The Symphony of The City

Nick Jr. is running a video called, “City Symphony.” It points out how the everyday noises of the city create a beautiful song.  You can see it here.

Each time I see it, I agree with the sentiment that the city is a vibrant, energetic and musical place. Every day when Baby A and I stroll around Westwood Village, we take in all the things presented. There are times when I wish he had a quieter place to live, but this two-minute story-poem makes me happy that he doesn’t.

The Symphony of The City

Dear Stroller: Thanks for the Memories

Baby A's Chariot

Right now, I’m waiting for Baby A to fall asleep. It’s nap time and normally we would be coming back from running errands and having breakfast. His little eyes would’ve gotten heavy as we rolled down the driveway and by the time we made it to the elevator he would be asleep. I would then transfer my 25-pound bundle of joy to his crib, where he would reach for puppy and sleep for two hours (three if I’m lucky). Not today.

Today there were no errands to run so we went to join the playground set. A lot of running around followed by a ride home in the stroller modeled above should send him off to dream land, right? Wrong. So as I sit here, listening to him try to settle down I look back on our 16-month relationship with our stroller.

1. It was in the stroller that we found out that Baby A was afraid of the dark. Walking home after having dinner, he’d cry when we were in the night but stop once we hit a street light. At first we thought it was a fluke until he cried during an entire after-dinner walk through the retire community where my mom lives.

2. The first time he drank from a sippy cup he was sitting in his stroller watching kids play in the fountain at Desert Ridge Shopping Center in Phoenix.

3. Baby A’s first real throw-up was while we were eating at Sauce in Scottsdale. Sweet potatoes everywhere. He, me and the stroller were orange.

4. Each Wednesday the stroller carries Baby A around the farmer’s market when he has experienced numerous tastes and smells for the first time. Where else can a kid learn to love asparagus, basil and cauliflower?

5. Finally, and this memory will continue for a long time, thanks to the stroller for allowing Baby A to see and experience the world and meet new friends. Whether it’s playing with our bankers and the students at Starbucks, or exploring San Francisco or Palm Springs, these four wheels help him get outside of the four walls that are home.

Dear Stroller: Thanks for the Memories

Free Jewelry?

Today on Baby A and my walk into Westwood village, a woman gave me two pearl necklaces: one for me and one for me to give to someone I love. What was the catch? None.

The necklaces were compliments of Dogeared Jewels and Gifts. Basically, they want to send “good energy into the world through personal and positive gifts.” The necklaces are small pearls with cards discussing beauty and love. I’ll be giving both of my necklaces away since Baby a will rip them from my neck. the one of beauty to my friend and neighbor Cy for being such a wonderful friend over the years and the one of love to my mom.

Thank you, Dogeared.

Free Jewelry?

Feeding My (Writing) Spirit

Shameless promotion of Tod's latest book

Saturday I went to hear Tod Goldberg read from and discuss his latest collection of short stories, Other Resort Cities at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. (It’s a fabulous independent bookseller. I highly recommend checking them out.)

When I can I try to go to Tod’s signings. Not because I have known him for most of my life (we went to high school and college together), but because Tod reminds me about my role as a writer. Specifically, that it is my job not just to inform but to tell stories (Duh).

Here’s the thing: I’m a health journalist and I mostly write articles that tell people to do things to improve theirs through diet and exercise. It’s easy to forget while combing through research to find tips you can use that I, too, have stories to tell.

I do enjoy seeing my old friend and listening to his stories about people who know. However, it is the way that Tod renews my writing spirit, despite his use of the F-word for emphasis.

Feeding My (Writing) Spirit

A Monday of Possiblities

It is eerily quiet. There’s parking. I’m in Westwood, right? I walk across Wilshire Boulevard and I’m the only person in the crosswalk. It’s Monday, isn’t it?

I turn down Broxton and begin walking to my Starbucks—the one that knows my drink and Baby A’s name—and hear the buzz of restlessness.

There are thousands in the village awaiting the premier of the latest Twilight film, New Moon. Some started camping out on Thursday, others joined them on Friday, by Saturday the line of tents covered a couple of blocks, and last night, Westwood’s sidewalks surrounding the Bruin theater looked like a tent city. Personally, I don’t understand this fanaticism.

As I stood in line for my coffee, I  overheard the group of people behind me discuss whether they’ll be waiting 6 or 7 hours for the stars to appear on the red carpet (Yes, this line was to look at the parade of stars on the red carpet. Not even to SEE the movie.) and whether they should have In N’ Out Burger for lunch or go straight to Diddy Reese for dessert. All of this sounded good to me and it isn’t because cheeseburgers and cookies are my thing (They’re not). The influx of star-gazing women brings money (hopefully) to my neighborhood—one that despite its close proximity to UCLA has struggled in the past.

So, welcome Twilight followers. Please drink lots of coffee (you can take your pick from Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Perfectto, Peets), and eat lots of donuts (Stan’s), cookies (Diddy Reese), sandwiches (Sandbags) and the plethora of other food offerings in the village. You have lots of time to kill, might as well enjoy all that Westwood Village has to offer.

A Monday of Possiblities

Home

After living with my mom for a week in a retirement community somewhere outside of Palm Springs, I’m glad to be home. I don’t have a childhood home where each time I visit I can stay in my old room and be near the things I remember; my mom and stepdad have moved too much for that. In fact, I can remember five homes that I lived in from kindergarten until high school graduation.

Since then the meaning has changed. For me, home is…

…where M., Moo, Pumpkin and A. are.

…where the Internet is available 24/7 in any place in the house.

…where I know where everything in the kitchen is.

…where my son can run around and I already know the hazards.

…where there is little furniture, but each piece has a story or an inspiration.

…where I can walk to the bank, Starbucks, grocery store and, even Nordstrom. Also, at least one employee at each of the above knows me and Baby A.

…where I can walk through movie productions or premieres unexpectedly.

…where I can walk to a facility and train next to world-class athletes.

…where my Heavenly bed is.

…where my baby smiles, my kitties nap and my husband is.

These are the things that define my home (for now). In the future some of these characteristics will change, but not the first or the last ones on this list.

Home

It’s Quiet…For Now

Helicopters have been hovering over my home for the past four hours. Whop, whop, whop, whop. It is quiet now, but the disturbance that drew them here is still going on. A red VW Beetle is in a standoff at the Federal Building in Westwood. According to live television and video stream, the car is still there and there isn’t much action.

I’m thankful that the helicopters have lost interest. I’m not sure that my patience, my kitties, my head or Baby A could handle more of the whop, whop, whop, whop. 

It’s quiet for now. But that is the one thing about living in Westwood, you never know what drama will unfold next. During our first two weeks in Westwood, it was a hot bed of activity: Iranian protests at the Federal Building, a march by said protesters that closed the area around our apartment, Michael Jackson dying at UCLA, a brush fire near the Getty, a power outage, and the helicopters keep us guessing what else is in store. I’m not sure I’d want to live anywhere else.

It’s Quiet…For Now