tea and textiles with George – then a shock in the night.

darlings

we woke up in the small hours Literally on the Floor.

a tiny nail.

hidden in the tawny blond(e) carpet Punctured the aero bed upon which we sleep while awaiting our furniture to arrive from The East Coast.

and it’s not even our aero bed; it’s lovely greg’s.

Oh my.

The delights of bed, bath and beyond (sort of a grown up mothercare-slash-housewares-dept-of-debenhams for our British friends) await us today.

But no matter.

We can handle things as long as we don’t get into an Overwhelming Panic about everything that Might go wrong (overwhelm was a Large feature of our childhood personality – lots of brooding walks on the Cliffs and staring out into the English channel like a daphne du maurier heroine).

So we truly appreciate Tea and Textiles and a soothing conversation about Life and literature – with George.

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Especially because George has a chandelier – and a View of the Hollywood Hills.

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We have a delicious View too.

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And in the absence of actual Furniture; a nice long counter for our Library books, the first utility bills nestled inside our new mail box yesterday, a thank you note or two to be Posted and lots of To Do Lists – including one for bed, bath and beyond that starts with “buy new aero bed”.

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Yes.

We are a Tiny bit Overwhelmed.

But it is Sunday.

And Sunday is quite the nicest day (and the name of that striking Ms. Kidman’s eldest, if we do recall).

hello, california. We made it.

darlings

beyond tired.

And so happy. 

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We have returned, to live, in California.

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It was Very touch and go at the airport. We knew we weren’t contagious anymore (out of incubation period) but still careful with any outward signs of Tussle with the Flu.

Just the hacking cough (nowhere near an airport official so lots behind the newsstand so they couldn’t identify and haul us off the plane before take off.

Plane was actually fairly empty (this epidemic has had far reaching consequences for humanity) so we had an entire row and slept All The Way across America.

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And we shall pause in palm springs for a few days with G and Z to get well before driving into los angeles to start building a new Life.

As soon as we entered the lovely sand hued ranch house we were told to get into a Robe (Japanese long cotton – ready for us) and soft slippers (Tokyo hotel room for westerners issue) and given a deep bowl of healing chicken soup.

Then the three of ua caught up with old friends over a low carb low sugar frozen treat and tea (for us).

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Tis late Back East as we shall now learn to call it.

We wave fondly and lovingly to our beloved ones from the past (almost) 7 years and hope at least a few come to Visit (we really hope they will).

While slipping under a retro 1988 duvet from That clever Mr. LAUREN, purchased in Honolulu many moons ago when he was still doing that beachfront property owned by people with farrah flipped hair and great teeth.

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California dreaming.

So happy.

the irony.

*wry_glance_to_camera*

from. the. couch.

(well-spotted – an archive picture indeed – not a leaf to be seen today).

soho.in the city that doesn’t sleep?

defd2aa25bad11e2ab6822000a1fb191_7we haven’t.

since monday night.

hours of strange half-sleep-half-awake-half-panic – yes.

but actual blissful SLEEP?

nope.

not since monday.

we hear we’re not alone (we were going to link to a newspaper article but why scare you).

safe to say that apparently the city of Boston has gone into a state of emergency because of the flu epidemic.

EPIDEMIC?

ok.

calm down.

calm down.

*exhausted_and_pathetic_look_to_camera*

this was our last day in NYC.

and we saw it through the windows (mostly*).

*we attempted to emerge swathed in a great many layers at 7.20AM this morning to see our favo(u)rite downtown chaps at a place we sometimes gather of a morning but 20 mins into the hugs and smiles and trying To Be Brave we started shaking (either emotion or flu or the sheer bloody low temperatures of the Eastern Seaboard – who knows).

so we walked (very slowly – again – the Irony – of the feet that have walked so many lands for Hours and Hours and we can barely make it round the corner).

having painted a truly pathetic (in the Dickensian sense of the word you understand, no self-judgement here, these days) picture, we’d like to tell you that we feel a Lot Better.

just staying safe and waiting for the boxes to arrive.

oh.

no.

we shan’t actually Do anything with the boxes.

Jonathan ordered them.

and so they’ll remain in some corner (we don’t have a great many of them, this being a NY pied a terre you see) until After we leave on a jet air plane to palm springs tomorrow morning.

just to be Entirely sure we get there in one piece, we booked a black town car with a driver.

we’ll be the one fast asleep in the back, wrapped up in a pashmina, a DKNY slim-fitting leather jacket (all coats have now been consigned to the lovely people at Housing Works) around our shoulders, clutching our Jackie O sunglasses for dear life.

we will miss new york.

and it’s been a terrible irony that we haven’t seen ANY of it this past week.

come to think of it, this has been the cheapest week we’ve ever spent in this city.

sips of tomato soup and medicated lozenges and lots of hot water with ginger root powder and fresh lemon.

a most abstemious existence.

which is (almost) funny because everyone we spoke to Last Week said they were going on a “Major Cleanse” (so scary) and had shelled out (british slang for you there) a Fortune for those orange boxes which come with various potions and cayenne pepper and what not.

they could have just come round here. we have several sorts of pepper and not a Cake in sight.

see you on the other side (of the country)!

fabulous friday with friends (and more forms than we care to mention).

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we started the day Early with some Very Nice work calls and had a renewed appreciation of our surroundings – considering they will be Packed up in 7 days (slight change to Plan – we Fly on the 12th now). 968c0f8a55e111e2a67a22000a9f3cad_7

then some making-of-a-parcel for our Niece (oh yes, did we not tell you of our Aunt status? such fun. so many possibilities to Grow and Change into Mame at some future point). e8b00cd4569111e2a9d822000a9e29af_7

and then the Friday unfolded.

first the newspaper – and then Tales from Friends. efea7002567311e28dc722000a1fbcbc_7

we took our Parcel (for the Niece that doesn’t yet know about us wanting to be Auntie Mame but the time is Almost Right to broach the subject on a Trip Abroad) and Other Letters (including asking the lovely ladies at Persephone if they could change our Address for the Biannually – as we really Did enjoy the May arrival of the aforementioned Biannually.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a small catch up with some Library Books (more on Djuna soon – we promise). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and sighing over the almost-empty-sample-pots from Farrow and Ball that will have to be emptied or disposed of (safely) as they cannot get Tossed around in the Truck across America (safely). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More Forms (than we care to Mention – some of the Admin, tis true, was done on the Interweb but some of it was just Too Complicated or Didn’t Work and we got cross and had to get actual paper forms – felt very 1930s with a black ballpoint pen.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then we took another trip outside (in 24 degrees which apparently is MINUS TWO in old money – good grief – no wonder we’re so bloody chilly). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut all was Not Lost.

we spent a beautiful evening with friends.

and there was a Chandelier.

#weadoreachandelier

don’t you, darlings?

makes one feel so Hopeful and twinkly and quite bursting with happiness and excitement.

too much. #allpassionspent

it’s all too much.

need to go Back to Bed.

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we’ve been Updating Change of Address and it’s exhausting (especially when one Encounters those either Automated or in-another-land “remote helping agents” who are not That Helpful when changing one’s utility bill reference details).

sigh.

oh for a late 19th century existence.

AllPassionSpent

although we Are aware that there were a Great Many Restrictions upon a person of whichever gender in those days.

but – you know – just for a moment – nothing to do but pick up a cup of tea and await a caller with roses.

*dramatic_sigh*

and the Truck Across America doesn’t leave until the 14th.

so we’re flying out of here to there on the 12th instead.

and then we Wait on the other side (of the country) – not behind the veil of life itself, darlings.

we’re dramatic.

but not That Bad.

giggle.

are you having a delicious day?

are you warm and toasty with a good book waiting for your arrival home from the Office?

we do hope so.

links and extracts please.

we love those.

endless lists: countdown to leaving manhattan #7Days

gulp.

we just made a few phonecalls to let people know we’re leaving in 7 days.

you can hear the hurt in some people’s voices.

and it makes us Very Sad.

but we understand.

it’s hard to leave.

but it’s harder to be Left.

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the big city has been good to us (and also Very Tough and toughening and brutal and caressing and moulding and shaping and changing A Lot).

there’s Such a LOT TO DO.

we have lists Everywhere.

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and we met with Jonathan this morning to hand over Big Tasks like:

  1. hire removal men (we assume they’re men, maybe not, that would be Refreshing)
  2. pack (everything – not a skill we have – we are Far Too Sentimental and it would Take Forever as we poured over scrapbooks and moleskines and books and notes and….doesn’t bear thinking about)
  3. put everything in Van and get it Driven Across America
  4. get dupe keys cut
  5. talk to new building manager to get ceiling painted (popcorn, er, no, we don’t Love that look), fix window, clean (and generally Prepare themselves for our Arrival ;-)

and then we’ll take on:

  1. change of addresses
  2. banks, accountant, attorney, doctors
  3. new driving license
  4. get a few month’s supply (how much??) replacement thyroid-glands-medication due to you-know-what (because we don’t know when/How? we’ll get a new DR as good as ours).
  5. etc.
  6. (we Faded fast when making our list).

we pause a Lot to take sips of various hot beverages and write.

in cafes.

(or we get Distracted and start Sorting Paperwork).

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we feel Melancholic at every turn.
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we swim, daily.

(yes, our local “health club” as they used to call them in 1970s england has a Chandelier)01a9f6b054de11e28ed022000a1fbc58_7

and then, at midnight (because we can’t Sleep), we get up and manically (but not clinically, so, fear not) Paint frames (Farrow and Ball – blue ground and pink ground).

sadly we paint them so Badly that they can’t even be claimed to be “shabby-chic” and so they’ll be Donated to housing works with the other various bits of our life that others might find useful (or not).

deep exhale.

and it’s 29 degrees.

Lots of Moisturizer, darlings.

Lots.

and Kleenex.

and British telly DVDs in-the-post (thank you, dad).

packed and ready for Los Angeles (part 1)

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So it’s the night before the night before. …as it were…and we’re Packed and ready to fly to Los Angeles for part 1 of our journey back to the Other Coast after almost 7years in manhattan. 

Always good to get Really Sentimental and hopelessly festive by watching a suitably uplifting and twinkly movie.

This trip is to find somewhere to live.

And a car to drive (it being L.A)

But we are having Feelings about leaving NY.

Especially when the city is doing Such a good job of being all delicious and warm and sparkly. 

As it was today.

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All congenial over Brunch with its inhabitants in basic black (and a couple spotted with berets too) sipping espresso and sharing the sunday papers.

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And tiny new yorkers danced to their own rhythm in greenwich village.

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Even the sunrise this morning was tranquil and not up and at em overachieving at All (because everyone here is now on Vacation).

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We have a fresh moleskine (#145) to write in as we take off.

And all our data is backed up (*concerned-look-to-camera* is Yours, darlings?)

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So we can take the laptop and know all is well (for we deliver the Book Assets in the new year when we sign the Contract with our Publisher and smile a lot at our clever Literary Agent).

Some people keep text-ing-us to say “are you there or here?” which is sort of depressing that they’re obviously not Regular readers of us here #sigh.

Some we respond to.

Others we don’t.

Just like some respond to our letters and requests or connecting and thanking.

And some – well – don’t.

But we’ve been here before.

Transitions are by their nature changeable and relationships wax and wane like the moon or the size of one’s office.

We’re still here (Carol tells the story best).

The biggest issue (and we struggle to write this) is that our application for permanent residency (the card that is not in fact green in the plastic-y-reality) is now due for a decision (after, yes, almost 12 years in the usa so if you’re an American reading this, you’ll know that we clearly want to be in your country, and we’ve discovered patience Is a Virtue and pretty much a Requirement too).

And it might come through. It might not. That happens. More often than you might imagine. Especially with the economy the way it is.

So when people say: “are you moving to LA permanently?!” (the double punctuation is for the incredulous new yorker Residents who cannot Believe that anyone would do so).

We don’t know.

Is the answer.

But we are definitely flying There tomorrow, darlings. 

Stay tuned for the sound of the Pacific Ocean upon touchdown tomorrow.

One magical thought to leave you with.

Two people we know are also flying into LA tomorrow at around the same time – but one is immediately driving south and the other has a layover before taking the final 14 hours to Sydney. Whenever we are in an airport and a Name pops into our head, we wonder if they’re in the airport too. Flying on somewhere else.

It reminds us of the night one of our uncles (we have several actually -large family – for another Time) asked us to meet a teenage friend of one of our cousins (many more of those) who was changing planes in LA from INDIA en route to england. 

Of course!

We said (because we adore an adventure).

So we met the teen and decided we would eat at encounter at LAX.

Do you know it?

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Yes.

Rather Trippy. 

We created Quite a stir, apparently, when The teen got back to blighty and told them about their 3hours in a neon lit bubble with someone charming but rather eccentric who had Many stories to tell.

Ah.

Eccentricity is a great cover for when one is scared of what is to come.

We had only just arrived in LA ourselves a short while before. And in those days still needed to pretend we knew what we were doing and that it was All Sorted.

Now, of course, we haven’t a Clue what’s going on at All.

And that’s rather freeing.

In a California style way.

strangers in the house, with cameras.

darlings

a Very odd morning.

the landlords (yes, we rent – haven’t taken the home owner plunge as yet – no idea where we want to live when we’re grown up, you see – apart from the Motion Picture Retirement Home, eventually, because it sounds like enormous fun) sent round someone to photograph the apartment.

you know, to List It (which means Strangers are going to be tramping through our space to see whether they feel this apartment is Right for them – sigh).

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we sat at the long farmhouse (french-style) table (which is actually called Big Sur and yes, we bought it not just because it’s beautiful but the whole Big-Sur-Henry-Miller reference tickled us too) and stared nonchalantly into the middle distance and moved each time they said we’d be in shot (which was necessary because we don’t actually Come with the apartment and that would be False Advertising).

we did make our bed. and tidied away all of the belongings that feel precious and not-to-be-photographed (oh god, are we going to be stuck up in an estate agent/realtors’ window? horrors.)

but it felt so Invasive.

and yet we’re being Practical (for once).

they need to re-rent it.

we are going to Move.

this is what needs to Happen. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

but we didn’t like it.

and we’ll like it Even Less when potential suitors for the apartment come to call in the early days of January 2013 to look around.

Unless they are gorgeously Fun and interesting and we decide to make a new friend.

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you never know………Deeply Interesting characters have lived in Manhattan since the dawn of excellence and beauty.

final note.

this is a Beautiful apartment!

said the (actually very sweet) landlord’s photographer.

we blushed, prettily.

thank you….

we murmured, trying not to get into a conversation.

why are you leaving?

he said.

we looked out of the window and for a moment couldn’t remember why.

it is ever such a long Story.

booking flights. feeling scared. starting to plan.

as we sat with our cup of coffee this morning (before asking it to model, briefly, so we could absorb and reflect on the Very Nice winter light), we gathered up our strength and started to Make A Plan.

well, Of Sorts.

we counted back the days – how long to leave it before Finding an apartment (on the Other Coast)?

and then there’s the Holidays to factor in.

so we procrastinated (a lot) and went to a hotel to read magazines and write and drink tea and eat fruit and make notes about the Meetings Later Today (where we’re sort of expected to act grown-up and Knowledgeable but at least one of our meetings contains people who-know-about-teamgloria so there’ll be secret smiles which is Always delicious.

magazines-tea-fruit-writing: All of our favo(u)rite activities rolled into one. When Procrastinating.

we called this picture “homework”, for our friends on the interweb-of-pictures, and it is, of sorts. did we ever tell you about writing (yes, handwritten, young people) Letters to all the Glorious Executives in The Hollywood Reporter’s Lists? well. we’d just arrived in Los Angeles (this was back in 2001) and only knew one person (he was a Hollywood agent so it was a Rather good Start, tis true) so we thought we’d like to have Tea with people of influence-and-glamorous-offices.

and. we. did.

 

we met several of them.

gasp.

it was fun, you’re right.

a story for another time (because we promised to be discreet).

or at least heavily submerged (beautifully) under the obscura-fiction-lens in a screenplay or two, perhaps.

so back to the plan.

we booked our tickets to Los Angeles (we’re calling this Trip 1 – Trip 1.1 is the Moving Trip and it might be done on a train rather than a plane – we’ll let you know). we’ll fly out for christmas eve and then LOOK FOR APARTMENTS (eek) on the thursday/friday before coming back to NYC because we’ve realized we’ve lived here for 6 years now and never seen Patti Smith at The Bowery Ballroom. It must be done.

and then…….

well…..

how does one Wind Down a Life on one coast and start again on the Other?

it’s been done. we know.

but there’s ending leases, getting deposits and new leases and paying deposits, moving furniture, cancel(l)ing utilities, setting up utilities, unpacking vintage books, working out where to hang framed photographs, finding a new place to swim, telling the place where we swim we no longer can swim there, packing moleskines and scrapbooks and clothes and giving away stuff we don’t need and others might-like, buying a car (eek!), buying the last metrocard for the new york subway, finding consultancy, doing the final edit on the BOOK, getting published, talking about the book, doing a book tour of-sorts, writing the next book, taking more photographs, seeing the accountant, settling roll-overs with the financial advisor for 401K and insurance, getting mail re-directed, finding a new place to sit and drink coffee in the morning, creating a nice Home Office, maybe finding a space to work-with-others, writing for the Hollywood studios about movies-that-other-people-have-made, dreaming of making our own movies, finding out the nearest grocery store that sells the things we like, falling in love, making better choices about Everything.

oh. god(s).

a lot to do.

thank goodness we have Jonathan for the East-Coast-Bit.

because it’s going to be Very Hard to leave all this.

and hopefully (hint) he’ll set up an office on The Other Coast so we can feel not so cRaZY at doing this stuff ourselves (because it’s Really not our best skill-set, darlings – we have Other Skills as someone very kind once said to us).

so there you have it.

there’s a lot to do.

but this is waiting at the Other Side.

and a very differently-shaped-life (hopefully one that includes something of a Melrose place powder pink apartment building with a blue-blue-pool).

yes.

you’re right.

what a difference a year makes.

 

 

late night spaghetti.

wanna know what’s great? Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… and ya know, it was my kitchen, it was my refrigerator, it was my apartment… and it was the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have had in my entire life

wendy in St Elmo’s Fire

we’ve been keeping strange (late) hours recently.

not sure why.

that’s a lie.

we do.

everything’s changing and so we can’t sleep – we’ll be leaving new york, exiting Corporate America, giving away the teapot, the Diana Vreeland framed print and the original Avedon shot (on the vinyl) of Barbra.

but. not. quite. yet.

it’ll all be happening shortly (depending on your notion of shortly – ours is fairly hazy) – but definitely leaving New York by the holidays (the one with a tree as a central design motif, not the pumpkin one).

and so (because we’re Very Sentimental, if you’ve just joined us and Didn’t Know that, darlings) we think about this every time we use a household object – especially when whipping up a plate of late night (whole wheat) spaghetti with a good olive oil sauce and a slightly sad looking plum tomato.

as we use the small french enamel saucepan or the red iron bottomed casserole (which we can barely lift – Julia Child must have had the most Awesome upper body strength) or the white plates (Conran, naturally) we have a running list (helpfully being kept by Jonathan) of To Whom aforementioned object will be given upon our leaving New York.

you see we like to travel lightly.

and there are things we have had to buy in New York (suit jackets, Lacroix scarves) that we won’t need in our new life in Los Angeles (black jeans, black t-shirts, espadrilles).

there are also things that we don’t want to ship – because we can replace at the other end – and buy things that will fit into wherever and whatever we find ourselves upon arrival – on another note – that’s the odd thing about moving – but not moving quite yet – we wanted to renew some subscriptions But We Don’t Yet Have An Address (an odd, slightly fuzzy in the stomach feeling that one – but it’s not our first time doing this moving thing).

the list has sentimental value: pictures we won’t need in L.A and that we know people like NmP will treasure and our teapot can go to KOC because we went to tea at his place the other day and he said he didn’t have one so we said “you can have ours” and he said, “then you can visit it!”

which is sort of the point.

like pollinating a little gloria-ous-ness back East when we physically will live on the Other Coast.

it can backfire, this leaving stuff behind.

we did it once in London and then – due to circumstances beyond our control (heartbreak) – we ended up living with them again at a friend’s flat while we tried to piece ourselves together sleeping-on-the-sofa and emigrate a few days later. the cups and bowls didn’t seem so delightful so early in their new household as we sobbed on the counter and ate more muesli than necessary.

so – the late hour of writing to you now – is also accompanied by Having A Cold (which Everyone in the office has had apart from us because we were on holiday) and so the Cold waited for our Return – voila – sneezing – but not serious but since you-know-what we are Very Careful with our battered immune system due to lacking certain glands and such.

and we’re eating spaghetti.

whole-wheat and – this makes us giggle – we were reading, in bed, and suddenly felt Hungry so padded to the kitchen (alcove) in our bare feet and thought “what shall we make?” and the fridge yielded nothing much (comme tous jours, darlings – this being New York and we work Late and so eat Out a Lot) and then we did something we’d seen in the movies.

we took the single (plum) tomato (almost off its game, to be honest) and some Good Olive Oil (from Portugal) and garden peas from the freezer (we did grow up in England, everyone has peas in the freezer there) and added excellent sea salt from the delicious herb store round the corner and whipped up a small gourmet feast – just like they do in fine novels.

 and here we sit, listening to the dulcet late-night-tone of Mark Lawson (from the BBC) talking about Shakespeare (which they do a Lot on Radio 4) on Front Row, eating spaghetti and wondering if we trust ourselves with a pot of decaf or whether we’ll pull out the wrong mason jar of coffee and be buzzy all night.

we’ve already called in sick tomorrow.

we need to sniffle and sleep and get better.

and keep making the list of where everything will go and to whom and you-know – late night thoughts that will probably seem Quite Different in the light of day.

even a monday.

or perhaps especially a monday.

it’s a strange life.

but an exciting one.

right?