Tonight, as Baby A was having his bottle before bed, we watched “Wheel of Fortune.” It isn’t something that we normally do or normally watch, but the television was on and I didn’t bother to change the channel. The truth is: I didn’t want to.
This game show reminds me of my grandma. I remember watching it with her every morning while she served me running scrambled eggs. (Proably the single reason I like my eggs cooked over well done.) I remember watching it with her as I laid on the couch sick under piles of blankets to help break my fever. And I remember it playing in the background when I had to call 911 when her nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. (She was a diabetic.)
I haven’t thought about her in a long time. She passed when I was in the first grade. But tonight, as I watched Pat Sajak and Vanna White, Baby A crawled into my lap, made himself comfortable and then watched the wheel. He clapped when the contestants did and laughed when they cheered. And while I enjoyed this unusual event (son sitting still in my lap and watching Wheel of Fortune) I thought about my grandma and how she had also enjoyed watching the wheel.
It’s our first real weekend in Los Angeles. The social calendar dictates that M is at a business function so I must stay home with Baby A. So I’m here sitting with Moo, watching “The Incredibles” and listening to my neighbor sing—loudly. It’s nice. I’m tired, I should be working, but I’m enjoying this rare moment of just doing what I want when I want.
Now, here’s a quote from the movie to think about: “When everyone is super, no one will be.” Do you think that’s true?
Years ago, Jennifer Aniston decided to take on the paparazzi by wearing a uniform of orange cargo pants and a tank top. The logic was if she was always wearing the same thing, the photos taken of her wouldn’t be worth anything. She wore those pants boldly and proudly.
I, too, have a pair of orange cargo pants. I bought them at Banana Republic and have worn them regularly since 2004. M. has made comments that when I wear them it looks like I should be working on the side of the road. (Honestly, if some checks don’t come soon I might be working for CalTrans.) But, last year when I had them in a pile to go to Goodwill, he questioned my decision to give them away. I’m glad he did.
When I wear my orange pants, I’m confident. (Granted with pants that bright you have to be.) I also feel strong and bold, two things that don’t always come easy to me. So during the crazy week of our move on a day that I needed to pack, caretake, interview and just try to keep everything straight, I slipped on my orange pants as I reminder that I could tackle anything…even paparazzi if need be.
I’m sitting in a sparcely furnished two bedroom apartment on the west side of Los Angeles. City views surround me, traffic hums on the street below me while helicopters hover above and the air is cool. I’m home.
We recently moved to Westwood after stints in the suburbs and Phoenix. This neighborhood isn’t new to me though. I spent ten years in this area—during college, during my first marriage, and during my divorce. I’m not sure what it is about these tree-lined streets that makes me so comfortable. Yes, it can be noisy, the traffic can suck, and the parking is scarce but despite all of this, I love it here. I feel like I belong; that this is where I’m supposed to be.
And it probably is. In the week that we’ve been here I’ve driven my car three times (to LAX and to the recycling center, not really walkable destinations; the third was to Target and it is just too far to walk). Baby A is getting used to riding in his stroller and the Baby Bjorn multiple times a day. [Editor Note: I don’t like to drive.] Even though summer is here, I’ve been able to wear black and not feel like the member of some Goth band. In addition, we experienced a typical week in Westwood—ran into celebrities, witnessed a host of protests and heard the helicopters covering a news story (Unfortunately, it was the death of Michael Jackson)—though it doesn’t seem normal for most areas of the country.
What’s more: My family is happier. M. is doing a job he loves. Baby A is sleeping more (it could be all the fresh air). And while Moo and Pumpkin are still getting used to the city noises, both are eating better and socializing more. So maybe it wasn’t just me who felt out of sorts and needed a different energy around her.
Last Friday, M., Baby A and I moved back to Los Angeles. And while I’m happy to be back in LaLa Land, there are some things that I appreciated about living in Phoenix.
1. Uncle J and McFriends — When we moved to Phoenix, we knew we had family there and J. was the best uncle my son could have. I’ll miss our Sunday night dinners with him and seeing him on a regular basis. As for the McFriends, they embraced and adopted Baby A. They will miss him more than M. whom they saw everyday. How can you not appreciate those who have so much enthusiasm for your child? I enjoyed visiting with each one as they cooed over him. I will miss my lunches with them, especially S.
2. Storms—We arrived at the end of monsoon season and left during the first week of it. For thunderstorm junkies like M and me, the thunder, lightening and hail that we experienced were highlights of our time there.
3. Jackrabbits and quail—Where we lived there were tons of jackrabbits and quail roaming around. There was something very relaxing about co-existing with these animals in the same place (except when the bunnies decided to take a swim in our pool). The quail families running around with their chicks were beyond cute. Imagine the opening credits for the 1970s television show “The Partridge Family”— Momma with her chicks following in a single file.
4. Paradise Bakery and Café—In California, we have Panera. It is no PBC. (Same company, different restaurants). This place makes sinful muffins, delicious cookies and a friendly staff (at least at the Biltmore, Scottsdale 101 and Desert Ridge locations that we frequented). Their prices are reasonable and you could eat there nearly everyday, M. pretty much did.
5. Lifetime Fitness—I’ve written about this gym before (see “A Ride to Nowhere”). This 10,000 square foot gym is awesome. And while I’m sure that we will find a comparable gym in Los Angeles, the one in Scottsdale will hold a special place in my heart since it is where I worked off 50 pounds of baby weight over nine months.
Really I didn’t think I needed it, I didn’t think I was addicted, and I never thought I’d be bummed that I couldn’t play a video game. Tonight I’m learning when it comes to Bejeweled Blitz, all of the above is true.
I was first introduced to this simple, mind game on my Treo. The goal is to line-up a bunch of shiny, sparkly jewels and score as many points as possible in a limited amount of time. And sort of like ice cream—one spoonful is never enough—one game of Bejeweled Blitz won’t do. This could explain why it was so helpful during the insomnia bouts I had while I was pregnant.
After joining Facebook, I was introduced to a more sophisticated version. And tonight when I need a break from all the research I’m reading, it’s down for maintenance and I’m realizing what a great break it is. It looks like I may just pick up my Treo again.
Ahhh! Whew! Huh! That’s me releasing the stress that has found its way into my body and into my psyche. Mind racing, to-do list going, eyes crossing and sighs increasing. Currently, their frequency is every 10 minutes. (Enough that Baby A is mimicking them.)
I started this common stress relief exercise when I worked on staff at a fitness magazine. A friend suggested it and I was amazed how well it worked. It still does and it’s a lot easier and less time consuming than my other sure-fire stress-buster, exercise. <Sigh>