Monthly Archives: July 2008

Bringing a Little LA to NY

-Downtown

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Rocky Mountain HI

Hey dt, we are out of town and this ut girl is happy. CO: land of warm days, cool nights + an odd mix of the haves and those who make it all possible. Holding off on the judgement, enjoying the chirp of a bird, fresh mountain air, splendid rocky mountain views and familiarity of a place we’ve been before. I love the quiet lack of sirens and hours long trash pick up EVERY night. No complaints from this end. Peace.

NY to LA

It’s been nearly two years since the LA family packed up the wagon and journeyed across the country in pursuit of the great white way (actually, a change of job for the MD husband lured the balance of the family east, Broadway had nothing to do with leaving the glitz and glam of Hollywood behind).  The opportunity to attend a Broadway show or two is just one of the many benefits of life in the City.

After a year in the NY saddle, following monthly returns to my adopted home-state and a “talking to” from my mother-in-law (MIL) in July 2007, I realized, with only the slightest bit of resentment, she was right. Three out of four displaced Californians were content and I, too, needed to make a life for myself in our new city.  In August 2007, I made a commitment to accept there was no turning back. It wasn’t easy.  I signed up for a continuing education class at Columbia and under the tutelage of New York Times journalist, Lawrence Van Gelder, I learned “how to write.”  Professor Van Gelder challenged me as no other teacher did and I am now, much to my amazement, enrolled in Columbia’s Journalism School. I’ve got two years until graduation and haven’t a clue as to what I will do upon completion but for the time being, I’ll carry on my roll as a mother of two, the wife of one (supportive, loving husband), friend to a few and student of journalism. The yoga and spinning classes fit in intermittently as does the “consulting” work for a handful of non-profits in the arts and education. I am grateful for the turn of events, sSs

 

Car Culture

There was a time, not long ago, when we lived on the sunny side of the States. Our return visit in June 2008, so that the ten year old could join his buddy for a week at UCLA basketball camp while the fourteen-year old worked alongside her third grade teacher as an assistant, was an eye-opener to all of us as to our former automobile-dependent lives and our relatively new adaptation to public transportation enjoyed, as we do, in our current home state of New York.

It is clear that in the 22 months since we packed up the wagon and drove across the Country, Los Angeles traffic has increased mightily. What’s more, because our children are older, the ability they have, at least in the case of the older one, to come and go places, whether it’s to school, the movies or to run an errand, on their own in NYC is virtually impossible in LA. Our LA canyon home is five miles from the nearest school and store. Movie theatres are farther away. And pinkberry, fuhgetaboutit.

While I confess to missing my car time, where hours were spent listening to National Public Radio or catching up on hands-free cell phone calls, one of these days I’ll adapt to the alternative ways including ipods, portable radios and headphones to tune in to the world and tune out the City static.

AND, whereas it cost $40 to fill up the gas tank summer before last, rising prices this go’ round come to $60.

NYC is our residence for now though I continue to miss our California friends and daily NPR reports. One out of two can be remedied… at least for now.

Downtown Goes Coastal, a linked list of my travel highlights

I’m live-blogging from Santa Monica, in a beautiful house right off of Montana, where I’ve been for the past 24 hours. First, I was here, which sort of sucked since they lost my reservation and then charged my card three times for my stay and the room wasn’t so hot. But then all ended well after a massage here and dinner with my Italian friends at their home, which looks out over all of Los Angeles and the Pacific. We had some great conversations about old and new Italian movies — a little hard to follow since some of the discussion was actually in Italian, but I managed to get the gist of it while responding in English.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the beach and the afternoon at the Getty Villa, where for some reason, I felt the need to take 9,000 photos of beautiful things, but things I’ve already seen and taken pictures of in Italy.

Last night I cooked dinner with family friends (another Italian feast) and heard the story about how they met and their weddings — one in Wales and one in New Jersey. Picture the English parents coming to meet the Italian-Jewish in laws. I was cracking up as they were telling the story.

Today has been more leisurely, just hanging out until my New York family friends stop by as they vacation their way down the coast with their children (ages 11 and 14). The afternoon will be devoted to the ultra-tourist stops like the Walk of Fame, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and Hollywood & Highland. But will promise to be fun when seen through younger eyes.

The rest of the trip will include singing and dancing our way to the Mamma Mia premiere, visiting old friends, new friends, and then off to Arizona to see my best friends of all, my family.

Redefining the “Power” Lunch

Today I had lunch at a New York institution. I had always envisioned my first lunch there would have something to do with mergers and media. Instead however, it was much more casual and by far a lot longer than the average “power lunch.” My lunch partners were an SVP of a PR agency and a two-time Tony award-winning actress. We talked for two plus hours, covering everything from politics and religion to trips to Hawaii and home renovation in New Jersey. It was a lunch for the soul, where interesting ideas and opinions were shared. There was no agenda, no power plays and no egos. It was simply “Fun.”

This lunch presented itself at the perfect time. I was getting tired of the young New York small talk at cocktail/book parties, networking events, news of ridiculous book deals, and paper-pushing with clients. I felt like the city itself was turning on me with everything from the torrential downpours, humidity and subway hassles, to feeling like I was letting possibilities slip through my fingers. I was tempted to say “goodbye to all that,” but then days like this happen and New York opens her arms and gives you a gift. I never would have met either of my dining partners had it not been for the serendipity and six degrees of Manhattan. “Fun” is a word that has been farthest from my vocabulary recently, but which I’ll now always be able to resurrect the feeling of when I think about my “power” lunch.

So while the power-suited around us played their trump cards, surrendered fortunes and gained millions, we simply talked for the sake of conversation, to learn, to laugh, to nourish our bodies and souls, to remind us that true power lies within our ability to connect with others, and to help remind me of why I continue to love New York.

–Downtown