Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ghetto Hikes

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I was eating lunch at my desk and stumbled upon something awesome: Ghetto Hikes. Have you guys heard of it? This guy's job is to take urban kids on nature hikes. He writes down stuff that they say. I'm loving it. I was laughing out loud at my desk. Some of it reminded me of this father and son on the trail. (I secretly snapped a picture of them.) The little guy was miserable and the dad kept telling him to stay in front and keep going, that any moment now the trail was going to flatten out.

I love hiking. It's my favorite way to spend time outside. But I guess some people don't share my hiking tendencies. These kids do warm my heart though!

Watching Mockingbirds

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My apartment balcony looks out on the pool area. I like to sit out there and watch birds, ducks landing in the pool, cats stalking birds. A week or so ago I started hearing a different, more high-pitched sound coming out from a palm tree closest to the balcony. Turns out a mockingbird built a nest in there, and little baby birds hatched. When I wasn't studying for my interview last weekend I was watching the parents get fruit from a nearby tree and bringing it back to the babies. It's so cool. The birds in the nest are quiet until one of the parents returns and then they scream their little heads off for food. It's beautiful. I managed to snap this picture of the papa bird flying back to the fruit tree. I'm going to miss this place.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

T Minus One Hour

I'm about to have yet another interview. (I had 9 interviews last week!) This is for a job that I really, really want. I hope it doesn't go like this.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet Break-Up Article

Photo via craponthecob

I just read this article on breaking up that Joanna posted. It was such a sweet reflection on a sensitive topic of telling people about your loss.

I see a lot of people reach out to their friends and families for support after a breakup. "I needed to know that I was not inherently unloveable. I needed people to agree that she was a colossal idiot." It's even worse with the advent of Facebook because you can see your ex reaching out to people and they say things like, "She wasn't that great anyway" or "You'll find someone better." Well, awesome. Thanks, guys. Maybe send a text next time.

I do the opposite. I avoid telling people until I absolutely have to. I resist moving things around, taking pictures down, getting rid of ex's stuff. It's as if changing things means I accept that it's over. So, 6 months later, I still have smiling pictures of the past on the shelves. I suspect they'll stay that way until I move.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Initiating Change

Oof dah! I have a bit of news. I am interviewing for jobs in the Silicon Valley. This has always been part of "the plan", and I'm finally pulling the trigger. I have to admit, I am slightly overwhelmed. There are so many emotions, and I can't really make heads or tails of them. On one hand, I really love my team at Final Draft. I feel like I'm breaking up with a loving boyfriend who is so good to me. (Yes. It's very dramatic.)

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My amazing, super-awesome, smart, supportive, funny team at Final Draft + Angie and Gypsy (the most photogenic dog)

I love living in Thousand Oaks. I have the coolest apartment (gas stove and lofted ceilings - what-what!) and friendly neighbors. I am familiar with a lot of cool places to hike and run around here. My favorite frozen yogurt shop, my favorite home improvement store, and my favorite grocery store are walking distance from my place. It seems silly to leave something so good. On the other hand, I know there are awesome companies up North. I know that I can find a place where I'll fit in again. And I would really like to stay (geographically) close to my brother.

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Sitting at the top of the highest peak of Santa Monica Mountains - just another beautiful day in Southern California

All these feelings are layered on top of the "interview-panic". Technical interviews are incredibly stressful for me. The basic-HR-"tell me about yourself"interview is enough to twist my stomach into knots, not to mention an interview with brainteasers and coding questions. I cannot think of a worse feeling than being given a question, getting stuck, and hearing the person on the other end breathing into the telephone. My back starts sweating, and I just get more and more stuck. Then as soon as the interviewer helps me a little, I beat myself up over not having thought of that myself. Agh! I feel like this process is shortening my life by a decade.

Brrrr
At a gorgeous Southern California beach on a cloudy day

I know that moving up North is the right thing to do. It has always been my dream to work at a start up company and do something great, to "take risks and fail fast". I have to see this through. I know I'm not the best at what I do - not by a long shot, but I love working with a team that is supportive, that I'm not afraid to ask for help, that asks for my help (who knew I could have good ideas?!). They make me feel like I hung the moon when all I did was finish a feature, or write a macro for something that we all use. They're a tough act to follow.

I read this piece of advice at the beginning of this year: "You can have the life that you want." Not a day goes by without me recalling those encouraging words. I am definitely afraid of feeling lonely, of losing what community I have here, of feeling inferior to other developers; but I am more afraid of not, at least, taking a shot at it. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Made Me Laugh Out Loud

This is titled: When I text my crush to hang out, but then he never answers.


"No? ALRIGHT!"

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Congratulations, Vova

This week was not all bad. On Friday I got to go to Vova's graduation from USC with a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degree. I took the morning off work, got ready listening to Pomp & Circumstance on repeat, got frustrated by LA traffic, ran to the Archimedes Plaza (from a parking spot 2 miles away), and teared up as the announcer mispronounced his name. He is now off to Northern California starting a job at Box. It's bittersweet, really.

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Look at us. I think that's me starting 1st grade and Vova starting 4th? Where did he get that swanky 3-piece suit from? I don't remember it. I do remember my jacket. I remember being so excited for school that I could not sleep. I remember my mom working on probably finishing my jacket on the very loud sewing machine the night before 1 September, 1997.

Vova is doing the half-smile. I've got the smug-ass look on my face. I had that same expression in the class photo, which nicely framed in my 1st grade classroom. I remember coming up and looking at it then, regretting making that overly confident face. One of my classmates said what translated to "You look like a goddess of school". Not very attractive, as far as goddesses go.

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This was taken at my graduation from UCLA. Hey! Fourteen years later we learned how to smile! Vova got rid of the smile/smirk he was sporting in 1997, I got some straight front teeth  (thanks to Barry and Sue). And the bangs! I left in bangs in the 90s. I wish I could say the same for Vova.

Vova and I (Cropped)

And this is Vova's graduation. It was a gorgeous sunny day in May. I could not be more proud of him. He is so hardworking, and so smart. He has been such a great example of determination. Although it's a little discouraging that he succeeds at everything. Maybe I'll be a good example of how to fail and "never breathe a word about your loss". (Not likely. I love to whine.)

My brother is a constant inspiration for me. And for that, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Salty Water

Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there's a breeze

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There's a cracker, and a piece of cheese
And a sea-pup is peaking out from wet abyss

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Let's get a pair of binoculars, and watch the supermoon

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I'll scream when a wave crashes too close, and you'll pretend that you're a 'coon

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I've got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget-et-et-et-ET
I have a perfect body 'cause my eyelashes catch my sweat

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Yes, they do. They dooooo!

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Maybe one day you will understand
I don't want nothing from you but sweetly hold your hand
Till that day, please don't be so down
Don't make frowns, you silly clown

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Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there's a breeze
There's a shadow, you can't see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Raddest Name for a Blog

I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum



Sigh. Me too.

P.S. This print is pretty awesome.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How Russian Are You?

My very first (not job related) app is in the app store. No big.


Just kidding. I AM COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY EXCITED! So excited, that instead of making dinner right now I am typing this.

My brother tried to get me into developing iOS apps back when it wasn't even called iOS. (Hey, I'm kind of old!) So, we sat down and brainstormed this app into an idea. He walked me through how to do it all, and this project has actually been sitting around on my computer for a couple of years. I finally decided to tie up all the loose ends and submit it to the app store. I was completely expecting Apple to reject it for a variety of reasons. So I am totally surprised and excited that it actually came out.

I'm giving you, as loyal readers of i ♥ cs (read: mom and dad), an extra screen shot of the app. I know, I know. I'm a giver. It's who I am.


It's free, you guys. So, you should get it (before Apple realizes that they've made a huge mistake and pull it)! It's not a groundbreaking app by any means - it was an introductory project for me to get into iOS. And it's really meant as a joke between my brother and I. I'm working on a cooking-weights-conversion app right now. But that probably won't be out for a while.

Strawberry Shortcake

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Summer has officially arrived in California. Strawberries are finally in season! There are strawberries sold on the side of the road year-round. It's really a bait and switch, because the strawberries that you get in the fall or winter just taste like slightly strawberry-flavored water with strawberry texture. Ick.

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I went to the beach this past weekend, and on the way home stopped by a truck selling strawberries on the side of strawberry fields. I probably ate about a third of the giant box just driving home. They were so sweet and juicy. Now, I have not had my grandma's strawberries in years, so I can't really compare, but I imagine these came close. (I'm sure she would disagree.)

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I've made this strawberry shortcake recipe several times. And it does not disappoint (unless your baking powder is old and not very active, then they just come out a little flat). It's from Cook's Illustrated. I can't point to their recipe online because they require a paid subscription, but I have their awesome book that has more recipes that you will ever need. It's true, I think some recipes are unnecessarily complicated (blueberry muffins require you to make blueberry jam), but a lot of them are spot on.

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The dough comes together within 15 minutes in the food processor, the shortbread bakes in 12 minutes, the whipped cream comes together in literally about 90 seconds. About a third of the quartered berries are mashed with sugar and the rest are left crisp - so you get the perfect mix of berry you can chew and strawberry juice to soak the barely sweet shortbread. It's a summer staple!

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J.Crew Jerk Jeans


Oy! These jeans are the perfect color for some spring/summer pants. I really want them. Too bad they are $125. Why, J.Crew? Whyyyy?!