Week Wrap-Up | Link Round-Up | October 26 – November 1, 2013

This week started with a lovely, lovely birthday dinner with some close friends from Rochester.  Alan and I drove back for the weekend, and it was such a nice way to celebrate my 30th birthday!

On house-buying/selling: we are SO CLOSE to closing on our Rochester house.  I can’t wait to say that it’s done.  We’re working on stuff for the Hartford house, since our contract has us closing by the end of November.  I actually really like where we’re living now, which seems like such a blessing to me.  It seems like a short-term rental should be miserable, but the apartment is great.  It helps that it’s not strictly short-term housing, we just happened to get a short lease, with flexible sub-leasing options.

Today Alan is working.  He only works every other Friday, and this is a long week.  We don’t have any plans for the weekend, although we’ve been trying to go on a hike every weekend.  I’ll post some pictures if we go.

I’m also starting a 31-day yoga challenge with myself.  I have a delightful 20-minute workout on this DVD (the “shanti” workout) that is such a good stretch and very relaxing.  I’ve been quite sore from going to the gym three times a week, and I think some yoga is just the thing I need.


Here are some links from the last *mumbles* months since I last did a link round-up:

11 Simple Ways To Be Happy  |  Your Super-Awesome Life

Angelina Jolie’s Breasts and the Bravery of Letting Go  |  Storyline Blog

Congo’s Superhero Moms  |  The Daily Beast  |  via Lindsey Cooper

Euphemisms about babies  |  Indexed

How to Cite Social Media in Scholarly Writing  |  Sage Connection  | via I Love Charts

The Incredible Case Of The Bank Robber Who’s Now A Law Clerk  |  NPR

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn’s Fake Accent   |  The Atlantic

Why You Need to Brag More (And How to Do It)  |  Huffington Post  |  via Anne-Marie Slaughter


Let’s chat!

What are your weekend plans?  How do you feel about daylight savings time?




Hello from CT!

We are slowly settling into life in Connecticut.  We’re in an apartment with a six month lease, but it looks like we’ll actually be in the house closer to November than March.  Fortunately, our leasing office said we can assign (sublease) the rest of our lease, so it should work well.

It took way longer than anticipated to get internet set up.  I was somewhat smug that I had made an appointment to install internet at the apartment last Monday (the 9th), but it got really confusing with self-installing and dead phone jacks.  They finally sent a technician, who unplugged the filter from the phone jack, and everything worked.  I asked him if that was the whole problem.  He shook his head and said no, that he had hooked up the cable in the basement before coming to the apartment.  That would help, yes.

We got a new bed, new mattress, new chest of drawers, and new sectional couch delivered from Ikea.  Alan and I picked everything out a week ago, but because direct deposit wasn’t set up for his paychecks then, I went back this week to actually place the order and pay for everything.  I didn’t feel comfortable loading up a cart with 86 lb. mattresses and 240 lb. dressers.  So I used the “pick and deliver” service, which was only $119 for everything, and they delivered it 24 hours later.  It helps that we live about 45 miles from the Ikea in New Haven!

I’m still assembling furniture.  I have everything put together except for the drawers for the bed.  It surprises me that I like putting together Ikea furniture.  I’m very much a “big picture” person: I really prefer to know the overview before I hear the details.   But that doesn’t work (for me) with looking through furniture instructions.  Instead, I have to just do the next step, and trust that it will all come together.  And it does.  It’s a very Zen-like experience for me, focusing on the present.

Copper and Ptoley are doing well.  They did not like the seven hour car drive.  Copper hid under the passenger seat for 99% of the trip.  Ptoley walked around for a while, before perching on the center arm rest and looking out the windshield.  It wasn’t long before he got nervous, and climbed into my lap.  He’d lay there for maybe a whole minute, before he decided he really wanted to be able to see out the window, so he’d make a loop back to the center arm rest.  He split his time between those two locations, never staying long in either.

They weren’t happy to be in the car, and they were even less happy to be locked into the bathroom for the next six hours.  The apartment is a loft, and the bathroom is the only room of the house that has a door that closes and latches–all the closets have metal bi-fold doors.  So the cats, their food, and their travel litter box hung out in the bathroom while we (mostly Alan–I had come down with a miserable cold the day before) unloaded the van.  They hid in the cabinet in the bathroom–poor cats :(

Alan seems to be enjoying his job.  He’s working on getting his security clearance right now, so his job duties are somewhat limited.  His office is in the unsecured part of the building, and the lab is secured.  He said the most common conversation in the cubicles is “let’s go to the lab–I need to talk to you about something.”  Despite the fact that all the employees’ offices are in the cubicles, I get the impression that he’s sometimes the only person there for portions of the day; everyone else is in the lab.

I got a new phone, an iPhone!  I’ve had a flip phone since forever, which has worked fine for me.  But being without internet, and without the ability to do things like look up bank balances, the decision to get a smartphone was reinforced in my mind.  I hadn’t been able to wrap my mind around a two-year contract for a ridiculous amount of money each month, so when a friend told me about Page Plus Cellular, I was intrigued.  I bought the phone (it works on the Verizon network with any Verizon phone) from Amazon Warehouse.  It’s a few generations old, but it was in a sealed package with all the original accessories, so I do not care!  And then I put a $12/month plan and a $10 prepaid card on the phone.  The $12/month plan is the lowest, and provides 250 minutes, 25o texts, and 10 MB of data.  I have cellular data turned off, and will turn it on if I’m out and about and need to look something up.  The $10 card is a cushion, so that if I use up the plan minutes/texts/data, I can draw from the card, which lasts 120 days.  So I could spend as little as $14.50 a month for iPhone coverage, which is awesome.

I also hooked my phone number up to Google Voice, so that I can have both a local number, and keep my old number.  It’s kind of like getting a new email address when you get married.  Plus, I can use the Google Voice app on the iPhone on WiFi (at home), and make calls without using my minutes!  It’s pretty nifty.

Lest you think my life is all new phones and new couches, 65% of the apartment is still boxes.  The decluttering never ends.  I’m hoping to consolidate between this move and the next.  And it’s hard to wrap my mind around settling into this apartment, if we’re moving again in a few months.  I have to go assemble more Ikea furniture and live in the present… or something…


I hope you have an excellent weekend!  Is it starting to feel like Fall?  Do you have any plans for the weekend?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!



Pristina Apartment

So the car brought me from the airport to the UNDP office.  There I met a bunch of people (I’m sure I can’t remember all their names!), including Maria Elena, my roommate.  She also works for the UNDP, but in their Environmental department.  She’s stationed in the Dragash Prizren region, which is south of Pristina, but she has to be in Pristina several times a week for meetings.  So she has an apartment here, and a spare room.

Here is how she described the apartment via email: The building and apartment are quite nice and comfortable. Nothing fancy but good standard for Kosovo, so you will be ok.  I figured it would be kind of like my apartment in China: cold plaster, uncomfortable furniture, outdated appliances.  And that was fine with me.  I actually really liked my apartment in China.

And here is what the apartment actually looks like:


Living Room

Dining Room


Bathroom (one of two!  The other is a half-bath)

My room (bed, couch, desk and closet—perfect!  I obviously still need to unpack)

It is gorgeous!  Maybe it’s not super fancy, but I really can’t imagine needing anything nicer than this…  In fact, I feel downright spoiled to be living here for the summer!

I still need to wander around and find the closest grocery stores.  Maria Elena drove me from the UNDP office to the apartment, and talked me through walking (you can take shortcuts walking that you can’t take via car).  Tomorrow morning someone will meet me nearby, and bring me to work, so I can figure it out.

I also got a cell phone, which seems to be essential around here.  Everyone in the UNDP office calls each other all the time.  Plus, you use cell phones to order taxis.  They told me not to try to wander around until I got a cell phone, so I could call for a taxi if I got lost.  A SIM card was five Euros, and I can refill it as necessary.  My American cell phone wouldn’t accept the card, so Maria Elena generously offered to lend me a spare phone she has for the summer.

Tomorrow’s my first day.  I have to unpack and hopefully get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll leave you with some pictures of the view from our apartment:




Did you find a typo in the post?  Let me know here.