Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Be kind

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

- Plato, words that have been around for awhile via Pinterest

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New home

Well, the outside of it anyway.

I was not enough of a dork to whip out my camera at the apartment viewing, but I *was* excited enough to take a quick snap of it from down the street.  So pretty!  My little spot is one of the windows facing out at the top.  I've also included an immortalisation of the last exhausted breakfast I had at Starbucks, just an hour before I went to go see this place.  The coffee chain deserves a special shout out for acting as my temporary office between viewings, what with its wifi and coffee that isn't great but at least isn't drip.
Ok, so I admit I enjoyed the bagels.  It's hard to get a bagel wrong.
Corner of Pacific and Fillmore, and only a quick little walk to the Goog shuttle stop!  Perfection.
Oh and the sun!  The sun floods into the little studio I am to call home.  Makes all the difference.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving thanks

Well folks, this weekend has been a big one - I enjoyed my first ever Thanksgiving, caught up with new and old friends and somewhere in between even managed to sign a lease!  So, so much to be thankful for, one of the greatest things being that I no longer have to troll Craigslist every half hour.  I will spare you the unnecessary number of photos I have of my new place (for now) in favour of sharing this sunny little harvest I had in a friend's backyard on Thursday.  With the sun out full force and persimmons weighing heavily on their tree, I got to see an impromptu first picking of the season. The fruits were still a little firm, but perfectly sweet:
Heavy bunches of persimmon ready for picking.
Tug and catch!  This was the closest I got to an action shot, but I missed the burst of leaves that came with each successful pull.
I love the star in the middle. 
The fruits of our labour.  Well,  not my labour - but I did sit, snack and supervise.
Sitting barefoot with a coffee on their steps, it was the perfect way to start a day of thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tahoe, I love you

Was too knackered to post yesterday, but the weekend just gone was an introduction to the very beautiful Lake Tahoe.  Some very kind (new!) friends invited me along to share this palace of a cabin, it was just like the kind of place I expect the Tanners from Full House to holiday in - huge a-frame ceilings, decorative bear paraphernalia everywhere (think five foot stuffed teddy bears for the bed, painted on the lamps, bear silhouettes carved into coasters) and three floors deep to accommodate everything from the pool table and the outdoor hot tub.  Great conversations had, by the fire and while playing the greatest card game ever.

And then, there was snow.
So many pinecones.  Sadly they were all wet, otherwise a bag would've come home with me.
Snow!  Didn't throw it, just held it.  I love snow.
Our mansion of a cabin - note the remnants of snow.  Snow!
The beautiful drive home, incredible how so many landscapes and climates are only hours away from each other.
Snow!  The prospect of winter just got a whole lot better.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Be afraid

My whole life I've been telling myself "don't be afraid."

And it is only now that I'm realising how stupid that is. Don't be afraid.  Like saying "don't move out of the way when someone tries to punch you" or "don't flinch at the heat of a fire" or "don't blink"; don't be human.

I'm afraid and you're afraid and we're all always going to be afraid.  Because that's the point.

What I should be telling myself is "be afraid but do it anyway."  

Live anyway.

I can't find the source, but this has been making the rounds recently, possibly because someone typed it up using a pretty, folksy font on paper texture and it made its way to Pinterest.  Good words.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From house to home

This space has been a little quiet lately, I'm not going to lie to you - the last couple of weeks has been a lot a lot a lot of work.  I could have days where before lunch I think 'I'm totally nailing this - someone high-five me!' and the next minute I'm convinced they've hired the wrong person.  Sounds dramatic, but I'm fairly sure these are just the normal motions when starting a new job, in a new place.

With all of that going on I wanted to make my temporary corporate housing feel more like home, a place to relax away from work, as soon as possible.  I found there were a few key moves to doing this, which I'm going to write down for future Lorna, in case she ever has to do this again:
This is really weird but I actually took a picture of the last time I went grocery shopping to make dinner in Sydney.  I just really love Harris Farm!  And I made lamb ragu, for those who want to know.
First self-cooked meal - a very tired cous cous with vegetables the day I flew in.
1. Remove all symbols of impermanence

Put away the plastic sign in the living room that tells you what the wifi password is, and move your suitcase out of sight.  Throw out the parts of the welcome basket that you're not planning to eat and shelve the basket.  Take the bathroom towels that have been concertinaed to look like a sea shell and fold them into squares for the linen cupboard.

2. Replace these with things that symbolise 'home'

Take some of your favourite things - photos, that card that someone gave you, your jewellery box - and put them around the house in places where you can see all the time.  In my case I've huddled all of these things on my dressing table, along with an incense burner - this does make it look a little creepily like a shrine but it makes me happy  :)

3. Introduce signs of life

In the same way that robots are trolling Mars for life, make it so that if someone were to break into your house tomorrow they could clearly see that someone is living there.  Buy some flowers to put in a vase or invest in a purely decorative pumpkin (I may have done this).  Let an onion lie around on your kitchen bench.  Light some candles.

4. Adopt your previous 'home habits' where you can

I've ordered my clothes drawers in the same sequence (underwear down the bottom, then scarves) and I keep the same whale keychain from C that I've always had.  Laundry and groceries are still done on Sundays, and I blog after dinner.

5. Be domestic in ways that tourists aren't

These will emerge out of necessity because your underwear is not going to clean itself, but make sure you do things in your new home and neighborhood that a tourist wouldn't.  Buying a jumbo roll of cling wrap can be one of those things.

And that has been my week of late.  Not mentioned are things like trying my first microwave dinner, but I'm saving that for another day.

Goodnight everyone!  Enjoy home.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

LA Weekend

When C told me he was going to be in LA for my first weekend here I was a little annoyed at first - it so soon after we'd just said goodbye and I, in true first-world-problem style, wanted to evenly space out the intervals of when we'd get to see each other.

Anyway, I take that thought back now.

I'm going to put it down to having gained an extra working day when I got here, but the week just gone felt like one of the longest I'd ever had.  By the time Friday rolled around it was only the prospect of tacos for dinner with C that got me through the day - such a happy reunion in his hotel lobby!  Saturday was sadly the only full day we had to ourselves, but from the pictures below you can see it was the Best.  Day.  Ever.  After I conceded that pursuing a cupcake ATM wasn't really a gameplan, we decided to take a long drive around the coast which saw us from snowcones at Venice Beach through to watching the sunset at Santa Monica before sampling one of "LA's best burgers".

It was around this moment that 'Hotel California' *actually* came on the radio.  See what I mean about best day ever?
Venice beach is exactly how you expect it to be from the movies - skateboarders and short shorts, painted rastafarians singing at you, 'doctors' who wear baseball caps.  I loved it!
The sunset from Santa Monica Pier was something straight out of a postcard.
The famous burger at Comme Ca in West Hollywood - once again Yelp came through for us.
On the recommendation of our waitress, we walked a couple of blocks to Roger Room for mint juleps, before the nicest door man ever helped us hail down taxis back to the hotel.  
Goodbyes were hard at the airport today, but hey at least we got an extra hour in with the time change.  We're on a hangout now, planning our next burger  :)

Hope you had a great weekend!