Throwback Thursday: my year in North Hollywood

I don’t know what prompted me to do so (okay, I’m pretty sure I was procrastinating rather than writing), but the other day I went to Google Maps and looked up an old address. This photo shows a triplex off an alley in North Hollywood, California. I lived in the upper, right-hand studio apartment for a year in the mid-80s. It was my very first place all my own. Up to that point, I’d either been in a dorm or shared apartments (or, in the case of my Van Nuys digs, renting a screened gazebo-like structure in a single-parent’s backyard in which part of my rent included providing childcare).

It’s an understatement to say this was a transient period of my life. The move into my darling little apartment in this building was my 5th move in 9 months. It all began with my boyfriend and me moving into our own apartment in Culver City (leaving behind our former West LA roommate) and then me leaving the boyfriend several months later. It was one of the more difficult periods in my life. However, I have vivid memories of my time on Miranda Street.

Diva & Isis hanging out at home.

I shared the tiny space with two cats. One (Diva) was with me at move-in time. The other (Isis) was adopted and given to me by my sister’s friend who showed up to hand me a cat. Um, okay, I guess?

Isis was an all-black kitten who would wake me at 2:00 a.m. as she galloped around the hardwood floors. She also crawled to the bottom of my sleeping bag (my one and only “bed linen”) and peed.

My major piece of furniture was a futon couch that could be opened to make a small bed.

For a time, pit bulls roamed the neighborhood and the mail carrier refused to deliver. We had to go to the post office to get our mail. One day my downstairs neighbor drove there with me and we were thrilled to discover I’d received a box from my mother that contained a round cookie tin. We hungrily opened the tin only to discover it was filled, not with cookies, but with cookie cutters.

Me at the park when I wasn’t running.

I quit smoking while living in this apartment and an integral part of my kicking the nicotine addiction was to run every day (and then eat a bag of M&Ms at work in the afternoon). I usually ran in the nice park nearby that had a path around the perimeter. That park saved me.

Sometimes on the way back from a run I’d stop to sit on one of the Honda motorcycles lined up outside a bike shop near the park. I liked to pretend the wind was blowing back my hair as I rode fast and free.

Zippy at the park avoiding cat allergies.

This was where I lived when Zippy and I started dating. He lived in ugly old Bakersfield and we’d trade off weekends. He was allergic to cats so weekends at my place were often difficult for him. He’d suddenly say, “Let’s go out somewhere. My throat’s starting to close.” (Fortunately, he’s adapted to cats and no longer experiences suffocation issues).

Zippy was with me the day we loaded a UHaul for my move to Santa Rosa. We’d emptied the place and it was time to leave, but Diva was nowhere to be found. We searched and searched the surrounding area for my indoor-only cat. Then Zippy saw a black and white cat in the yard of a nearby house and grabbed it. A voice yelled, “Put down my cat!” Oops. Diva later revealed herself by meowing from the kitchen drawer she’d climbed into from the open cupboard below. It was a joyous reunion.

I’m not a huge fan of how our personal information and everyday lives are now mined for data, but will say that I’m happy Google Maps provided me with the image of my former home. I never took an exterior shot of the first-ever living space that was all mine. It’s good to remember.

Crowded House

As of this  moment, we’re waiting for the hardwood floor refinishers to arrive. It’s been a scramble to empty closets and move furniture, and yesterday I experienced serious regret for setting the situation in motion. But we’re finally ready. Well, Zippy and I are ready. The dogs and cats are all a bit befuddled and/or anxious regarding this new arrangement.

The combination of crammed space plus echo-y rooms is a bit unsettling.

For them and me.

Sunday Confessional: I just want a couple nice rugs

We moved into our home twenty years ago this weekend. We bought the house from the original owners and, in addition to the roof and walls, we also purchased a few furnishings from them. We still have one of the large braided rugs (the other three rugs have gone to the big loom in the sky), and it is way past due for retirement.

Over the years, six dogs, five cats, and four humans have walked on this rug (and that’s not counting the orginal owners’ years of use). I don’t even want to imagine what’s trapped between the braids. I very much want a new rug and have spent a huge amount of time searching stores and online for something decent that we can afford. I’ve already returned two (we also need to replace a tired wool rug in the living room) after the dye came off on our hands.

I realize that my rug search qualifies as a small-potatoes-problem, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could summon a Rug Fairy.

 

Wings of a dove

dove-imprint

Imprint after Mourning Dove hit the window (click to enlarge). Never saw the bird after that, so I believe it recovered and flew away. We have since applied window alert stickers to prevent further collisions.

 

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
~  Leonardo da Vinci

.

 

Mixed feelings

Three years ago Zippy and I finally faced reality and replaced the shake shingles on top of our house. Our former neighbors, the ones higher on the hill than us and with a view of our roof from their kitchen, were thrilled.

We were tired of retrieving shingles from the yard every time the wind blew. Also, we were concerned the roof might start leaking.

The main reason we’d delayed action was that we couldn’t decide on the type of roof we wanted. Actually, that’s not true. We knew we wanted a steel roof because it was a more sustainable and environmentally benign material than asphalt shingles. But our budget finally pushed us toward asphalt and we consoled ourselves with the knowledge that the house had had the same roof for many, many years and that the new roof would last another many years.

Wrong.

A while back, my neighborhood was hit by a hail storm that ruined every single roof. (Except for the steel roof two streets over). Every day there’s hammering somewhere in the neighborhood. Today, that hammering is close to home.

Not my roof, but the same scenario.

Not my roof, but the same scenario.

Right now there’s a roll-off dumpster in my driveway filled with three-year-old shingles torn from the roof. Tomorrow the roofers will install a new asphalt shingle roof.

While I’m grateful for my home and the literal roof over our heads, I also feel a great sadness. We’re sending another load of waste to the landfill.

 

 

.

Wildebeest migration

On Saturday, Wildebeest drove for six hours to come home and see his brother before Zebu leaves for ten months in Sweden. (In the time-honored tradition of all young adults, Wildebeest brought his dirty laundry with him.)

Zoey keeping watch on the clothes hamper and work shirts.

Zoey keeping watch on Wildebeest’s hamper and work shirts.

A few minutes ago Wildebeest hugged us all goodbye, loaded up his clean and folded laundry, and headed back home. He’s leaving one home for another.

I’m hyper-aware that whenever I refer to this, the childhood home we made for our sons, as HOME, I run the risk of minimizing the lives our children are creating for themselves. But I also want them to know they are always welcome here and will always have a home with Zippy and me. This is their home. We are their home. So I use “home” to refer to here and there, wherever there may be.

Wildebeest is currently on the road, migrating back to the life he’s chosen for himself. I miss him already, but will see him the next time he comes home.

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
~  Matsuo Basho

.