August 19, 2007

No One Could Dream a Place Like California

In a strange coincidence, we returned from our L.A./Mexico vacation on the same flight I took when we moved to the Pacific Northwest last year. Same date, same time, probably the same creaky Horizon Airlines plane.

As Puppy slept in my lap one year ago, I watched California roll by below me and thought about the life I was leaving behind. Los Angeles was where I became an adult and discovered who I was. It is where I stumbled upon my career. It is where I met T. It is where I became a mother. Southern California is a place unto itself. Innovative, energetic, and a microcosm of the world; shallow, mean and crowded. I hated it and loved it. I miss it and am glad I escaped.

Last year as the plane touched down, I felt like I had left home behind. This year I felt like I was returning home. It was a nice feeling.

This is the music I listened to as the golden-brown desert turned to tree-covered mountains, a parting gift from a friend with far better musical taste than I. If you've ever left So Cal behind, it's a guaranteed dose of nostalgia.

Late Great Golden State (Mike Stinson)
California Stars (Billy Bragg & Wilco)
City of Angels (10,000 Maniacs)
California (Jay Farrar)
La Cienega Just Smiled (Ryan Adams)
Lil Wallet Picture (Richard Buckner)
Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far) (The Thrills)
A Long December (Counting Crows)
California (Rufus Wainwright)
Los Angeles (X)
San Andreas Fault (Natalie Merchant)
Free Fallin' (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
Why You'd Want to Live Here (Death Cab for Cutie)
I Remember California (R.E.M.)
Dani California (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Los Angeles (Frank Black)
Pancho Villa (Sun Kil Moon)

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