I wanted to say Happy New Year, but I’m in a grumpy mood. Nothing to worry about. Just working my butt off with two jobs, driving around in torrential rain all the time, and feeling the gloom of not seeing the sun for a week, or is it two weeks? I can’t even remember. It feels like forever. We Southern Californians are not made for this sort of weather. I feel like a plant that is wilting from lack of vitamin D.
I survived Christmas. It was expectedly gloomy due to my lack of family but them’s the breaks when you decide to switch up your life as I did. Freedom comes with its costs. Bug and I opened a few gifts at home and then I actually crashed Toby and his girlfriend’s Christmas which was really sweet. It’s kinda sad when your ex and his girlfriend include you in their plans because they feel sorry for you. But I really felt welcome and enjoyed their company.
Then in an unexpected twist, Matt (who was down visiting his family in Palm Springs for Christmas) got stuck in Southern California because of the Southwest Airlines fiasco. His flight home to San Francisco was canceled indefinitely so I went and got him and he stayed with us for a week! It was awesome. We attended a super-spreader New Year’s party, and Bug got a chance to really get to know Matt which made me happy. I was nervous they wouldn’t get on but they did.
Oh yeah, this happened too. I was taking Cody for a walk on Christmas Day (and not paying attention because I was taking pictures of the sunrise) and somehow Cody fell into the lake. Yeah, not really an accident. This dog loves to swim. He doesn’t care that I live in an apartment with a white rug and no real bathtub to bathe him in. I tried my best to wash him off in my shower, but I have a rigid shower head, and no detachable hose so the water spray just sort of hit his back end and didn’t do much. I used a cup to douse him over and over with water, but I couldn’t get the lake smell off of him. And of course, all groomers were closed, and I don’t really have the funds for grooming anyway. So he’s still dirty. Good thing I love him. That pretty much sums up my mood: dirty dog, have no funds for extras.
Happy New Year!
I don’t want to end this post like that though. I want to say that the lows are necessary. I’ve had some of my best epiphanies and ideas on days like these. We can’t exist on distractions and happy times alone. It’s good to have lulls so we can pause and reflect and figure out what’s working and what’s not. It’s time to sow the seeds for good times ahead.
I’m still here I promise! I just got clobbered with too much work. I’ve been gasping for air whenever I can but that leaves no room for extras like blogging. I was desperate for work so I asked everyone I knew and it all came flying in. Feast or famine! But I’m very thankful. As long as I keep the pipeline full I’ll be able to pay my bills. Them’s the breaks for a freelancer. You can never really relax. But you also can drum up work pretty easily when things get lean.
First off, I finished my first beginning sewing class in the Fashion Design certificate program I’m going for at our local community college. It was super easy and I aced it. I can now make totes, aprons and pajama pants from memory. If you’re family, that’s what you can expect for Christmas.
Did I tell you about the courtesy clerk job at Ralphs? It was such a social experiment for me. While I loved it, it quickly became clear that it was way too hard on my body for way too few dollars. I’ve been exhausted every day after my shift and found it nearly impossible to sit at my desk and continue my regular work that actually pays the bills. No Bueno. I put in my two-week notice and my last day is November 10th. I’m kinda sad to leave because I loved it. I love the people. I love chatting to customers in quick little non-commital snippets as they go through the checkout line. I love working so hard that I don’t have to think about working out and I can eat anything I like and still lose weight. It was really fun. But it also was really physically demanding and I know it’s only a matter of time before I injure myself. Lifting heavy pumpkins from counter height to a cart and then lowering them at an awkward angle was just asking for another Dr. Pepper ice pack necessitating back spasm. I don’t want to go through that again. So I’m cutting my losses and saying goodbye. But I’m also leaving on good terms in case I ever get another itch to work blue-collar again. There is something super satisfying about clocking in an honest day of hard work.
Things with Matt are still going really well. (Would I tell you if they weren’t? Nope.) But they are good. We had a really fun weekend in LA with trips to LACMA and Nobu where I tried wagyu beef for the very first time. I had NO IDEA steak could taste like bacon and drippy popcorn butter at the same time. It was mind-blowing. No wonder it costs so much. Definitely a treat I won’t be having regularly. I do like being spoiled though. The weekend was over so quickly. Now I’m anxiously looking forward to our next trip. Long-distance relationships are tricky but they do have their perks.
Back at home Autumn has been showing up and showing out. I LOVE October so much! It’s so pretty. Just when it seemed like summer was going to last forever it got delightfully chilly. It’s been lovely to sit on my patio and sip hot chocolate, wear sweaters and cuddle up in a blanket. The sunrises have been amazing. I’m so glad I’m a morning person and I can catch them by the lake.
This one really killed it. It didn’t even look like much until I got up to the lake and focused on the reflection. Reflections make my happy bells go off. What is it? Do our minds love symmetry? I don’t know but give me a pretty view and add a reflection and I’ll get you a better picture.
I love my morning walks. They offset the madness that is the rest of my life. I can’t go on them daily while I’m still working at Ralphs (my early shift starts at 5 am) but I squeeze at least two in a week. They are the reason I’m feeling good.
Next up are all the concerts we’ve been going to. No wonder I’m feeling ragged! You can’t get up early like a workaholic and then stay up late and party like a rockstar too. Not good for you! But it was fun.
First I dragged Bug to Harry Styles. She is not a fan but she humored me. I got really good tickets which was a nice surprise. I’m used to the nosebleeds. All those canceled events in 2020 are finally paying off in credits for new shows.
It was a great show. Harry truly is a showman. All the girls screaming around us kinda made it hard to hear anything. My ears were ringing for hours afterward. But it was worth it. It was a lively event and I’ll always remember the fun it all was. I love that people can still be playful and lighthearted in a heavy heavy world.
Two nights later it was Bug’s turn to take me to see one of her favorite bands: The Garden. I’m not a fan. There are a few songs I like but the rest sounds like trash cans being banged together to me. But since she suffered through a pop concert for me, I can sit through a punk concert for her. It was also lively and fun. I loved people-watching. Everyone had make-up on like Bug. She’s found her people.
We took this shot at a church nearby the Fox Theatre where The Garden was playing. It was black and white and reminded me of a very very humble and small version of the Duomo in Florence.
Then inside the theatre, it was chaos. Black and white jester-faced chaos.
I got to explore the theatre which is like many old theatres: full of really cool art deco details and pretty staircases that lead to abandoned back rooms. I’m surprised it was open as much as it was. Inside the tower was a room that looked like a VIP room with velvet couches and pillows… but it was completely dark. I got up the guts to go inside and turn on my phone flashlight but the extremely high ceiling kinda gave me agoraphobia.
That’s pretty much it for October. I haven’t been able to do all the fun fall things we usually do because I’m a working woman and I have no time for domesticity. But I do have high hopes for November!