longer than I need to).  Here’s what I’m thinking my “after school time” will look like once I move to the new house:
3pm: leave school
3:30: get home and take Lulu for a walk (if I’m not going to do a formal workout on my own at the gym) or to the dog park
4:45pm: go to the gym to workout/grade papers (if I’ve taken Lulu on a walk)
6pm: cook dinner
7pm-10pm: Eat dinner, enjoy the evening – t.v., reading, phone calls, etc.
10pm: make my lunch for the next day, get ready for bed
11pm: light’s out

Sounds do-able, as long as I’m organized. Once I have more time on the weekends, I can cook some make-ahead dinners so that I have more free time in the evening after school.

Until then…

Right now (until I move) my priority once I get home is to pack the house up for the move.  Which means that I’m not going to worry about not getting my workouts in. That’s where the “enough” comes in. So I guess my Back-To-School Goals are temporarily put on hold until after September 11th.  At least moving and packing boxes burn some calories, right?

This also means that my food has to be even more on-point than it is now.  I had a bit of a backslide on Sunday in terms of making healthy choices, but I got right back to it on Monday when I went grocery shopping after work.  I visited EatBetterAmerica’s site and printed out three new recipes that I’m going to be making this week and next.  I made the  Mexican Skillet Pasta on Monday, and it was delicious.  I had lots of leftovers, which I’ll eat for lunches and dinners throughout the week.  Because I don’t like to eat the same thing too many times in a row if I can help it, I’m going to make Skillet Lasagna tonight.  And then this weekend I’m going to make the Chicken Tortilla Casserole.  I’m really looking forward to the cooler temps that fall brings, because I can’t wait to start making a bunch of Crock Pot recipes again.

Along with eating healthy food, I’m going to keep up with my tracking in Lose It.  I have to say that even though my choices this past weekend weren’t ideal, I do give myself a pat on the back because I logged every bite.  I may have gone over my calories, but at least I have a record of it, and I’ll know what to expect on the scale tomorrow (nothing too thrilling).

It’s interesting to me that the thing I thought would be the most monumentally difficult challenge of my life (quitting smoking) has actually proven to be relatively easy in comparison.  I don’t think about smoking at all anymore, most of the day.  Once in a while I do still get the urge, but I’ve  found it’s only after I’ve eaten a fairly large meal; otherwise I don’t feel that tugging need.  Which is a great thing.  I’ve actually amazed myself with how much determination I’ve shown with stopping smoking.  So for those of you who still smoke: if I can do it, you can certainly do it.  And I have to thank that surgeon for giving the ultimatum in the first place, otherwise I may have never quit.

All in all, things are very positive in my life.  Busy, but lots to look forward to, which is so exciting.  I hope all of you are having a wonderful week, and I look forward to any suggestions, ideas, or comments that you may have.

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I am really excited to let you all know that yesterday I signed the lease on my new place!  I move on September 11th, and I cannot wait.

It really was as if everything was meant to be.  I can’t believe that one week after I contacted my former landlord the tenant in my old place gave notice. And from there the pieces just fell into place.

There is so much to do between now and then, but I’ve already started setting up service transfer for my electricity, cable & internet, etc.  I’ve also contacted the moving company that I’m planning on using (I’ve used them twice before, and they’re awesome), as well as let my current landlords know that I was officially giving notice.

Now there’s the hard part – packing!  I guess I know what I’ll be doing Labor Day Weekend.  🙂  I’m actually feeling really luck to have that 3-day weekend to get a lot of the major packing done.  One of my colleagues recently moved, and he said he’ll let me use his moving boxes, so that will be a big savings.  I will probably need to buy more because his living arrangements are pretty spartan, but still, I can get a good jumpstart on the costs, which is nice.

September isn’t going to be quite as tough financially as I originally thought because my new landlord is only making me pay for half the month of rent (even though I’m moving in on the 11th).  I’ve already started to make a list of some of the things I need to buy (eventually) for the new place:

  • Area rugs for the living and dining room (because of the bamboo floors)
  • A doggie door that fits into the sliding glass door so that Lulu can have easy access during the day to go outside
  • An Aero bed for when I have guests visit (now that I have the 2nd bedroom)
  • A flat-screen t.v. for the living room (down the road – I need to save for this big purchase)
  • New towels and rugs for the guest bathroom
  • Plants & flowers for the backyard
  • A new dining room table and chairs (possible – my parents gave their beautiful one to my friend when they bought a new one and my friend said that she wouldn’t feel right keeping it if I had to go out and buy one.  So, I’m hoping that I can get that from her, because I really do love their set.  I just didn’t have anyplace for it in this current house).

Since I have a second bedroom and I’m going to be living by myself, my plan is to turn that room into a study/exercise room of sorts.  I’m going to move my big bookcase in there so that I have more room in my bedroom, and then I was thinking I could put my old t.v. and entertainment center in there and do the Wii and workout DVDs in that room, since there’s carpet.  I will also move my balance ball and small dumbells in there. I want to get an Aero bed so that I can use it if I have guests over, but it doesn’t have to be out all the time.

I’m all set with the rest of the house, because I already love the decor I’ve selected for my bedroom, bathroom, and living room.

Even though I hate all the time, energy, and money it takes to move, I am really excited to move into this place.  The nice thing is that since I’ve lived there before, I already know where I’m going to put most things.  I grew up in the area, and already know and love the neighborhood.  Lulu and I are going to be able to go on some beautiful walks in the afternoon, because the area is so nice and there are tons of gorgeous houses to look at.  Plus, this place is a lot closer to the dog park we like going to.  I’ll miss going to the Rose Garden, but it’s not too far away (maybe 15 minutes more), so we can still go there from time to time.

Thank you to everyone who has shown such excitement for me.  You guys are so supportive, and I appreciate every one of you.

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Yesterday was a decent day that quickly dissolved into a nightmare of sorts.

The day started off normally enough – I brought Lulu to doggie daycare, went in to work, attended a meeting, got things organized for the start of school, caught up with teachers who I hadn’t seen since June, etc.  I definitely didn’t get as much done as I would’ve hoped, because of all the chatting, and I was running late for my fun Friday night plans (My high school alumnae food & wine club was going to a vineyard about 45 minutes away for an evening of live, outdoor music and wine tasting.  The nice thing is that the “regulars” who show up to these events have become or are my close friends, so the club is really more of a girls’ night out).

Anyway, as I said I was already running a bit late when the phone rang.  A blocked call.  Never a good sign.  It was my current landlord.  Here’s the convo:

Bella: Hello
LL: Bella?
Bella: Yes?
LL: This is J– calling from [name of management company].
Bella: Hi J —
LL: {in a raised, aggravated, somewhat angry voice} Are you moving?!!
Bella: {heart racing} What?
LL: Are you moving?!!!  Because I just got off the phone with someone wanting a reference for a new place that you’re moving into.

(At this point my heart is really racing and I’m thinking “shit!!  Why would the new landlord have done this?”)

Bella: Well, I’m looking around a bit.  Seeing what’s out there.  I haven’t made any decisions yet.
LL: Well, you have to give us notice, and when are you planing to move?
Bella: {firmly} Listen J–, I just said that I am still thinking about things, and I haven’t made any decisions yet.  Today is August 20 and my lease doesn’t expire until Oct. 1, so I have at least two weeks before I need to let you know what my plans are.
LL: {easing up a bit} Well we really don’t want to lose you as a tenant (of course they don’t, I’m an awesome tenant).  Would it help if I told you that your neighbors have been told that we’re not renewing their lease?
Bella: Not really.  I mean, that’s great and everything, but I dealt with a lot this past year with them.  Plus, I still live next door to that Ethiopian restaurant that is loud and has partying going on at all hours of the night.  And the neighborhood is going downhill.  I’m still figuring it all out.
LL: So, wow, I guess this means I might have to rent out both sides of the duplex at once?
Bella: Ya, I guess so.  Ok, well I have to go.  Bye

I played it off pretty well, and definitely didn’t let him try to intimidate or guilt me into staying (not that he could).  I was so surprised that Peter, my future landlord, had called them.  I didn’t give him their phone number on my application, only their name.  He must’ve looked it up himself.

So, I made a call straight to Peter:

Peter: Hello?
Bella: Hi Peter, it’s Bella. How are you?
Peter: Hi Bella, I was just thinking about you.
Bella: Ya, I was just thinking about you, too.  Two things.  What time should I come by the duplex tomorrow for the paperwork and two, did you call my current landlords?
Peter: Well, around 3pm tomorrow, and ya, I called them to just double-check that you’ve  been a good tenant, but I knew that you were.  Just doing due diligence.
Bella: Peter, J– just called me and he was very upset to learn that I might be moving out.  I kind of put him off about whether or not it was a for sure thing, but I had no idea that you were planning on calling him.  He was pissed off, and sort of yelling at me.  I hope this doesn’t put me in a bad position in the case that I might have to stay there.
Peter: Bella, listen, this duplex is yours.  We just have to have you sign the agreement and do the background check.  Don’t worry about that.  He said that you were an ideal tenant, always paid your rent on time, didn’t cause problems, and really took care of the place.  I told him I knew what a great tenant you were because you had previously rented from me and that I was anxious to get you back

(Ok, so these two had a “swordfight” about which one of them was going to keep me as a tenant.  If only two men would fight over me in my love life.  🙂

Peter: BTW, that Kid [he used his real name]  is a piece of work, huh?
Bella: He told you about The Kid  (the violent, raging white trash neighbor)?
Peter: Oh ya.  He told me how he never pays his rent on time, about the fighting, the complaints from tenants (not just you), etc.

(How professional of J–)

Bella: Ya, he’s bad news, and I can’t wait to get out of there.  Apparently they were just told that they have to move out, so I’m sort of worried about what it’s going to be like when I get home tonight.  He’s going to be pissed, I’m sure.
Peter: You shouldn’t have to deal with anything like that. You should never feel unsafe or worried about that kind of thing in your own home.  Listen, if you’d like, I can let you move in on Sept. 1, before the work here is done, as long as you’re ok with workmen coming in while you’re moved in.
Bella: Peter, I’m a tough cookie and I can handle it.  I’ve been dealing with it for a year, so a few more weeks isn’t going to kill me.  I’d rather wait to move in until all the work is done.  It’ll be easier that way.
Peter: Ok ….

And then we talked about some other moving stuff.

So, I am super-excited to go and sign all the lease papers today, but wow, what stress from the current landlord, right?  And I was worried about what it would be like when I got home, if The Kid found out about having to move out.  Would he be a raging lunatic?  Would he start destroying property – his and mine?  Shit.

At this point I was running even later, so I texted all the girls and told them I’d just be meeting them there.  I got to the car with the plans of driving faster than I should to pick up Lulu.  The car had a different plan.

As I tried to turn the key, it wouldn’t turn over, and just clicked.  Shit!  The battery was dead!!  I texted the girls and said I was going to be even later, if I was going at all.  I filled them in on all of the stuff that had just happened.

Can this day turn out any worse?

So I called AAA and waited for them to get there.  He jumpstarted the battery and said it was safe to drive for now but that I needed to go to the service department of the dealership and have them either fully charge this battery or just replace it.  (I made the appointment and I’m going in on Monday).

I got Lulu and drove home, and on the way I decided that even though the evening’s plans were so much fun, I shouldn’t go. First of all, I didn’t want to get stranded late at night 45 minutes from home. Secondly, if The Kid was going to turn into a maniac, I really didn’t want to leave Lulu here by herself. So I poured myself a glass of Syrah and we stayed in.

Later in the evening, as I was taking out for a potty break, The Kid’s father was outside and came over to talk. (Up to this point it had been very quiet next door).

The Kid’s Father: Hi Bella, how are you? I just wanted to tell you it’s been great being your neighbor, but my son was told that we have to move out when the lease is up.
Bella: Ya, I heard.
Father: You did?
Bella: Well, J– called me today. You see, I’m also moving out, and he was upset with me when he found out that I might be moving. My new landlord called him for a reference. I hadn’t said anything to him yet because it wasn’t a done deal. As he was trying to get me to stay, he mentioned that you guys were leaving.
Father: Ya, my son was really upset and hurt about it when they told him last week, but I told him that I wasn’t sure what he really expected. He paid the rent late every month, he was always fighting with his girlfriend, and I’m sure they had had enough. I told him he should be glad that he didn’t get evicted.
Bella: Oh, it was a week ago that they asked him to leave?
Father: Ya.

That must explain all the yelling I’ve been hearing this past week. The good news is that he wasn’t going to fly into a rage, at least not for this.

Bella: Well, I guess they’re going to have to find people to move into both sides of the duplex.
Father: Ya. I just want to thank you for how patient you’ve been. I mean, my son is always using that saw late at night, the dogs are always barking, he fights with the girlfriend all the time, and you could’ve called the cops and he could be in jail right now. So thanks.
Bella: Well, to be honest with you your son is one of the main reasons I decided to move. I just can’t take all the violence and the fighting. It makes my blood pressure go up too much; it makes me too nervous.
Father: Ya, you shouldn’t have to deal with that in your own house.
Bella: Ya. Between that and the Ethiopians who party all night on the other side, plus the neighborhood, I just had to go.
Father: Well, good for you. Take care.

So, they’ll soon know that I’m moving too. I’m glad that the landlord is kicking them out, but I am so angry that I had to put up with living like this for a year. I really want to tell the landlord exactly what I think about the whole thing (that he should have taken care of it sooner, that he should have done a background check on them and never rented it to them to begin with, that having 3 people and 2 dogs in a 1 bedroom is too much. And that he needs to do something about the “restaurant” next door otherwise the next tenant is going to be upset, too), but I’m going to hold off on saying anything until I get my deposit back. I know that technically and legally they shouldn’t dock my deposit because they’re upset with me, but I also know how the real world works. They’ll be a lot pickier if they’re upset with me than if I just leave quietly. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure to let my feelings be known in either a very well-worded letter or a phone call, after this is all over.

I have no idea what it’s going to be like around here now that The Kid knows he’s not coming back.  I have a bad feeling that he’s going to be even worse because he’ll think he has nothing to lose.  But believe me, I won’t hesitate to call the cops if it comes down to it.  I’ve had enough.

I’m so excited to go today and get the lease all signed and get a move-in date and start getting this show on the road.  Peter asked me to bring Lulu by so that he could see her.  So we’re heading there in a little while, and I can’t wait.

Because yesterday turned into a debacle, I’m bound and determined that today is going to be terrific.  So far, it’s starting out that way.

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One of the things I’ve been really slacking on with this new meal plan set out for me by Kaiser is the vitamins.  They want me to take oodles of vitamins every day – 11 or 12, to be exact.

1 Centrum multivitamin
1 B1
1 sublingual (under the tongue) B12 every other day
6 Calcium Citrate
2 D3
1 Ferrous Gluconate (Iron)

That’s a lot of pills!  As you can see from the photo, I’ve taken half of them already today, but I still have 5 more to take.

This past week I was really bad about taking them; I was only diligent about it on Sunday and Monday.  I completely forgot to take any on Tuesday – Thursday, and Friday and Saturday, I only took 5 in the morning.  Not a great start to this new healthy habit for life.  Because once I have the Lap Band surgery, it will be extremely important that I take all of these vitamins to make sure I’m getting the proper nutrients everyday.  In fact, I may need to take some additional vitamin supplements to prevent hair loss.  Because even though my hair is super-thick, I definitely don’t want to lose ANY hair, and will take whatever is necessary to prevent it.

I think that once school starts and I pack this vitamin carrier with the rest of my food in my lunchbag, I’ll be a lot better.  If they’re right there, staring me the face, I know I’ll take them.

So for this week, my challenge to myself is to take these vitamins each day.  I’m going to carry them in my purse so that they’re with me no matter where I go. When I do my Wednesday weigh-in post, I’ll update you on how I’m doing this week.

Do you take YOUR vitamins?  What do you do to remember to take them?


Housing Update: Yesterday I got a call from Peter (my old landlord who owns the duplex that I used to live in that I’m trying to move into again) asking me to swing by the duplex to see it.  It was absolutely beautiful inside.  The bamboo flooring in the dining room, living, room, and down the hall way is absolutely gorgeous.

The tile flooring in the entry and kitchen is also very nice.  This photo is a little dark because the lights weren’t on, but I love the color of the floor because it will mean I won’t be a slave to the floor, like I am now.  (My current place has really light linoleum that shows every spec that Lulu brings in and I’m constantly hand-cleaning it  besides the bi-weekly mopping).

The granite in the main/guest bath is a nice, neutral palette.  The carpet in the bedrooms is a year old, and looks new.  The only room that hasn’t really been redone is the master bath, but that doesn’t bother me, since very few people will see that anyway.  He has put in all new fixtures (towel racks and lighting) that match the guest bath.  The kitchen also has a year-old refrigerator and dishwasher.  He installed an automatic garage door opener, which will be so much nicer than having to manually lift the garage door like I used to have to do.  The bedrooms, dining room, and living room all have nice-looking wood-and-brushed-silver ceiling fans, which will really cut down on the AC usage.  But the place does have central AC, which is nice on those days that get into the 90s (although we haven’t had ANY this summer).

The backyard is nice, although the grass could use a bit of fertilizer, but I know that once I’m in there, I’ll make sure to put the sprinklers on regularly so that it gets greener.  There are a few spots in the fence that Lulu might be able to slip out of, but Peter assured me that he’d repair those for me so that there would be no chance of her escaping.  He said he plans to put in a completely new fence in 2011.

Basically, the place is perfect, and all signs seem like I’ll be able to move into it!  He said he wants to give the other guy one more chance to respond, but if he doesn’t, and things go well with my info, I’ll have it.  He also said that he and his wife hope to be able to rent it to me, because they know what a great renter I am and that I take care of the place as if it was my own.  He said, “when you lived here before, I always wanted to take pictures of the way you decorated it, because it would show off so nicely if I ever had to rent it to someone else.”  That made me feel really good, especially since I think the way I have my current place decorated is 100 times nicer than the way we had that place decorated before.

The rent is cheaper than I expected, although still $600 more than I pay now, but I can’t even begin to compare how much nicer the new place is to this one.  Especially in terms of the area and the neighbors.  There’s a ton more room in the new place, and many more modern conveniences, like having more than 1 electrical outlet in a room.  The 40s-style charm of my current place can’t be replicated, but I can live without that, especially for all the other upgrades that the new place will bring.

So, the next step is to fill out the rental agreement, submit a credit report, and send it all in to him.  He said that he’ll be able to tell me for sure by Wednesday, which is exciting!  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!


Doggie Birthday Party: One of my old friends who used to work with me at Yahoo long ago is having a birthday party for his dog today, and Lulu and I are excited to go.  I haven’t seen this friend in a few years, because he moved to Santa Monica for a while when he was working at Google (yes, he cashed in on the stock!)  I’ve never seen his house here, and it’s NICE.  It’s in a very exclusive area, and he paid over 2 million dollars for it 10 years ago.  Now, in Northern California, 2 million doesn’t go that far, but this house is really nice, from the photos, and my friend has a great sense of decorating style.  He also has a huge backyard, so it will be fun for Lulu to play with some of the other pooches who will be there.  I bought Roxy (the birthday girl) a fun doggie treat that looks like a mini cake and a t-shirt that says “Happiness is Having a Furry Friend.”  I’m also bringing a Caprese salad with me (mozzarella, tomatoes from my dad’s garden, and basil).  It should be a fun afternoon, and I’m looking forward to it.


Smoke Free, Day 5: Today is day 5 of my quest to be smoke free.  I’m doing a lot better than I thought I’d be, and although the evenings after dinner are still really difficult for me, I’m making it.  I’m proving to myself that I’m stronger than I thought in terms of my need to smoke, and that’s been such a nice revelation.  I don’t necessarily feel any better…yet.  I’m sure that will come in the weeks to follow.  I am also happy to report that I haven’t gotten bitchy or short-tempered, which is nice.  I did have my bout with some depression earlier in the week, but I think I’m over that.

Tina suggested that I look at this as stopping for a while, rather than quitting.  I had the exact same thought the day she wrote that comment.  Rather than thinking about the daunting task in front of me (quitting forever), I’m just thinking about stopping for now.  It may seem like semantics to those who have never smoked, but it’s made a world of difference to my mindset.  It’s the same concept that we use with weight loss.  Rather than thinking of the reality of losing 150 pounds, I focus on these first 20 that I need to lose.  It makes it much more manageable.  The same thing is true of quitting smoking.

I hope you’re all enjoying your Sunday.

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I can’t believe it’s already August 4th!  It seems like last week it was just the beginning of July.  And looking at my calendar for August, it’s going to fly by and then before I know it, I’ll be back to teaching every day.  I know you’re all crying me a river, because I will have had 2 months off, so I really don’t have anything to complain about.  😉

A lot has been going on in a few short days, so I thought I’d do a bit of a recap/update post.

Reno Recap
As you guys know, I was in Reno for a few days, and I had a great time, although my bank account is quite a bit lower than it was before I left.  On the way back home, I said that for the amount that I lost, I could’ve had a really nice spa weekend with wine tasting in Napa.  Or I could’ve gone on a quick trip to Mexico.  But, that’s hindsight.  C’est la vie, right?  Other than Vegas for my 40th next year, I don’t think I’ll be hitting any gambling spots in the future.  It’s fun and exciting while you’re there, but you’re always left with a bit of a pocketbook hangover at the end.

While I was gone I heard from my old landlord who owns the duplex that I lived in 7 years ago.  I had written to him asking about the possibility of moving back into it, if any tenants were going to leave anytime around the time my current lease is up (end of September).  He wrote back and said that at the moment there wasn’t anything…and then this weekend he wrote back again and said that the girl who’s been living in the duplex that I was in just gave him her notice!  Isn’t it funny how life works?  Now, he said that he does have to offer it to someone else who just missed moving in a year ago by a day (that’s pretty honest of him to give this other person first dibs), and I still don’t know how much he’s planning on charging for rent, but I’m really hoping that it all works out and Lulu and I can move in there.

There are so many benefits to this other duplex:

  • It’s got a private yard that has grass and lots of room for Lulu to run around in.
  • It’s bigger – 2 bedrooms, 2 baths.
  • The wall adjoining both duplexes is in the garage only, so you never hear your neighbors.
  • It has central AC.
  • It has a fireplace (although I think my city has an ordinance now about not using the fireplace because of air quality).
  • It’s in a much, much, much better neighborhood.

The landlord sent me some photos of the new place, because he’s done a lot of upgrades since I moved out.  These places were built in the 70s, and the decor was pretty much that way when I moved in, but since then he’s done so much to the place.  He even gave me a list of all the things he’s done:

  • ceiling fans in the bedrooms, living room, and dining room
  • tile floor in both bathrooms
  • dual pane windows (it’s on a busy street, so this will really cut down on the noise)
  • bamboo flooring in the dining/living rooms and hallway
  • tile in the entry and kitchen (it used to have linoleum)
  • Moen kitchen faucet
  • garage door opener (I used to have to lift it by hand)
  • new fridge
  • new granite counter and sink in the guest bathroom

This view is standing in the living room looking onto the front door/entry.  That tile is soooo much nicer than the old one that was there.

This is the view from the dining room to the back yard.  My dad installed that ceiling fan, but apparently the landlord is going to put in a newer one soon (I guess he wants to update it a bit).

This is the master bathroom shower stall.  He put in a new one and replaced the flooring with tile.  The old bathroom used to be a salmon color, so this is a lot nicer, too.  The guest bathroom has a tub, so I can use that when I want to take baths.

Just looking at these photos makes me so excited, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself, because I don’t know how much he’ll be asking for in rent.  I told myself an amount that I could live with, so I’m hoping it won’t go over that, but I know that with all these upgrades, he’s going to want to charge a pretty penny.  Also, who knows if that other person will be available to take the place, which means I’d lose out on it, I guess.  So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will all work out.  As my mom always says, “everything happens for a reason,” so I’m sure whatever’s meant to be will happen.

Exciting Week Next Week:

  • Sunday: Lap Band orientation meeting.
  • Monday: Going in to school to get my classroom ready (not that exciting);Natalie Merchant concert.
  • Wednesday/Thursday: Workshop for school (again, not exciting, but I should learn some new things, which is good).

Now I’m off to go get my hair cut/colored, and Lulu’s at the groomers.  It’s so fun when our beauty appointments coincide like this.  I’ll definitely post a photo of Lulu on Twitter later this evening, so look for that.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

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Let’s start with the bad news…


Today (it’s almost 1am, so technically this is yesterday) I went to look at the duplex that was available and I was so disappointed in what I saw.  Yes, the layout was exactly the same as the one I had lived in years ago, but it was absolutely disgusting inside.  Apparently the previous tenants had been evicted, and it showed.  The carpet and floors were filthy, and the property manager said they “might need to be replaced.”  Uh, if you want to rent it to me, they NEED to be replaced.  Oh, and while you’re at it, why not update those ugly cabinets that look as if they haven’t been painted in years?  The entire place just looked so run down and awful, and the yard was completely overgrown with weeds.  So not worth the monthly rental fee.

The property manager was so unprofessional, and not only did she show up 10 minutes late for our appointment, but she just seemed like a total airhead.  When I looked the company up on Yelp, they had some really poor reviews from current tenants.  Not a good sign.  Which means that all 10 of the duplexes that are on that street are off the table, because the same man owns all of them, and the same property managers run them.  If she couldn’t even show up on time to show me the place, I can only imagine how unresponsive they are when things need to be repaired.

So it’s back to the drawing board.  I’m not giving up, but I may not move out as soon as I thought (or had hoped).  My quick searches on Craigslist hasn’t shown anything I’m interested in so far.  I definitely want to get a duplex or a little house.  Once you “graduate” from apartment living, you definitely don’t want to go back.  I have decided to sign a month-to-month lease at my current location so that I have the freedom to leave whenever I want to.  This buys me the time to find some place that I feel comfortable with.  Because as crazy as the neighbors on both sides of me are (and for as poor as the neighborhood is), my place itself is nice and I only want to move up.  I definitely don’t want to settle.

And now the good…


I’m happy to report that Lulu is completely potty trained already!  It’s only been a month, so I think that shows exactly how smart she is.  She’s still a great puppy who adds so much to my life, but she has started moving into that “adolescent” stage of puppyhood.  She’s started barking quite a bit, and while I know that’s normal, I don’t like it when she barks at ME.  Most of the time she barks becasue she wants to play, which is fine, but the last two days she’s started barking whenever I’m not paying her enough attention – when I’m eating a meal (new weight loss tool?? ;), when I’m cleaning up, or when I’m watching t.v or on the computer.  I’m trying different techniques to curb her barking at me, including giving her timeouts in her crate.  I’m going to inquire at the puppy training to see if they have any other suggestions.

Speaking of the training, she’s doing really well with “sit” and “lay down.”  I’m looking forward to going this evening (Wednesday evening) and seeing what new tricks we learn.  The main thing I’m looking forward to learning with her is recall/name recognition and loose leash walking.

Which leads me to the fact that I think I need to start taking Lulu on longer walks to tire her out a bit more.  Right now we go around the block 5-6 times a day and usually 1 good (1/2 mile) walk, but I think now that she’s gotten older and seems to be able to control her bladder better, I can cut down the walks to 2-3 longer ones a day.  My neighborhood isn’t the best to walk in, so I think I’m going to start driving her to the better streets that are a 5-minute car ride away.  I know that seems silly, but I’d much rather do that than walk on the streets around here where who knows what she’ll find.  There’s a ton of garbage on the sidewalks near my house (I saw a Hennessey bottle strewn on the sidewalk just this morning), so I’m forced to be ridiculously vigilant in making sure she’s not getting into things.  Since the nicely maintained streets aren’t very far away, it makes sense to just drive her to them.  Of course I’ll still take her outside for the quick potty breaks a few times a day, but I think doing these new routes will be good for both of us.  (It might also help with barking).

New Stuff

I just bought Just Dance for the Wii, and I can’t wait to try it this morning (look for a review once I have).  I’ve heard great things about it from you guys and from the reviews on Amazon, so I think it will be a fun thing to add to my exercise routine.  I pre-ordered the Just Dance 2, as well, and I have a feeling I’ll like that one, too.  It has all new songs to groove to, so it will help keep things interesting.

Despite the reported reception/antenna problems with the iPhone 4, I’m going to order one today.  I have a iPhone 3G, which is 2 models behind, and I’m ready to upgrade.  I can’t wait for the double viewer camera, because it will make taking self-portraits so much easier.  I can’t tell you the number of times my sister (or friends) and I have wanted to snap a picture of ourselves, only to take a photo of our chins, or our foreheads, etc.  The other really cool feature is the video chatting Facetime that you can do with other iPhone 4 users.  There are lots of other cool things about the new iPhone.  Plus, I told my sister that I’d give her my old phone, and since she’s been going through some difficult and stressful personal (relationship) issues, I want to do whatever I can to make her life better.  She never gets anything for herself because money is tight and whatever extra she has goes to my nieces, so I’m more than happy to give her the old iPhone so that she can have a nicer phone.

Goals For the Week

I wanted to set a few exercise/activity goals for myself this week (Wed-Fri), and I’ll check in on Saturday to see how well I did:

  1. Do the Just Dance each morning
  2. Take Lulu on 2 long walks a day
  3. Wear my Body Bugg each day and log my calories burned online
  4. Go swimming 1 day
  5. Go to the gym 1 day
  6. Take a bike ride 1 day
  7. Make an appointment to meet with a new personal trainer

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