Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We LIVED in L.A.

One month. It does not sound like a lot of time. But it is enough time, it turns out, to uproot one's entire life and, for better or for worse, to create a strange, new reality.

Akhil responded to a cryptic email from a big-name company one day in late September, and flew out for an interview less than two weeks later. Within four days of that, he had a job offer to consider. Two weeks later, the deed was done. He accepted, and the relocation wheels were suddenly in motion.

It's his job, but the kids and I are just as committed as he is. We are all about to re-create our life in another town, another part of the country. Sure, it's still California, but the San Francisco Bay Area - and by that I mean, Silicon Valley, couldn't be more different.

You can't necessarily know how content you are in a place, or how much you truly, deeply love it, until you are forced to leave. I have been feeling the way I would expect to feel were I in mourning, reliving memories of the moments over the last 15 years where Los Angeles slowly revealed itself as the welcoming, exotically beautiful, richly diverse, exciting and in many ways, "small-town" community, that it is.

Our new home will never be what Los Angeles, particularly Pasadena has been to us. We were young here. We married here in Malibu and planned our wedding and home search here. We survived cancer here, bought and renovated our beautiful, charming home here, spent 4 years of chasing baby dreams here and finally, found the right team to help us bring Liv & Wyatt into the world. We have raised the world's most spectacular set of twins here, who, at age 4, will be spending most of their formative years, most likely, in a place different from where they were born. Our friends are here, and at the moment, our life is here. This is our home, my home, and for me, that will not change.

The weliveinla blog will go on hiatus soon, but weliveinthebay is just getting started. I said I wanted an adventure. I hope this is it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Two. Years.

It is Sept 19, 2014. That's right. Two. Years. Later. And this digital extension of my existence is exactly the same, pixel-by-pixel, as it was when I last touched it. Digital existence, it creates this incredibly disturbing time warp in a way, for I, and my kids, and my house and my cars and my husband are two years older. We age. We flake around the edges. We get better. We get worse. Pixels... don't.

Maybe that's why coming back "here" is kind of, well, disturbing. It reminds me that I had intentions and plans and assumptions, two years ago, that included a notion that I would be writing and posting photos on this blog on some kind of semi-regular basis to record milestones and remembrances of life as it happens/ed. Obviously, I didn't. What other projects and plans have I abandoned? Wasn't I going to write a children's book? Didn't I buy GMAT study books? Wasn't I going to get the fireplace tiled? Those fuzzy recollections don't sting, much, but this abandoned blog, pristine, expectant... it's stark.

Wyatt and Liv are four years old now, and they are the one true thing in life. The focus of my ever-growing, ever-intensifying love and affection, and the singular unchanging priority. They are at an age when they can express desires and aspirations, and I don't mean, "I wish I had a gummy bear," but rather, "I wish I could go to Maccu Piccu," and "when I grow up I want to go to outer space," and "mommy, it's taking too long for me to get big."

As their wonder at the possibilities grows, amazingly, so do mine. And so I left my job in June. I am home at this very moment, pondering my next adventure.

I can't give them all the credit. After having endured several months of incompetent, incomprehensible management decisions and a painful reorganization ("business is business" - vomit) that culminated in my being asked to deliver the news personally to 10 humans that we had cut their jobs, I decided rather urgently to ask to be included in the cuts. And so it was, 3 months later. Before I left the building I planned a trip for me and the kids, a 4-week stay on the east coast to enjoy a "real" summer with family and friends in the places I loved as a kid. In preparation I pulled them out of the company daycare and took on full-time childcare duties for the rest of the summer, about 7 weeks in total. I am ever-grateful for this period in my life.

Now they attend a preschool near our house that has a POOL - and has teachers who actually teach. It takes me approximately 6 minutes to drive there, 12 minutes to walk. As of this writing - week 3 - they are thriving and validating this decision every day with their artwork, repetition of facts (mom did you know five and five is ten; y-e-l-l-o-w spells yellow; if you don't brush your teeth you will get a cavity) and deference to "Miss Dorothea." I have had the time and the wherewithal to sign Liv up for Saturday gymnastics, both kids for Sunday music classes, and soon, their school will offer weekly Tae Kwon Do. In many ways this "gift" of unemployment has been exactly right for them and what they needed. And by extension, what I needed, too.

Summer was vacation, but every minute of it was also reflection. I know I am not cut out to be a SAHM (a misnomer we should abolish IMHO) for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I think I've always known that I need the companionship of adults in order to stay sharp (read: sane). Full-time childcare is also quite hard in terms of mental focus; tolerance for little annoyances, like noise; monotony of routine; and there is little to encourage anyone in the household to give you, the caregiver, space and time. If you are an individual who needs those things, then you're out of luck. But I was grateful to have had a shot at trying it out, and I truly envy those who can feel 100% happy and whole doing it. I wish I could.

I know that I need to find my "new school." It would be a cop-out to say that I already have. But in some ways, I feel like that is, in fact, the case. This school that I'm attending at the moment doesn't pay (yet), but what it does offer is a framework for my life that I didn't have 8 years ago, when I last searched for employment, a framework that I know is right and true and that will help me make the right decisions from here. And at the age and stage I am at in life, I have earned the right, I think, to have the confidence to make that conviction and, in my search for balance and sustained sense of clarity, to put limits as to how far I will be willing to compromise. What's amazing is that this evolution of my state of mind may not manifest in an outwardly different-looking-life at all, but the way I operate within it and the way I feel about it may be absolutely unrecognizable. That is my hope.

Said adventure continues.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Surreal Life

I suddenly realized I work in the mecca for bloggers, not just bloggers but mommy bloggers (a term I loathe) and remembered that I had a blog. Well mine's only been "mommy" for two years now and as you can see, that "mommy" part means I have no time to post. And so I wonder... How are those OTHER women finding time to post? And make sense? And not just sense, but money? (WHA?) Instead I feed the beast that is my carefully balanced working life. Out at 9, in by 7 every day, and the hours before, after, and on weekends are all about kidcare. But when you've got the world's most charming children, there's hardly much to complain about. The work part, another story.

Since this last post a zillion years ago we've done all kinds of superfun things like swimming lessons and beach cafes and birthday parties and the county fair, and even a week in Seattle to visit the grandparents. So much fun - they loved it - and from Burbank, the trip was actually easy. Both babies are getting expert at dancing, tooth-brushing on the stepstool, kissing and more kissing, identifying letters, singing songs, watching YouTube on i-devices, picking out clothes, drinking from a cup, and resisting diapering and bedtime, but not cuddles.

The biggest change, perhaps is that we made a decision this month to put Liv and Wy in daycare. So, on Monday, off they go. I knew I'd be sad in acknowledging that the time is right - they're not babies anymore. What no one tells you to prepare for, though, is that day when you need to fire your nanny. What a stressful, stressful time. I had to go over it in my head many times before I got the gumption. And I did it. And she got teary. And asked if it was because she's doing a bad job. All that. Three more days of awkwardness...

Meanwhile my real worry is whether the kids will like it better - because I want what's best for them, sure, but what I really want is for them to be joyously happy as they are now, every night, when we get home from work. No more ecstatic little faces in the lit window as we drive in. I'll miss that. Instead, it'll be just us 3, every morning, off in the car on a new daily adventure. (I'll have drop-off duty). I wish the so-called terrible twos would last forever.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Natalie Merchant & Me

Cut to - July? What is wrong with me? Well I think it isn't necessarily that there is no time - there is time, at say, 10 p.m. nightly but that's about the time your brain is fried and back is breaking and being articulate doesn't sound all that possible - or appealing. There have been few variations to the regular schedule in recent months and by regular schedule I mean: M-F Akhil is up at 6, at work by 7, I have an hour or so with the babes until taking off at 9 sharp when Ana arrives, and after work, around 6:30 or 7, we either round the block with the red wagon or pink plastic stroller apparati or sit on the swinging bench and get to know the flowers in the front yard. Occasionally, our 6-yr-old neighbor, Chloe, comes over.

Weekends - well, Akhil is back to working Saturday mornings and I've come to enjoy my solo time with the charming twosome. We spend a lot of time walking the 'hood, cruising through the aisles at Target, or hanging at the playground park. These are the days, I'm sure of that. One Saturday I was strolling through the farmer's market with Liv and Wy in the stroller after we'd spent about 2 hours playing at the adjacent park. I was buying green beans, plum tomatoes, and freshly baked bread. People were smiling, sun was shining... I thought, what the heck else is life about, really? This is it.

Liv's charm in a can and her dance moves have become rather exceptional; while Wyatt is really tuned into what's going on with your relationship with him. When he gets in trouble, he knows, and he says in a desperate, elfin voice, "Hi." "Hi." Until you smooth it over and make it ok. They won't have it if you don't give them their nightly couch cuddle in front of the "V" (TV) so we spend an hour or more on that before bed. Though they're talking a lot, we don't necessarily know what they're saying, but Wyatt likes to say "Bye" to things he's done with or doesn't like, like "Bye, diaper," or "Bye wawah" -- sometimes "Bye mama" - while Liv finds a lot of opportunities to say "Wyatt," "bird" and "flowah."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Egads, it's not quite a year later and if we weren't totally consumed by the balancing act that is life as working parents (without grandparental help!) then we sure are now. Liv and Wyatt are never-ending silliness and joy, with distinctly different but delightfully complementary personalities. They have figured out how to play together and sometimes, even share.

It's a rainy Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, and napping is occurring while Akhil is at the office and I am here putzing around the house. Putzing doesn't last long...

Since last May we have flown to Boston and back, and Maui and back, without a single post. We've done a lot of other things too, mostly on the weekends, and if there was a way to scrape Outlook email I'd have much of the milestones nicely recorded. It'll have to suffice to say that the babies are ok-travelers. Once they get to a destination, they're expert! The parts that have turned out to be the most painful are the rides in the car. Too much like bondage.

A few months ago I was saying work was easy, weekends were work. Well, that's not true anymore, and that's a nice surprise, cuz' they're still just babies. With a lot of teeth. That said, that "office work" thing is 5-years stale. I wouldn't mind a 2012 changeup. It takes thought and time to produce such changeup, and that's the challenge. Time is a scarce resource for someone like me who requires 8 hours of nightly sleep. But I'm feelin' it.

Oh, rain. We totally have the best babies, you know. They don't come any better. Just look at these people. Premium. This set of pics was taken on the day of the big 4-0 (MY big 4-0) in Manhattan Beach. A day off of work. Pancakes and coffee. Sunny in January. My parents were here. Akhil threw a surprise brunch. And bought me a fancy present (24-70 zoom lens!). And got a Porto's carrot cake, and takeout dinner. It was lovely. And so far, I really don't mind.

At this age, people really do assume you know better, and know what you're doing, and leave you alone.

Friday, May 06, 2011

So much for my blogging commitment. But despite the time that has passed and the number of things that have happened within that lapse that I *should* have recorded, brevity is still the key to success with this blogging thing. So, in short, the highlights:

*My brother and his wife have sold their house in Denver and are, this very weekend, en route back to Massachusetts with Devin.
*The babies now have teeth! 6 each. Wyatt's came first, and about 3 weeks later (around the third week of April), Liv's. Seemingly all at once, and there was very little in the way of teething pain, or at least complaints about teething pain. The teeth have transformed them both from infants into little soon-to-be-toddlers.
*Wyatt started crawling last month, and now he's a crawling champion, like his sister. As he's gotten more adept at moving, he's become a little more happy - as we know, he likes to cry. But little by little, it's subsiding.
*The babies have been on swings, have eaten yogurt and Gerber puffs, plus strawberry ice cream, they no longer like the stroller much - crawling's more fun; and they've visited the Easter bunny.
*Favorite thing from May: Wyatt started following us around the house - especially ME; he cries if I leave the room, and he FINDs me, crawling all over, into the kitchen, down the hall, wherever, to locate me. Liv does the same but she doesn't cry while doing it, she continues to be jolly and joyful at all times.
*The babies have on occasion, stood up in their cribs, looked at one another across the gap between them, and spoken in a secret language of giggles and shrieks, after their bedtime. They most often do this in the morning, after they have their morning bottles. They can entertain themselves this way for up to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, Akhil and I have suddenly both become all-consumed at work, and it has to give somewhere. Likely, with me...

Happy Mother's Day (I don't think Akhil realizes it's even a holiday. Oh well).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another 3-day weekend - and all of them are fabulous but this one particularly so because it was the first in 10 days where I didn't have the FLU! Terrible flu that kept me home from work 3 days. Thankfully the babies didn't get it. We took them to Trails Cafe in Griffith Park (and had THREE star sightings - Dax Shepherd, Kristin Bell, and Lauren Graham) then to Hollywood: first trip to Amoeba Records. Sunday was The Counter and the fire sale at Borders; the Lake store is going out of business in the Chapter 11 crisis. So sad. Lines wrapped around the store. Where were all you people 6 months ago?? Then we all went to a party at my friend Sheryl's place where the twins were two of four babies in attendance. Monday we made pad thai in the wok. And I sold one more thing on Craigslist.

So Craigslist. What an incredibly effective place to get rid of stuff. This year alone, I sold: a sofa, an Ikea dresser set, a lamp, an old TV, a set of towels, tire chains, a water purifier, a mailbox, a video game, a pair of curtains, a breast pump, a weight bench, a breastfeeding pillow, a mirror, and I almost sold a teak dining table but we decided to keep it in the end. It's addictive! What else can I sell? Espresso machine, anyone?