Sunday, November 30, 2014

My California Trip!

I'd better write about my trip before too much time passes. I've already been home for nearly 2 weeks!

After not seeing most of my family for a year due to a sick doggie and other obligations, I finally went back and spent a week in Southern California. I have a 96 year old grandma, a cute niece and nephew, cousins, friends, and my mom, of course-- all of whom needed me to go down there.

It was a good, smooth, jam-packed week. There was something going on every single day. I rented a car for the first time and zipped from here to there seeing who I wanted to see and doing what needed to be done.

Every morning I would rise early and walk 5 miles through San Marino and the lovely Lacy Park. By Day 3 I had carved out the perfect 10,000 step route by walking to the park (about 3200 steps,) doing 2 laps on the park's outside track (getting to around 6800 steps,) then walking back to my mom's house. The smell of roses as I entered and then the smell of the surrounding eucalyptus trees were very invigorating each morning.

Once back at my mom's I would have my shake, just like Eric and I do each morning here at home, then shower and start my busy day.

Click on the photos to see them full-sized.

This was waiting for me on my bedroom door.

On my first morning I walked down to my brother's house just as they were leaving to walk to the pre school where my niece attends. I was invited to join them.

Those cute kids ride fast! My brother, Jonathan, said, "Are you ready to run?"
Later that afternoon my mom and I went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. A print of this beautiful painting hangs in my living room. But this is a picture of the original.

This amazing painting is one I had never noticed before in all of my many visits. Just look at the details around this war beaten soldier. He is surrounded by the carnage of battle as dead comrades lay all around him. His face shows an expression of defeat and exhaustion.

The Norton Simon also houses favorites by the known masters like Cezanne, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Rivera.

Clockwise from top left: Renoir, Monet, Degas, van Gogh..all stunning, and the real thing.

You cannot visit Southern CA and miss out on a meal from In n Out Burger. Sorry Five Guys!  In n Out is still the best. (Except maybe the Lions Club Pioneer burgers at the 4th of July celebration.)

I always make an effort to visit Tito and Tita's grave, located in the cemetery adjoining my niece's pre school. They both passed in 2008 and sometimes I still cannot believe they're gone. The stones were designed by me.

Thursday, while my nephew was at his martial arts class, my mom rested and my niece and I took a walk around the neighborhood. Fire hydrants are for climbing. It's the rule!

My mom's newest doggie, Branson. A sweet, slightly unruly Golden, rescued from a family who paid no attention to him. He is healthier and happier now. (Much happier than he looks in this photo.)

Do you see it? The next morning on my walk I passed a tree in San Marino and the light hit it just right so that this strange little tree person emerged. 

The Rose Garden at Lacy Park has some incredibly gorgeous blooms.

On Friday afternoon I spent a few hours with my cute grandma, Elinor. We had sandwiches, topped off with apple pie and ice cream. We felt like big bloated balloons, but it sure was yummy!

On Saturday I had lunch with my mom (in blue) and some of the lovely ladies from church: Helen, Afton, and Penny. They were headed off to a play, but I was headed to Downtown Disney to get Eric a jacket and meet up with my cousins.

The Downtown Disney plans changed because dinner reservations were impossible to get at a decent time. So I still went, found Eric a Disneyland jacket, then drove to meet my cousins at my aunt and uncle's house. We went to North Woods Inn for dinner instead. The best part was that I finally got to see my cousin, Robby's, two little girls in person for the very first time.  He and his wife are amazing parents. Look at the sweet look of contentment on K's face above as she nestles into her daddy's shoulder,

We had to wait 90 minutes for a table, but we had so much fun! It was great to see them!

Monday morning, back on my walk, I had to take some last pictures of Lacy Park. Those walks were my respite every day. And they helped me burn off the calories from those daily meals out!

Monday lunch with my friend, Heather. We've been friends since we were freshmen in high school.

Time to say goodbye to the kiddos! I visited my niece and nephew Monday afternoon when they got home from school. That evening I stayed in a hotel near the airport. I had an early flight. I was in bed with lights out by 8pm! It was a very full week!

Back home with my cute hubby!  He liked his Disneyland jacket! I'm glad, since I didn't actually go into Disneyland this trip.
The weary traveler. Home again!

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