Wednesday, July 18, 2007

California, Baby

August will mark our second anniversary of living in California, so I thought I would dedicate tonight's post to our newly adopted State.

I will start off by stating that California deserves its rap for being "flaky." People here are just .. different. But I mean that mostly in a good way. You can't fault people for being original. Actually, the Bay Area is pretty normal (hippie influence aside) relative to LA and reminds me in many respects of a small, condensed version of NYC, only with a much prettier topography. LA is .... well, LA. There's no other way to describe that place. But as I noted last night, it's a great place to visit and the weather rules.

All in all, two years into it, I must say that I love it here. I feel very fortunate to have lived in three of the greatest cities in the US in New York (which is where I am from), Chicago (where my kids were both born) and San Fran. I've loved aspects of each and am big fans of all three. If I had to live move back to either NYC or Chicago, I'd do so with no regrets. But that all being said, I think I can see myself staying in California for many, many years to come. While I loved NYC and Chicago, upon moving I didn't miss either very much. Obviously, I missed family and friends, but the cities themselves I got over in fairly short order -- and that's not a diss against either. However, I really believe that if we were forced to move tomorrow, I'd miss this place dearly.

I don't know how to best describe it, but if I had to distill it down to one word, I'd have to say "interesting" best fits the bill in terms of describing this state. Everything about California is interesting in some respect, be it the weather, the microclimates, the food, the people, the topgraphy, the culture, the Pacific Ocean, the National Park's -- I find it all fascinating. And if you are curious and truly enjoy the outdoors, then there is no place like it in the continental US.

I've always fancied myself a City person at my core, and I think those of you who know me would agree, so it was with great trepidation that we moved to the 'burbs -- Marin County. I think if we were without kids, The Wife and I most certainly would have moved in the City. That being said, I honestly feel very lucky: our house is but six miles from the Golden Gate bridge, and in my opinion, this is one of the most bucolic and charming places imaginable. Knowing what I do now, I'd choose Marin even if the City was in fact an option (which it isn't as I have no interest in going through the machinations of private school again. We went through that nonsense in Chicago and never again, thank you very much).

I could go on and on on this subject, and I probably will in future posts, but the bottom line is that I think this is a phenomenal place to live and raise kids and though to an extent I'll always be an "outsider," each day I feel more like a Californian. I think my family would agree. The coolest part of these past two years is seeing The Wife -- who came here kicking and screaming from Chicago -- grow to love it here too, though I hasten to add that she she would never give me the pleasure of admitting as much.

I always tell my junior employees that I think post college, everyone shuuld live and work for a minimum of one year in NYC. I still believe this to be true from a work standpoint and I'm starting to think the same should apply to California too, if only to gain a greater appreciation for the great outdoors and everything else it has to offer.


J said...

I've been reading all of your posts and decided to respond to this one simply because we certainly miss you in Chi-town..

I'm glad you're doing well..

payro said...

Blah blah, love SF, Chi, NY, whatever. Great.

How about the tour today? How about Vino kicking the crap out of Moreau? How about the peleton being shredded on a flat stage?!? Man, this was a great day, mostly because it was so unexpected. I caught the finish - nasty crash there in a chicane that, according to VeloNews, was not in the rider's handbook, so they didn't know about it until they hit the sharp turn at 70KPH.

And it was particularly noteworthy that Vino led the charge, and at 4KM to go, went on a solo breakaway, just for shits and giggles. I guess he isn't completely dead yet.

HowardSOl said...

Hey J! Miss you too,

Payro: watched it from my ecycling class, which was cool. That, in a nutshell, is Vino. the dude is crazy. Watch for similiar antics from him in the Pyrennes. Question: what is the peleton going to do when he goes on a big solo flyer, ala Floyd last year?

neil s said...

why no respect for Paramus? After all, it was those mean streets that groomed you to be a player.

payro said...

I tell you what they won't do - let Vino go on that flyer. The problem, I think, will be that with no clear favorite, it will be nearly impossible for everyone to mark every breakaway.

It could be carnage in the mountains this year, with unexpected winners.

Speaking of Paramus - you also need to give some love to Boonsboro, MD, site of our first (and only) 50 mile run.