Saturday, August 06, 2005

Professional photo organizer

Oh. my. goodness.

My grandma mentioned last week that she's started trying to arrange her photos - spanning back eighty years, because she finally got tired of my grandpa saying he'll do it. For the last twenty-six years. (Apparently, when I was born my grandma noticed their growing collection of photo-filled boxes and my grandpa said, "Oh yeah! I'll put those in an album this weekend so we can make room for Heather's baby pictures." Uh-huh.) I offered to do it for her.

I was telling my mom on the way home from my grandparents this morning, after I picked up all her boxes and boxes of photos, that I have always wanted to start a business, but I need to pin-point what I'm good at. And this is what I'm good at. Organizing people's lives. I spend a good deal of my time at home rearranging things. One christmas break, I did this for my mother - put fourty-some years of photos into albums. On another break, I reorganized (and threw away everything in) her kitchen. I'd love to be a professional organizer. So, combine that with the whole family nostaliga thing I described in the last post, and it's like a dream project!

But of course we never think of these things until just before I leave, so now I have hundreds and hundreds of photos to organize and label and place in books before Wednesday morning. They are incredible though! There are yellowed photos of my grandpa and even my great-grandpa in their 20's in their military uniforms (WWI and WWII). Pictures of my grandma as a toddler. Great stuff.

But, can I finish by Wednesday??

By the way, I really enjoyed everyone's personal 'stories' in the comments of the last post. I'd love hear more if you want to share, here or on your own blog.

8mm anyone?

My grandparents came over tonight for dinner. My mom and I asked them to dig up their old home movies (they go from 1950 to around 1980) and bring them over because I'd never seen them. I was pretty excited; I'm crazy about any opportunity for family nostaligia, not to mention any opportunity to laugh at my mom.

We had some technical difficulties. My grandpa still has his forty-year-old film projector and screen, so we set those up. But, my grandpa's getting older now and it took him awhile to remember how to thread the film and run the motor the right direction and focus the lens. We try our best to let my grandpa do his thing, because the poor guy is in a family dominated by women. He and my grandma had three girls, and now he has three grandaughters, only one of whom is married. My cousin and I decided when we were kids that we had to have boys, for the sake of the family.

My grandpa used to do aircraft maintenance for Raytheon and is a natural with anything mechanical. When I used to visit home during college the first questions would always be, "How's your car running? Are you driving it on the freeway once a week?" He's the quintessential handy-man, and now that my granparents sold their house and live in an apartment, he comes by our house a couple times a week to chop firewood and do other things that keep his hands busy.

But, like I said, he's getting older. So we watched him fiddle around with the projector for awhile. Not quite remembering which way the "fwd/still/rvrse" switch needs to be set. Then, on cue, my grandma (who is one of the nicest people on earth, but gets irratated much more by this since she's lived with him for nearly 70 years) says, "Frank, what are you doing? The girls don't have all night." "Well, I'm trying to put the film in! The motor isn't running the right way..." Then, on my cue, I intervene and try to help my grandpa without him realizing that I'm helping him.

Eventually we got the film threaded, but the image wouldn't seem to focus. We were trying to watch this adorable film of Christmas in 1956, but my grandpa wouldn't stop trying to focus it. He's turning this and twisting that. The film catches on the second wheel and we have to stop and untwist it. Back on, and we're starting to get dizzy by the fuzzy/less-fuzzy/more-fuzzy/focused/back-to-fuzzy that my grandpa was doing. Finally we realize that the lenses in the projector were warped, because the left half of the screen would focus perfectly but the right never did. We tried another film, and that one snapped. Yikes. We tried a third, which wasn't labeled and turned out to be fifteen of random Disneyland footage with no family members in view and no fast foward button to be found, and my grandpa was convinced he could focus it, so he never ended the eye-wrenching blurring in and out.

I feel so bad for my grandpa, because he really felt like he failed. I think it really gets to him when he can't do the same things that he used to be able to do. Like, the part of the machine where you stick the film in is a really small space, and he couldn't quite get his now arthritic fingers to guide it in. When people get frustrated with him and try to intervene, he just feels useless, you can see it. It kills me. But at the same time, he will literally do something for hours without asking for help, even when everyone is waiting on him, so sometimes we have to intervene, but it takes finesse. I did my best to convince him we had to stop because the projector lenses were the problem, so we'd need to rent one and do it tomorrow. But, if the lenses were warped, that means my grandpa didn't upkeep it as well as he should have. At least, that's what he thinks, so it's kind of no-win.

I love my grandpa so much...and I know he focuses on the handy-man/mechanic stuff because that's what he "does," that's his thing, so if he can't fix our broken doorknob, then he thinks, what good am I? Which is so ridiculous, but I get it. I also think he likes to take care of "his girls" (which is just a little funny, since we are a family of seriously tough women). Of course, it's mostly because of him that I was the only one in my dorm with a tool kit that I used (and was borrowed) numerous times, and that I could fix something simple like my broken screen door in Ohio, when my roommates wanted to call our maintenance man.

So, maybe I should tell him that? I'm extremely tired, so I hope this made a little bit of sense. We're going for Round 2 on the home videos tomorrow; I'll let you know how it goes. I'm also dying to photoblog, I got some great family pics tonight, but that will have to wait until next week.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Your house is worth a million bazillion dollars.

The doorbell rang last night and it was the Remax man (a local realtor). He was pretty cute. He asked me if I noticed the house one street over that was just put on the market. I said no, so he said, "Okay, well it's going for $669,000 and I was....[cue me, bending over laughing]...I know, crazy right?" Oh my god, what dimension am I living in where the houses in my neighborhood are pushing three-quarters of a million dollars? The market has officially gone f'ing insane. I mean, let's be honest these aren't nice houses. All the houses in the four street surrounding area are cookie-cutter, one-story, three bed two baths with small backyards. Ridiculous.

In high school, I had some friends in the neighborhood, and it always freaked me out to walk into a house that looked exactly like mine but had completely different furnishings. We rent, because we couldn't even afford this place when we moved in, and have an awesome landlady who lives in Texas and hasn't raised our rent in fifteen years. My mom always said, even if we had the money, we'd never waste it on buying this place. I mean, there are cracks in some of the walls from either the foundation shifting or too many earthquakes. (There was an earthquake when we came to the house to sign the lease, ha.) Not to mention that every single night there is some ginormous spider in my bathroom and have to wake my mom up to kill it. At least, that's why I would never buy this house, haha.

It seems that Ventura County is the new hot spot in California. Even cities like Camarillo, which were kind of ghost towns when I was a kid, are booming and busting over with people scrambling to get in. VTA is on the coast, so I guess it's super-prime these days. Our house is also positioned between a high school, middle school, and a really good magnet elementry school, so I can see the attraction to this neighborhood (it's why we moved here), but still. 669K? I am officially, utterly appalled.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Palm Desert: We Have a Monopoly on Heat

Holy heatstroke. Don't get me wrong, I had a nice, relaxing time. Margarita in one hand, novel in the other, tan lines forming around my bikini. On the other hand, it was literally so hot I wanted to die. After two minutes, you were sweating. After ten, you already felt sunburnt. After thirty minutes, you run to the bar for an icy drink. After an hour, the pool filled with children seems like your only hope.

On Monday, I managed to spend four of these hours by the pool. I ended up getting a pretty good schedule. Ten minutes reading, five minutes in the pool, two minutes laying back with my eyes closed, which was all the time it took to completely dry off, then repeat. I'm not usually a pool person, but there was no way anyone could sit out there for that long without getting in the water. Luckily, I remembered sunscreen, so I didn't burn until three more hours the next day. It's not too bad, considering it felt like the hole in the ozone was directly above us.

If you're having trouble picture this, here's a diagram:
My Vacation in Palm Desert
(click to make bigger)

When you arrive in Palm Desert they assign you a space heater that follows you everywhere, just in case the sun goes behind the clouds or something. It's plugged into the hot air.

On Monday night my mom and I sat on our back porch - oh, we had a PHAT PAD by the way. I have tons of pictures, but I can't upload them to my mom's computer, so they'll have to wait. So we were sitting there, admiring our view of the 9th hole, and suddenly the entire view disappeared behind a wall of sand. I mean, literally, everything vanished. We ran inside and it wasn't long before we heard the thunder, then the power went out. We got the earthquake kit with the flashlights and portable radio from my mom's car and ended up laughing our asses off at things I can hardly even remember now. Including the HUGE tumbleweed that lodged itself next to my mom's car and the ten year old Odwalla bar my mom seemed to think would keep someone alive if they were trapped under debris from a 10.0 earthquake.

Also, we weren't the only ones who questioned going to Palm Desert in August. Not only is it the "off-season" but the entire city is like a ghost town. Stores had signs that said "Will Reopen in September" and the hotel restaurant was only open on the weekends. But, that's okay, I prefer the pool without lots of commotion. We had a good time. I'll be sure to post pictures later, including some of the bunnies and ducks that seemed to live on our porch. Not as cute as baby penguins, but I hear they don't like the desert sun as much.

Back again.

Just got back from Palm Desert this morning, which I'll blog about in a bit - including my brand new halter tan lines - but I just checked my email and there was something too funny to go unblogged.

See, the friends with whom I went to law school don't know anything about my blog. Not that I'm really keeping it a secret. They're just not really computer people (I think I even mentioned my blog once to a couple of them in passing, and they inquired no further, if they had any idea what I was talking about in the first place). They may have used laptops everyday to take notes, but they're not exactly like me, who has to go into rehab everytime Mac does some repairs on the little iBook.

So imagine my surprise when one of them sent this email Sunday (yup, a week after the bar), to a group of us:

Subject: For all those who thought the MBE was a nightmare...
I found this blog and really enjoyed it...

I also enjoyed this one...

Then, apparently after she did some surfing, this one:
Here it is again--someone else who thought it was the first run-through of the questions...

Ha. Congratulations GG and Eve, my friend likes your blogs. Now, of course, both of these blogs link to me and I comment pretty regularly on how long until one of them looks over at the sidebar and says, "Two-Timing the what? Let's go see..."

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Literally, the face of the sun.

I sort of lied. I'm actually going to Palm Desert, not Palm Springs. They're right next to each other, but no one has ever heard of Palm Desert so I got tired of explaining it to people everytime they asked. Are you wondering what the pool looks like that I'll be tanning next to? I know you are.

I forgot to mention that I saw March of the Penguins yesterday! It's just as great as everyone is saying.
From March of the PenguinsFrom March of the Penguins
Of course, it's a little more sad than I thought it would be. Not overall, but you know, it's life and death. There was a little girl, maybe four or five years old, in the row behind me who started sobbing at one point, crying, "Mommy! What happened to the baby!?" So there's frozen baby penguins on the screen in front of me and a little girl's heart breaking behind me. I nearly lost it.

But I think the National Geographers went to great lengths not to dwell on the violence of being a wild animal, and instead focus on the love and loss and joy and struggle of the penguins, which is quite moving.

Oh, I got a pedicure yesterday. The girl raised my foot to pumice it and said, "Oh, what happened?" I said, "Um, this happened." Gross, a month later and I'm still recovering from those blisters. At least I got some money out of it.

I'm off to pack. I may or may not be blogging, depending on whether the Marriott has free internet access. (The Marriott in Oakland wanted $1 a minute, which I could rack up pretty quickly. Twenty bucks to check my email? No way.)

Check you guys later!

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