Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Much Belated One-Year Anniversary Blog Post

I missed posting my one-year anniversary here, and all I can really say is, well, life is a lot different now!
I still miss a lot of what my life was like when I lived in Los Angeles, but I miss going down to the Strand for a run or a ride the most.  I never thought that would be the 'thing'!

I used to use the Strand for training runs, and I'd meet the cycling team at Ballona Creek for rides.  I would run late at night when there was no one at the beach or ride early in the morning when the only people out were the surfers, stand-up paddle boarders, and the UCLA crew team.  I'll have to look it up, but I used to have the distances from my apartment to Manhattan Beach Pier, Hermosa Beach Pier, and Redondo Beach Pier memorized.  It was so nice to be in the middle of such a metropolis and yet have miles of sand and waves be relatively my own for a while.  It was so much fun and I have nothing but fond memories of those experiences.

I still experience culture-shock relatively frequently here, and there are days when the weight of being the one fish swimming upstream exhausts me.  Not quite to the point of tears, but definitely to the point where I revisit my decision to move here.  Just the other day a coworker exclaimed as we pulled into a Chinatownish shopping center for lunch, "Do you think they'll let us in here? I just don't feel like I belong!"  Really, lady?  Try not belonging your entire life!  She is blonde, so I suppose I should give her a pass.

I met the love of my life here, actually not long after I moved and adopted the dog.  We started dating in early May and he is truly the man of my dreams.  We are such a good match that it feels like we've been together forever, and it is unbearable to imagine a day or life without him.  A man who was so kind as to celebrate my one year here by treating me with a trip to In-N-Out (which he loathes) and a long drive out to Fort Worth to shop at the first Trader Joe's in this area (we'll get our own in Plano on September 7th).  I'm much happier now than I was a year ago, and I attribute much of that to him.  Of course, I had to fall in love with a native Texan who has never lived out-of-state, and potentially turn my Dallas Detour into a Dallas Destination, but life is really amusing like that.  Really, *really* amusing.

I still think traffic fucking sucks here; inanity knows no bounds on the roads.  Everything is so spread out that it feels like it takes forever to get anywhere also.  Small-minded people are in abundance, and are so loud they drone out the more open-minded souls like zombies in a horror film.  The dentists here are particularly drill-happy, and I've yet to find one I really like.  I swear I've spent more on dentist work here in one year than I did in 5 years of living in L.A.  I don't ever think I will fit in here like I did in L.A.  I did buy cowboy boots and a hat (even though I can't bear to see myself in them), but putting on the traditional garb doesn't change the person wearing it.  And native Texans will be the first to say that you're not really a Texan if you're not born here, not that I ever see myself wanting to call myself a Texan.

Is Dallas all "that bad"?  Probably not, as even Hamlet said, "for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so".  There are many good restaurants here, and fancy restaurants.  Even good, fancy restaurants.  I still think the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is a bargain.  I would have gone more than a little nutty had the tango community here not been so welcoming.  It's possible to live quite well with the income I make, which was not really possible in Los Angeles.  There are cycling clubs here, and running clubs, and even some trails (although none nearly as nice as the Strand).  Obviously if I had never moved here I would have never adopted my dog (who has been a most loving and constant companion), and I quite probably would never have met my husband-to-be (since he was obviously never going to move to L.A. on his own).

For love, I think I can suffer Dallas.  :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life Update

So I had this big plan to visit my boyfriend in Los Angeles for my birthday this week, and he was planning on throwing a big party in my honor for all my friends who live there and could make it.

Well, unfortunately that isn't going to happen.  My boyfriend and I broke up last week.  I guess in some regards it was inevitable, and the long-distance thing was getting kind of old since the relationship was truly stuck in the water with nowhere to go.  In some ways I'm sorely disappointed that it didn't work out, because when I moved here he seemed so sure we could make it work and I really felt like I put everything I could into making it a good relationship.  But in others I'm a bit relieved, since I now know things about my ex that I didn't know, and those things make me think I can find someone who would be a better fit for me.

Even so, it kind of sucks that I have to be here for my birthday.  But I'm going to try my darnedest to make lemonade out of these lemons!  I'm still going to take the day off and I'm going to go get a massage and facial.  I also found a show that I want to go see, so I think it will turn into a nice birthday after all.  Plus there's lots of dancing this coming weekend and I always have a good time with that.  One of the dances is at Bodega Wine Bar, so I'm going to invite some people I've met here for that, since you don't have to know how to dance to watch and Bodega is just an awesome place to hang out.  

Firefly 5K Race Report

So I decided to get back into running as a kind of "New Year's Resolution" to myself.  I didn't really start on the first of the year but regardless I think it's still appropriate.  I've been going to the gym a lot (as well as dancing a lot) - I'm down to two pounds away from where I was in high school so I'm really happy about that!

I picked this 5K in Plano because it was at night and I thought it would be a little different and fun.  They gave us all LED wristbands to wear and it must have been a cool sight to see all these runners with lights and glow-bands on.  On top of that I thought I did really well!  I was able to run the whole 5K without stopping, which is a first for me (for the first race of the year anyway).  So I was very happy with myself because of that, even though I didn't make a personal record.  I guess there is always room for improvement!

The course was all concrete and I wasn't expecting that; asphalt is much kinder to the joints.  The field was pretty huge (I read 4000 entrants would be allowed on Active.com but the announcer at the race said that 7000 had signed up) and as a result the course was very crowded.  Also many participants didn't have good race etiquette but they run here like they drive so I shouldn't be too surprised.  I know I vent a lot about the drivers and the people here but it gets so frustrating.  How hard is it to consider the people around you?  There was also some disorganization at the start and finish lines that I didn't appreciate.

I don't think I'll do this race again, but it was a fun start to my recreational racing this year!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You Know You're Hooked on Argentine Tango When . . . .

. . .you start categorizing your music into the category it would fit best for dancing: tango, vals, or milonga.

Silly tango joke.  Anyway. . . .

The one thing that's truly keeping me somewhat sane here is the tango community.  Tango in Dallas is vibrant and awesome!  I've been going to a couple milongas (tango dance event) a month, most notably the one at Bodega Wine Bar on the first Thursday of the month.  It certainly cuts the isolation and loneliness I feel living here.  I'm lucky in that I rarely have to sit out a tanda (set of 3 or 4 songs separated by a cortina, which presents an opportunity to change partners), and last Thursday I managed to reach that pinnacle of tango dance for the first time, call it "tango nirvana" or whatever.  Two dancers move as one body with four legs in perfect harmony to the music, the dance floor, and each other.  It lasted a whole tanda and I was so sad when it was over.  I thought that sort of thing only happened with a couple who had been dancing together for a very long time, but it was so magical and special that if I only get to experience it once in my entire life, I would still consider myself incredibly lucky.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why I Don't Bike In Dallas

This article sums up the attitude of most drivers in Dallas quite nicely:
Dallas bike accident highlights need for bike lanes

I live less than 2 miles from my work and I refuse to bike to work because of the driving attitude that is pervasive here.  There's no sense of "let's get everyone where they are going today" attitude, it's a "you and everyone else is in my way - let my big SUV through!".

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I know I haven't really been updating this as often as I thought I would be or would perhaps like to do.
Part of it is that I've honestly been busy, and part of it is that this "adventure" has really turned out for the worst and I honestly feel like it's been a huge mistake to move here.  My job is slowly getting better, but every other aspect of my life has suffered for it.  I guess my bank accounts are looking better also, and I don't worry about money as much as I used to (I still do, but in a different way).
My grandmother passed away in November and my parents will be out of the country (and out of contact for the most part) until February.  I feel bad missing out on her funeral, and I also feel bad that the last time I saw her was in 2008.  I used to talk to my parents quite often, but after an argument in October we don't talk much.  I saw them for a few hours before Thanksgiving and since they've been in Taiwan we've talked once.  I've tried to Skype them more often than that but they never pick up the phone.  Not sure why all this bugs me so much.
I spent the holidays out of state, which was a really nice holiday.  At least I thought it was.  The night before I came back to Dallas my boyfriend and I had a huge argument which left me thinking our relationship was not as good as I thought it was.
Classes started last week; I'm taking Web Technologies and after this class I will have two more before I graduate.  I'm pretty excited about this class as it seems 'lighter' and less intense than my last few classes.  The professor seems cool and I hope this class will be a lot of fun.  At least I have a good excuse now to learn Perl.
I ran into a neighbor walking her dog while I was out walking my dog; we exchanged numbers and hung out at the dog park yesterday.  So I feel good that I'm slowly making some friends.  I also hung out with a colleague on Friday and one of the people in my tango class friended me on Facebook.  So at least my social life is looking promising!
A lot of people ask me what I don't like about Dallas.  I can't really sum it up in a few words.  The culture here just doesn't fit my style or personality.  That is what I usually end up saying.  But it goes a lot further than that.  The under-the-radar racism and sexism here really disturbs me (A DFW TSA "customer service" representative said, when I complained about a female TSA agent with 'dark hair', "Oh, so it was a black woman".  BTW his name is Chuck and you can reach him at 469-948-1828). Dallas' rampant consumerism and materialism irks me (although is really nice if you want to go shopping).  I still get nervous driving on the roads here.  Driving here is just an exercise in exhaustion for me.  It's not that I don't know where I'm going most days, it's the fact that everything is so spread out.  I have to drive at least 10-15 minutes to get most places I want to go.  It's just a fact.  I don't think moving will help either. (Well, moving out of state may help, but that's not really the point) I find the Texan accent grating and lazy in most cases, and my name gets mispronounced/misspelled as "Diana" more frequently than not.  I could go on.
I've found very few things to be happy with Dallas.  I've found great tango instructors, a good masseuse, and I think Central Market is fabulous.  I like that I can have a dog here with minimal fuss.  Cost of living is cheaper here, so I can save more easily.  But none of this is stuff I really wax poetic on, except for perhaps my tango instructors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And I Thought California's DMV Was Slow. . . . .

Well, I got my driver's license yesterday.  Still pretty grumpy about that.

I tried to get it over lunch but the guy said there was a 3 hour wait, so I picked up the forms I needed and came back after work (he said that their slowest time is right before they close at 5).  I showed up at 4:20 PM and still had to wait over an hour.  I was pretty upset by that.  At that point they should have paid me or waived their stupid licensing fee.

At least the lady at the counter was nice.  When she saw my old license she mentioned she was going to California for the holidays and remarked how much she was looking forward to it.

They confiscate your old driver's license and give you a piece of paper that says they have it now.  Kind of depressing.  I don't know why they don't just hole-punch and return it like other states do.

So.  I guess in two weeks I'll receive it in the mail, although with my luck it will get lost or whatever.  I've been having kind of spotty service with the USPS here, although the mail carrier seems nice whenever I see him.