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Diving In

My social calendar is taking this weird track right now where I'm suddenly penning down more and more LA plans at the same time that the Chicago plans are ticking off towards their final one. Life in LA is truly beginning to materialize.

We found out this week that we are going to be the new LA editors for BlackBook, which is really exciting because we were reluctant to give up our Chicago post. For the last three years we've been writing about all the new bars, restaurants and hotels that have opened and it's been a great deal of fun. Turns out our first assignment in LA is going to be covering the LA film festival and yesterday we signed up to see a bunch of documentaries, attend the gala opening of Green Lantern and go to a "Conversation with James Franco." All in our first few weeks back.

Talk about diving in, huh?

The last time I moved to LA I was twenty-four and had spent the last four years living in New York. I didn't know anything about Los Angeles but I got a job right away at a really fancy entertainment magazine and ended up being thrown right into the Hollywood scene. It was wildly fun and confusing. I feel like Greg is about to get the same kind of introduction, but with less reprimanding from his boss.

I almost think Greg should start his own blog, all about what it's like to live your whole life in the midwest and move to LA at age 32. I'd read that, wouldn't you? Eh, nevermind. It's never going to happen. I'll have to tell you all about how he's doing. Right now he's worried about what to wear to the gala. (So am I.)

We leave in less than a week and it really feels like it. I've been waking up feeling panicked, forcing myself to pack a bunch of boxes and then by midday my steam runs out and I feel overwhelmed and get nothing else done.

I'm also getting emotional. I'm going to be a wreck tomorrow when we have to say goodbye to our nanny. She's been with Vera since she was 2 months old and she's truly become a part of our family. She babysat for us last night and cried the whole time I drove her home. I keep trying to convince her to move to LA, and I think she's considering it.

In some ways it doesn't seem real. I can't imagine not living in this apartment anymore, even though it looks nothing like it once did. When I drove home last night and found myself looking for raccoons in the garbage cans as I pulled into the garage, I couldn't believe that I won't be doing that much longer. Someone else will.

But then I thought about those last days in my old apartment in Venice and how sad I was to be leaving it. In an instant though, I was able to conjure up so many things about that old apartment — the little latch at the bottom of the gate and the way it used to stick, the feel of the ocean air through the screens and the light in the kitchen, and I realized that just like everywhere else I've lived, this Chicago home will always be a part of me.


  1. Claire, this all sounds SO exciting! I have dreamed of moving to L.A. forever (my brother-in-law lives in Orange County). And what I wouldn’t give to attend “A Conversation with James Franco”! Best wishes for a smooth transition. At least you’ll already know your way around and have plenty of friends there!

    Comment by Tammy in NC on May 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

  2. I love the idea of your nanny moving too! I mean, geez — all those social events already piled up on your calendar? They are sure to require babysitters. Take her with you; let her live in one of your closets for a month to see how it goes.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the transitions in store for all of you. You are wise to know that the memories you are leaving behind are all happy ones, and the new adventure will bring many more of the same.
    Good luck with the attendant chaos!

    Comment by Carroll on May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

  3. Congrats on the new gig and upcoming move to LA! It’s almost time! You must be so excited. I know that whenever I’m not here, I’m dreaming of being here. I’m sure Greg and Vera will love it, too. :) If you ever need a freelance writer for LA BlackBook, let me know. I used to do publicity for the movie studios, as well as write full-time for a special events magazine in Pacific Palisades, and really miss getting out and about. I adore freelance writing but it can get lonely sometimes! I’m expecting my baby girl at the end of July, but I’d be ready to write soon after that. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and would love to meet you someday, too. I can be reached at I hope you have a safe and happy trip! Enjoy the journey.

    Comment by Liz on May 26, 2011 at 4:06 am

  4. We should totally meet up this summer and chat!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

  5. Thanks, Carroll!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

  6. Thank you! Youll get a full report on Franco! And maybe a cell phone picture or two. :)

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

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