Tag Archive | Los Angeles

Escape from L.A.

September 3-4, 2010

Trek from my old place to LAX - total distance 25 miles

While I was ready to leave Los Angeles, Los Angeles wasn’t quite ready to let me go. On the morning that I was scheduled to depart, Rob asked me to give him a quick ride to his mechanic’s shop. He said “quick” and I thought it was the least I could do. BIG MISTAKE.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I got stuck behind a big accident on I-10. I sat in traffic for 20 minutes. I then arrived at the car rental facility later than I planned. I pulled my bags out of the rental just as the shuttle to the airport pulled away. I stood in the wrong check-in line. When I finally got to the gate agent, I was told that I was 5 minutes too late to check-in for my flight. My flight was set to depart at 1:00PM. It was a Labor Day weekend. Another flight wasn’t available until 12:50AM. As if I hadn’t cried enough, I was trapped in L.A.

I checked in my bags. Then, I called Rob and had him fetch me from the airport. There was no way I was going to stay at the airport for 12 hours.

Upon picking me up from the airport, Rob and I went back to the mechanic in attempt to pick up his car again. The car wasn’t ready. Rob had to go to work. I was left at the mechanic’s shop. The plan was for me to take the car run errands and drive myself to the airport. Rob would then pick up the car from long-term parking. That didn’t happen. I sat at the mechanic shop in the heat for 1.5 hrs before I threw a fit and had them drive me back to my old place.

Dottie wasn’t at home, but neither was Rob. At least, I had the place to myself. I napped then walked to the closest grocery store and bought dinner. I called various friends for a ride to the airport. No one was available. I had no choice, but take public transportation. What ensued is the stuff of screwball comedies and it all played on Twitter. Here are my tweets with maps of my journey.

I lived in that neighborhood for 4 years and had never walked to the train station during the day or at night for that matter.

My timing was off and I was nervous that I wouldn’t make my flight again. I’d never taken public transportation in L.A. I’d had always driven.

In the midst of my color commentary, I had several Twitter friends offer to give me rides and hope that I make my flight.

My friend John had the funniest comment of the night.

I made my flight… it only took me 2.5 hour to travel 25 miles. :/

Adíos Los Angeles

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

I have a love/hate thing with Los Angeles. Obviously, there was a time when I loved it. Why else would I have been willing to pack up everything and move there? There are lots of things to love about L.A. The weather. The food. Shopping. Nightlife. Music Scene. City Life in general. I could go on and on.  I met Rob, who as a native Angeleno showed me facets of the city which I might never have seen nor appreciated. For a time, I happily called myself an Angeleno.

Then, the city lost its luster.

I’m not sure if the city lost its luster because my relationship with one of its native sons was falling apart. All I know is that my time in L.A. was tumultuous. There were some highs, but far too many lows. For the last 1.5 years that I lived there, all I could do was plot my escape.

I finally moved from L.A., but I’ve been back several times. Each time I visit, I say a farewell to L.A.

This time I mean business. I won’t be making any trips back to L.A. for a long while. My psyche can’t take it. As I said in my earlier posts, visiting L.A. is emotionally gut-wrenching. Being there is like picking the scab off of a wound that has already begun healing.

I wanted to make this trip count. I made a checklist of things I wanted to do. The list was extensive.

Here some of my list

• Spend time with family and friends.

• Run a race.
I participated in the San Diego Fire Run 4 Mile race

• See a show at the Hollywood Bowl
I saw the Chemical Brother with Chromeo and Yacht

You can see a short clip here. Chemical Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl from Anne K. on Vimeo.

• Go to a few Farmer’s Markets

• Shop. shop. shop
I went to all of my favorites. Melrose. The Grove. Garment District. Old Towne Pasadena.

Tokidoki Store on Melrose

Johnny Cupcakes on Melrose

• Wander downtown and take photos.
• Eat
As someone eloquently put it, I ate my face off while I was in L.A.

Chile Relleños with Carne Asada

Steak Sandwich from Dave's Chillin' N Grillin'

Fish Tacos

Tuna Poke


Shrimp Tacos

Sourdough Jack

Tacos and Chimichurri Fries from a food truck

Ramen and Gyoza from Daikokuya

Mochi and Rainbow Dango

Macaroons from Bottega Louie

There are countless other meals, but I forgot to photograph them 😦

That’s an overview of my trip.

As I reveled in my favorite things, I was reminded of the things that just didn’t quite go right, of the dreams that never came to fruition, and an overwhelming sense of failure. This is not what I had imagined would become of my career when I arrived in L.A. I would see places that were meaningful to Rob and me and I would be overcome by the sadness of it all. This is not what I had hoped for when I married Rob. So, I would cry. I didn’t think it was possible to cry so much. I’m relieved that I had a great pair of dark sunglasses to hide behind.

While this was painful, it was necessary. I needed this trip to close this chapter of my life.

I have no regrets. I’m ready to move on.

I love my Dottie Dots

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

Self-portrait taken with iPhone

The one part of my L.A. trip that I was really looking forward to was time with Dottie. As “amicable” as the divorce has been, custody of Dottie was a major point of contention. We argued about it for while. Initially, we agreed that I would take Dottie. I even made arrangements to fly Dottie to Virginia.  In the end, Rob threatened not to sign our divorce papers if I didn’t let him keep Dottie. It became a question of my freedom or the dog. It was a tough decision to make.  It broke my heart and reaffirmed that leaving Rob was the best idea.

Like Rob, I hadn’t seen Dottie in 6 months. I rushed through the door and was so overjoyed to see her. She wouldn’t come near me. Dottie was mad at me. If people think that dogs don’t have feelings, they aren’t paying attention. No matter how I tried to bribe her with treats and gifts, Dottie would barely let me pet her. I cried. My lovable pitbull didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

It took a full 24 hours for Dottie to warm up to me. After that, she followed me like a caramel-and-white shadow. I could scarcely go to another room for more than 2 minutes without her searching for me. While Rob was at work, I spent every moment I could with her. We napped. I ran errands and brought her along. We went for runs. I dined al fresco with her happily seated underneath my table.

I was reminded of how much I loved having a big dog. Despite her intimidating appearance, Dottie is a 77 lbs. of cuddly love… unless you’re a cat or a small, fluffy dog. {Sorry, Myles} Having Dottie around always gave me a sense of safety. Whether we were out hiking or home alone, I knew that Dottie would always protect me. Her ferocious bark would frighten anybody, especially the poor UPS man. In the midst of the emotional turmoil that preceded my departure from L.A., Dottie’s presence comforted me. In my deepest depression, she was all smiles and always happy to be with me. They say that pets prolong our lives. I’m convinced that Dottie saved mine.

I relished my time with her. For a week, I had my girl back. I loved every minute of it. I had half a mind to buy her a plane ticket and smuggle her back to Virginia. However, I knew I’d be violating our divorce agreement. As much as I loved her, I didn’t want to get in trouble with the law. I know that she will be fine with Rob, but it still hurts to leave her behind. Like I’ve said before, staying with Rob means that Dottie will never be too far from her favorite hiking trails and playmates. It would be selfish of me to turn her world upside down any more than I already have.

On the night before I headed back to Virginia, I slept with my big girl curled next to me. I scarcely slept. I spent most of the night crying. Whenever I cried, Dottie would lick the tears off of my face. I vacillated between laughing and crying harder. It was a long night.

On the morning of my departure, I loaded my bags into my rental car. Dottie’s demeanor changed. She’s a smart dog. She knew what the bags meant. It meant that momma would be gone for a long time again. What Dottie doesn’t realize is that it really will be a very long time before momma comes back. I love my girl so very much, but every trip to L.A. is emotionally devastating. If I thought I cried the night before, I set a record for tear-shedding when I said my goodbyes to Dottie. I told her that I loved her and that even if I was if I was far away I would always love her. In my heart, I know she understood what I was saying. Thankfully, Rob took her to a friend’s house after that. I couldn’t bear to leave with her sitting anxiously at the door watching me go. It’s an image that I didn’t want emblazoned in my mind. Instead, I can still picture her happily trotting alongside Rob on her way for a ride in the car.

Impromptu Photo Shoot in Old Town Pasadena

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

photo by Robert Rodriguez

I’m grateful for the five years that I had with Dottie. Having her in my life was the best part of my L.A. experience. I pray that Dottie will continue to have a happy life with Rob. Because I love her so much, I can’t ask for any more than that.

Musings about TheEx

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

Rob & Dottie - Old Town Pasadena

When people say that divorce is a long process, they aren’t kidding. It is a painful and seemingly never-ending ordeal. Imagine your worst break-up and drag it out over a course of a year or more. By most standards, Rob and I are having an amicable divorce. Despite this, it’s still been a gut-wrenching affair.

I had to head back to Los Angeles to handle divorce business. No need to get into the specifics, except to say there were more papers to be signed and an appointment at the courthouse. In the weeks and nights preceding the trip, I lost a considerable amount of sleep and the stress was eating at me. I hadn’t seen Rob, whom I’ve conveniently referring to as TheEx, in 6 months. We have talked over phone during the last couple of months, but seeing him in person would be different. I wasn’t sure how I would feel – angry? sad? indifferent?

My emotions have run the gamut. For a long period of time, I was angry at him, like raging lunatic angry. I have hundreds of tweets that can attest to this. {Sorry, twitter friends}. Then the anger would turn to pity when I would speak to him and hear about what had become of his life. Then, of course, he’d say something to piss me off and I’d be back to being angry. Then, I would be sad when I ponder why our marriage was among the many that fail. It was a terrible roller coaster to be on.

After several flights and a short car ride, I was standing in the home that I had shared with Rob. It felt familiar and foreign all at the same time. Then, there he was… Rob – the man that I had been married to for 2 years and left 9 months prior. He hugged me and I felt like I was hugging a stranger. I had spent nearly 6 years of my life with this man and now it felt odd for him to even touch me. It was unsettling and upsetting. I did not expect that. I thought I’d feel differently, but I didn’t expect to feel so disconnected. It may be a defense mechanism.

I left Rob, but I left because I had no choice. In my angry tweets and ranting about Rob, I omit the part where I have been deeply hurt. I’m sure that the hurt could be inferred. I loved Rob to the point where it nearly killed me… literally. The stress of our failing marriage had caused my health to degrade. I was overweight, clinically depressed, had daily migraine headaches, and the beginnings of an ulcer. I had persevered for nearly a year when I realized that I was the only one trying to save a sinking ship. Rob’s promises were empty and simply lip-service. They were terrible realizations to make. This man I had loved so much didn’t love me nearly enough.

There was a question of whether or not I missed Rob. The answer is a complex one. My life with Rob wasn’t all bad. We had some good times. After all, I was married to Captain Fun. This blog has dozens of entries detailing our adventures and exploits. It’s just that those good times were few and far between. I will miss Rob’s sense of adventure. Although, I still have my own wanderlust to keep me moving. More than his sense of adventure, I miss Rob’s friendship and the familiarity we had. He knew me and all my idiosyncrasies well… sometimes to my disadvantage.  How else did I stay for so long? The man knew how to play me. He’s not nearly that nefarious, but I think you get the idea. I’m confident that after some time Rob and I will be able to establish some kind of friendship.

Because I’ve had some time and some space away from him, I can honestly say I don’t hate Rob. The anger has subsided and I’m reveling in my freedom. I don’t think Rob’s a terrible person, just a horrific husband for me. Despite some of the unforgivable things he has done, I still wish the best for Rob. Everyone deserves a happy life… even Ex-husbands 😉

Last Hurrahs

I know I’m supposed to be recapping my cross-country road trip, but I want to do a little backtracking.
February 8-16, 2010
The last week that I spent in Los Angeles was emotional. As one might it expect, I was simultaneously ecstatic and upset about closing this chapter of my life. The plan was to spend the week taking care of paperwork, packing up the last of my things, spending time with those nearest and dearest to me, and purchasing craft supplies. Despite my planning, I did not do nearly as much as I set out to do. The week went by so fast. I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was time to head out on the road.
Here are some of the things I was able to squeeze into my visit.

  • I had some quality time with Dottie.
  • I hung out with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and Nieces.
    I’m happy to report that little Brooklyn is doing well despite her very early arrival last summer. My cousin Jasmine and Brooklyn’s dad moved into a gorgeous apartment in Laguna Beach. They’re within walking distance of the beach. {So jealous!}

    Brooklyn with her momma/my cousin Jasmine

    • Since I’m so food-obsessed, the rest of my activities were centered around food. I wanted to go to some of my favorite culinary establishments.

    Rob and I went to Little Tokyo to grab a bite to eat. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Despite the divorce, Rob and I are still on good terms. Besides, I’ve never known that man to pass up on a meal. We had Ramen at Daikokuya.

    We grabbed dessert at Fugetsu-do.

    I had meals with various other friends.

    Carne Asada tacos from a Taco Truck on Figueroa St. in Highland Park

    Chile Rellenos from La Llamarada in Lincoln Heights

    Beef Stew with Handmade Noodles at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Steamed Dumplings from Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Shrimp Cakes from Sanamuluang Cafe in Hollywood

    A few of us headed out to the over hyped, terribly crowded L.A. Street Food Fest. For those that follow me on Twitter, you already know how terribly this went. All I got to do was take a few pics. We didn’t get a single morsel to eat.

Instead we headed to Hodori in Koreatown and had Korean BBQ.

Galbi - Short Ribs

Jap Chae

What I did not capture are all the fantastic people who work at my fave eateries. I’ve been frequenting many of these establishments since I moved to L.A. Many of the servers already know what I’m going to order. {I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.} I will really miss those unspoken relationships.

There you have it. That was my week in L.A. Somehow, it feels like I didn’t do it any justice or that I didn’t give L.A. the proper “goodbye”.  Then again, maybe this just means that I’m not completely done with this city. I learned a long time ago, not to swear off any city.

Farewell, L.A.

photo by Flickr user chbu

I’m writing the post that I’ve been wanting to write, but never thought I would ever write. This is my “goodbye” to Los Angeles. After 7 years of struggling and surviving here, it’s time for me to go.  This is my last night in my tiny cottage in the city.

Being here has taught me so much about myself. I discovered that I am a city girl and have probably always been one.  I learned that I could do so much on my own and that I am highly adaptable. I arrived as naïve suburban gal from VA. I leave as a worldly urbanite.

Despite some of the negative things I’ve said, I will miss this place. I advanced my career and launched my design business here. I fell in love with Rob, got married and sadly divorced here. I rescued and raised my first puppy Dottie here.

I will especially miss:

  • The weather.
    The temps have been in the 80s the last couple of days. I’ve been walking around in flip-flops… in February!
  • The variety of restaurants
    The number of ethnic restaurants has been mind-boggling. In a single day, I can have Mexican, Japanese, and Argentinean food. I’m sure my waistline will thank me for the move.
  • Creative resources
    For any number of creative projects, I can find the raw materials. Fabric? I can find obscure prints at reasonable prices. Paper? You name it. I’ll find it. Oh the Flower Mart! I shall miss the Flower Mart.
  • The Great Outdoors
    I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked, but I will miss the foothills and the nearby mountains.
  • Dottie
    I cannot say it enough, but I will really miss my girl. I watched her grow up and can’t believe she was once a tiny puppy that once fit in a beanie hat. Cold winter nights are not going to be the same without her.

As sad as I am, I know that this is not the end. It’s only the beginning of my next adventure and L.A. can go back to being a really fun place to vacation.