Monthly Archives: April 2010

Neighbors

When we moved out to Atlanta we moved to this hip little neighborhood but knew none of our neighbors.  Wait, I take that back.  Our immediate next door neighbor was an older man who owned a popular bakery but we saw him maybe 6 times a year walking his dog.  We lived there for almost 3 years but didn’t know the first name of anyone, other than bakery owner guy, within a 3 block radius.

The next 3 years in Atlanta we lived in suburbia and we knew EVERYONE not just on our block but also the block over and a good chunk of the neighborhood as a whole.  How does this happen?  I have narrowed it down to 4 things.

  • having a dog
  • having a kid
  • block parties
  • actually getting involved in the neighborhood

As soon as we moved to suburbia we went to the shelter and got our pup.  Puppies are great for meeting people.  You walk more. People are more likely to wave and say hi. I see now why single people may use them as pick-up props.  Poop pick-up is a small price to pay.

About a year later we had our first baby.  Play groups! Mom groups! More walking, more trips to the park! People show up bringing food and voluteering to hold the baby!  I think all those exclamation points are justified.

Suburbia has block parties. What a great idea.  It should be mandatory. Start one.

And the involvement! I joined a monthly “Thirsty Thursday” group and a monthly book club.  Both awesome, both serving wine and gossip.  I met some amazing people through these groups.  It was also an example of how women can really be the core, or maybe the glue, or is it string? that brings people together. These two groups were girls only, and it was okay.  I didn’t see any guys starting groups, they just hung out with each other now and then.  Planned groups wouldn’t work with the guys.  Unless it was maybe a football party or something. That would work.

Now here we are at my parents house and there are some new neighbors and some old ones from when I lived here 15 years ago.  I don’t know anyone by name but now that I have a kid and a dog, everyone waves anyway.

Are You Down with RTT?

What a great but random week.  Perfect for Keely’s Random Tuesday Thoughts, and for me since lately I can’t seem to get more than a sentence together at a time , let alone a paragraph or actual (gasp) post!

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We went to the beach for the first time this weekend, since we’ve moved back to California.  It was soooo good.  Cold and windy, but I didn’t care.  Neither did the toddler.  Let’s just say it was a smart move to bring extra clothes.  Raise your hand if you love Half Moon Bay!

Saw this on a magnet and thought it was one of the most insightful pieces of wisdom I’d read in a long time: “It’s not about the men in your life, it’s about the life in your men.” – Mae West

Judging from the comments in my last post, a duck riding shotgun in a Beetle isn’t that unusual after all.

When Husband or I are no longer unemployed, we are going AWAY for a weekend, sans kid.  Thank goodness for grandparents who are staying with us.  Oh, okay.  WE are staying with THEM.

I love when Becky says something like: “Dude, you have no idea what kind of trouble I represent,” and then expands my vocabulary by introducing me to new words like pharmacopia.

Thanks to Keely for RTT!

Random Tuesday Thoughts on Why I Love California More Than the Other 49

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This isn’t really a why California is better post.  It’s more of a recap of the great weekend we had a few days ago, a month after our move here from Atlanta.

What a weekend! On Friday we all loaded into the car, me, Husband, mom, dad and toddler and went to Sacramento so my husband and mom could go fishing.

That’s right.  Husband is huge on fly-fishing, my mom thinks there is something romantic about standing by a river for hours with a stick.  So, every year Husband takes her out a few times to fish.  This time the rest of us came along.  No bites, but it was gorgeous outside and we ended up at a state park so it was not a total waste of time.

On the way home a woman in a yellow Beetle with a DUCK in the passenger seat passed us.  A real DUCK.  Mallard maybe?  None of us had a camera in the car but you have to believe me.  It was able to see out the window, we could see the neck and head, so it was propped up on something.  Perhaps so it could look out the window and laugh at his friends who had to FLY?

On Saturday Husband, toddler and I cruised around Berkeley for the afternoon because it had been ages.  Not much has changed, especially the area around UC Berkeley, but we had a great time.  Buskers, dogs, random parade, burgers, possible contact high….

Sunday was spent walking around a lake with more ducks and a playground.  Folks, it doesn’t get better for Toddler than to have ducks AND a playground.  Plus, a dog.  A very friendly, cute, happy to be pet vigorously by a small child, dog that was not ours. 

On a side note, this is where I want to raise our kids. Close beaches, lakes, mountains, cities, great people, family… and generally more acceptance of other people than other states I’ve lived in.

So, right now, California is the rockstar state for me.  Plus, my family is here, which was the whole point of moving here, and it has been awesome.  I suppose any state where my family is would make it pretty high on the rockstar scale. You?

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I couldn’t put this book down.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn moved me and I love the way Betty Smith wrote.  When you read it you can’t tell it was written more than 50 years ago.  I like how it shows the strength and the crazy of families and it’s a little bit comforting that families had their own brand of crazy even 50 years ago.  There is plenty of crazy today and I think we can pretty much guarantee there will be more crazy 50 years from now.

The story is about a little girl growing up incredibly poor in Brooklyn, with an older brother that can do no wrong, a father who is always out trying some new venture, frequently failing, and mom that is trying very hard to hold it all together.  It’s about more than that though.  It’s told through the eyes of the little girl and it’s so descriptive I felt in the book.   I can image how Brooklyn was at the time.  I’d like to travel to back then and spend some time, but I think I’d welcome coming back to 2010.  Betty Smith makes you feel what the little girl feels when she is trying to save pennies, when she sees her mom hurting and when she needs to run.

It’s a wonderful story and certainly deserving of all the accolades.  Am I the last person on the planet to read it?  Maybe.

I’m Feeling A Little Crazy

A small part of me wishes the decision were made for me.  If I HAD to go back to work right now, 5 months pregnant and living in a city I haven’t lived in for 6 years, I’d find something and do something.  Maybe even more of a job, as opposed to a career position.  But I don’t HAVE to.  Husband is looking and will likely find something great in a month or two.  We have savings.  We thought this all out before we came out here.

In the meantime, I’m watching our toddler, our dog and hanging out with my parents when they aren’t working, which is about 3 days a week.  And by the way, the grandparents are the whole reason we moved back out to California.

If I could just not work until a few months after the baby is born, I’d love it.  I don’t think we really have that luxury right now.  We’re staying with my parents. We need our own place, even an apartment, before the baby is born.  Maybe I should try working at a maternity store.  That seems like a good idea.  A few days a week.  A little money in, less guilt about not working. 

Then again, if I don’t make a strategic career move soon, how hard will it be for me to find a good job in 8-9 months?  How do I explain that gap?