I Admit It: I Love L.A.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Los Angeles by the time I left in 2012 after over 10 years of calling it home.

My biggest complaint about L.A. is the heinous, constant traffic. It’s terrible and it’s a regular topic of conversation in L.A. Few cities in the US compare.

I moved to San Francisco full of hope and relieved to live in a true walking city.  No more daily near-death incidents on the freeway! No more road rage! No more wondering why everyone in a BMW seems to drive like a tool.

My how things have changed.[/dropcap]

A Day in the East Bay

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Damn my need to experience things for myself.

When I announced I was leaving Los Angeles and heading up to the Bay Area, a few people encouraged me to consider living in the East Bay.

[For those unfamiliar with the area, here’s a simple analogy. San Francisco is like Manhattan. It’s the flagship city of the area. Oakland is like Brooklyn, a sister city across the water, that is sometimes very underrated, a city ‘snooty’ residents of the flagship city wouldn’t consider even visiting, and one that has its diehard fans who will passionately defend it’s superiority. It’s affordability. It’s lack of pretentiousness. Both cities are experiencing a growing gentrification that dismay it’s original residents and is often attributed to the uptick in the overflow people who can’t afford to live in Manhattan or San Francisco. Then there are the other ‘boroughs’ like Berkeley and other surrounding small towns. ][/dropcap]

How Are the Kitties?

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]It’s always funny to me how, when catching up with friends, they’ll sometimes ask “So, how are the kitties?”

The answer is always a (thankfully) boring, “Oh, they’re good. Healthy.” But, why do we ask about each other’s pets? They are very simple creatures. They eat, drink, play, sleep, whine to eat more, shed, and find the only rug in a hardwood-floored apartment to vomit on because vomiting on the floor would make things easier for me to clean, and repeat.

Do we expect the answer will be something like this? [/dropcap]

Being Kind to Myself

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]We all have our moments of doubt, where we feel like we’re not good enough or pretty enough or whatever-it-is enough. This starts so early, this self-doubt. It becomes like a shadow that follows us around to rain on our parade from time-to-time. Trip us up. Cause us grief.

I decided rather than doing what is all-too-easy and focusing on what I don’t like about me, I’d take some time to think about what I do like. I took an objective view (as much as this is possible) and considered what other people see when they meet me. How my friends feel when they are around me. What my dad thinks when he sees the woman I am now. What my younger sisters think when they think of their big sister. I’m someone’s aunt.[/dropcap]

You’ve Got a Friend…in San Francisco?

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I officially have my first San Francisco friend! I’m a couple of weeks shy of my 6-month marker of living in the City and I can now boast a new friend. This friend was hard-earned. I am not a hermit, I am not shy, I smile at strangers, I say nice things to people, I shower regularly and smell good. Should be a friend magnet, right? No. Hhhhheeelll no.

I couldn’t even get hit on here. Usually if there’s one thing I can count on in life, it’s that a creepy guy with no sense of personal boundaries will hit on me. Not only did I feel friendless, but ugly. Maybe I don’t smell as good as I think I do.

As I often do when I have questions about life, I turned to Google. Google, why is it so hard to meet people and make friends in San Francisco? [/dropcap]

Making Friends: Paying Dues

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I joined a “private social club” a few weeks ago. I read about it in a blog post on ways to meet people in San Francisco. I didn’t know such things existed outside of Ivy League enclaves, the East Coast and thrillers where club members are evil and plot to kill each other. The idea intrigued me. It sounded like a co-ed frat for grown folks. Could be awesome, could be horrible. I applied on their website and the next day received a call from a member coordinator for a brief phone screening. She asked me basics like why I was joining (I’m new to SF and largely friendless), what I was looking for (friends, obvs) and what adventures I like to do for fun (most things that don’t involve heights, but even then…). I passed and made it through to the hour-long phone interview with a member rep.[/dropcap]

A Friending Frenzy

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I’ve been living in San Francisco a little over four months. I had five immediate goals when I arrived:

  1. Unpack box-partment and decorate within six weeks of move in – Did it in five.
  2. Don’t get fired (or maybe it was “do well at work”. Still, end result is, don’t get fired.)– still employed
  3. Find a gym – found
  4. Make friends – well, see…so…but I, err…
  5. Possibly finally trade in bitchy, useless, freeloading, ungrateful second cat.*

*still debating this one[/dropcap]

Why I Don’t Eat Watermelon in Public

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Racists really need to update their stereotype references. When it comes to black people at least, they seem stuck on…well they’re stuck on stupid, as we all know, but also stuck in the old days. Music evolves, the amount of clothing women wear (or don’t wear) evolves, our language evolves, yet racist Americans don’t appear to take pride in their racism enough to keep up with the times.

For example, Jennifer Olsen, chairwoman of Yellowstone County’s Republican committee in Montana, allegedly shared the following “hilarious” image with her Facebook followers:[/dropcap]

10 Ridiculous Business Terms

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I was IMing with a co-worker last week about the absurdity of business jargon. How ridiculous is business-speak? I envision that somewhere there is a committee of Seth Rogan-types who secretly hate their jobs and sit around in a slacker lair inventing dumb shit for business people to say. Stuff that will secretly crack them up when they hear the words repeated. I remember when I started my first big girl business job. I’d hear people speak in a seemingly foreign language and I wanted to quit. It was Office Space: Live!

(sidenote: OMG you guys, a co-worker and I IM’d about non-work stuff, this is such progress in the work friendship department. This deserves Rachel Zoe levels of excitement: This is so “major!” )[/dropcap]

The Significance of Gap Jeans

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]A couple of years ago I had an intense crisis of conscious moment while waiting for the bus in North Hollywood. Returning from a beer festival, I’d opted to be a responsible citizen and take public transportation rather than drive. I don’t know what the stats are, but few people in Los Angeles take public transportation. You can see the economic divide between those that take the bus or ride the trains and those who zip around in one of the many BMWs, Mercedes or Porsches that flood the city. I watched as a Latina woman fished around in her purse for change to afford the ride for herself and her three children. I resisted the urge to hand her the extra dollar she was looking for. I didn’t want to assume she needed it and risk insulting her. Near her stood two black female teenagers in worn clothing and holey shoes in dire need of replacement, listening to music and joking with each other.[/dropcap]

San Francisco: Not a Treat (Yet)

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I’ve been feeling pretty lonely and lacking regular human interaction the past few months. You know you’re desperate for human interaction when you look forward to visiting your new chiropractor because you know that as chatty as she is, she’ll also be a captive audience.

La, La, La, I Can’t See You!

I think people in this city, at least the parts I’ve been in, are deathly allergic to making eye contact with others. As though meeting the eyes of another human might suck out their souls. I know there are many reasons why people may avoid eye contact: some are shy, some have social anxiety (or just regular anxiety), others wary of strangers, I’ve heard some say that they are afraid of being asked for money, but everyone?![/dropcap]

America: Land of No Time Off, No Fun?

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]In Tanzania this summer, I had a stimulating conversation with an Irish woman who had taken a break from her teaching job to manage a resort in Zanzibar. When she discovered that I’d been in Tanzania for three weeks, she was in shock. “I thought Americans didn’t get much holiday time?”

“I work for a company that provides really good benefits in the hopes of retaining employees.”

“Lovely. My American relatives come to visit us in Ireland and they only stay for six days. What’s the point? Stay home! There’s no time!” Imagine this said with a delightfully animated Irish accent.

“I know.”

“Why don’t Americans fight for more time off?”[/dropcap]

2012 in Review

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]This is the time of year when people start making resolutions that many probably will not keep. The time of year that regular gym-goers like me hate. The gym is packed with resolutioners who don’t know what the hell they are doing, hitting themselves on the head, breaking shit, all up on my machines, sweaty after walking 30 seconds on the treadmill, and hogging the free weights. Sadly for them, but happily for me, their enthusiasm for their resolution will die down within a few weeks as they forget they want Jennifer Aniston’s body.

I gave up on resolutions years ago when I realized I was ignoring them and not meeting them. Instead I decided to set goals for things I’d like to accomplish for the year. Here’s how I fared in 2012. [/dropcap]

Snorkeling, Spice Farms and Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Bright and early I met up with the group of 20 other snorkelers and divers at the pick up point for our guided trip on a dhow. The hyper crew had us all introduce ourselves by name and origin. The group of six from my hotel were aboard, along with two white South African girls. The remainder of the group hailed from places in Europe like Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Poland. I was the lone person who lived in America. I was also one of only two solo-ers and the only black person aside from the crew. Thankfully, no one directed a shocked exclamation of, “YOU ARE BY YOURSELF?!” my way.[/dropcap]

New City, No New Friends

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I forgot how hard it is to move to a new city where you know virtually no one. It’s my sixth time doing this. I think it gets harder each time.

When I moved to Los Angeles years and years ago I dreamed about the fabulous life I’d have hobnobbing with celebrities, meeting other actors, falling in love with my hot male castmates in all the leading roles I’d get and generally just living a flyass life. None of that happened. The closest I came to meeting a celebrity that early on was during planning for a charity event. We were looking for star power to amp up the interest; someone offered, “My friend is friends with Ryan Seacrest. Maybe we could get him to host?”[/dropcap]