Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 2

I spent the weekend in Southern California, celebrating my birthday with my oldest friend. Here you see my new pedi enjoying the Pacific Ocean. It was so amazing to me that one day I wake up in chilly, autumnal Chicago and the next day I'm in LA. If I live to be 100, I'll never be casual about the wonder of air travel.

I told my friend -- whose life is getting all dramatic again -- that I only have two things on my weekend "to do" list: get a fresh pedi and see the Lincoln movie. Of course those are two things I could do here at home, but I couldn't do them in the sun and I couldn't do them with her. I tried to make the weekend as stress free and fun for her as for me.

My hotel -- I didn't want her to worry about cleaning her apartment for me, plus her kids aren't always easy to be around -- was in a convenient location and was affordable ("affordable" was key for this trip as it wasn't budgeted and I'm crawling out from under my expenses related to my mother's estate). It was also kind of a dump. But it was clean and quiet and I was able to get a lot of sleep.

Saturday was rainy so we spent the day getting this pedi and going to see the exceptional Lincoln movie. She and I are big Abe-o-philes, having visited his home in Springfield together several times. So seeing the movie together made it more special. We had dinner together at a small Italian restaurant, a neighborhood place I discovered during my morning walk. It was charming. (I did have tummy trouble both mornings I woke up in Los Angeles. Don't know if it was the water or the sudden change in my diet -- I admit to a dearth of vegetables.)

Sunday we went shopping in a sunny, outdoor mall in Santa Monica. Christmas decorations and palm trees -- I know it from my annual holiday trips to Key West, but I'll never get used to it. Discovered two stores we don't have here -- Fresh and Lush. It was great fun to play among the lotions and potions.

Then we had drinks at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. It was gorgeous! Ocean view, mountains, sand and the amusement park rides from Santa Monica Pier. Then I insisted on going into the water. My friend has gone soft -- she deemed 65ยบ "too cold." But it was beautiful and fun and memorable.

Then we went back to her place for pizza. I showed her the disc my niece made containing photos of my mom throughout her life. My oldest friend grew up in the apartment building behind our house and knew my mom well, so it was poignant but meaningful to share the memories with her. Then she showed me a framed photo she had of her parents, taken before they were married, looking so young and hopeful. It was sad to realize that, between us, we were now 0/4 in the parent department. We are now adults, aren't we?

I boarded a plane at 11:50 PM Sunday night and was back at O'Hare by 5:50 AM Monday morning. Amazing!