Taking off 2 days of work and making a 4-day weekend of it was a great choice for me last weekend. I came back to work this morning and felt like I had been gone forever.
Friday morning dawned with a beautiful day. I threw on jeans and a top, packed my things into the car and was on my way by 9:30 - a little past my planned 8AM but oh well......... Stopped at Starbuck's for a Peppermint Mocha and an apple fritter and then, top down (the car, not me silly!) was off for my road trip to LA. It was a little cold in the beginning since temperatures had not yet climbed over 63 degrees but, by the time, I reached I5, the weather had warmed up a bit and I was cruising. Stopped for gas at around noon and, feeling I had had enough sun, I put the top back up for the rest of the trip. Good thing I did because, when I arrived in LA and took a look in the mirror, my nose and forehead were quite red!
Hit my friends place at 3:30 and we were off to look at some lofts which are the new hot craze in LA. The downtown has been cleaned up and re-done and is looking more like NY city every day. The lofts were the next logical step. $500k will buy you about 800 sq.ft. in a high rise building with concrete floors, kitchen appliances, a bathroom and one main living space. The ceilings are 12 - 14 feet high with huge windows and great views looking all the way out to the ocean. Ownership also comes with rights to the buildings' roof top pools, gyms, party areas and sun decks. One building even came with its own dog run. For about $2.5MM, you can get a 4-level 2,500 sq.ft. loft in the same building. It was quite interesting to go around and look at all of the loft spaces and the historical buildings. Probably a good investment if you can afford it.
Next up was dinner with friends. Awesomely delicious accompanied by a nice Pinot Noir. Good company, good food, good wine.
Then, off to Pasadena for some more wine and a nice soft bed.
Saturday was another beautiful day. I arose early to take care of some business in the morning. Stopped by Mission San Gabriel for a walk in the cemetery, gardens and old mission. A baptism was taking place in the original mission church while a while a wedding was taking place in the newer mission church. The wedding was a huge ethnic affair. The brides beautiful white dress was "accessorized" with thick aqua blue cloth laced, bondage-like, across the bodice. It did not look delicate at all. Tacky was more of the word that came to mind. I soon saw the reason for the blue in the bridal dress when the bridesmaids came out in their bright, aqua blue dresses which matched the lacing. Apparently all of this was a colorful feast for the eyes to the guests since all of them appeared to be happy and having a wonderful time.
After the mission, I met up with my friend to go to Arcadia High School and watch the dress rehearsal of the Orchesis dance troupe which is made up of students from Arcadia High School. The choreography, dance and presentation were all amazing. I have never seen anything like that in a public high school. Apparently, many of the performers were slated to go on to professional careers after high school.
Then, we went off to look at a couple of more traditional properties - houses - since my friends are looking to move. The first one was about 1,700 sq ft on a huge lot, all upgraded, good schools for about $600K. Sounds like a lot of money but when was the last time you could find something like that in the Bay Area that was not an hour drive away from your job and everything else.
After all of this "hard work", we were thirsty and decided to sit down for some wine and fresh guacamole and chips - yum. After the warm up, we set off for some wine tasting in Rancho Cucamonga and then Mexican food a little hole in the wall. Back at home, we topped it all off with some more wine before hitting the sack.
Up bright and early on Sunday to head off to Disneyland for its 8AM opening. The park was much more crowded than my last visit in December which lost some of the magic for me. Still, it wasn't too bad. We started off at Space Mountain which I hadn't been on in a very long time (20 years?). The special effects are pretty awesome and you really feel like you are in space at some points. The Matterhorn was, uncharacteristically, working so we hurried to get in line there before it might break down again. At the end of our ride, the attendant took our car off of the tracks , with us in it. We thought it had broken down but, apparently, there were too many cars on the ride and not enough slots for them. After about 5 minutes, they put our car back on and gave us another ride for the wait. So, we got to go on the Matterhorn two times in a row! That helped make up for all of the times it was broken down.
Next was Thunder Mountain railroad. There was almost no wait at all and we got right to the front quickly. We were thrilled. Just as we were ready for our turn, the ride broke down and we had to leave. :( We never did make it back to that one.
The rest of the day was followed with great, magical experiences and nice breaks to eat. We used the fast pass for California Soarin', California Screaming and Hollywood Hotel (A truly awesome and screamful ride. I am not sure if my heart is back in my chest yet!).
The fireworks that evening went on for about 1/2 hour as the announcer went through many of the major rides - space mountain, pirates, haunted mansion and more - playing the voices from the rides accompanied by fireworks. The fireworks were coming up from all over the park so that we were surrounded even though we were standing in Orleans place and not main street. It was pretty amazing. After the fireworks, the park cleared out and we headed to Pirates for another ride. Then, to the Haunted Mansion where we didn't even stand in line but walked right into the reception room. It was the same with Small World. How wonderful not to have lines.
At 11:00PM, we headed off to the exit, picked up our packages and headed to the cars. There were only about 4 cars left in the parking lot when I got there. Long and wonderful day - and we still didn't see and do everything!
Monday was my last day and had to throw a little work in - Insurance, ugh! Still, it was good to see my agent and talk with her. We visited for some time before my final destination of the weekend in Palos Verdes. The day was clear and beautiful, making for some wonderful views of the ocean as I drove to my friends house. We had a long, leisurely lunch and then back to her house for some lessons in curly hair treatment. She has had curly hair her entire life and was very helpful in sharing her hair products and treatment tips with me as I try to deal with my now, very curly hair - as opposed to only wavy/curly before.
By 5:30, I was on my way home. All would have gone well except that I was treated to a mysterious LA phenomenom. The 710, a not heavily used and usually pretty good freeway had a mysterious backup at Firestone Blvd. There was no accident and no reason for it. Just a mystery - not even rush hour traffic. The radio news reports were warning of it but it was too late since I was already there. It took one hour to go 4 miles and, at Firestone blvd, just as miraculously, all of the cars ahead of and around me took off and the 65 mph speed was resumed. This all made for a very long drive home and I did not arrive until 1AM. Had a great time and feel relaxed and vacationed.
Now back to work!