Tag Archives: NorCal vs. SoCal

An Open Letter to Southern California

26 Mar



Dear Southern California,

You’re disappointing me. Just thought I would get straight to the point.

When I was 12-years-old, my parents announced we were moving from frigid Massachusetts to California. I had expectations. I thought the state was one big beach and palm trees would be everywhere. I expected to be ridiculously tan year-round, and have blond, sun-streaked hair that had that messy surfer look because, well, I was going to be a surfer.

I can distinctly recall driving up Howell Mountain, our car laden with things too important to put in the moving truck. As we climbed higher and higher, my eyes took in pine trees. Hundreds of them. No palm trees in sight. It was burning hot, but I was told the beach was an hour away, and likely overcast and cold. I was sad.

I soon learned about the distinction between Northern California and Southern California, and it’s no secret I soon adored the Napa Valley. I even found a few palm trees, but they were mostly limited to the yards of million dollar homes. I was content.

When my husband found out he got a job at a world famous animation studio in Southern California, in spite of myself, I began to set up many of my former expectations. I had been told for so long that SoCal was warm and sunny year-round. That I would be able to go to the beach at almost any time, pending I didn’t mind sitting in traffic. I was even advised against packing my winter coats when I was boxing my belongings. I was told I likely wouldn’t need them, at least not so many (I have four, and a raincoat). My collection of scarves? Sure, I could take them, but they would probably sit in my closet, gathering dust.

And what did I find? True, initially we did encounter record highs in Los Angeles, which led me to believe everything I had been told was accurate. Sadly, we didn’t have enough good sense to go to the beach during this time, telling ourselves there would plenty of chances later on. I thought excitedly of being able to call our parents during the winter; respectively miserable in Portland and Napa during the cold, rainy season; and bragging that we were walking at the pier in Santa Monica in tank tops and shorts. I was wrong.

After that initial spike in heat, it got cold, and it got cold fast. And it rained! Oh did it rain. It poured for days, and shattered rain records. There was one flood warning after another. In fact, there was one morning I was on my work to work that I questioned whether I would be able to make it. Traffic was awful, there was minor flooding everywhere, and the sky was still dumping rain. When I finally arrived, my husband began texting me about the evacuations that were being made in nearby La Cañada Flintridge, and I misunderstood his texts to mean our area was being evacuated. I freaked out and almost left work. When I realized our home wasn’t in danger, I was calm, but still disgusted at the weather.

Oh, and then there was snow in Los Angeles. I was in Burbank and it began to flurry. I couldn’t believe my eyes were seeing snow in Southern California. When I came home at the end of the night, there was an inch of snow in some parts of our front lawn, and most were completely frozen. Some of the snow even managed to stay around until mid-morning the next day. Excuse me, but what is that?!

I complained to my fellow Angelenos, who joked that I brought the bad weather with me from NorCal. I’ve started to believe them. However, they assured me that things would start looking up, and soon. I began to get hopeful yet again. But… “Heavy rain, high winds, cold air to hit Southern California this weekend.”

Please stop.


Larissa Church


The Legend of the Pasadena Parrots

2 Oct

He's a wild one!


I expected many things to be different when I moved from northern to southern California. I expected to have to adjust to the smog, and somehow endure the hideously pointless traffic. I’ve appreciated the vast abundance of palm trees, and I’m sure I’ll love the warmer weather in the winter.

One thing I did not expect was the parrots.

The building I work in has very loud and clanky fans that make me jump every time they turn on. But the noise of the fans doesn’t even begin to compare to a mysterious loud squawking that, when I heard it for the first time, almost rendered me deaf.

When I asked my co-worker what on earth the noise was, she introduced me to the legend of the Pasadena parrots.

Apparently, Pasadena is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of parrots. There are varying accounts about how their freedom from captivity occurred, but according to Wikipedia (our society’s most reliant source of information), the parrots “were part of the stock from the large pet emporium at Simpson’s Garden Town on East Colorado Blvd. The nursery burned down in 1969, and the parrots were thereby released to forage in the lush Pasadena area.”

Evidently the parrots love cedar trees’ berry kernels, and these trees “grow in great abundance around Pasadena.” Now, I’m not an arborist, but I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and assume the foliage surrounding my office is mainly cedar trees, providing a home for these noisy guys.

Thankfully, the parrots didn’t make much use of their vocal cords this past week, but when they did, the effect was jarring. I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to it. However, according to Wikipedia, the parrots are “especially noticeable in the winter,” so I can look forward to losing my hearing in the near future.