Sunday, December 9, 2012

Retail Therapy and Cliffhangers

It has been way too long since I've written here, and it's been because things have been legitimately cray around our household.  Luke has been working more hours than any human should be forced to work in a week, and I've been holding down the fort while trying not to go wacko from a lack of human interaction.  There are plenty of advantages to working from home, but one major disadvantage is that you miss that casual communication that you have with other people.  Don't get me wrong, the idea of having to actually go into a physical office to work still gives me that familiar feeling of anxiety in my gut.  But some days I've felt stir-crazy to the point of feeling on the verge of explosion.  I'm trying to pretend everything is happy-go-lucky since technically everything in my life is running just fine, but I feel this sense of standing on the edge of a cliff.  I'm either going to have to jump soon, or someone is going to push me.  Or I'm just going to stand here and constantly feel like I could stumble at any moment.

I'm going to try to recap everything that's going on.  I'm going to forget things, but this will still be long.  I'll try to use pretty pictures to break up the walls of text.  You're welcome.

 As soon as it became December, Luke and I put up the Christmas tree.  I absolutely love having a tree, and it's something silly and kind of superficial, but I love it.  I like to put on Christmas music, dance around with a goofy grin on my face the whole time, and watch Luke roll his eyes at the fifth rendition of "Let It Snow" in a row.  I can't help but think it's kind of humorous that I'll sing along with "Silent Night" and love every minute of it despite the fact that I'm as secular as it gets every other month of the year.   There is just something homey about having a tree and lighting it up for the first time and feeling that Christmas spirit even if it's completely unreligious and solely for the presents.  Though, it's still hard to get used to Christmases without any snow -- it still seems so wrong.

I got my haircut and I decided to go black for the first time in my life.  I think I love it a lot.  It's really a nice contrast against the bright purple in the front of my hair and I've gotten quite a few compliments about it.  I'm happy with the decision, though I might regret it if I want to change it back in the future...
I also rode my horse Rosie in a horse show yesterday for the first time.  It was a ton of fun, and she was a pretty good girl.  It was the first time she has ever left our ranch (she's only 3 years old) and she was brave.  I was actually really proud of myself too -- I stepped up and entered the class without encouragement and finished with a decent score.  I didn't get a ribbon this time, but I know there is always next time.  :)
In other horse news, I decorated Rosie's stall and it's really cute.  Her stall is right up near the front of the ranch and we're having a Christmas party on Sunday -- I wanted her corral to greet everyone with the holiday spirit when they pull in :)
In other news, I've been a bit of a shopaholic lately with buying things.  We were fortunate that we get a month off of paying any sort of mortgage or rent, so we have some expendable income to use on furniture and other fun stuff for our house.  We kind of have a mixture of contemporary and midcentury furniture going on right now, but slowly we'll have more and more midcentury items when we can find a good bargain.  Here's some of the things we've gotten our paws on lately:
Awesome Danish teak sideboard, from The Nest in Hillcrest. $400 + tax (now with an aquarium on it.  Pics of that later!
Custom sofa in "Ryan" style from Metro Decor - $750
(Not the actual chair we bought, but it's this chair.  Ekornes Stressless Recliner, original from 1970's. From Atomic Bazaar in Hillcrest, San Diego - $595
Rug, from Plummers in San Diego - $350.  It's more green than yellow, but the camera made it look yellow.
There's more, but I'm exhausted right now and can't think to type anything else.  I also just bought a coffee table from Urban Outfitters, which should come in 2-3 days.  We're also waiting for our headboard, which we bought a few weeks ago but takes up to 8 weeks for delivery.  At some point we have to stop spending money and just start living with what we have. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A List of Things My Dogs Have Destroyed

So, um, why do I have dogs again?

Here is the list of things that the dogs have destroyed in the past two years:

  1. An electric blanket ($100+)
  2. A LazyBoy Couch ($2000+)
  3. An Ikea Karlstad Couch (~$600)
  4. Two Skyrim guides ($40)
  5. A laptop desk ($20)
  6. A Game of Thrones Blu-Ray DVD set ($75)
  7. At least 3 of Bella's dog beds, 1 of their auntie Karroll's and 4 of their own ($250+)
  8. An Xbox Controller ($25?)
  9. A Logitech Universal Remote ($120)
  10. My W-2s (headache)
  11. A computer gaming headset ($50)
  12. Their own registration papers
  13. Luke's stock options
  14. Our mattress when Echo peed on it ($1000+)
  15. An entire wall and door when Krogan tried to eat his way out of a room
  16. Many loaves of bread, which Bella steals
  17. A Feist book or two
  18. Screen doors, when the dogs ran right through them ($100+) 
  19. 2 rugs that were peed upon ($100+)

Friday, November 2, 2012

I swear, I'm not a 'crazy person'

My anxiety disorder isn't something that I'm particularly comfortable talking about, but with the recent suicide of a young video game journalist sparking a run of other people in games talking about their own struggles with depression and anxiety, I thought I'd lend my voice to the choir.

In early 2010, I was riding my horse one day on a beautiful spring day, enjoying the sunshine and the time I share with her on the weekends.  I finished up the ride and was walking to tie her up and remove her saddle, when all of a sudden I felt sicker than I've ever felt.  My head was spinning, my ears were howling with a horrific sound, I felt like I was going to pass out, vomit, and die.  I tied my horse to the nearest fence and stumbled to some ladies who were sitting at a picnic table nearby and just sat next to them.  I couldn't talk, I couldn't lie down, I couldn't cover my face or shut my eyes.  They brought me water, assuming that I was dehydrated, but it didn't help.  Foolishly, I tried to drive home but made it three blocks before going to the nearest gas station, running to the bathroom, vomiting and collapsing against a wall.  I was sure I was going to die.  I called my boyfriend (who is now my fiance) and he rushed to pick me up.

The next couple of weeks were awful.  I was a constant mess.  I spent much more time feeling like I was on the verge of throwing up than I did actually vomiting.  I couldn't breathe unless I concentrated on breathing.  I was dizzy to the point where I couldn't even take our little dog out for walks.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest, would have strange tastes in my mouth, my legs would go weak and numb.  I went to the doctor several times and they thought I had either a serious ear infection or something pushing against my inner ear causing me to be dizzy and nauseous.  I couldn't work.  I would dread going to sleep because it was the worst while I was trying to fall asleep.  Luke was helpless and did what he could to make me feel better, but I was pretty certain I would either feel this way the rest of my life or collapse from exhaustion.  I remember one particularly awful day where I stood in the bathroom crying and asking him, "What if I feel this way forever?".  He was always confident that I'd get better, that this would pass.

When I couldn't handle it any more, and I couldn't miss another day of work, we went to the emergency room and I ended up having an emergency MRI.  I thought it was a brain tumor by this point.  After waiting for awhile, the doctor came to me and said that everything looked fine.  He brought me a few Xanax pills and asked me to take one and tell him whether or not it fixed my symptoms.  I was skeptical, but it did.  I was perfectly fine 5 minutes after I took the fast acting pill.  He told me that he believes I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and that taking a daily pill to stabilize the chemicals in my brain could make it all better.  I was prescribed a low dose of Lexapro, along with prescriptions for Xanax and Klonopin when things are feeling particularly bad.

I was dumbfounded.  People like me don't have anxiety issues.  I'm not a "crazy person".  I'm not stressed out, I had nothing in my life that I was concerned about.  I had a wonderful stable relationship that I'd been in for 3 years, we had a great apartment, my job was going well, money was plentiful, I had a new horse that I loved.  I had no real worries or concerns.  And now this?  I have an anxiety disorder?  How could that be, when I'm happy and cheerful and optimistic and everything in my life is the best it had ever been?

My anxiety disorder is mostly in check.  I still take that same low dose of Lexapro, and I have Xanax pills in case the occasional panic attack sneaks through.  I haven't had to take any Xanax aside from maybe 1 every six months.  Recently, I tried to wean myself off the Lexapro and started having panic attacks again.  I've succumbed to the fact that I might need to be on medication for this for the rest of my life.  Could it get worse?  I have no idea, and I hope not.  But I went from not understanding people at all who say they have panic attacks to intimately fearing them and empathizing greatly with anyone who has anxiety.

It's those stigmas that are the most scary about mental disorders.  I admittedly was one of those people who thought it was only for "crazy people", not normal, fully-functioning, successful people.  After being out of work for two+ weeks I didn't want to tell my employers that it was "all in my head".  I wanted what I considered a valid excuse, that I had something physically wrong with me that is now cured.  Not that I was put on 'crazy pills' and that there is something jacked in my brain.  That was admitting a sign of weakness.  So I mostly made something up.  I told a couple of people I was closer to what was really going on, and they felt it was totally out of character for me. Unbelievable, even. I called my mom and told her, and she admitted to me that she's been on meds for anxiety for 30+ years now.  Would have been nice to know, but she was also affected by that stigma.  She didn't want to admit to her daughter that she wasn't perfectly fine all the time.

But it's important to talk about this stuff.  I want people to know that you can have an anxiety disorder and still ride and show horses.  You can still be a Studio Director at a successful video game company.  You can still have a great relationship with your significant other.  It affects me because I get nervous before interviews, before meetings where I have to present, before social gatherings where I'm expected to be at my best.  But I'm afraid to talk about it, because I don't want potential employers to force those stigmas on me.  I don't want them to think I'm not capable or competent because of it.  I don't want people to shy away from wanting to be my friend.  But I also don't want people to be afraid to talk about their mental issues and therefore end up committing suicide or hurting themselves like Matt Hughes did.

We have to talk and we have to be here for each other.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An academic failure I am

Because I'm not a TOTAL absolute loser with no friends or social life, I went out this evening with a good friend of mine to celebrate one of his friends' recent engagement.  I got to talking with some new people I'd never met before, three young women who were all in the final months of their PhD programs in Neuroscience and Biology.  They were all my age, 27-28 years old.  I got to thinking about how different our lives are.

They are just graduating and are just now starting their journey into the professional field of working and doing the 'grind'.  At age 28.  Meanwhile, I've been working almost nonstop since graduating high school at 18 with a few temporary part-time jobs along the way, have been working in my industry of choice for 5 years now, and I'm basically at the peak of where I hoped I would end up someday.  While I'm thinking of things like job flexibility, maternity leave, buying a house, and the idea of having kids in the not-so-distant future, these women were just starting their lives.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad thing.  I'm actually quite envious that they got to spend so much of their lives learning something that they're passionate about.  I'm jealous when I hear people talk about the groups they belonged to in college, or what they're planning to write their thesis about.  It all sounds so scholarly and fun compared to working full time and paying the bills.  I remember, looking back, how I was on a path to go to a four-year college and get my Bachelor's but it just didn't work out for me.  I started out trying to get a degree in Equine Industries Management and left that school after the first semester.  I moved on to Criminal Justice and couldn't even handle one class because of how sensitive I was.  I then did Nursing and ending up being kicked out of school for failing two dosage calculation classes in a row.  I moved to San Diego, got a job in the game industry, and found success.

I think I'm envious because for all the successes I've had in my career, I've had even more failings as a student.  I couldn't manage to get good grades in high school because my head was in the clouds and my priorities were all over the place.  Even after moving out here and paying my own way into a community college, I didn't finish my first semester of 3 classes.  Am I just not an academic person?   I don't know what's wrong with me.  Failing is not really something I've ever been satisfied with, and the only thing I have consistently failed in has been all efforts involving school.  Even if I were the CEO of a successful company, I'd still have this hole in my heart where all my academic failures taunt me.

If I could go back 15 years in my life, this is what I would do:

  • Apply myself in school, get great grades, take all the requisite classes to get into a good school.
  • Go to a great school for something like Computer Science or Veterinary Medicine.
  • Eaten more wholesome food, cared for what I was putting in my body.
  • Spend less time worrying about boys and more time studying.
  • Learn the concepts of feminism earlier so they can guide my life from an earlier age
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with myself and where I am.  I'm also proud of those girls I met tonight for sticking to their program for so long and coming out alive on the other end.  Life is short, and we only have so much time to spend doing the things we want.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Not a whole lot to update the blog on and haven't felt a huge need to post here lately, but I might as well check in just as a status update for the 0 people who read this blog.

Things are still progressing well on our new place on 36th Street in Normal Heights. It looks like our closing date is going to be November 15th, which gives us time over the Thanksgiving holiday to move, paint, clean, do little odds and ends.  I'm not freaking out yet, but I probably should.  We still have to get home insurance all lined up, pay the rest of our down payment, get the loan final, find new tenants for our current place...the list goes on.  Expect a stressed out version of me for the next couple of months.

We're also starting the early planning for our wedding.  So far we're trying to decide between a Vegas wedding at Mandalay Bay or a San Diego wedding.  Since it will be a destination wedding for our family and some of our friends anyway, San Diego kind of makes sense.  If we do it in Vegas, everyone will have to travel.  San Diego would mean more than half of the people won't have to travel at all.  It will all come down to costs essentially.  With the biggest purchase of our lives looming, I just don't want to drop $10,000 of our money on this.  I would like to have a simple and beautiful ceremony that people enjoy coming to.  Not sure if we want to do a beach wedding, or maybe a vineyard type setting in Temecula, or something in Balboa Park?  I can't decide.

I have been busy and haven't been able to ride my horse much lately, but when I do I love her more and more.  Her trainers are doing a great job with her.  She's quiet, responsive, and an absolute blast to ride.

All is mostly well over here.  I'm weaned off my Lexapro and I'm hoping that my anxiety issues don't return.  If they were planning to, now will be the time with all the incoming stress.  I'm looking forward to a couple weeks off work in December and a nice relaxing holiday in our new house.  Luke is on mandatory OT for the next couple of months and it's definitely stressing him out and me as a result, despite him doing all the hard work.

Things that are making me happy lately:

+ Discovery of polymer clay/Sculpey
+ Halloween decorations in my house
+ Halloween candy, yum!
+ xoJane and its awesome articles lately
+ Wine, particularly red wine of the malbec variety
+ League of Legends, Dishonored, and World of Warcraft's new expansion
+ Board game nights with friends

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Moving forward on Normal Heights

So, kind of a major life update here: We had our home inspection on the house in Normal Heights and it went well!  So we're now charging forward with purchasing this amazing place and there is even a chance we'll be in our new home by Halloween!  Well, close on it by then anyway -- we have a couple weeks worth of work we want to do before we move in our things (smaller stuff like painting mostly).  I am so incredibly excited.

I am so fortunate lately.  I keep wondering when bad things are going to start happening for Luke and I, because it seems like everything is going exactly as planned.  This house is something we never thought we'd end up purchasing.  Not only is it charming, older yet-upgraded-in-the-right-places, and walkable to everything on the awesome Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, it also has a good sized yard in a neighborhood that doesn't normally have yards, a detached studio with full kitchen and bath, off street parking for both of our cars, and curb appeal.  It's perfect.  It's a place that I could see us growing with over the next 5+ years, as it has room for us to have a baby.

We're still unsure what we're doing with the studio space. I'd love for my friend Caitlin to move into it and rent it from us, but that might not end up happening.  I've been researching Airbnb and it looks like we could rent it out for probably $80-100 night and that's an option I'm really attracted to.  We could keep it all nicely staged and clean, rent it out to people that we approve via the site, and block it off on Airbnb if we have family or friends who want to stay with us.  We could end up paying for a good chunk of our mortgage this way.

I've been reading a book lately called The $100 Startup, and it's very inspirational.  It makes me want to start my own business with minimal upfront cost and see what can come out of it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Browser Auto-Complete Game

I saw that Scalzi did this and it seemed intriguing so I decided to try it myself.  I am going to type each letter of the alphabet into my browser's address bar and see what website it tries to auto-complete to.

A:  Arcane Wordsmith, one of my favorite WoW blogs.

B: The Border House, for damn good reason. Because I'm the Lead Editor and Co-founder and it's basically the best website on the internet. ;)

C: Craigslist.  I scour Craigslist pretty regularly for Farm/Garden stuff and also for checking out furniture, art, and free stuff.

D: Apple Developer Site.  The URL is, and it's where I go when I'm doing work and need to do some admin stuff for our devs.

E: Ebay.  I don't actually shop on Ebay often, but over the last few months I was looking to purchase a saddle and was checking ebay multiple times a day.

F: Facebook.  This is a no-brainer.

G: Google, naturally.

H: Huffington Post.  I do check the news there quite a bit, especially since it's liberal slanted.

I: iTunes Connect.  Another work related administrative site.

J: Jezebel.  Happy to see that me and Scalzi have this one in common ;)

K: Kotaku.  I read it frequently because I have friends who write there and I think it's made a turn for the better this year.

L: LinkedIn.  I check my messages there all the time to see if someone is trying to hire me.  They usually are, but not for anything remotely interesting or local.

M: Company Email.  It starts with, so that's naturally where it resolves.

N: Noxxic.  A quick 'cheat sheet' website for WoW strategies.  My nerd is showing.

O: Openraid.  It's a WoW website where people can connect and raid together, pretty neat concept.

P: Pivotal Tracker.  It's our project management software at work and it's highly recommended.

Q: Nothing except

R: Reddit, duh.

S:  I shop too much for games on Steam (and don't play many of them, whoops!)

T:  I've been tweeting nonstop since 2007.

U: San Diego Union Tribune.  Local news, though they've recently been purchased and they suck now.

V: Virgin America, my airline of choice.

W: Wells Fargo, my bank.

X: Nothing.

Y: Yelp. I thought it would be YouTube, but I guess not.

Z: Zillow, because we've been house searching.

Kind of a fun little experiment. :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eight Characteristics of Boxers

In our household, the dogs pretty much run the show.  We have two Boxers: A 2 year old female and a 1 year old male, both altered.  Every day it's something new with these rascals -- they always keep life interesting and they're a lot of fun.  They're also a total pain in the ass every damn day.  When anyone asks when I'm going to have a kid my default response is "I have dogs".  If they've ever spent time with a Boxer, they understand what I'm talking about.

1. The Farting

Like any other dog with a squished face, there is no getting around a lot of farting.  And not just silent-but-deadlys, but farts that make real sounds that are all too reminiscent of human farts.  We've gone through over 5 different brands of food trying to find the one miracle remedy that will cure it all.  Alas, we gave up.  It's a pretty common occurrence to have the sound of a gassy Boxer interrupting a TV show or waking us up while we're trying to sleep.  Sometimes it's funny.  Usually it's just disgusting.

2. The Routine

Boxers are the epitome of a "routine dog".  Once they get used to eating at a certain time, they will move mountains to make sure they eat at that time every day. Give up any hopes of sleeping in, because they're up in the morning at the same time every day waiting to get breakfast.  And when they're ready to go to bed, they'll whine at you.  Or if the bedroom door is open, they'll just climb into bed and call it a night with or without you.

Oh hey, did you want to lay here?

3. The Personal Space

Don't expect to have any.  Boxers do this thing that Luke and I refer to as "lumping", where they become sacks of potatoes that are unmovable objects.  Krogan leans into you so hard that you fall over.  Echo drapes herself over my shoulders while I'm sitting on the couch, and she's 50 pounds.  Both of them lay on top of me while I'm trying to sleep.  There is no such thing as "too close" with Boxers.

4. The Snuggling

If you have more than one Boxer, be prepared for them to snuggle together in hopelessly adorable ways.  However, don't forget that more than one Boxer means double the farts. (See #1)  This is how they sucker you into obtaining as many Boxers as possible.  It's part of their scheme.

5. The Playing

Boxers have a unique style of playing.  Whether it's with another dog or with a carrot on the floor, Boxers pounce at everything.  They play like they've never played before.  They can't stop playing.  They sound like they're killing each other when they play by making the most horrific sounds.  This is another reason people get two -- because if they play with each other they might leave you the eff alone for a second.  It doesn't really work...two Boxers will just drive you nuts.  And pounce on your face.

6. The Snoring

Boxers sleep harder than any breed I've known.  When they're out, they're passed out for the long haul.  They play at 100 miles per hour and then crash extremely hard.  This is the only peaceful time you will ever have.

7. The Begging

The only thing in life that Boxers like more than sleeping and playing is eating.  They could eat 10 meals a day and then want dessert.  When a Boxer has it's eye on something you have, it is convinced that it can will it into its mouth simply by staring intently.  Expect the Boxer to sneak in the least stealthy way possible and get as close as can be to your food.  Resist the urge to give in, no matter how cute.

8. The Destruction

Don't leave anything unattended.   Boxers insist that every inanimate object is out to get them, from TV remotes to W-2s and even a Skyrim Prima guide.  If anything is important to you, it threatens the exclusivity of your love available for the Boxer.  A Boxer needs to make sure that it's the only thing that matters to you in the house. Therefore, anything you love must die.

Goodbye Skyrim guide, it was nice knowin' ya.

At the end of the day, Boxers will test you in every way imaginable.  They can be destructive, naughty in every way, loud, hot, obnoxious, frustrating.  But they're also the most awesome breed of dog because every day you will laugh.  They will snuggle and warm your heart when it needs warming.  They'll ruin your things and piss you off but then rest their head on your lap and give you nothing but love.  Boxers are the best. <3

Yet another offer accepted

After doing the home inspection on Appleton, we decided to pass on that house.  While we'll be sad about not having a pool, we decided that living in Normal Heights is way more our speed.  Luke agreed with me that we have the rest of our lives to live in a quiet suburban neighborhood, and that we should take advantage of living in a hopping urban area while we can.  Although, it's not the house on Felton that I linked earlier.  It's a new one, on 36th!  It's beautiful and cozy and cute all at the same time.  I never thought we'd own a house like this.

It was over our price range, but they came down halfway and we are getting what I think is a pretty good deal on it.  It's a little over a block from Adams Avenue, the street in Normal Heights with all of the cute little shops, antique stores, art studios, restaurants, coffee shops, even a comic store and a board games store!  I'm so excited about this place.  It might be at the top of our budget, but it needs literally no work for us to move in.  At least, as far as we know.  The home inspection could say something different, but it has a new roof and water heater.  And -- it as a full studio in the backyard with a full bathroom and kitchen!  It would be great to rent it to a friend so we could save a bit of money on our mortgage.

Today we went down and looked at it again just to make sure we were really happy with it before paying $500 for yet another home inspection.  This weekend is also the Adams Avenue Street Fair, and we spent a couple hours walking up and down looking at things.  I bought a comic book, a Hawaiian shaved ice drink, and we both got a t-shirt from a booth run by Luke's former coworker.  All in all, it was a fun day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pros and Cons

Do pros and cons lists every really end up working out to help anyone make a decision?  Let's see here.  Trying to decide between two houses.... I underlined the things I think are the most crucial.

Pros on Appleton:

- Pool in the backyard
- Large house (1500+ square feet)
- Rad bonus room/library thing
- Two car garage
- All new windows
- Closer to Luke's work

Cons on Appleton:

- No real driveway to park in
- Not a lot of grass for the dogs
- Price is high
- Needs a LOT of work (kitchen, both bathrooms, new flooring in some rooms, painting)
- In Clairemont, a neighborhood we don't love.
- Requires the 52 to quickly get to any freeways, not convenient to the 805 or the 5.


Pros on Felton:

- Charming house
- In the neighborhood we love, walkable to stuff
- House is already refinished, needs no work to move in.
- At the high list price, is $36,000 cheaper than Appleton.  At the low list price, is $66,000 cheaper than Appleton.
- We know the rental market in the area, and a $2200/month rent would be absolutely doable there.
- More yard space for the dogs
- Few blocks from the 805

Cons on Felton:

- Neighbor's house is run down, badly.
- House is small
- Old house built in 1929, potential problems?
- No furnace, uses space heaters.
- Further from Luke's work
- One bathroom

Monday, September 24, 2012

Funky funk.

Today is one of those days that I'm feeling in some kind of heavy funk for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  I'm not sure what it is, but I just have little motivation to do anything and I feel discouraged about everything. That probably means that I need more Lexapro or something.  My taking of it once every 4-5 days is probably not being very effective.

Still waiting to sign our contract for the house on Appleton; apparently it's held up at the seller who can't figure out how to do an online contract.  Technology is difficult and sometimes slower than doing things the traditional paper way.  Of course, while waiting, I find a house in the uptown neighborhood of SD (my favorite) that is cheap and looks adorable.  I'm kind of annoyed at how I can't fucking make up my mind about what my priorities are on buying a house.  I think the problem is that I don't really care for any areas in San Diego that aren't in the uptown neighborhoods (Hillcrest, University Heights, Mission Hills, North Park, Normal Heights, Kensington, South Park).  So I feel like this decision is so very 'final' and that scares the shit out of me.  What if we're miserable?  Luke seems to think all will be well as long as we have a pool in the backyard, but I'm not as convinced.  Don't get me wrong, I like the house on Appleton a lot...I just wish it wasn't in such a boring neighborhood.  I don't know whether I'd rather be in a rad walkable neighborhood with little space to call our own yet things to do surrounding me, or in a large house with less charm in a generic neighborhood.  These are decisions I didn't anticipate having to make any time soon, because we'd always just rent a house in the neighborhood we want to live in.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Offer Accepted!

Pardon the terrible picture, there weren't any good ones to choose from!
We offered just under asking price on this house last weekend on the first day it had been up on the market. The listing agent replied back and said that he already had 5 offers, and we were the lowest.  We increased our offer by $30,000 so that we could compete.  By that time, there were already 15+ offers on the place and we assumed we wouldn't get it.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the sellers were arguing back and forth and deciding between us and another buyer.  The other buyer had way more money for a down payment, so they ended up choosing them.  We were pretty sad and disheartened about it.

We were asked if we wanted to be the backup offer, and Luke said that he has a good feeling about the place because I always end up getting what I want.  Whenever I have my heart set on something, I end up getting it.  By a stroke of luck, our realtor called me this morning and said that the other buyer got laid off from work today and as a result, we're the next on the list.  I don't want to make light of anyone else's misfortunes, because what an awful scenario, but I am so thrilled that we get the chance to own this home.

Of course, we have been this far once already and we turned down that other house after the inspection.  Anything could still happen at this point.  But I'm feeling really optimistic about this place.

  • The house is older (1957) but has been maintained really well.  There are many upgrades to be made (like the kitchen, yuck!) but it's a really nice blank slate to start with.
  • There is this amazing addition of a back room with wood paneling on the walls that is the most perfect office ever.  It's basically screaming for floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and it looks out to the pool.
  • The pool.  OH GOD THE POOL.  Really big in-ground pool in the back with a very nice concrete patio space.  It's going to be wonderful.
  • The location is great.  The neighborhood is very 'homey' and it's close to Hwy 52 for quick access to the 5 or the  805/163/15.  
  • It's over 1500 square feet, so it's lots of room.  4 bedrooms is nice because it means we can have a dog room, spare bedroom, master bedroom, and future-baby-room and then our office can be in that addition space.
Our inspection is next Wednesday and I'm crossing my fingers that everything goes well and the Appleton house will be ours! =D

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Halloween & Fall Wreath

I was having a bit of a bad day, so I decided to do something crafty.  I used to love making things and somehow fell out of the habit of doing so.  A quick trip to Michael's gave me everything I needed to make my own awesome Halloween wreath!

This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever.  If you can use a hot glue gun, you can make a wreath.  Michael's sells the wreath bases (called grapevine wreaths) in various sizes (I went with 18" but it's totally up to you) for under $10 each, and then what you put on it is up to your imagination!


Grapevine wreath in whatever size you wish
Silk flowers
Hot glue
Glue gun
Wire cutters (for the silk flowers)
Lace tablecloth (or fabric of your choice, this part is totally optional)
Various accessories (I picked a bird and some pumpkins).

I started out by wrapping the wreath in ribbon.  For an 18" wreath, I ended up using about half of one roll of ribbon.  I glued the beginning and end on with hot glue, but you could probably tie it as well.   Next, I cut the lace spiderweb tablecloth that I bought and I glued it on the back of the wreath.  You might not want to do this step, it makes the wreath not hollow in the middle and it's totally up to your taste.  I liked it though, as it provided a nice backdrop for my raven bird.

Next is the fun part -- start gluing things on!  I positioned all the flowers & leaves before gluing them on to make sure I liked how they looked, then I went crazy with pumpkins.  Lastly, I glued on the raven (which I'm sure Luke will think is creepy because he hates birds) and I think it was a great final touch to the whole thing!  The best part about working with hot glue is that it dries really quickly, so this project took less than an hour and I already have it hanging up on the front door.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happiest Place on Earth

Yesterday we spent the day at Disneyland, and had a great time.  My feet are sore and I'm exhausted, but that doesn't leave a dent on the amazing experience we had.

It's my third time at Disneyland, and the other two trips were last year.  I'm a new-found Disneyland fan, a skeptic if you will.  I didn't understand why people had such a fascination with the theme park, figuring it was no better than a Six Flags or Busch Gardens, and that it would be cheesy and filled with annoying people and that the rides would be too tame.  I couldn't have been further from the truth.  The minute I walk into the park, I'm transformed into this wide-eyed and curious human being, whisked into this world where not a single detail has been overlooked and nothing is out of place.  Disney are absolutely the masters at creating immersive experiences where every single one of our senses are utilized to make for a whole world of fun.  If you are at all a fan of music, movies, or video games, you need to visit with an open mind.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride manages to use animatronics without making them creepy or cheesy, and captures the sense of adventure that you feel when you watch the movies.  The Halloween makeover of the Haunted Mansion is themed with The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is one of my favorite movies.  It was absolutely breathtaking how they transformed the mansion into something completely different for Halloween, and I loved it.  Halloween is my favorite holiday, with Christmas in second place, so this was perfect.  The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of my favorite rides because it's an old wooden coaster yet is still smooth and not jarring at all.  And World of Color is an experience that brings a tear to my eyes every time.
I will never grow tired of Disneyland. I've been three times and I haven't not seen even half of the attractions.  Next year I'm buying an annual pass and going as often as possible.  Luke also had a ton of fun and was even more skeptical than I was.  It's an inspiring experience for anyone who makes interactive media for a career or hobby, and we had an amazing time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Today we went and checked out another set of four houses, and we found ourselves falling in love with another one.  We already have an offer on a house with a pool that is way under our budget and also in need of some love, but this one we found today fits squarely within our price range and is just a way better purchase for us.  I'm really hating the idea of losing this one, which means that if/when we do, I'm going to be devastated.  For someone who is an impulse purchaser like myself, this whole home buying thing really blows.

The one with the kidney shaped pool, obvi.

The house is an older home (50's) with a huge pool in the backyard.  It has a lot of space (over 1500 square feet) and has one of the coolest bonus rooms we've ever seen.  We have all sorts of ideas forming for DIY ideas and that is a recipe for disaster when we haven't signed our offer on the place yet.

The weather here has been hot as balls the last couple of days.  Like, record setting heat.  It's not okay.  I'm grateful for having window A/C units in two of ours rooms so that I can get some reprieve from the heat and not suffer too much.  I haven't ridden my horse all week long because of a combination of being busy as hell along with the scorching weather.  Tomorrow, we're going to Disneyland and it's going to be 90 degrees in Anaheim.  I am sort of dreading it, but also very excited because it's Luke's first trip there.

My friend Isaac is in town from San Francisco, and since he's in my top 5 favorite people in the world, we've had such a blast.  We've been clubbing the last two nights at the local gay bars, eaten some great food, had our own little Robyn dance party at our friend's apartment last night, and just generally bonded even more.  He told me last night that one of his favorite things about me is how confident I am and how comfortable I am in my own skin.  I was floored by his comment, but Luke validated the statement and agreed with him today.  It's taken me awhile to learn to just not give a fuck, but I'm happy that I'm there.  There is something about being secure in a relationship and really comfortable with where I am in my career that makes life pretty damn awesome.  There isn't anything I'd change right now.  And though I could stand to lose some weight, it doesn't get me down.  I'm comfortable with who I am, but not cocky.  When giving relationship advice to friends I've always said that I feel being comfortable and confident is the best way to make yourself attractive to potential partners.  It's worked for me anyway -- I've snagged myself a good one! ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Well, we didn't get the house we put an offer on. We were the lowest offer and they decided to go with another offer without even counter-offering us.  Luke and I are trying hard not to get discouraged -- after all, we've only been doing this process for a month.  However, it's so frustrating because it feels like home prices are going up and we don't want to lose our awesome interest rate.  It feels like the perfect time to buy a house, yet nothing perfect is happening.  We're used to getting everything we want, when we want it.  This will take some damn adjustment.  But then again, there are people in our country getting the fucking bubonic plague from squirrels, so my life is pretty damn good.

Speaking of good, my boss asked me that question today where he wanted to know what my career aspirations are and where I want to go from here.  Typically, that is an easy question for me to answer.  "Up!" I would gleefully exclaim.  This was the first time, honestly, that I have felt completely and totally comfortable existing exactly the way I am.  I have a pretty sweet gig.  I'm the Studio Director at a company that makes iOS games, but I work from home.  It gives me wonderful autonomy to work when it makes the most sense for me, yet be available for my team at all hours.  I spend a whole shit ton of time talking to my dogs and wondering why they're not laughing at my jokes.  I don't get the fancy free catered lunches anymore, but I've traded it in for the freeing ability to wearing whatever the fuck I want all day long.  90 degrees out today?  Okay, I'll skip wearing a shirt entirely.  Don't feel like showering and making my hair look good this morning?  I don't.  These are luxuries I don't want to lose.

I have to admit that it's a strange feeling to be comfortable in my skin and with my career.  I think I'm doing what I'm skilled to do.  I'm enjoying the ride.  If I answered his question with 100% honesty, I'd tell him that my next stop is getting pregnant, quitting, and staying home to raise my future child.  I don't suspect that would be met with congratulations, and I feel like it's almost me "giving up" or losing all that ambition I once had.  I moved up really fast in my career, and I've rarely gotten to stop and think about what I want to be when I grow up.  I knew I wanted to become a Producer, but I so quickly skipped right through that experience and was promoted so fast that I never thought about where I want to go from here.  VP of Something-Or-Other, I guess.  The likelihood of nailing that kind of sweet deal while working remotely is pretty damn slim though.  Which is why I'm totally fine just being me.

I feel like society is constantly encouraging us to want more.  Through material things, whimsical dreams for ourselves, wistful jealousy of other people.  All of this is only spurred on by an obsession with sites like Facebook and Pinterest that show you just how goddamn perfect everyone else is but you.  The emphasis on possessions and DIY skills and any sort of display that shows how much more worldly you are than everyone's sickening.  Yet, I find myself playing right along into it sometimes and wondering if the person I am on the internet is getting closer to or further from the human being I play in real life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Herringbone and boring purple hair

I'm feeling in a slump today, so maybe writing here will be a bit cathartic for me.   Today was a rather emotional day.  I woke up early to head to our home inspection for the house I talked about, and immediately after walking in I just felt regret.  The house is beautiful on the outside and in a really nice neighborhood, but I couldn't stop thinking of how small the home was.  Imagining being in that house for over 5 years with Luke and I, three dogs, and a future baby....that all sounded too cramped and uncomfortable.  We went and looked at a couple more houses during the day, and one of them was beautiful and 300 square feet bigger.  I had the weirdest mixed emotions, because I knew it was a better buy for us.  For some reason, it made me feel emotional to cancel the offer/contract on the first house.  I knew it wasn't the right one, and I didn't want to keep it, but I felt like removing it from the list of potentials was losing an old friend.  It was odd.

The new house is nice though.  It's more of a "blank slate" yet still upgraded.  It has nice charm, hardwood floors, nice covered patio, and a big den space that will really come in handy.  I'm pretty excited about the possibility of getting this one, except we're competing with a few other people.  Offers will be reviewed tomorrow and they expect to finish negotiations by Wednesday.  We will see what happens....

On Saturday I spent like four hours browsing the web looking for hairstyles, trying to figure out what the fuck to do with my hair.  After all this saving of images, scouring over Pinterest and Tumblr, and Googling so hard my fingers hurt afterward, I ended up getting the same fucking hairstyle that I already had.  I'm contemplating shaving the other side so that I have a long mohawk, just to do something different.  I'm bored with my hair, despite it being bright fucking purple.  Odd.

Lately we've been pretty homebodied and not doing very much, so it was really damn nice to get out Saturday night to have dinner at a friend's house with a bunch of other game devs, then go out to a wonderful dinner last night at Herringbone in La Jolla with one of Luke's former coworkers and his wife.  This week, one of my best friends from SF is coming to visit, and we have a Disneyland trip planned for Sunday. I'm really excited to have a fun week, though I have a somewhat tedious business trip for tomorrow and the stress of hoping our offer is approved for the house is getting to me.  It's been hard to have motivation to do much of anything lately, so that really needs to do a 180.

In other news, I love my new horse, I forgot how much I like the vibe in Ocean Beach, I am really in love with our new Dyson vacuum, and my dogs are batshit insane.  I've been getting baby fever big time lately, I'm annoyed with conservative political posts on Facebook, I want to go to a sewing class so I can learn some useful crafty skills, I'm excited to paint our cabinets white in whatever house we end up buying, I'm reading a lot on my iPad lately and want one of those new fancy Kindles, and I'm kind of sick of just about everyone on Twitter. 

Luke has lost lots of weight and he's super adorbs and I'm slightly jealous yet not jealous enough to stop eating everything in sight on a regular basis.  So that's something.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Finding a voice on the internet

In the real world, I'm pretty comfortable and confident with who I am.   I'm of the age now where I'm no longer struggling to "find myself" and I'm pretty set as far as life goes.  But on the internet, my god.  I'm like a walking contradiction.

It's not news to anyone that I have a lot of blogs.  Whenever I'm feeling interested in something, I want to start a blog about it.  When I'm playing WoW, I read tons of WoW blogs and need to start one.  When I am feeling particularly interested in the social game industry, I'll write about it on my domain name attached to my full name.  When I'm wanting to rant about sexism in video game culture, I'll head over to The Border House.  When I'm updating about my weight loss progress, I'll post to my exercise blog.  I have a couple other mostly-abandoned blogs focusing on riding horses and indie music.  And I have some freelance gigs on the side when I want to get paid for all this text.  I really fucking love to blog.  I've been blogging since I ever bought a computer, it's what got me a job in the game industry in the first place.

Other than The Border House, I don't have what I'd call a "successful" blog.  (And the success over there is attributed to a ton of people by the way, it's not a solo endeavor by any means).  You know, something where the comments are flourishing and I get a lot of traffic and people really care what I have to say.  I'm envious of some blogs on the internet.  I feel like I'm not funny enough to entertain people like on Autostraddle, I'm not intelligent enough to run a blog like Shakesville, I'm not good enough at writing to know what my voice is and manage to grow a following anymore.  I miss what I used to have on my gaming blog back in 2006-2007.  It was a real community, a camaraderie, a place that I was so excited to log into multiple times per day and speak my mind (and people enjoyed commenting there too).

I could do this at The Border House, but it has such a serious tone over there.  The posts that get real traction are the longwinded academic posts, and that's not me.  I don't know enough about feminist concepts, nor do I play enough games nowadays to really contribute in a huge capacity to the editorial output over there.  I mostly play a "behind the scenes" role, which is less exciting than being the one to sling words all over the place.

I don't know what I'm looking for.  I want to write about something, but I don't know what, and I don't know where.  I have this entrepreneurial spirit that's dying to come out, and I don't know where to concentrate my efforts.

This helps.  I like just typing on this blog and seeing what happens.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Offer accepted!

Our offer was accepted on the house!  This is a surreal moment in my life, because I never thought the day would come where I'd be buying a house in a San Diego zip code.  I am so fortunate because I'm sharing this experience with my soul mate.  I consider myself to be one of the luckiest women on the planet.

Next stop is wire transferring the escrow money over, which happens today.  We have our home inspection on Monday morning, which I'm sure the house will pass with flying colors.  Feel free to pinch me, because I'm definitely fucking dreaming.