May 30, 2006
Return to Los Angeles
This week’s journal entry will read more like a travelogue than anything. We certainly filled each and every day of our trip to Los Angeles with memories! My brother’s wedding wasn’t until the weekend but we decided to fly in early to visit our old friends and favorite haunts. There is so much to tell that I will have to save the wedding festivities for next week.
The kids and I flew out early Monday morning. (Steve couldn’t pull himself away from preparation for the upcoming convention to join us until Wednesday.) As soon as we landed we rented a van and headed straight for “In-N-Out Burgers!” This is a fast food restaurant that is mostly just in the Western United States. It is a Christian-owned company and they even have Bible references printed on the bottom of their cups. They also happen to have the most delicious burgers in the world. (Although, Whataburgers and Butter Burgers are close in the running.)
We had our dear friends, the Joves, meet us for lunch. This is a wonderful family with seven children so everybody has a friend, plus spares. Tucker, Haven, and Clancy peeled off to spend the afternoon and night at their ranch just outside of Los Angeles. They also had fun visiting their old buddies at “Awanas” that evening.
In the meantime, I took the afternoon to cruise around town by myself. What a treat! (I was definitely taking care of the ‘Me’ in Mommy.) I shopped at some of my favorite stores and overall, just enjoyed being back in LA. I must admit, I surprised myself at how much I miss Los Angeles. I’ve been so excited about being back home in Texas that I forgot how much I left behind in California. I love our old neighborhood. I enjoy how the weather cools down in the evenings and you can actually spend time outdoors. I really like the availability and accessibility to all the latest and greatest retail and restaurants. And I really miss the food. We tried to eat at as many of our favorite places as possible in a one week period of time.
After shopping around for awhile, I ensconced myself in a Starbucks and wrote last week’s journal entry until my mom and Casey called and said they could meet me for dinner. I wasn’t able to spend Mother’s Day with my mother so we were planning to celebrate tonight. We met at a quaint little restaurant near Maria’s house so she could join us after a day of last-minute wedding preparations. (Maria is Casey’s fiancé – now wife!)
I just can’t put into words how much we love Maria. She is perfect! I pray that God gives my son someone as godly, emotionally healthy, sweet, and supportive as Maria. We had a delicious time sitting around the table, enjoying one another’s company. Between living in two separate states and crazy-busy lives, we rarely get to slow down long enough just to hang out and delight in family. After dinner, with the kids spending the night at a friend’s house, I got to be a little girl again and spend the night with my mommy.
The next morning I had to tape an interview for the television show, “Extra.” I’ve been thankful for the opportunities to promote the release of “The Facts of Life” DVDs and, at the same time, make people aware of my latest book. At the same time, I ended up working much more than I anticipated in what was supposed to be a vacation week. But I’m not complaining.
After the taping, I stopped at one of my favorite restaurants, “Wood Ranch BBQ” to pick up a couple of chopped BBQ chicken salads for me and my friend, Anastasia, where my kids were staying. One of the highlights of the week was seeing so many of my old friends. Although, it seemed like I only had a little bit of time with each one, it was still good to catch up.
After picking up Tucker and Haven from the Jove’s ranch, I got to meet another newer-old friend (from Texas,) Sandra. She picked up Clancy from Awana’s the night before so she could spend the night with her friend, Lauren. We met at Jamba Juice (another one of our favorites that is hard to find where we live now.) After way too short of a conversation, we had to rush off to meet my whole family for another evening of fun.
First stop was “Chevy’s” fresh-mex restaurant. (Yet, another favorite.) Then onto the Hollywood Palladium to see “Stomp!” Oh my goodness, what an awesome show. This cast was able to make music out of anything and everything imaginable. What talent and creativity!
The next morning I took the kids to meet more friends while I joined some of my bestest friends in the whole wide world, my “Good Med” friends (the original MomTime group) for lunch. Of all that I miss in California, these friendships are what I miss the most! There is just something irreplaceable about friendships you make when your children are little and growing up together.
After retrieving all of the kids we met at another friend’s house to spend the afternoon. Tucker played guitars and video games with Michael, the girls swam, and my friend, Janice, and I talked over the new Starbucks banana/coconut frappuccino. Steve landed just in time to pick us up and take us to yet another friend’s house for dinner.
We visited our old neighborhood, where the kids spent their toddler and preschool years. We even knocked on the door of the house where we lived and got to walk through their old rooms and the backyard. Of course, everything looked SO much smaller than our memories had captured. We visited our old next-door-neighbors for an evening of reminiscing and pizza. Old friends are truly the best.
The next morning, Maria met me at the hotel room to accompany me to tape an interview on “Good Day LA.” I really enjoyed getting to spend that time just the two of us. I can tell we are going to be great friends as well as sisters-in-law. I didn’t know this at the time but one of the anchors on this show, Jillien Barbarie, was on the “Skating with Celebrities” show and Maria and my mom were hoping she would win. Another thing I found out too late to share with her, was that my step dad and brother also did all the electrical work in her house. Small world, huh!
Meanwhile, my friend (and hairstylist) Michele, met Steve and the kids at this awesome bakery called, “Porto’s” for breakfast. Just as they were finishing up, Maria and I joined them for some thrift store shopping. We had so much fun! My favorite store was a shop where they sell all of the clothes from the studios that have been worn on television and movies. For five bucks, Tucker got the coolest burgundy velvet jacket (that looked like it must have been worn by Prince in some video.) Haven bought a really fun-but-ugly shirt from “That 70’s Show.”
We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the neighborhood from which we moved. The most memorable moment was going in our old backyard and stumbling onto the handprints the kids had made in the cement when they were tiny. My how much they’ve grown. Seems like yesterday. After knocking on the door of some of our old neighbors and visiting for awhile we all went back to the hotel to rest. Well, not all of us. Tucker talked me into taking him to the Hollywood Guitar Center. What a weird experience.
Possibly, the highlight of the whole trip was Thursday night. We all went over to Casey and Maria’s new apartment and prayed through every room. There’s no way I could adequately express how proud I am of the young man Casey has become. He is going to be an awesome husband. I was so impressed with the obvious personal relationship he has with the Lord which is evident through his ease, power, and faith in prayer. I was so thankful my children got to be a part of this incredible evening. My hope is that the standard that Casey set that night will be indelibly marked in my daughter’s hearts and minds when they are ready to choose a husband. I know for sure that Casey helped Tucker formulate a vision for himself of the kind of young man he wants to become.
After yet another stop at a favorite West Coast fast food restaurant, “El Pollo Loco” for some chicken bowls, we made our way back to the hotel to rest up for all of the wedding activities that would begin the next day. I’ll tell you about all of those, including lots more pictures, next week.
Posted by weblion at 10:57 PM