Saturday, December 26, 2009

California. Maybe where I belong. Maybe not.

Dude. Christmas just flew by. And I place the blame on the big move. There was unpacking to finish, frantic last minute shopping, 200 holiday cake balls to prepare, parties we couldn't get out of... and if I had taken pictures of any of it, I'd share them in one big Christmas-related post. But since I didn't, I'm coming to you with gripes of where I live. (Because I become disgruntled every December as I walk by those people still tanning by the pool.)

I have lived in southern California for a long time. Like, MY ENTIRE LIFE. In fact, I've spent my entire life right here inside the Orange Curtain. With one exception. Two pesky years The Husband and I spent in Monterey. ("Pesky" because, sadly, my work experience while we lived there left a bitter taste in my mouth that has unfortunately overshadowed what was really a lovely time in my life.)

Peeps, I don't belong here.

Or maybe I do and I've just lived here so long that I've become desperate for a change. I suppose only a drastic move would put it all into perspective, but I don't think The Husband would be willing to move across the country just to see if I'd like to continue living right here.

I made a pros and cons list. It didn't exactly help.

Pro: The sun shines constantly!
Con: The sun shines constantly.

Pro: My family is close by!
Con: My family is close by.

Pro: There are lots of people!
Con: There are lots of people.

Pro: Great shopping!
Con: Great. Shopping.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

If I were being reasonable (and I rarely am), I'd say that it's kind of cool (for lack of a better word) knowing I can go surfing and skiing in the same day... but I don't do either. I have access to some of the best shopping in the world... and I hate to shop. San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs... they're all just an hour away. But I scrunch up my face in disgust whenever The Husband suggests making the drive.

Plus I'm partial to my own bed, thank you very much.

I'm not sure exactly where I belong or where I'd prefer to live. Definitely a place where I can experience all the seasons. I know I said the sun shines constantly here, but really, we go from summer... to rain... and back to summer. That's it. And, despite my love of the rain, it gets a bit... boring. It'd be fun to see the leaves change colors or to wake up to a white Christmas.

Although, I'll be honest, the snow scares me.

The Husband was born and raised in Minnesota. He has told me stories of winters so cold that they couldn't leave the house or THEY'D DIE. This freaks me out. How do you know when you're not supposed to leave the house?! Does someone tell you? Is it just assumed? Is it instinctual? Does an alarm sound like right before a tornado?

Oh, God, tornadoes.

I wish I weren't so scared of, well, everything. I'd move into a house that was the only one around for miles. When we drove through Vermont that was one of the things I loved most. The houses were few and far between, scattered throughout the hills. It was late October and the trees were alight with the colors of fall. It was gorgeous.

It was during the same trip that we spent three days in Boston. I'd move to Boston in a heartbeat. I loved its history and small-town feel. I loved walking the Freedom Trail. I loved the town homes we passed when we got lost somewhere around the U.S.S. Constitution. I loved Dunkin Donuts.

Once in a while The Husband will suggest moving to Washington and to that I give an enthusiastic HELL YES. For three reasons. One, we already have family there and, let's be honest, if it's just The Husband and me? One of us is sure to kill the other. Two, it rains a lot and I effing LOVE THE RAIN. SO MUCH THAT IT REQUIRES CAPS. And three, I mean hello!? Edward lives there. (Yes, I just went there.)

(In all seriousness, if you ever hear of me making plans to visit the town of a FICTIONAL CHARACTER, please shoot me in the head immediately.)

(Wait. I take that back. Let's face my pathetic reality. It could happen one day and I don't want fear for my life adding to the excitement.)

Since I've apparently lost all control of this post, I'll end it. (You're welcome.) But, first, questions. Because I’m disturbingly curious about you.

Where do you think you belong? Do you live there now? Have you ever lived there? If you could change anything about where you currently live, what would it be?

Me? I’d do something about all this traffic. And all these people. Like... get rid of 'em. Seriously, there are way too many people here.


  1. I LOVE where I live. I love the red dirt and the beautiful red mountain/hills things we have. I love that we have SEASONS! I love the that we have skiing, really good skiing, an hour away and Zion National Park an hour the other way. But, there is one thing I would change: You guys would move up here. I miss my family, ALOT. I have this vision of you guys stopping by and having dinner and of a big bbq once a month to just touch base and hang out and play games (like the new Mario Bros for Wii). In all my love of where I am, I would move back to So. Cal. just to be by you all.

  2. I moved around my whole life- growing up it was a move every three, and then I was in the AF and was the same thing. I get bored if I'm in one place too long. But I'm not bored of NYC yet, and have been here 3 years. I don't always like it (too many people, and so many of them clueless tourists clogging up the sidewalks), I wish I could have more living/storage space, I wish we didn't have to pay city as well as state and federal taxes (even though I love the stuff the city taxes pay for, like the buses and subway).I don't know if I belong here though. I've never experienced a connection to a PLACE before.

  3. I've lived most of my life in Houston TX and despite a lot of negative aspects, really do love it here. There are other places I love too - Santa Barbara, Lake Placid, Martha's Vineyard, Chicago, even Tulsa OK. And could live in any of those places happily. But my home is here. I can visit all the other places that I love. And then come home again.

  4. My husband and I are originally from Pittsburgh, moved to central Ohio in 1986. NEVER thought we'd be here this long, always dreamed of moving back to the 'Burgh (all our family is there). We built our dream house on 5 wooded acres three years ago and it's perfect. The only thing that would improve it would to be closer to the ocean--any ocean. I love the change of seasons, especially spring and fall.

  5. Oh, boy, this answer could be an entire, long blog post. I'll shorten it up! For many years I have daydreamed about living in AZ or NM. I have visited both and love them. They are so different from the Northeast. I imagine living right in the center of a small town where I can walk to everything but there aren't many people living there and everything is perfect... I know, this place only exists in my mind. My dream place is also full of contradictions like, I want mostly lovely summer weather, but I want a bit of all the seasons. I want big snows, sometimes. Oh, and my other dream place is Tuscany, in the house that Diane Lane lived in (after it was renovated) in Under The Tuscan Sun!

  6. i've lived in Africa and 2 south east asian countries. i spent 4 years in southern virginia for college. i miss the being around different cultures but the packing/moving is finally over. i like that i've been in baltimore for 7 years, the longest i've been in one place. for the time being, i belong here, i like the hard working class and living in the city. however, i do miss the VA blueridge mountains, rice paddies of Thailand and desert of ethiopia. if i could change one thing about Bmore, it'd be the cold winters, i really hate the cold and snow.

  7. I've lived in a few different places, and I love to travel to different places and dream about living there (hello, St. John, VI, I'm a-lookin' at you), but when I get back to Maine I can feel myself relax instantly.The only thing I would change is the winter. I like having it, even the brutally cold days, but man it is long. I would love to have a real spring instead of a month of cold mud.

  8. Both the hubby and I are born and bred southern Californians. He'd never left but for a 6 month stint almost 2 decades ago. To Florida. ICK. He hated it. I moved away when I was 18 (northern Cali then Washington DC) and then back when I was 27. I then dragged my hubby and kid to Texas. I can't stand San Diego anymore. The state of California has gone to hell in a handbasket. Plus I can't live next to relatives, mine and especially his. If you get a chance I would highly recommend moving. Change is good, California kills you in ways you don't even realize until you leave. I suggest maybe staying away from the snow belt. Washington and Oregon are both cool states but were too expensive for us. I am not super into heat but we are far enough south that it's not as bad as Dallas and Houston is just flat out humid, ick. Again, if you can do it try a state that isn't California. I'm absolutely sure you'll love the experience.

  9. Chicago. Chicago. Chicago. If I could do it all over again - I never would have left. Tall buildings, energy, anonymity, great restaurants, the lake (oh, the lake), hot cocoa at the Four Seasons, cripsy pad thai at PS Bangkok, the asparagus salad at Mia Francesca, Bloomingdales...okay I think I might cry. P.S. Merry Christmas!

  10. If you want to stay in California, I'd recommend Sacramento. The downtown is cute and not too crazy-busy. Traffic isn't as horrendous as LA. And you get to experience all the seasons, minus the snow since we never get snow here. Plus, you are two hours away from the beach and the mountains. it's perfect!

  11. I don't think I'd leave California even though it has gone to hell in a hand-basket. I could see maybe moving someday up to the Sacramento area. I fell in love with Placerville some years ago. There is no where with as perfect weather as there is in CA. I would really miss the weather. Almost every day is perfect.And Stephanie, there is not very much rain here. You make it sound as if it rains quite a bit when the sun isn't shining. It rained a couple of weeks ago and people were walking around with their hands out, wondering what it was. :)

  12. I lived about 13 years in Ca. 1 in Long Beach, 1 in Huntington beach, 2 in USC area, 1 in Miracle Mile, 1in the Tender Nob (SF) 1 near Parnassus Heights SF, 3 in Concord, and 3 in the Oakland Hills. My favs. were Miracle Mile, LA and the Oakland Hills.I'm slightly in awe of Anne Marie. Falling in love with Placerville is no small achievement.My only experience in Boston was a 2 day visit. Trying to get a parking space was enough to make me never want to go back.If we could live ANYWHERE, I'd pick the Oakland Hills. But with a bigger income. :D

  13. I definitely love a small town. Our island fills up with people during touron season and gets pretty obnoxious but, just about the time touron tiredness has reached it's zenith, the season's over and it's a small town again.

  14. Born and raised in Minnesota, and have lived here my entire life,with the exception of 6 months that we lived in Ontario near my husband's family.I LOVE Minnesota! I love that we experience all the seasons. It makes us appreciate things more, I believe. When it's sunny and hot, you drop everything and get out and enjoy it. When you get a good snow, you stop what you're doing and go play in it. Then when it gets bitter cold, or rainy, you don't feel guilty about hunkering inside and enjoying your family. You being a Californian would wimp out with the cold, though. Sorry. My sister has lived in Fresno now for almost 20 years, and her kids freak out when they visit and it's below 30'. Heck! That's WARM for winter around here! When it's been really cold (below zero, with windchills in the minuses), Minnesotans get really excited for 20'. And you CAN go outside, your face just freezes quicker, so you cover up all those exposed areas. I've REALLY freaked y'all out!! Trust makes you appreciate a nice warm tropical vacation, which you need by the end of January or early February to make it thru til Spring.Don't worry about the tornadoes. They can predict them with technology, and I've only had to head to the basement (oh yes, a basement is a whole 'nother floor BELOW your house) a handful of times in my lifetime.Would I change anything?? Make the winter's shorter, the summer's not as humid and longer. I live about a half hour from Minneapolis, so I have everything that I could ever want/need around.Would I move??? The only place I'd consider is Fresno...because of family, and I love the fact that if you want mountains, hiking, ocean, Big Sur (!!!), I could drive there in a few hours, for a weekend getaway.

  15. -->Virginia Beach is great. We get all the seasons and if I want to see snow it's a few hours drive west and I can go skiing without shoveling. Love the sunshine!

  16. I have lived in the deep south my entire in every state along I-10 from FL to Texas. I have traveled quite a bit in the US and abroad. I can say that home is where your family and friends are. I love FL for all the amenities (beach, weather, Disney, low taxes); I love MS because it's my birthplace and my family's homeplace; I love AL for the traditions and architecture; I love LA for the heritage, mardi gras, fishing, architecture; I love TX because of friends, church, shopping, extended family and international airport. Ultimately, I'm happiest when my circle of friends are close and my family is within a 5 hr drive or a 2 hr flight.

  17. I belong in Chicago. Which is where I live. :-)

  18. I live in Knoxville TN, which is nice because we get all four seasons, ESPECIALLY FALL. (People come from all over the country to see the leaves change in "my" mountains). Plus we get maybe a couple of dusting snowfalls every year...nothing to freeze your face off. So no complaints about Knoxville. (Which is ironic since the hubby and I are getting ready to move to Chicago in a few months). Personally, my ideal place is Galveston, Texas, but we have family in Chicago, and it'd be really nice to be near them again. But only for 5 years. Then I'm going to Galveston.