I Am Starring in the Truman Show

As I power-walk down the street, I observe perfection. Perfectly manicured yards. Perfectly clean streets. Perfect weather. Perfectly behaved children. No two houses the same and many of them architectural jewels. Life moves at a slow pace and what they call traffic is laughable.  The people are southern-friendly. Everyone owns a bike and uses it regularly.  As Garrison Keillor would say it’s a town where  “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Naturally, it was just proclaimed as having one of the top best school systems in the US.

Everything is so sweet and simple that it is jarring. There is so little crime that all the police have to do is give out parking tickets and chastise residents for going without bike helmets. Housing is in such high demand that rentals are gone within 2 hours of being published in the local paper. Kids roam freely throughout the community and like Cheers…. everyone knows your name. It feels fantastical. I keep waiting for someone to pull back the curtain and show some man pulling strings like the Wizard of Oz.

Waiting to wake up from this dream. In the meantime… I will enjoy life in Coronado, California.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day is a New Day

the good lifeI keep having these “best ever” days, because moving to a new place means that all experiences are new. Everywhere I go, every thing I do is new. It’s the life a child lives. The difference is that I don’t have a parent telling me ” no don’t touch that”. I get to fully experience everything.

Yesterday we began the day at a Ted Talks lecture at UCSD and ended the day at a James Bond symphony starring Sheena Easton conducted by one of the original Bond music producers. I was moved to standing applause several times. I simply could not sit still. I had to acknowledge the stupendous music (not often I get to use the word stupendous). Aside from the incredible music, the experience was flavored with a mix of nostalgia for the old James Bond films, with full orchestral sound that they don’t seem to do anymore.

clay at Sheena Easton concert 2Then we discovered another opportunity to be kids again… there was a group at the concert hall that does “walk arounds” in costume. For example, they were at the concert dressed as characters from various Bond films. (That’s Clay in photo with one of the characters.) Then we learned that we too could participate in their “walk arounds”. So, just like children… we can dress up and play.

Life in San Diego is like a drink of water from a freshwater spring….

Stay tuned for more “new day” experiences.

Urban Living – redux

My husband grew up in Washington DC, so whenever I mentioned that I’d like to move into the city, he let me know that I had no idea what that meant. So the compromise was to live in surburbia, but close to the city.

Like most spouses, I love opportunities to hear my spouse say the three golden words “you were right”, but it is now my turn to utter those words. I finally got my wish to live the urban lifestyle, and now I do know what that means.

On the positive side, it means that I can walk one block to the grocery store and numerous shops and restaurants. It means there is free live music on the waterfront just 2 blocks from house, and the added bonus of fireworks over the water at least 3 days a week, and, I regularly see ginormous ships pass by that are so big as to block out half the view of the city. Plus, the navy seals do their water and air exercises right outside of my window.

On the not so positive side, it means that along with the fireworks come the sound of car alarms set off by the fireworks. The free music and restaurants draw large crowds of tourists so the restaurants frequented by the “locals” are now overrun with tourists. It also means that on days when I can work at home, I get a close-up and personal experience with every delivery and trash truck in the area as they beep beep beep during their backups. Just love the people driving by who like to share their music with the world plus, I get to listen to the live music at the Ferry and from across the Bay whether I want to or not unless I close my windows and doors. Then there are the navy seals, as cool as they are to look at, their boats and planes make a lot of noise.

So.. to my husband “you were right”, but even with all the noise and confusion, I’m loving urban living. The picture below is the view I get every waking moment that I am home…. not so shabby huh 🙂

This is the view from my balcony 🙂

Every Day Is A Top Down Day

Where I came from, Washington DC, I could only put the top down on my convertible 5 months out of the year and then ­­­­only if it wasn’t raining. When you consider work days; springtime rains; days I rode with someone else; vacation days, etc… that 5 months gets down to about 15 days.  In San Diego, I can put it down every day, and I’m loving it. Wonder if it will become such an ordinary thing to do that I will stop appreciating it. Sure hope not…

There’s something special about us convertible owners and every ­­­time  we see one another, we wave, wink, or slightly nod as acknowledgement that we’re members of a club. It’s like having a secret that comes with the convertible, and unless you own one, you can’t share our secret. Well, I guess it’s not really a secret. It’s about freedom. Feeling the wind blowing through your hair. Smelling all the scents you pass like a dog with his head out the window. Hearing all the sounds including Rap music being played by yunguns; seeing the sky and clouds pass by (yes… we can look up and all around). An indescribable experience!

In other words, It Never Rains in Southern California. Who cares as long as I can drive with the top down all year ‘roun.

Urban living

Been wanting the urban, walk-around lifestyle for many years… and finally got it!!! On top of that… I have a view of the Bay, lots of boats going by and can walk, or bike to EVERYTHING! Talk about a dream come true.  But (and there’s always a but), with urban living comes noise. I am two blocks from the ferry landing where they have outdoor, live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon (nap time). There is a bandstand on the downtown waterfront, and the music travels across the Bay right into my living room. Seaworld is several miles away, but the nightly fireworks are both pretty and loud, and when Seaworld is not shooting off fireworks, the Petco baseball park is. The skateboarders are frequently passing by under my window day and night.

Since I’ve always wanted urban living, .. it seems incongruous to complain. How can I complain about such an incredible view with boat traffic ranging from half kayaks and jet skis and sailboats to tankers large enough to block the entire city skyline! How can I complain about the ability to walk 2 blocks to the Ferry landing with my comfy folding chairs where I can listen to pretty good free music, dance and eat pizza with ice cream. And, apparently I have another complaint coming up about being forced to watch the fireworks from my balcony, because the beach and streets will be packed with tourists.

Be careful what you ask for…..

Stay tuned

New Yorker vs Washingtonian

washington monumentThere are all kinds of preconceived notions associated with the term “New Yorker”…. loud, boisterous, obnoxious, unfriendly, etc. But, I’ve just found out that Washingtonians (as in DC) also have their own attitudes. As a Washingtonian, I was unaware that I have some distinct characteristics that are common among folk who grow up in DC, MD, and VA (aka DMV).

Aside from the fact that we Washingtonians are all important, well educated, and brag about working 60 hour weeks, we are also rule breakers or makers. We “create” our own parking spaces when a lot is full. If traffic is backed up, we drive down the emergency lane. When there is a backup of traffic entering the freeway, we pass all the cars in line and bulldoze our way into the front of the line. We don’t honk as much as New Yorker’s, but we do know where the horn is.

But now that I’m living San Diego, I recognized a trait that I was totally unaware of…. jaywalking. Pedestrians in DC believe traffic lights are only for automobiles. Therefore, they totally ignore traffic lights and cross whenever and wherever they want while blocking intersections, and daring anyone to hit them.

A pedestrian in San Diego will stand on a corner and wait for the light to change even if there is no traffic for miles around. Last week I was on a meet-up walk with 12 ladies on Coronado Island early on a Saturday morning.

There was barely any auto traffic on the island, but every time we came to an intersection with a red traffic light, all 12 of us stopped and waited even though there was no traffic in sight! THIS DROVE ME CRAZY. As I questioned them about this, one lady suggested that I relax, because life here is slower.

I then had another opportunity to observe my Washingtonian behavior when we went to a Starbucks for water. As usual, there was a line of people waiting to place coffee orders, but all we wanted was water. One lady who went into the store with me was patiently waiting in line. I explained to her that we did not have to wait because we could pick up our water from the cooler and take it to cash register. Also, because Washingtonians don’t do lines, because we are too busy, too important, and like to make our own rules.

Oh well…. Maybe I can learn to slow down… NOT

Muckety Mucks

Aleta bio pic - standing - white backgroundSpending most of my life in DC means that I am used to being surrounded by muckety mucks. Every one is a VP of this, Director of that, Presidential Appointee, or the like. So, when having the “girls” over for brunch, I don’t think about them by their titles. They are just “the girls”. When the brunch was over and I walked them to the door, I was looking out at their parked cars, and I didn’t give any thought to the fact that each of their cars had a minimum value of $50k, and everyone’s salary was six figures, because everyone in DC is a  highly paid muckety muck.

So, when I was told that I was being “introduced” to the San Diego community at a reception in my honor, I was flabbergasted. Why, I asked, would anyone come to a reception for me? This was actually the second indication that something was different here. The first was when I wanted to reach out and have lunch with a business associate, but I was told I had to be properly introduced. What? This is California! The land of informality! Unbeknownst to me, it appears I have become an MM. Apparently they don’t have enough of them here.

So, today I am writing my MM speech, and I had my MM picture taken.

Stay tuned… I could get used to being a MM.