Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Last Monday I went to a job fair that was in our town. There weren't any jobs there that I was particularly interested in or qualified for, but nevertheless, the event resulted in me scheduling two interviews. Because I want to start my own business, I'd prefer to get a part time job if any, and both of these were for full time positions. The first one I ended up canceling. I nearly did the same with the second because I nearly forgot about it until it was too late. ;) I remembered about it at 9:30am, thinking it was to be at 10:00am - turns out it was really scheduled for 11:30am, so I still had plenty of time to get ready.

Funny though that I nearly forgot about the interview - because it turned out they forgot about me! When I got there, the president of the company apologized for neglecting to tell me that they'd already hired someone for the position last week!! Well - they seem a little disorganized, so I suppose I wouldn't want to work for them anyway. Not to mention that even if they offered me the position, it's likely I would have declined.

But the trip out to Florham Park wasn't all for naught. It gave me a chance to explore someplace new, and in doing so, I found two nice grocery stores (the Shop Rite we normally go to kind of sucks) - King's, and right next to it, a Trader Joe's. Yay!

Now getting to the title of this post - King's is the first place here where I've found nori! It was darn expensive though, at $5.29 per package! I don't remember how much nori cost in Hawaii, but I'm quite sure it wasn't that much. On my way home, I also checked the little healthy food store that is nearby our house. They had nori this time, but it was even more expensive than King's - $7.92!!! But at least the lady at that store said she'll order some more reasonably priced nori for me, and call to let me know when it comes in. Then I'll have all the parts I need for making spam musubi. =)

FYI - I think it's cute that Blogger's spell check wants to replace "musubi" with "massif".

Friday, September 23, 2005

Everyone's your friend... in New York City...

...and evrerything is beautiful, when your young and pretty... the streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see... but the best thing about New York City is... you and meeeeeee... (ala They Might Be Giants)

(Um, it's actually the 27th, but I made most of this post on the 23rd... just Blogger and my Mac and uploading pictures was not behaving... so how here I am finishing up on my PC...)

Yesterday afternoon Russ dropped me off at Newark Penn Station and I caught the train to New York Penn Station and met up with my good friend, Viv. She and I both used to be swing dancers in the Connecticut scene, just not at the same time. We met when she came to study for a semester at the University of Hawaii. Now she lives in Hawaii, and I live just a short train ride away from her parents. :) BTW - that picture was taken from the top of their building, looking down on the avenue below.

We managed to pack a lot into my less-than-24-hour getaway: had a wonderful home-cooked Chinese meal, which, might I say, included the best salmon ever; went swing dancing for several hours and met lots of new people, not to mention at least two people I already was acquainted with who used to live in Hawaii; checked out the Museum of Modern Art; ate delicious food of Afghanistan at a little place on St. Mark's Way, and topped it off with wonderful Italian cheesecake from Veniero's Pasticceria & Cafe at 342 East 111th Street (www.VenierosPastry.com). Like the salmon the night before (well, it didn't taste like salmon), the cheesecake was the best ever!

Sorry I didn't take a picture of either the salmon or the cheesecake. But I did take a picture of a NYC bus. While we were walking to catch the subway to the dance, we spotted this bus:

You might be wondering who Rency is, and why the bus is asking people to call him (or her). Actually, I was being a silly tourist-type, trying to take a picture of a bus that had a sign alternating between "Emergency" and "Call Police". I don't think I could have timed it any better than I did - midway between the two!

And while I'm at it, a couple more random photos from my 24hrs in NYC...

Viv and me and some pointy skyscraper from the top of her parent's building.

These girls watched over us from across the street while we lunched at the Afghan restaurant. Did I mention the food there was really delicious? Shame on my for not taking pictures of that, either...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Today I got up early-early. Well... if you compare it to the time I used to get up for work when we lived in Hawaii, 6:00 a.m. is actually kind of late. But so far, for my new life in New Jersey, it was early-early. :)

Ohyeah, the reason I got up at 6:00 a.m. was to go to a workshop that took place in Newark. Although the workshop didn't start until 9:00 a.m., I got up so early because I wanted to take the bus instead of drive, and I needed extra time to figure out how to use the bus system here. :) The NJ Transit folks have a pretty good web site that makes it easy to find which busses, trains or light rail you need to use to get from one place to another, but the problem I ran into is that they sometimes don't use the full address for their stations, which makes it tricky for New Jersey newbies like me to figure out where they are. For example, the bus schedule makes reference to "Erie Loop" station in Orange. I can't just look up Erie Loop in Google Maps... doesn't come up.

Anyway, when in doubt, just call the guys. That worked out nicely because the guy at NJ Transit told me a better place to go wait for the bus (a different one than I ended up taking, but both lines had the same destination), and also how much it would cost and what time I would be picked up.

The workshop took place in the Small Business Administration's offices in downtown Newark, and was presented by the New Jersey chapter of SCORE - Senior Corps of Retired Executives. Basically it was all about starting your own business in New Jersey. They have different retired (and some not yet retired) executives come to talk to the group about writing a business plan, bookkeeping and taxes, financing, choosing a legal entity, and personal qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur. I thought all the speakers were very informative, and most were also very engaging... I did get a little sleepy during one of the sessions after lunch, but I guess that's normal. ;)

If I do decide to go ahead with the business I want to start, I think the biggest obstacles I'll have to overcome are the personal qualities. Although I know I've come a long way from being the shy, un-confident scaredy-cat I was before, a lack of confidence in my abilities is something I still battle with quite a bit. Also, I have to become more of an avid researcher of the industry I want to get into, so I guess that can be my goal #1 for now... learn more!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Russ plays plumber

Since we moved into our first home, we've had problems with drainage from our bathroom sink. It seemed to drain just fine if the water was run only a little bit at a time, but after running the water for 30 seconds or a minute, the basin would begin to fill up, and then drain very slowly, taking 5-10 minutes or more.

First, we tried a bottle of Drano, but that seemed to be a very temporary fix. Then, on Friday, the drainage problem became so slow, that water would remain in the sink for hours before the basin was empty.

So this weekend it was Russ's project to play plumber. He took apart the sink trap, found no clog there. Then he made several attempts to snake the system. Six feet... eight feet... ten feet... nothing! Still the sink would not drain. Finally this morning, he was able to insert the entire length of the snake, which took it all the way into the cellar! And when he took the snake out, it was all covered in icky yucky disgusting gunk. Ewwww.

To finish up, after pulling all the gunky snake back out of the pipes, we flushed the system with a little more Drano, and then with a couple pots of scalding hot water. Seems to be working fine now. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Come Dancing!

After being closed down for the month of August, the Jersey Jumpers resumed their semi-monthly dance at the Montclair Commonwealth Club. And after a month of being in New Jersey, we too resumed dancing.

This was the anniversary party for the The Jersey bOunce® dance event, so in honor of that, organizer Simone hired live band Eight To the Bar, and had the venue decorated all nice and pretty with shiny gold and purple streamers, flowers, lights, and lots of delicious food! Too bad Russ and I already ate supper just before going to the dance... if we had realized there would be so much food, we would have just dined there instead. ;)

The dance was a lot of fun. Although New Jersey doesn't have a large swing dancing scene, it seems to be quite a bit larger than the one in Hawaii... well, at least if last night's turn-out is any indication. There is also a good ten or fifteen year difference in age demographic, as well as a mix of abilities. People seemed genuinely friendly, which to me is the most important thing.

I'm normally very bad with names, but those I do remember (mostly men because that's who I danced with) include Simone (of course), Pär, Tim, Joe (who lives about a half a mile away from us), Ray, Carl, Peter, Jonathan and Diana. Ok, so I remembere all those names, but remembering which name goes with which face next time I see any of them will be the real challenge!

Oh, I did remember to bring my camera with me to the dance, but then I forgot to take pictures! Sorry, no photos in today's post...

On a completely differnt note, Russ had an exciting day at the post office yesterday. Too bad I can't tell that story. =)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Spam Art!

Not bored. Inspired!

I also applied for a job today, mostly because they asked for applicants to describe two life experiences in which they had great success. I thought it would be fun. Plus having more money would probably be ok, too.


Peanut butter... and chocolate chips. Mmmmmmm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Enjoy Family Life

After supper this evening, I took a nice long walk around the surrounding neighborhoods. It's nice to live in a place again where there are ample sidewalks, and streets without too much traffic. When I lived in Makiki, sidewalks were iffy... there would be a sidewalk for a while, and then suddenly it wasn't there anymore. In Salt Lake, there were sidewalks, but the neighborhoods I felt comfortable walking around in alone were limited. Here I can walk for several miles with a number of different streets to choose from. Many of the homes are very nice, though not ostentatious. I see people walking their dogs, or pushing their young children along in stollers. So far, I haven't seen any homes with cats.

Before leaving Hawaii, my friend's clairvoyant friend told me that in my future she sees us living in a neighborhood with many large houses, and many women wearing aprons! The houses are large here, but I've yet to see a single apron, except for the one my friend Rebecca put on the "action figure" she made of me before I left. I kind of like the grenade necklace detail. ;)

Anyway, while I was walking, I remember seeing a car drive by with two nicely dressed young men in white button-down shirts. I saw them only for a moment, but my immediate thought was, "I bet those are Mormons, or Jehova's Witnesses!" Then I thought about why I thought that for a while. Then I had to cross a somewhat busy street, so I stopped thinking.

About a half an hour later, on a very quiet street, in my peripheral vision I detected a black car slowing down for me. I didn't really hear it because I was listening to Jelly Roll Morton. My frist instinct when this happens is to be suspicious, so I casually stepped away, looked at the car and turned off the music. Two women, also nicely dressed. Next I thought they might ask me for directions (like I know how to get anywhere yet), but instead, the passenger extended her arm out the window, politely offering me a small pamphlet entitled, "Enjoy Family Life." She said I could read it at home. So I took it.

So it seems the Jehova's Witnesses were indeed out in the neighborhood this evening, on a proselytizing mission. I don't mind it so much if they just hand me a pamphlet on the street, as they did this evening. I don't care for it when they come to my door, or interrupt my day by trying to engage me in a conversation about religion. I did read the pamphlet... and I can't say I disagree with much of its contents. I suppose what I do take objection to is the prescriptive nature of the language. The you-should-do-this or you-should-not-do-that makes it sound like they are addressing simplistic, thoughtless automotrons that will simply do as programmed, instead of people on a journey to developing good character.

What I really enjoyed about that walk though is how some people like to water their sidewalks and the edge of the street. Funny that I don't usually like to walk in the rain, but I do get a kick out of walking through someone's sprinkler. ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

House is becoming a home

Finally, a picture of our house!

Up till now, it hasn't really felt much like a home, though. First, there was no furniture to speak of. Then there was some furniture, and a whole bunch of stuff, but it was all disorganized and just everywhere in piles on the floor. Today we made some real progress on putting away most of the stuff. We have our bedroom set up, and now an office/guest room. The dining room is cleared out and ready for the arrival of the table we bought - delivery is scheduled for Monday morning.

Since we moved into the house nearly two weeks ago, we've been eating in a lot more often. Though mostly sandwiches and hot dogs... basically things that don't require cooking, or can be cooked easily in the microwave. Those kind of meals get old pretty quickly. So it's been a real treat to have all of our pots and pans and cooking utensils. This morning we had scrambled eggs and French toast with real maple syrup. Yum. :)

Even more fun for me is I finally got to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies! The last time I baked those was July 13th, the night before the movers came and took all of our stuff away. I had just gotten home from visiting Russ on the mainland, and had gone bowling with some of my friends at Ft. Shafter which we followed up with a pizza and cookie party at our apartment. Fond memories. :)

I like the oven here - it seems to cook a little faster, and more evenly than the one we had in Hawaii. Except I had some trouble figuring out how to make it work... digital ovens and I don't get along very well yet. Anyway, I think Russ and I each ate like seven cookies last night while I was baking them. And there he is, stealing one while I was in the process of taking pictures of some of the progress we made throughout the day.

While I'm at it, I might as well give you a little bit of a tour of some of the rest of our house. Here's what we are using for our dinner table right now... nice little eating nook next to the window. :)

And looking in the opposite direction, we assembled our shelves. Notice I have the cookbook opened to my favorite cookie recipe.

In anticipation of the arrival of our dinner table on Monday, we also cleared out the living room so the delivery folks can get through...

A lot of the stuff that used to be on the floor in the living room and dining room went into this room...

And some more went into this room...

We made some progress on setting up the bedroom for our friend Totoro...

And now we have an office/guest room with a futon that folds out for sleeping on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Yay! We have stuff! Eek! We have stuff...

Two months ago, on July 14th, the good folks from Pacific Transfer, subcontractors of ARPIN International, came to fetch about 98% of our stuff from our apartment in Hawaii. This morning at about 11am, three big guys from ARPIN showed up and dropped it all off. Now our house is a complete mess! Boxes everywhere! Stuff everywhere!

Fortunately, we had the movers take most of our stuff out of the boxes, so they were able to take away those boxes along with the mounds of packing paper wrapped around the contents. Unfortunately, there's still so much to unpack, and everything needs to be put away. How all this stuff fit into our little two bedroom apartment is hard to imagine.

I suppose we'd be able to get along just fine without most of this stuff, seeing as we've managed to get along without it for the last two months. However, I have to say it will be nice to have tools again. And we can cook again - hooray for pots and pans and real dishes to eat off of! And I can't wait to bake cookies! :) But most of all... no more sleeping on the floor!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Yay Verizon!

I got so wrapped up in the squirrel story that I forgot to mention we have internet now...

It's not often you hear a customer praising Verizon, but I thought I should mention that they got us hooked up with DSL two days earlier than they said they would. Woo-hoo! Of course, this was more than two weeks after I set up our account to begin with, so it's not that big of a yay. All the same, we're excited to have internet access again. Now if we just had some furniture to put the computer on...