Setting up shop

Portland isn’t really ‘home’ for me quite yet. I’ve been so overwhelmed with my new job, acclimating to the weird geography, and making new friends that I’ve neglected to make my living space, well, liveable. Really, my living room floor has practically been serving as a huge shelf!


Since apartment-living is transitory in nature, I didn’t want to splurge on pricey furniture. However, I really love furniture made of solid natural materials and I didn’t want to go the cheapo MDF route. So, instead I went to IKEA and bought the TARVA dresser made of solid unfinished pine (on sale!):


I didn’t need a dresser so much as I needed a shelving unit to hold my books/record player/etc. So I decided to make a shelving unit out of the wood (with the help of Atelier 4|5 of course)


Even after loading up the shelves with books, I still have managed to have boxes of books lying around. When will the boxes stop appearing!?!



At least I was able to unpack a bit, and get rid of several boxes.



And now I have a ton of space to dance any way I want in my living room.


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Christmas 2013

I normally spend Christmas in Houston with my parents. Traditionally when I go home, much of the holiday is spent fixing my parents computer problems. After that happens, we all go to an Indian buffet and then in the late afternoon, my dad falls asleep on the couch while the rest of us watch It’s a Wonderful Life. This year, after balking at flight prices ($700 RT to Houston!?!?), I decided to stay in Portland for the holiday…


Yesterday was slackalicious. I stayed in my PJs until noon, read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, spent an hour picking M&Ms out of trail mix, and attempted to make sense out of the mess that is my apartment (yeah, I still need to unpack).
In the late afternoon, I rode my bike to Chinatown and ate at a Chinese buffet. Not bad at all.

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Christmas Eve 2013

Yesterday, I cut out of work early and headed over to Camas, Washington to eat dinner with the Wakemans on Christmas Eve. The food was delish, I think Joel’s mashed potatoes qualify as the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten!

MIranda has excellent fashion sense. Red corduroy pants… like me! 😉
Gingerbread house-making station. A lot of sugar/egg white binding agent was used!
Setting the table.
Tree. With Joel’s hand-made star to top it off!
Dano, posing with part of the octahedron of a gingerbread house.
Engineers doing some serious teamwork

I think I’ve eaten enough calories to last me until next year. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday!



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Holiday party. Or, how I got a frisbee.

My friend Lena hosted a  White Elephant gift exchange/holiday party yesterday.
Lena is awesome.

In this type of gift exchange, each participant supplies one wrapped gift. The gifts are placed in a central location, and participants determine in what order they will take turns selecting them. The first person opens a wrapped gift and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person opens a new present and gets the choice to keep that present or to “steal” another person’s unwrapped gift. When a person’s gift is stolen, they swap gifts with the person who is stealing their gift. The game is over when the last person has taken their turn

Gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items or used items from home. The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness.

party01 party02

Somehow, I ended up with a frisbee. Reminds me of my old undergrad days playing late-night ultimate on the lawn of the capital or in the quad. Good times.

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The Portland Saturday Market

In an attempt to find last minute gifts for the holiday, I ventured out on my bike to the Portland Saturday Market for the first time. There are a lot of independent/local artists that make various handicrafts, but, there is an awful lot of junk as well.

sat01sat02sat03 sat04

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I’ve been such an old lady lately and keep complaining that they don’t make movies like they used to. But the new Spike Jones movie—about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer—looks really weird and great. I’m crushing on the juxtaposition of Scarlett Johannson’s throaty/non-mechanical voice set as the computer voice-over.
The movie also wins bonus points in my book since one of my fave bands, Arcade Fire, wrote the original score for the movie!

I’ve a bit of a confession as well… I think I may be in love with computers, especially after getting my new smart phone last week. I’m hooked! Now if only I weren’t so absentminded, and could keep track of all the apps without getting confused. D’oh!

Anyway, I’ll be staying warm, cozy, and out of the rain this weekend to catch this movie.
Have a lovely weekend!

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My Greek friend Steph invited a couple of girls (and Alexei) over to learn how to make spanakopita… from scratch!

It’s a bit of an elaborate project:

Kneading the dough
Rolling out the dough
Cutting out circles to lay upon each other
Making ‘mille-feuille’ to get the phyllo-like pastry. Careful to butter every. single. layer.
Mixing ingredients and stuff.
Alexei decided to take a break from watching Cars to help out. Such a great helper. Haha!
Making the filling and preparing the baking sheet.
Assembling all the layers using lots of butter!
2 hours later… 😉

I’m glad this was done in good company.

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