Category Archives: Los Angeles

land of extremes….

Sundays at the park (Echo Park) are some of my favorite times. We stroll around the lake eating amazing food. Dinner for Wesley and I last Sunday was $6.

Yesterday, I went to get my hair cut in Koreatown at my fav hair place. I had some time to kill between errands so I stopped by ohsotrendy Larchmont Village to try a new coffee shop. Single Americano and a doughnut (granted the doughnut was amazing, the Americano was not–no crema) $8.25.

Dinner $6, Coffee and a doughnut $8.25

Seriously the land of extremes.

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34!….

Wow. I turned old. Kidding! So far day 1 of 34 is pretty fing awesome.

But first here was turning 33:

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There I was before going to fancy dinner with champagne and then after fancy dinner and onetomany cocktails feeling amazing. I was just a baby nurse and little did I know, about to be pregnant! Also, I love that orange dress–still have it, need to wear it…especially since I can fit in it again 🙂

And here is 34:

34

34

A lot more has changed than just my cup size.

First–compare today with last year. Today, I wore the above pictured elegantyetslutty maxi dress to afternoon dim sum where I had 1.5 Japanese beers which got me slightly tipsy so I bought a 1940s inspired straw hat.  Susie had a blast and got many compliments–she really is the cutest thing ever–but I am biased. We then came home and rested and ate some small french pastries and I had ice tea. I then bundled Susie up in a sling with both of us tucked under an oversized sweater while W got Hface and we went for a family walk around Echo Park lake. I ate a huge corn on a stick while declaring ‘This is the best night ever!’ and ‘One really must have a corn-sweater; a sweater solely dedicated for eating corn!’ I stated the latter because parmesan cheese was coating one half of my torso. AND I am capping it all off with blogging to you. Contrast with last years sleeping in, late night dinner, champagne, toomanycocktails, weird late night self portraits when I couldn’t sleep and wanted to be artsy. Much changed, different and I think happier, content, grown.

I got pregnant (gaining 60lbs! and then losing 45–still working on the last 15), went from baby night nurse to toddler day nurse, got a dog/Hface and thus many walks and beach trips, went through labor and cesarean, met Susie and became a Mom, W and I celebrated 4! years and became (through trial and error and lots of fun) even more a team with lots of hopes and dreams for eachother. Cheesie I know but man–its been a BIG year. A fun year and also, at times a very hard, dark, painful year…but I am not ready to broach that here. Lets just say Miss Susie E. had perfect timing when she decided to come and with her/us–we have so much lightness and love. So much love. Oh-kay! time to stop with the emotion!

In short, I am excited to be 34. I am excited to see what happens with Sus, with work, with W, with me.

See me, Susie and my corn (also those wheel chips in the other hand) below:

Corn on a stick!

Corn on a stick!

 

 

 

 

39 weeks….

39 Weeks...or dog running from struggling beached whale.

39 Weeks…or dog running from struggling beached whale.

Guys! Wow!

I went to the Dr. yesterday and things are pretty much the same since last time despite stretching and bouncing. Next week we have to measure again and talk about options— that is if she has not made her way out. I have decided to not think about it. She and my body will either cooperate OR not. OR she will be ripped from my abdomen! Either way this thing, child parenthood daughter, is happening sometime soon like a freight train (kidding) and cannot be stopped.

SO what am I thinking about? Guys! What am I doing?!?

H and I went to the beach with W! W got to go cause we went on a Sunday. It was fun!….like in every other post on this blog. I bought a Huntington Dog Beach Hoodie that I have been wearing nonstop even though it’s sort of ugly…BUT I am pretty sure it is the happiest place on earth–its a Disney scene come to life with all the excited animals and people–we should break into song!…um I may have been the crazy lady singing at the beach.

H and W resting....well, H is waiting to run again.

H and W resting….well, H is waiting to run again.

Speaking of H. He went to a full day of doggy daycare at Wagville yesterday since I am not very mobile. He is still sleeping it off…too much partying.

ALSO! My Mom and Bro are visiting. This is very awesome and it would be nice if the kiddo came while they were here but I don’t mind if she doesn’t cause then I get to spend more time with them by myself and not screaming in pain. PLUS we will get to go to KBBQ!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST! Did I mention I am going to be in an ART SHOW! I am a former graphic designer [GD] so lots of that stuff has been seen in newspapers, car wraps, websites, billboards….blahblahbah BUT part of the reason I left GD was because I wanted ART to be for ART and not for $$$. SO here goes. I am doing some paintings. I like them but there are a lot of emotions and passions going around so I am a little afraid they might be TOO much. I love color so they are mainly and exploration in color. COLOR and PASSIONS and HORMONES lead to some grandiose paintings. Also–I have learned that I can draw a human body but painting one–nope. Not to the level I would show people. I don’t have control of the brush the way I do with charcoal or pencil. Not in the way I want it which is messy but discernible and mature. I LOVE MESSY! I will let you know the deets of the ART SHOW soon.

I am considering photography as well but what do you think? Should I pull some photos–I have gleaned 20 I think may be good enough and could narrow it down to 5-10.

Art? How do I narrow down? Art, too artsy, people, not people??

Art? How do I narrow down? Art, too artsy, people, not people?? What do you like in photography? I want some criticism!

favorite places W would not go….

One of my goals for maternity leave is to explore some places by myself that W would not go to: bakeries or cafes with good pastries, snacks and/or desserts. These are not restaurants but places I can stop off at when I am running errands and not feel like a loser for being alone. Here are mine so far:

Taza: this is a tiny little holeinthewall cafe that H and I walk to every few days for lattes and sometimes also a muffin. It has great coffee for relatively cheap and is cool with out being a scene–this is insanely hard to find in LA where good coffee is massively expensive and always toocoolforschool. The owner is there almost all the time and is very sweet and always checks in with me and Hface. Also the shop is so tiny H can stare at me in the doorway and not be his usual disastrous self–barking and acting like the world is ending. They put a lot of thought into their drinks–they always shake iced drinks and never pour hot espresso into plastic cups (a huge pet peeve of mine), they also carry pastries from Portos. My favorite: Orchata Latte–must have!

K&K Donuts: One thing the NW does not have that I have noticed almost every other city has are doughnut shops. Sure, the NW has Voodoo Doughnuts–but those are fancy expensive doughnuts. I am talking down and dirty, cheap, yummy doughnut shops with the crappier-than-a-gas-station-coffee. Philly had these, though most were Dunkin’ Doughnuts (and for those not in the know, DD has THE BEST chain coffee, way better than Starbucks or anywhere else). The reason I love K&K Doughnut MORE than all the other doughnut shops in LA (and they are seriously on every corner) is the variety. They have doughnuts, ice cream, coffee, some Asian pastries, super cheap super good sandwiches (huge bagel sandwich with deli meat runs $2.75), smoothies, shakes, and Bubble tea. Its a quick and dirty hole in the wall of a strip mall but sometimes EXACTLY what I want and for super cheap.  This is a rare place that W also loves. My favorite: Coconut Bubble Tea with no added sweetener.

Milk: This cafe has a full menu but you go here for dessert. Their desserts are Los Angeles famous, especially their macaroon ice cream sandwiches. They also have gelato, sundaes, shakes, regular ice cream sandwiches, cupcake icecream cone (ever present at 1980s bday parties and due for a comeback), cookies, and all sorts of other goodies.. My favorite: Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae.

Mashti Malone: I just went here. A friend put a picture of his ice cream up on Instagram and I had to go–they make it in the shape of a rose! It is, I think, Armenian (?) ice cream. The ice cream here is some of the best I’ve had. It is old school Hollywood (again in a strip mall). Flavors include Creamy Rosewater, Saffron, Orange Blossom, and of course all the normal flavors. The ice cream is made in house and fing fantastic–not too sweet, very creamy. I was worried the rosewater would be too perfumy but it was amazing–never had a flavor I like more. I did ask for the rose shape with my ice cream but it was a poor teenager newbe and she did here best but it needed a bit [a lot] of work. My favorite: Creamy Rosewater on a waffer cone.

Frosted Cupcakery: Hands down THE BEST cupcake shop I have ever been too. I am sorry Sprinkles, I am sorry Magnolia Bakery, I am sorry Cupcake Jones, I am sorry Saint Cupcake (my now #2 favorite) but Frosted does everything right and their frosting is amazing too (usually what, for me, throws off a cupcake). They have amazing normal cupcakes and also icecream cupcakes but a warning–these are MASSIVE so be prepared to share or ask them to cut it in half to take part home. Also–H likes the dog cupcakes here. My favorite: Strawberry cupcake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. Second fav: mint chocolate chip ice cream chocolate cupcake.

Proof Bakery: Ohjoy frequents this place a lot so when I was over in Glendale I made a point to stop by. IT IS SUPER GOOD. The staff was a little hipster-cool for me but they have a wide variety of just amazing pastries and small Italian baguette sandwiches that are awesome. They made me a butter and salami sandwich convert–so good, so bad for my heart! My favorites: Small Salami baguette with butter and arugula paired with a tiny canele.

Botegga Louie: Of course. Its so pretty. BUT I am not listing this as a restaurant but just their bakery portion. Everything is gorgeous here. I want to eat it all but what I love the most are the tinsy tinsy tarts the size of a quarter that I can grab on the go with a coffee or ice tea and not feel like I just stuffed my face. They are super good and perfectly small. My favorite: Mini berry tart and ice tea to go.

Gigi’s: This Latin bakery and cafe is frikin amazing. The food is perfect but I will just talk about the pastries here: amazing. There are both sweet and savory items and you really cannot go wrong. Here they have the horribly awesome giant neon pink sugar cookies that are my downfall–they are pretty much just sugar, lard, salt, food coloring and just enough flour to hold it together. They offer way better stuff than that (not everyone has my refined taste): guava cheese pie, chicken empanadas (another favorite), potato balls, cafe con leche….sooooo good, everything. I know this is not a restaurant review but ripe plantains, beans and cream is pretty much my favorite breakfast EVER and they have it here FOR CHEAP. This is another place that W also loves…for the meat pastries. My favorite: Guava cheese pie and chicken empanadas

NOTE: I just want you to know that I did not eat at all these places in 1 week. This was over a long period of time including prior to maternity leave. Desserts and pastries are treats and not for daily consumption…most of the time 🙂

a day in the life of maternity leave….

New York Times Paid Maternal Leave Map

God forbid we offer paid maternity leave because then we could be on par with…I don’t know….the REST OF THE WORLD.

Also for those of you not in California–it should be a different color. It should be the middle blue color. It, compared to the rest of the country, is a great place to have a baby. Maternity leave is PAID here–considered a disability. I know you are thinking–California has some serious budget issues but its not paying maternity leave that is causing the problem. It may be more related to putting people in prison for life for stealing  socks–just as an example. ANYWAY–enough politics! No Fighting!

So I am on maternity leave and have been for a couple weeks. It is hard. “Hard!” you snort laughing–“You DON’T DO ANYTHING!!!!”

Well I do do stuff [whine!]. Its just hard to do much (why it is a disability that prevents you from performing work–especially moving 200-400 lb patients all day). So here is the day in the life of my maternity leave.

0645-750: Wake up to glaring LA sunshine and the ridiculous birds outside my window. They are not pleasant in the early morning–its like there is a massive bird war going on in the palm trees outside my window. People poo-poo this until they stay with us and are like “WTF with the birds?!?”

The view from our deck with the bird war palms and the almost finished  teasing  lake/park...cannot wait till I can stroll it!

The view from our deck with the bird war palms and the almost finished teasing lake/park…cannot wait till I can stroll it!

Maternity reading. I have finished 2, almost 3 of these. Can you guess what one I will read last?

Maternity reading. I have finished 2, almost 3 of these. Can you guess what one I will read last?

0750-0830: Try to get out of bed. This is hard, it hurts and is usually a 5 step process of rolling my super dense ungainly body onto my side, pulling H onto the bed from his bed, giving him a morning scratch, then SE wakes up and starts kicking my bladder. I then have H motivate me by using the word ‘walk’ which gets him all excited and involves jumping on my face and enough pain that I sit up. Groan.

0835: stumble to the bathroom and pee.

0836-0840: Pause at the office, still nude in a completely whale/unsexy way and harass W with what I think is some super funny morning comment when all he wants is his morning quiet time to read nerd blogs before work.

H and his summer haircut in a morning tangle.

H and his summer haircut in a morning tangle.

0840-0850: try to dress in whatever still fits. This is hard. Putting on pants, even sweat pants, is the hardest thing in the world.

0850-0920: Walk the still jumping/dancing dog at my feet. What used to be a 10 minute walk around the block is now 30+ minutes much to H’s delight. Sometimes we walk the 1 mile round trip to the coffee shop which is more exciting for both of us (H gets to smell so much stuff! and he gets a piece of muffin) but takes FOREVER. I usually call my Mom for company during these walks.

0921: pee again

….until 1200: drink my coffee and eat breakfast and read all the blogs on the internet. Check Facebook a million times. Watch HGTV marathon…trying to stop! Usually end up staring at gmail thinking ‘someone email me!’ until I get so frustrated I do something else or make popcorn and bean H in the head with it. Super funny cause it bounces off (obviously doesn’t hurt him) his huge hair and then he chomps it in the most dramatic fashion ever. Pee three times.

1200–1600: do something adventurous or at least walk because sitting or laying hurts to much after awhile. We have not had as many adventures lately but our afternoon usually includes a long walk, beach trip, or some pool time (H hates pool time cause he has to stay inside but it is the one place I am weightless!). This time also includes a nap. If its hot this adventure has to happen earlier or later in the day–and usually takes the full 4 hours instead of the former 1 hour. Pee two times.

adventures=massive amounts of RUNNING! YES!

adventures=massive amounts of RUNNING! YES!

And getting thrown into the ocean for a mandatory cool down.

And getting thrown into the ocean for a mandatory cool down.

Favorite place in the world

Favorite place in the world

Last time we helped rescue a sea lion pup, this time lobsters and 1 crab

Last time we helped rescue a sea lion pup, this time lobsters and 1 crab

surfer! They were in the tubes!!!!

surfer! They were in the tubes!!!!

1600-1900: try not to watch TV, turn on Spotify and listen to new tunes, do some art, clean. Make dinner. Pee two times

1900–2100: W quality time and primetime TV watching. If I am lucky (I usually am) I get a back scratch/massage from W. These are not short. I am spoiled. Also,factor in 20 minutes of body maneuvering so W can reach my back. Pee 2-4 times

2100: Walk H.

2130…: pee,  fall asleep watching criminal minds, nova, or HGTV.

I guess it does sound pretty awesome. But there are things you have to know about me 1. I hate being useless (even though I know I will go back to my job soon)–its very depressing, I go stir crazy and get lonely very easily–I wish I knew more people here in my neighborhood. 2. I have no will power–its hard for me to turn off the TV: I am trying really hard to push myself before SE comes, do some art, read, and explore things I can do with little movement. 3. I waited tables in crappy shoes for a long time–I already have a crappy lower back, knees and hips so the added weight is making things worse–I walk a lot. Walking in supportive shoes is my most comfortable thing to do aside from swimming. Everything else: laying down, sleeping, bending, and sitting hurts. 4. Any alteration to this schedule–ie doctors appointment, surprise jack hammering [literally happened today] of my apartment wall, car checkups, or pretty much any little thing leads to hormone surge and crying. Massive crying. I am super pleasant to be around right now 🙂

urban life….

Living in LA is awesome. I love the oddness, the people, the sun, the beach, the pool, the food, the diversity; I even love the ridiculousness. Okay, sometimes driving sucks and I miss the lack of walkable, affordable neighborhoods (but if you look hard you can find them). The other thing I love, and I have said this before, is the massive amount of urban wildlife–more visible and present than any other city I’ve lived in.

As of last night–we welcomed 2 baby (newly kicked out of the nest) opossums to our complex grounds. I checked with a local wildlife rescue to see if these little guys needed help. It turns out if an opossum is 6 inches long they are ready to be on their own. I didn’t pull out a tape measure but I think these cute* little ones just meet the length requirement–they are clear for the ride of life. Here’s hoping they don’t become other urban wildlife or urban pet (i.e. cat) food.

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*I know a lot of people think opossums are gross and not cute. I think they are cute and found out some interesting factoids via the internet while trying to figure out if these guys needed to be rescued: 1. they have more teeth (52) than any other mammal in North America. 2. They rarely carry disease or rabies because they maintain a lower body temperature than other mammals–inhospitable to bacteria and viruses.

Pool time….

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It’s Pool Time!!! Sorry all you NW peeps that have to wait till late July but in SoCal pool time has started. Actually, it started a month ago when we could ‘lay by’ the pool. Gradually that became ‘toe in’ the pool, then ‘steps’, then ‘waist in’ the pool, then ‘quick frigid lap’ across the pool with your head out, then ;less quick frigid lap across’ the pool with your head out. BUT TODAY! TODAY, was fully underwater swim around like a porpoise pool time!!!

This is awesome–especially since I feel weightless in the pool AND less like a whale. Funny because I actually look MORE like a whale in the pool 🙂

Now I need some new pool toys! Like this and this and this and this and this!

Will you come blow them up for me???….

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growing up….

IMG_2499Babies and weddings and more babies and weddings. I fit into the babies category but I got to be a witness to one of the most fun/beautiful weddings I’ve seen. It wasn’t a wedding really. It was an elopement.

My friend J called me prior to coming to PDX and asked when I would be up. I told her and she said that was great because then I could be a witness for her elopement. I burst into happy tears right where I was standing…in the middle of World Market.

So these things all means we,  my circle my pack, of friends are all growing up. Making choices that we would have considered droll in our young 20s. Yesterday, I gave up on a little bit more of that attitude.

For the millionth time I was comparing at our neighborhood versus THE VALLEY for real estate. We are not going to buy for at least a year or so but it’s fun to look and also a source of many a  fight and controversy between W and I. W wants THE VALLEY. I want our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is hip, upandcoming, and well in my comfort zone. THE VALLEY may be hip (?) but definitely not as edgycool as our neighborhood. It is not hilly and full of views and tocoolforschool people.

But yesterday I started thinking about what I want for a home. I want something open and airy and a pool (or potential for a pool). A place where people can come over to dinner and our backyard is often referred too as an ‘oasis.’ I want to wave at neighbors and maybe even gossip over a cup of coffee. I want my kid to ride around on a trike and draw chalk hopscotches on the sidewalk. Our neighborhood does not have that and anything close would be way WAY above what we could afford.

This means what I want is THE VALLEY too. This means, yesterday, I let a little bit more of my eyerolling-20s self go. This means I had to write a long email of ‘Your Right’ to W.

Sometimes growing up is a long process. Sometimes its an elopement. Sometimes its getting pregnant and having short spurts of epiphanies that should have happened years ago.

 

Runyon Canyon….

Its such an LA classic. You can see the HOLLYWOOD sign, the Griffith Observatory, all of the non-valley part of the city. It  is where wannabees and minor celebs hike (George Clooney’s GF used to jog there). It is where the view is worth dragging my more and more pregnant ass up a rather large hill. Best of all it’s where dogs can go free for a good long while–something that is lacking throughout despite it being such a dog city. Did you know that dogs (leash or no) are not allowed on inner city beaches??? Its so weird.

Anyway–here is Runyon Canyon–it is a fun climb.

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People resting at the top lookout area.

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Hdog with a white blur on either side of his head–one is the HOLLYWOOD sign, the other the observatory.IMG_3916

Looking down the canyon

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Hdog looking West with Hollywood in the background.

6 months….

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I love this photo because S.E. is like a tiny bloop and I look all svelte otherwise. I am not svelte. My tummy must have been hanging away, outofsight, during the 2 seconds it took to take the photo. bloop–love it!

So this is pretty much what I wear on my days off now–unless I am going out to do stuff other than exercise. Then I get all fancy in 1 of my 2 maternity dresses or leggings with a sweater that still fits. For a clearer picture of what W (poor W) has to look forward to when he gets home see below:

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YES that is a cut off neck white long sleeved giant man-tee and old yoga pants rolled up complete with multiple stains. I would like to mention here that I DO wash my hair most days as well…

For a more accurate look at my belly see below:

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THERE she is! BIG bloop! I still try to fit in tiny spaces and often unintentionally raise patient beds, knock into doctors, knock over chairs with her.

AND here is me outside at Runyon Canyon with Hdog…in the same outfit. This is okay because we are going to exercise. Though, in LA, most people put on tons of makeup and dress to the nines to do such activity. They also talk about agents and scripts while climbing 675 vertical feet. Hdog and I are a little out of place but fuck it! I am 6 months pregnant!

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So aside from my awesome outfit and bump, how am I doing?

Work is hard. I get super tired and it has been super intense and full of profound moments. No joke. Very serious. I do laugh and smile with co-workers but our already acute ICU seems more acute as of late.

Or maybe its just my patients. I have had patients die in my short ICU career and all were in the last month or so. It is a rough, though I feel a very honorable job to be present for someone’s end. I did not cry…at work. But let me tell you I feel like I cover all of Philosophy 101 when I am taking care of a dying person and all the while this little thing, S.E., is kicking away inside me. An end and a beginning all at once.

So for good reason I think, I get tired. I had 4 days off this week and W asked what I was going to do with them. Sleep I said. I work the same full-time hours as anyone else but in a shorter period. It takes a full 2 days to recover and 1 day to prepare–especially when getting more and more pregnant. So I cleaned and took Hdog hiking for my 1 day (we exercised other days but it was painful) and we also went out for thai food. I LOVE good thai food.

BACK TO THE LIGHTHEARTED! I thought I had ordered all the maternity stuff I needed. This is not so. Back to the drawing board [Asos.com and Target] for couple cheap dresses and skirts. I am learning that as baggy as some of my baggy jeans and such are–they are not baggy enough.

HORMONES are reveving back up for the coming 3rd trimester. Its getting to be like PMS every few days. Lots of world-ending, crying and fight-picking.

ALSO this kid will not stop kicking my bladder. I feel like I cannot go more than 2 steps without having to pee.

Hope things are well with you! Hope to post more than a couple times a month!