Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Since arriving in Los Angeles about a year-and-a-half ago, we have attempted to get out as much as possible and soak in all this city and its surroundings have to offer. When I say "all" I mean, concerts, plays, hiking, exploring other communities etc... If I had to give us a grade on how well we've done, I'd say we deserve a "B." A solid grade but one that can be improved upon.

We have managedto attend more concerts than ever before and have wedged in a few plays and hikes. But, I'd like to do better at quick, weekend camping trips (I should work on overcoming my fear of bears). Last time we went camping, I made Russ pitch a tent in the middle of a desert because I didn't want a bear to eat us.

I credit the frequency of our stellar entertainment to a couple of key factors: being KCRW members and not owning a house. We are huge KCRW listeners and so we decided to become members (besides, they guilt you into joining during their phone-a-thon). One of the perks of our membership is that we can call in during contests and try to win tickets and Russ ALWAYS wins! In fact, we win so often that we had to get separate memberships because the rules state that a member can only win once every 90 days. Winning too often is an excellent problem to have.

I'd also attribute our "go get em" lifestyle to not owning a house. When we lived in Seattle, we were attracted to the real "fixer uppers" and spent every spare moment sanding, cutting, painting, planting, building and cleaning up our home(s). While we desperately miss house projects, we've had to learn to relax and find other ways of connecting. This has been great for our relationship and for our faith. Honestly, for the first few months it was like we were paralyzed on the weekends. We had no idea what life outside of house projects looked like...if not a trip to ReStore (in Seattle) what should we be doing? We've been stretched and have learned to think out of the box, be focused on the present and honestly, the quiet has allowed us time to reflect on the bigger picture of life (a much longer blog entry...to come :)

Our newly remodeled home in Madrona. Everything was redone: deck, siding, painting, walkway, floors, walls, plumbing, staircase, kitchen, bathrooms completely gutted, backyard, fireplace, etc.. It makes me itch just thinking about it - - o.k., I wasn't always the happiest camper every weekend and every evening but am glad we did the projects - "balance" is the title of this post for a reason :)

Russ working on the walkway

Kitchen before

Kitchen after (notice the bowling alley counter - that was sad to leave)
We are slowly testing these waters of non-house projects and are finding ways to involve ourselves in our church, with our friends and of course, we are finding all sorts of time to take advantage of free concerts! Last week it was Dengue Fever (a Cambodian Rock Band) and this week it is Conor Oberst - - woo woo! We also have a couple of bigger hikes planned for the summer - - Catalina Island and Devils Gulch!
Malibu Family Winery - Ang's 30th Birthday

At Dengue Fever at the EchoPlex - Free tickets are best!

Hiking at Lone Pine, California (not too many bears up here)
It seems glaringly obvious now that living a good life is about finding a balance. Nonetheless, I am glad we've had the two extremes of house projects and endless entertainment because, hopefully now it'll be easier to spot the middle - where the balancing takes place.
There is nothing in the world like witnessing the transformation of a dodgy dwelling to a beautiful abode and knowing that your sweat and hard work directly attributed to this change. As well, our favorite date is sitting on the grass at an outdoor music venue, drinking a cold drink, eating good food and listening to great music. Perhaps these dates are all the more rewarding after a hard days work of remodeling.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Babies and Birthdays, oh my!

Shifting gears from one side of the world (SE Asia) to a whole new world...Babies!

We just returned from a whirlwind trip to Seattle where we helped our best friends celebrate some siginificant milestones. JJ's 30th birthday, we hosted a couples cocktail/baby shower for JJ and Piper and I helped with a shower for my dear friend Jenelle (she and Piper's due-dates are only 5 days apart). I know, it was a lot to experience in three short days but it was a blast!

It seems that everywhere we went, there were babies or babies-to-be-born! In fact, our good friend Niki (and Mike) welcomed their newest member of their family, baby Rocco, this past Saturday (Congratulations!!!). Russ and I counted, and between our family members and all of our friends, we know at least a dozen people who are getting ready to experience the joy of all things baby or, who are adding to their brood.

I debriefed the weekend with my mom and recounted the couples cocktail shower with my good friend, Jackie, and apparently, "people are beginning to wonder when Ang and Russ will have kids". It even progressed to, "do they want to have kids?" territory. So, for the record, YES, we want to have kids, but now is not the right time for us. We are over-the-moon-thrilled to be able to support and encourage our friends and family members as they enter/re-enter this new chapter of their lives but this is one area we aren't ready to venture into just yet.
I was reading through one of my favorite websites, http://www.thenest.com/ and it explicitly stated, "even if ten of your friends are having babies, it does not necessarily mean that the time is right for you to have a child". Thank you The Nest!

While the idea of having a baby of our own is very exciting, we have our own set of twins that we are attempting to birth down here in Los Angeles. The names of our babies are "Acting Career and Adventure." I don't mean to say that one can't have these things and have a baby, but I think it would be exceedingly difficult for me to pursue acting full-heartedly and be a good mom. I'll be honest, I am hoping and praying that I book a series regular role on a network television show so that I'll have some sense of order and predictability. This would also create a more stable environment in which to have a child but, only God knows if and when this may happen.

Actors are notoriously self-centered and moms are not (or should not be). I'm a little self-centered...there, I said it. More importantly though, I don't want to be focusing on myself when I should be focusing on my child. I do plan on having some sort of career when we have a child and I'd love this to be in acting but who knows...I don't know what I'm doing next weekend let alone in a couple of years.

Also, I should note that there are always exceptions to every rule. I don't want any of you actresses, who are great moms and who can balance it all, raking me over the coals on this point. My fabulous sister, Heather, manages to be an administrator of a school, have three adorable boys AND she is pregnant with a fourth baby (a girl!!! yeah!!!) and she is a GREAT mom. So, I think it is possible to have a career and kids but I think an acting career is very different than a traditional career. Moreover, L.A. is an expensive city and acting is unpredictable and unstable. I think we need just a little more time to find our stride in both acting and in adventure before taking on yet, another endeavor.

So, cheers to all our "peeps" who are busy making, growing and birthing babies. Russ and I can't wait to join in on the fun for "round two" of the baby adventure. For now, we will relish the role of godparents and auntie/uncle to our nieces and nephews. xoxo

Lots of love!
Ang n Russ