California, here we come

What happened since I last posted (it’s been a crazy few weeks) :

I finally made it to San Diego (via driving from Portland, Ore.). I had to cross some mountains in Ashland, but the Soul Train and all my stuff made it. Fun fact: the highest point on the I-5 is in the mountains of Ashland at 4310 feet. My mom ended up taking the wheel for most of California driving after I seriously got freaked out. It’s so true what they say about LA drivers–they do drive fast and crazy. But now that I’ve been in San Diego for two weeks, I’m getting used to the driving style (speed limit is obviously a suggestion — I’m driving 70 in the “slow lane” and I get passed all the time) and getting around and figuring out where everything is. And I had my mom for a week to help get me settled in, which was also fun. My condo also came with a roommate! She seems chill and awesome and I think we’ll work out just fine.

I love the weather in San Diego. It’s sunny, not too hot and just perfect. I think being in places that have not-so-great weather (Portland and Lexington, VA) makes me appreciate it even more. But at the same time, I refuse to freak out over half an inch of rain. We just got some rain (less than an inch) a couple weeks ago, and people kept calling it “a storm” and I kept thinking, “Oh please. Let me bring you to Portland and you can see how we get “mega storms” half the year.” On the day we got some rain, there were also many accidents. Newsflash: you can’t drive as fast when the road has water on it!

I also jumped headfirst into a new gig at a local TV news station that already has me working hard. I will end up writing for both the newscasts and the site, so I’ll be swinging both ways. I just finished up my two weeks of broadcast writing training and now I’m about to start training for the Web. YAY. I’m so amped on that. Web is my main deal — especially multimedia projects (for which there are opportunities). It gets crazy and stressful, but the good news is that it’s never boring.

But not like it was a completely painless transition: some goodbyes never happened. Some weren’t as meaningful as I wanted and some people haven’t quite grown up yet. As much as I love how everything is exciting and new and an adventure, I miss mostly people, but some things like no sales tax, homecooked lumpia, delicious microbrews and evergreen trees.

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Nothing like confusing a killer whale and a delicious dish

My mom is hilarious and I will miss conversations like this. She and I were discussing the city of San Diego one night over dinner.

Jess: It’s cool there. They have the beach, Legoland (not as cool as the real one in Denmark obviously) and Shamu!

Mom: Oh, you mean like the drug?

Jess: There’s a drug called Shamu?

Mom: Yeah, like Shamu-Shamu??

Jess: What are you talking about?!?

Hilarity for hours! Upon further research, I think she meant shabu shabu, which is delicious Japanese hot pot.

Another reason I’ll miss her is because she knows how to shop. Or as we call it, “investing.” I know I said I needed to cut back on my investing, but I argue that it’s almost my birthday (Feb. 25).

After church last Sunday we decided to go to Nordstrom Rack. With Rack, it’s clearly hit or miss. One day, there will be so many things (all the stuff you wanted in the main store but didn’t want to pay full price for), and the next day will have nothing. She went to get some shoes for herself and while she’s wandering around, she finds these gorgeous purple/reddish Frye Harness boots for $119! In size 6! Oh man, it was just like the wise men finding the Christ child.

Love these already!

The going rate for these fabulous leather boots is about $200, and for good measure. They’re well made and will last for years. The Frye company is the oldest American shoe company still in operation (since 1863), supplying boots for soldiers during the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and hippies in the 1960s (gotta throw those history tidbits in — it’s a given). They’ve had nearly 150 years to perfect the art of making the best boots.

I’ve only seen them in black and tan in the Nordstrom stores, so it was weird to see the plum already at the Rack.

But what makes things even better is that my mom let me use her $20 Nordstrom note, which brought my boots down to $99. Luck? Or divine intervention?

As the Nordstrom guy said, my mom and I have “black belts in shopping.” That doesn’t even begin to cover it. You may as well call her the grand master. She innately knows how to find the best deals on anything and hold on to her money as much as possible, which makes me believe that my frugal Asian mom and my future Jewish mother-in-law will get along nicely.

I’m also busy working on a Web site for a friend and staying positive about my life.

This is good. If anything, I have perfected the domestic arts. I can make excellent soup, do laundry, iron and navigate public transit.

Or if all else fails, I could end up taking this guy’s approach.