California dreamin’

California dreamin’

Hello again – and a particular emphasis on the “again” bit to anyone who has followed me here from my former corporate blog, which I wrote for two years up until just over a week ago. I had a really rather wonderful send off last Wednesday and have since received hundreds of emails from friends and colleagues around the world. Thank you all; I will reply and your warmth and good wishes are much appreciated.

So, I’m now no longer employed! But, rather than use the somewhat negative sounding “unemployed”, I prefer to think of it as having a “sabbatical”. And I am currently starting my sabbatical by spending two weeks in California, where my husband (TLS) and I are taking a road trip from south to north. We started by flying to LA, where we relaxed in Santa Monica for four days, getting used to an eight hour time difference and appreciating the sublime people watching and eavesdropping opportunities.

All the women here are tiny! Perhaps you’re not allowed over the state line or, more accurately the Santa Monica city limits line, if your dress size is in double digits. I also noticed that there are three basic female “uniforms” in terms of clothing:

1) denim shorts (of the “Daisy Duke” variety); 2) floaty maxi dresses (of the Nicole Richie variety – headband, optional); 3) little short slip dresses made of floral fabric, usually worn with either flip-flops or, occasionally, gladiator sandals.

On the eavesdropping front, we picked up on the following in our first few days:

• “Some directors are directors who write and some are writers who direct, but he’s just a writer.”
• From the barman in our hotel: “I’m out of here on Monday, as a major studio has promised me a call-back on my script and I just KNOW that this is going to be my big chance …”
• From a waiter in a sushi restaurant: “I just love your accent! Maybe I should move to England, because the whole acting thing here just isn’t working out for me.”

OK, then. We then drove up the coast via the Pacific Highway, admiring views like this: PCH view – stopping in Santa Barbara and now, Monterey (hurrah for hotels with free wireless). Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday with a cold, which is less than fun in 80 degree heat but is, perhaps, what happens when you run like a hamster in a wheel and then, suddenly, STOP. I’m not normally ill when I travel (see earlier blog entry on “travel tips”) so I’m taking lots of vitamin C and hoping that this will be a short lasted affair.

Over the weekend we’ll be continuing north to the Sonoma and Napa county areas and I’m so looking forward to seeing and spending time with my wonderful friend Diane, who lives in a little town in Sonoma and whom I haven’t seen in person for seven years.

On the career front, my options seem to be many and still very much wide open. I’m still waiting for a formal decision and a start date from the multiple-interview-requiring investment bank. Last week (actually, at my leaving drinks party, which seemed very serendipitous) the recruiter called me with a verbal offer but it all seems to have gone a little quiet since then. Thanks to my wonderful network of friends, I’ve been invited to attend a couple of gatherings including British Telecom’s forthcoming “Question Time” event which will feature, amongst others, MP Patricia Hewitt (perhaps I will ask her what the Labour Party plan to do at the next election to increase the number of female British MPs from the current calamitous 19%) and a Cass Business School event on 21st century leadership which will include a panel discussion from the authors of “Why Women Mean Business”.

And I’ve also received an invitation from the Confederation of Indian Industry to travel to Bangalore next month and speak at the inaugural “Women Business Leaders’ Forum” conclave, which I would love to do but which gives me a classic Catch 22 dilemma: if I’m not working, I have the time to go but not the money; if I have by then joined the investment bank, I guess I’d have the money but not the diary space.

Decisions!

However, for today at least, my decisions are limited to what to have in my egg white omelette – and that suits me very well for the time being.

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