Toy Story Syndrome

This weekend Zoe and I took the train to LA to visit my parents and go to a friend's daughter's birthday party at the American Girl Place. While we make the drive all the time, this was the first time Zoe and I took the train. While I will always be a California girl to the core, there are times when the cost of living, crowding, job market in San Diego makes me want to pack it in and move. I need to remember this train ride the next time I think that way. Honestly, the 30 minutes between Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano may be the most beautiful 30 minutes I've ever travelled. But, I digress. We took the train and Jason and Lucas were supposed to meet us up in LA Saturday night after a rugby tournament.

When we got to AG Place the next morning, all the other girls had a special carrier for their dolls. I told Zoe she could get one thing there, and she chose this particular bag to carry her doll in. At one point during the lunch, Zoe handed me Kanani to hold. While other mothers may have laid the doll on the floor, or on a chair, I actually sat there, holding Kanani in my lap. One of the other moms made a comment that it looks like I really love that doll. While my main thinking was that I'm not going to put the $100 doll in her $40 outfit on the store to get trampled on, I realized that it was more than that. I didn't want the doll sitting on the floor, missing the party while all the other dolls were sitting at the table. Yes, I anthropomorphized the doll.

But this isn't anything new. Ever since reading the Velveteen Rabbit as a child I have thought of special toys as having feelings of their own. A child's love can turn an inanimate object "real." And thanks to the Toy Story franchise, I now "believe" that toys come to life the moment we leave the room. When we were moving a few years ago, I found myself actually telling Zoe's Woody doll not to worry that we would find his hat, and then actually being excited when I did find his hat hours later in another corner of the house.

A few weeks ago, Zoe misplaced "Yubbie" (her lovey - a pink blanket with a bear that she's had since she was born). Yubbie never left the house, so it's here - somewhere - stuck in a random closet/cupboard/pile of junk. The first night we noticed it missing, Zoe decided to sleep with a stuffed fox that my mom got her for Christmas. "Foxy" was a soft, squish-able stuffed animal that has become a favorite and quickly attached itself to our hearts. So yes, Foxy made the trip to LA with us this weekend.

After a long, cold and rainy tournament on Saturday, Lucas and Jason decided to not come up to LA. No problem: Zoe and I would just take the relaxing train home Sunday afternoon. After almost leaving Foxy at my parents' house, Zoe clung to her Yubbie replacement in the car on the way to the train station. After getting out of the car I stuck Foxy in the bag with Kanani that I was carrying. Union Station in LA was crowded and hectic. We got to the train, claimed our seats and settled in for the 2 hour ride. Right before our stop, I grabbed all our bags. I did a once over noting that we had my iPad, my phone, Kanani, 2 backpacks and our duffle bag. We got off the train just as Jason and Lucas were driving up. It wasn't until bedtime last night that we noticed that Foxy did not make it home. After checking the car, all the bags, calling my parents, it was apparent that Foxy was gone. I even called Amtrak on the off chance that someone turned her in, but alas, Foxy is gone.

All night I kept thinking of poor Foxy, all alone, cold and possibly wet from the rain as she lay somewhere between Los Angeles and Oceanside. I hope that she knows she was loved and that maybe another child picked her up to give her love and years of cuddles. And then I realized...

I'm freaking insane


A simple coat of paint

We've now been in the new house for almost 3 months...a trimester.. a quarter of a year... and people keep asking me how I'm settling in. The truth? It's been a little hard. Jason and I are "beach shack" people. Living together, we have gone from a 700 sq foot duplex in Solana Beach to a 1000 sq ft townhouse in Del Mar to a 1400 sq ft (but on about a 1/2 acre of land) Mid-Century Modern "classic San Diego beach bungalow" in Encinitas, all west of the 5 (which, in San Diego, pretty much means minutes from the beach). All of our houses were old, but they all had tons of character. Now we are in this behemoth of a new house, with granite tiles and nice carpet and more bathrooms than bedrooms...and I'm lost. 

Don't get me wrong, the house is beautiful. I guess the problem is that it's too beautiful and grand for me. I'm the girl who shopped Ikea for ideas on "how to make the most of a small space," not the one desperate for big furniture to fill a room. More than anything it's a different frame of mind, having a nice house opposed to a funky house, and that's one that I'm not used to.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my Mom's friend, one of those people with an amazing eye for design and who used to (back in the real estate heyday) flip houses in LA. I told him I was having a hard time settling in and he gave me the best piece of advice...he told me to paint a wall.

Simple enough to do, and according to him, the best way to claim your new house as your own - a marking your territory type thing. He said to pick a wall and paint it a bright color. Even if it doesn't stay forever, pick a color that you love and makes you happy and paint a wall. I thought about that for the next 4 days. Then I went to Home Depot and asked them to whip me up a gallon of "Tiffany Blue" paint. 

And I painted my wall. And I freaking love it.

Picture by Patty at Petula Pea Photography

 And, for the first time in over 3 months, I'm beginning to feel at home.