Sunday, February 8, 2009

Look, Look, A Monk

A week ago yesterday, a Saturday, I was busy doing laundry, cleaning the house, and getting packed for a business trip to California.

I left on Sunday, arrived back home on Friday night, and spent yesterday, a Saturday, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and unpacking from a business trip to California.

Just one of those funny little inner circles of life...

Sidebar: While I was gone, Max celebrated his 100th day of school. As you can see from the picture, he made a 100th-day crown. Five days later, he's still wearing it. He loves to don hats/headbands/crowns -- especially ones he crafts himself. My other kids wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything other than a ski hat or a baseball cap. Not Mr. Beat of His Own Drum.

So I've been traveling back and forth to/from California for about 3.5 years. At first, I flew out about four times a year. For the past year, I've been out there every six weeks or so. The trip sounds a lot more exciting than it usually is. I'm typically gone for 5-6 days; two days of travel and three to four days of relatively intense work/meetings in the office. I almost always stay at my friend Romy's flat where, as I've often said, I live the life of a single urban girl for a few days. (Really, we eat in, wear sweats, play with her cats, and watch a lot of TV, so maybe it's really the life of middle-aged woman having a sleepover...)

A few observations/experiences from my most recent visit:

On people and diversity: "Look, look, a monk." This, a quote from Romy as we were driving down the street. Funny thing was that the monk, walking down the street, was carrying a new DVD player and a bag of purchases from the Office Depot. I thought monks lived a life of austerity, but maybe they watch movies too.

On food (and drink): Romy and I usually try to
squeeze in one nice meal together, and we almost always order sparkling wine. So "city" of us, don't'cha think? The other "must have's" on any trip include a good burrito and a Zachary's deep-dish spinach and mushroom pizza. "Nice to have's" include a morning bun from the La Farine bakery in Berkeley.

On transportation: I never rent a car, choosing public transportation so that I don't need to fight the traffic for which I no longer have the nerve. Riding the BART train presents a perfect opportunity to listen to my iPod, which Husband always loads up for me when I travel. This past week, I most enjoyed on BART an NPR Fresh Air podcast of a Bruce Springsteen interview and a recent podcast of Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" radio show.

On weather: 60s in California; 10s in Vermont. Not much I can say about this that isn't obvious.

On work: I always enjoy connecting up with people in the office, but the intense vibe makes me forever grateful that I work from home.

On shopping: Once in a blue moon I splurge at the Anthropologie store in Berkeley. My suitcase always suffers from a visit to Target though. Vermont is the only state in the lower 48 that doesn't have a Target. Not much I can say about this that isn't obvious either.

On friends: During my past two trips, I stayed at my colleague and friend Amy's house for a few nights. She has two kids, fourth and second graders, and I always get a big kick out of talking to her kids and seeing that I'm living a somewhat parallel parenting life on the opposite side of the country.

On coming home: Always the highlight of my trip. It takes a day or two to re-enter and adjust back to the time zone and my roles at home. Surely, the complete opposite of Urban-Girl Loft Living. Plus, it's cold right now, and it's not likely I'll see a monk walking down the street. But I wouldn't trade it for all the Targets in the world. Clearly, I need a pair of ruby slippers...

(686 words)


  1. California seems to be an amazing place. Wish I could go there someday. :)

  2. Actually on this trip we managed to squeeze in two really nice dinners... I thought the first dinner couldn't be beat- until we had the second... ;-)

  3. Names of restaurants, please? Details, details.
    The lifeblood of my life's blood.

  4. 1) Zach's at home
    2) Cafe Rouge
    3) Bucci's

  5. You're livin' large, wholesome Vermont country existance punctuated by loft living in the Bay Area. I'm totally with you on the cleaning before and after the trip - does it build up while your gone or hold steady?

  6. It head steady this trip. Husband was able to vacuum--once--so that helped...