Monday, June 20, 2011

This is Why I Miss Seattle

My dad sent me this photo the other day. It's a view of Mt. Rainier from their porch. I fly home to this tomorrow night! Excited for some much needed Pacific Northwest time. Most of it will be spent camping. One more half day of work this week, and I'm out!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Celebrigay

So...I was so hyped up about Pride that I forgot to mention another celebrity sighting that occurred in my life. On my way to work a few weeks ago I saw Bob Harper (personal trainer from The Biggest Loser). He was coming out of Starbucks on Santa Monica Blvd. He blended in quite well with all the other well-chiseled gay boys who frequent that particular Starbucks, but I could spot him from a mile away. (Sara and I are addicted to The Biggest Loser...what can I say.) This was also my first time seeing someone famous in LA. So it was all very exciting for me. My jaw dropped open as I drove by and didn't close for at least a few blocks. I think if I would have seen Jillian Michaels I would have crashed my car.

In case you are unfamiliar:

Made my morning.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

LA PRIDE! and Celebrity Sightings

Pride was fantastic! OK we didn't even go to the parade this morning...but Friday night was a blast. Sara and I had decided to get a hotel that night so we could fully experience the evening and not have to worry about a place to park and how to get home. So right after work I met her at the hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard. She had brought me some dinner and we had a few drinks and were out the door. I'll say we timed that right, because just as we were walking outside, the Dyke March was parading past the hotel. We joined in and were happy to finally find where all the ladies at! There is something so comforting about looking around and seeing other people like you being happy. Other women holding hands with the people they love and not having to worry about what people think of them. I can hardly explain it.

The march made it's way to the West Hollywood Park where The Purple Party- Celebrating Women was just getting started. There was a main stage, food trucks, rainbow wrist bands, bars set up in tents giving away free t-shirts, and ladies, ladies, ladies. Not to mention celebrity gay ladies. As would call them, celesbians. Shortly after we got there, Dani from A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila walked by. Sara tried to get me to talk to her but it reminded me of when I was at a bar in Seattle and saw Sirbrina, also from the show. My friends Monique and Megan were determined to get me to hit on her and wrote my phone number down on a receipt for her. She wound up telling them that she wasn't into me because she liked femmes. Traumatized. So somehow I was too chicken to get a picture with Dani.

We also potentially saw Tim Gunn from Project Runway walking through the crowd (we will call him a celebrigay) along with a few of the Ladies from Showtime's, The Real L Word. The show helped sponsor the event and had a pretty big presence throughout the night. Ironically, Sara and I had just tuned into the premier of the second season last week and were pretty impressed. This season looks like it will be better than the last one. I was excited to see people from the show casually walking by. I had said to Sara, "Of all the people on The Real L Word, I would love to meet Sajdah. She seems really cool." Sure enough, we spotted her over by the stage. Sara grabbed me by the arm and said, "There she is, we're meeting her." We both shook hands with her and chatted for a bit. I was right, she is awesome. Excuse the crappy quality of the picture from my phone, but here it is. Way cool. We should be friends...just sayin ;)

Whitney from The Real L Word (not only the new season but season one as well) was also there introducing Macy Gray to the stage.

I also had my picture taken with a big dancing vagina!!! We had a blast, what can I say. Best time of the year. Next year Sara won't have finals and we'll rock the whole three days of it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

We're Here, We're Queer

LA Pride is coming up! It's next weekend, June 10th-12th. I'm pretty excited about it, if you can't tell. I've been driving through West Hollywood on my way to work every morning seeing the signs advertising it for quite awhile now. It's finally here! However, this excitement is paired with a bit of trepidation. I have a feeling that the parking situation is going to be just insane. It's nearly impossible to find a place to park in Weho as it is. I've considered all the options- taxi, bus, tram...none of that will work. It's far enough away from home that driving is my only option. My only bright idea is that I could utilize my already-paid-for work parking in Beverly Hills, but that would require having to then taxi it back up to Santa Monica Blvd. Hmph. Anyone ever been to LA Pride? Have any tips?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Things No One Ever Told Me About LA

I have decided that I am going to start a series of posts on this topic. I am always baffled by my petty but fascinating realizations about this city. It's nothing like Seattle. I didn't except it to be, but there are things that I wasn't expecting...and they blow my mind. 

One of the first things that caught me off guard was the fact that the grocery stores here are all different. QFC isn't called's Ralph's, but it's the same store nonetheless. Safeway isn't's Vons. However, Albertson' Albertson's. Weird. I've gotten used to it though.  Ralph's has become the store we rely on. In fact Sara and I have been watching a little too much of TLC's Extreme Couponing. We have our weekly sit down to organize and plan out our grocery needs and to decide which coupons we will be using at our trusty Ralph's across the street. Anyway, that's another topic.

Before I moved here, I had a completely different notion of what LA was. OK maybe it’s just me, but growing up, I formed an image in my head of what LA was like. I was really surprised when I realized how spread out everything is. Where exactly is LA? I’ve come to the realization that when people refer to LA, they mean Los Angeles County and all that it encompasses.  Downtown LA is actually kind of small for a city, and there’s nothing too exciting there. In the five months since I moved, I’ve been downtown once. Therefore, the famous and glamorous LA can’t be referring to the downtown area. Hollywood is LA, Pasadena is LA, Beverly Hills is LA...I still find myself trying to wrap my head around this phenomenon. 

Another thing that threw me for a loop was the abundance of medical marijuana clinics around here. They are everywhere! In fact they must compete with each other, because I have noticed several areas where there is one on either side of the street. I have no problem with this, don't get me wrong. I was just surprised when I realized I was seeing a total of about five bright green neon Mary Jane leaf signs on my route to work every morning.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beverly Hillbilly

I witnessed THE STRANGEST event while at work the other day. OK so it's been over a week since it happened, but I'm just now writing about it. It was the end of a long day, and I was working with a patient in a treatment room. The patient was face down on a massage table, nearly asleep, and I was working on his back. I was exhausted and kind of zoning out. I was gazing out the window, people watching, and counting down the minutes until I could be on my way home.

A woman squatting in front of her car on the side of the street caught my eye. I thought, "What? Is she peeing? Out in the open on a busy street in Beverly Hills? Next to Neiman Marcus!?" Yes my friends, she was. And this was no homeless-looking person either. She was nicely dressed, as if she had just gotten off of work. She then pulled up her pants, zipped them, and walked around to the side of her car. She stood there for a minute, swaying around a bit, and then put her hands on her head. So then I thought to myself, "OK, she must be drunk, or high on something." She was absolutely wasted. Her head then dropped forward, as if she was trying to touch her toes. She hung there for quite a while. She rolled up from her bent over position and shook her legs. I couldn't believe it. She had just peed again! Down the legs of her nice black work pants. That assumption was confirmed when she opened the door of her car and sat down on the passenger seat, leaving two puddles of urine on the sidewalk. At this point I felt sick to my stomach. It not only grossed me out but I was concerned! I almost felt like I should have done something. However, with a patient's care in my hands, I just continued to work and kept one eye glancing out the window.

After what seemed to be an attempt at a nap, she sat up from her slumped position and checked her hair and make up in the visor mirror. She grabbed something like a towel or t-shirt and patted at her wet pant legs. After thinking that she pulled herself together she got up, slung her purse over her shoulder, locked the car, and walked down the block. I don't know why it weirded me out so much. Unfortunately, drunk young people do things like that all the time. But not at of front of a physical therapy clinic. Or maybe they do, this is So Cal after all.

P.S. The patient I was working on had no idea that any of this was going on and he still received excellent patient care. Not to worry you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

11 Years Later and My Math Is Still Queer

About a month ago my boss called me into her office to hand me my paycheck. Being called into her office is always intimidating, but I was happy to be getting paid. My excitement was smashed when she said, "Here is your check, but you were inaccurate." I immediately realized that I must have miscalculated on my time sheet. I apologized awkwardly. I was too embarrassed to think of the right thing to say. She then looked at me in the eye and said, "Simple math Melanie, this is simple math." At that point I just wanted to die, or be invisible, something.

From that point on I was determined to never let that happen again. I meticulously wrote down my hours at the end of every shift like it was my duty. My co-workers made fun of me. They thought it was ridiculous how much effort I was putting into it. I didn't care though. I was too focused on never having to be that embarrassed again. I was ashamed. I mean, who does that? Not me. I was the kind of kid in high school who was a year ahead in math and still got 100% on my tests. Even before that I was the kid who had rooms and rooms full of treasure on Treasure Mathstorm. Remember that computer game? It holds a special place in my heart.

Now you're probably thinking, everyone makes mistakes, right? This is no big deal. And you are correct. But what if I told you it happened again? That's right. Today I was called into her office again. "Melanie, you have never been correct on your time sheet, ever." Jfoiweufaosdjflkjslkasjdlfkajsoweiugkhjk!! What?! I couldn't believe it. I had TRIPLE checked my math on my most recent time sheet and STILL was off. Did you know that .5 + .5 = 1.0? Apparently it's news to me. This time I had a little more pride to try and defend myself. I told her that I'm usually pretty good at math and I couldn't believe I was having such a problem. I said I would use a calculator from now on. "No," she said, "this is good practice for you." Ahhhhhggggg. Humiliating.

I thought about it the whole drive home. Thank you for letting me share my woes. I feel a little better now. I think it's time for a trip to the 99 Cent Only store for a use of course after I do it in my head. For good practice...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just an Update

My job in Beverly Hills is going to be full time now! Everything is falling into place. My task of the day is to write a letter of resignation to the clinic in Burbank. This will be the second resignation letter I have written in a little over two months. Gotta do what you gotta do, right? An excuse to bake another cake.

So it will be an hour to and from work everyday now. Gee, that's only about one hundred bucks on gas a week. Woo, 40 hours. That's what I wanted. I can't complain.

I guess this means no more days of watching A Baby Story marathons. That's probably a good thing...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gee Willikers

A memory that just came flashing back to me:

When I was in the 7th grade I read a lot of Nancy Drew. I've never been much of a reader, but for some reason I was on a roll reading multiple books in the series that year. I got into them so much that I started to pick up on the grammar used in the text.  Word usage in the forties and fifties isn't always directly translatable to language of today. I didn't know that.

I distinctly remember sitting in math class one day. I was a really quiet kid. I hardly ever spoke out in class. Why this was the day to blurt out the first thing that popped into my head, I have no idea. Our teacher was explaining the answer to a homework question on the overhead projector. I guess the answer to the math problem wasn't what I expected because I practically shouted, "Hmm, that's queer!" The whole class room burst out in laughter.

That night I was saying goodnight to my mom and telling her about my day. I said, "Mom, everyone in math thought I was really funny today!" I was excited to feel like the class clown for once. I told her the story. "Oh Honey, that's because queer is another word for gay." Oh. I was mortified. Damn it, Nancy. I'll never forget that.

P.S. It's a little weird that I didn't know what queer meant until 7th grade, right? I also didn't know what a lesbian was until 6th grade. I thought a lesbian was someone from Lebanon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay!"

Okay, so now that I'm all settled into our apartment, found a job(s) that I am content with, and got a California license and registered my car, what else do I need to be a true about some new friends? For the last month or so, Sara and I have been feeling desperate to find some gay friends down here. In fact, we made it our mission.

Mission #1: befriend the hot tub lesbians.
We noticed shortly after I moved in that there was a lesbian couple living across the courtyard from us. Their apartment overlooked the pool area and we would see them out on their balcony every time we sat in the hot tub (creeps, I know). The plan was to coincidentally use the hot tub at the same time they did. In such a small perimeter we would be forced to make small talk and potentially become friends, right? Well, easier said then done. That perfect situation never happened, and when it could have, I'll admit, I backed out. Sara was out of town for a few weeks and I had decided to go down to the hot tub by myself one night. Picture it: I walked down stairs in my bikini, approached the gate down to the pool area, saw one of the hot tub lesbians soaking in the pool, turned around and went back upstairs. Yup, that happened. I am pretty shy, but that was a definite low. What happened to my game?! Needless to say, mission #1 failed and we gave up on the hot tub lesbians.

Mission #2: brave the Boulevard.
Before I moved in with Sara, I came down to visit her back in September. It was the first time seeing her after she had moved down for school and it was also a chance for me to see if I could picture myself living here. Of course I could, everything seemed great. I just needed to make sure of one thing. It was on that trip that I grabbed Sara's computer and googled searched "gay bar pasadena." I needed to make sure there was a place nearby to be with family. The Boulevard Bar popped up. I said to Sara, "Did you know that there is a gay bar .1 miles from here?" She was equally as surprised and said that we would have to check it out when I moved down here. Well when that time came, many things kept us from going. We were skeptical. I would drive by and see it week after week and think, "Man, we gotta go there. It's so close." But here, let me give you a mental image: hole in the wall looking place, black painted rock textured wall, red trim. Let's just put it this way, we were afraid it would be all old men in there. Finally we sat down and read reviews of the bar online (I know, when did I turn into the kind of person that needs to read reviews before going to a bar? I'm getting old and boring). People loved it! We were convinced enough to take the two minutes to walk there and check it out.

. . .It was fantastic! Small bar with a disco ball and silver streamers, horrendously amusing karaoke, bartenders who remember you by name, cheap drinks, and friendly regulars of all sorts. We immediately made friends with two delightful gay boys. We made it out that night with phone numbers from two potential lesbian friends, one of whom is the first modern dancer I've met in LA. When I told her I was from Seattle she said that she had just done a workshop with KT Niehoff. If you don't know what I'm talking about just smile and nod. If you do, isn't that cool?? Mission #2 complete.

We had so much fun that night that we went again last weekend. As soon as we walked in the door, guess who we saw...the hot tub lesbians! They were there along with a rather large group of people from our apartment building. Sara and I stood awkwardly at the bar and enjoyed the talented and not so talented karaoke singers until eventually one of our neighbors came up and asked if we lived down the street. She invited us over to the rowdy gang and that was that. Mission #1 complete.

Can we talk for a moment about how the only gar bar east of West Hollywood is half a block from our apartment?! Thank you. I can't tell you how frustrating it was for me driving through weho on my way to work all the time and never getting to hang out there. It's pretty far away and after work I'm always tired and just want to get home. Problem solved! Gay friends made. Now I just have to hope the hot tub lesbians don't run across my blog someday because I will be sufficiently embarrassed...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Things First, Commuting

There is no way to avoid driving in LA.  I spend about seven to nine hours a week in my car, and I only work three days a week! It's just the way it is. This being the case, I can't help but rant about it a bit...

First of all, I've noticed that there is a general lack of Subarus on the road here, in exchange for an abundance of BMW's and Mercedes. Oh and Range Rovers...lots of those too. It's like they are just your average run of the mill cars. And I'm not just talkin' about Beverly Hills here either...everywhere! There is nothing wrong with that, it's just something I have noticed.

Next let's talk about gas prices, shall we? Ridiculous. I paid 60 bucks to fill up my tank the other day, and this was at ARCO.  Can you imagine if I would have sprung for Chevron like I always used to? Remember back in the day when a 20 dollar bill did the trick? I distinctly remember a few times in high school when I only had $10 to spend and that would at least get me half a tank to last a few days. Here and now, that would get me a few miles. So if that was six years ago and the price has nearly tripled, does that mean I'll being paying $180 when I'm 30? Scary.

Now for the freeways. The 2, the 10, the 101, the 110, the 210 , the 134, the 405, and of course THE FIVE. I swore I would never call it the 5. I always thought it was ridiculous when people from California would call I-5, the 5. It made no sense to me. Everyone in Seattle calls it I-5 and everyone in LA calls it the 5. I get it now! Maybe it's because there are a million other freeways going every other which way, do ya think? It would be ridiculous to call them all by the full title. On an average day to get to work I take the 210, the 134, the 5, and the 2. That's just how it is. The part that really threw me for a loop was the time when I was lost in Hollywood and my GPS told me to get on the 101 East, but the sign said this way to 101 North and South. Excuse me, what?!

Everyone knows that Californians have their own way of driving, and it's true. I have to say that it didn't take long for me to catch on either. There's none of the passive-aggressive "Oh I'm afraid to merge so I'll let you go first" stuff. Everyone has somewhere to be and they just want to get there. If you don't want to go 75 mph, you might as well just get back in bed.

I can't finish this post without warning those of you who are fellow LA drivers, don't use your phone while you're driving. No joke! I got a ticket on April 1st for using my phone on speaker. If only it would have been an April Fool's joke. The officer informed me, "The way you are using your phone is not legal ma'am." He went on to say that during the month of April they are doing a Hands Free campaign and that there would be absolutely no tolerance. I even fibbed and said that my blue tooth had just broken (it was broken but it hadn't "just" broken). But no. I even played dumb and pulled out my ear phones from the glove box and said I didn't think you were allowed to wear head phones while you were driving. Apparently you are but only in one ear. Typical that I got caught on the first day of the campaign. Believe the reader boards! I guess I'll have to invest in a new blue tooth if I'm going to survive my commute...I miss talking to my mom! Oh sorry Mom, didn't tell you about my ticket. Love you!

OK, that's enough :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This is Just Kinda Funny

So when I was writing the description of this blog, I quickly typed the word Seattleite into google search. It's a odd looking word, so I thought I would double check the spelling. I was amused when Urban Dictionary was the first link to pop up. It's a pretty hilarious site when you have the time to waste. Who makes up all that crap? Anyway, thought I would share the "definition" of a Seattleite. Pretty true...

1.Seattleite309 up63 down
1. Any person living in, or within ten miles of The city of Seattle, WA
2.Is easily agitated when tourist asks to see the original Starbucks, Microsoft or Kurt Cobain's house. True Seattleites do not care for these things.
3.Considers Seattle to be the best city on Earth.
4. Is a pretentious coffee snob due to the thousands of delicious coffee houses and rostaries that surround them.
5. Any person who knows not to visit Pike Place Market on a Saturday.
6. Any person who was disappointed by EMP (unlike the inbred hicks from across the country who come to visit it).
7. Anybody who knows that "eating dicks" means eating burgers.
8.Any person that hates it when Californians drive through Washington and cry about the rain and the cold.
9. Typically a city that is completely devoid of soccer moms.

The Beginning of Chapter LA

Finally! Here we go. I've been wanting to start a blog for some time now. Partly because I know that a few of you remember my promise to write a book about my many ridiculously outrageous stories surrounding my coming out and subsequent drama-filled relationships. You may get some of that here. The book is a daunting work in progress. Who knows what will come of it. A blog seems like a good place to throw some of that in...maybe. My main focus here is to share with you some of the thoughts that go through my mind each day as I learn more and more about this crazy place called LA. I grew up in Bremerton, WA, you gotta remember. What is this place?! I constantly have something to say about things I experience here but I hardly ever say them. So this is it. I thought I would start out with a general update on what has gone on since I got here. This is what I've been up to...

Sara came home to Seattle after her first semester of PT school at USC. At the end of her winter break, we packed my little SUV full to the brim with all of my belongings and set out on the three day road trip. Moving in was fairly simple. All of my things seemed to fit in nicely with Sara's without too much of a hassle. And living with a girlfriend for the first time? A breeze. Couldn't ask for a better roommate/lover/companion/friend. We have our arguments as every couple does, but it works. So glad about that.

A picture I took from the courtyard of our apartment building in February.

January for me was a lot of sitting on the couch all day emailing my resume out to all the surrounding physical therapy clinics. Sara even went to the trouble of making me a spread sheet of all the clinics in Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, and Arcadia with their websites and phone numbers. I was desperate. I probably emailed about 20-30 clinics with responses from only two or three. Low and behold, I got a call three weeks later for a full time position in Glendale (only about 15 minutes away). The catch, it was a temporary position. They couldn't tell me how long I would be secured a job there because the person I was replacing was on medical leave and they didn't know when she would be back. Whatever, I needed the money, right? Turned out not to be worth it. Who knew I would be so picky? It just wasn't my cup of tea. The people were nice, the money wasn't bad, but I just didn't get out of it what I needed. Too much paper work, not enough hands on experience. I needed something that would boost me into grad school, not keep me where I was. So I was on the job hunt again! I worked there for a total of six weeks while continuing my search for something better.

I baked them a cake and resigned from that job at the end of February and immediately started working at a top notch clinic in Beverly Hills (about an hour away). The experience? Phenomenal. Just what I need to get into school. The commute? Horrendous. There is lots more to say about all that but I will save it for future posts. The position unfortunately was only part time and I couldn't settle with only 16.5 hours a week. Luckily I had also just gotten a call from a clinic in Burbank (20 minutes away). Only a part time position as well, I started there as soon as I could. Both jobs combined only come out to 26.5 hours a week but hey, I get Tuesdays and Thursdays off which is nice considering Monday and Wednesday are from 7-noon in Burbank and 1:30-7 in Beverly Hills. I am one tired girl after those days, let me tell you. But it all worked out!

Other than work I found a place to do a little dancing. On Saturdays I have been taking an open ballet class at Pasadena Dance Theatre. Compared to the six days a week of dance I was doing in high school, the rehearsals til 10pm I was doing in college, and 7 hours a week of rehearsal with Karin Steven's Dance Company back in Seattle, this is hardly fulfilling. But it is something. And oh man, does it kick my butt. I am not in the ballet shape that I used to be. I feel like puking at the end of every class. After the first class I took I couldn't move for two days. That is not a joke. It is good though.

I better stop there. That is a pretty good recap on what I've been up to the last few months. You'll get the rest here and there. Now for some Cali commentary.