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ladysaotome [userpic]

She lives! ;)

August 19th, 2015 (09:52 pm)
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I've been on a drama dry-spell. Not due to lack of interest but life happens and there's been a lot going on. Other than a few episodes of I Can Hear Your Voice that I've been watching a few times a month with my mom and sister, I haven't watched much of anything drama-wise since October.

(This does not include American tv, as I can listen/watch those while doing the dishes and folding laundry and other chores than need my eyes. So Flash is awesome, Arrow is starting to bore me and Drop Dead Diva is my newest love - I'm on season 3. Also, Australia makes some very cute shows - Munchkin and I have watched the H2O and Mako Mermaid series together and they are seriously good!)

Anyway, I've been up to my ears in research for dyslexia, special education, IEPs and all the fun stuff that comes with all of that. I could bore you to death with our journey this year. Suffice it to say, we had Munchkin officially evaluated and she is definitely dyslexic with auditory slow-processing speed (called a double-deficit) and ADHD-inattentive type. School doesn't start until the 31st but hopefully they will come around in realizing the systems they are currently aren't helping and will try something proven to work.

Plus we spruced up the house all summer in a last-minute attempt to rent it out during the big rally a few weeks ago but that was a bust. At least our deck is no longer treacherous to walk on. ;)

All that being said, I decided to look through some of the old dramas saved on my external and settled on Wish To See You Again.

(Taiwanese Drama Confessions - tumblr)

It. Was. So. Cute!!! Ke Ai!

Now it's not the most epic drama ever or the most romantic or anything but something about it hit my fancy just right. I think part of it was Vic Zhou playing a writer with writer's block. He'd get so consumed with trying to find inspiration that he'd run around like a loon. I loved when he'd be writing and we'd flash to scenes with himself as the character. Michelle Chen was sweet in Why, Why, Love and just as cute here - to the point that I had a hard time accepting her in heels - she just doesn't seem old enough! But the chemistry between the two of them was perfect. And Kingone Wang never fails to play adorable secondary. (At least there were no real love-triangles in this, though there was defenitely a hot mess of relationships to sort out.) The only part of the story I didn't love was Ken Zhu's storyline - I took to fastforwarding those scenes as it'd be 20 minutes of angsty staring and 3 lines of dialogue. Taiwanese dramas are masters of starting off silly and then veering into serious and this was no different. But it handled things differently than I was expecting and it was nice to be surprised. Highly recommended.

Oh - and I am convinced this drama was partially funded by the tourism bureau or otherwise somehow involved in tourism. Several episodes revolved around the characters sight-seeing - Ali Mountain, Sun Moon Lake, the museums in Taipei, the 101 building, among others. Taiwan was already in the top 3 places I want to visit someday but now it's fighting the other two spots. ;)

The only negative I experienced was somehow I'm missing episode 11. And over the past few years, the torrent sites and fansubbing groups have all died out. But since it's an older drama, I couldn't find it on Viki or Dramafever. It took me a little digging to find a site where I could stream the episode with subtitles. It's sad how many of these older dramas are becoming elusive. I need to invest in a few new external harddrives before the ones I have die so I don't lose all my favorites that I may never find again.

ladysaotome [userpic]

My First craft show

February 12th, 2015 (07:21 pm)

So I took the plunge and The Nagging Crane had it's first craft show just before Christmas. I live in a teeny town so I figured I wouldn't need too much stock, I'd set my prices way low to entice sales and see what happened. And I made over $70!!

Pics below - but first, the wedding gift I made for my friend from the Minnesota trip back in October. It's a fragrance oil jar-thing that I covered in clay. What do you think?

And now the craft show:

My little helper

She approves of the Sayonara Dolls

Little charms I made - think I'll make earrings out of the diamonds and two of the drops


What do you think?
I sold a lot of the candy cane hearts, glow-in-the-dark pumpkins, and the gingerbread men. I guess people were in a Christmasy mood. Sold a few hotdogs and hamburgers. But no one seemed to even notice the ornaments or the dolls. What was funny is Hubby had suggested the Eeyore and I only used it to make him happy. But people continuously would walk by from the far end, get to the Eeyore and immediately want one of the earrings from his wires. I had to replenish him constantly. So kudos to Hubby!!

ladysaotome [userpic]

Random bits

October 25th, 2014 (06:04 pm)

Just got back from a trip to Minneapolis for an old college roommates wedding. Several old friends were there - it was amazing seeing people I haven't seen since graduation in 2002. (Wow, has it been that long already?!) The newlywed husband works at the Mall of America and gave us free passes to the amusement park. Let's just say Munchkin had a blast. ;) I'll share some pics once I get them off Hubby's phone. On a side note, I knew Minneapolis was a highly multi-cultural city but wow!

Also watched the 1995 Sense & Sensibility the other day. It was cute - I think it may be my favorite Austen adaptation next to Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma. Although half of it may be that it's like watching a strange Hogwarts reunion. With a side dose of House. Where Snape gets the girl... ;)

Also, Munchkin rented the first season of Rouroni Kenshin from the library. She's a daughter after her mommy's own heart! :D Although since she doesn't read so well, we're watching the English dub which is nowhere as good as the original but oh, well.

ladysaotome [userpic]

Book reviews

July 9th, 2014 (09:49 am)

A while back I started a separate blog for my book reviews and book/writing-related ramblings. LJ is going to stay my place to personally chat and also squee about my Asian drama obsession (and sometimes manga/anime) but I thought I'd try to get slightly more focused by separating the book topic.

So if any of you are interested, my other blog: Sparks of Ember - ta-da!!

ladysaotome [userpic]

Happy Independence Day, USA!!

July 4th, 2014 (12:18 pm)

I'm a military brat so maybe that's why I'm highly opinionated in politics but also incredibly patriotic. I still to this day think movie theaters should always start each movie with the national anthem playing, like they do on military bases. Anyway, I took Munckin to see Tops In Blue perform Wednesday night. I haven't had the chance to see them in years but I grew up watching their performance annually - one time on the actual 4th of July and just as they were ending the show with patriotic songs, fireworks started going off across the bay *sigh*. I realized as we were watching that I want to make sure Munchkin grows up with the same strong feeling of patriotism I was raised with. Watching movies like Tora, Tora, Tora and The Great Escape and The Bridge On The River Kwai, etc. And an appreciation of her grandpa's and great-grandpa's and uncles who have fought and suffered for their families and this country. It's in her blood and I don't want her to forget it!

ladysaotome [userpic]


June 21st, 2014 (01:01 pm)

So recently, one of the big jdramas playing was Rich Man, Poor Woman with Oguri Shun & Ishihara Satomi. One of the key plot points in the drama was that the main character was supposed to have Prosopagnosia - face blindness. I felt it was one of those plot points they make a big deal of while it's convenient and then conveniently forget about once it's no longer useful to the story. Anyway, I recently read an article interviewing a man I know from one of my writing groups. It's about his life with prosopagnosia and I thought it was interesting and had to share. Here's the article.

ladysaotome [userpic]

(no subject)

June 16th, 2014 (11:03 am)

I promise, I'm usually not a complainer, so I apologize my posts have been so whiney lately. I plan to start posting normal/fun stuff soon. Finish my Rolling Love recap and probably do a Just You recap as I'm rediscovering my love for twdramas lately. But that being said, I thought I should update everyone on our never-ending house saga. ;)

House stuff...Collapse )

On a personal news front, Hubby and I attended a Susan Barton Dyslexia seminar. It was fascinating! We learned so much but also confirmed that Munchkin is much more severely dyslexic than we had hoped. Apparently, the earlier they catch it, the more severe it usually is. Most kids are able to fake their way through school till about 3rd grade so the fact we caught her's in Kindergarten is an indication how severe it is. We are also frustrated now at Munchkin's lack of progress is school. She is starting 4th grade next year. And her reading level is mid-1st-grade. She started 3rd grade at beginning-1st-grade level so she progressed about half a grades worth in one school year. The Barton Dyslexia curriculum promises pretty steady improvement but it is expensive. $200-$300 per level and there are 12 levels, although from what I understand most people don't pursue past level 4. That's all they need to give them the tools to be able to progress further on their own. My in-laws think we should try to get the school to buy the curriculum but I don't know how much of a chance we have with that. I'd also like to work on Munchkin's math so I'm thinking we may just pony up the cash and start teaching her at home over the summer and see how much improvement we get before school starts.

Oh - my biggest and best news is - I got a kitty!! I am such a huge cat person but haven't had one in years. I had the fattest, sweetest cat back when Hubby and I first got married. But when we moved out west I had to give him away and it broke my heart to do. Now that we have a permanent house, we've promised Munchkin a dog and I get a kitty. We're still looking for a puppy for her - we're thinking golden retriever or black lab or some such. Something that doesn't require too big a yard or love to run all the time, that would also be gentle with Munchkin as she loves dogs but is also timid around them, and wouldn't try to eat my cat. ;) Shelters are expensive, too! I was astounded when we started looking and they are wanting $80-$200 per dog, plus we'd still have to get them spayed/neutered and shots. But a friend of my boss had a cat with kittens so we got one for free last Wednesday.

Everyone, meet Cali! (Short for calico. And I googled it and she's not a calico, she's a Torbie, but we don't care. lol) She's about 10 weeks old and the prettiest kitty on the planet. ;)

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I absolutely adore her. She spent 2 hours last night, napping on the back of the couch with her front half draped around my neck, purring every now and then as she stirred. And the best part is Hubby is smitten, too. He's always been reluctant about getting a cat and he gets frustrated when she doesn't want to play or cuddle when he wants (which is why he is more of a dog person). But he just loves how pretty she is, how cute she is and how she purrs ALL THE TIME :D - he's even brought her in our bedroom to sleep on our bed and his biggest rule before the cat came home was our bedroom had to be offlimits. Wow! lol She follows me everywhere - sleeping under the desk when I'm on the computer, on the couch when I am reading or watching tv, crawling under the blankets and sheets to sleep against my knees at night. (I'm always afraid she's going to suffocate herself! lol)

ladysaotome [userpic]


February 11th, 2014 (01:58 pm)

Well, they are done and we're not sure how we feel about it. We're also really confused cause I don't understand everything that happened.

So they were supposed to work on the sewer line Thursday. (It was frigid, a high of 4 degrees.) My husband swung by the house after checking out of the hotel around 10:45 to see if they were there & they were already at work digging up the yard with their backhoe. He asked if they needed anything and they asked him to unlock the basement door in case they needed to get to the utility room for anything. Then we didn't hear from them the rest of the day until I was just leaving work at 5:05. The Sewer Excavator Guy called and I thought he was calling to see if I could come over. But he was calling to tell me they didn't finish after all - that they needed to get different fittings. I asked if the camera had been run yet & he said not yet as the Camera/Draincleaner guy couldn't come until Friday also. He was mostly calling to let us know to go lock the basement door.

So right off the bat I'm wondering if they really didn't finish because of fittings or because they were waiting for the camera and because of the extreme cold. So I went by and locked the door. A ditch was dug from about 5ft from the house (about where they had stopped the last time) to a few feet from the street (just short of the red painted stripes showing where the power lines are). A long piece of Schedule 40 pipe was laid alongside the hole, propped against the backhoe which was straddling the ditch.

Then today we don't hear anything again. My husband avoided going by the house because he didn't want them to feel like we were checking up on them. (silly of him) I swung by the house on my way to work at 8am and unlocked the door, texted the Ditch guy & told him but didn't hear back. Then he calls me about 3pm and asks if I can run up to talk.

I get there and the backhoe is just finishing up piling the dirt back over the former ditch. It's in piles because of the cold, the ditch guy says it is too frozen to clean up nicely and it'll just have to settle in the spring.

He tells me that the line didn't belly after all. That the camera/draincleaner guy just thought it bellied because there was so much water in the line. That there was a spot with a series of fittings and a small curve about 20 feet out that was solidly packed with dirt/gravel. He said it was all from the earlier break that was repaired - that during the previous break, there had been so much gravel washed down the line that it had created a second clog that they hadn't known about at the time.

So there was the previous spot coming out of the house which was repaired, then a long stretch of pipe, then the clog, then more pipe running under the power lines, under the road to the main. They re-used the long stretch of pipe because it was fine and dandy, schedule 40 pipe which he likes, very clean, etc. They just replaced the clogged chunk.

At some point (I'm really not clear when) the camera/draincleaner guy cleaned the pipes. He got supposedly 125 feet out cleaning which is a mystery to them as supposedly the city main starts about 20 feet out from where they were. But his camera is broken from when he came the other day and it slammed into our clog of gravel. He actually left today to head to Denver and fix his camera. So he couldn't use the gps feature to find exactly where the line was under the road.

Sewer Excavator Guy kept saying camera/draincleaner guy didn't come today cause he had to go repair his camera. And he said he held off having him come yesterday since they were having issues with the fittings. So I'm a little confused when did he run 125 feet of line to clean if he didn't come? Or he did come, then left, then didn't come back?

So since camera/cleaner couldn't come Friday, the contractor/digger guy ran a hose with some kind of sewer nozzle. He ran the hose 50 feet out to make sure there was no gravel left in the pipe. When he pointed a light into the pipe (the piece poking out from under the power line where they were about to replace clogged section) he could see two spots where it wasn't perfectly straight - where the line was offset a tiny bit. But he says it was offset with the further piece slightly below the closer piece and since water runs on the bottom, we should be fine and not to worry. He also never felt his hose hit the city main line which he thinks is odd. But without a camera, there's no way they can determine anything for sure. According to the city, the city main is 20 feet out. But he never felt it so he's not sure what is going on.

So because of the two off-sync parts of the pipes & the fact that they aren't sure where the city main line is, he recommends having camera/draincleaner guy back out in the spring/summer just to have a look and make sure everything is A-OK.

My husband and I just don't know what to think at this point.

For one, if this clog was part of the original problem, then shouldn't they have run the hose the first time and caught the problem then? Should we have to pay for this when we already paid once? Or at least, should we expect a discount - no transportation fees and so on? (We don't know what the bill will be - he quoted us $1500-1700 on Tuesday when we first discussed this. Which is how much we paid last time. But that was when we thought the line bellied, not that it was more clog from the earlier disconnect.)

Two, this whole part about "the pipes not being seamless when he shines a light down them, but not to worry, but have it checked out in the summer". And the city sewer line they aren't sure is where it is supposed to be. How should we feel about this? We wanted peace of mind and to know 100% no more problems and I don't feel like we were given that. But at the same time, if this guy was trying to give us the run-around, he wouldn't have told us all of this in the first place.

So not feeling like we can just relax, not worry, resume life as normal & just mark on our calendar to have a camera run in a few months. I'm trying to talk to the City Public Works Director who came out to watch and took some pictures of his own. (Is that normal or just one of the things that comes with being in such a small town?) He worked for 12 years with a different sewer-excavator crew so he should know his stuff and hopefully be able to make recommendations. I left a voice mail yesterday, tried calling today and got voice mail again and didn't want to leave a message two days in a row. We're still waiting for a bill and pictures from Sewer Excavator Guy - last time he dropped them off the very next day but nothing so far this time. But it's only been a few days, maybe he was just really fast that time. Or maybe he's decided not to bill us at all... I posted the whole saga on a plumbing forum and someone there recommended getting a different camera guy asap. We probably will soon as I manage to get ahold of the city guy. If we even have another camera guy around here.

ladysaotome [userpic]

"You From Another Star" owns me

February 6th, 2014 (10:31 am)

Can I just say I squealed/screamed like a giddy schoolgirl over the first 5 minutes of YFAS, episode 14. And pretty much had the same reaction when they replayed that scene later.

Such. A. Good. Drama!!!!

ladysaotome [userpic]

(no subject)

February 4th, 2014 (02:46 pm)

Camera can only get about 10 ft across the yard before he can't get it any farther. The entire line that he can cover is a disaster so he assumes the rest of it will be also - basically everything that hasn't been replaced needs to be.

We are waiting to hear from the contractor. He said he is trying to get a hold of camera guy for one last piece of info but he plans to come out tonight to take a look and then will let us know the plan.

Our state farm agent is pretty sure we won't be covered since it is considered "maintenance" and no pipes have blown in the house to make a mess. However, he is researching as we are pretty much displaced at this point so that should count for something.

We are trying to get a hold of the city & find out at what point does it become their responsibility. If they have to dig up the road, is that on us or them, etc. My research online says that such things vary city to city. While we are at it, we want to find out who did the original sewer line so we can make sure to never, ever use him for anything.

We are looking into financing at this point. Plus we still have to figure out housing options. But it depends on what the contractor tells us is the time frame. Of course, this all has to happen in the middle of a freeze. We won't see double digits until Friday.

Ok, Just spoke with contractor and got the 411. The line dips about 10 feet out (so just past what was replaced) and then comes up about 20 feet out and that's as far as he can get the camera. They will come replace the line on Thursday. He thinks they can get it all in one day. Replace everything left from the previous sewer line up to the line off the city sewer that the developer put in. That part should be fine since it's presumably a different guys work but just to be sure, he will have the camera guy run the rest of the way under the street to the city sewer part. He is still talking to the city to get drawings and names and find out when the city takes over and so on. But he assumes the rule is probably similar to Rapid City and that the entire line up to the City Main Sewer is our responsibility.

He also decided $1500-1700ish as long as they don't have to go under the street. Plus we'll probably have to pay another $350 to the camera guy. That guy is sure getting his monies-worth from us!
So next two nights in a hotel. Laundromat again tonight. But looking a lot better. Praying the street is not involved at all because then repairs go from $1700 to thousands upon thousands.

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