Good-Bye, Pacific Palisades. I’ll Miss You!

by Lian on May 17, 2010

Pali High Home of the Dolphins and Saved by the Bell

Pali High! Home of the Dolphins and Saved by the Bell

All Spring, thanks to my son’s lacrosse schedule, I’ve been spending my weekends in an alternative universe where the oceans breezes blow and the palm trees sway. It’s a place called Pacific Palisades, a town so close to perfect that even the name has more syllables than the average hometown. The zillion dollar houses, from charming bungalows to seaside manses, are maintained to the highest landscaping standard known to mankind. (There must be some sort of Mandatory Rose Bush law in the Palisades.)  The women sport yoga pants  24/7 and the men drive Range Rovers, if they are not driving Audi R8s.  The children have perfect complexions and Disney-star hair.  Main Street is filled with unique boutiques and the usual chain stores ,buffered by exceptional zoning laws.  Even the ATMs in Pacific Palisades are a little bit more generous than those in the rest of America: they dispense fifty dollar bills, not the usual twenties, because apparently no one in Pacific Palisades ever takes out just forty dollars.

Pacific Palisades, now that lacrosse season is over, I’m going to miss you.

My younger son finished up his last  game of the season yesterday, a 4-2 loss in the league championships. But, really, I was loser. I had come to look forward to our almost-weekly treks to the perfect town by the sea. Apparently, the movie-set ready Pacific Palisades High School was the only field open in all of LA for games, so many Sundays we left landlocked Pasadena and drove an hour to paradise to play. Before this season, I’d never spent much time there, except by watching Curb Your Enthusiasm which is filmed there at Larry David’s actual home. My husband, the real estate guy, says it’s the perfect place to live if you never have to go anywhere. Well, if I lived there, I wouldn’t leave.

On my last Sunday in the Palisades, I walked the streets of the charming town while my son’s team warmed up, as was my custom. I felt like the baristas at Starbucks were just getting to learn my name. Yesterday, they called me Ashleigh, which is pretty close to Lian. I took in the delightful farmers market and a few open houses in homes I could never afford. I strolled the art fair, bought some brownies from some charming teens supporting Heifer International and almost signed up for a month -long membership at Yogaworks, then I remembered that I didn’t live in Pacific Palisades.

I was only visiting.

With a heavy heart, I walked back to Pali High, home of the Dolphins, the Stadium by the Sea and a new natatorium that will rival Beijing’s Birdcage. Then, I spotted a sign on the fence at the high school: AYSO Sign-up Happening Now!  Hey– Maybe my son would like to be a soccer exchange student  in the fall.

And I could return to the Palisades and pretend for another season that I lived in Paradise.

Embracing my Chaos, Lian



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Jennie May 19, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Hey – just heard the last podcast – thanks!

I just have to say that I share your issue with mailing things. It’s like I had to get on a horse and ride 2 days across the prairie to get anything in the mail – I just seem to not be able to do it! My daughter’s class is doing that “flat Stanley” thing (mail him around the world and have pictures sent back) and it took me FOUR weeks to do it — to the point that I sent a PDF to Portugal because school’s almost out!

But, dontcha know, when I DO make it to our little p.o. I know the ladies by name and they ask how my daughter is doing these days. Gotta love small town life!

Chris in San Diego May 19, 2010 at 4:53 AM

Lian – I am in total agreement with Lisa Paul, and so look forward to your podcasts. When SS ended, I was so bummed… Now I wait for Thursdays and your new podcasts! Your approach to the modern mom’s chaos is very refreshing, and makes the rest of us feel like we are doing okay with the immensely tough challenge of raising kids today. Your attitude of us “all being in this together” takes a lot of pressure off of us to be perfect moms—we’re all learning together and thank you for guiding us with humor! Also love your columns at Can’t wait to read Helen of Pasadena. Keep up the great work!!

Lisa Paul May 19, 2010 at 4:08 AM

Hi Lian, I was really sad when SS ended, but I just realized a bright spot – one of my favorite parts of the show was when you would share about your life, as I also have a boy (11). So now, I get to hear lots more details about the chaos in your life, and you have more time for your writing, at which you are so talented. I check your website daily for posts and enjoy them immensely. And when a new podcast is posted, that is a highlight of my week. Lisa in MN

Susan May 18, 2010 at 5:19 AM

Hi Lian-

I was curious about “Pali” High School so I went on their website calendar and had to laugh – the school titles their “school-out-days” as “pupil-free-days” – sounds more PC, I suppose. The community sounds delightful!

Diane Gray May 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Nice independent bookstore in the Palisades, I believe, if you have time on “Helen’s” busy schedule.

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