Back in L.A.!

It’s been awhile! About two weeks ago I moved back to Los Angeles.  I got a loft downtown and I LOVE it!  I’d post pictures here of my place and my view and whatnot, but in the event that I have internet stalkers I don’t want to give away my location 😉   So, if you know me in real life, check my facebook or email me and I’ll send you some pics!

My mom made the drive down with me from Oregon, and we faced the worst fog I’ve ever been in on the way down.  Had I not been white-knuckling the wheel so bad it gave me blisters (no joke) I would have probably thought to take a photo to capture the craziness!  Sadly, no pics 😦  So, after driving 16 hours straight (well, except for the 30 minute power nap in a Denny’s parking lot next to a sewer), we arrived in L.A. and got checked into my new place only to discover (1) the maintenance people had left all their equipment in my place; and (2) a wall that had been a mustard yellow color (which I LOVED) was now painted brown 😦   I was a little bummed, particularly about the wall.  But the manager came up and removed the stuff and my bathroom stuff still looked nice with the brown wall so I just let that part go.

After unloading the stuff in my car, we drove out to Target to get some necessities, and then stopped by my storage unit to get the air bed, some blankets, and the TV to last us until the next day when we’d be moving everything else.  That turned into a NIGHTMARE.   (Keep in mind that I still hadn’t slept at that point after driving through the night and through the worst fog ever).  When I got to the unit, apparently someone had tampered with my lock and it was jammed.  We had to wait nearly 40 minutes in the heat for the property manager to return, and then wait for over an hour while she struggled to drill out the tampered lock.  Ahh!  She couldn’t get it and eventually called her son who came and got the unit unlocked within a couple of minutes.   I bought a new lock (a combination one this time) to protect the rest of my stuff and we were finally able to leave and head back to my place for the night.

The same day we arrived in L.A., my older brother who lives out near San Bernardino came out and spent the night so he could help my mom and I move my storage unit in the next day. It was fun having a little slumber party in my empty loft with him and my mom that night.  We got some subway, watched a movie, and all passed out because we were so tired (him from working and then driving in traffic to get here, us from all of the above).  The moving day went extremely smoothly.  We were a great team!  After we finished I took my mom and Will to the Grove for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (lunch ended up being 4pm due to waiting to go eat and then having a long wait at the restaurant).   Will headed home after the lunch and my mom and I spent the evening unpacking most of my boxes.  Before the night was over I had unpacked all but a couple of boxes, and had looked inside the ones I hadn’t unpacked so I knew where everything was.  It was a very successful moving in day 🙂

That was almost 2 weeks ago.  In other news, I have one month left of freedom until I start work.  I’m using that time to get all settled into the new place, and take care of various things I won’t have time to do once I start working.

On a random note, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here yet or not… but since about late August I’ve been vegetarian weening toward vegan.  Not eating meat has great environmental, healthful, and ethical* benefits.  So far I like it.  Honestly, I HATE cooking meat anyway, and now that I’m officially completely on my own with nobody else to cook for me, it’s pretty convenient that I’ve weened myself off meat.

Also, I am very excited to be headed to North Carolina in a couple of weeks.   I missed seeing my new niece Carsyn by just a couple of days (just like I missed seeing my new nephew Jackson when he was born by a couple of days.. stubborn babies! ugg!).  So I’m very excited to spend about 5 days with my mom, my brother, and his family coming soon 🙂


* As for the ethical benefits, I just want to note here that I do not think it is wrong to eat animals.  However, I do think the way most farms treat animals is very unethical.   Just because it’s ok to eat meat doesn’t mean it’s ok to torture animals.  So, absent me finding nearby ethical farms to get meat from, not eating meat is the next best thing. 🙂


Too Many Photos, Oh My!

So…. my time in Europe, which was my reason for making this blog… finished nearly a year ago (wow!).  Aside from posting pictures here and on my facebook, I still haven’t got any prints or anything done.   I had planned on making a coffee table photobook of all of my pictures for Christmas presents last year, but an unfortunate tragedy struck and I just couldn’t get it done.   So now, one year later, I am staring at my thousands of pictures feeling incredibly overwhelmed and trying to figure out where to start!  I’m really hoping to have it done for Christmas this year!  If for nothing else, I will have my own place soon and it would be nice to have on my own coffee table 😉

Additionally, I have discovered a way to get photos printed on canvas.  I was at a friend’s house a few weeks ago and she had a great print from Europe hanging over her sofa.  When I asked her about it, she told me it was a picture she had taken and told me where she got it done.  Immediately my wheels started turning.  I would love to get one of my pictures from Ireland printed for Grandpa.  I’ve also been thinking about some of my favorite photos that I’d like to get on canvas for myself, or for gifts for people. 

So basically… I have a lot of work cut out for me.  And in that regard I’ve also been thinking about getting a new camera.   My current camera is a regular point and shoot digital camera (10MP/3X Zoom).   I am surprised by the great photos I’ve been able to take with this camera, but it’s not meeting my needs in two areas:  (1) distant shots; and (2) low light shots.   Whenever I try to take photos under these conditions, I get really frustrated.   I don’t know enough about photography (or spend enough time photographing things) to justify the expense of one of those fancy SLR cameras, but I want something somewhere in between.   Anyone reading this have any suggestions?  Keep in mind that what I’m looking for is something that can take great photos under conditions 1 & 2 🙂

For now I’m going to get back to the photobooking, but I still have a few updates from my recent travels I’d like to post… particularly about a restuarant called D Bar in Denver… to come at a later date 🙂

Back AGAIN. For awhile this time ;)

So… I just got back last night from a quick trip to Los Angeles.  Hopefully I will finally be able to catch up on a lot of random things.   The trip to L.A. was short, and fun.  I flew into the Long Beach airport which I’d never done before, and I loved it!  It’s a very tiny airport (I think even smaller than Burbank?) and it was so easy and not stressful.

I felt like I was on a bit of a covert operation though.  A friend of mine from law school had graciously invited me to stay with her and her fiance in their new rental house in Long Beach and borrow one of their cars for my trip.  However, due to a bit of planning failure on my part, it turned out I would be arriving while my friend was still out of town for a wedding.  So her and her fiance decided to leave one of their cars parked in one of the long term lots with the keys inside under the mat and the doors unlocked (brave!).  So basically, I flew into an airport I’d never been to, caught the courtesy shuttle to a car I’d never been in, opened the unlocked door, removed the keys and parking ticket from under the mat, and then drove to a house I’d never been in and let myself in.  I was so caught up in the covert operation-ness of it all that as soon as I got inside I sat down my bag and thought “ok, what is the next step??”

For the next step, I decided to use the trusty iPhone to find a place for lunch, and I ended up walking down and discovering the “Belmont Shores” area of Long Beach.  I have a very negative connotation in my mind when I hear “Long Beach”, but Belmont Shores challenged my thinking.  Second street is lined with shops (from boutique style shops to Banana Republic and Gap) and restaurants and the neighborhood streets are lined with those super tall palm trees a la Beverly Hills.   You can see the ocean from certain points on the street which was definitely beautiful.  I found Banana Republic right away.  I think I have some kind of radar! But I managed to not buy anything… I have bought SO MANY new clothes lately, it’s insane.  I need a support group or something.

Anyway, the trip had two purposes- one for an event where I received an award, and since I had to go to L.A. for that anyway, I decided to double the purpose of the trip to find an apartment.   I think I found my future home, at least for the next year!! I’d love to post a picture or two here, but I can’t have my internet stalkers knowing where I live 😉

The award event was a fantastic lunch at a beautiful L.A. hotel.  The plaque they gave me  was so big I had to leave it behind in L.A. because I had no way to get it home on my flight out that afternoon.  I also received a cash prize which was wonderful since I had to pay to fly myself out there.   I feel very honored that my school chose me for the award 🙂

In other news, I’m back in Portland for now (key words for now).  If I do get the apartment, they prefer me to move in mid-october which is sooner than I had planned on moving to L.A., but very preferred because living out of suitcases is getting OLD.  Also, when I’ve been in Portland I have been alternating between sleeping on my mom’s love seat (not ideal for a 6’4″ woman), or sharing a bed with my friend Becky at her condo.  I appreciate the hospitality of both my mom and Becky, but I really do miss having my own space.   In the meantime, the only other trip I have coming up is a trip to North Carolina to see my brother, SIL, and my two nieces (including one brand new one!) and nephew.  I’m thinking of buying a new camera before I go so I can get better pictures.   Ideally, something in between my point-and-shoot little digital camera that I have now, and one of the those uber-expensive SLR cameras.  I’m thinking something around $200-$300 with better zoom, etc.  will do 🙂