Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Review

Returning to the apartment from my trip to the library today, I picked up one of those "Downtown News" papers. It seems everyone is publishing an end of year review with what has already occurred.

I shouldn't complain. South Park, the neighborhood I live in, is prominently featured on the front cover. Between the Ralphs Fresh Fare and the LA LIVE project, South Park is on a fast track. Maybe because we live under the giant cranes and around the construction walls, we don't appreciate the change as much. Perhaps it's because we're new or we just haven't lived here long enough to form an opinion. All I know is that there is so much going on out there that I don't know about and want to know more.

I'm grateful for the blogging that the other, more talented (or more practiced) writers are doing out there. It just seems like recycling old news stories and printing them on paper, is a waste of trees and ink. I personally think in the years to come, the news will be blogged. While I don't have the stats, I would think that most people get their news from online sources, whether from blogging or web-based news services. The ability to blog the news as it happens or share information to an online database of unlimited people, has unlimited potential.

Purchasing My Downtown Wheels

We headed to the bike shop on Main Street, El Maestro. They have racks of new and used bikes. Many of them are barely used bikes. The new bikes are shiny and priced fairly. The staff was super friendly and helpful with all kinds of information. I had narrowed my search down to two used bikes and had come back the next day to try them on.

Trying it on:
The frame needs to fit the body of the person riding it. One should be able to put your foot down when stopping and not have to jump down off the bike or stand on your toes. You should also have at least one inch of clearance when standing with legs on either side of the bike.

Neither of the two bikes I looked at had the clearance I needed. I started looking at other bikes and found one that was new in the right size. The one I ended up purchasing was a fair price and very good quality. They give a 30day warranty on bikes with exceptions. They offered their service for other things as well, including repairs, tune-ups, and various other bike related needs.

Other stuff:
Besides the bike, they had several high quality bike locks to choose from as well helmets, mirrors, light sets and other various bicycling accesories. I was so happy with the service I received, I was sure to come back the next day. This time I returned and purchased a helmet from their store and a cable lock (to accompany the U lock I purchased).

I am so happy with the service and bike that I purchased on Main Street, I am wishing everyone looking for a bike check it out. There's bike adventures to be had downtown, so rather than wax poetic, I'm getting to it!

more later I'm sure!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting My Downtown Wheels

Another personal story about the Meeko. I am a cyclist. No, not the sort that goes for the 30k tour de Whatever. Nor a speed racer. Nor a BMX rider. I just ride. That wasn't always the case. One of the issues with me is that I've always had some balance issues. I've taken gymnastics for some of that, but found writing and learning to sketch/paint to be more worthwhile. Those skills can take care of the mental creativity. It doesn't free you to out-distance yourself, or take you physical places from your comfort zone. I have found bicycling does that for me. It's just not a mode of transportation. It moves you, to be cliché.

For Christmas my 6th year, my parents got me a lime green Huffy with training wheels. I was fine with the training wheels, but once the wheels came off, just one at first, I was terrified. I couldn't ride without at least one. My mom swore I would never get another bike until I learned to ride the one I had. It was personally humiliating for me. I eventually got over it when I was 12 years old. Everyone else had shiny ten-speeds, while I had my little girls Huffy bike with the banana seat, flower basket, and training wheels. There's nothing like peer pressure to get you over your fear.

Eventually it did happen for me and I've been on a bicycle ever since (for the most part). I would ride through high school, even using it as a way to get to & from work (and drive my mom crazy with worry getting across highways). Those were the days before bike helmets and lights on your bike; Before it made more sense to wear light clothing and reflective tape. You just rode until your bike wore out; The good kid-stuff that people seem to forget about when they grow up. I wore out 2 bikes in the Army taking them out on long distance country rides — getting around the hills and towns and feeling the wind, the snow & even the rain on my face. I think I was hardier stuff then. I kept riding, though; And much later I would only ride to get back and forth to class or work or whatever and whenever. I was on my bike. It was enough.

This changed for me about 3 years ago when I felt I couldn't ride safely anywhere. I was living in Anaheim and near busy intersections and a sweaty ride down the side roads of I-5 to make much sense to me. It was too much trouble to take the bike out, hauling it up & down the stairs and then the long trek to the front of the complex to what would surely be a difficult and dangerous way to get anywhere. Instead I would walk or take the bus, or just not go anywhere. Moving to downtown LA changed that for me. Downtown LA is a bike-able city.

If you're still with me, yes you read that right. Downtown LA is a bike-able city. If only I had known that when we made our move downtown. I was looking forward to the buses, the MTA the walking (and yes you can walk in LA too). Because I am a believer in the simplicity movement, I was willing to lose my bike and it's attachments. No more bike helmet or locks or air pump or things that reminded me of my beautiful Trek Hybrid. It was a sore point with me; I had become apartment bound and without wheels. I didn't deserve that bike.

Yet, as I sit here, surfing the net, I'm finding that there is so much more going on downtown with people, like myself, who enjoy the long ride. The ride for no other reason to get to someplace that is too far to walk yet too short to drive. The people that like the wind in their face, the clicking of gears, the squeal of brakes and the camaraderie of doing something like any number of Bay Area bicycling groups that might still exist in their own pockets of space. There is that secret happiness when you can see another cyclist. You can smile at them, knowing when they smile back, it's t
he acknowledgment of the cyclist. It's the club you belong to. The bicyclist club. I wanted back in. I would get back in. Meeko and her bike is a necessary thing.

END PT ONE

Friday, December 28, 2007

Banquette and bikes... and blogger



Today I ended up trying two new places.. Yorkshire Grill and later in the day coffee at Banquette. Walked around, checked out a bike shop on Main Street.

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Yes there is a bike shop downtown!!! No excuses not to run over there and pick up a new or used bike! Good exercise for us over-indulging downtown dwelling folks (and a very out of shape Meeko!)

Then finished an errand or two and hung out at the Banquette Cafe on Main Street with some fun blogger folks, Urban Memo, Big City POZ (whom I met briefly once before) and of course View From a Loft's Ed Fuentes. He was actually the one who introduced me to Urban Memo, so thank you!

I had fun at Banquette and even though there were so many folks whose names I didn't catch they were all so very cool and nice. A good place to go and get a coffee for certain and a nice place to relax before the hike down the hill back to South Park. =)

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B&W but not really

true light

I had a mostly good day yesterday taking pictures and hanging out in the Arts District & around there. I took a lot in B&W again and a lot of them weren't so good and some of them I was "wow!" happy with.

I had a wonderful lunch at Pitfire too and I owe someone for that, taking the time to show me around new places to take photos and listen to me ramble. It was all good.

Last night oth, wasn't so hot. I was having computer issues and (hopefully) the computer stuff won't get messed up again, and I think I may have said some weird stuff to people that I'm not so sure about and I wasn't feeling too hot. I didn't get to sleep til around 4am.

After all the good stuff, I think I got a little sick from being up so late. I had sniffles from my last long walk downtown, and while I wasn't exactly sneezing (I brought a packet of Kleenex so of course I didn't need it this time) the air has been really dry for me and I've been having issue processing food. I hope it wasn't something I ate. I'm sure I'll feel better in a couple hours. I was going to say my lunch at Pitfire was really freaking good. I'd go there again on my own that's how comfortable I got just being there. I'd have to bring a book or something though as I still feel odd eating alone. =)

Ok so about the not getting sleep. I tend to let things run through my head over & again whether I should or not. I don't sleep good in general then I worry about how I spent the day babbling like an idiot, or saying something dumb or ticking off the wrong people. Then there's the cats not getting along.

We have been getting them 'felaway' diffusers to plug in so calm them down. That and catnip actually calms our feral tabby down but the two of them still go at it. Last night was bad as someone above us was having a LOUD party til all hours. It ended soon after 330am when I called my husband to complain. He was up at 530am much more bright-eyed sounding than me. But someone was running around yelling something and it sounded like drums and guitar riffs were still going on for some time. Then I guess the party headed out with a lot more noise. Someone must of called the party off but not before I was feeling really woozy and cranky. Then Alexander starts up again when the paperguy shows up to throw the Friday paper on the mat. The cat goes off like a fire engine. "mrrrOWWWWWWW mrrOOWWW!!?? MROOOWWWWW!!!?" this is typical for him, then he starts scratching at the door or the Ikea cabinet. *scratch scratch* Time to get the paper and the cats fed. Seriously this usually does the trick. The cats get fed about the same time everyday and so it's a schedule I try to keep. So this is probably wayyyy more info than anyone need to know here.


Then there's the weather in Chicago. That's where the husband is coming home from this afternoon/evening. He's at the airport and the first flight (which had seats available) is delayed. That doesn't sound so good. Delays make the other flights delayed. *bleh* So hopefully his flight this afternoon will work out. So yeah I got about 2 1/2 hrs of sleep and it's no wonder I feel nauseated. (not to mention I didn't eat dinner last night because my lunch was so big).

Breakfast is a diet Sprite and a big tub of apologies to my cat Alexander for not only for receiving the brunt of my annoyance (I stepped on his tail by accident when he was playing "hide and attack" under one of the barstools) and then when I went to get the leftover cat food from the fridge, I didn't check for him to be sticking his head in the door. He does this quit often and I shut the door on his head.. He's sitting here on the desk in front of me, so he must not be too mad at me. Unlike our other cat, he's good at sitting on the desk and not blocking my monitor. Thus I can do stuff and still give him the attention he didn't get yesterday. He really is the best wedding gift I ever got. He keeps me company pretty good, when he's not making me crazy with the meows and the feet attacks. =) Not as good as people but alright.

I hope today is a better day. I hope things that were bad are better and that I don't make any sense it's because I don't know what to make of things either. Sometimes I wish I could go to square one and start the day over, more sleep, less babbling, more sun.. less cold. More calm. Better organized. A fresh start.. and no sneezing. =)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day Walk


So the husband is out & about in Chicago,doing his thing this week. Me I need to find something to do and keep busy, not just sit inside on such a beautiful day. I had a secret wish I'd wander around and find someplace comfortable to have coffee or lunch, treat myself.

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While I didn't find anywhere I wanted to stop on my own (I really need to get some kind of lunchtime friends or something.. when it's convenient. Unfortunately, there's just me). However, I did get some walking in, and while I'm not sure if I recall everywhere I walked, I didn't extend too far afield. I also took a couple dozen photos in what I could call faux B&W. Shannon from ShaInLA had shown me some tricks with my camera from the ShootDowntown photo meet back on the 12th, and so I thought I'd give it a go on my own taking photos in B&W.

I know the difference (or like to think I do) in the photo quality of real B&W and the kind you get from having actual print film. One of the things I liked to do when I lived in Germany or New Orleans was to, on occasion get a roll of B&W and shoot some stuff with it. While I'm no good at the stuff myself, and the film processing was a bit much, (expense-wise) the photos turned out better and lovlier than they may have in color.

So after my 3hr walk and a stop at Ralph's (having left empty-handed) I at least got some photo up on my flikr and am happy with some of the photos I shot. I'm not a professional. I just you know, like taking pictures. =) I guess next I'd like to figure out exactly how far my route took in distance (I double-backed a lot and covered some of the same blocks twice just to keep seeing what was there.


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Maybe I'll have better luck at lunch or a coffeespot next time. =)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Celebration at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion


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One of many photos I have to work on from this afternoon. The husband had a bunch of work to do, so he opted out of attending with me. Instead I wandered downtown (and up the hill) by myself to attend the festivities.

I left around 230pm and got there around 3 o'clock. By the time I was seated, I was sent up to the 4th floor with the rest of the folks making their way in. Actually being there was nice. I know I could have stayed back at the apartment and watched it on tv, but the balcony, despite being far away, gave a good vantage to the set up and how the show was hosted and filmed.

Up on the 4th floor it was hot though and the seats were.. close. Maybe too close. It got to be a little warm up there for me. Also, after getting poked a few times with a lady scavenging in her purse one too many times and dealing with the odd issue of my hearing, I apologized and headed out. It seemed the best place to be was outside with the multitudes that didn't get in (or were in this never-ending queue to get in).

Being out on the Plaza was wonderful. The air was good, the sky blue.. Families, couples, singles and all sorts of people were everywhere. Children laughed and skipped through the fountains despite the security trying to discourage them. People out on dates took pictures of each other. Little boys stomped and splashed. Little girls danced with their moms.. Grandmas or Aunts giggled and pointed at the large screen set up to broadcast the KCET program when they saw their nephews or grandsons. So much scampering, clapping, singing, talking.. and the air was nice. It was good to be outside with it all.

I headed back down Grand Ave around 530 after the "Kultura Phillippine Folk Arts" performed and got back just in time for "Klezmer Juice" at 6pm. I know it's not the same as being there, but I got to sample a lot of good times and positive energy.

So now I'm going to finish working on those photos.. I just wanted to write some of it down before I started to forget. It was all good. I hope some other folks I know were able to go at one point or another.. It was well worth it and hope you had at least as much fun as I did, whatever you chose to do for the holiday.

Best Wishes,

Meeko

Happy Yule.. Happy Christmas! Happy Birthday..

I'm pretty open to all of them. I come from a family of die hard Christmas people.. Ok.. so my mom is crazy about Christmas (can't say as much about the rest of the folks) but from October to January.. it was always festive if nothing else, (stressful is the 'if nothing else'). Since then the holidays tend to get me a little down.

Tomorrow I'm thinking (oh tomorrow is today.. *sigh*) I may end up going to the Holiday Celebration over at the Music Center. I read about it on BlogDowntown and it sounded cool. It takes a while to find out that tomorrow is just another work day for some of us, but not me. I asked him if he wanted to go, but SeanYoda doesn't sound as enthused. 10minutes of each performance maybe isn't compelling for him, but there's bunches more going on so we'll see when I can drag myself up the hill and over there. Sooner than later, I would think. Why watch it on tv if it's right there in my back yard? (ok I don't have a back yard). It's not like I have to walk all the way over to WeHo or something. *grin*

But it's nice to be around people that are celebrating too. I need to soak up some happy energy, even if it's from a distance. Then again it might make me depressed for all those over-decorated, over-gifted, over-fed holidays. LOL My needs are few.. Just enough food, just enough festivities without making an ass of myself, and just enough kindness to go around.. One must take all the kindness one can get I would think: let make merry. =) Christmas is once a year.

I guess that's when I'll get some sleep too.. (next year).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

cleaning up the internets...

I finally did it. I deleted all my useless stuff.. no more myspace, no more tribe, or friendster or any of those weird things all over the place scattered like useless html refuse. I ended up delete some 4 different random social places and instead have this, (the blogger that is) and the Live Journal.. oh, and that FACE BOOK thing.. but hey, I got rid of FOUR other social sites. *go me!*

Saturday, December 22, 2007

when the party's over..

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Well, I survived the holiday party. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I met some folks who I've only seen in the elevator (and kind of recall their name(s) and faces) We took some photos when we remembered to, and although the settings were once again off, were able to shoot a few decent shots (probably less than I should have posted on flikr). Not sure if I drank too much. I had two glasses of wine (2buck Chuck white) and feeling kind of like the floor was moving on me. I know my limits fortunately and switched to some diet coke. =) I think I should have nibbled on more solid before that though, the watermelon wedges and spinach quiche I had wasn't compensating for the drink. =) Suffice to say you won't see any pix of me in that flikr group. (LOL) Neither photo was flattering (Not to mention the light was off). Granted I have a TON of weight to lose (ok more like 50lbs) but having folks get you with your eyes closed or looking kind of messed up doesn't help.

Of course at the time I was too festive to really care. OTH, I did miss out on whatever caroling was going on at the Music Center. Seeing a couple of our longstanding residents was good though, as was chatting up our Leasing Manager, who still is trying to rent out that unit. *grin* Good Luck with THAT. ;P

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

christmas parties

Our building is having a Christmas party this Friday. I can think of other things going on I'd rather be at. For one there's a Holiday Sing Along downtown that sounds like fun. Oh well. This isn't the place for me to complain but yeah, I'm in a weird place of feeling I've been more social in a really long time and not really wanting to deal with strangers either.

We used to know some of the people in our building. The names anyway allude me but the faces were familiar and they all either moved up or out when their lease came due. I've seen the guy next door once and he was giving us an angry look. He only lives here during the week and commutes to his home every weekend. I'm sure he has plenty reason to be angry but not at me. I really hate how I can just soak up people's emotions sometimes. It's like reading in all caps or something. bleh..

I'm posting here more than normal. Probably because I've been using my blogger for more commenting than I really should be. I do exist! I just don't tend to go anywhere and when I do, it tends to be a draining experience eventually.. sort of like doing 15mile walk with no training. I'm out of practice. =)

If it wasn't cold & wet outside right now and there was somewhere to go, I'd probably be up for it. Just not, you know.. 15miles. Maybe a short walk.

Walking home in the rain..

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Holiday lights outside Casey's Irish Pub. Rainy street. Coming back from the Bloggers on Ice meet (would have wanted to stay longer but the rain and the cold was getting me down) needed to be somewhere warm where more than just my paws, tightly wrapped around my hot chocolate (which was being downed pretty quick) wouldn't feel the chill so much.

For $3 that was one good hot chocolate. =)