my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

L.A. Trip, part 2

I never finished blogging about our L.A. trip. Here's the rest:

After leaving Disneyland, we drove on approximately one million freeways to get to JoAnne's house. By the time we go there, both kids were conked and I was pretty damned close! I had been planning on sleeping in her son's single bed with G, but when I got up there and looked at G's sprawling body and the bed, decided to go with her idea of a sleeping bag on the floor. He went right to sleep. I slept OK; woke up a few times, checked the time, went back to sleep.

Woke up for real to a wonderful breakfast cooked by JoAnne, with pancakes, eggs, vanilla yogurt, and fresh bananas. Fabulous. But we were expected in North Hills that morning, so I packed up as quickly as I could and we said our good-byes and headed out on approximately one million more freeways to cross town. Ironically, JoAnne had told me that Debi always suggets taking the 210 to bypass the 5 and that JoAnne just takes 5... but she had neglected to tell me that the highway I was on turned into 134 before joining 5, so I panicked and grabbed the 210 after all.*

*Noticing the inconsistency about using 'the' before freeway names? It's a regional difference: In Northern California, you take 280 to 101 to 680 to 580. In Southern California, you take the 58 to the 67 to the 210. OK, I made up the L.A. freeways, but trust me, there are a zillion.

Made it to Debi's pretty close to when I'd predicted, with G happy as a clam, watching our 2nd DVD. When we got there, the four of us piled into her SUV and we went over to a kids' fair at her daughter's school. It was pretty cute, including the usual carnival games, but also offering a visit to a portable, hands-on aquarium. The kids enjoyed the aquarium and then decided to do some climbing on the play equipment. G and Debi's daughter played like monkeys for a while, as I got colder and colder (a chill wind! Not the warm SoCal weather I'd expected!). Then we headed back to the main area to look at booths and sneak inside to the silent auction. I hadn't found much I was interested in (remembering I'd have to lug whatever I bought home)... till I spotted a basket chock-full of cardstock and other materials I could use to make rubber-stamped cards. The starting bid was $70, but as I've bought rubber-stamping card supplies recently, I knew that the stuff in there was worth way more. I bid $70 and then watched it like a hawk. A woman came by and commented to her husband that there was a lot of stuff in that basket. I gave her the stinkeye behind her back till she moved on. I lurked, vulture-like, till time was called and I snatched up all nearby pens to avert disaster.

Turns out the way they wanted to run the silent auction payments was to send notes home in the school and ask for payment the next week. No way, Jose. I wrote a check (or rather, Debi wrote one, as I didn't think to bring my checkbook on a Disneyland check and I was $5 short of $70 cash) and triumphantly took my basket home with me. Debi loaned me a cardboard box and I managed to get almost all of it in. I left behind some cute sticky notes and some paper stock I didn't care for, and a silly little organizer book that Debi's daughter glommed onto--and was thrilled (yay!).

We went home by way of some Hawaiian-ish, surfing-ish restaurant that was pretty good. I ordered my latest craze, fish tacos, and they were tasty but kind of spicy, which made me fear for my acid reflux. Oh, well.

The next day, we all went in my rental car to Malibu. Debi had offered her SUV but it is so big that I was nervous about driving it by myself. Plus, the miles on the rental were unlimited (I think that's a given these days, but I do remember the days of limited miles). We left chilly, overcast North Hills, and were greeted, upon crossing the beautiful, unspoiled hills, to blue skies and sunshine. We dropped Debi off at a friend's baby shower, and the kids and I headed toward Malibu Canyon State Park for a hike. On the way, we saw more signs for Chumash Day. We had seen one on the way in, and I commented on it; Debi was surprised I didn't know that Chumash are a local Indian tribe. I decided it would be fun for the kids to see this, so we parked and walked past Pepperdine University's grounds (OMG, so beautiful! Why don't we all go there for college???) to Malibu Bluffs park, where the celebration was being held.

It was pretty cool; lots of neat-looking art, some tribal dances, some lovely crafts. We even managed to get in on a craft being organized by the parks department (so we came home with a painted rock, lucky us). I bought three small woven change bags that are just beautiful. The kids got to watch the dancing and then run around and pick up candy (seemed like a tradition?) after putting some money on a blanket to support Chumash Day. G came back with his hands full; Debi's daughter said she didn't see any candy she liked. Ha, good for her!

We went to pick up Debi and got to meet the expectant mother and some of her friends from the WNBA. Yeah, I felt incredibly short. :) The house was incredible; right on the beach and really sizeable. We thought it was maybe $3-4M. The kids got to go down to the beach and get their toes in the sand... but the folks were leaving, so we got the kids into the car and headed south a bit to Zuma beach for them to play.

Predictably, they were soon wet from head to toe. Did we bring towels or any spare clothes? Nope. Debi really wanted us to eat at a nearby beach restaurant, so I suggested we buy some cheap clothes at Target or the like and just go. Well... 45 mins later, we were in inner LA somewhere at the only Target around. (I thought L.A. was a shoppin' city!) We ended up at a "gay" restaurant called French something something. It was pretty gay and pretty nice, and the kids managed to hold it together long enough for us to have a nice meal. Debi remarked that her gf would not have been willing to do the Target thing, and would have just wanted to head back home. It was a nice adventure! I love adventures.

We headed home, way too late for a school night! and got the kids to bed, and then headed there ourselves. We got out pretty easily in the morning. Debi was a bit on edge, as she had a fairly early deposition and also needed to drop her daughter off. Turned out they had made the depo later and not told her.

We managed to get to the airport with plenty of time. I dropped the car off, we caught the shuttle, visited the bathroom, checked the bags, and made it to the gate a full hour before our flight. And we still missed getting in line early, as we were in the bathroom (again) when folks started lining up.

It was an uneventful flight, and my wonderful friend Allison picked us up and dropped us at home. I got G off to school (just an hour left, but this way, the school gets state funds for that day) and went to work, and squeezed in 6 hours!

It was a really, really good trip.


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