House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Year Ago

We packed up our car and left our Los Angeles apartment a year ago to this day.

(Okay, I'm feeling weird about this year mark. So, to cope, I thought I'd post a few photos of LA.)

July, 2006, Wilshire Blvd., facing east. This was the view
from where I worked. We lived about a little over 3 miles
east and less than a mile north from here.
Messy living room, June or July 2006. I always think
of Bill and Laura McNally when I see this picture.We
bought the couch and chair from them when they were
moving back to Massachusetts a few years earlier.

More mess, what can I say? I just like how the sunlight
is coming in through the window.

Another view from the same window at work but facing
more northeast in this one.
My brother, Stephen, and me at the top of Griffith Park in
June, 2006. Downtown is right behind us.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Plymouth makes me think of LA

The view from the living room window in our LA
apartment. I took this in either June or July of last
year. We were close to moving, and I wanted to capture
what I could because it was soon to be in my past.

Jeremy and I went to the Plymouth Independent Film Festival this weekend where I Just Want to Eat My Sandwich was premiering. This was my third film in this festival but first time attending. Jimmy's House of Hugs screened there in 2005, but by the time I found out that Jimmy's was in the festival, I had already booked my summer trip home and was to be leaving over a week before the festival would begin. Last year, Eddie's Winning Date was in the line up and I made plans to attend. I hadn't thought I would, being that it was too close to our moving date, but it turned out that a trip back actually would solve a problem of ours.

The problem was with our cat, Keith. We needed to fly Keith back to my parents before we drove across the country. Having Keith ride in the car with us was not an option. Driving 3700 miles listening to a cat wail and moan I don't think would be anyone's idea of a super-duper fun cross country trip. Plus, we couldn't leave him in the car if we wanted to stop and sight-see.

Keith is a very sensitive cat and we didn't want to just put him on a plane by himself and have strange people (well, to him) pick him up and bring him to a new place. So I thought that I would fly with him and help him get acclimated to my parents' house. Then I would fly back to LA, pack up with Jeremy and we'd see Keith again a few weeks later. I thought that bringing him home the same weekend of the Plymouth film festival would work wonderfully. Not only could I deal with the Keith issue, but I could attend the festival that so graciously accepted my films two years in a row.

Well, I'll keep this saga short because the long version involves the story of a flood at my parents house the week prior to my trip, and really, we don't need to go into that one. The gist of it is, we flew in Thursday night, and Friday morning Keith got out of the kitty house my father had made for him (to separate him from my parents' cats) and seemed to have run out of the house (a door was left open).

My parents and I looked everywhere in and around the house. We scoured the neighborhood, and even rode around half of Arlington in case Keith was on his way back to California. I can't tell you how many times I searched every nook and cranny of my parents house and came up with no cat. I was a wreck. I just couldn't get myself to drive down to Plymouth. It was probably for the better anyway, as we were having thunderstorms all day.

Well, Keith just showed up the next day. We guess he probably never left the house. But my screening had already passed. I didn't care at that point. I wanted Keith back more than I wanted to see my film play.

As the festival arrived this year, what really hit me was to realize that our dang cat has now been a Massachusetts resident for a year now. For Jeremy and me, it won't be a year until August 11th, but it scares me how soon that date is, to realize how close it is to a year for us. And it's even closer to being out of California for a year.

I'm a bit of a weirdo. I spend a bit of time thinking about what I was doing last year at this time. I guess there's always a small part of me that is living in a year ago from today. Most of me is here, in the present, but then there's little obsessed me who doesn't easily accept the passing of time.

Well, maybe that's not so weird, but how about this... I see the year as a track. I mean I actually visualize the year in the shape of a track, kind of like a running track, but not exactly. January is on the top slightly right of center. The following months go counter clockwise until December meets up with January. So whatever day it is, I get a visual sense of where I am in the year. And I see the rest of the year behind me, circularly. As I greet a new day it's like it's wiping out the very same date from last year. When one of those dates is something significant, then it's almost like a little mourning process for me.

With it still being the first year that I'm back here, I still have a connection to my California time, as a year ago to this date I was still living in California. (OK, actually I was physically in Massachusetts a year ago from this date, but I was still living in LA.)

But that time is running thin. Jeremy and I left our LA apartment on July 31st and left the state of California on August 2nd. My grasp on California is loosening and soon, this first year of our living in Arlington will be in the past.

I'm happy to be back here. I really am. But living in California was a special time of my life. It wasn't necessarily easier. But it allowed me to discover things about myself that I might not have found here. Going to film school is an obvious thing. But I felt like I had more freedom to play around there. For instance, two years ago I worked at a restaurant chain called Islands. It's like an Hawaiian themed Chili's. I was frustrated with this vision problem I had (and still have -- after seeing several ophthalmologists, neurologists and neuro-ophthalmolosts it's still undiagnosed) and didn't want to work staring at a computer all day. I also wanted to spend more time on writing and filmmaking and wanted to work a job that would allow me a flexible schedule. I thought that waiting tables would fit my needs but I had never worked in a restaurant. So I had to find a restaurant that would take me without experience. Islands took me, but I had to start as a host and then graduate to kitchen expediter and take out before being trained as a server. So for six months, at the ages of 36-37, I worked with 16-20 year olds, making minimum wage (plus some tips), wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, seating people, bussing tables, doing bathroom checks and putting together take out orders. I felt a little like Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty.

It was really so liberating for me. And let me tell you, between this job and the gym, I could eat just about anything because I was always moving around. I miss that. I miss my thinness from that time period.

I left the job because it got to the point that I couldn't go on making that little money anymore. They were about to train me to serve, but it would still have taken some time to get the money making shifts. I had to take a QA job. It was a good thing I did because the money I made from that QA job (along with what Jeremy saved as well), paid for the cross country move.

But I miss doing that job. You may ask why don't I just do something like that here? I'll tell you why. Because if I went to work at a Chili's or some place similar that would take me with my limited experience, I would see people I know, and they'd be wondering what the heck was wrong with me to be working there at my age. Of course it shouldn't matter what people think. But even worse, the idea of seeing an ex-boyfriend come in while I'm working with kids half my age... I don't need to explain it any further. You get it.

In California, I didn't have to worry about that. I also learned to swim there, and last year, for the first time in twenty years, I took ice skating lessons. I had classes once a week for six months, right up until a year and nine days ago (still on my track radar :).

I know, I can still do those things there. But, believe me, skating was easier there -- here you have to join a snooty club if you want to skate year round. I haven't put my ice skates on since my last class last July.

I'm not sure if I actually said what prompted me to want to move back to Massachusetts, even in my very first post. Well, Jeremy had always wanted to move back here. I did, too, but I never really felt quite ready. It was after a trip I made home in October, 2005, to see my 2-3 week old nephew, Brian, I realized I wanted to be his auntie, and not just his long distant aunt. Now that he's just about 22 months and starting to talk more, calling me "Jewie", I am reminded, that despite my yearnings for California, for my past, that I traded it all in for something better. You can't get a greater gain if you don't go through some losses.

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