California Dreaming

I just returned from a long weekend, a glorious weekend, in southern California. The reason for my visit was my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, but I flew out there (alone) early Thursday morning so I could see a couple of friends and spend some time “doing my own thing”. I had an amazing time.

I mean, truly amazing. I felt so purely happy for the duration of the trip: I loved it. So many good things. (I have since decided that I need to figure out a way to travel regularly. Really.)

Though the four days were chock full of goodness, here are some of my favorite things about the weekend, in no particular order:

1. Getting to spend time (though not enough!) with Lisa and then Kendra. I met their sweet kids and their wonderful husbands and wanted to hang out in each of their houses for another week or two. I love that after not seeing either of them in person for almost two years, we picked up right where we left off.

2. Driving down the highway with my windows open, sun shining and radio blasting. I listened to Ryan Seacrest on his home turf and also became addicted to Icona Pop’s song “I Love It”. I had heard it only a few times before this trip because it’s not big (yet?) in Chicago, but it’s totally overplayed in Los Angeles. (Fine with me!) I adore it because it’s a summery song, sort of: in sound only. The lyrics are actually not so sunny, but I am well-known for getting an overdose of endorphins from songs that aren’t happy, like Moby’s “Southside”. I will always think of my trip when I hear it.

3. Hanging out with my parents while on vacation was really fun. We had a great time seeing some sights and visiting with extended family.

4. The wedding was one of the most beautiful I’ve attended. It was at a vineyard in Temecula and everything about the ceremony and reception was fantastic. My cousin and his new wife couldn’t have planned it any better.

5. I spent lots of time with my cousin Brian, who I wrote about in February. I got to know his wife and kids, and I can’t describe how much fun I had with them. In many ways I felt like I was a kid again: he hasn’t changed a bit and kept me laughing my head off. I also loved seeing my dad interact (read: tease) Brian’s two young sons. It was like watching him with Brian and my other cousins back in the day. I hope to go to dinner with Brian and his family when I head down to Austin in June for BlogHer Food.

6. I got reacquainted with my second cousin, who is 86 years old. I hadn’t seen her since June of 1986 when I spent a week in Los Angeles with her and her hilarious husband, right after I graduated from high school. At 86, she is amazing and I want to have her youthful spirit when I’m that age. She said to me, “I don’t think about my age…I just keep going and try to keep doing what I like to do, and I appreciate every day. I’m very lucky.” I can’t begin to describe how much it meant to me to spend time with her. The only word I can think of is “meaningful” and that doesn’t really do it justice. She is a wonderful, lovely, well-spoken, energetic lady. She is one of the few people who I can spend time with and truly feel the presence of my grandma: they were very close. (By the way, I also enjoyed trying to explain different things about social media to her husband, who is confused and slightly annoyed by it, and asked me “What would happen if Facebook disappeared tomorrow?” Hmm.)

7. I saw the Diana exhibit at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I geeked out, which you’ll understand if you have any idea about my obsession with British royalty. The exhibit wasn’t actually Diana-exclusive; it covered British royalty from Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson all the way through to Princes William and Harry and Kate Middleton. I got to see Sarah Ferguson’s wedding dress up close and personal, along with other favorite artifacts like a daily hair appointment schedule handwritten by Diana, hand-written letters by lots of the royals, a negligee that belonged to Wallis Simpson, unique commemorative plates, and some of Diana’s dresses. I was even able to listen to some answering machine messages left by Diana. Fascinating stuff!

8. I loved my last-minute, spur-of-the-moment detour to Hermosa Beach when I realized I had some extra time before needing to be at the airport.

9. And of course, there was Flat Sue, who will get her own recap in the next couple of days. She was a fun travel companion, and even made fast friends with some of my family members. (I hope I didn’t creep out my cousin’s new wife TOO much by asking her to pose for a picture with Flat Sue.)

I could write about this trip for days, but I won’t, and don’t need to because I created a YouTube recap. Here’s my four-day weekend, in three minutes and fourteen seconds. While you watch, I’ll be figuring out when I can get back to Los Angeles. Enjoy!


  • Flawless Mom

    I love this. I want to hear more about this Lisa character though. 😉
    Can’t wait til you’re back here. And I also can’t wait to visit you on YOUR turf!!!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    So great!! You are such a great traveler. Seriously, I am not sure if I could do all those things alone (not that you were ALONE, I mean, you sort of had me with you). Your parents are adorable. Can’t wait to meet them in person some day 🙂

  • Dawndi

    Beautiful! Loved the video. 🙂 My cousin and his family also live in Temecula. My childhood neighbor and good friend lives there too.

  • Momo Fali

    I need a daily hair appointment. THIS IS NOT A SUGGESTION, simply a statement. 🙂

    I’m SO GLAD you had a wonderful time. I felt like that on the day after BlogHer last year when Twitter slowed down and I could walk around the city and not have my face buried in my phone. There are tall buildings there. Who knew?