So here we are in Topanga

It’s September 16th today, and I’ve been here since the 6th. 10 days. A lot has happened in those ten days, and I have experienced different mental and emotional states about this transition. That’s why I waited to post anything about our move; I needed the dust to settle a bit before I could actually write anything that will also be true tomorrow.


I really like it where we live. It’s like a little compound with a series of little buildings that are all in the original Topanga style; a neighbor to the back of our building informed us of the history of this place. She has lived here for her whole life, and she knew the original owners and designers of this property where we now live. Apparently it’s where “wealthy Hollywood types” (her words) would come to “get bombed” (smoke pot) for the weekend and have a sort of camping retreat.


With that description, it might sound a little creepy to some of my readers. But in actuality, it’s got a very peaceful, pleasant feel. People are friendly but not in a plastic, fake way; also, it’s not overwhelming in an overly communal way (two stereotypes that I must have latently had about people’s friendliness in Southern California. Whoops.)


As is the tradition with the west coast fam out here (Darby, Jason, Lyric, and Oliver), they name each place where they live incorporating the landlord’s name. Our landlord’s name is Cameron, so this has been named the Campound (hybrid of compound and Cameron, just to make sure we’re all up to speed).


Cameron is a real, swell guy who likes to do extreme tree climbing and has his own animation studio on the Campound. He has three dogs, and one of them, Wolfie, is Zuri’s new, best, west-coast, furry friend. Wolfie is rather large for a dog (like 120 pounds), but Zuri is much quicker. So it’s funny to watch them play. Cameron also has two daughters (one is 4 and one is 2), and the older of the two loves playing with Senya whenever we’re all outside on the common grounds (there is a kid-awesome play set for all of us to use and a trampoline that is completely enclosed for safe jumping). Also, Cameron is married, and his wife, Rebecca, is a really kind person who is 14 days away from her due date. So, those are our neighbors/landlord family.


Our other neighbor is moving out of her house after living here for three years (she just told us that this morning, actually). She is also very sweet, so I hope her replacement is a good person (if anyone wants to move out here, it’s only $1300 a month for your very own cabin!).


So, it’s a very great environment when we are just kicking around our tiny Topanga home. It’s in the woods on a mountain; that’s pretty good for us. It’s really cold every morning and night, though it warms up a lot during the afternoon (mountain weather is my absolute favorite weather). It’s relaxed and chilled out (people are down to earth). And it does feel like a kind of home now (though I still call the east coast home-home). Our pod arrived last Friday, and now we even have our wood carvings and paintings on the walls.


One thing I love about this new season of life is that I have free time! What in the world is that?! After two years (especially this last year) of having (for all intents and purposes) every minute of my life allocated, it feels surreal to get to decide what I want to do when Senya is sleeping. It also feels like a dream come true that I get to be with Senya during the days. After so much of my life and my resources going in other directions, it is really great for this little family to have all of my resources focused here. It’s a season, so I’m enjoying it. Our plan is for us to switch up who makes the $$ and who gets to focus on the family. This is my year to be at home, and I’m loving every minute of it!


In terms of the current switch-up of division of labor roles, Collin is rocking his job. He’s a hit at the office with his coworkers, and he is good at what he does. He is enjoying little things about the job, too,  that make it more pleasant than the dreaded “office” job that he always feared. For example, he rides his motorcycle down the Topanga Canyon road in the morning. Also, he has an ocean view out of his office building at all times (tenth floor in Marina Del Rey). He works from home Mondays and Fridays, and two of the three days that he’s in the office so is one Jason Latshaw. SO, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they are sitting butt cheek to butt cheek at the same desk (just like old times).


So, this is the beginning of our little season here in Los Angeles. We LOVE getting to see Lyric and Ollie and Darby and Jason so much. Darbs drove up to our house last night to pick up a paper that we printed for the goog; she brought us some butter for the recipe I was making (mushrooms sauteed in red wine sauce served over quinoa). It’s really nice to be near them again.


Stay tuned for more updates!


Coming soon in September:

Monday I start boot camp with Angela Parker, a well-renowned fitness guru here who is going to spend 6 weeks kicking my butt into shape.


Next weekend we plan to go on a family camping trip to either Yosemite, Sequoia, or Redwood.


At the end of September JES KRUSE! CHRIS FRASER! and JOE KEMPISTA! will be visiting.



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