Monday, March 17, 2008

My Last Week In LA and Drive Home #2

My former boss was lovely enough to fly me back to Los Angeles after moving back home to Seattle to train my replacement. I was put up at the Westin Pasadena and was given a rental car for the week. I had hesitations about coming back to Los Angeles. Things were going very well with my new friend and I was afraid that if I left we would have to start building it back up again. It's always hard in a long distance relationship. There is a passion in it that sometimes is lacking when you have the opportunity to see that person anytime. The agony of having to leave them, the excitement of seeing them again, and in our case learning how to be a couple together.

I had been friends with him for a very long time and the simplest things that a couple would do were new to us. We knew the passion and the friendship, but had no idea how to do the relationship thing. We were both older and had been in hard relationships in the past and both were afraid to repeat past mistakes. So by the time I left for Los Angeles the last time, we were at the point of learning how to do domestic things together, learning how to live together and how to be emotional with each other. It was really a beautiful process and I was sad to leave him. However, I knew it was only a week and the best part was I knew when I was going to be see him again so it wasn't going to be sad.

I left on a plane Feb. 24th. I was flying my favorite airline (Alaska) and was really excited because I had a window seat and would have a lovely view of the mountains as we flew down. I was able to take a couple pictures of Mt. Rainer but of course a picture from an airplane window doesn't do it justice.

Turns out there was a lot of clouds and I really didn't get to see much. Which was alright since I had some work to do, so I just buried my head in my laptop.

As we made our decent into Burbank Airport, the gentleman who had been sitting in the isle seat suddenly was in the middle seat and was leaning over me trying to look out the window. Total personal space invasion and my first instinct was woah buddy get the hell out of my face. He said "I've never flown into L.A. before, what's that? and what's that?!" So trying to be the kind Seattlite, I tried to explain a few things to him and suggest a few places to go. It was a bit weird, he spent like 20 minutes in my seat basically.
I was glad to finally land.

Monday was spent training, then that evening I went out with my friend and co-worker Lisa to have a few drinks. I was exhausted and ended up going back to the hotel after, ordering room service and falling asleep.

Tuesday I met up with the Jen's for some foosball at the Cha Cha in Silverlake. Foosball with Jen Svejda is an adventure and she didn't disappoint this time. There was a point where she was playing three other guys while at least 10 others looked on. Jen Sperling and I had to raz her a little bit before she ended up coming over to us and spending some time with the girls. But the foosball table's call was too alluring and she was at it again not too long after.

Wednesday Bill took me out for dinner. It was an interesting experience. I was tired, grumpy, hungry and still flustered that I had to be in Los Angeles. Unfortunately my attitude didn't bode well for Bill, and we ended up fighting most of the evening. We did however take time out to drive into downtown to see Carroll Avenue, one of the first suburbs of L.A. and where many San Francisco shows are filmed due to the Victorian architecture of the homes.

Thursday was a lovely evening with Jen Sperling and her boyfriend Travis. We ordered food from CPK, ate it on the rooftop pool of my hotel overlooking Pasadena City Hall. That night I called Del and all hell broke loose. I don't even remember what we were fighting about. It just got worse and worse, I hung up on him...didn't get any sleep and woke up to call him in the morning to hopefully smooth over what happened the night before, but the damage was done. He was starting to pull away.

Friday, my last day at True Music, I spent with Sperling (who looked excellent, by the way), Lisa and her good friend Dupe at a bar downtown called Seven Grand. A beautiful scotch bar, we had a lot of fun listening to music, laughing and drinking. I had our lovely server suggest their best drinks for me, and the last one I had was this snow cone looking mint julep type beverage that as the ice melted and the drink came together was soooo good. The funny thing was, I wasn't too sad to be leaving. I was going to miss my friends and the town, but I was really excited to start my new life with Del and to be home.

Saturday I made the drive down to Bill's house to get my car and to return the rental to LAX. We went together to get my car washed and oil changed, had lunch sitting at the car wash place and then returned to his place to pack the rest of my stuff into the car. It was an emotional moment. I had brought over a bottle of scotch that I had bought the night before, but didn't want to take with me. With one final walk through of the home I spent three years in, we toasted to each other with a shot of the scotch and I started my drive home.

He made me a cd of songs to leave town with, starting off with "Breathe Me" by Sia. Six Feet Under had been our favorite show, and in the series finale Claire drives away to New York from LA to start her new life with this song playing in the background. A very emotional montage follows and I was never able to hear that song again without crying. Needless to say, I had so many tears streaming down my face that it was hard for me to see the road. After the cd played, I promised myself no more tears. I was moving forward and on to a new experience.

My friend Justin was also driving up to Seattle, but from San Diego and had stopped in the Bay Area for a couple days. I had hoped to catch up with him so we could do the drive together, but he had a few hours on me and we ended up just keeping each other company on the phone. He suggested I stop at a sandwich place called Granzella's in Williams, CA which is about 90 miles south of Redding. By the time I got there, it was closed but I saw a Motel 6 and figured it was around 10 and a good time to stop and sleep.

I woke up Sunday morning and went over to Granzella's, which turned out to be a great suggestion by Justin as I was able to get breakfast and a sandwich for later. After hanging out for a minute there and talking to the locals, I headed out on my final leg.

I didn't take too many pictures, but I was blown away by Mt. Shasta. I had taken this drive so many times and for some reason had forgotten how beautiful Shasta is and I couldn't stop taking pictures of it the whole time that it was visible to me. At first from the car, as I wanted to send the picture to my friend Lisa since she had never been up this way before. But then as it came into full view, I just kept shooting.

To the right you can see Black Butte, which is a lava dome from Shasta. Click on the link to read more about it.

Here is a shot with my little girl. She was such a trooper the whole drive up. Not a single problem arose even though she was loaded to the top with all my beanie babies and clothes.

These were the last pictures I took. As night was upon me I decided to just power through and keep on going till home. The only time I was really emotional was as I crossed over the Washington border from Portland. I knew it was going to hit me and I quickly searched for the right song to play as I crossed into my home state.

My ipod landed on MuteMath and the song "Control":

Move me up through the darkest clouds
Till I've lost in the sun every shadow of doubt
There is no better find than to find myself with you
In a fog you are all I see
I'm inviting you closer with each time I breathe
Surrender has somehow become so beautiful.

I made it home by 1:30 am, very tired, but happy.

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