Thursday, December 25, 2008

My White Christmas

Growing up on southern California, I have never spent much time in snow. It did fall a couple of times near my house, but that melted before it even touched the ground. When I moved to the Sacramento area I thought here was my chance to enjoy some real winter weather. It wasn't that far to ski resorts and snowshoeing paths and it seemed like it would be simple to figure out what these things were about. Then life happened and I very rarely had time to drive up the mountain and no time to attempt these things.

Now, I live in Reno. Reno's elevation is 4,400 feet above sea level, so it's considered high desert. It gets cold here and I'm still not used to that, but what I do find exciting (for now) is that it snows here! This seems amazing to me. Actual pieces of frozen material fall down on me when I go outside! I know, all of you who have lived where it snows are making fun of me. Everyone tells me I'll grow to hate the snow. I know I probably will. I've already realized it completely curtails my ability to go rock collecting. But at this point, the snow is just something unusual and amazing to me. I can't believe how pretty it makes everything, even my crappy neighborhood.

I moved here to Reno at the beginning of November and they were having an unusual warm streak then. It was sunny and fairly warm and everyone went around in short sleeves. Then the weather changed. It turned cold and just being outside and breathing hurt my lungs. Then a few days ago, a light dusting of snow fell. The cats stared out the windows, bemused, and I ran outside in my bare feet to get a picture of it. It mostly melted off when the sun came out and then another light dusting fell again. It's been going on like this for a few days and then this morning I looked outside and it was white!
Snow must have been falling all night since the ground outside is completely covered. What a Christmas surprise-my first heavy snowfall! I actually live in a place where there are such things as white Christmases. It is incredible. It is amazing. It is cold! I ran outside as soon as I noticed the coating of white and didn't take the time to grab my shoes. My poor little feet about froze off. Now I sit starring out the window, watching the snow continue to fall. It has been going on and off all day long and the snow keeps piling up. Maybe I'll go out and make my first snow angel...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My New Apartment

As some of you may know, I just moved to Reno from the Sacramento area. My new apartment is sort of cute, but better yet, it's cheap. It's right across the river from the downtown casinos and is more importantly, near the main library. It is interesting, I've never lived right in the middle of a city. I'm pretty much a country girl at heart and love living on lots of land with space for all my animals. It is nice to be close to stuff though. When I post on Craigslist and Freecycle there are people actually located close to me! (-: I'll also be right near Street Vibrations and Hot August Nights when they go on. Yeah!

There are a couple of things that are bugging me about the new place though. One is that it is an apartment and an old one at that. It lets every sound in and every sound out. You can even hear the people below me talking and when someone knocks on someone else's door, I can't tell if it's mine or the neighbor's. I can be quiet when I need to be but the cats and the rabbits can't seem to understand they should be quiet as well. Little Bit has been chasing Holly around their cage (the rabbits) starting at about 1 am and continuing until about 5 am. The cats have been playing racetrack by running around the apartment and then bouncing off the wall to turn around in the other direction and run that way. It sounds like a herd of galloping horses. All this at about 3 am until everyone in the apartment building is awake and leaving very early for work. I've tried everything to get them to shut up and at least play tag during the daytime. No go. My cats and rabbits are obviously not prepared to be quiet to satisfy anyone, least of all me. I think my neighbors are either acclimating to the constant noise or have started to sleep with earplugs since I don't hear them wake up whenever the cats start anymore. So, since no one has come up and screamed at me for disturbing their sleep I think we're doing okay there.

The other problem I'm having with the apartment is stupid. I can't figure out a way to arrange it so that it is comfortable and not terribly cluttered. I said it was stupid. It wasn't a problem initially since we didn't bring any furniture over the mountains with us. The car was pretty much packed with the cats and rabbit cages and we barely had enough room for some clothes and random items. So the apartment was nice and empty to start with. Lots of room and it looked easy enough to arrange the furniture when we got some. I looked and looked and finally found a small couch for free on Craigslist. We ran over and picked it up with our car. (Yeah, we strapped it on top. We looked great driving around like that!) After carrying it up the stairs and putting it in our apartment we realized there was a problem. Even though it was a small couch it sort of took over the apartment. Then we got a free bed when one of the casinos was getting all new ones (yep, strapped it to the car again). That took up the entire bedroom. Free TV stand, filled another corner. A couple of cute, free blue chairs, we can barely move. Well, it's a small apartment, it was to be expected.
My problem is that the orientation of the living room makes it almost impossible to set up in a way that makes sense. Almost one entire side is open to the kitchen with one small wall next to the hallway with a wall radiator on it. The opposite wall is almost all window from about 3' up. On another wall is the entrance to the room set right in the center. That means almost everything has to go against the one empty wall so nothing gets blocked. The entertainment center had to go kitty corner next to the door where it's blocking one window completely and another partially. So, every time I've been sitting on the couch one thought keeps going through my mind, "Why do apartment designers have to make apartments impossible to decorate?" All they had to do was move the door over 1' or put the radiator on a wall where it made sense to put it. Just doing one of those things would mean I could arrange my furniture properly. But no, for some reason they didn't think anyone was ever going to put furniture in the living room or something and so made it impossible not to block the entrance to the kitchen, the radiator, the door, or the windows. Why?! Why would they do it this way? So, lately this is bothering me. I keep rearranging the furniture in my head, trying to figure out some way that it will work.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gem-O-Rama Articles

I've been really busy lately. Ever since I went to Gem-O-Rama in 2007 and came back with some great mineral specimens, I've been having a problem. Everyone wanted in on the whole Gem-O-Rama thing! They wanted to know all about what it was, where it was, and how they could do it. So, I had to keep telling people how to go and do it and sending people my photographs so they could see what it was like. That just didn't seem like enough to give people an idea of what it was really like though. Then, this last September I found a site that let me describe how to do Gem-O-Rama to everyone in the world that was interested. So, I wrote an article. Then it seemed like that wasn't enough, so I wrote another one, and another. Now, I've got a bunch of articles on how to do Gem-O-Rama as well as several other topics. Check them out here: I've gotten addicted to article writing and so have been doing it constantly lately. That is, when I'm not trying to prevent my kitties from walking on my keyboard...jmkljjkhfgggbhjf