Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I had a feeling last at the end of last year that 2013 would just be a great year and things were going to come together. Well, that didn't exactly happen. I should've known - unlucky 13!

 It was a strange year, with some really not-so-good things happening paired with some really good adventures (and concerts and food and becoming an aunt). It felt like an all over roller coaster. I haven't exactly enjoyed it - remember, I don't like roller coasters!

I'm looking forward to 2014, which I think will be a year of change. It's kind of scary, but I think it can only bring about better things.

Here's a little video of some favorite times from this year:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Musical Monday

Hat tip to Katilda for this one.

The video's a little strange, but this is a great song for driving with the windows down on sunny, warm, December, Los Angeles days.  Oh, you don't have those?  Sorry...

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Rest of June

How the end of June went. 

Julie had a large birthday gathering downtown at Bottega Louie, which was on my list to try. 

I bought these things at Trader Joe's and I couldn't stop eating them. So good.

We had a Family Home Evening and made jam, inspired by Carolyn's efforts earlier that week. Freezer jam is quick and easy, just bring fruit, a masher and some sugar! Oh, and apparently no stores in LA sell pectin or know what it is. I called about ten places. Order that stuff online.

Erin and family came up to LA for a few days, so I met up with them in Glendale for some Lego action.

And then it was Mormon Night at the Dodgers. I tried out the all you can eat section. Hot dogs galore.

Erin and family stopped by my house one day, too. Children everywhere! And everything stayed in one piece.

Finally, Star Wars movie night. It was meant to be outdoors, but I guess we have a neighborhood noise curfew? It got dark too late in the summer to start the film before curfew, so we had to go inside. Boo for screen on the green. It was still fun, though only one person dressed up for our costume contest.

Oh, and Abe visited that weekend from Palm Desert and we had ice cream and almost watched Oklahoma! but we couldn't find any copies locally and quickly.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

East Coast Part V - Goodbye, DC

I finally pulled myself away from NYC, after a comfortable night in the W hotel and a rainy walk to the bus stop somewhere off 10th Avenue.

Hello, old metro stop! This time I stayed at Carol's house, right in my old neighborhood, a stone's throw away from my old house. 

Friday I bummed around the city, maybe had a lunch date (I don't remember?) and awaited the NKOTB concert that evening.  Got behind the scenes at the Verizon Center. I was most excited about the Hoyas locker room.

The man behind all those New Kids photos this summer. What a job.

The NKTOB/98/Boyz II show was quite the spectacle. The people watching was amazing. I thought the bleachers were going to fall down because of all the jumping and dancing and such. Carol and I were amused for a bit, but then headed over to my favorite Zaytinya for a late dinner.

I got up relatively early on Saturday to meet Rob at Eastern Market. I was last there just before the big fire, and I'm so glad it's still running strong. Had to get those blue bucks!  Rob and I meandered through the stalls, Pedgerton stopped by on his bike and said hello, then Rob and I kept our journey going to the Library of Congress and the Capitol.

I love this building. It's spectacular.

And then, it was time to wrap up this wonderful trip! Back to Chinatown to grab my stuff.

One last Rita's before I went! Metro to Tenleytown, Kirsten and Lindsay picked me up, drove me to Dulles, and away to LA.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

East Coast Part IV - New York City

Okay, so remember how back in May I went to DC for my Georgetown Reunion? And then I went to North Carolina to visit dear friends? And then I stopped in DC again quickly? Well, after that I went to New York. And I didn't want to leave. 

I trekked over to Union Station on a rainy Friday morning in early June to catch the bus to NYC. Ran into Nancy W on the subway, and I miss those types of encounters on the morning commute. The bus section at the station all moved to the back parking lot, which I guess made things easier?

Hooked on The National's new album at the time, listened to it most of the way up. 

Got into the city just around evening rush hour, and I popped up to Derrick's office off 58th to say hello, as I'd be staying with him for a few days. I made the rounds and met a few of his colleagues, I checked my work email, and then Derrick so graciously took my large bag home for me, so I could go meet up with a couple other friends for dinner.  Seriously - the trip back East reminded me of what good people I know. A huge THANK YOU to all of you.

I totally had the wrong shoes and wrong coat for the rain, but NYC, you feel so good.

Popped down to Shake Shack to see Carly and Josh! They were in the city for Josh's rotation with Bank of America. It was crowded, but we got food and finally got a seat.

On my way to Shake Shack, I popped into the Milk Bar on 56th. Cause these two things are the best two things.

Candy Bar Pie - get in my mouth! Life changing.

Derrick and his roommate have a super comfy and beautiful apartment in downtown Brooklyn, and I'd love to live there. It made Saturday morning convenient. I walked a few blocks over to TKTS, which barely had a line and they had the show I wanted! Tender mercy.

Then, up to Williamburg for Smorgasburg with Jason and Meghan and one of her friends.  NYC, you're gorgeous.
I had some pretty good mac and cheese in a cup.

And then a tiny s'more from some place.

Roads closed for the hipsters and their bikes.

Then I think I took the train back to Manhattan and said hello to Jason's apartment for a few minutes.   Maybe I took a nap? Then I walked back to Derrick's place in Brooklyn and took photos from the roof. Get ready for a lot of bridge photos.

Saturday night, Derrick and I grabbed Thai and some ice cream at Van Leeuwen.

Sunday was a wonderful, pretty much perfect day. I got up early and miraculously made it on time to church on the Upper East Side. I wanted to go there so I could pop into museums after church. First up, the Guggenheim, which was mostly closed due to the James Turrell exhibit about to open.

Then I meandered through the park a bit. 

And went to the Whitney.

Then it was across the park to Levain Bakery, cause I'd only ever heard about their cookies and not actually eaten one. Amazing. I bought two, and I think my bag weighed about three pounds.

Then, down the grid to meet Derrick and see my show! A perfect matinee of Once, based on my favorite movie ever. I get a little infuriated when people don't realize there was a movie, and two beautiful people (Glen and Mar) who came together to make this music. I don't even have words to talk about them sometimes. They're no longer performing together, and while I didn't love some of the changes to the stage version, it was so nice to hear songs their performed again. 

When I got home to Derrick's that night, I made this Facebook post about a couple other NYC experiences I had that weekend:
While LA might be known for celebrity sightings, the East Coast is known for politician sightings, and man, I’ve had some good ones in the last few days. 
First up at my college reunion, an enlightening chat with Reverend Neil Grimaldi, running for NYC mayor. He sued the Vatican last year, authored a self help book, composed a song for Catherine Zeta-Jones, and gave Jacinda some blessings and advice for her life – yoga, spiritual books, and sex. He's done some other very interesting things, I totally think NYC should vote for him.

Next up, an Anthony Weiner sighting! I was actually hoping for one of those. He walked right past me in the Puerto Rican Day parade with a megaphone. I’d really like to meet his wife.

And finally, I was crossing a mostly empty street in Brooklyn, and behold! The Rent Is Too Damn High guy was sitting in his The Rent Is Too Damn High wrapped car at the stoplight. Ole Jimmy saluted me as I walked by, I winked at him, and we had a nice little moment. If he’d fix this problem in NYC, I’d move here in a second.

Next up, an Anthony Weiner sighting! I was actually hoping for one of those. He walked right past me in the Puerto Rican Day parade with a megaphone. I’d really like to meet his wife.
And finally, I was crossing a mostly empty street in Brooklyn, and behold! The Rent Is Too Damn High guy was sitting in his The Rent Is Too Damn High wrapped car at the stoplight. Ole Jimmy saluted me as I walked by, I winked at him, and we had a nice little moment. If he’d fix this problem in NYC, I’d move here in a second.
Okay, that night I think I moved over to Bryndee's place in Chelsea. We became friends thanks to Karen and our Vancouver Olympics adventures. Monday night I had tickets to see The Drums, and boy was it a fun show! LA crowds are too cool to dance, except for maybe the people right in the front. Everyone else stands there with crossed arms and nods their heads. This crowd was crazy fun dancing all night people. People in the front, in the back, on the side, in the balconies. It made me really happy.

I worked from the office Monday and Tuesday. One day I popped up to the offices of one of our creative agencies. They've got a nice conference, and now I can visualize where they're sitting when I chat with them.

I think one evening it was raining again and I was walking to Bryndee's, and this tall, thin guy was prancing across the crosswalk, back and forth in the rain, wearing nothing but silver metallic bikini briefs. I wish I had a picture, but I don't. Instead, here are the clouds breaking.

I took Wednesday off work and planned to return to DC that night. Lucky, Marcello had a day off from his photographer duties on the NKTOB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men tour, so we got to hang out all day in the city. First stop, the Rain Room. Cause I had to see it.

Waiting in line for a couple hours, and this is what I had to look at.

My work corporate membership got me in for free and Marcello in for 5 bucks, but we had to wait in the longer line. Finally, we got inside! But there was more of a line. 

He took that one:

Finally, it was our turn! I walked around in amazement for a little while. Touching the rain, but not touching the rain. Then it was time to get silly.

I have a ton more photos, but I'll save those for another day. Maybe for a Flashback Friday!

We headed to Madison Square Park and grabbed some lunch nearby. The weather was perfect. This art exhibit was up

Marcello's life changed when he ate Candy Bar Pie. He used to be hooked on Birthday Cake truffles, so he bought some of those, but I said - you don't know what you're missing. And now it's like those truffles never existed.

At this point I was supposed to be getting on a bus back to DC, but I didn't want to leave NYC and Marcello had a nice place to crash for the night, so we went to Hoboken, had some dinner with his friends, and hung out for the night.

As much as people rag on Jersey, it's got some nice views of the city.

NYC, I didn't want to leave you, but that next cloudy morning, I had to get up and do just that.

2023 Recap

Oh, hey there. It's been awhile. I disappeared for a bit. Everyone's doing their 2023 year in review today, and I figured I'd ju...