Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Great Kid Debate

Saturday afternoon, I got stuck in an elevator at IKEA. This was my first time ever being stuck in an elevator.

I was riding from floor 2 to floor 1 with three friends from high school, two toddlers, three babies, two strollers and a shopping cart. It was hot in there. The alarm was ringing loudly. When I finally figured out which switch had been tampered with by tiny hands and the doors opened, I was hankering for an adult beverage.

The funny thing was that right before we got into the elevator, we were discussing whether or not I wanted kids. Whether I was really cut out for it. When we emerged from the stalled IKEA car, my girlfriend said, "That was a sign!"

I said, "I know - a loud one with alarm bells screaming DON'T DO IT!"

"No," she said. "A sign you should do it. You were totally calm in there."

And therein lies the debate that my brain and uterus seem to be having on a daily basis. My womb insists that I should for sure have kids, that I can absolutely handle it and that I might actually like it. Then my brain jumps in and explains that I love my free time, love dinners out with Mr. W, love drinking wine and traveling, am not a fan of poop or throw-up or bratty friends or sleepless nights. My brain reminds my baby parts about the news story I just saw about the kid in Florida who killed his parents with a hammer and the little girl on Oprah with multiple personalities.

For every positive I can think of, there are about a thousand negatives or concerns to match it.

The main being, I just don't really know that I ever want to take on that kind of responsibility.

My Creative Director at work has told me multiple times that I would make a great CD myself one day. Every time, I smile and say, "no way." I don't want the responsibility. I'm flattered by his confidence in me, but I'm a Peter Pan girl. I'm not looking to leave Neverland anytime soon.

You could totally handle the kids thing, my uterus, friends and family say.

I could probably handle running a half marathon multiple times in a month but I don't want to do that. I could handle giving up chocolate and wine, but I don't want to do that either. I'm a pleasure junky.

So the debate continues.

I'm kind of wishing they made muzzles for biological clocks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Community Cravings

Last Friday night, I was running an errand up near my beloved hometown and I ran smack dab into my cousin and her two sons. We were both at Home Goods and ended up goofing around for a good thirty minutes in the store together. Even though it was 9:00 at night.

It made me miss Montrose.

That's the town I lived in for 8 years before I moved in with Mr. Wonderful. My grandmother's father was one of the first real estate developers there, so my family has lived in the vicinity for 3 (or rather 4 if you count my nieces) generations.

It is virtually impossible for me not to run in to familiar faces on the streets up there. So it wasn't a huge surprise to see my cousin out shopping.

These things don't happen to me in Hollywood.

The past several times I've gone to Montrose to see friends or family, I feel a little ache in my gut. It's a very charming small town (the main street is the one Will Ferrell went streaking down in Old School) with tree-lined streets and neat little houses. It feels safe and inviting. Cozy. Like home. Mr. Wonderful often calls it Mayberry.

But I realized on Friday night that the quaintness of the town isn't why I miss it. I don't want to move back. Don't want to retire there.

What I miss is the community it holds. The connections I have there—from high school, from my college coffeehouse job, from family and friends of family. It's really neat to know so many people in such a small space.

It seems to me that one can create a similar sense of community almost anywhere. People do it in their neighborhoods in New York City. And even when they live miles apart from neighbors out in the country. There has to be a way for me to cultivate that in Hollywood. I'm just not entirely sure how.

I know people routinely develop little friend circles by frequenting bars or particular shops or gyms or yoga studios. Sadly, I'm not ├╝ber motivated to do any of those things. I think I'm more drawn to trying to meet friends of friends in the area. I do know some great people in town. The Boss and his awesome wife live just a few blocks from us and have had me over for some fun little get togethers. But of course, I crave more because of what I used to have in Montrose.

Mr. W has teased me recently after we met a couple of his friends' girlfriends. I was so enthusiastic and immediately wanted to be BFFs with them. Mr. W totally pinned me as a stalker and told me to simmer down or I'd scare them away. (I friended both on Facebook anyway...) I guess I was just hoping to find a new hiking buddy or movie pal.

It's sort of like being single again. I have to figure out how to hit on people in a non-creepy way. So, of course, I'm looking for advice. How do you guys build out your communities without seeming like desperate social rejects?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Thinking of Adding a Pear Tree. And a Partridge.

Yesterday's backyard harvest was one of the best ones yet! I ate all 5 of the strawberries, made a tomato-basil salad with a couple of the big guys above and whipped up zucchini pasta for dinner tonight. Maybe there'll be a stuffed pepper dinner later in the week.

For some more pics of our little backyard farm, check out 'S Wonderful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Quiet House Makes a Thankful Heart

I'm over at 'S Wonderful today thanking my lucky stars and thinking about the effects we all have on each other's lives. I can't help it—I get a little schmoopy when Mr. W is away for work.

Read my post here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nothing Satisfies Quite Like the Real Deal

I eat dark chocolate almost every day.

I keep a stash in my desk drawer and peel into it in the late afternoon, pretending I'm just out to get my fill of antioxidants. But really, I just want the chocolate fix.

I've tried substituting other things. Fruit. Almonds. Cottage cheese. Milk chocolate. Which usually just leaves me eating more and more to try to fill the original craving. Nothing is as good as a little square of the dark.

But what if all my dark chocolate was out of the country for 7 weeks? How would I hit the 75% cacao spot in my stomach?

I suppose I would schedule as many activities as I could and start a million craft projects for my Etsy store and try to finally get my chocolate-eating butt in gear when it came to writing. At night I would lie in bed, missing the chocolate. I would get up and hike the next morning with an apple or a graham cracker and feel reasonably satisfied, but not fully.

I would drink wine alone on the couch, remembering times chocolate had been there with me, laughing over a mishap on Iron Chef. I would tend all the vegetables in the backyard, wishing chocolate was around to give me a little energy boost.

I would see movies with friends but think about having chocolate's hand intertwined in mine during the film.

All the distractions in the world couldn't quiet the chocolate yearning. Which is why it's going to be so hard to go without him for the next 7 weeks while he's in London working on that damn movie again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is It Better to Contract or Expand?

A couple of weeks ago, I broke down and joined Twitter. Feel free to follow me...

My main motivation for this was the thought that maybe I could promote my Etsy store on there after I beef it up a little. And maybe someday, promote a book I write. I also felt a sort of duty to my job to round out my grasp of social media. Everyone is tweeting now, everyone is liking everything on Facebook.

The problem with adding another site to my collection of online endeavors is that I now have yet another time sucker to keep me from writing (or blogging or giving scalp massages to my new groom). And it has me wondering whether it's smart to expand all this Internet stuff—indulging hobbies on Etsy, documenting life on the blog, socializing with old friends on Facebook—or if I would be wise to simplify. Contract. Decrease.

I appreciate social media as a marketing tool. But in my effort to embrace social outlets, I'm worried I'm going to keep myself so occupied, I'll never actually have anything to market there.

So I'm wondering where you all net out with this stuff. A lot of you blog. Do you lose hours on Facebook? Do you tweet? And if you do it all, do you find it hard to balance? Is less more here or do I need to widen my perspective?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Men Are from Mars. And Sometimes So Are Their Daughters.

My dad worked for the same company for 44 years.

He started out there as a slick-haired 18-year-old and retired at 62, the grandfather of three girls. I have no idea how he stuck with it for that long.

He used to leave for work every day at 6:30 a.m. and return home at 4:30 p.m., change his clothes and retreat to his rocking chair where he would engross himself in crossword puzzles or the latest issue of Popular Mechanics. By the time my mom got home at 5:30, he was refreshed and ready to hear the tales of her hen house-like office job.

He had a system and it worked.

When I read the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in college, there was a section in it about men "going to their caves" that immediately made me think of my dad. That's what he was doing in his rocking chair: removing himself from society so he could recharge his batteries.

The book said women dealt with stress differently, but I don't think that's the case with all of us.

You see, lately I've been noticing that I too do better if I can "go to my cave" after a hard day. Although I've been living with Mr. Wonderful for almost 8 months now, this just occurred to me last week. I was having a particularly frustrating time at work and one night Mr. W wasn't home yet when I arrived.

I poured myself a glass of wine. Decompressed. Shed my grumpiness from the prior 9 hours. By the time Mr. W got home, I was perky and pleasant to be around. (My mother and sister are rolling their eyes and muttering "liar" right now.) Every other day last week, I wasn't in the best mood when I greeted my hubby.

I really think the alone time did the trick.

Not quite sure yet what to do with this information. Maybe I need to tell Mr. W not to talk to me for 15 minutes when I get home. Or maybe I need to make it a habit to lock myself in the bedroom for a little while until I can have a peppy attitude.

Just when I think I've learned everything I could from my parents, dear old dad gives me another life lesson...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Beauty of a Staycation

The big, fat Internet company I work for threw us a nice juicy bone this past weekend when they gave us not only Monday but Tuesday off for the 4th of July.

Mr. Wonderful and I debated on whether we should take advantage of my free holiday and go on a trip somewhere, but the idea of not packing, not getting travel weary, and cleaning out the garage (note: garage cleaning is NOT vacationary AT ALL) appealed to me more. So a staycation it was!

Rather than just hang around the house and catch up on chorebies (sometimes even hobbies feel like chores...) we brainstormed some ways to spice things up. When Mr. W proposed the idea of visiting the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, I was sold. We've always been big fans of those sorts of places.

We loved strolling the gardens of Paris in 2009.

And we dug Kew Gardens outside of Richmond in the UK.

The Arboretum definitely satisfied our European garden appetite. Visit 'S Wonderful to check out some of the cool pictures we took while we were there: