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you don't take a photograph,
you make it.
~ansel adams

in an attempt to refill my cell phone with lost pictures--i asked friends and family to send me photographs. i told them it could be of anything that they wanted: pictures of themselves, pictures of me, pictures of food, pictures of pets, ANYTHING. i received an enormous amount from everyone--and to no one's surprise, many of the pictures had the same theme...

none of you knew me at an early age, but you still know me SO well...

it was heartwarming to receive so many wonderful images, but there was one from the best friend that immediately brought tears to my eyes. if you read my last post about getting my things stolen, you're already aware of the most valuable thing that was taken from me. on my phone was a handful of special pictures of wilbur--days before he passed away.
you can only imagine my surprise when this picture from sara popped up on my phone:

it doesn't surprise me that i sent this hilarious photo to her almost a year ago--but the fact that she had saved it all this time was completely unexpected. it never even occurred to me to ask her if she had any of these images, so surprising me with this resulted in the first smile my face had seen in days.
smile #2 came while i was at the police station filing the report for my stolen purse.

what are the chances...

speaking of slaters:
a HUGEMONGOUS shout-out and thank you to my dad for helping me spend the last week putting the pieces of my life back together. thank you for numerous trips to the UPS store, countless phone calls made in my honor, and lovingly talking me through every step of this pain in the ass. i would be very lost and confused without you and all of your help.
make sure to check out his blog and newest blog post here!

another reason behind the photograph quote at the top of this post is because i have so many to share with you! a few days before my things were taken, i had luckily sent myself a handful of the pictures for blog-updating purposes. although there are a good amount that still remain on my lost phone, i wanted to use the ones i DO have to give you a flashback of the last month.

the date: june 23rd
the mission: freezing and transporting two in-n-out burgers from hollywood to boston to enjoy with my best friend the next day.

the date: june 24th
mission: accomplished.

travel over to the best friend's blog for more pictures from that weekend!

then came july 4th and a day of beach games in santa monica with my friends.
and by beach games,
i mean...

this was my first july 4th in california, and the celebrations continued throughout the weekend. i even attended a pool party in the hollywood hills complete with a mini hugh hefner-style pool/hot tub combo.
but if you know me, 
you'll know what my favorite part of the day was.
 (see next picture)

as june gloom ended and the summer heat finally began--it was once again that time of year...

as i write this...
my dad is in north carolina,
my mom is in hawaii,
and my sister is in costa rica.
luckily we'll all be together in honolulu in a little over a week.

what would we do without skype?

the nicer weather and lack of job has also lead to more exercise.
which is a good balancing act for all the hot dogs and cheeseburgers i've eaten lately.
hellooo los angeles:


my friend loryn was able to score me a job for next week, but while i have the down time...

speaking of breakfast...
apparently we still have another two months to go--but at least it finally resembles more than a construction site.

speaking of construction...
i'm sure you've all heard about the dreaded "carmageddon" that is occurring in los angeles this weekend. basically: they are closing down the 405 highway (one of the major connecting highways in the city) for two days and there are signs everywhere telling us to "expect major delays." this picture is the 405 a few hours before things were shut down. luckily i was only on here for ten minutes--and the truth is that this traffic is pretty normal. the good news is that people are so terrified of the road, that most of them will be surprisingly clear this weekend!

from my friend emily's facebook status:
 "roads are totally empty! it's wonderful. LA should shut down the 405 more often."

take THAT carmageddon.

people will stop honking at me:

the main reason i was thrilled to receive my california plates is because of the attention drawn to myself with an out-of-state license plate. i may almost be a year-long residence of los angeles--but people swerve around me like i'm the plague. leave it to my dad to point out the irony in my new plate number:

"R NU"

are new.
as in: you are new.


in other news...

i bought globe lights!

for other food and olive related news:
travel here next!



bad things do happen; how i respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. i can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or i can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift i have 
-- life itself.
~walter anderson

no matter how many times you hear the phrase "it could happen to anyone" you never believe "it" could actually happen to you. 
two nights ago at a bar in west hollywood--my purse was stolen.
don't get me wrong, i'll own up to this part all day long: it was my own fault. it doesn't matter that i left it with a group of my friends. it doesn't matter that we had our own reserved area. it doesn't matter that this was an upscale place with bouncers everywhere. my purse was my responsibility, and trusting that it was in a safe area reminds me of the naive ways that my mind still processes things. i know to look before you cross the street, never walk home in the dark, never eat questionable seafood, and lock my front door at night--but this weekend taught me a very important lesson.

this is a picture my best friend took about two years ago. we had thrown on t-shirts and decided to treat ourselves to some outback to make our thursday night a little more interesting (that's right sar--i remember what day of the week it was). while waiting for whatever we had ordered after our bloomin' onion, sara decided she would clean out her purse. i had made one too many jokes about whether or not her cat was in there. seeing as i was also the kind of person to carry around everything but the kitchen sink, i decided i wanted to play along too. 

spare car key.
cell phone.
hand sanitizer.
extra beer pong ball.
regular keys.

i'm actually surprised that's all i had in there. 
incase you're wondering--sara still beat me.
yes, that is a full-sized deodorant, lotion, and perfume.

i'm the type of person that likes to be prepared for any situation. you never know when you're going to play beer pong right? well, that aspect of my personality hasn't budged these last two years. the contents of my purse that were stolen were as follows:

makeup ($50 worth of NEW makeup)
spare car key.
cell phone.
hand sanitizer.
travel size deodorant.
flip camera.
peanut butter crackers (i have blood sugar issues).
lavender and peppermint essential oils.
a stone from my mom.
three different kinds of chapstick.
two packs of gum.
a watermelon blowpop.
extra contacts.
regular keys.

i can't tell you how many times i would go through my purse prior to going out and sort through anything i might not need for the night. none of these things from the list above ever crossed over to the "not needed" side. of course i've gone through a range of emotions since this has happened, but i can't help but feel an immense amount of anger. what truly gets me is the fact that this a**hole was only after things of value. 
cash is valuable, and i didn't have a single dollar in there. 
phones are valuable, but my screen is broken and it's not even a smartphone.
for all i know--this person took the flipcam (i hope he enjoys the 27 videos of olive on there) and threw everything else away. i thought that feeling violated would be the worst part. instead i'm overwhelmed with the fact that the things that had value to ME were probably just tossed into a dumpster. aside from the fact that it was a brand new purse and a brand new wallet--there were other non-material things that can never be replaced; sentimental pieces of my life that are now forever lost. 
from this point on these things will forever remain in my heart:

notes from my dad saying things like "good luck on your first day."
a beer cap from a kona longboard six pack that i shared with my best friend the year she made it to hawaii with us.
a guitar pick i've had since i graduated high school.
an old, extremely worn winning lottery ticket that i carried around with me for good luck (that's ironic...)
my peace college ID (which had a very tired-looking picture of me that was taken the morning after my little adventure to california so many years ago)
a video on my phone of my sister.
pictures of olive's ride home the day i got her.

there's one more thing.
the second it hit me saturday night that everything was gone, this is what immediately popped into my mind: on my phone were pictures i took of wilbur's last few days. of course at the time i had no idea that his passing would be so soon--but i knew that he had really begun to slow down. it was a few nights before my trip here to look for an apartment that i took these pictures. his movement has slowed down significantly ever since the trip to the vet, and i had just draped my covers around him to keep him warm. 
i remember laughing at his willingness to let me tuck him in like a human, but also thinking at the same time how small he looked. 
when i take a handful of pictures at a time, i tend to go back and only keep the best ones. i could never bring myself to erase these photos. not a single one. i kept them on my phone for no one else but myself. 
i know these memories are mine and no one can take that away from me, but to think that someone else is walking around with them makes me feel anger on a level i've never even experienced. 
i know if wilbur had any say in this, it would simply be:

i've gotten a lot of loving comments and reminders from friends and family that the most important thing is that i'm safe. i know that this situation could have been a thousand times worse. i don't even want to think of all the other possible scenarios that could have happened. i'm still in a place where i'm having trouble looking on the bright side, but there is one extremely important silver lining:
for about a month, my dad has been telling me to go get my california license. although procrastination usually isn't usually a positive trait, the fact that i've put it off for so long only means one thing: the ID in my purse was for north carolina. this means that even though someone else is walking around with my car keys AND my apartment keys--they have absolutely no idea where i live. i know that this is an incredible blessing, and it's the one thing that's helped me to cope with everything that's happened. i'm going through a ridiculous amount of obstacles to put all of my life's pieces back together--can you imagine driving around a big city with no license and not even a single quarter for parking--but the most important thing is that i'm okay. 

i may not feel like it, but i am still in one piece. i'm blessed to have a dad who is jumping through every hoop imaginable to put my life financially back in order. 
i'm blessed to have friends who not only helped me break into my own apartment, but came back the next day to take me wherever i needed to go. i'm blessed to have a sister and a mom who immediately offered their love and support and reminded me that i could buy a new purse and wallet on our trip to hawaii in two weeks. i'm blessed to have a best friend who would not take no for an answer, and gave me her credit card number to order thai food for dinner last night when i didn't have a penny to my name. 
it's hard to not feel alone being 3,000 miles away from home in a situation like this. thank goodness for skype and the ability to see the faces of my family reminding me that everything is going to be okay. there's nothing like feeling a sense of normalcy in a time like this--and it doesn't get more normal then getting to watch your best friend clean her room.

the morning after my purse was stolen--i woke up and rolled over to face my bathroom. ten seconds later, olive hopped on the shelf and knocked over a glass. i immediately ran in there to pick her up, and as i stumbled backwards out of the bathroom--i ran into my fan, which fell over and broke. after JUST being laid off at my job, and then the events from the night before--you would think that the instant my fan crashed down to the floor--i would have curled up into a ball and hid under my bed. 
the truth is that i almost couldn't help but laugh. i know that "when it rains, it pours" and "bad things come in threes", and somehow i was able to find humor in that. i'm sure there is a lesson in all of this, but i haven't figured out what that is yet, and i sure as hell haven't lost any of my anger.
but what i DO that at the end of the day,
 i'm lucky. 
when i was let go from my job two weeks ago, my dad reminded me that there are a thousand other people who would love to be in my situation. that is what keeps me breathing through all of this. for any of you going through something terrible, think of how many people would love to be in your shoes. believe me--the last thing i want to do right now is compare myself and my situation to others, but when i realize how blessed i am and how lucky i am to have such a wonderful support group around me--nothing else really seems to matter.

i don't like to wish harm on anyone.
 but i will leave you with this:

"karma is like the fruit of a mango tree. the mango will yield the tree and the tree will yield the mango and the cycle continues. 
~niruben amen 
the science of karma

i'm not exactly sure in this situation who is the mango, and who is the tree--but i do hope that the thief ate my peanut butter crackers, 
and then realized soon after that he was allergic to nuts.


i went to a coffee shop.

this seemed like a good idea to begin with. i would get out of my stuffy apartment. i would wear clothes other than pajamas. i would sit in air conditioning. i would drink an iced chai latte.
but most importantly...
i would write.

with so much time having passed since my last blog entry, you can only imagine how many pictures (mostly of food) i have to share with you. since all of those pictures happen to be on my phone--that means i have to send them each individually as picture messages to myself. as it turns out, the coffee shop i chose (after driving around for an hour looking for one--don't ask, it's a long story) doesn't have good enough service to let me send my pictures. 
(see above picture for my reaction to this)

so, as frustrated as i happen to be at this very moment--there's an update that i finally need to go ahead and get off of my chest. for those of you who are wondering why i'm even able to go to a coffee shop in the middle of the day.

okay, so i wasn't exactly fired--but i did get laid off from my job last week. as we all know, my position at the sofa company was extremely important thanks to my endless supply of knowledge about the furniture industry. that was hard to type without laughing. let's be honest--the only thing i know about sofas is that they're good for letting your friends crash on after they've had too much to drink. the armrests also make a good place to put your ketchup when you're eating fries. 

although i was expecting to have more day-to-day tasks, my boss hiring me and then moving to another location made it difficult for him to utilize me as much as he would have liked. he said that due to his lack of organization, he simply didn't have enough responsibilities to give me each day. as much of a bummer as it is to lose your job--i certainly was glad that it wasn't for some ridiculous reason, like spilling my lunch on one of their love seats. all though that would have made for a much more interesting blog post.

as severely abrupt as this change was--no really: as soon as my boss stood up after our conversation i was free to go and never come back--i immediately was overcome with a feeling of acception.
my computer is telling me that acception is not a word, so incase you're also wondering what the hell i'm talking about--here is what i mean: instead of feeling anger, or even resentment for the fact that i could be brushed off so easily, i reminded myself that this was just opening up other opportunities for me.

the truth is that i've been feeling the itch to do something else recently. what that is--i have no idea. but i do know that i was feeling a little stuck in place, and this job ending was my free pass to walk right out of the door. which is exactly what i did. i walked right out of the front door, down the steps, into the parking lot, looked down, and saw this:

most people see a penny and only pick it up if it's on heads because THAT is what makes it good luck. to me, a penny on the ground is not only already good luck--it's a sign. it's a sign that somebody somewhere is watching out for me and knows i need something to lift my spirits. although i walked outside that tuesday afternoon feeling like i had just gotten the futon pulled out from under me--seeing that penny reminded me that everything was going to be okay. the funny part is that i had just gone out for lunch a few hours earlier and there were no pennies to be found in the parking lot. it was as if the second my boss walked in to give me the news, someone (i have this funny feeling it was my grandfather) tossed the penny from heaven so that i would see it at my feet when i walked out of the door.

it fell out of my boss's pocket on his way in.
but i'd like to think it was the first one.

so now, not only is my world opened up to endless possibilities--i have a wonderful two week vacation coming up with my family where i do NOT have to spend part of it answering questions via email about fabric and seat cushion foam. 

 although, after going from a set schedule every single day and then suddenly waking up with nothing to 
i can't help but feel like i fell asleep and woke up in january.

the day after losing my job, my dad reminded me of a painting my best friend made for me when i moved out here. i may be back to sitting in my apartment job searching and making frittas every day--but at least i have this reminder to keep me going: