I’m not so LA

Apparently, I forgot that I was in LA. I’m sitting in a cafe that I walked to (my neighbor gave me driving directions, but I knew it was only 2 blocks away). I also rode my bike to and from work today. I’m going to have to work harder on this fitting in thing. I think it goes beyond just wearing sandals every day — especially since I keep forgetting to paint my toenails.

I’m fully unloaded into my new apartment. Can’t say that I’m moved in since everything is still in boxes and I’m eating only food that can be prepared with a bowl and a microwave. But everything that I own is now in one place. And I’m really really sore from carrying so many boxes up the stairs. A town of one-story buildings and I move into the second floor. Figures.

It is nice to move into a neighborhood, though. I met my neighbors yesterday. On one side Kenneth & his wife (Corrine? Correlle?) were watering the lawn. On the other side, Terry Jr. was washing his car. I haven’t met Terry Sr. yet, but he’s in the house, too. It’s so cool to meet neighbors! I haven’t met any since my days on Shotwell when the drug dealers next door were nice to me. They helped me move my stuff and let me use their driveway. That was excellent. This, however, is different. Families. Dogs. Lawns. Pools. Hard to believe I’m in the middle of a city.

2 weeks in LA

Nearly 2 weeks in LA… It’s felt like an odd and somewhat disconnected time overall. The job is great, and the people turn out to be even more excellent than their first impressions led me to believe. Nice (and rare) when that is true. The odd part is being so clueless about where I am and needing all kinds of basic help (where can I go for lunch? where’s a used book store? is that neighborhood far?) It’s been a long while for me to be so out of it in a living-there type situation. I’m certainly feeling like a traveller — only I’m supposed to have moved here. Hm.

For a place notorious for its cars, LA has a lot of trees. Looking around for an apartment, it seemed I was constantly turning a corner of some central city street and landing on another suburban block. It seems most blocks between the big streets here are filled with 1- and 2-story homes with lawns in front. Where I’m staying (Santa Monica according to my host, Sawtelle according to the Thomas Guide), it seems there’s always someone out walking their dog. No matter what time of day or night.

High contrast to Koreatown, where I’m working, which oddly keeps reminding me off different places in the Philippines. Not fully, but every now and then. There’s a boba tea/coffee place around the corner with a little outdoor deck that feels kinda like Boracay except that it faces a bank parking lot instead of the beach. I can pretend it’s a beach…

As for the job, I’m learning tons about viruses, bacteria, and a couple of parasites. Even more about epidemics and public policy (or the lack of it). And I feel like a part of this little documentary-making machine, not just a side note. That’s a nice feeling. For that, I’m sure that it’s all going to be good. The verdict on the rest of my world down here is still to be determined. I suppose my sense of place will improve as I learn my way around and as I get some friends so I don’t simply return home to read more about plagues, eat cheese and crackers, and wait until after our cell plans go to “evening minutes” to talk to Troy on the phone.

First Day

First day in LA, first day at the new job. Pretty dang cool place to work, I’m thinking. Day was slow, just getting oriented, but still actually productive. It’s awfully nice to be working again. Something about my last consulting jobs just wasn’t working for me. I think that they weren’t absorbing enough. Not enough work. And it’s nice to be back in an office with co-workers again.

Off to look at apartments now. Not looking forward to that at all.

counting down the hours

It’s coming down to the wire. Today is our day to rent the truck and throw stuff into storage. Even though I’ve brought several carloads to Goodwill, have donated other things to art programs, have thrown away many bags of stuff and have sold my couches and a dresser… I still have lots of stuff! This is insane.

Also insane is taking off for the weekend for a wedding and trying to pack for that at the same time. I’m feeling a little nuts.

And the countdown to moving away from Troy is not fun. I’m having a hard time letting myself think about that. It’s mitigating my excitement about the job, although that is still exciting. But I worry for our future, knowing full well that worrying accomplishes nothing and I can only wait and see how everything turns out.

Time to make americanos and wake up my sleepy guy.

can I go light?

Trying to pack everything up. I’ve been bitten by the “go light” bug and am trying to shed furniture. Since I don’t think of myself as “moving to LA” (in my mind I’m going there temporarily for one job”), I can’t seem to wrap my head around renting a truck and bringing my stuff with me. I’m hoping a couple carloads in my (newly repaired, but still painfully small) Tercel will do it. At least for a while. And I might be being ridiculous. Troy and my heart are still in the Bay Area and LA is nowhere near a new home for me. At least not for now. I’m not even there yet. And I still have to excavate my office. I’m getting to be a regular at the Salvation Army. It’s incredible how much I’ve brought down there. Perhaps more amazing how much stuff I still have left. Must shed more.

and now for something completely different: LA bound!

life has taken quite a turn. I’m off to LA in less than 3 weeks to work with Arcwelder Films, Ltd. on a series for National Geographic. Everything is about getting there right now, finding a place to stay, packing stuff up here, finding Troy a roommate, and trying (actually) to spend some time with him before I take off. Yikes! So much going on.

Have to get through this functional stuff so that I can once again get really excited about this job!

what now?

Well I made it through my 9 days of working solid, pretty much day and night. They left me tired, thoughtful, and a little sick. It’s always harder to catch up on sleep when I’m having a hard time breathing. Feeling a bit better this morning than last night, though, so I think I’ll burn through it quickly.

The thoughful part is about considering what kind of work I should be doing. I’ve been in an ongoing financial pinch which makes me embarrassed and sad, and from which I’m feeling the burning need to escape. So my current questions center on how to balance my need to make money with my urge to always do good and help people. Seems that helping people isn’t even covering my debt. Working my current position at REI isn’t going to do it, either. And neither is continuing to work with small, struggling non-profits. Even the mid-sized nonprofit doesn’t have enough consistent work for me to rely upon.

So… I know that I have a pretty hefty skill list, and that I’m very trainable. Where does that leave me?

overloaded, with a purpose

feeling tired and a little overloaded. Currently working 6pm-2am for 4 days at REI, getting ready to teach a class all day Saturday for Cal State Hayward, and also prepping for meetings with two different agencies on Thursday (my one day off this week from REI). One is a wrap-up for their project (phew!), but the other is really to get their project going. This will all be worth it, but right now I’m just feeling tired.

I’m looking forward to the days when I have repaid my debts and have health insurance. Oh, my aspirations are sooo high right now!

back again

oh it’s been a long time. Again. Macky admonished me. Told me to write in my blog. He’s updated his site, added some new art. Definitely worth a look-see. His editorial drawings crack me up (and make me cry). His talent simply awes me.

So I’m sitting in my new office, in my new house. Up in the suburbs, living with Troy. It’s so excellent. And incredibly different from being in the heart of the city. One morning, looking out the bedroom window at a deer grazing on the hill, Troy asked me, “Do you miss your wall?” Nope. Having a view of a wall was never a goal of mine.

It is odd to have so few things within walking distance, but this place is a little of the best of both. We have lots of trees and fall asleep listening to frogs in the pond, but also have a movie theater, some restaurants, a bank and Troy’s work all within 15 minutes by foot. Lots more is a short bike ride away. It’s also heaven to have the 1-2 hours a day together instead of spending it in a car between houses or on the phone.

Right now I’m obsessed with packing, cleaning, unpacking, organizing. My life is spent filling and unfilling boxes. I don’t have much work, which has made it possible to have a good and organized move, but I’m having to fight feelings of being a housewife. Cleaning, cooking, shopping while Troy’s in crunch mode and working until 10 or 11 every night. I know it’s all necessary — even necessary for me to be able to start thinking about the book I want to write — but it’s still not exactly how I picture myself.

Maybe I’ll try to get started again on the book stuff today. It’s intermittently pouring and clearing outside. Good day to stay in.