I flew in Friday morning and was greeted by a large fire in the forest and smoke in the valley. I was overwhelmed, to say the least, and since I was alone and at LAX I decided to go to where I was most comfortable: I drove to Target. I wanted to buy a few dresses and most of the pickings are slim in Seattle. After shopping I headed over to Venice for a quick photo shoot.
My rental car had great air conditioning, but the moment I stepped out of the cool interior I was blasted with heat and humidity. I parked in the exact same place that I had been almost one year earlier and wandered over to the boardwalk. It was so muggy and my hair was plastered to my head. It sucked, but I was determined to get some shots.
I wandered down the boardwalk, walked on the beach and then headed over to the Sidewalk Cafe where I had a quick beer at the bar. It tasted better than the water she handed me and I gulped it down pretty quickly. There were a lot of tourists there and I just didn't have the patience for them.
Walking back to my car I saw this awesome house and just had to grab a shot of it. If you zoom in close you can see all the interesting sculptures that hung off the sides. I love Venice. Such an interesting mix of people.
I drove towards Hollywood to meet up with Dane, but I had a little time to kill so I walked into Amoeba, but then wandered out after about 10 minutes when I realized there wasn't anything currently that I wanted to purchase. Sad that I couldn't think of a single CD that I wanted a hard copy of.
I grabbed Dane and we went to the Formosa Cafe before heading over to one of my favorite restaurants, Jones, and then we spent some time at his place (well, really Gena's) and chatted. I was staying at my families house so I took the drive out after visiting with Dane and to my surprise Jolie and Carolyn were still awake so we had time to chat a bit before I passed out.
Saturday - The Wedding
The tall one flew in Saturday morning and I went to pick him up at the airport. I hadn't really experienced any smoke on Friday but driving into Burbank I could taste it in the air and my eyes were burning. We quickly headed south to Torrance where we had lunch with his adorable Grandpa. He recently moved to a retirement facility down there and was proud to show off his new home to his Grandson. We chatted about Yosemite a great deal and he had some excellent black and white infrared shots on his wall. He was a character and I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get to take him to a strip club :)
He was kind enough to let us stay in his home in Manhattan Beach. We walked in and was instantly greeted with a 180 degree view of the sea. It was amazing and I felt sooo lucky. I was a tad bit bummed that the tall one wanted to immediately take a nap, but I forget sometimes how exhausted his work makes him and I quickly turned my mood around and bid him a lovely sleep. I poured myself a glass of wine, kicked off my shoes and enjoyed staring down at the Strand. I used to run along it everyday and always wished I could be one of those people I saw sitting on their balcony on a beautiful day enjoying a glass of wine or dinner with friends or just the view...and finally I was one.
We made our way over to Jen and Travis's house in the Valley and hung out a bit before heading to Union Station, where the wedding was taking place. The above shot was after the ceremony. We did a little impromptu photo shoot as the lighting was so excellent in the station, plus it's beautiful in there. My nifty fifty caught a lot of flare from the lights so I changed this shot to black and white to mask some of it...hopefully. I adore Jen and Travis. He's an actor and also does quite a bit of voice over work, she's an excellent chef and just got a new job managing a huge staff at a very popular bakery in the Valley. Their house was so cute, and so them!
The wedding was so beautiful. I knew the ceremony would reflect this amazing couple and I wasn't wrong. Amy was in a stunning cream dress and there were little personal touches all through out the tables. Alcohol was flowing and they even imported down Rainier beer as it's hard to come by in LA. Amy and Andrew met at UW in the Geology department, and strangely enough I didn't even know her up there, we met in LA and hit it off almost immediately. I was really glad to be there and celebrate their marriage...even if they had already done the legal bits up in SF couple months before.
I was over by the bar (big surprise) when the couple cut the cake so Jen grabbed my camera and dropped a few frames. The light was low, and the shutter speed was very slow, but like I said to her if you only get one usable one out of a hundred you still got your shot. I love how people always want to play with my camera. So far there hasn't been one time where I've said no and I've always had great results with what they capture on accident...or even sometimes on purpose!
After quite a few drinks, dancing and toasts we said goodnight to Amy and headed home. The beach house was empty, but not quiet for very long :) It was a very good night indeed.
I woke up early in the morning to enjoy the morning sea air and took a quick picture of the sea before getting ready to meet up with some friends at Hugo's in the valley. Rebecca, Mandi, Jen, Jen and her boyfriend Leslie, Lucas and I had a lovely lunch filled with laughs and catching up. They loved my boyfriend, as I knew they would, and I sat back and watched as they all chatted with each other. Rebecca was in a pretty terrible car accident a few months ago and we were all so grateful that she was able to join us. I forgot how much I adored that girl.
I had to drop the tall one off at the airport around 6ish so we bid the group farewell and headed out to explore a little of the city. The observatory was open and I had yet to visit it as the whole time I lived in LA it was closed for restorations. The Station fire was looming in the background and I caught a couple frames of it with one of the telescopes for scale.
I was surprised to see the colors of the trees already turning to fall, and it made for a nice contrast on the above shot. Doesn't it look like a volcano erupting? It was pretty eerie. You could see the cloud everywhere you went in the city and yet we were going about our day like nothing was different.
After grabbing Casey's Oscar and driving down Hollywood Blvd. I took the tall one to the airport. Airport kisses are awesome. Jen had invited the girls over for dinner so I headed her way and since I was the first one there we got to chat a bit before the other girls got there.
She made two dishes, pork tenderloin on a bed of garbanzo bean puree and three pepper relish meatloaf with a sauce to die for. She went to CIA, and geesh can that girl cook. The meal was excellent and she even made a lactose free (kinda) desert for us as Rebecca can't have dairy. The other Jen loved hers and it spun her into a
sugar induced haze. She's nuts anyway so it was kinda fun to watch her. Never a dull moment with my girls.
I drove out to my families house that night and the minute I walked in my Uncle asked me "red, white or a beer?". I gratefully took a glass of red wine and sat chatting with them for a couple hours. My cousin Blake had scored the winning goal at his hockey championship so we toasted to him before we all turned in for the night. I took a quick moment to thank my Uncle for all he's done for me and it was nice sitting with him alone for a second. It's so important to me that he knows how much I appreciate him, I hope that came across when we chatted.
Monday morning I finally got to sleep in, although I did have a Winnie puppy and cousins to contend with for a little bit, but eventually the house grew quiet and I fell back asleep. Carolyn and I went to lunch together and then I packed up and drove out to Santa Monica to look at the pier and to buy a CD at my old yoga studio. Before I had to drop my rental off I drove out to the old house and chatted with Bill for a quick moment. He wanted to take me to the airport so I followed him over to the Hertz dealer and then hopped in the car for the quick ride over to the terminal. It was nice to see him and although per usual we had a tiff it reminded me how far I've come since I first moved to that city.
I was thankfully picked up by Melissa at the airport and I stumbled into my apartment ready to drop dead on the bed. Not more than 5 minutes had passed when I got a knock on the door and opened it to see Casey standing there. I gave him his Oscar and then we chatted for a minute about my trip while sipping on some Jack over ice. I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer so he hugged me goodnight and I collapsed onto my bed for a blissful sleep.
I can't even begin to say how awesome this trip was. It was so great to see my friends, to hang out in my town, to show my boyfriend around and to spend time with my family. However, it was also great to come home to a boyfriend who missed me, a friend who was more than happy to pick me up at the airport and my best friend who couldn't wait to hear all about my trip.
Have I mentioned yet how lucky I am?