I’ve got plenty of free time. Evenings after work and weekends are an open canvas. Most of April scooted past quickly with visits to Palm Desert and San Diego. Time closer to home was wasted hacking up local golf courses or trying to sneak past security at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Weeknights were for racking up steps on a new FitBit meandering along Ocean Boulevard. Laundry and dishes and bare walls continued to be ignored in favor of spending time outside. And when there is nothing to do, or when my mind is polluted, or when it seems impossible to make a decision, there is nothing like observing the waves washing ashore.

I will not tire of the ocean or my proximity to it. Perhaps the strongest encouragement to embark on this adventure was the ocean breeze, palm trees, and soothing waves. I was completely amazed by the setting while apartment hunting in October. If I don’t know where else to go, I’ll drive to Laguna or Seal Beach or Huntington Beach or Santa Monica and find a place on the pier to listen to the waves. I might sit there for ten minutes letting my dinner digest. I may be there for an hour people-watching. I may need a few minutes near the water late morning to let a whiskey headache subside. Honestly, I don’t know how much time has been spent mindlessly near the shore. It is an enjoyable experience every time; It doesn’t matter how many pictures I’ve snapped, how many kitschy souvenirs are sold nearby, how poorly that disheveled man is playing the guitar. In any circumstance, being near the waves offers a feeling of reassurance and helps alleviate frustration and disappointment.

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California weather reporting is interesting since it’s basically the same every day. But that doesn’t stop local news stations from hiring beautiful, young meteorologists to report the daily forecast. The local news has become part of my morning routine, and more time is spent with Steph reporting traffic delays, but Evelyn does get her share of airtime. Recent reports alerted surfers of the high tide, especially at the Wedge near Newport. The sea was angry that day my friends. News lately has included minor earthquakes, though I haven’t felt anything significant. Nothing substantial enough to dissuade me from finally unpacking another few boxes and adding character to the walls of my apartment. The upcoming forecast calls for a slight cool off with highs barely touching 70°. It is hard to keep track of what day it is when every day is filled with bright sunshine and seventy-something degrees.

I am pumped that baseball season is upon us and would be more fully invested if it wasnt for the Bulls and Blackhawks postseason chances. I have been to a handful of random college games and saw the Dodgers play the Padres in San Diego. This week I will see the Angels play at home in The Big A, and eagerly await revisiting Dodger Stadium and perhaps making a trip north to see the Giants and A’s. Going to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game will be top priority when I return home this summer. Scoring is down, pitching and defense are ever-improving and specializing. Advanced statistics allow for no mystery when scouting opponents. Baseball remains a beautiful game, made even better by new ballparks such as Petco with the perfect sight lines and expansive concessions variety. The California attitude leaks into each West Coast ballpark, where The Wave may circulate around the stadium or a beach ball bounces above patrons in the box seats.

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Of course, a friendly warm wave hello is a good feeling too. I have met a handful of people since moving, some of which I would consider friends, while others I will likely never meet again. There are those here I lean on for local knowledge or recommendations and certainly look forward to each time we connect. However, my most passionate memories and strongest emotions remain tied with those back home. The story of how we first met or the mischief we caused or the places we traveled together. I am excited to come home this summer to reconnect, and also in celebration when we gather the entire crew in St. Louis.

The most difficult wave is one wishing farewell. I have never enjoyed saying good-bye, always focusing on fond memories and sentimentality. Photos and songs trigger positive reflections; I quickly up-and-left for the West Coast and began making my life in Long Beach before completely comprehending all that I had left behind. California life is more than an extended vacation after all, and everything I know is rooted in suburban Chicago. There is a lot of emotion tied into saying ‘so long’, and plenty of adieus were exchanged in the weeks leading up to leaving Arlington Heights. I joked about the damage done to my liver when meeting friends but am grateful to have met over drinks with so many before I skipped town. I only wish there would have been time for more heartfelt good-byes… Not that I would have begun to excel at waving farewell, nor would it have made leaving home any easier. It is an amazing thing that I now live in California. And I am fortunate to be here. My hope is that this is not good-bye, it’s see you later…

The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film’s story and serving as executive producer. The second release in the Star Wars franchise, it was produced by Gary Kurtz for Lucasfilm Ltd and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.

The film is set three years after Star Wars. The Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader and the Emperor Palpatine, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader chases a small band of Luke’s friends—Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and others across the galaxy, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. When Vader captures Luke’s friends, Luke must decide whether to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight or to confront Vader and save his comrades.

Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. It received mixed reviews from critics initially but has since grown in esteem, becoming the most critically acclaimed chapter in the Star Wars saga; it is now considered one of the greatest films ever made. It became the highest-grossing film of 1980 and has earned more than $538 million worldwide from its original run and several re-releases. When adjusted for inflation, it is the 12th-highest-grossing film in North America.

May the Force be with you…

(via Wikipedia and IMDB)


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