Monday, July 22, 2013
We are nearing the halfway point of our big summer adventure and America does not disappoint. It is a potpourri of sparkly and dazzling and comfortable and weird. Do you know how wide the highways are here? They are unbelievably wide. As are the parking lots. Like you could actually drive in a parking lot without folding in your side view mirrors. And Americans are so friendly that it is startling to me. It also turns out that I have become a very aggressive driver in the year and a half that I have lived in Israel and so I have had to keep myself from honking at people and power merging. And I am often caught off guard when everyone at the four way stop is waving for the other three to go.
It took us a full week just to recover from the twenty-four hours of travel and the ten hour time difference. It didn't help that we flew Alitalia via Rome at 5 am which meant that the entire flight was daylight and more daylight followed by some daylight. There was not much sleeping and I had my three kids solo. Again. And our seats were all messed up. The four of us were assigned four different rows until I offered that maybe the baby should fly the effing plane because that was about as logical as sitting him by himself in 37F. But the thirteen hour flight from Rome to Los Angeles is a very expensive form of torture no matter how you slice it because seven hours into the ride you still have another six hours. I mean, that's just math people. And no matter how long you stare at the little moving plane icon on the flight tracker screen, it stays on eastern Canada for a very long time.
But the worst was only yet to come. A ten hour jet lag means that your kids wake up at 2:00 am three mornings in a row and you have to wait until 4:00 am to go to Starbucks. And by 9:00 am you are ready for a glass of wine. Days that start at 2:00 am are very long and lethargic days. So we did very little our first week here besides destroy Grandma's house and wake her up at all hours of the night with our musical beds and wee hour breakfasts. And we watched a lot of the Disney channel which I considered research for our upcoming trip to Disneyland. We also swam at the community pool where one family was having a big birthday and the grandma brought cake over for my kids (I guess she figured out that my baby screaming OOGA meant he wanted cake). We went to my favorite art festival by the beach for a short twirl. We went to a science museum. One day we even took the train to Olvera Street in LA and bought slime and worry dolls and Mexican paper flags and burritos. Did you know that slime can totally remove varnish from a wooden dining room table when left there by a two year old? After a week of functioning in the correct time zone we attempted Disneyland where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. We were there for twelve hours of rides and lines powered by coffee, peanut butter and jelly, baby carrots, cotton candy and joy. My almost nine year old spent much of the day asking me about the corporate partnership between Lucas Films and Disney (#AlexPKeaton) and pointing out how everything that looks real is just an image projected on a screen (this from a boy who still believes in Elijah the Prophet). The baby was out of his mind watching the parade and all of the characters dancing around and he went on most of the rides with us save for Space Mountain and the Matterhorn which I braved with only the big kids. I figured this was probably my thirtieth visit to the Magic Kingdom (you go a lot when you grow up in socal), but it was as spectacular as ever especially since we didn't lose my daughter this time.
And the last few days I have spent with my two oldest girlfriends, one of whom is getting married in a few weeks. The three of us went out dancing to a gay bar in downtown Santa Ana that we never knew existed and we marveled at all of the adorable, hard bodied, cutie pies. The next day her mom treated us to facials at Bloomingdales that she'd won in some auction and the lovely ladies at the Clarins counter did our make-up. And that's when I discovered navy eyeliner which may just change my life. And then today we went to her wedding shower which was a very traditional tea party complete with scones, finger sandwiches, tiny desserts and, yes, tea.
And that brings us to right now. In between the festivities and outings I have made stops at my regular haunts, namely Old Navy, Target, Loehmans, Trader Joes, Wholefoods and Michaels. There is still more shopping to be done. Being here makes me feel like I need more of everything because it's all so cheap. Even gas, which is insanely high priced right now and is still HALF what it is in Israel. Today we are going to the beach and tomorrow we head up to Santa Cruz where we will meet up with Mr. Rosen who will happily deal with the baby at 6 am in the morning since he will have already been awake since 2 am.
More good times ahead.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Declaration of You by Creative Career Coach Michelle Ward and Artist Designer Jessica Swift will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's BlogLovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. The topic this week is SUCCESS. Can I get some jazz hands?
Remember when we used to play MASH? Or sometimes it was MOSH. You'd make a square on a piece of paper and write MASH at the top. The M was for mansion. The A was for Apartment (the O in MOSH was for outhouse!) The S was for Shack. The H was for House. Then on the right side of the square you would list four cars, two favorable and two unfavorable. On the left side of the square you would list four boys, two favorable and two unfavorable. And below the square you would write four numbers, two small and two large. Then you would draw a spiral in the middle of the square until your friend told you to stop and then you'd count up the lines of the spiral across the diameter and starting from the big M you would use that number to eliminate whatever you landed on until you were left with a dwelling, a vehicle, a boy and a number of offspring. Voila! Your fate was sealed.
Does anyone else remember this? Fifth or sixth grade? Maybe earlier... So you hoped you'd end up with a Mansion, a Maserati, the cutest boy in your class and two kids. And even though you knew it was just a game, you prayed not to end up in a shack (or an outhouse!) with a poolman car, the class dork and seventeen kids. Because it could happen if you didn't play your cards right. That game defined success when we were kids. It was just a game but you can tell a lot about a society by it's children's games. I guess my society valued the big house and the fancy car and the cute husband and an appropriate amount of offspring.
Nowadays my definition of success looks a little different. By MASH standards I'm doing well actually. I live in house. I drive a nice (used) car. I married a very cute boy and we have three kids. My ten year old self breathes a sigh of relief. And I am profoundly grateful for all of these elements in my life but my success is not defined by any of them. Nor is my success tied to any of my accomplishments. These days I measure success by my ability to thoughtfully manage all of the flying balls and find joy in the process. This takes practice and sometimes I suck at it. Many days I feel like my business is on fire but I'm totally neglecting my kids. Or my kids and the business are thriving but I haven't exercised in six months. You get my point.
For me, at this moment, success is three well-adjusted, happy kids only a year and half after moving them to a new house and a new school where they made new friends in a new language in a new country. Success is relocating my business to Israel despite bureaucratic hurdles all the while providing the same high quality products and services to my clients around the world. Success is finally starting to write a novel, something I have wanted to do for many many years. But my biggest success is being in the middle of all of it and not feeling overwhelmed by the loose ends.