My GOODNESS! It's taken me more than 2 days to finish this post. Busy, busy, busy and also lots to report.
This weekend (as you know if you read my previous post), I was in L.A. for my friend, E's, birthday. She turned the grand ole age of 24 on Sunday (yes, she's going backwards) and there was much reason to celebrate: she is, of course, fabulous, and defying time.
On Saturday, we took her little red Prius (named "Pixie") down to Orange County, my former "hood". Our destination was Laguna Beach and we were optimistically wearing our bathing suits under our clothes and hoping for a little beach-time. Sadly, the marine-layer thwarted those plans but we had a great time anyway, meeting her friend Christine for a delicious lunch and taking pictures.
Me and Christine, courtesy of E's photos, holding what turned out to be a $250 teapot. I know, WTH!? The thing looked like it belonged in a flea market. Somebody obviously knows something about this pot that I don't. It's value is definitely hidden at face-value.
Then Pixie took us up PCH to Corona del Mar, my favorite beach (and million-dollar-home watching location) back when I was a footloose and fancy-free OC Girl and did such frivolously pointless and time-wasting things.
As you can see, the weather was (to quote E's post) "Gloomy"
Corona del Mar beach, busy with very brave folks in that cold water.
Expensive homes that line the streets above the beach and even cascade down onto the beach themselves. Sigh. I want to be a billionaire, so frickin' bad!
Despite said "gloom", there were moments where the sun ALMOST broke through. I say almost. Anyway, it was enough to feel a little warmth threatening the day, and so we decided to grab whatever rays we could on the benches that line the overlook above the beach.
That was until a group of excitable, cackling hispanic teenagers parked themselves not ten feet from us. In truth there were only 4 - two girls and two boys - but the girls were loud enough on their own to constitute a "group". Not only was the volume unbelievable (and completely unnecessary) but the constant, excited rise-and-fall of their cadence, coupled with every other word being "like", just gave Elena and I an anxiety attack. Ack!
My traditional beach foot-shot, lacking the panache of the typical version due to the gray skies and bench vs. sand. But, you know, you make do. With lemons we must make lemonade!
Elena catching some rays.
Later that evening, we went to E's office, to get some quiet time before we attended a charity-event, a summer Mardi-Gras celebration organized every year by her boss.
This is E's office. Very Official... except when you see what's inside. Teehee! This was how I remember my office looking when I worked in the OC.
Being at a loose-end for an hour or so, gave us lots of opportunities to be thoroughly silly in the empty law office.
Whose tootsies are whose?
E practicing her head-stands, which is quite a normal occurrence in her office, from what I can gather.
And then there was this photo, courtesy of E again, which I'm not sure if I like or not but I'm going ahead and posting it anyway just for the heck of it. It looks like I'm trying to be all posey and stuff but the reality was that I was a little irritated that E was taking a picture of me. Up until this moment, I was hiding behind my hands and turning my head. This was my final look of resignation, as I allowed her to pull-off a shot. Aparently, according to E at least, I came across as very "Femme Fatale". All I see is that my upper-lip is missing, I have too many sun spots, and that I need a tan bad. Sigh...
Later, it was great to meet E's co-workers at the Mardi-Gras celebration and lots of smart, intelligent conversation ensued. Funnily enough, some of the communication and education challenges E experiences in her work with local city councils are very similar to challenges I experience in my job. It was interesting to hear her boss' advice and the way he delivered it to her, as well. There was no sense of her being "wrong" or that her personality dictated the responses that hadn't been working for her (as it is often framed in organizations I have been working for), it was just a teaching moment but on a very accessible, non-judgmental level. I like it much and got a lot out of the interaction, both as someone who needs to learn how to reach my audience better and as a manager and employee who both coaches and is coached.
Fortunately, I was off the drink for the weekend, so I managed not to embarrass E too badly during the event. Although there was that moment when I told the Mayor of Fullerton that he named his daughter (who is also called Michelle) something unimaginative. Ahem... let's move on from there.
On Sunday we only had several hours, since I was heading home in the afternoon, and so we did "The L.A. thing." Ms. Pixie drove us down the Santa Monica freeway to PCH and then up to Sunset Blvd., where we cruised through Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, Brentwood (hello OJ Simpson crime scene!), Westwood, UCLA campus (where E graduated with her Law Degree) and then eventually the tourist mecca of Beverly Hills itself.
And no trip to 90210 is complete without a stroll down Rodeo Drive...
Is it me, or is it completely IMPOSSIBLE to look at The Regent Beverly Wilshire and not hear Roy Orbison singing "Pretty Woman"?
The shot had to be done. Although we were trying to be all "cool" and like we came here all the time, we failed miserably in the face of photo opportunities.
Then there was this, courtesy of E's camera,... which neither of us could not resist. It's hilarious on so many levels for both of us. Only in BH is "Selfish" a sales strategy!
All of which made us incredibly hungry, so we hot-footed it back to Pixie and drove back to E's "hood", where we had lunch. Pause, however, to mention the plastic-surgery disaster that met us in the elevator down to the parking garage. Somehow she struck up a conversation with E (who, apparently, is one of THOSE people who everyone and their mother talk to) about something that was entirely left-of-field and thoroughly bizarre. So bizarre, I have blocked it out, it seems. But it was weird. Here was this woman, who once-upon-a-time may have been attractive but now looking like the nurse in the Foster Farms plumping commercials, jibber-jabbering nonsense away in the elevator. There was something about E's Monkey t-shirt but that's all I remember. All very odd to my dampened NorCal sensibilities, and yet very normal for L.A.
Lunch in E's hood was at The Alcove Cafe and Bakery, a thoroughly cool but non-pretentious hot-spot on Hillhurst Avenue, not far from the base of Griffith Park. People-watching outside on the patio was the major entertainment, although the food was pretty-darn amazing also. Sitting there kind of crystalized all that I miss about SoCal - the cooler weather, the variety of restaurants, the broad span of different people, the younger energy that vibrates.
And then it was off to the airport and back to Sacraghetto...