Aug 10 2017

15 Things That Aren’t Weird in Silicon Valley

15 Things That Aren’t Weird in Silicon Valley

Before we moved here, I always pictured California as a just-like-the-movies SoCal paradise: perfectly manicured palm trees, glittering sidewalks dotted with stars, 85 breezy degrees forever and ever and ever.

But Silicon Valley is a whole different beast. If you were expecting excessively Botoxed platinum blondes or shirtless yogi dudes who travel via surfboard and only know the word “brah,” then you’ve come to the wrong place.

At first, I thought Silicon Valley looked almost like the Midwest — well, plus some mountains — in that everything seems fairly “normal” upon first glance. On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of flashy extravagance. Run-down strip malls line the roads. People ride bikes. There are no throngs of paparazzi following Kim Kardashian to dinner.

But once you’ve been here for a while, you begin to notice that it does NOT in fact resemble where you came from, and that the differences go far deeper than a mountainous landscape. To a Midwestern mind, there are some things that seem pretty unusual — but in Silicon Valley, they’re not weird at all. Continue reading

May 16 2017

My Second Cali-versary

My Second Cali-versary

I have a confession: when I was a teenager, I told my parents I was going to move to California.

Back then, I wanted to act. Still kinda do (minus the whole stage fright thing). I’d performed in school plays (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), community theater (Anne Frank in The Diary of…), and landed roles in TV and radio commercials through a local Michigan agency. My SAG-AFTRA card has been firmly in hand since I was twelve, and for many years, I openly dreamed of leaving Michigan.

“Mo-om, the weather is, like, SO MUCH BETTER there,” I said on more than one occasion. “Why would anyone choose to live in a place with so much snow?” I went on and on about it, actually, much to my parents’ chagrin. I swore I would get out of Michigan and give acting the ol’ college try right after…you know, college. Continue reading

May 16 2016

My First Cali-versary

My First Cali-versary

I’ve been here a year.

One whole year. After a year of being in a place, it’s maybe supposed to start feeling like home, I suspect — but sometimes I still look around and think, Wait a second. I LIVE here? This usually happens while I’m driving, for some reason. I’m on the highway and at some point I inevitably notice I’m heading toward a mountain and there is this almost out-of-body experience. I have to actively remind myself, This is my HOME. There are mountains. There is not a whole lot of space or fresh water or lush green grass, but there are mountains, yes, and this is where I live now.

Am I weird? (I mean, yes, but am I weird because of this?) What’s the timeline for this kind of thing?

Maybe it’s because this alleged “year” actually feels like twenty minutes. Okay, three months. Four, tops. The other day I called someone to make an appointment for something and I said, “I’m not sure exactly where you’re located — we just moved here from Michigan a couple months ago.” Wait…what? That’s not right. “I mean, it’s been almost a year or something. Anyway. I have no idea where you are.” Continue reading

Jan 11 2016

Places I Do Not Belong

Places I Do Not Belong

We’ve been back in California for a week now, and while I enjoyed our Michigan visit immensely, I returned with the vague feeling that I don’t quite belong anywhere anymore.

Don’t get me wrong: in a lot of ways, it was the most relaxed I’ve been in months. It was incredibly fulfilling to be with our family and friends again, and SUCH A RELIEF to know that help was nearby if we needed to call upon our village. I was able to just zip away to brunch with the girls. I was able to see P and B fall in love with their grandparents again. I was able to have an actual dinner with my husband. There were way more sets of hands to change diapers, give hugs, and mold Play-Doh. My daughter’s tantrums (a very recent and totally unwelcome occurrence in our household) vanished after just a few Michigan days. She was a better person when there were more people around to love her. We were all better people, I think. Continue reading

Jul 27 2015

California Drivin’ ...on such a summer's dayyy...

<span class="entry-title-primary">California Drivin’</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">...on such a summer's dayyy...</span>

If you’re traveling to Ireland from America, you probably expect to alter your driving strategy to match the whole left-side-of-the-road thing. But I kind of figured that if you stayed within the U.S., driving would more or less stay the same.

Not so, as it turns out. At least not for me. Driving in California has been more of an adjustment than I anticipated. I’ve mentioned the U-turns and the cyclists — which were obvious from minute one — but there have been a whole host of new surprises now that we’ve been out here for a few weeks. Here are eight things this Michigander is still getting used to: Continue reading