Oh, Holy God:

 

I have four days before our wedding.

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Places I Have Lived:

 

Inspired by The Billfold

 

Washington Street, Downtown Los Angeles – $350/month

 

The middle window on the top floor was mine.

 

When I was 20, my parents told me it was sinful to move out of their house while I was unmarried.
I responded by packing one box and leaving it here.
I made the rest of the move about six months later,
quietly and quickly packing up everything I owned on the one day both of my parents were at work.
Two friends helped me out, navigating downtown LA,
where I had never set a toe before.

My first night here,
there were gunshots in the neighborhood.
I still got up at 4am to bike my way to my downtown job at Starbucks.

Plucky little 22 year old me.

I kinda want to give her a big hug.

The house was built in 1906,
which provided charm,
built-in bookcases, and poor plumbing.
I shared this space with five other women–
bought and put together a loft bed from IKEA;
swept ants off of the red linoleum in the kitchen;
Shared day old sandwiches and pastries from Starbucks
with my new roommates (cheap groceries FTW).
One of the girls fell asleep every night with the DVD menu
for “Alias” playing on loop.
I often fell asleep on the futon (what else) in the living room
while talking to The Boyfriend on my clunky old cell phone.
The bathroom had a pink chenille shower curtain around the ancient tub.
I hung twinkle lights underneath my loft bed above the teeny desk
on which I graded papers for my other part-time job
as an English teacher.

This was the first place I was able to be myself–
I took dance classes at USC,
stayed out irresponsibly, gloriously late,
called The Boyfriend whenever I wanted for however long I wanted–
It was wonderful.

 

3rd Street, Mt. Vernon, Washington – $250/month (ish?)
 

I’m amazed this building is still standing.

 

Oh, this place.

I moved here to be with an old friend just for the summer in 2005;
The Boyfriend and I caravaned up from LA together,
my IKEA bedding bright and cheerful on the backseat.

It was…pretty janky.
There was the neighbor downstairs who played bad techno
all day and all night,
and wouldn’t respond to polite knocks
followed by polite notes
followed by “OH MY GOD WOULD YOU SHUT THAT OFFF!?!?!!??!?!” at 4am.
It reeked of pot,
which probably explained the unresponsiveness.

There was also the other strung out neighbor
with an abusive boyfriend
who made the mistake of threatening to break her arm
while my friend and I were home.
We called the cops on his sorry ass,
let her use our phone to make a call to her mom,
and watched her cat for a week.

…She didn’t press charges. He came back.

*sigh*

The apartment itself was a teeeeeeny studio,
with a teeeeeny stove
and a teeeeeeny bathroom
(the toilet of which plugged up on a constant basis,
often forcing us to drive to Wal-Mart to pee,
since they were the *only* place open all night)–
but this place also had sunlight,
and my friend,
and teacups and tea and silliness late into the night.

I don’t miss sleeping on a cot, though.

 

Nadal St, Saugus, CA – $400/month (then $600)

 

Ours was basically like this one, but facing west. My poor potted plants.

 

This place has some unfairly poor memories for me,
since I moved here after The Boyfriend and I broke up,
and I started teaching full-time at the Crazy-Ass School from Hell.

I lived with two roommates,
and spent most of my time here grading papers and crying.
Once or twice a week, we went to our friends’ house down the block
for massive poor people potluck nights.

We ate a lot of Very Bad Pizza.

There was a family downstairs who started off their mornings
(and ours!) with Ranchero music in their truck stereo,
cranked loud enough to rattle our windows out of their frames.

We had two parking spots and three cars,
but lacked the sense to have a rotating parking schedule,
which basically meant that I hardly ever parked in the lot,
since I usually got home really, really late from teaching.

After a good bit of unnecessary drama,
one of the roommates moved out,
and the other, Ruth, became one of my dearest friends.

We found a tacky red velvet couch at a Salvation Army,
decorated the kitchen in complementary shades to go with the couch;
I optimistically bought a bougainvillea for the balcony,
and proceeded to kill and resurrect it at least four times.
Poor zombie plant.

One evening,
we stuck sequins on our noses
with eyelash glue to see how nose rings might look,
and we made an impetuous decision to get our noses pierced together.
We hovered in the waiting room of a tattoo parlor in Lancaster,
giggling nervously and swiping the insides of our nostrils with Orajel.

I love that I did this with her:

 

My Ruth. Isn’t she pretty?

 

She moved back to Wisconsin to help her family out in 2006,
so I couch-hopped for a bit at this next place:

 

Oakridge Dr, Santa Clarita, CA – $170? $200?/month

 

Air mattress on the floor. But the company was good.

 

I first lived in these apartments when they were dorm housing
my senior year of college,
and some of the girls I knew then had an open corner available–
I dragged out an air mattress,
stored my assorted boxes wherever I could,
and did my best to stay out from underfoot
(the Boyfriend and I were back together again at this point;
I spent a lot of time at his house).
They were very kind.

…And then every. single. one. of. them. got. engaged.

So I moved again:

 

Granada Ave, Los Angeles – $625/month (ie: WAY TOO DAMN MUCH)

 

Here is the gate, and here are the stairs. Grab yer heart and say yer prayers.

 

Eighty five steps to get to my tiny little room. EIGHTY FIVE.

 

This…
was an interesting situation.
It was a big Spanish-style home
(the red house in the photo above),
built in the 20s, converted into sixteen bedrooms
that the landlord had the balls to refer to as “apartments”.
I shared a bathroom with four other women,
and he charged each of us between $550 to $700 per month for a single room,
a shared kitchen, and a shared bath.
We were also required to clean the common areas–
there was a $50 fee if you didn’t clean it to the landlord’s satisfaction
(I KNOW).

My room was one of the nicer ones–
it was a converted porch,
with yet another loft bed,
but I had my own entrance,
so I never really had to interact with the other housemates
unless I wanted to do so.

The only real disadvantage was that sound carried absurdly well;
and I would often find myself marching down those stairs
to politely ask gang members to please turn their music down.

…They usually did.

Eventually,
my hour-and-a-half commute started eating my soul,
and then the landlord decided that we had to be responsible for taking the
full garbage cans (at least five of these) from the back patio
all the way down those 85 stairs to the street.

I left.

 

Glenway Dr, Inglewood CA – $625/month

 

Moving shit in and out with those posts in the way? QUELLE HORREUR.

 

I found this place with a friend from work–
our landlord was awesome,
our neighbors kind,
the parking terrible,
and the commute painless.

It was a simple, standard two bedroom apartment,
but we could open our front door and get a breeze off the ocean,
three miles away.
The bathroom had one of those glorious coil heaters in the wall,
which I used constantly.
We had a big kitchen, a big living room,
brand new carpet that shed on EVERYTHING,
and the most uncomfortable (but free!) couch known to man.
Steph was a great roommate–
Thursday nights were sacred to watching bad reality TV together;
we went to go see her boyfriend DJ at parties;
and because she had little in way of decorating stuffs,
she was totally cool with me making our space homey.

I moved when I lost my job at our company after living here for two years.

 

Mariposa Ave, Sierra Madre CA – $550/month

 

Home.

 

It’s always lovely and cool in the courtyard.

 

My current home,
and my favorite thus far.

I moved in on the rainiest January day known to SoCal,
stayed on the couch till March,
when friend Laura got married and moved out.
It’s a pretty standard three bedroom, two bath,
with poor maintenance and really bad wiring,
but I love the people who have lived here.

My room is grey,
quiet,
looks east to the sunrise,
and is blocked from nosy neighbors
by a very obliging tree.

I have an enormous desk (thank you, LauraJane!)
that houses most of my crafts and hobbies.
My closet is big enough for my clothes,
and there is even room for my costume trunk on the landing outside my room.
The library is across the street;
I can walk to a lovely coffeeshop and a local pub.
This was my dog’s first home.
I walked all over this little town when I was out of work–
the houses are beautiful,
and people actually stop to say hello when they’re out walking.

I once warned The Boyfriend that if I ever moved to Pasadena or Sierra Madre,
that I would never want to leave California.

…and I don’t. I love my little town.
I love my apartment,
vaguely moldy walls and all.

Sunday:

 

Just a beautiful day at Disneyland with some of my closest friends.

 

Greenholt vs. Turkey Leg

 

Her Jonesesty

 

Roland vs. Carrot Stick

 

Boyo vs. Morse Code

 

"Where is mah Laura?"

 

Bonjour, French Quarter!

 

A Fabulous Display of Millinery. And Boobs.

 

C'est si bon, Boyo. And Bianca.

Yesternight’s Workout:

 

x5
200m run
10 pushups
10 squats
1 min plank

Nothing really to say about this one,
except that it was good to be with LauraJane.

 

I often miss what my home was like, two years ago.

With Jessie, Lexi, Laura, me.
Deniece next door.
People over every Sunday night.
Mary still in Santa Clarita.
And later,
Tam and her wonderful clarinet practicing.
Katie and the scent of her paints.

I miss Disneyland with Lex.
I miss getting ready in the morning with Jess.
I miss giggling with Laura.
I miss girl days with Mary.
I miss Project Runway with Tam.
I miss the *hours* of talking with Katie.

 

It’s not like friendship is so much harder
when your friends aren’t living with you…
and yet…it is.

It’s still worthwhile.
It’s still there.

It’s just that I no longer fall asleep,
knowing that the women who love me are in the room next to mine.
And that hurts a little bit.

Merry Christmas:

 

Christmas Eve is better with an Octopus.

 

Tonight,
the Boyo and I took Nami and our friends’ wiggly pup, Spaghetti,
to the park to run around for a while.

There was Christmas Tree Lane,
with old, old Deodars covered in soft colored lights.

We played Book Lovers’ Scrabble until we got too sleepy to be clever.

The dogs are quiet.

So are we.

It’s a good Christmas, loves.

 

Merry Everything.

 

It *almost* makes it feel like it's snowing outside!

Yesternight’s Workout:

 

With LauraJane, her husband James, and The (former) Roommate,
who came late, and consequently had to do more burpees, ha ha!

(kidding!)

x3:

40 walking lunges
30 situps (10 knee to chest, 20 standard)
20 pushups
10 burpees

James and I also did a 1-minute plank,
and I made one run around the park (400 meters, roughly) with The Roommate,
and an extra set of the above (except for the burpees) with her as well.

This was a good one!

(We almost killed James after that first set of burpees–
they are real sonsuvbeeyotches.)

My arms and legs are feeeeeeling it today.
Lunges are hard for me,
and I have a bruise on my left knee where I let myself come down too fast.

Working out with friends is *so* much better than crying through it alone!
I love that we can push each other and curse together through the really ouchy bits.

I feel like I have Gym Buddies.
And that’s really nice.

I am Bad at This:

 

Craft Night was a lovely success yesterday–
nine people came over to my place,
food and crafty things in hand…

 

And I didn’t take a single photo.

*sheepish*

But I made my leaf garland!

And LauraJane began a repurposed paint-by-numbers piece of art!

And Jessie looked at Pinterest!

 

I just forget to take my camera out when my hands are busy.

Photos of finished projects soon, I pinky-swear!

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