Monday, January 31, 2011

Make a little list, get down tonight.

1. Realized my time zone was still set to Phnom Penh. When corrected, was happy to see it corrected the past posts that were made just now. Then realized the posts made in Cambodia will also be updated to a wrong time. Possibly okay with it.

2. Am trying really hard to not cave and buy yarn, especially because I know now that a little bit of money is coming my way. I also know that nearly all of it is needed to pay for my two (slightly needless) classes at Temple. And I don't have a job yet. No frivolous purchases until a paycheck is deposited.
2a. But yarn makes me happy, so it's hard to call this frivolous.
2b. But it's okay, I have some sock yarn, and even an UFO- second sock syndrome!!- and some other crafts. And most importantly I have roving I could spin.
2c. Wait, I'll just make a 3.

3. I want to send a little care package to my friend in London because I didn't really get such things sent to me when I was abroad (but Asia is far and Cambodia is unreliable and my parents actually just came to see me in New Zealand). She asked for yarn and boxed mac+cheese. She will understand on the yarn suppression- there's no way I'm going to be able to NOT buy myself something, or buy something for her and then keep some of it, if I start buying yarn. I will send her a skein of sock yarn. Maybe even some handspun. Maybe one of our other friends will buy her yarn. It will be okay.
3a. I just realized I did get something from Rachel's mom once, and it was really cute. It was M&M socks and some candy I didn't actually like but that's not her fault. And I think I got it in NZ.

4. I have to pay: for school, for rent, for food; and for college application fees, then for other household things (like dishwashing soap, if it comes up, which it hasn't yet, but as much as I love Method it is just NOT staying sudsy on my sponge, and I'm going through it really fast), and social stuff and transportation (going out with friends- snowboarding this weekend!!, taking the train).
4a. I hate that college apps have a fee. it's like a cover for a bar. Which I always avoid- unless there's like a special band or DJ, cause they have to pay the guy. But in general I try not to mind it. Sometimes they are REALLY high though. Like more than $50US. That is a lot to me.

5. One of my professors responded and said he'd be glad to write me a letter of rec! I'm so happy. Better get all that sorted out now. Only one school has a really pressing deadline- Feb15, TWO WEEKS eep- but even that school is "unofficially rolling". The others are April or rolling, but I really shouldn't put it off. When I am done with this semester, I might also be able to get letters from my two current professors. So I guess that will be needed if I don't get in anywhere and have to reapply?

6. Although I was glad my classes got canceled due to the weather last Thursday, I am not hoping for the same tomorrow (today). I have a lot of stuff to print, for one thing, and I don't want us to be terribly off schedule, and if I'm about to pay several thousand dollars, more than $100 dollars a class, then I want all of them. Thursday I lucked out, because the night before my AM professor said she was cancelling. Then, we were IN the car ready to go, when my boyfriend came back with both of our phones- and my phone happened to be open to the email screen- and my second professor had cancelled. Phew. Saved me a LOT of trouble, really.
6a. Spell check is telling me "cancelled" is incorrect- with two 'l's I suppose- but I am sticking with it.

7. I'm not getting my sewing machine back until I finish the GRE (Feb 18).

8. No other craft purchase until I get an acceptance letter. Needles and crochet hooks are ok. No roving. No fabric, even. I am limited to yarn, and finishing my quilt, which will I think only require thread and batting. I should really have enough to piece a backing, and I don't think I'll go any bigger.

9. I haven't even finished ONE of my two practice books or taken a practice computer test. I'm so behind on this GRE mess.

10. There is an AF recruiter right by where I have my class on Main Campus, which is very convenient. However I don't think I'll be contacting him until after the GRE- one thing at a time!!

11. This is getting to be a long post. And it's pretty boring. Sorry! Tomorrow there will be pretty pictures, I promise. my pretty-picture-promise. I'll even start a Wordless Wednesday. Maybe I'll continue with Throwback Thursday and Silent Sunday and Taciturn Tuesday and Shy Saturday. But today is Monday (it was when I started writing) and so wordy it is.

12. I'm grateful to have love in my life.

13. My parents are going to be in China until the 8. Wow!

14. My boyfriend is hot, and I am reminding myself not to hurt him with my jealousy. He forgot his backpack today, so no charger, no premade dinner, no book to read. Poor him :( The weather better not snow him in, he doesn't deserve it.

15. I better get to sleep. It's been completely wonky this weekend.

16. -Claudia  :P

Cong Zhi Fa Chai

Or so my Dad says in his email to me. I only splurged a little to get a phone with email, and it was worth it. Actually, it was hardly a splurge, more like a really good deal.
So I haven't had the pleasure of celebrating Chinese New Year with my family- or even any Chinese people- in a long time. Which makes me sad for a lot of reasons- the main ones being I don't get any awesome food, I don't get lucky red envelopes with money, and I don't get to catch up with my super cool cousins (seriously, they are all way cooler than me).
Unfortunately, I still feel bound by tradition and superstition to clean the house thoroughly before Chinese New Year, even if we won't have anyone over for it. Then no cleaning for all of the New Year. But I'll make a bit of a bend here, as I have for the past four years living with college roommates. Plus, the trash needs to be taken out Tuesday night. Usually this is girl-roommate Steph's job, although she forgot last week. She brought home a new cat, and Dan said perhaps she was busy with cat-diplomacy between new cat (who I have named Earthworm, even though that is not her name) and old cat (Nell, the fluffy dander-y walking sweater of allergies).
Yesterday the living room got vaccuumed because company was coming over; I mopped the kitchen over the weekend. I didn't mop the bathroom because new cat had to have a litterbox in there for a while. We don't have a broom, only a dustpan-sweep thing (shovel is trowel as broom is to dustpan-sweep thing), so I wasn't about to squat down with my face near the cat poop and have to breathe that in. I've never had pet cats before. New cat seems to love me and Dan though. We let her in our room a little, just to wander a bit and then get her out. Nelle is too fuzzy and will get herself in weird spots and hide.
She only likes me because I'm home all the time. Right now she is even warming up my lap and occassionally nudging my hand and making it hard to type.

I'm supposed to be writing an essay about "What is Nutrition". I take the GRE in about two and a half weeks (not excited). I did get a response from one of my professors who agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. Yay! Nothing from other professor, or old bosses- but I worry that the mail got blocked. Hope not. I'm applying to four schools, two goal schools and two settles (but they are all good programs). On of the goal schools has a deadline in two weeks- actually sooner than I take the GRE- but an unofficially rolling deadline so they will review my application when the scores come in.
And damn! I need a job.


Monday, January 24, 2011


I'm not lucky enough to have it, be working with it, or eating it. I just want to point something out:
It is spelled Mascarpone.

Why does this chef on the Food network insist on calling Marscapone?
I would be the first person to sympathize with someone mispronouncing something in English, or any other language, or something transcribed from another language into English. It gets tricky. I pronounced "drawer" wrong for years. Mostly I just avoided saying it, and I still do, because I can't remember which one is wrong and which one is the mispronunciation. If I think about it for some time, I can remember that a "drawer" rhymes with "oar" like for a boat, and not "draw-er" as in someone who draws, with an "er" at the end.

But I get extra confused when things are pronounced in ways they are not spelled. I can tell myself in French that everything is sort of willy-nilly and just drop off consonants and mumble and your pronunciation is probably great. When it comes to English I get too nitpicky.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ignoring my large life changes for crafts.

I have so much to write about, and yet, don't know what to write about. Partly because I feel like I should be studying, so my day is divided between studying my GRE books and bumming around on the internet. When Dan wakes up, I usually put my computer away (or mostly away) and hang out with him, cooking and watching TV and such. He and Steph, our flatmate, often have their computers in front of them when we're hanging out in the living room, but then I feel strange if all three of us do. It's not like there's a fourth person I'd be excluding by doing this. But usually I pick up some crafty thing. Right now I have three main projects ongoing:

1. I'm reworking my Coachella tank top. You can see what I finished when I followed the pattern here on Ravelry (you'll need a free Ravelry account). Except I finished it quickly, because I got impatient, and of course, it was too short.

It's supposed to be a loose cowl neck, like in the left-hand picture, but it's way low on me. Trust me. In person, it looks like I am trying really hard to show off my sternum. I knit the extra small, but I suppose I needed either an even smaller pattern.. or a very aggressive push up bra! On the right I tucked it up and I might actually tack up the collar this way. As much as I like drapey necklines, I'm not sure I can save the neck on this Coachella without a MAJOR overhaul. Which wouldn't be worth it- I can just knit a second tank top, in a smaller gauge yarn on smaller needles. What you can't see in the photos is how much the armholes dip. In this cotton yarn, this will only get worse, so I'm going to either seam up the bottom of the arm holes, seam the tops, BOTH, or knit inserts at the bottoms of the arm holes (which was my original plan, but I think that will be too annoying and result in more loose ends). Right now, I'm extending the bottom several inches and re-knitting the seed stitch border (because I couldn't find any better border).

2. A cross-stitch pillow kit I bought in Laos (but is from China, although it says the brand is French). It's two Chinese kids kissing, and it's so cute and silly and tacky and adorable. I love it. I'm such an old woman.

3. A tabi sock. I've finished one. The pair will go to Dan. Because I need to count rows, this is harder to do when watching TV or talking to flatmates.

Currently I own 6 skeins of sock yarn that came as a kit to make a pair of anklets each. It's the Fancy Feet kit from Knitpicks, got a good deal for $19.95.  And I have a wee bit of handspun and a bucket of roving. Right now I want to knit a cabled mug cozy (like this one) or two, with all the tea and chai we're drinking. I'm a wuss and the mug is too hot for my hands. And something to send to my good friend Jackie, who is studying abroad in London right now, maybe she'll get a mug cozy- something small, so she won't be pressed for space when packing to go home. I plan to send her a package some time soon. She asked for yarn, and boxed mac+cheese. The Annie's brand that I also really like (a mac+cheese post may soon come).
And I want to knit something for my professor's soon-to-be-born baby. She's due in April. Crazy, right? She plans to come back, finish the semester, then take maternity leave. She said her first child- her son- was late, so maybe her daughter will be too, and she'll wait until the end of the semester.

Back to GRE book!
The rest of my life forthcoming.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Google Analytics

I just wanted a hit counter that could also make a line graph. I don't know how to phrase my next sentence- I've put Google Analytics on this blog, or put this blog through Google Analytics? I've connected the two accounts? I've started using Google Analytics on this blog?

Either way, it's been up about 24 hours. I have one hit. 2 page views. I figured it was me. There is a pie chart that should be entirely one color (for some reason there is a light sliver of blue, probably the outline of the 'wedge', or just there to make me feel better).  But the map (there's a map!) shows it is from:

Pelotas, Brazil.

I didn't even know there was a place called Pelotas at the southern tip of Brazil. I don't know much about Brazil anyways. It is apparently the third most populous city in its state and host to two universities. I am going to think the page view was probably a mistake. Either way, hello world!

Vitamin C Tablets

I have to admit I already predict many of my posts will be very short like the last one, because I'm not yet at the level of "consistently write a long post" and I have decided against "erratically write a long post" in favor of "erractically, but more consistently and more often, write a short post".

I've decided to take the Vitamin C tablets my mother bought from France and gave to me before I left for Cambodia. She had given me a few that I took before I left, the couple of days I was in Nevada, and then I took what was left of those when I came to Phnom Penh but when that ran out I didn't start the new tube (I almost wrote new pack, but that sounded too much like birth control- which you don't need a prescription for here and I just bought six packs today of name-brand for US$66, just like that).
But I decided to take them now because I've been traveling a lot, will do more this month and probably interact with a lot of people. And because I have them. The ones I have fizz when you drop them in water, but I really didn't like drinking the fizz water for long- eventually the fizz wears off so you've just got tart chalky orange acid-water. So I've been chewing them and quickly drinking water- except just now I've had some orange tasting burps and realized they are left to fizz in my stomach. Well, one way to feel full I guess! Haha.
Today I met the guy behind this site:
who is just starting this up and looking for other people to write in it to have more voices. Now that my brother is more serious about coming here he should do restaurant reviews with my dad.
At lunch I ate with my Dad and Captain Win, just back from Burma. We went to an Italian place (Luna D’autunno, I'm almost completely sure) my dad knows fairly well, and I love Italian. When my dad walked in he greeted the owner, sitting at a table and smoking (of course! It proves he's European) and smiling broadly. My dad vaguely asked for a dish he had before and the man promised him his swordfish carpaccio (which I saw as seabass on the menu). I like the carpaccio and the pizza (something with sausage and green peas- yes green peas) that I ordered, but the seafood tagliatelle and the marinated pork shoulder + sausage  (the day's sepcial) we didn't finish. Something smelled really strange, and we thought maybe it was the mussels in the first dish, but the smells of both combined to be rather unpleasant. Like particularly unpleasant BO. I made up for it by picking a dessert because I didn't know what it was and the waitress didn't know it enough to explain (it was called Sabayon Marsala, and turns out to be a zabaglione) and it was delicious, but I had ran out of water and didn't feel like a whole new bottle. It came a little late, but it was warm, and I'd go to this restaurant again and order all completely different dishes. I would pick things that hopefully wouldn't have clashing odors.
The owner was very nice. Apparently he and his wife came here from Italy, opened a restaurant or two, divorced, remarried Cambodians, and still run the business together amicably.
How sweet! or how strange!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New blog look

Do I love it? Do I hate it? Does it matter?
I do love scallop prints for some reason. And green. And no pictures I had or had taken worked well.
I'll keep working at it, I suppose.

New Year!

My New Year's Resolution is to write in this blog, consistently, interestingly, entertaining-ly (I will never be able to follow a resolution that is "stop making up words"). So I'll finally tell all my friends and family (eep! family! watch the language!) about it, and THEIR resolution is to pressure me into writing when I slack off.

I've realized that to write interesting stories about what I have done or plan to do, I will have to do interesting things. So my friends shouldn't feel so bad that I've given them an obligation; perhaps we can do some interesting things together.
I can't promise that I will become a better conversationalist- I'll save it for the blog, haha! And if you do know me, then you'll probably hear things more than once. Or have been present for the interesting things!
For New Year's Eve we went to Ho Chi Minh City. If you're wondering why people still call it Saigon or why businesses will use the name Saigon as opposed to HCMC, it's actually out of RESPECT for "Uncle Ho." I thought it would have meant the opposite, like a resistance to change and a new name. I had actually planned to watch a countdown from my hotel room, but my brother convinced me to be out on the street. My mom and aunt went on their own.
While I'm fairly tall for an Asian girl, this picture makes me look like I am REALLY TALL.
It was a huge street party. People kept telling others to sit down so more people could see. However, this meant there was less room for people. We'd get pushed back in this huge crush. My brother (when I could still see him) laughed and said, Claudia! You don't even have to stand on both feet! And at the time, I was on one tiptoe, being held up by a crush of people. Then, right when I thought the crowd was about to force me to sit, there was a huge rush. I was being pushed from all sides, forward. I imagined this was how stampedes happen, and a terrible stampede just left over 350 people dead in Phnom Penh; I happened to be in Laos when that happened and while rushing with the moving mass of people I did consider how unexpected it would be for me to die in Vietnam. I have avoided a handful of large disasters:
- A bomb went off in Bangkok where we almost decided to watch the New Year countdown but instead we watched a movie (and were very confused when we left the theater)
- The aforementioned Koh Pich stampede
- There was an earthquake in New Zealand and I didn't even feel it. I was on the other side of the island, but my friend felt in the same room.
- My mother and father called me the day before the Boxing Day Tsunami to say, we're either going to the mountains or to the ocean. I didn't go on this trip because we weren't sure I'd have time. They went to the mountains.

That's all I can think of right now, but hey, they weren't small to me.

Anyways, I was not stampeded, and I even found a few little pockets of breathing room. Luckily no one near me was particularly smelly (sometimes you just have to get used to tobacco smoke, and I know Vietnam is very public about it but when a foreigner lit a cigar a Vietnamese girl actually scolded him for it). They also might have had fans going, and there was definitely a breeze (I know because when glitter shot out of the stage none of it fell on me, and I really wanted it to).
The big crowd was for DJ Matt Cerf and Emma Hewitt. I had heard a little, maybe, sort of, about Emma Hewitt. I did not know who the DJ was. I almost felt bad during the Vietnamese artists since I didn't know who they were and I was blocking people who probably did.
Did you know that DJ Matt Cerf and Emma Hewitt are actually very famous? and used to playing even bigger, very very big crowds? Asian crowds tend to be somewhat stoic, although I found some fun people occasionally and orbited around. My brother also told me that when he saw "DJ MATT CERF" on the screen he said, 'yeah right.' He thought they were joking, that they were just putting up cool people or possible just playing his music.

nope! he was there! I saw him! I managed to get pretty close. This close:

You can see him, at the top of the five pointed star.

I really enjoyed New Year's, and I danced with a German girl, but I should have latched on to her and her friends and seen if they were doing anything cool. I ended up seeing the tail end of my hotel's party (the Duxton) and wandering around a little. I lost my brother in the crowd and we didn't have working phones so he couldn't tell me he went out with a group of Vietnamese girls to a cool club called Gossip. Bottle service was $50! I've never even gotten bottle service. So he tells me, we need to always get phones/SIM cards even if we'll only be there a few days. He also said he didn't get to see most of the club because the girls kept dancing with him and he didn't want to just leave them. Oh woe is he, he's got such terrible problems! Haha!