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Archive for March, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve vented about driving around LA.  A few weeks ago on my way to work, I was beeping so much that my horn gave out, mid-beep.  So, it seems like it’s time to exercise a different outlet for that frustration.

LA traffic sucks.  I love when people from other cities are all like, “Traffic here is terrible, too!”  No  dice.  I guarantee, we have you beat.  It’s not just the gazillion 10-lane freeways that get grid-locked; inter-city driving is brutal too.   Come 6 PM, when all the studios let their employees/slaves go home for the day, every major road in this city is jammed. If they’re not, then you’re probably driving head-first into the apocalypse.

The route I take to and from work is a popular route that most people who work at the Burbank/Glendale-based studios take to get to Hollywood and West Hollywood.  As with many popular routes and heavily traveled roads, these get backed up such that when a light turns green, sometimes only a car or two can make it through before the light turns red again.  If you are taking a left and at an intersection that does not have a left-turn arrow** (i.e., most of Los Angeles), you are even more screwed.  At one particular intersection on my way to work, drivers taking Cahuenga West from Hollywood who are turning right onto Barham going into Burbank have an exceptionally long right arrow. Once the arrow goes away, they are still able to turn right on red.

Without fail, every morning, their light will turn red and some a-hole driver doesn’t even so much as pause before flying through the light to turn right.  Since I am in the line of traffic that should get to go straight through the intersection when their light is red and mine is green, it pisses me off every single time.  It’s monstrously unsafe to not even hesitate when you have a red light like that. Not to mention that traffic often gets backed up in that intersection and even if my light is green, I’m not able to move right away. I have to wait for traffic beyond the light to start moving.  The people turning right take this as an invitation to sneak in.  Turning right on red is a privilege, not a right.  There is a time when you get to turn without question and have the right of way, and it’s when you have a green light.  I am a few days away from making a sign to that extent and standing on the corner where they turn.

I would probably get egged. Or shot.

** I have another turning pet peeve, and this is related to the rare and elusive left-turn signal in Los Angeles.  Almost every intersection needs one.  Only about 5% have them.  Opposing traffic never stops long enough for you to actually turn. So, there is an unspoken rule in all of LA, which is that, when the light turns yellow, hopefully opposing traffic isn’t being a bunch of d-bags and actually stops, and then 2-3 cars get to turn as the light transitions from yellow to red. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way anyone will ever get anywhere.  Because of this, when I am at an intersection that offers a left arrow, I am laser-focused on that light changing, and once it turns green, I hammer the gas to get through so that as many cars as possible behind me can turn left before the arrow goes away.  I cannot stand when the person at the front is snoozing and lets precious seconds tick by without turning. Worse is when everyone takes the turn as slowly as possible and only a few cars can get through the light. This is LA! A left arrow is like  a gift from God! When that light turns, you have a responsibility to yourself, the cars behind you, all of Los Angeles, and civilization at large to hustle through that light like your life depends on it.  Do not squander the gift.

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My ex and I split up a little over 2 and half years ago.  It was a traumatic life moment, but I truly believe it was the best decision for the both of us.  I hear through the grapevine that he’s getting married again soon, so I assume he would agree with that last statement.

After the decision was made to split, I had to find a new place to live. I moved into the apartment where I still live now.  Honestly, I have always loved living by myself.  I am fairly neat, organized, and particular about how I like things. Roommate situations have never worked well for me, dating back to my sister and I sharing a bedroom, and especially my dorm roommate freshman year (by second semester, I had my own room, and never had another roommate the entire rest of college).

I have loved living in my cute little apartment. The location is great because I can walk to the gym and get to work in 10 minutes if there is not traffic (if you are familiar with LA, you know both of these things are rarities).   The moment I walked into the place, I had a good feeling about it. It was the first apartment I had looked at during my search, so I thought I should at least check out some other places for comparison. I kept going back to that first place in my mind, and finally just pulled the trigger. The building manager is the nicest woman ever and we hit it off immediately.  Having an obsession with HGTV (I used to want to be an interior decorator when I was a kid), I decorated it to my exact liking – and even went super girly, embracing pastel colors and flowers everywhere. I painted my bedroom a beautiful shade of purple (yes, I am a Purple Person) called “Brushed Lavender,” and it makes me happy just to be in that room.

Over these past few years, I have worked hard to get past my previous relationship, and tried to come to terms with mistakes I had made and how not to make them again in the future (in theory, at least – time will tell on that one).  I hibernated for a really long time and went out of my cozy apartment as little as possible. Then, I finally decided it was time to get back out there. Very shortly thereafter, I started dating my boyfriend.  We were casual about it for a pretty long time, and didn’t really talk about boyfriend/girlfriend status for a good six months or so.  But it happened organically and it just felt right.  About six months ago, we started talking about moving in together.  The upshot is that, as of this Saturday, I will be leaving my cute little apartment and moving into my boyfriend’s place.

Of course, we are both really excited about it. He’s never lived with a significant other before. Since my only previous co-habitation situation (sorry for the lame rhyme) failed spectacularly, as excited as I am about this, there is a sort of tinge of nervousness deep down that I haven’t really been acknowledging until recently. I’ve done a ton of self reflection in my lifetime and feel like I have a pretty good sense of what my issues are and how to work through them. Also, my boyfriend and I are awesomely compatible and on the same page with a lot of important things, so logically, there aren’t many things to be nervous about. Which is all fine to say, but if you’ve ever been in a traumatic situation like a failed marriage and a miserable day-to-day living situation, I think you’ll always be a little gun shy about trying it again.

Since I’ve lived in my apartment, whenever I need tailoring done, I visit the seamstress at the dry cleaners down the street from my place. Her name is Mary.  She has some sort of accent that I can’t quite place, and even though I know she’s not Italian,  she reminds me of the old Italian tailors of my youth.  A year or so ago, I had bought a few pairs of wide-leg pants that I loved and thought were trendy and amazing.   They needed to be hemmed (I am only 5′ 4″, so most everything I buy needs a good 6-12 inches lopped off the bottom).  When I put the pants on and stood on the platform, she looked at me with a very scrutinizing look on her face. Then she said this: “Can I tell you something? (she didn’t wait for an answer)  Those pants make you look heavy. But you’re not heavy. I fix them for you.” I left thinking, “I either love this lady or I hate her.” Turns out, I loved her. She was totally right and thankfully not too concerned with hurting my feelings, because it benefited me in the end.  She took the pants in on the sides so I didn’t look huge, so how could I not be grateful?

I went into her place a few weeks ago to have a dress altered. As I was in there, I casually mentioned that I’m moving. When she asked why, I said, “I’m moving in with my boyfriend.”   Not knowing any details of my life (other than that, sometimes, I am really bad at picking out pants for myself) or anything about my previous situation, her response was, “That’s good. It’s time to move on.”

I very much want to put a sign in her window that reads “Alterations and Life Advice.”

As I start this new chapter of my life, I am contemplating the  idea of “moving on.”  I feel like I’ve hit the re-start button a few times in my adult life already.  Out of college, in an effort to cut ties with a toxic friend, I made an entire new circle of friends.  Stuck in life back in Boston, I decided to move to LA.  After my marriage ended, I started over yet again since life as I had known it changed immediately.  This time, I’m starting something new under the happiest possible circumstances.  Still, it is human nature to be apprehensive when you are leaving the safety of one situation for the relative uncertainty of another. Not that I am uncertain about my relationship. But there is a sort of safety in being by yourself and on your own, because you are not depending on someone else, and you are not vulnerable to being hurt or disappointed.  It’s the easy way through life, and it is never fulfilling.  I think that, sometimes, moving on means making the choice that scares you a little because that’s how you grow. I will not use the over-used phrase “comfort zone,” but that is essentially what you need to abandon when you’re moving on, moving forward or however you want to look at it.   Sometimes, moving on means taking a deep breath and taking that leap. In the end, there is a direct correlation between how scared you are and how rewarding the experience will be.

Strangely, it makes me feel happy and reassured to know that that my crazy, outspoken seamstress is behind my decision.

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Our society is so messed up about physical standards of beauty.  Most of the models we see are stick figures, which everyone complains about.  Then you have someone who is a real woman, with real curves – but by no means “fat” – and people cut her down.

I speak, of course, of the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl Kate Upton.  She is very real and very natural looking.  Why does this make people mad?  Once it was announced that she would be on the cover, some spokesperson from Victoria’s Secret made a public statement saying that they would never use Kate for one of their shows because her look is “too obvious.”  I don’t even know what that means, but it seemed cruel, spiteful  and really unnecessary.  I sort of half heard a headline on the news the other day that there was controversy over her being on the cover because people were saying she’s overweight. It’s so disturbing to me – don’t we normally complain about impossible physical standards because models and actresses are too skinny (look at how much people made fun of Angelina Jolie from last week’s Oscar ceremony for being practically skeletal)? Then you have a girl who is beautiful and natural and real, and everyone rips her apart. It doesn’t make sense. It’s no wonder that teenage girls in our society are so insecure – what kind of example are we setting?

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