I'm sitting in my sons' apartment in Los Angeles, California. We've been here for a week now, thus my lack of blog posts. Tomorrow we return to the airport and back home to reality. The weather has been cooler than temperatures in Michigan - not really beach weather, so our visits to the beach have been few. We hiked five miles in Malibu with son, Chris, then ate at a beach cafe nearby. Paradise Cove has the best barbecue and veggie burgers ever! Great coconut shrimp too! (Can you tell we did a lot of eating?) After five miles uphill and down in Solstice Canyon, over dirt and then traipsing down the beach to put my toes in the water, I think I walked off the calories of the food. We hiked to a small waterfall and saw the ruins of a house that had been built to be "fireproof", set into the side of the hill. If you look closely in the picture, you can see some of the buildings. The owner had designed all sorts of watering systems to protect the home, building much of it from stone, but after the owner's death, the home fell into disrepair and succumbed to fire after all. Nothing is "safe" in this life.
On the way home, we stopped at Leonidas Chocolate Cafe, known for their Belgian chocolates. Pricey, but oh, so delicious! Tops even Sees brand, which I am happily bringing home with me. We stopped in Santa Monica again for lunch today and could have stopped once more at Leonidas, but alas, I opted to wait. Perhaps I will request a box for Christmas. :)
On Sunday, we went to church at Mosaic where the guys worship. Erwin McManus is the main pastor/speaker for the church, and he spoke at this campus. The church does not own any buildings, but rather, rents a various locations - a high school, a nightclub, and more. When we pulled into the parking garage, the lights were out. Unfortunately, power was out in the entire building, so a team of workers had set up chairs and sound system outside in a kind of courtyard. Erwin's daughter Mariah played acoustic guitar and led the singing. She has a beautiful voice. I have followed some of Erwin's messages on podcast, so it was a treat to hear him in person. We briefly met him afterward.
We saw Predator with the guys and some of their friends for the early evening show on Friday. The show seemed like it carried a bit of Lost and Survivor mixed together. Action adventure with a sci-fi twist. At least the blood was green most of the time, so I only closed my eyes a few times. A girl who lives with all men learns to enjoy strange movies...
It feels like we have driven all over Los Angeles. Some of the architecture reminds me of the home my grandparents lived in in Canoga Park many years ago. I still have cousins in the state, though we did not take time to look them up as we only had a week with our boys. Since the guys moved out here, my heart has been divided between Michigan and California. I have hopes of retiring here someday, but after spending a week in L.A. traffic, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy living in Los Angeles. Too many people, too little space. And it is true, everything costs more here. They charge you to park most places either in a parking garage or at a meter doing parallel parking. I do not care for parking garages, and I cannot parallel park to save my life.
Today we went back to Venice Beach, the main beach we visited a year ago when we drove the guys out here. We passed the same hotel we stayed at while they looked for an apartment. In my mind's eye, I could see the Penske truck parked along the side of the road.
We walked along the shore and then traipsed the boardwalk, something I missed last time. Very touristy this time of year. I would not enjoy being a street vendor.
We ate at the Urth Caffe for lunch. I wish we had these back in Michigan. Great food. Organic coffees and teas and specialty sandwiches, soups, and salad made from healthy ingredients. Kind of like Panera only better. I'm finding veggie sandwiches more and more to my liking. The one I tried today had eggplant. Yum!
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures with a variety of cuisines. We have tasted southern barbecue, Caribbean, Mexican, unique vegetarian sandwiches and pizza, seafood, and more. Maybe next time we'll find a good Italian or Chinese place. I have new recipe ideas to experiment with once we're home. There is a new health food store we visited with some interesting flavored coffees and sprouted breads. Michigan needs some of these stores.
When we left Michigan last week, we escaped some of the heat wave surprised to find it 20 degrees cooler here. But as our plane takes off for home, California is supposed to finally get its summer. We saw more clouds than sunshine - something we are much too used to in Michigan. But I am grateful for every minute here.
Of course, the reason for coming wasn't the weather. It was to spend time with our guys, enjoying their company. Someone once told me that when your kids move away, the time you do get to see them is more concentrated and quality. I can see how that proved true for us. Though my body is ready for its own bed (air beds are only so comfortable), I'll miss them so much. It's been a great vacation!
Now I'm praying for a comfortable seat and an uneventful, safe flight home. Until then~