life

Hey interwebz, how’s it going?

This last year has been a difficult one…lots of struggles and changes. The biggest being that I was laid off from my job of thirteen years this fall. I’m only 31 and although I had several positions at the company over the years, it was the only company I had ever worked for. Though it is definitely a jarring change, it is a change that is long overdue and so I’m actually pretty pumped to see what the future will bring.

Aside from spending hours Netflixing Saved By The Bell (just kidding…sort of…), I’ve been sending out resumes. I don’t have a lot of experience looking for jobs or interviewing, so the whole process makes me very apprehensive.

I’m also nervous about my large wardrobe of clothes that are either inappropriate for work or simply don’t fit anymore.

(2 years of stress eating….really not good for the clothing situation. Two steps forward, one step back, eh?)

I realize that I HAVE  to do something about this so that when the calls start coming in for interviews, I’ll be ready.

Problem?

I am completely incapable of dressing myself.

Seriously. If there are no stained tees or yoga pants involved, then I really just sort of freeze up and panic.

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give StitchFix a try.

What is Stitch Fix? I will try to give you a quick rundown:

1) Register with the website and fill out a style survey.

2) Schedule a “fix”, which can either be on a reoccurring monthly schedule or a one time only deal. Once you schedule a fix, your credit card will be charged a $20 styling fee.

3) A stylist goes over your survey and comes up with 5 items of clothing and/or accessories/jewelry, packs them up in a box with suggestions on how to wear them and sends them your way.

4) Once you receive your fix, simply try everything on, and return anything you don’t want in the prepaid priority mail envelope included with your order.

5) Check out online — You’ll be able to make comments about your items so that any future fixes will be more accurate. In addition, if you take all 5 of your items, you receive a 25% discount. Lastly, that $20 styling fee? If you keep anything in your fix, it will go towards the purchase (ex. You keep a $50 blouse, you will only be charged an additional $30 at checkout)

And that’s about it!

So I just got my first fix yesterday:

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Cosie was pretty stoked about the whole thing. She figured she’d help me unpack….

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Styling suggestions for the items I was sent.

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Bensen 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Heartbroken! I saw the awesome color on this blazer when I opened my box and I reached for it right away. The material is SO soft and I loved the look and style of this jacket. The problem, however, is that it was WAY too small. Even though it was no where near fitting, I tried it on a few times and kept wondering how long it would take for me to lose 25 pounds. Ha.

One of the problems with me and blazers is that I carry a lot of weight in my mid section…even when I was 40 pounds lighter I couldn’t find a blazer that fit right. Whoever can find me a cute blazer that actually fits gets a prize. For reals.

Verdict: Sent Back

 

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Donelle V-Neck Button-Up Cardigan

Right out of the box, I noticed a problem. A hole! Bummer!

I knew I couldn’t keep the sweater, but I did try it on. It was way too form fitting for my chunky mid-section. It was a definite NO. That being said, the material felt nice. Don’t know what the hole says for the quality of the garment though.

Verdict: Sent Back

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Mercer Houndstooth Print Henley Blouse

This blouse is a sheer material, but comes with a built-in cami underneath. The shirt fit, but it didn’t really do a lot for me. I sort of looked like a boxy rectangle. I did like the built-in cami though, as it helped smooth out my lumpy bits. I actually spent some time debating this item. Though I didn’t look great in it, it was something that is work appropriate and I really don’t have a lot of items that fit that bill right now. Maybe if it had been cheaper, I’d have kept it.

Verdict: Sent Back

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Thisbe Colorblocked Open Draped Cardigan

This item, was a winner. The material is lovely. It also is fairly flattering on me and very comfortable. I almost skipped out on it though, as I do have another open draped cardigan, which is also gray. This one, however, fits me so much better, so I pulled the trigger.

Verdict: Kept!

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Just Black Connely Skinny Jean

I also received a pair of black skinny jeans, which I didn’t take a picture of.

They were the most puzzling item for me out of the entire fix. Why? Because Alexa doesn’t do skinny jeans. Seriously, I don’t own ANY skinny jeans. I have a lot of weight in my thighs and my calves are huge. Skinny jeans have always just seemed like a big mistake.

But I gave ’em a go anyway.

I was actually pleasantly surprised….I could get them on! They were too long, so I had to cuff them. Then I looked in the mirror: I couldn’t figure out if I looked stylish and trendy or like a sausage.

I tried several different tops/sweaters/etc with them and I almost kept them. I mean, I wear yoga pants outside, which are skin-tight, and I don’t care about that, right? The deciding factor was that they kept sliding down in the back, which would force me to yank them back up. Maybe I needed a size up? Too much junk in the trunk?

If they had been cheaper, I think I would have kept them despite the fact that the fit wasn’t perfect. But when you’re unemployed, $78 is just too much for something that you’re unsure of.

These pants did, however, convince me of the fact that maybe I should try to find a good pair of skinny jeans that actually fit.

Verdict: Sent Back

Overall, I had a really good experience with StitchFix. Despite only finding one piece that I really loved in the box, I think the stylist got close to what I’d like to try. I’m definitely going to try this again, as the fixes are supposed to just get better and better as they get more information about what works for you. I’ve also made a Pinterest board, which I think will be helpful. If any of you have an interest in giving StitchFix a whirl, please use my referral link HERE so I can get a $25 credit and not have to go to any future job interviews naked!

NOTE: I am not affiliated with StitchFix in any way, shape or manner. I paid for this fix myself and am blogging about it only because it seems like the only thing I’ve had worth blogging about in months.

On September 5, 2010 I ran my first 5K. It was a momentous occasion. Never in a million years did I ever think I could run a race of any distance. I felt very proud and even with all of the exercise time I had put in over the 3.5 years since I had started to lose weight, I considered it by far my most impressive physical achievement. Over the next several months I would run a handful of 5Ks, and slowly but surely running became something that I actually looked forward to doing.

At the height of my running glee I signed up for the famous (infamous?) Bay to Breakers 12K, a race that I had always wanted to take part in. I didn’t exactly train very hard for the race, but I did knock out my very first (unofficial) 10Ks and I was stoked. During the weeks leading up to B2B, I saw all of my Bay Area running acquaintances buzzing about the Nike Women’s Marathon lottery. Despite having never run more than 6 miles, I decided to sign up for the lottery. I figured I probably wouldn’t get picked, and if I did, it was 6 months away, which would give me tons of time to train. Also during this time period, I found out about the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon in January 2012. I thought that if I didn’t make it into Nike, Tinkerbell would be a good goal to have for the future. If I did make it into Nike, well, I’d be at a training level that I could maintain until January.

I successfully ran Bay to Breakers, and though I didn’t achieve my desired time, I had a blast. I also found out that I had been selected in the Nike lottery, so I had two half marathons on the horizon. While some might get antsy and nervous about making TWO commitments to run a distance I had never even come close to, I felt jazzed. I was on a running buzz from my 12K, and I knew that with 4 months of training, I’d be able to nail Nike Women’s Half come October. I decided to give myself a couple of weeks off from running to regroup, then start up training for the new distance with fresh legs.

Bling, baby.

My first run post B2B went amazingly well. I felt strong, happy and alive as I tackled my usual route near Golden Gate Park. At some point during the run, I felt a slight twinge in my right hip. It went away shortly after the run, so I didn’t give it a second thought. My next training run, however, didn’t go so hot. About a mile in to the run, that hip pain came back…but about 5 times worse than I had felt it during my previous run. For some reason I tried to power through the pain. Instead of listening to my body, I plowed on for another mile and a half before It was too much. I headed home to ice.

The hip pain didn’t go away after the run this time. I limped around for an entire week, feeling the pain every time I walked or moved. It wasn’t unbearable, but I wasn’t a fan. Once the pain finally stopped, I tried to run again. A slow, very short run. No dice. The pain was not to be ignored and thus began my two month running hiatus.

I probably should have gone to the doctor, but every time I go to my doctor they try to convince me that whatever I’m feeling is all in my head. This really shouldn’t have been a deterrent for me, but being someone who tends to like to avoid problems, it was. I decided I was just going to take several weeks off and see if I healed on my own. I felt very bummed out to lose the form of cardio that I had come to rely on. I mean, how easy is it to throw on your sneakers and run for 30 minutes? No commute to the gym. No waiting for machines. It’s quick. And now for me, completely not an option.

To make matters worse, instead of doing other cardio or strength training while my hip mellowed out, I instead decided to be emo and sit around doing nothing, while letting my TV set and chocolate stash keep me company.

I may or may not have achieved mayorship of Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Berkeley on FourSquare during this time. Cough.

I also fell off the face of the blogosphere due to feeling incredibly sorry for myself.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, when the going gets tough, I crawl into a hole and want to die.

Can you say, winner?

Sometime in August I realized that the pain had subsided quite a bit, so I went out and attempted a run. It was both awesome and miserable at the same time. On one hand, I was experiencing very little soreness and had no lasting effects after getting back out on the road. Yay! On the other hand, after nearly two months of couch potato-ism, I had lost all of my fitness and was winded easily. Plus, my casual pace had become painfully slow, even by my standards. Sucko.

I continued to build up again from scratch and as September hit, I finally was starting to get back up to 5K status. Coincidentally, at this same time, Maya was planning her annual visit home and she asked if there were any fitness related things we could do together while she was in town. I threw out that Race for the Cure would be happening the first Sunday after she and Eric arrived. I asked if she would be interested in running it. There aren’t as many chipped race opportunities in Tokyo, so like last year, she was into the idea of us getting in a 5K while she was in the states.

I was into it as well. I did the race last year, during which I achieved my current 5K PR. It seemed like a good way to get back into racing, which was an absolute must, given how fast October was sneaking up on me. I also figured it would probably get me to start upping my mileage. I’d get back into the running groove.

Either that, or I’d panic, sleep through almost all of my planned runs, stock up on junk food like it was going out of style and kinda pray that Maya had been completely kidding when she expressed interest in running a race and really  she just wanted to meet up so we could go out to breakfast and eat monstrous stacks of  all you can eat pancakes….

Next up: Race for the Cure 2011 Recap


As I was telling you all last week, Cosie has been diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism.

Her new medicine regimen has proven to be fairly easy to adapt to. For the first week, she got her pill once a day, in the evening. Then, as per doctor’s orders, on Friday I increased her dosage to twice a day. Now Cosie is taking her pill at 7:30am and 7:30pm. Or as close to those times as possible.

Her overall health seems better, as I mentioned before. She is eating normally now and has energy to play and saunter around my apartment with her prior swagger. She also isn’t throwing up as much. I’m pretty jazzed about that fact, as for several years it’s been a problem. I always assumed it was your typical senior digestion problems, but the drastic cut back in occurrences lead me to believe that in recent times it may’ve been her thyroid problem. So all of that seems good.

Her condition does pose some challenges, however. For instance, in the past, when I’ve gone out of town for a couple of days, I’ve just had my sister or a friend stop by once to check in. Now I have to coordinate someone to give Cosie her medicine. Luckily, my sister has been missing her cat, Daniel, so she volunteered to actually stay at my place for two nights last week while I went to Reno for my birthday.

I was a little nervous leaving Cosie, as she has been sick so recently. Not to mention that the day before I left she developed the sniffles (which after 8 days, she still has…). My co-worker and I had already made our reservations though, so the trip needed to go on. Plus, my 29th birthday was coming up and gambling my guts out is my favorite way to celebrate.

(I guess I’m not supposed to admit that, am I? Oops…)

 I shouldn’t have worried about ‘ole Cosie though. She apparently is well enough to handle herself.

Remember this problem? Yeah. I haven’t forgotten about it either. Despite my meticulous lock up of all dry goods and my installation of sonic mouse “shoo-ing” devices, I still had the sneaking suspicion that the little guy was still around. I hadn’t seen any more mouse droppings, nor had I ever laid eyes on the creature itself, but on Sunday night, Cosie was stalking some unknown thing in the apartment, and she looked serious.

On Thursday morning afternoon, just before I got on the road to head back to the bay area, I received the following text from my sister:

“All is well with the kids again. Cosie pilled beautifully, and ate. Unfortunately, I have to break the news to you that you have a mouse, which I have seen. So has Cosie and Daniel…Daniel is curious….Cosie wants the mouse’s arse. She has been on patrol all night, running and chasing. So, be sure to check around just in case she catches it. Sorry. I saw the bugger in your closet area, you may want to go through there…on the up side, I think that there is just one…”

 Do you know what I said in response? It really wasn’t very eloquent, but expressed my feelings very accurately:

“F*CK!!!!”

It totally killed the good mood I had been wrapped up in. All I could think about was how much I really didn’t want to see the mouse…dead or alive.

When I got back to my apartment, I didn’t even want to go in there. I felt so grossed out at just the THOUGHT of that mouse running around and the idea of the cats catching it made it twelve thousand times worse. For 1.5 days upon my return, Cosie and Daniel ran around the apartment, meowing strangely (battle calls?) and pouncing on everything they saw. I, however, was choosing to ignore the situation completely. I didn’t go through my closet and I just kept trying to pretend that none of this was happening.

My plan was working splendidly.

Until Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning I got up to feed the kitties, scoop out the litter box and then I was off to take a shower. I had work during the morning shift, so I needed to get a move on. Just after getting out of the shower, I passed through my closet (I have a walk-through closet…you walk through it to get from the bathroom to the living area of the studio) and then I saw it:

Cosie and Daniel were sitting in the middle of the living area floor…with a dead mouse between them.

O.M.G.

Let’s be honest, I could say that I reacted all cool about seeing a dead mouse while standing naked in my apartment, but that would be untruthful. I screamed and retreated to the bathroom. I realized I needed to handle this pronto, but I had never imagined it would happen while I was unclothed. I decided I would throw on some clothes so I could pick the mouse up in a bag and run it straight down to the garbage cans. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to work. Cosie was now batting the thing across the hardwood floors…and then she picked it up in her mouth and tossed it up in the air.

Obviously I panicked and started to shriek, “AHHH! OMG! Cosie! Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!”

Some would say it was wrong to yell at her and rain on the proudest moment of her life. I, of course, realize that Cosie is hard of hearing and had no idea I was saying anything other than, “Nice kitty! Good job! Disembowel it!”

The scene looked a lot like Kitty Christmas:


Except, you know…with a real mouse.

I quickly ran into the kitchen, grabbed a plastic bag, picked up the mouse (before Cosie could take it off somewhere I couldn’t find it) and shoved it in my kitchen trash can. Then I dressed faster than I ever had before so I could take the garbage outside. So. Fricken’. Gross.

Cosie seemed kind of depressed after that. She tried in vain to play with a toy, but it just wasn’t the same. I had taken away the best toy she had ever had in her entire life.

Unlike Cosie, I was quite relieved to have the mouse removed. I figured the worst was over.

Then I remembered…it was only 7:20am. I was going to have to feed mouse breath over there her morning dose of felimazole. Well happy belated birthday to me.


I washed my hands a bazillion times afterward. As a matter of fact, I think I may go wash them again. Just to be sure.

I had so deeply wanted to do a special birthday post today, dedicated to Bob Dylan. A really long one.

Unfortunately, last week got eaten up by life and I only have a few minutes to discuss his Bob-ness before my ride comes and sweeps me off to my own birthday adventure.

(My birthday is Friday. I’ll be 29. Since I was a c-section, I’m still bitter that my parents didn’t work it out so that Bob and I could be birthday twins. Oh well. I guess I’ll get over it…)

Bob Dylan came into my life at a time during which I needed him most. I was 18 years old and I had just started college. I had never felt more…alone. Sure, I had friends and hobbies. More importantly, I had my friends’ hobbies. I didn’t feel like I had anything to call my own. Nothing was speaking to me and I hadn’t found my “place” in the world. I was just…there.

Then I found Bob.

I spent 4 or 5 years, traveling all over the country to see Dylan, with friends I had met on the internet. I think it scared my mother, at first. I mean, her kid was just traipsing all over the country, hunkering down in hotel rooms and hitching rides with people she had only ever met on some weird site called “The Dylan Pool“…but it was one of the best times of my life.

Outside one of the best Dylan shows I ever saw…Augusta, ME 8/4/02…look! I’m wearing chucks!

I even made some really great friends along the way. While we don’t keep in touch as much as we used to (life gets in the way…), we still love to occasionally connect and discuss all of the craziness that went on during our trips. Just recently, a friend of mine was recalling our love of soft serve and I dug up this picture:

Robert, Julie and I during the infamous California summer fair series. We got soft serve before every single concert. We were documenting the experience for posterity!

Now I have seen Bob nearly 40 times and in 7 different states. Those stats really aren’t that impressive when you compare them to other Dylan fans, but for me, I feel good about it. Bob has a special place in my life and I always go back to him.

Everyone wants to call Dylan the voice of a generation and make a huge hoopla about his music. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about his music. Thing is, what I love about Dylan is much more than music. It’s about an entire world that opened up to me through his work. It led me to authors I had never read and old scratchy blues musicians I had never heard of. It led me from Kerouac to Rimbaud, from Roy Orbison to Hank Williams, from the White Stripes to The Waifs and from one side of the country to the other. I didn’t stop just with Dylan’s vast discography….every single thing that Dylan puts out makes me want to read and delve further into history. It was something I never did prior to that and I am who I am today because I did. It helped me find my place, and I am forever grateful for that.

Thanks Bob. Happy 70th Birthday. Have some soft serve for me.

I had a difficult week last week, which is unfortunate, but that is the way life goes.

The first problem I had was on Tuesday morning. I was in bed with my laptop. I had only been awake for a little bit and I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. All of a sudden, it seemed like the sound of rain falling had gotten louder. In fact, it sounded almost as if it were raining inside of my apartment.

It was raining inside of my apartment.

I have a small storage area next to my bed in which I keep a lot of things that I don’t use every  day. The space is very strange..sort of sunk into the wall. We believe it may’ve been the site of a trundle-bed back when the building was originally built. I live in an old Victorian, and it was really common for Victorians to have murphy beds. We believe that in my studio’s case, it may’ve been a trundle. Anyway, there is no bed in there these days. Just my junk.

My next-door neighbor moved out at the beginning of May, so the landlord had some cleaning  people coming to spruce up the place. I share a wall with the next apartment’s bathroom. In their zealous cleaning attempt, they caused the great flood of 2011. When I realized what was going on, I leaped out of bed and ran next door, barefoot and in pajamas to tell them to stop. They didn’t speak English. I sort of half ass understand Spanish, but my ability to construct a sentence, especially in times of crisis is greatly limited. I just kept gesturing and saying “STOP!!!” a lot. Finally the lady I was talking to got one of her co-workers to come over who kind of spoke English and she apologized. I thanked her and went back to my apartment. I was in here for 5 minutes before it started AGAIN. I ran back over and repeated the same scene.

When the water finally stopped flowing, I assessed the damage:

Awesome.

Not.

Luckily most things that I keep in that area are stored in plastic crates and were protected. There were a few casualties though. I had stashed some Cooking Light magazines and a few instruction manuals under there. Also the Wii box got pretty wet (don’t worry..the Wii was on the other side of the room at the time). The items that took the most abuse where my spare external HDs. The one on the right side had been in that box, which essentially disintegrated when I attempted to open it. The one on the left didn’t even have a box. I’m not sure if either of them work anymore. I plan on checking, but I wanted to give them the opportunity to dry out.

Aside from my own property damage, there was also some damage to my unit:

Even after I cleaned the walls and floor, there was still staining. You can essentially see where my storage boxes had been sitting. Going to have to make sure to send this picture off to the landlord so I don’t get charged upon moving out..

After that drama was over and I had my first cup of coffee, my next problem began.

I noticed that my cat, Cosie, was acting strangely. She wasn’t eating for starters. Secondly, she kept pacing in and out of the litter box. She would pee, and then leave, then go back and strain. I was concerned about her, so I tried to feed her a little human food (chicken salad). She ate a couple of bites, but wasn’t too interested. She was spending a lot more time than usual lying around and her eyes didn’t look very good. I was concerned, but I decided to watch her for another day.

When Wednesday came around and she still refused to eat and the litter box behavior continued, I got scared. I went to the pet store and got some senior cat nutrition supplement (kind of like Ensure, but for cats). She drank a few sips, and then sat back down. The only time she really seemed to get active was to go pace around the litter box, or to lick her behind. You see, she was licking a lot more than usual…when paired with the other symptoms, I did not feel good about Cosie’s state at all. That evening I called a 24 hour vet, explained the symptoms and asked if she should come in. They said I could bring her in right away if I wanted to, but it was a very busy night. I decided to make a 9am urgent care appointment, and hope that she would start eating again in the morning on her own and she wouldn’t have to go in.

The next morning came and she still looked pretty bad and eating still wasn’t on her to-do list. I packed her up in her carrier (her least favorite thing ever) and had Peter, my co-worker, drop me off at the vet on his way to work.

To be honest, I think I reacted to taking Cosie to the vet worse than she reacted to being crated. Historically, whenever we have had older animals who have gotten sick and had to be taken into the vet, the result has always been the same: They got put down. So the immediate thought that came to me when I realized I was going to have to take my 14-year-old cat to the vet was that she wasn’t coming home with me. As irrational as it was, I cried for half of Wednesday. I had hoped that my early tears would spare me from acting like an idiot at the vet, but no such luck. As soon as I sat down to fill out the paperwork I started sobbing again. Then I got better. Then we went into an exam room and it started again:

Vet: “Hi. I’m Dr. ____”

Alexa: *shakes hand, starts hysterically crying* “I don’t do well with pet illness….”

Vet: “Okay…”

As the appointment went on, I improved. The vet examined Cosie and said that off the back he couldn’t figure out what exactly was wrong. He said there were a few ways we could go about testing her for a diagnosis. Having heard me explain that Cosie hadn’t been to the vet since she ripped her paw open and needed stitches about 10 years ago, he suggested that he go get print outs of the two plans so I would understand the cost involved. When he returned, he presented me with a $321 plan and a $730 plan. We discussed the options and decided to go with the $321 plan, with the understanding that we could add-on additional tests if needed.

So for $321, Cosie got her annual exam, a senior wellness exam (blood panels, urine tests, etc.), a shot of anti-nausea medication (to hopefully induce hunger) and some IV fluids to rehydrate her. Then we went home to wait, as the results wouldn’t be ready until Friday. On the bright side, once home, Cosie dove into some food I put down and seemed a little better. Still sick, for sure, but more herself.

On Friday at work, I received the news. Cosie has feline hyperthyroidism. He cautioned me that though he could see no other problems, the hyperthyroidism could be masking issues. So the plan is to medicate Cosie, then have her come back in after 3-4 weeks and check her levels to see how she is doing. He also still wasn’t sure about why she was licking so much, so he asked me to bring her back in (for free) when I came to pick up the pills. He said he didn’t see something he normally checks in his notes, so he wanted to check her anal glands (yeah, I know. ick.) before we start running other tests at additional cost to me.

So after butt poking and pill popping, Cosie seems much more herself. Eating plenty, using the litter box the normal amount and licking far less than she was earlier in the week. I have to give her a pill once a day for the first week, and then every 12 hours from then on. My sister is totally lucking out. She’s going to be staying at my place, cat sitting while I am in Reno celebrating my birthday this week…she only has to administer one pill! Trust me, the fewer the better…Cosie does NOT like pills!

While I am not excited about the new expense or the idea of trying to get Cosie to take her medicine, I am glad that she is doing so much better. I realize that being 14, Cosie is probably in her last 5 years of life, and that I will have to lose her at some point, but I’m glad that point wasn’t this week. I’ve had my kitty since I was 15 years old. She is the best.

Someone fell off the face of the blogosphere, eh?

(Wow. Did I really just say “blogosphere”? Ick.)

For the last week I have been dying to post, but unfortunately, my life was taken over by a new house guest. An unwelcome house guest.

  

Um. Ewwww.

Recently when I was going through the kitchen drawer that contained my dry goods, I noticed that some of the bags had holes. At first, I thought they had just ripped open accidentally, but as I dug deeper, I found the above. Yep. Speedy Gonzalez had paid a visit to my apartment, and I was totally unhappy about the fact.

(Source)

That’s right, Speedy, I’m talking about YOU.

I’ve never really lived in a place where I had a rodent problem, and frankly, given the fact that I have cats, I didn’t think I ever would. As it turns out, my cats only have eyes for Fancy Feast.

Fail.

So when faced with this new problem in my life, the first thing I did was to go on Twitter and panic. Obviously. I mean, what else would one do?

After a few more creeped out tweets, I conjured up the strength to go into the kitchen and clean out the drawers in my kitchen built-in. I pretty much had to get rid of all of the food I had, which really bummed me out. I also was sad about my KitKats. I’ve always planned to make a separate post about them, but the long and the short of it is that Japan makes crazy KitKats, I love trying all of the flavors and every time Maya comes home from Japan, she brings me all of the seasonal flavors that they’ve had in her area since she last visited. The mouse only ate a few of them, but I was still pretty grossed out.

Although I threw everything out back on April 20th, I didn’t actually work myself up to finding a solution until last week. I was walking around Japantown after a dentist appointment and I noticed that they had put in a Daiso Japan at the Miyako Mall. I’ve been to the Daiso at Serramonte, but I had never been to the new locations in the city. I decided to just stop in and browse.

Daiso is a very popular Hiyaku-en chain (100 yen shop…the equivalent of a $1 store) in Japan. Here stateside, most everything you will find in a Daiso costs $1.50. There are certain items that might cost $3-$6, but they are in the minority. As far as products, they sort of sell everything. Dishware. Glasses. Aprons. Cleaning Supplies. Candy. Soap. Fabric. Cards. Organizational Supplies. Pens. Pots. Chopsticks. CD cases. Screwdrivers. Toys. You name it, there is probably a cheapish version of it being sold at Daiso.

Of course it didn’t take me long to find what I needed: Mouse-proof kitchen supplies.

I had been wanting an expensive set of tupperware to keep the dry goods in, but I am pretty broke. When I walked into Daiso, I realized I could mouse-proof my kitchen for much less. So I sort of bought $30 worth of items.

(Then I went back later in the week to the Market St. location and bought more.)

 

These guys were the main items used to sort everything out. Plastic trays and plastic locking containers. The larger plastic containers cost $3/each, but I thought it was worth it.

I also bought a cutting board. Completely unrelated, but I just wanted to share.

I was pretty zonked out from carrying all of that home on foot, so when I got home I only really had time to organize the drawers.

Cooking utensils, measuring cups, eight zillion plastic spatulas and a set of J “Wake Up! Mother F*cker” chopsticks. What? YOU don’t have a set of profane chopsticks in the same drawer as your heart-shaped measuring cups?

Spices, pea protein powder, ground chia (the mouse ate the non-ground variety I had on hand..), Biscoff spread, etc.)

Wax paper, plastic wrap, tin foil, zip lock bags, coffee filters, pot holders, magic bullet.

Seeing my drawers all organized filled me with immense pleasure. You see, for the two years I’ve been living here, I’ve just been dumping things in there. The utensil drawer also had pot holders, tin foil and all sorts of other garbage inside. I could never find anything and I just about died of embarrassment when my friend opened it when looking for a bottle opener. I yelled, “NO! NOT IN THERE!”

I didn’t want him to know what a slob I am.

The other drawers had been equally as messy. This new organization made me feel very calm….but not as calm as when I finally got this cabinet done:

Tupperware (containers in the left bin, lids on the right), toaster, mixing bowl, pots, strainers, frying pans, cheese grater, scale, etc.

This picture cannot convey to you the joy that comes with seeing this cabinet organized. You see, much like that top drawer, this cabinet had just been a nightmare of tupperware thrown EVERYWHERE. Anytime I took something out, everything fell onto the floor and I would start yelling a string of curses that would make a sailor blush. I couldn’t ever find anything either. Now, I know where everything is. So. Awesome.

Lastly, I tackled the top of the built-in unit. Just a few days before, it had been piled high with crap, but now, it looks organized and clean.

You can actually see empty space! I just may faint!

Another really helpful thing I found at Daiso were those green collapsible shelves. As you can see, I’ve used one here on the counter top as well as in my tupperware cabinet. It really helps maximize space and makes organization really easy. I’m considering going back for a few more of these to help in other storage areas of my apartment.

One last thing I found at the store that made me a happy camper:

KitKat protection!

This is a rice storage bin, which I am using to house all of the remaining KitKats. I had been a little hesitant to keep any, as the mouse had been in the bag I had kept them in and the idea kind of skeezed me out. In the end, I decided to go through all of the candy, piece by piece. Any wrappers that looked even remotely chewed or scratched were tossed, whereas the rest were stored in this Fort Knox-like security area. I still feel a little wary, but I ate a cheese KitKat the other day and I’m still alive, so I think it’s okay….

(Yes, you read that correctly. I had cheese flavored KitKats, but those were not the ones that got eaten….)

I am also keeping my cats’ dry food in a rice container.

I have learned several things from this mouse experience.

1) Mice will eat whatever they can. Don’t leave ANYTHING outside of a plastic container.

Remember that picture of my spice drawer? I hadn’t finished washing the plastic ware when I organized that drawer, so I left the turbinado sugar package that the mouse had missed out on before in the drawer, thinking I would put it in a plastic container the next day. The next day, I found the mouse had been back and he still had a sweet tooth.

2) A clean kitchen makes me feel significantly more calm and happy

Often times I wouldn’t want to cook because everything was so jumbled and messy that I would feel overwhelmed. Now, I find it is the opposite. I enjoy going into the kitchen to make something as I know that all of my tools are right at my finger tips. It also makes me want to wash my dishes more often, so that the whole room will feel as clean and organized as my built-in unit. I am feeling encouraged to clean the fridge and the sink area in the near future. Although my kitchen was never really filthy, it was cluttered and certainly hasn’t had a really good scrub down since I moved in.

3) I shouldn’t worry so much about telling my landlord when there is a problem:

I had been really afraid to tell my landlord, as I thought it would reflect poorly on me. I thought it meant I was dirty and they would want to evict me or something. I know that sounds crazy, but after living most of my life in a rent controlled apartment in the Mission district, where the landlord really was trying to get us out, I’m sort of wired like this. In my old apartment, we routinely kept things like plumbing and heating problems, broken windows and pest issues to ourselves.

I did end up telling my building manager, however. All is cool. He told me that other tenants throughout the years have had similar problems. If I wanted regular snap traps, he would be happy to give me some, but he recommended I try out a sonic device that is designed to repel the rodents from the unit.

I decided to pick up a 2-pack from my local hardware store and I have one plugged into a socket in the kitchen and another in my studio’s main room. The sound is at a different frequency than what humans or cats hear, so the felines are good with it. I can hear a slight buzzing sound from the things, but it isn’t a big deal. I don’t know if they actually work, but as the alternative involves seeing dead mice, I am all for this approach.

So far, I haven’t seen evidence of another visit….and I hope it stays that way!

Have you ever dealt with a pest problem in your home?

Wow. I have never received so many search hits:

  • when i run fitbit doesn’t catch all my steps
  • do fitbits break
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  • how many people are using fitbit
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Clearly I hit on a topic that people were interested in when I posted about my positive experience with Fitbit Customer service and with the device itself. I am overjoyed to have provided information to those who were in need.

I am also overjoyed at the sheer amount of people who have also managed to wash their fitbits. It makes me feel a little less lame to know that I am in good company…

This post, however, is not about my Fitbit. It is about something else entirely.

My co-worker, Curtis, and I, love musicals and shows. It is something that out of an entire office of employees, only we share. Due to this, we see a lot of musicals together. We’ve seen RENT, In the Heights, Avenue Q, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, An evening with Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, Beach Blanket Babylon (twice) and we have tickets to see Tales of the City in June. We may have seen other shows as well, but these are all I can think of right now.

Last night was another fun night out, though instead of a musical, we went to see one of our favorite authors, David Sedaris, do a reading at War Memorial Opera House.

Before the reading we had to go to dinner, of course. We have a long history of hitting up a favorite restaurant of ours and overdoing it before shows. It’s always a bad decision. We end up spending the first act of the show focussed on how bloated we feel. Fortunately for us, I happened to spy a Groupon  for 2G Japanese Brasserie a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of it before, but it was located super close to the opera house and although it happened to share an address with a Max’s location, I thought it might be a welcome change.

And it was!

The food was spectacular. Just extremely flavorful and delicious. My photos are a little off, as I took them with my iPhone, but trust me, the food was anything but.

We each started with a salad. The endive salad had red grapes, apples, caramelized walnuts, blue cheese and a maple cider vinaigrette. Holy yum!

After this, we each decided to order a couple of small plates.

I ordered some kabocha tempura, which was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture before eating one of the two slices that came in the order. Curtis ordered some kind of roll, a Kobe Beef Tsukune (meatball) and both of us ordered that beauty on the left. The asparagus bacon skewer.

OMG.

It was one of the best things I ever ate.

It should be on the Food Network Show.

Seriously.

Although I was getting full, I couldn’t stop myself. We also ordered some gyoza and some edamame to share. The gyoza were excellent, but the edamame were out of this world…sauteed with garlic, truffle oil and butter. So. Delicious.

We enjoyed their food so much that we overspent our Groupon by a little. So worth it though. The food and staff were just phenomenal. We left completely full, but not dying. A great triumph for us.

Then it was on to see David Sedaris.

David Sedaris is sort of my literary hero. His way of telling the everyday in a voice that leaves his audience rolling in the aisles laughing is unbelievable. I’ve read all of his books and there has yet to be even one during which I didn’t find myself laughing out loud. I’ve lost many a bus seat companion due to his wit.

I should send him a Thank You card for that alone.

Sedaris read the title story from his most recent publication, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, as well as several other stories. He also read a few entries from his diaries and did a small question and answer at the end of his reading. Curtis and I had never laughed so hard. As a matter of fact, Curtis was still laughing when I came into work this afternoon, playing clips off of YouTube for his office mates and retelling the jokes from the reading.

Afterwards, there was a book signing. I really wanted to get in line, as I had my copy of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk in my purse. The line, however, was overwhelming, as you would imagine it would be at a venue like War Memorial. I sensed that Curtis didn’t want to wait, so we didn’t. A little sad, but those are the breaks.

Now I leave you with a little bit of Sedaris fun:

 Who is your favorite author?