Monday, January 26, 2009

Squished States

Florida and California are sunny paradises that seem to go on forever, but it's fun being in New England where's a short drive to your next-door neighbor states.  Friday I offered up my car for a group drive up to Portland Maine to a friend's 30th birthday party.  I couldn't imagine anywhere having more snow or being more cold, but there they were, giant 5 foot piles of frozen white stuff.  

Next was Providence.  I had driven down to Ikea and figured, well half way there, might as well call my friend.  My friend, whom I hadn't seen in years, was, thankfully, not doing anything, so I sped right down to the Ocean State.  The city was absolutely adorable.  Hilly roads, small little streets, cute New England houses.

Despite the car fatigue, today I drove a load of co-workers up to Concord, New Hampshire for a staff meeting.  My day was spent in meetings, but I ventured out to a cute little co-op that served a mean cup of coffee, of which I imbibed several throughout the day. 

In each case, my experience was limited to basically seeing the people that I had come to see and not exploring the city.  Heck, I've barely had a chance to explore Boston, but each little state capital left me with the impression that in New England, small and quaint are beautiful.  Neon is completely unnecessary when you've got little capitol buildings with shiney gold domes.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This city is kicking my ass.  First bronchitis now strep--I've been sick since I got here.  I think I'm allergic to cold weather.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You Meet the Nicest People on Vacation

My eyes open slowly a giant wall-window lets in the bright, bright sun.  If it weren't for the immediate pain that surges through my temples, I'd think this was paradise.  

Through the window there's a pool with jets streaming over a waterfall.  A couple sit in the hot tub and a long bar winds around to a door to the outside world.  

The outside world doesn't seem to exist.  The sun is so bright that nothing can be seen through the door.  Over the walled yard are a few palm trees swaying in the wind. 

I've spent myself again this weekend.  It was Aspen all over again.  Substitute swing dancers for environmentalists.  Sub beaches for snow.  My body can't really take so much anymore.  Too many hangovers--I think I'll swear off drinking (again) for good.

I spend the rest of the day alternatively laying out by the pool to faithfully work on my tan and dozing inside when it gets too hot.  Its so nice to feel hot again. 

After another exciting dance on Saturday, I finally talk someone into giving me a ride back to Miami Beach.  This time I'm not encased in a gated Boca Raton community, but in the Environment Florida staffer flophouse.  I head over to the beach, which is quiet and more ntaural then what I remember for Miami Beach.  When I've recovered again, I jump on the bus and head down to South Beach. 

When I jumped off the bus, the same feeling that overwhelmed me that I felt when I emerged from the metro in LA.  I felt at home.  

It's gotten worse.  The more I trave, the more pieces of me get left in each city.  I find things and people to love and I grow roots.  When I leave each piece of me I left behind tugs me back, so that now I feel happy and unhappy in each place.  Sometimes I feel that it's better not to travel.  Not to know who you're missing.  Never be able to close your eyes and feel the warm sand or see the view from the top of Mullholand Drive.  Not to know four walls that feel like home.  

The only solution is to travel more--to visit the places and people where the roots pull me.

Thank God for 4 weeks paid vacation.

I'm sitting at Tapas Y Tintos on Espanola Way.  I used to come here 2-3 times a week and I never had one visitor to South Beach that I didn't take here.  The manager and bartender both remember me.  My espresso martini tastes the same.  And when my friends arrive and we sit down for dinner and the flamenco I don't think there's anywhere else I'd rather be. 

I ask Adam to hire me to work in Miami again, half jokingly, half for real.  That dream will have to wait a year or two though.  

And who knows?  By then my heart may have taken root in Boston.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Almost Abroad

Just when I'm thinking I'm loving standing still, I start itching to travel again. My new posters just came in for my apartment--luscious Cote d'Azur landscape, a 1950's tourism poster for Mexico and a view of LA's cityhall from Olvera Street. I finally got my library card and found out that the JP library is known for it's travel section, so I picked up Mexico, A traveler's history and La Revolucion. I've subscribed to new travel blogs and obsessively ask anyone who's been about beaches in Mexico.

The time (or budget) for travel abroad hasn't come yet, but I figure Miami is darn close. Every year this weekend is the South Florida Lindy Exchange. Since moving I've gone from host to hostee, but it's so great to return to Miami and feel at home again. There'll be the normal dancing all night, but I'm most excited to feel the humidity again, to see my old bartenders at Tapas, to watch the sunrise on the beach, to chat with the characters on Lincoln Road.

I think it was my move to Miami Beach in the first place that started my wanderlust. I packed up everything, got dropped off in what was, granted, the same time-zone, but a 24 hour drive away from anything that I knew. Spanish was the first language. Palm trees didn't signal vacation, they were your landscaping. The clothing, scarce and the parties, huge.

For this northeastern girl, I might as well have been in South America. That's the thing about Miami, you're so close to dangling off the edge of America, that you may have well not be in America. The papers are filled with news of Cuba and even the tourists seemed to adopt their own special 'Miami' personality now that they were on vacation.

Bring it on.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I actually saw a work men's crew filling in a pothole today on my main road in my neighborhood.  "Hey there!  Watch the paht-hole!" they cautioned as I crossed by on my commute.

I feel like potholes are the thing that cantankerous city-dwellers always complain about and never get fixed.  In New York City they certainly didn't fix them.  Most walkers never would notice since they're easy enough to see and walk around, except of course when they filled with rain water, but as a biker in New York you notice.   And especially when you're riding a 50's cruiser bike through midtown with an old-school basket holding your CD collection on the way to a gig.  And most definitely when you're a driver (though potholes paled in comparison to jaywalkers, one-way streets and cabbies).

Potholes are part of New York's charm.  It adds to the grittiness that New Yorkers love and see slipping away as 42nd street is Disnefied and Alphabet City is more and more Sesame Street friendly.  Ask a New Yorker why potholes don't get fixed and they'd probably tell you to love it or leave it.

But Boston tries to win you over.  Paving pot holes, genuinely apologetic voices from the train conductor when the train is late, countless community gardens, a dozen public ice rinks and folks that excuse themselves when they squeeze themselves next to you on the train.  I love it.  Have I become soft?  Jaded by the self-absorption of all the other cities I've lived in (probably deserved, I admit) and tired of the perfection of LA and the perceived-perfection of grit in NYC?  The laissez faire of everything in Miami?  The self-important politicos of DC?

Is it time for me to settle down?  I think I could not have picked a better place.  Boston is a city that actually wants you.  Their population has shrunk over the last century and the state laments the potential loss of a representative in congress this year.  So many things are meant for sharing here--the gardens, co-ops, large multi-bedroom apartments, zip cars, neighborhood associations. 

And with the disappearance of potholes in my neighborhood, I might just be getting a little comfy.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Well, that's it.  I've survived another year.  I ended up living in 6 different cities and sleeping in 22 different beds, couches and futons.  

I had weeks where I dined in fabulous restaurants across the country on my dad's tab.  I had weeks where I'd eat sushi for lunch and dinner.  I also had weeks when I resorted to grits 3 times a day and a power bar for vitamins.  I danced the night away on the beach in Virginia and at house parties in Boston.  I watched the Sunrise in Miami and set in Santa Monica.  I had a live-in boyfriend and I had my Aspen flings.  I just braved 20 degree weather and a 20 minute walk to a New Year's party, though I preferred cruising along the Pacific Coast highway in Malibu last January.

This year was full of stark contrasts.  My life was taken out, flipped over, shaken around, and stirred.  And while it's clear that the scenery changed frequently and dramatically, it'll take some sorting out to figure out how I've changed.

Here's to settling down and figuring it out in 2009.