Monday, August 20, 2012


The place where I live is under construction. It's been like this for a good six weeks now: no parking because of the scaffolding in the driveway, strange men peering through my (frosted) bathroom window the second the clock strikes 8:01 a.m., water off water on water off water on, bang bang ping whack whack whack ka-THUNK. This weekend, all of my windows were plasticked over and taped--they're painting the outside of the building, which I think/hope is the last stage of all this--so that it felt like a space capsule. No air, no view, except the sunset through the plastic (see above). It's all necessary, I think; the building is pre-war, and now it has a new roof, new windows, new plumbing, new landscaping, a few freshly renovated units, possibly a new skylight in the foyer (was it always there, and I never noticed?), fewer dead or dying trees hanging around, and a new coat of paint. Good job, building! Now, I would like my parking spot back. 

The good/ironic news is that, with any luck, I won't be living there much longer--I'm trying to grab the very tail end of this low housing market and buy a place. I've already gotten and given up one house, a sweet brick cottage that I loved until the home inspector told me that, among other things, it was going to fall down in an earthquake. Today, my stomach leaps every time I get an email: I'm waiting to hear about an offer I made on another place, a lovely flat--that's what I'm going to call it, my "flat"--just four blocks from where I live now. It's probably unwise of me to say so much so early, but I'll just tell you that it's big and sunny, in a great neighborhood, with a beautiful shared yard. Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Trip to the Playground

This is a draft I wrote here last fall and never finished: 

I went back to LA this weekend.

(I feel like I forgot to tell you all so much about LA. I moved there just about a year ago, and moved back to the Bay Area nine months later. It was not at all what I expected--so much better, mostly--

The most surprising thing about LA was, after nine months, how much I liked it there--I fully believe that moving north to my family, my friends, my cat, and a pitch-perfect writing job (with income!) was the obvious right choice, but I also think LA will always mean a little bit of fun and magic to me.

I've long thought that my ability to prioritize the fun of LA over the soul-sucking drudgery of LA was directly related to my loosey-goosey relationship with supporting myself through the industry. I was poor there, interning part-time for a production company and teaching SAT prep courses to pay the bills, but I had it pretty good. I worked on a major lot; my production company bosses were real, working producers and treated me like a person; I didn't become an overnight success, but I wasn't hating life in hopes of landing my dream job, either.  It wasn't sustainable--in fact, my job in San Francisco surfaced just as the "human happiness vs. professional sacrifice" conversation was coming to a head--but I was able to live there and work there without succumbing to my very worst fear: sacrificing my professional youth for a professional future that wouldn't happen.

Now, LA is like the Land of Zero Responsibility: I go there and I have friends, and memories, and places I love--but I have no obligation.

It was strange and exciting going back. I have the hardest time believing I was there for so long--I have far too many memories

Reading this now, even unfinished and with a nonsensical final phrase, I love it. It's all the things I always want to say about LA. It's the truth about a short, weird period in my life, and I'm glad I was able to get it down somewhere.

I visited LA again a couple of weekends ago and felt the same way about it. A lot of people have terrible, soul-deadening experiences there, and maybe it would have gotten to me eventually, but as it is, the LA of my memory is mostly a land of the golden hour, of fire pits on the beach, of sangria in mason jars, of late-night pie (or French toast sandwiches with chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas) with friends, of sleeping late and floating in the pool with a book. Especially now that my responsibilities lie elsewhere, LA is a playground. It's nice to have a playground, especially one where the other kids are nice and we sometimes watch Downton Abbey together in our jammies.

Again, I'm not sorry I left. My job here is about a thousand percent better--weirder and more fun--than ninety-nine percent of the jobs I could have gotten in Hollywood. That's what we call a lot percent better. Here, I have people. I have a cat. I have a church that loves me. I have an apartment of my very own, which I will someday decorate like an adult. Here is great. Here is now. Here is within a half-day's drive of the playground, which is also nice.

Let's do lunch, LA. I'll have my people call your people.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year

One of the best things about living in California is that, on the second of January, the following things can happen: t-shirt weather; a hike to the ocean, with waterfalls; snacks with friends on the cliffs above the beach; whale sightings at sunset.

Happy new year, everybody.