Sunday, February 22, 2009

All Of My Concerns are Being Met

Is there anything that I am "giving up" by leaving LA? I have thought long and hard about that question.

About a week ago I thought about my cat's vet. Good vets are hard to find and "great" vets are even harder to find. I felt I had found a "great" vet for my 2 cats here in LA.

Neither has been ill in the last 5 years, so neither has been to the vet. I do not believe that "indoor" cats need all those money making shots. In facts, the last time I got Kitty his shots was about 5 years ago, upon returning home he got deadly ill and I had to bring him back to the vet where they kept him for 2 days.

3 days ago I noticed that Kitty's behavior was not that of Kitty. Since I work out of my home I can see my cats behavior from minute to minute.

Something was clearly wrong so I picked up the phone to call the "great" vet that I knew and felt comfortable with. The new girl who answered the phone could not locate any files for any of my cats... not the dead ones, nor the alive ones. This surprised me. Upon arriving at the vet I noticed all new faces. This wasn't so surprising. A new file had to be created for Kitty and we were escorted into a room. In walked a doctor that I had never seen before. She was very thorough with her exam of Kitty. I asked where the other two doctors were that owned the vet and she informed me that they sold the practice a few years ago and have moved on.

Well, leaving behind a "great" vet is nothing that I am thinking about. Plus, my Honey has informed me that the University of Pennsylvania has an excellent Veterinary Program.

The picture is of me holding Kitty. Check out his rabbit looking back feet.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I won't miss the Helicopters!

I was awakened last night at 12:07am by an all to familiar sound.... helicopters flying around in circles over where I live. In LA you can hear this sound at any time of the day or night. It's best to make sure that all of your doors and windows are closed and locked. Why? Because those Dudes in the helicopters are lookin' for someone. And that someone may be lookin' for a place to hide. Any open door or window will be a bit inviting to someone on the run. The helicopters stopped shortly after 2am.

I know you are probably wondering what kind of neighborhood I live in. Well, I wonder that too. Remember I live in a place where you don't believe any of what you see and 1/2 of what you hear. I recently discovered that crime in my neighborhood does not get leaked out to the public through the news media.

Woodland Hills is one of the 88 cities in Los Angeles county. It is located in the San Fernando Valley just over the hill (really a mountain) from Los Angeles proper and Beverly Hills. Woodland Hills has been labeled the valley version of Beverly Hills. It's small like Beverly Hills and we have just about everything that Beverly Hills has, i.e. celebrity sightings, Morton's steak restaurant, Ruth Chris' restaurant, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. Literally everything you could ever want or need is within a one mile radius of where I live. Within one mile I have Whole Foods, the post office, Home Depot, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco, Pet Smart, Burlington Coat Factory, Walmart, 2 Target stores, Party World, Ross, and these are just a few. Three blocks away are 2 malls.

About 2 months ago, I left my home at 2:00 on a Thursday to run some errands upon arriving at my "guarded" apartment complex I noticed that the streets surrounding my complex were blocked by police cars. All entrances to my complex were blocked. Helicopters were flying over head. No one could get in or out. I called the apartment office and said "Hey I live here. I can't get in. What's going on." And they said ..... "Can't tell you." I was like "What!?!?! I live here!" They said "Sorry. Can't tell ya." I walked up to one of the police men who was standing by his car blocking the street and said "Hey I live here. What's going on?" And he said "Can't tell ya." I called the local news team and said "Hey do you know there is something going on in Woodland Hills at this apartment complex?" And they said "Yes, we know." I said "Well, I live here. What's going on?" And they said "Can't tell ya." For 3 hours no one was allowed inside or outside of the complex. Then after 3 hours the helicopters flew away, the police went on their way and people were allowed back into the complex. I immediately surfed the Internet and channel surfed the television. And I couldn't find anything that mentioned what had occurred where I lived. The funny thing is that just a few miles away in a less desirable part of town if someone suspected something the police and helicopters would be there and it would be on every local news channel live while it is happening.

The sound of helicopters makes me feel uneasy. Why? Because they aren't going to a party and they aren't celebrating anything good. It's all because something negative is occurring. Since moving to California I have heard helicopters circling my neighborhoods at least once a month if not more. A sound I hope I never hear again after moving away.

The picture is of me taken at New Years 1989 shortly after I arrived here in California.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rain...... Snow

It's still raining here in Los Angeles. Which means it will be another slow work day. The mail will be delivered 2 hours later than normal. One of the reasons is because yesterday was a holiday and then combined with the rain.... it really slows everything down here.

The thing I just don't understand is here we are getting snow in the mountains and on the "Grapevine" freeway and they are saying you can only drive if you have chains on your tires. To go up in the mountains to ski they are saying you need "studs" in your tires. In Pennsylvania people were driving around in the snow with no chains on their tires or studs in their tires. Maybe it has something to do with plows and salt. I am not sure ... something new to learn about.

I know that I said that I would be rolling out of California on Memorial Day (end of May) however I am feeling that it will probably occur in April. There were 2 reasons to stay until the end of May; 1) My apartment lease is up then; and 2) It's the official anniversary date of when I moved here 23 years ago. My reasons for moving in April are; 1) April is a slow work month for me as every one's busy with their taxes; 2) Gas prices traditionally rise in the month of May when schools are ending for summer vacation (keep in mind I will be driving across country); and 3) I am ready to go.

This picture was taken a few weeks ago when I was in Pennsylvania home shopping. Check out my coat, I got it in Iceland. I was in Iceland in February 2007. I actually purchased this coat and a wool jacket. I knew I wouldn't be able to wear them in California. They are perfect for Pennsylvania. I had on my water proof boots, leather and cashmere gloves, killer coat and hat and I was a warm as a bug in a rug trucking through the snow.


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Rain's Coming

I was suppose to have lunch with a friend this week, except he called on Friday and said "I am not sure about lunch next week. The rain is coming." And there was a pause and I thought "WTF". And he said, just what I thought I heard, "The rain's coming." Even after living here 23 years it is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that life pretty much comes to a standstill when it rains here.

I am sure that the grocery stores were packed yesterday in anticipation of "the rain". And I am sure that if I turn on the television I will be able to catch the "Storm Watch" on any local channel.

So here's the real scoop on "rain" in California. We don't get rain from about April to October. This year the rain came much later and it was December when it arrived. During the time of no rain the storm drains get filled with trash. Then when the rain does get here the storm drains don't work properly and we get a lot of road flooding. Also, people in California drive the same way that they do when it rains as when it doesn't, which isn't good.

My Mother came to visit me about 10 years ago and it was in February. It started raining on a Sunday night. The next morning my Mother turned on the television and she was shocked when she heard that there had been 425 car accidents in the last 24 hours in Los Angeles County. This number can be a bit misleading, so to be clear, LA county covers 88 cities. Still 425 car accidents are a lot.

The first rain of the season is the most dangerous. All of the oil from the roads comes to the surface. The new channels have special segments about hydroplaning.

The biggest mess that occurs when it rains here is that the mountains that were on fire. Remember we get the "fire seasons". Well, when the burnt mountain gets soaked with rain it starts to slide. So houses will slide off of mountains and into the roads. It can turn into a big mess.

Most people don't even go to work when it rains. I have noticed that my work line rings a lot less when it rains.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my Honey and it was 23 degrees and snowing in Pennsylvania. He said that he wanted to call me back because he wanted to move his vehicle. He said that his new neighbors were moving in. I was shocked. I said "It's snowing. They are moving in the snow?!?!" And he said "Yes. The grocery stores are open, the mail gets delivered and life goes on."

On a recent visit to Pennsylvania we were driving around in the snow following the real estate girl and walking around homes out in the snow, all like it wasn't even happening. I was a bit surprised when I saw a school bus stop and a bunch of teenage kids getting off with short sleeve shirts on walking, talking and laughing just like it wasn't even snowing.

My friends, who were born and raised here in California, have informed me that I will need to purchase not one but two generators! My Honey who was born and raised in Pennsylvania informed me that he remembers the power only going out once and it was for about 15 minutes.

The picture is of my cat, Kitty, in my living room.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reasons for Leaving California

People are funny I tell ya, real "kick-ass" funny. They hear what they want to hear and focus on what they want to focus on. I am not an exception.

Everyone seems to think that my special Honey is my reason for leaving California. They haven't heard the many times that I have said "I am leaving California." If he were not in my life I would still be leaving. I would probably have put a map up and thrown a dart at the Eastern side of the map and picked a place to move to.

I have been fortunate and blessed that I met someone who lives on the east coast and has taken the time to show me around a portion of Pennsylvania. I like what I saw when visiting there. I am looking for something different than what I have here. If I were looking for the same it wouldn't make any sense for me to move.

I didn't move to California for the weather. I am from the deep south. The coldest weather that I have experienced there was on a Mardi Gras day when it was 4 degrees. We get a cold that goes to your bones because it is combined with a high humidity. I am a "seasonal worker". I don't mind working my ass off when it is cold and rainy outside. I tackle all those rainy day projects. When the sun is shining I want to be outside playing. I love having my windows open. There aren't enough days here for me to do that. We don't have spring or fall. We go from hot to cold. I miss thunder and lightning. To me, that's the energy of rain. I haven't heard thunder or seen lightning in almost 10 years! We get rain here, but it's just rain. I have been told that there are other parts of California that are small town and just what I want and I don't have to leave. People seem to take it so personal my leaving. Like I am leaving their restaurant.

I have a plan. Don't you? I plan to be traveling a lot to Europe. It makes more sense for me to be half way there living on the east coast than to fly from California. Anyone who has traveled from California to Europe can tell you it is a gruelling trip. You are half dead when you arrive in Europe unless, of course, you stop in New York, spend the night, and then continue on to Europe. I will be 2 hours from Philadelphia and JFK airports which are both International airports.

I don't want to live in a place where I have to be concerned, aka worry, about so much. I am over the earthquakes. I lived through the Northridge earthquake of January 17, 1994. I was living in Van Nuys at the time and had massive damage done to my home while I was in it. It was up there with one of the scarest events of my life. All of the experts say "It's not IF it's going to happen, it's WHEN it's going to happen." It's coming and I don't want to be here for it. Been there... done that. I am not suggesting that everyone up and leave California for that reason. If you are comfortable living here, then you should stay. I am not ... and I am leaving.

I don't want to live anyplace that is a target for a terriost attack. I just want one less thing to have to be concerned about. The back woods of Pennsylvania isn't on a terriost map, Los Angeles is.

I am so over the traffic in Los Angeles you have no idea. The mere fact that it takes 2 1/2 hours to drive 40 minutes is just insane to me. Thank God I don't commute to work. In facts, commuting to work has never been an option for me. I just refuse to do it. If you aren't driving in Los Angeles, well you aren't doing anything else in Los Angeles. Hence, I don't do LA stuff.

I am tried of paying 2 arms and 2 legs to live in a "descent" place. For what I pay I could be living like a King in another part of the US. I am only going to be paying 1/6 of what I pay now and I will be living quiet comfortable.

I want to breath clean air! It's either the smog or the smoke. I am over the fires that occur here EVERY year. We have "fire season". It's like we traded spring and fall for "fire season". Yes, it is unlikely that my place would burn down. However, when the fires start you really have to make sure your doors and windows are closed. I can't let my cats on the balcony, I can't take a walk around the block. The smoke hurts your lungs when you breath and it looks like it is snowing with the ashes. I have quiet a few pictures of the ashes on my patio furniture, on my car and outside my front door. I am done.

I don't do LA stuff. I don't do enough to warrant me living here. I did all of the LA stuff when I moved here 23 years ago and I did it a lot. I have explored the west coast from Mexico up to Vancouver and everywhere in between. I have camped at Mt. Rainier in Washington, I have been to Diamond Lake, in Oregon, I have toured the Victorian homes in Eureka, California, I have toured the Redwoods, San Francisco, and everywhere in between. Now it is time for me to explore the east coast. I have friends from Florida all the way up to Nova Scotia and everywhere in between. I am looking forward to visiting and reconnecting with them. I want to see what Vermont and Maine are like.

People are too busy here in California. Remember most of them have 2 jobs. It's very difficult to stay connected with people here. It's like you have to put out 3 times the energy that you would anywhere else if you want to stay connected. For New Years 2008 I asked my friends to make a joint New Year's Resolution with me, that we would make an effort to get together once a month for lunch or dinner. They all thought it was a great idea. And 90% of them stuck with it. When 2009 rolled around only one of my friends mentioned it and asked if we could keep up the tradition this year. She is truly the person I will miss the most. And it's funny because I am actually meeting her for dinner tonight. It doesn't feel right or natural with what it takes to stay connected to people out here in California.

This picture is of the sun setting in Santa Monica, California.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Could be the Last Valentines Day!!!!!

I know I am not the only one who dislikes this "man made materialistic sorry excuse for love day", right? If we are gonna keep it, it should be renamed to more accurately reflect what it does or signifies.

Here are a few names I came up with... "Emotionally Handicap Day", "I don't Know How to Express my Love any Other Way Day", "Buying your Love Day". "Embracing my Inner Insecurity Day". And here is my favorite "Happy Hypocrite Day!"

Why can't you just pick a random day (if expressing your love has to be done on a specific day) and just express your love? Why does expressing your love have to include the world of economics? The cave men couldn't go out and purchase something to show their love. And they didn't have a special day in which to express their love. Hell, they didn't even have calendars.

Valentine's Day is another economy driven day. Since we are in a recession I noticed that the Valentine's Day stuff were put in the stores in a more timely fashion like a couple of weeks before Valentine's Day instead of before Christmas. I also noticed that instead of 6 isles of Valentine's Day stuff at Rite Aide, there were only 2. I think we are on the right track here.

I would like to see Valentine's Day disappear completely in the future. Hey, I am saying this from a Happy Place and a Realistic Place. Hello, they got rid of the planet Pluto! And personally, I think that little planet was a lot more important than Valentine's Day.

Today everything is being revamped and overhauled, i.e. the SEC, the FDA. Why not just throw in Valentine's Day?

I don't want to be a hypocrite, I did purchase a Valentine's Day card for my Honey. But not because it was Valentine's Day, it was because it had cats on it! It could have said "Happy Crap Day!" and if it had all those little happy cats on it, well.... I would have purchased it. I did let my special man know that I wasn't being hypocritical by giving the card and it really was all about the cats.

Last year a friend of mine called me and told me that he sent his girlfriend 1,000 tulips to work for Valentine's Day and also a bunch of flowers to her home. I personally thought this was insane. I asked him "Dude why did ya do that?" And he said as he thrust his chest forward (I could hear it happening).. "So she could have bragging rights?" Huh?!?!? Okay, let me get this straight.... he didn't send them because he loves her dearly or it's her favorite flower. He did it so she can say "Look at what my wonderful boyfriend did!" Okay, that's an ego driven act in my book. That expression of love was not about love and all about how he looks to her friends. Oh, please.... that's pretty sad and pathetic.

I suggest when you purchase your 2010 calendar you go to February 14th and white-out the words "Valentine's Day" and then pick a special day, if you need one, and write "Do Something Special for my Honey". That's it! Create your own "Love Day"!

The blue heart was drawn by me.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrity Sightings in CA

Celebrity sightings are.... to me... like finding money on the sidewalk... it happens all the time.

You may think that if you saw a celebrity that you would want to run up and say something to them "Wow, I am a big fan" or "Can I touch you?" I have never seen anyone actually approach a celebrity. Here in California you just turn to the person next to you and say "Hey isn't that so-in-so?" And they say "Yea, man they look different when they aren't on tv." And you have a good laugh knowing that nothing you see on television is real. It's a given that everyone here knows. California is the best place at creating an illusion. People are actually the opposite of what you think they are. For example, a guy who dresses like a bum probably has millions in the bank. And the guy who is dressed to the "T" probably doesn't have $5 to his name and has maxed out his credit cards.

Yesterday at 12:40pm I was sitting in the California Chicken Cafe, here in Woodland Hills, and I saw this old man sitting alone eating his lunch. The place was pretty packed being lunch time. I thought how normal he looked. Then 2 tables away I saw a girl who was shoving food in her mouth with one hand while holding her cell phone up to her ear with the other hand. And I thought that it didn't look normal. I guess it might have looked normal to me if I were her age. And then I noticed that 2 other girls were sitting at the table with her and I thought that it just wasn't all that cool that she was sitting at lunch with 2 other people yapping and eating at the same time. And then I realized who I was looking at ..... the Kardashian sisters, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe. The girl next to me commented how they blended in with the crowd. Yep, they looked like normal people. Thin haired like Christina Ricci, no make up on and bumming around in sweats. Hummmm.... really makes you wonder if "Reality TV" is so "Reality". Those chicks aren't running around with makeup on, false eye lashes on and hair extensions in every day of the week. I am sure they only do it when the cameras are around.

Speaking of cameras being around.... A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to dinner at Fabrocini's Italian Restaurant. The weather is pretty good here so a lot of restaurants have outdoor seating. As I walked up to the resturant the first thing I noticed was a guy with a camera on his shoulder leaning over a table point it in the face of Gene Simmons (the Dude from Kiss) and his wife Shannon. They were filming for his "reality" television show.

Every day I go to the gym, which isn't every I see "The Rock"... Dwayne Johnson. He's always on the machines hooked up to his iPod. Which by the way, is a clear signal "I'm busy don't bother me." He's not a very big guy. Actually very normal size and when I first saw him I thought it might be his brother. Then I found out he only gets "pumped up" when he has to ... you know like the Kardashian sisters gettin' all pretty for the camera... oops I mean their reality television show.

One day I was working out next to Keenan Ivory Wayans and when I left the gym I went to Whole Foods. So did Keenan. When I walked around the corner of the grocrey store isle he was standing there looking at me like I was following him.. which I wasn't. So I reacted... without thinking I said "Dude you gotta stop following me." He started laughing and shook his head and walked by. I just didn't know what else to say. The last thing I wanted him to think was that he was being stalked.

My most memorable celebrity encounter was the one I experienced with Elizabeth Gilbert author of "Eat Pray Love". She was speaking at the 2007 Women's Conference. I walked up to her while she was signing books and told her how great I thought her book was. She opened her purse and pulled out a pair of mantra beads, like the ones on the front cover of her book, and gave them to me. I was on cloud nine! It was a time I will never forget.

The picture on this post is of Pamela Anderson and her 2 sons. Pamela owes me one and doesn't even know it. I went to the Apple store for a class at 8am on a Sunday morning. The store didn't open until 10:30. However, there was a line out front for the new iPhone. When I walked into the empty mall I saw Pamela sitting in the food area texting like there was no tomorrow. She looked like she does on television. Just rolled in the sack hair, some makeup, boobs under her chin and tanned. Upon arriving at the store I noticed her 2 sons standing in the line for the new iPhones. The Apple employee opened the gate and let me in, closing the gate behind me. I said "Dude that's Pamela Anderson's sons in line and she is over there texting." He checked them out and I asked "Don't you think you might want to let them in before the mall starts filling up with people and who knows what could happen with Pamela around?" He said "Great idea." And he opened the gate and walked over to her inviting her and her two sons in to purchase iPhones. Yep, it was just me, Pamela, her 2 boys and a handful of Apple employees in the store that Sunday morning. The picture was taken from my iPhone.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome to my Blog!

Hey Friends & Family,

My friend, Melita, who passed away this past Monday, taught me the benefits of a blog. Her blog was The blog helped to keep everyone in the loop and aware of what was going on.

I am probably the last person to jump on the blog wagon. I usually sit back and wait until I really feel the need to do something before I do it. Personally, I got enough on my plate without trying every fad or new thing that comes along.

I am lucky to have friends all over the world and I think that blogging will be easier to share with them. Blogging will not replace people contact... so when I am in your neighborhood I would still like to spend some time, in person, with each and every one of you.

As most of you are aware I am embarking on yet another major life experience. I am moving away from California. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. I came on vacation to California at the age of 23. I was surprised by the energy level of everyone in California. I couldn't believe it, everyone I met had 2 jobs. Most of the people back home were lucky to have one job. I went back home to New Orleans and announced "In 5 years, I am moving to California!" I got all my ducks in a row and made my plans. At the 5 year mark I announced "I am moving to California!" That was Memorial Day weekend 1986.

Upon arriving to California I knew deep down inside that I only wanted to live here 20 years. I knew 20 years would be enough for me. Don't know how I knew it then. But I did. I never thought about where I would move after California. I have enjoyed truly amazing moments in California and done everything that there is to do here many times. Year 19 I began to feel the "doneness" of living here and I remembered I only wanted to live here 20 years so the feeling of being done and wanting to move on felt natural.

In year 19 I met someone who was hell bent on me staying because he did not want to leave California. I still wanted to leave. I put an offer in on a home in Mississippi. My offer was turned down and weeks later hurricane Katrina blew that house away. I guess it really wasn't time for me to leave here.

I still knew deep down inside it was time for me to move on. Last year I met someone who lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. That meeting has opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities in more ways than one.

I love going to new places and experiencing new things. I believe you must leave the old behind and show up at every new experience as if it were the first. This way you get the "true" experience. For example, if you go into a restaurant and order onion soup and with every bite you compare it to every other onion soup you have ever eaten... I don't know.. that doesn't sound like a great experience to me. So when I go to a new place, I don't compare it to somewhere I have been before. I accept and enjoy it for what it is. For me, it's a cool way to live!

The picture on this post is of the Pacific Ocean taken from the Getty Museum. This is about as clear as you will see and this was taken on one of the 'good' weather days. 90% of the time the "Coastal Eddie" (fog) is the view, not the ocean.