California Dreamin’

Okay, so everyone knows that I have been in California now for two years. So, what’s it like? What do you like about it? What do you not like?

So in no particular order, here’s my list:

Things I like about California:

  1. The weather. These days, I wear shorts most all of the time except for lodge and church. Same thing for socks. Come winter, I might have to go back to wearing long pants and socks. I still have an ice tool in the back of the Jeep that I haven’t used since we left MA. There are some winter gloves back there too. Ditto.
  2. I can buy beer, wine and liquor at the grocery store. None of the state run liquor stores here.
  3. I belong to the Masons and Eastern Star. Lodges and Chapters here are much more casual than the east coast variety. I seldom have to wear a tux. See number 1. I am truly thankful for our Masonic brothers and OES Sisters and brothers. We walked in the door two years ago and were welcomed as new found friends. It made the transition a lot easier.
  4. No Stairs – This is not so much do to California, but related to our living quarters. We live in a condo with no stairs. After knee replacement surgery and hip surgery it is nice to not have to deal with stairs.

Things that I don’t like about California:

  1. Speed Bumps. Every darn parking lot has speed bumps. Pain in the shocks.
  2. Traffic. You haven’t seen traffic until you’ve seen six lanes of bumper to bumper on the 405. Luckily for me, I don’t have to commute or deal with it very often.
  3. Price of Gas in LA. As of today, price of regular unleaded runs from $3.59 at Costco to $4.00 at local Shell station. Peak over the summer hit has high as $4.40.
  4. LAX. What a madhouse. Doesn’t matter what air line you pick, it’s a zoo. Worse around rush hour. Luckily I don’t need to fly very often. “The white zone is for loading and unloading passengers only”,  just spend and extra 30 second there and CHP will be on your ass to move.
  5. No Dunkin Donuts. (except for Barstow and San Diego). I’ve actually gotten used to Starbucks. Actually, the Starbuck’s at our local grocery store is pretty good. They know our names and know what I usually order. But alas, no chocolate glazed donuts. Bummer. (Like I need chocolate glazed donuts.) Starbuck’s is the only coffee place around here that knows how to make iced coffee properly. I hear that Dunkies is moving out west. Neil says they’re in SLC, but not yet in LA.
  6. No home made ice cream joints. Do a search for “home made ice cream” on YELP in Eastern MA and you get about 25 hits. Do the search in Los Angeles and you get hits but most are franchise joints. Not the same.
  7. Local News – One of the local news station (KNBC) spent 10-12 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast talking about a dog who was loose running along the 710 freeway. The KNBC news chopper was following the pooch running along the freeway along with the people stopping their cars in attempt to capture the pooch before it came to serious harm. This seems to be normal. They will follow a police chase when appropriate. Eventually someone caught the dog. Back to the usual stuff. Weather, sports, etc. This seems to be the normal way of doing local news. Blah blah blah.

Things that I neither like nor dislike. (ie. just different)

  1. Some grocery brands that you buy in New England, can’t be found here. eg. Pepperidge Farm Breads. I have yet to find an equivalent marble rye bread.
  2. Some brands have made it out here, like Cape Cod Potato Chips and Sam Adams Beer. For that we can be truly thankful.
  3. DMV – Dept of Motor Vehicles is pretty much the same everywhere. Try to do anything online. I loathe to actually go into the DMV. Same as in MA. Vehicle inspection is different. One has to do a “Smog Check” every two years. The smog check garages are hooked into the DMV computers. So if it passes, no problem. I still have the MA inspection sticker from 2011. The first time we had to register the Jeep and CA driver’s licenses it took all afternoon. Major PITA. No different than MA.

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