It Feels Like Home

A Boston girl goes Hollywood then chucks it away for a life in OZ… these are my adventures and general musings.

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet July 29, 2008

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 12:18 pm
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We just had a 5.4 earthquake! This was by far the strongest quake I have ever felt. AAHHH, the big one is coming! Run for the hills… or rather, another state.

At first, I had a delayed reaction like I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. Afterall, I’ve been out of earthquake country for quite a few year now. It felt like someone was pushing in the back of my seat over and over again, and I was about to turn around and yell at what I thought was Puppy acting up (sorry, Puppy!); however, when the swaying feeling didn’t stop, Mom, Sister and I all looked at each other and yelled, “EARTHQUAKE!” We all jumped up and ran. Dad was in the bathroom (I know, funny yet unfortunate) and Paul was in his office. I guess Mom, Sister and I were running to get them which I’m not sure is such a good idea in the event of “the big one.” Luckily, it wasn’t. By the time we ran to the other room, the shaking was subsiding- thank god!

Now come the aftershocks- ah, fun times ahead! The experts have been saying California is well overdue for the big one so I’m sure everyone will be running to the stores now to stock up on earthquake survival supplies. Wish us luck.


Play Ball July 17, 2008

Since we’ve slowly been settling in to our lives in the desert, we’re starting to take advantage of the different activites and events in the area. First, we started with golf. Now, we’ve become fans of the Palm Springs Power. They are a local baseball team in the So Cal Collegiate Conference. It’s basically a summer league where college players from around the US come to play during their off season.

We decided to brave the 100 degree plus heat, so Dad, Paul, Sister and I headed to the stadium. Luckily, the heat wasn’t as devastating as it should have been thanks to the misters which really do keep things cool. After loading up with a few beers and hot dogs we settled in for all nine innings. We got to see some great, young talent but unfortunately, it wasn’t the Power’s night and they lost.

Overall, I’m glad we checked it out. We all enjoyed ourselves at the game and we’ll be returning for the all-star game next week. I’m thankful there is a league around here as it’s nice to be able to watch live baseball, again. After living in Australia for three years, we’ve been in withdrawl from America’s favorite pastime. Now, let’s… play ball!


Just F’in Whack It July 14, 2008

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 5:49 pm
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Since we’re currently residing in the land of golf, Paul, Sister and I have decided to jump on the golfing bandwagon and give it a go. Paul and Sister have played before and they can certainly hold their own on any course, but I’m basically limited to mini golf. Sadly, I’ve been informed that mini golf doesn’t count. So, I’m taking baby steps and moving on up to the driving range. WARNING: Sound the alarms, clear the fields: Golf challenged girl has a driver in hand and no skill!

Well, maybe I’m not that bad… after all, I did have two personal instructors giving me lessons.

Paul: “Line up with the ball and hold your arms straight, feet slightly apart.”
Sister: “Just F’in whack it.”
Paul: “Okay, move closer and put your weight slightly over the ball…”
Sister: “Sister, just F’in WHACK it.”
Paul: “Okay, now bring your arms back keeping the front one slightly straight, the other one can bend.”
Sister: “You have to whoosh it.”
Me: “Whoosh it?”
Sister: “Yeah, just F’in whack it so it whooshes.”
Paul: *Rolls eyes and gives up*

So, what do you think… am I ready to turn pro, yet?

I’ll let you decide… Which one is the better instructor?

Maybe I’ll stick with the driving range for a bit.


Today is a Good Day… July 9, 2008

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 11:12 am
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Because Sister is arriving from NYC to spend the rest of the summer with us! Woo hoo! Here come the days of trips to Catalina, wine country and Big Bear, camping in Idyllwild, golfing, chillaxing in the pool, hitting the town and god only knows what else.

See, Sister is always the life of the party. She loves life and she loves to have fun. She’s spontaneous, whimsical and the belle of the ball. When she’s around it’s always good times to be had. Plus, I haven’t seen her in seven months- 7pm can’t get here soon enough. I’ll be anxiously awaiting her arrival at the airport and then we’re heading to our usual haunt, Islands!

I love summer… I love Sister!


Our First 4th in 4 Years July 7, 2008

Paul and I finally got to celebrate our first 4th of July in the US in four years. However, we didn’t celebrate in true patriotic fashion with the all-American BBQ and fireworks. Instead, we hit the open road (despite the ridiculous gas prices) and headed to Arizona. It wasn’t so much of a vacation but more of a scouting mission.

We’re thinking about Arizona as a possible place to settle down… along with Seattle, Boston or in general, New England. We don’t know where we want to live so we’re in the process of checking everything out. Paul has always lived in California his entire life so he’s keen on living elsewhere, not to mention, you can’t really get that much for your money in Southern California. Homes, property, gas, etc., are all more expensive here… you just don’t get enough bang for your buck.

When we first decided to move back to the US it was a bit unnerving for several reason, but one of the big reason was because the US economy was tanking quickly… I’d say a recession of sorts but no one here dares to mention the ‘R’ word. Living in Australia we were doing really well and happy to be earning Aussie dollars. Everything was secure and there was no fear or uncertainty amount the economy or the booming housing or job markets. On the flip side of the coin, we knew moving back to the US would be good for buying a home and settling down. It’s definitely a buyer’s market… if you have good credit. To some degree, even though the US economy is uncertain, the housing market is very favorable for us.

So, we’ve officially started our home search and the first place we decided to check out was Arizona. Growing up, my family always spent school vacations holidaying in Arizona. I have fond memories of the state and I’ve always thought it would be a nice place to live. There are heaps of outdoor activities, natural landmarks, national parks, beautiful desert and I really love the southwestern culture. 

We have an idea of what we want in a home and its community. We’re not keen on the whole track housing, land development communities with strip malls, fast food chains, and discount shopping centers. We like areas and homes with personality, charm, unique homes with large pieces of land, small town/community feel, etc. 

We started our search in the Scottsdale, Carefree, Cave Creek and Fountain Hills areas and saw a ton of homes- mostly new construction. Even though we were only there for four days, we were able to get a good understanding of what areas and the types of homes we would consider and others that we would discount. Out of the areas we saw, I think we could be happy in the small community outside of Scottsdale called, Fountain Hills. The home we liked the best was actually a town home in a small 20 unit community. It’s a large four bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2200 sq ft. home with a nice pool, however, we wouldn’t get the land and we’d be living in a townhome community. Fountain Hills does have that small town sense of community and you don’t have the strip malls or the Walmarts. The entire community is built around this lake/ Fountain feature and has walking/dog trails, playgrounds, etc. It’s really quite lovely, however, we would have to make sacrifices… the big one being that’s it’s not actually a single family home with its own land.

Although I think we could be happy in Fountain Hills, I do think we could still get more for our money elsewhere… an actual home with proper land in a community that we like. I’ve compared what we liked in Fountain Hills to what we could afford in the Boston area and without hesitation, we could definitely get exactly what we want there. I won’t entirely rule out Arizona, because I do like it and we could certainly be happy there, I think financially, it makes sense to look elsewhere.

There’s more happy house hunting in our future. It’s kind of a scary, frustrating yet exciting time. This crucial decision impacts the rest of our lives. Both of us will make sacrifices, but hopefully we’ll find a home that is meant for us. We control our future and I guess that is what is scary. We have to power to make our lives what we want… it’s just a matter of figuring out what we want.