The Third State is the Charm

It’s been over a month since I blogged, but don’t think  I haven’t been thankful for anything— actually it’s quite the opposite. Instead of giving you the gory details, here’s the Cliff Notes version (do they even publish those anymore?).

It started with a crazy idea. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that M. and I come up with these wild plans, then act on them. This one wasn’t so wild: Change our job search from Chicago to the Greater New York Area.

Then a job materialized. M. mentioned our intentions to a colleague and a job appeared. Literally two weeks after we agreed to the plan, he was offered an exciting job where the pay was right.

And then a place to live came available. My good friend ML had lined up a renter for her townhouse in the suburbs and that renter fell through just as M.’s offer came in. It was perfect for us, close to the city and the job. Plus, what parent can say no to having a playground 100 feet from their front door? Already a better life for A. was shaping up.

Baby A and I saying good-bye to the bench.

Here was the hard part. I packed and said good-bye to an area that I had lived in for most of my life in a matter of two weeks. Friends and family were the most difficult to bid adieu to even though I know I will see them again. But visiting my dad’s memorial was much harder than I expected. Overlooking the Seal Beach pier made me remember talking to my dad about events and decisions that were important during my high school and college years. After his passing, going to the bench we have in his honor allowed me to think freely about divorce, job opportunities, and new relationships. I will miss it the most.

Traveling cross country with two cats and a toddler. M and I packed everyone up in our car and drove from LA to New Jersey. My FIL drove the moving truck. (A huge amount of gratitude goes to him.) Everyone did great despite spending over 14 hours in the car for three days. We were lucky to have hosts in Denver and Illinois that allowed us to stay for two nights and one day so that kitties and Baby A could run around.

East coast, Baby! Everyone has been super friendly. ML has hooked us up with our neighbors and other friends. Baby A can’t get enough of the playground, pool or just walking around the area. So far so good.

For years I have wanted to make this move and now I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. In two years and three states, it’s nice to finally feel like we’re home.

The Third State is the Charm

Ten Blogs I Can’t Stop Reading

I read in snippets. Between running after, trying to feed and entertaining Baby A, I read blogs. Here are the 10 that I frequent the most. I have written about some of these before, but since they entertain me weekly they warrant mentioning again.

Cindy Whitehead, Sports Stylist: It isn’t because she’s a friend, or that she preaches and lives girl power, I love Cindy’s blog because she has an awesome, pretty-but-not-to0-girly-eye on fashion. She points out the art in design and photography. It’s addictive to check in daily and see what she deems important to highlight.

Confessions of a Mean Mommy: Denise Schipani has a great voice and a straight-forward style. All the things I hope to achieve as a writer. In addition, I love her parenting point-of-view. Most of the time I agree with her, but I always learn something from her.

ELLE Street Chic Daily: There is something about this daily snapshot that brings out the fashion critic in me. I personally think they should send  photographers to Westwood since I see some students that have amazing style.

LA Stylist Mom: She’s a stylist and a mother of boys. I’ve found amazing fashion sites and pieces just  by checking in. Without her, I wouldn’t have consider going into H&M for summer dresses. Just isn’t my thing usually.

Mr. Magazine: As a life-long lover and student of magazines, this blog written by Samir Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, School of Journalism, is a must read.

Sammitt: Even though I couldn’t eat most of his “what’s for dinner” recipes, this blog is a favorite because of the smart, witty writing about music, fashion and all things pop culture. Sam is one of the best things that came from M. and I living in Phoenix—a  friend with mad writing skills and excellent taste in music and fashion.

Saving Ace: This is M.’s blog and while I’m living this climb-out-of-debt chronicle, I enjoy reading about it.

Sea of Shoes: Her photographs are always beautiful. But most of all, I have closet envy. The red-head who writes this blog has incredible style. I wish I could dress this way and still take care of Baby A.

Style and Inspiration: For ideas and inspiration, I have a red notebook of things—photos, articles, essays, etc. This blog is the online equivalent. It isn’t necessarily my inspiration, but most of what she posts I agree with and would add to my red notebook.

The Daily Snark: My friend Mo says all the things I can’t say on my blog. In addition, her life is way more exciting than mine.

Ten Blogs I Can’t Stop Reading

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (A tad early)

Last night we celebrated dos de mayo—a precursor to the Mexican holiday that in this country is marked by the copious consumption of margaritas, beer and tequila. Ya-ya, M., Baby A and I were joined by Cy and cousin J to gobble up Ancho Chile Chicken Soft Tacos and Green Rice (recipes courtesy of Rachael Ray). Besides the good food and drink (yes, we had the before-mentioned libations), it was really wonderful to have a house full of people.

When we lived in Phoenix, Sunday night dinners with another J was standard. Together we would watch either baseball or football and eat. I always cooked. It was the highlight of my week and since moving to LA the tradition hasn’t continued. But it should and it may. We have plans to get together on Friday. I have a sangria recipe I want to try.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (A tad early)

O, the Winter Memories

I love the winter Olympics. When the games are on, you can bet that I am watching. It’s been this way since I was a girl in the 80s.

Way back then, I just happened to live around the corner from the grandparents of a boy who was the object of my adolescent crush.  Actually, I really liked his family too. All of the kids had names that started with A. His mother was elegant and nice. His father was very warm. As a family unit, they were perfect (at least from my perspective). Anyway…during the winter Olympics of that year (which exactly I am not sure), I would go to the grandparents house each night and watch the games with my crush and his extended family. We cheered. We ate. We debated performances (since you can do that with figure skating).

It is a memory that I cherish. And was able to relive a bit of it when I watched the opening ceremony with my family in Chicago. Now, I watch the Olympics alone. M. isn’t into them and A. is too young to get involved. But I look forward to when he is older and hope that we enjoy the games as a family, just like the Crush’s.

O, the Winter Memories

The Pits

When I was a teenager, my dad used to go down to Bolsa Chica state beach—about a mile from his home in Huntington Beach, California—at 6 AM to claim a fire pit. This was a tradition when I was in town with my friends. We would join him later (about noon) and in the afternoon, he would return to the house to get the food for that night’s bonfire. Girlfriends from high school remember the police coming to make sure that we weren’t drinking; an old boyfriend remembers watching the Queen Mary fireworks from one of those fire pits. The whole thing is a very Southern California summer picture.

So you can imagine my disappointment at the news that the city of Huntington Beach will possibly remove nearly half of the 165 fire pits on the beach. Unfortunately the state of the economy is having its way with these memory makers. And the city council will vote on the fire pits’ fate next month. I hope that for the residents there, they remain untouched.

Photo: cc sflovestory

The Pits

The Perfect Gift: A Mixed CD

Each year, I used to receive a CD from a co-worker. She and her husband would choose the music that would become the soundtrack for their friends’ year—at least mine. I loved receiving these mixed music CDs. So today when I went to the mailbox hoping that the check fairy had stopped by, I was happy to get a package from a new friend with two mixed CDs.

I think that mixed CD or a personalized playlist is an awesome present. Depending on how it is done, there is a lot of time, effort and thought that is put into this compilation. If the person is doing a general CD to give to all of his or her friends, then that person needs to think about which of his music he wants to share with others. Music can be extremely personal and in this case, the giver is sharing a part of his self to many. Now, if the mixed CD is made personally for someone, then the CD can evoke memories, reveal feelings and in some ways tell a story. Either way, it is a sentiment I have, do and will appreciate immensely.

The Perfect Gift: A Mixed CD

Sitcoms Make Life Look Easy (Or, There’s Hope No Matter How Unrealistic)

M and I are watching “Two and a Half.” Besides Alan, Charlie’s life looks easy: a house in Malibu, rarely works and now is marrying a woman who owns three apartment buildings. Specifically, she owns buildings in Brentwood and Marina Del Rey—pretty well to do areas of Los Angeles. She’s young and seems smart but in the real estate climate that this city has had for the last 10 years, this doesn’t seem likely.

This isn’t the only show where the characters live in homes that in real life they wouldn’t. For instance, would the twenty-somethings of Friends live in the enormous apartments on Manhattan? Would Old Christine have a house on Los Angeles’ west side, send her son to a private school and barely run a gym?

Thank goodness, they do. These unreal depictions make want to have real lives that reflect them. Because no matter how bad the situation, everything ends all right and everyone ends up where they want to be by the time their series finale ends (Seinfeld may be the exception). And there’s something hopeful about the chronic happy ending.

Sitcoms Make Life Look Easy (Or, There’s Hope No Matter How Unrealistic)