Wednesday, January 9, 2013

19 Days in California...

Happy New Year, everyone. To anyone reading this, I hope you had a lovely holiday season.

On Monday I returned from 19 days in California and it is wonderful to be back in my own house with my husband once again.

As always, going to California for me is more like a "working vacation," with tons of events and obligations crammed into just a few days. 

It was a very busy 19 days...

I arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 21st.  I traveled alone because my hubby had to work on Christmas and on New Year's.  It was an experiment, spending the holidays apart like this, but I don't know if I would do that again.
Two little cuties!
Thursdays is when my brother's 2 cute kids, X and A, stay overnight at my mom's.  It was great to see them, but I was exhausted from getting up so early.  And I slept horribly the first night there and spent Friday trying to recover.  I'm afraid I couldn't enjoy the kids a lot because I was so tired, but we saw them plenty of times throughout my trip.

On Friday night my mom and I had tickets to see A Christmas Carol at the Glendale Centre Theatre.  We love that theater and have been going there for years, but I had never seen their annual production of A Christmas Carol.  It was delightful.

The next day we started getting ready for Christmas Eve and also looked at furniture.  My mom just finished a huge remodel on half of her house.  Some items are going to be replaced and some are going to be reupholstered.  A lot of decisions yet to be made!

Christmas Eve rolled around a couple of days later and it was a huge success, despite the noticeable absences of a few military cousins and my hubby.  My family has been readjusting for 5 Christmases since my grandparents died in 2008, and I think this was the best Christmas Eve yet since their passing.  It has been a slow process.  Strangely, I attribute a lot of this year's success to the fact that my mom's new family room looks a lot like my grandparents' did, and she is using their furniture in it.  We were back in our comfort zone, and we needed it.
 Christmas Day was a lot quieter.  It was just my mom and me.  A little too quiet for my taste.  We drove to the mall to see Les Miserables, which was sold out, so we bought tickets for a later show and went back in the evening.  I wish I could say that I enjoyed the film, but it did not live up to my expectations.  I love the stage production and the music is unparalleled, but I thought the film was really lacking.  Apologies to those who disagree!
Divine's Furniture in Monterey Park, CA.  An absolute treasure trove.
The next few days were spent cleaning up from Christmas Eve, looking at fabric and going to furniture stores.  The crowning achievement came when we found a store in Monterey Park that my grandmother used to buy from.  As soon as my mom and I walked in we knew we had hit the mother-load.  All of the furniture was old, antique, refurbished pieces in marvelous condition.  It is exactly the kind of furniture I love and have in my house (most of mine were inherited pieces from grandparents and an elderly neighbor.)  We looked no further than this place and spent hours in there over the course of several more days.

On New Year's Eve we returned again to the Glendale Centre Theatre and watched their New Year's play, called Heaven Can Wait.  It was cute, and there were goody bags with tiaras and noisemakers for everyone, plus "free" refreshments. 

On New Year's Day my mom went to the Rose Parade, as she does every single year.  Rain or shine, alone or in a group, she goes.  I opted out this year.  It was just too cold.  I stayed and did laundry instead.  Tedious, but productive.  She came home around noon and we ended up going to see Lincoln, then out to dinner at a diner in Alhambra.  Lincoln asks a lot of the viewer, and it was my second time to see it, but it was still better than Les Miz.
Eric calls this picture "Panorama Grandma"
I did a lot of visiting while I was there.  The day after New Year's was spent with my grandma, the day after that with a longtime friend who I hadn't seen in a year, and the final Saturday with one of my cousins.
Me and my friend, Cathy.  Friends since kindergarten. If you're counting, that's 37 years. I love that whenever we see each, we just pick up where we left off.
Saturday morning was a time of excitement because there was a very special delivery at my mom's house.  Her piano, an 1892 upright that she has had since she was 8 years old, was returned to the house in its newly restored state.  The man who worked on it did a phenomenal job.  It has been in disrepair throughout my entire life, despite the fact that it is the piano that I learned on as a child. I had just come to accept its chipped keys, keys that sank down and never came up, keys that didn't work at all, and the piano's overall mournful sound.  But no longer.  Everything looks and sounds like new, and I had the chance to play it for 2 whole days before I left.
Gorgeous!  Welcome home you beauty!
Saturday evening was spent at a lovely, but chilly, outdoor wedding reception for a friend I hardly ever get to see.  It was such a highly-anticipated wedding that I even changed my original flight plans in order to attend.  I had to support the newly married couple, and wish them every happiness.

Hooray for Mark and Necia!!!
Sunday was my third week in my mom's ward, and the day ended saying goodbye to friends there, finishing laundry and packing.  That evening I went to my brother's house to say goodbye to my niece and nephew.  The kids were eating and my heart was touched when my nephew stopped what he was doing to get up and give me a big hug.  I love those little ones!
Downton Abbey--the best show there is!
That night came the much awaited Downton Abbey season 3 premiere.  My mom and I watched the story unfold with baited breath.

I arrived home the next afternoon after a tiring morning and a bumpy flight.  The tired traveler, seeing my hubby after nearly 3 weeks, was a wonderful thing.  I find that the longer we are married, the harder it is to be apart.  We went for dinner and then drove the 40 miles home.  The pets were happy to see me, especially by very devoted dog, and it was and is extremely nice to be home.

Did I mention how nice it is to be home?
This is my hunk of adorableness that was waiting for me. 


Melanee said...

My absolutely favorite photo is the one of your husband. What a handsome, wonderful guy you've got, Kristie. I loved thinking of him happy to greet you. It's so wonderful to have a loving husband, isn't it?

What a fun excursion you had over Christmas, with so many enriching activities! Loved the photo of the piano too.

So glad you have these memories written down. I'm trying to record the doings of my life more often now, instead of just the ponderings, so thanks for the reminder.

Kristie said...

Thank you for your comment, Melanee. Yes, a loving husband is truly a gift and a blessing.

Deciding between recording the "doings" vs. the "ponderings" is challenging, which is why I created my other blog. Now they each have their own atmosphere and purpose. It has worked out quite well, I think.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Les Mis myself, and after hearing reviews and friends, I went into it with pretty low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised, the women were all pretty good, and I always love to hear the music. It sounds like you had a fantastic trip and plenty of time with the little ones (and your Mom of course). -Caitlin

Kristie said...

I guess low expectations was the way to go, and my mistake. I had heard such raves and wanted so much to like it. Oh well. Can't win them all! Thanks for visiting, Caitlin!

Sally said...

It was great to hear about your vacation. I'd love to see pictures of your mom's remodel sometime.

Kristie said...

Thanks, Sally! I'm sorry to say that I never got any really good pictures of the remodel. It was 19 days of go-go-go! Maybe on my next visit.