Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a Workin' Girl

Y ou know, it's totally true, what they warn you about. When you first get out of college the world is cold, scary, lonely, and you are tired all the time. It's not like I'm sitting around mourning that the "best period of my life" is over, I was prepared for the transition, and there is plenty of beauty all around me. But still, you don't know how good it is to have a college community and all of your bills paid for you till it's gone.

With that said, it's nice to feel a sense of self-sufficiency. There was an extent in college to which I always wondered: do I really deserve to live on such a beautiful campus with such wonderful people? What did I do that was so special? Now that I am living in the real world, and at least starting to be able to pay for my own food, and housing, and utilities, and internet, etc. on my own, I know exactly what I did to deserve it- I went into the world and worked for it. It's a kind of comfort.

After submitting many applications to the museums and universities in the area and other various secretarial-type positions on Craigslist, I was interviewed,
(Don't I look professional?)

tested, and signed-up by a temp company, which tries to find you a constant stream of temporary assignments to fill your coffers and increase your professional experience. So far they have been great, and I started my first assignment on Wednesday.

I'm working for the SPCA LA, which, if you don't know, stands for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles.

Through this job I am learning a lot about the ins and outs of animal shelters and humane societies in the greater Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, there aren't actually any adorable animals at the administration offices where I work...


...but I know that I'm helping them anyway, because of all the phone calls I've answered- directing people to the nearest shelter in their area, or which agency to call when they find a lost dog, a deer stuck in a fence, or kittens they want help finding homes for. It's been a great place to start because the people have been very understanding and kind, and I feel like I'm helping to do something important.

Wish me luck, because tomorrow is my first day flying solo; for the last three days I've been learning from the girl who previously held the receptionist position. Shadowing her for three days let me get to know her pretty well, and I feel like we could have been friends if she wasn't leaving. That's the trouble with temping in a city where you hardly know a soul- the people you meet won't invest in you because they know you'll be gone soon, and the people you like won't really be a part of your life in a few weeks. It makes me feel even lonelier in the second most populous city in the United States.

However, now that I have at least the promise of a permanent income, and am beginning to establish a routine, I can begin to look for hobbies with a clear conscience, and maybe meet some great people that way.

It's still an adventure!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Home Cookin'

I'm going to tell you the story of the first home-cooked meal M and I worked on together in our new apartment. It was a bit of a triumph.

This is our oven:

It is the type of old-school, gas-powered oven that my grandfather referred to as an "old-timer". Why was my grandfather involved, you might ask? Neither M nor I had ever used a gas oven before and didn't know the least thing about what to do when we turned the dial and found no obvious evidence of heat being generated.

This all occurred while we were without internet for a few days, so we had no obvious way of looking up what to do about our predicament. M called his father for some internet support, and I called my grandfather, who used to have this type of oven in his kitchen, for advice.

What we discovered from all of our gathered advice was that the pilot light- a little blue flame which always stays lit in a gas oven- must have gone out when the energy company was transferring service to us. Now it was our job to light it. However, my grandfather warned us that an oven of this type should come equipped with a safety mechanism to stop the steady stream of gas that ordinarily fed the pilot light. As that safety mechanism seemed to be missing, it was possible that we could blow ourselves up with all the accumulated gas in the air and in the oven's broiler if we attempted to light the pilot light ourselves.

Can you guess what we did? We lit the pilot light ourselves! It was a process of course; first we lit a match in the kitchen: no problems. Then we lit a match on the edge of the broiler compartment: no problems! For the final stage, we taped a match to the end of a ruler and reached it all the way to the back of the broiler compartment to successfully light our pilot light. Here is the inside of the oven with the pilot light and broiler successfully lit:

With this setback our dinner came out about an hour later than we had intended it to, but it was well worth it. Yum yum!

Salmon cakes, summer squash, and oven-baked new potatoes with sea salt and rosemary. It's a good start, don't you think?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Apartment to Share

A week and a day ago we signed our lease with our landlord Amir, and got the keys to our new place. Amir seemed very kind, and wished us "luck to you both" many times.

This is the front entrance; you can see our door up there in the corner. The tree in the planting in front has these small tubular flowers that act as a low-budget, all-natural hummingbird feeder.

It's very special to watch them feeding and resting on the branches from the window of my very own SUNROOM:

We have a kitchen window that overlooks the mailboxes, and you know how important that is to me:

We also have a crazy old chandelier in the dining room:

After we officially finished moving all of our belongings into the apartment, we poured ourselves some sparking rosé and toasted each and every room together!

So far the place has been good to us, and given me a good jumping-off point for some comfortable-space building. We also have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and living room, but they look better in the pictures with furniture. You guessed it, more to come soon!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can I Hear it for IKEA?

Last Thursday, M and I went to the wonderful land where furniture comes in flat packages and easily-assemblable bundles. We spent a reasonable amount of money on furniture for practically the whole apartment. The apartment is large enough to still feel uncluttered, but we now have places to put our stuff, and places to eat and to sit. It's an excellent improvement, and was the beginning of the establishment of the routines that we both will thrive on.

Then we got building. It took us until partway through Friday, but we assembled everything sturdily and successfully.

I personally felt really good about doing a large part of the building myself. M may be the boy, but when it came to picking furniture, building it, and deciding where it was going to go, we were a great team.

So now our apartment has furniture. With a basic structure for living established, my priority has shifted to finding a job, and I'm not allowing myself too much time for getting lost in decorating the apartment. I have many ideas for the second IKEA trip we intend to make, but I've told myself, quite reasonably, that I can't do any polishing until I can afford it.

But just to tide us over:
I want to get a couple of these to hang my scarves and shawls on over the head of the bed. Wouldn't that be functional and yet multi-colored and decorative?

Next, M wants as a present a few of their potted cacti, and I say let's embrace this semi-arid environment we now live in!

Finally, wouldn't one of these look cool suspended over my desk with my letters and receipts and other small paper items hanging from it?

I can't wait!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

All Moved

I know I'm a little late getting around to this post, but I have been super busy since arriving in L.A. It looks like we might have found THE apartment, but I'll post more on that later. Anyway:

Leaving on Monday was hard, REALLY hard. My mom gave me a rose to keep close on the journey, and it smelled lovely the whole way. I'd just get a little whiff when I needed the smell of home:

Between that and the pretty skies, I began to feel excited and uplifted about this choice, and of course, M has been practically giddy ever since he showed up at my house on Sunday.

Considering the difficulty I had with pulling out of my driveway, it was surprising to me how much the cross-country move began to feel like a mini-vacation. Thanks to the excellent planning and navigating skills of M, we were able to see many beautiful things. He did a good job of stealing me away to his castle:

The Albequerque BioGardens:

The Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert:

The Grand Canyon:

And then all of a sudden, the roadtrip was over and I was in Los Angeles. It took 3 days, 1,557 miles, and 25 hours of driving and I was officially moved. Though I'm still having a hard time thinking of this as "home", the little things like our celebratory arrival breakfast remind me how nice it is to be figuring life out.