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…Right?! It’s been really cloudy and cool the past 3 days in a row now, barely 60 degrees! It even rained last night, and again this evening! I’ve had to work a lot the past few days though, so at least I don’t feel like I’m missing out on TOO much.

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, so I have a lot to catch up on! I worked at the event staff job for the first time on Friday. I actually had to get up pretty early, since I had to leave around 8am…it was tough! It was kind of cool/exciting to drive up to LA that morning – once I got closer to USC I could see downtown LA and all the huge buildings! It was kind of surreal, it’s just still so hard to believe I actually live here! I found the campus just fine, but it took me a little while to find where I was supposed to park. Luckily the lady at CSC answered and was able to give me directions to the parking lot, which was actually at a credit union.

It was so nice to see Rose’s dad when I got to the arena! I got my yellow jacket and got my assignment…which was to stand in basically a back hallway, where there wasn’t much action! Unfortunately I didn’t even get to watch/see the graduations take place! For the first few hours, there was a door open leading to an outdoor patio type of area, where some people were gathered for a “VIP” reception before the graduation. I basically just showed people where the bathrooms were, and answered whatever questions I could that they had about seating or where to go. At one point, a lady (who was probably about 65) came up to me and talked to me for a while. I ended up telling her I just moved here from WI, and she said she moved here from Kansas City just before she started high school. She said she went to an all-girls school, and then here family picked up and moved to LA, and she had to go to Hollywood High! She said it was such a shock, and change…and then looked me in the eye and said “when you have a family, raise them in Wisconsin. You don’t want to raise a family here.” She said raising a family in Orange County would be one thing, but LA is not a place where you want to raise a family. We talked for a while about that and it was just really cool to meet someone who was originally from the midwest, and still really valued that and has experienced the difference later in life. She was so nice and genuine, I will always remember that conversation!

The first graduation was about to start and I was getting kind of bored when a guy came running in from outside and said to me, “you have to call 911! There’s an emergency, a lady fainted out here!” I said “OK!” and kind of panicked, I didn’t really know what to do! So I ran into the auditorium, spotted someone on the other side with a yellow jacket and quickly went over by him. Luckily, Rose’s dad (who is the manager) was right there and I told him what happened and that he should come over to where the lady was right away. Whew! That was kind of a scary thing to happen on my first day!

The rest of the day was quite uneventful, and pretty boring! My legs started getting sore from standing so much, and I was so glad when 4:45 finally rolled around. I met a guy there that was doing the sound for the event, and he said he tours with a lot of bands and has done sound for Fallout Boy, Yellowcard, and a bunch of other bands I can’t remember…he’s married but is leaving to go on tour soon with whoever won the last American Idol, til October! That must suck for his wife! He was nice, but he said he hates 311 (wtf?!) and likes country?! Not cool!!! 😉

At 5pm, while I was trying to find my way home from downtown LA, the lady from Manpower called and said the guy from Honda Finance called and he wanted me to start on Monday at 8am! I was surprised, I didn’t think he was going to call back at that point! So I accepted the job!! I really needed that job…even though it’s not my dream job, it is just a 3 month temp position, so if I hate it, I don’t need to stay there too long. But, it would most likely turn into full-time if I want to stay, so we’ll see how it goes. Yay!

I took a nap for a few hours when I got home, and didn’t really do anything else that night…I had to get up pretty early the next day to work at the restaurant. So, I worked from 10-3 on Saturday at McCormick & Schmick’s, which was my first time opening. The manager showed me a bunch of stuff to do, and it went pretty well (except for one stupid seating mistake I made) and the time went pretty fast. Luckily it didnt’ get too busy – the pace was actually pretty good. The last hour was pretty boring, but some of the servers were talking to me so it was tolerable.

When I got home, I was supposed to help this artist lady that lives in the house do a bunch of stuff – she has officially hired me as here “personal assistant!” She is a painter and needs help doing all kinds of random things, from carrying things upstairs for her (she has a bad back) to helping her do gardening stuff/potting plants, running errands, etc. So on Saturday, I helped her from 3:45pm to 8:45pm, doing mostly gardening, and running up and down the steps a million times, getting stuff for her. But it didn’t feel like work at all, it was pretty enjoyable! It was kind of fun to help her with the gardening/potting, because I always liked helping my mom and grandma with that when I was younger…and it was nice to be able to do a little bit of that here and feel “normal.” (I always feel “normal” here, but I guess I just mean I didn’t really think I would be doing this type of stuff in California, living in an apartment and all!) We worked until it was completely dark out, and then talked for a while. She is a really nice lady, and she was so grateful for my help! It made me feel good to help her out, and the time definitely flew by!

I ended up going out in Hermosa that night with a couple guys I had met on Cinco de Mayo at the B Foundation show (that I saw only the last 2 songs of)! They are really nice and normal, and kept on buying me drinks! I didn’t pay for anything all night, which was really awesome! We had a good time and I hope to see them again.

I got up kinda late on Sunday, and decided to go to “Wee-Man’s” birthday party thing at his restaurant, which is only a few blocks from my house. It was weird though, I did not fit in at all (it was like all hardcore biker or skater type people dressed almost all in black, I definitely did not blend in)! I stayed long enough to say hi and get a piece of cake, and watch a mariachi band they had outside for a bit, but then I left! I did score some KROQ stickers on my way out though, which was cool, haha. I didn’t do too much the rest of the day til I went and watched a movie at this guy’s house who I also met on Cinco de Mayo in Hermosa…I didn’t really want to go at first since I didn’t even know the guy hardly at all, but he kept wanting to do something so I finally went. We watched The Hangover (my second time seeing it) and I left right after. Meh…

So, today was my first day at the Honda job! It went really good! The boss is nice and really laid back, and I don’t feel any stress or intimidation there at all. The work I did today was really easy, and the best part about it is that I can listen to music! That’s really all I need to be happy! 😉 The day went really fast, and the supervisor guy even took me out to lunch! I will be working 8-4:30 Monday through Friday, but I could go in as early as 6:30am if I wanted to get done by 3pm, which is pretty cool. I’m not a morning person though AT ALL, so I doubt I’ll be going in that early unless I have something specific going on some day that I want to get out really early for. He even gave me $1 more per hour than I was originally supposed to get! I’m actually kind of excited about the job now! I feel very lucky to have gotten it. I’ve never been more grateful to be able to go to work every day! Starting tomorrow, each day I’m going to bring 3-4 CDs to work, and start going through my huge collection alphabetically. There are so many CDs that I have either never listed to or opened!, and CDs that I have never listened to all the way through. So that should keep things exciting!

I took a walk down to the Strand tonight, even though it was raining/drizzling, since I haven’t gone for a walk in a few days. When the sun was about to set, I walked out to the end of the pier, and it was sooo beautiful! It was just clearing up right in time for the sunset, and there was NO ONE on the pier at all, which was odd…and AWESOME! I totally had a moment, as the sun was setting; “How Long Has It Been?” (by 311) came on my iPod, and since no one was anywhere near being within earshot, I was able to sing out loud and enjoy the absolutely beautiful sunset and ocean. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so many times out of happiness as I have these past 4-5 weeks or so, but I can’t help it! It is just so incredibly beautiful here, and I still honestly cannot believe that my hugest dream has actually come true and I am exactly where I want to be. Looking south, there are some hills with a ton of houses on them along the coast (Palos Verdes) and either the clouds were super low tonight, or it was foggy up there, because the tops of the hills were being covered by the clouds and it looked so awesome and magical. It was just too much to take in, looking at the sky, the ocean, the clouded hills, the shoreline…I couldn’t help but cry because I was so overjoyed and ridiculously HAPPY. As I walked down the pier back toward the Strand I couldn’t stop smiling! I feel like I am finally my true self again, like I have fully come back to life. I went through some hard times the past few years, and feel like I really love myself again, like I used to. I haven’t been very happy with myself the past few years, but ever since I’ve been here I feel so free, strong and complete. I’m so proud of myself for getting here, and am so excited to see what I can accomplish!

I suppose that’s about it…hopefully work goes well again tomorrow! I have to work 60 hours this week, but I’m not complaining. I want to work as much as I can so I can buy some furniture soon, and possibly go back to Milwaukee/Cincinnati/Indianapolis for some 311 shows in June! If I work really hard, I should be able to do it! I can’t wait to see 311!!!!! =D

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I really need to start another job ASAP! I only have 14 hours at the restaurant next week, and that is obviously not going to cut it. Hopefully the girl that had me take her shift tonight will ask me to take another one next week, but I can’t count on that. Luckily I’m starting the event staff job tomorrow, and maybe I can get some more hours there next week, but I don’t know what to expect. No matter what, I need a full-time day job STAT! I wonder if that guy is going to offer me the Honda Finance job tomorrow…if he does, I think I just better take it to be on the safe side.

I got an email this morning from a PR company I applied to yesterday, and they want me to come in for an interview on Tuesday! And I had a phone interview with Hulu today, which went pretty well. The guy said that they probably won’t call people back for another interview til the end of next week, and maybe not even until early the following week. I wish I could find out sooner! I applied for a few other things I’m also waiting to hear back from.

I got a bunch of stuff in the mail from home today! I’m soooo glad they sent me another blanket, I am always waking up freezing in the middle of the night with the ONE I have here! I have been using my bathrobe as a second blanket since I’ve been living here, haha! They also sent me some more black and white dressy clothes, since that’s what I have to wear at the restaurant…and a ton of crosswords from the West Bend daily paper, which I LOVE!!! I’m so happy, I’m pretty much addicted to those crosswords. They’re the best! My mom also put a letter in there that she wrote, and I got 2 pictures that my nieces colored/painted for me. They made me so happy! I hung them on my wall, since the only other things I have hanging are a B Foundation poster and setlist I got at the show last week. My room is still so bare and ghetto! 😮

I had to go down to Long Beach today to get some certain pants I have to wear for the event staff job tomorrow. I think it’s a USC graduation, and I have to be there at 9am so I have to get up early! I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get there. I worked at the restaurant tonight, and it was pretty boring…easy, but boring. There is just NOTHING to do at the front desk when people don’t come in, and it seriously gets tiring just standing there! Oh well, could be worse, I suppose.

Well, maybe I’ll hear back from that Honda job tomorrow. I’m kind of hoping I do, because I just want to have money coming in and not have to stress about the job situation anymore at the moment. I guess whatever is meant to happen will happen!

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Today was a mix of both good and not so good! I got up early for the interview at Honda Finance, which I was pretty excited about. The interview was set up through Manpower, and all she really told me was that it was for an administrative type of position. It paid pretty good, so I was happy to have the interview and was hopeful about the job.

I got there right at 10am because I couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere!, and checked in at their front desk. The place was only 3 miles/10 minutes from my house, so that was a good thing!

The interview was OK, but sort of awkward. Most of the interview consisted of the guy telling me over and over that he thought I would get too bored at this job, because it would be quite mundane and repetetive. I kept trying to assure him that although it may not be my dream job, if I start a job, I’m not going to just ditch in a few weeks or months. He was concerned that I wouldn’t be doing something in my field, and that I wouldn’t stick around for very long (it is a temp-to-hire position, so I can kinda see his point). I told him I understood, but he kept beating it to death even though I kept reassuring him that I was still interested and would be fine with whatever work I would have to do.

Another guy came in to ask some questions and get an idea of who I was. After about a half hour of the same discussion, I finally asked what I had been dying to ask…if people can listen to music while doing this job. He said yes, and I verified that I could listen to headphones during the workday. I was really happy about that and told him if that’s the case, I will be more than fine!

I know I obviously wouldn’t be all that fulfilled or super happy at this job, but it’s a job that could pay my rent and all my bills (which is kind of a lot), and I would continue to work at the restaurant a few nights a week, which would be my spending money. Plus it’s close, and doesn’t sound very stressful. I just REALLY want to secure a full time job right now, ASAP, so I can start buying some stuff for this damn room! I’m getting really sick of not having any furniture! And it would be nice to have health insurance again…

So, we’ll see what happens. I’m supposed to find out by the end of the week. If I don’t get it, I guess that just means something better will come along. Which leads me to one of the good things that happened today…I got an email late this afternoon from Hulu (the online streaming  TV show/movie Web site) and they want to do a phone interview with me! That is really exciting, I’m sure it would be a great company to work for! My friend Eric works there, who I used to work with at MyWeather, and he gave my resume to the HR person last week. I’m crossing my fingers that something positive will come of the phone inteview!! 🙂

In other job news, I had kind of a second interview with this guy about working on some music industry events Web sites. I had a good feeling about it last time we talked, but today was different…I think I would like the job, but I don’t really know what to expect from it. This person is based out of Vegas so I would work from home (which would be sweet!) but at the same time, I like to be able to have more personal contact and I just don’t know if I feel comfortable working for someone I may never even meet. =/ So we’ll see…he’s supposed to get back to me somewhat soon I think.

Otherwise, I spent some time applying for other jobs today, and will be doing more of the same tomorrow. I wasn’t supposed to have to work tomorrow, but someone asked me to work 6-11pm for her tomorrow night, so I’m happy to pick up the hours. I’m also working Friday for the first time for the event staff job I got at CSC, and will be working at a USC graduation! That will be a good 8 hour day. And I also work 5 hours on Saturday. That means I will have worked every day this week, except Monday, which is great (seriously)! 🙂

Overall, today wasn’t super exciting…but I suppose every day doesn’t have to be, and won’t be. I’m just hoping and praying that the right job comes along, something that will be satisfying, challenging, and pay enough to allow me to have the lifestyle I want. Nothing extravagant, just so I can afford to go to some of the sweet shows that are always going on around here! I have yet to really experience LA and all the nightlife, etc. Hopefully sometime soon!

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I know it sounds stupid to complain about, but there have been quite a few days here when it has been SUPER windy! It makes walking and running near the beach difficult and unpleasant because first of all, it kind of takes your breath away, and, it just makes running harder because of added resistance. Not to mention all the sand constantly pelting your face and getting in your eyes! It’s pretty tough, I know… 😉 But it also makes it feel cooler outside than it actually is, and I was so cold at the beach on Sunday that I had to leave! Damn wind!! It seems to be a LOT calmer out today, so that’s good. =D

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a great day!! I got up a little earlier than I have been and was in a good mood all day. I finally cleaned my room, and borrowed the cleaning lady’s vacuum so I was finally able to vacuum for the first time in almost a month! I just feel so much better now that it’s clean and organized again; I tend to lose a lot of motivation when things are all messy and chaotic.

The lady from Manpower called and told me she got me an interview for today (Wednesday) at Honda Financial in Torrance! So that was exciting! I went for a walk in Hermosa in the afternoon, but it was super windy (grrr) so it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as usual. I went to the coffee shop just down the street for the first time to try to get something to eat but it was so expensive! I ended up just getting a muffin and a sweet GLASS BOTTLE of orange crush soda, yesss! Even just those two things were like $6, wtf.

I had to work at the restaurant (McCormick & Schmick’s) at 5pm and they let me go about 45 minutes early. It went pretty good I guess, I accidentally sat the wrong table one time, but oh well! I’m actually not that good at spatial things so I’m not surprised that it’s taking me a while to get all the table numbers down. I’m getting better though 😉

I went to Target after work to go grocery shopping since it’s actually pretty cheap, and when I got home I realized the stupid lady forgot to give me two of my bags! So I had to go all the way back to Manhattan Beach to get them, with like no gas…I was so mad! I think I spent the rest of the night finally uploading a ton of pics to Facebook, and that’s about it.

All in all, nothing too incredibly exciting, but it was a good day nonetheless! =D

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Some of my friends will understand why I titled this post the way I did – if they are a 311 fan, that is! In case you didn’t already know, I am pretty much a 311 fanatic, and I follow them on tour every summer (although this summer I will only make it to the California shows, which is really quite depressing)! But anyways, there is a song by 311 called “Paradise,” and one of the lyrics is “I can’t forget you, and our version of paradise.”

This is how I feel about the Strand in Hermosa Beach. If you’re not from around here or familiar with the area, you are probably wondering what in the world the “Strand” is! It is a wide, paved path that runs along the beach from Palos Verdes (just south of Redondo Beach) all the way up to Mailbu. I had seen the part of the path that runs alongside Redondo Beach many times while I was down at the beach (since I live about a block from the beach in Redondo)…but didn’t think that much of it. Also, part of the path is on Redondo Pier itself, which is strange, and it even goes inside/through a parking garage! It’s not very intuitive, and I only walked on it once just to see where exactly it led. I was in for a big surprise when I discovered a few weeks ago what the Strand truly is, in Hermosa Beach.

One evening a few weeks ago, I decided to take a walk down to Hermosa Beach to see for myself what I had heard so much about. At that point, I had not yet seen or experienced Hermosa Beach at all, but was hearing lots of great things from friends about the beach itself, the Strand, and the vibe of the community. I walked from my apartment, down Catalina Ave., to Harbor Dr., and realized how close the city of Hermosa Beach really was! It was just about a 15 minute walk, which I was really excited about.

I found where to enter the Strand, which is just off the corner of Harbor and 1st Street, I believe. I will NEVER forget the moment I turned the corner and for the first time, was faced with the indescribable beauty that lay beyond! It was evening, but the sun was still pretty high in the sky, and the scene was like something from a calendar or a movie – a place that you don’t really believe exists, because it is so beautiful. I absolutely had that feeling of “AHHHH!” (sung in an opera-esque voice, you know, like when you have a major revelation?!) come over me as I turned that corner, and it really was almost a heavenly sight, and moment. And I still find myself describing the Strand and the beaches as “heavenly” (again just tonight in fact), because that is truly the best word that comes to mind whenever I see this place!

The beach is wide, flat, and appears to stretch for miles; the sand is much lighter, a very very light tan (not quite white!), the ocean is bluer (I swear!) and the mountains/Malibu in the distance to the north are captivating and majestic, a beautiful backdrop on a clear day or night. Not to mention the palm trees and countless volleybal nets and players, which all help to create an absolutely magical scene. PARADISE!! These are all things you will see on your left-hand side, while on the right, the Strand is lined with (mostly) large, ornate, beautiful homes.

Here are a few photos I took about a week ago (I will post more eventually in the Photos section):

Eventually you will arrive at Hermosa Pier, which is at the end of Pier Ave. in the city of Hermosa. The pier itself extends out to the left/west from the Strand (coming from Redondo) and to the right/east lie a number of bars and restaurants, on a promenade lined with huge palm trees that light up at night. Nothing short of awesome!

The pier itself is amazing – I was suprised by how far it juts out into the ocean. It is the perfect place to take in a sunset and reflect on the day, or life in general. The first time I walked all the way to the end of the pier, I was practically in tears! The entire scene is so peaceful and magical!

On the evening of Friday, April 23rd, I had probably the best walk I may ever have on the Strand. The weather was perfect, I was listening to great music, and I took in so many sights that it was almost overwhelming. I got what I believe was a truly authentic view of the “culture” of the Strand, and I still need to write something separate about it…look for that coming soon. In short, just some of the sights you will see on any given evening: walkers, bikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, dogs, guys randomly playing guitar, people playing volleyball, doing yoga on the beach, people enjoying wine on their decks, people on dates, kids, people from all walks of life and all different parts of the world. An absolute mish-mash of people and activities, with one thing in common: they’re all there to enjoy the beach, the air, the sunset, and life. There is not even the slightest worry in the air that anyone will be judged, looked at strangely, or looked down upon. There is a liberating sense of freedom in this place, and my heart was incredibly happy and at peace that night. Without a doubt, my version of paradise! =D

Here is a photo from a different evening, to give you an idea:

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NOW, finally, on to today…the main purpose of this post was to talk about the awesome time I had rollerblading on the Strand today! I went out at about 3:30 or 3:45pm, and walked down to the entrance to the Strand in Hermosa. I carried my rollerblades with me in a plastic bag, since I didn’t want to attempt rollerblading down there on the streets or on the sidewalks.

I usually take walks/runs down on the Strand in the evenings around 6:30pm or so, so it was a little different going down there earlier in the day…but it was just as beautiful as ever! It was realllly nice out – sunny and about 70 degrees – and they sky was very clear so I could thankfully see those mountains/Malibu to the north (it has been kind of foggy or overcast the last few times I’ve been down there, and I haven’t been able to see them for quite some time). The whole scene was so incredibly pretty, and there were a lot of people out playing volleyball already. There weren’t too many people on the path and it was very smooth, so rollerblading was very enjoyable. At one point, some guy who ran by me the opposite way said “SEXY!” Haha! That makes me feel good, especially in LA, where much fitter, more beautiful girls are everywhere (isn’t that one saying “a dime a dozen?”).

Anyway…as I was going along, a group of four guys passed me on bikes and said hi. One of them was a “little person” (is that the correct terminology?!) and I was pretty sure it was Wee-Man from Jackass! When I reached the end of the paved part (before you have to climb steps to get on the Strand again to head toward Manhattan Beach), I stopped by the same group of four guys who had gathered at the end of the path. I asked the small one what his name was, and at first he said “Jason,” but then said he was Wee-Man and that he was on Jackass, etc. I definitely recognized him from the show! I talked to them for a little bit and as I turned around to head back, one of them yelled to me, “are you Italian?” So I came back and explained that I’m Italian, German and Hungarian, but I get asked all the time “what I am” since I’ve been thought to be anything from Mexican to Indian to Melado! I don’t know what it is, but people always think I’m different ethnicities! Then one of the guys said he is a boxing trainer in Redondo and told me to come to his club, that he’d “hook me up.” Whatever that means…maybe I’ll check it out, but probably not! =D

I went home, but then went back down there at about 6:30 to rollerblade again! I couldn’t get enough! When the sun was about to set, I went down to the beach to watch it, but this Mexican guy came over and wouldn’t stop talking to me! I kept saying I didn’t understand him, but he wouldn’t stop trying to ask me things…doesn’t “no entiendo” mean “I don’t understand?!” But he just kept trying to talk to me, and it was really awkward. Finally I said I had to go, and the half hour (or more) walk home from the pier was SO COLD! I came home and took a long hot shower and decided to finally start this blog. =D

I did get some productive things done today, in addition to all the rollerblading! I applied for a few jobs and had about a 30 minute conversation with a guy that might hire me to do some research and website work for his music industry events/resources sites. I think it went pretty well, and I’m supposed to look into a few things and call him back on Wednesday. It sounds like it would be a job I would really like, and I could work from home! He kept asking me what my compensation would be, and told me to think about it, but I have no idea what to say…I hate that! I’ll have to think about what I’m going to request…

I also sent my niece a letter and some shells today – I can’t wait for her to get them! Otherwise, that’s about it…I really need to clean this room, and apply for more jobs tomorrow!

I promise the rest of the entries won’t be this long, but I felt I had a lot to explain in this first one. Good night, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds! =D

 (I have about 3 weeks of happenings to catch up on, and I will cover my whole journey out here and first few weeks as I have time to update!)

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FIRST OFFICIAL POST!

YAY! I finally got this site set up…now I have to start updating it with everything I do each day, and tons of pics! So much has happened so far!

Bookmark this page and start following my NEW LIFE IN LA! 😉

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