Saturday, April 24, 2010

turning the corner

By way of update...

I am now employed at two places, ye olde scooter shop, and a business that does really cool things with sustainability for what they call "environmentally challenged" businesses like oil, gas and manufacturing. It's actually something I could, and would, see as a career. We shall see. Right now I spend most of my days there working on the design and layout of brochures and other customer deliverables. It's fun and pays really well, and I like working for a company whose values are aligned so closely with mine.

My fiance broke his foot in late January, and as he works entirely on his feet, was out of commission for almost a month. Between a month of no work and several overpriced doctor's appointments (he's not on my insurance yet), it's put a huge financial burden on both of us. While the doctors' bills themselves total around $1,000 the wages he lost amount to much more than that, and it's been an uphill battle getting our finances sorted. Hopefully the wedding plans are still on track. But we're not sure. The notion of spending thousands of dollars on a single day, no matter how momentous and beautiful, is a point of stress for us both. This was our experience with pre-Obama healthcare in America. Here's hoping it gets better soon.

But we've got each other, I'm finally gainfully employed and enjoying my work (won't take that for granted again any time soon) and we've got a city full of friends and beautiful spring weather. I keep telling him it's going to get better, and I know it's true. It's hard to see how sometimes but it has to be okay someday soon. It always is.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Word Generator #4

Today's word is "Armpit"

L.A. is an easy city to hate. Lots of people do it. I think part of it is that there is so much obviously, glaringly beautiful about L.A., and so much that is so sickeningly, overwhelmingly awful as well. All in the same huge package. Los Angeles represents everything we hate about being Americans while also demonstrating everything we hope for- prosperity, beauty, warmth, the sparkling sun glinting off endless waves.

But I miss it. No matter how many veterans come back and tell me that L.A. is the armpit of the world, a vast wasteland of superficial, horrifying excess, I will always remember L.A. as I saw it when I was very young. How the warmth of the sun seemed to hold me close and tenderly as I stood in the ocean at Leo Carillo. The way the colors of everything around me seemed intensified by heat and sunshine. The exotic, intriguing smells of every possible kind of food that wafted into the car windows as we drove through neighborhoods unlike anything back home in Albuquerque, Minnesota, Colorado.

I saw L.A. at its worst once, as columns of smoke rose from Watts during a poorly planned family vacation in 1992. We made the most of it, we ventured into the city, we sunned on beaches and tried hard to put as much space in our minds between Malibu and the places on the news... Koreatown... South Normandie... Vernon and Western.

There were plenty of moments when it wasn't hard. Same city, different worlds.

When I turned 18 I wanted nothing more than to somehow find myself living an adult kind of life in Los Angeles. I would look for jobs there, houses, fantasizing about what it would be like to leave my small town life for The California Dream. I long ago realized the competition, the need to be blond and botoxed, the expense was not in alignment with what I really needed and wanted. But still, especially on days like today, my mind goes back to the coast. To swimming pools and tucked-away corners of strip malls where so many treasures can be found. To the smell of exhaust and salty air. And I miss it, for everything good and bad it can be.