Thursday, March 24, 2011

california dreaming...on such a winter's daaaayyy!!

4. Drive the PCH and make good on my promise to the Cali girls. - DONE!

Well, considering it's March 23rd it's NOT a winter's day, but it might as well be with the forecast calling for a potential "wintry mix" this weekend.  Wintry mix?  REALLY?  UGH.
Soooo over Baltimore's dissociative identity disorder weather. HO HUM.
I figured it'd be the perfect time to blog about my amazing California trip.  This trip was loosely planned for 2010, but situations changed and we ended up postponing to this year instead.
Sadira and I started off the California leg of our trip by flying into LAX.  Originally I wanted to fly into San Diego so we could truly start south and head north, but the ticket price difference to fly into LAX instead was we're talking $400 per ticket.  So we started off in LA instead.
Upon arriving in LA, we picked up our rental car (more on that later) and met up with our friends Alix and Lisa for some late lunch, at one of their (gorgeous) local hang outs.

It had been a few months since our last adventure together, and I was really looking forward to seeing them both.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, the weather was perfect and we got to watch the sunset over the Pacific.  After dinner, we stopped at the condo, and then made our way down to the Santa Monica pier.
Unfortunately since the sun had already set and it was a Tuesday evening, there wasn't too much going on at the pier.  So we settled for some margaritas and Mexican food...can't go wrong with that, huh?

After dinner, Sadie and I made our way to our hotel.  I took my time to drive through LA. There's something I love about driving through a city I know nothing about armed only with a GPS.  When we finally made it to our hotel, we slept GOOD.
Next day we woke up and played tourist big time.  Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater, The Kodak Theater, Hollywood and Highland and the Hollywood sign (from a distance of course.)  We met Alix in the afternoon for Santa Monica pier attempt two.  This time it was a success.  Though the Ferris wheel was "closed for filming" (SOOOO LA, by the way..) that didn't matter, because Sadira REFUSED to go on it anyway, instead opting for the $0.50 rides.  Lots of them.  Alix treated her to funnel cake and cotton candy AND dippin' dots....Alix treated us to a lot the whole weekend, in fact.  We were thoroughly spoiled! We also visited the Aquarium under the Pier, and found Lisa before hitting the road to the Grammy Museum.

(Just for fun, click HERE, and take a look at the photo header I chose for one of my past blog posts...)

Everything was a ton of fun, but the Grammy Museum was AWESOME!  It's relatively new, and in downtown LA, and I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but whatever I WAS expecting, it was SO MUCH MORE.  Not only did we see REAL Grammys, but they also had a huge array of costumes from Michael Jackson's bedazzled jackets, to Elvis' boots, to Eazy E's Compton hat, to Katy Perry's fruit dress, to J Lo's green barely there Versace get-up, to Kanye's light-up stunna shades, to LL Cool J's track suit, to Taylor Swift's cowboy boots, to Rev Run's original black RUN DMC name it, they had it.  It was pretty amazing.

They also had John Lennon's hand written lyrics.  Serious.

They actually had a pretty awesome John Lennon display, but when I saw the lyrics to "Imagine" scribbled in pencil in John Lennon's own handwriting on the back of a manila envelope I almost died.  Passed out, left for dead, resuscitated, brought back to life, only to go into cardiac arrest and die again.  Seriously, I saw the light.  It was AAAMMMAAZINGG!

Sucky part was you can't take pictures in the Grammy museum. Bummer.

(I sneakily took this illegal photo...shhhh...don't tell!)

After that we all headed around the corner to meet up with my friends Andre and Bonnie. Andre and I used to work together before he moved out west, and Bonnie is his friend whom I had never met up until that point, but she had kinda fallen in love with Sadira through Facebook. :)  I was really looking forward to spending some time catching up and hanging out with both of them.

When Andre and I had been discussing dinner plans, I told him we would were completely open to anything.  He recommended this place called Daikokuya, which was (in his words), "a little hole in the wall ramen house in little Tokyo that has the most amazing Japanese noodle bowls."

The man knows his food, there was no doubt we were going to take his suggestion, but I had to admit, I was simultaneously skeptical and intrigued about dining at a "ramen house."  I mean, when I think ramen, I think Cup 'O Noodles from college, right?  How amazing could this place be?

Well, let me tell you, you have no clue.

We arrived just in time to be 12th on the waiting list for a table. Yes, you heard right...12th in line for a table at a RAMEN HOUSE.  Looking around at the crowd gathered outside IN THE RAIN to wait for a table in this place I couldn't help but think they were all high on Charlie Sheen to be waiting that long for some noodles.  But of course, we had to see what all the hype was about.

Alix, Lisa, Sadira and I decided to sneak into a neighboring restaurant for some appetizers and drinks while we waited.  Sadie was happy to get a bowl of edamame and the rest of us were happy to get some hot saki.  Andre and Bonnie were both running a little bit late because of the traffic, but we were perfectly content to rest our legs, relax for a bit, and enjoy our treats.

Everything was GREAT! until....

Sadira started reaching the point of no return.  The whining, the clingy-ness, the crying for no reason...yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were headed for a meltdown.  Now listen, I know how lucky I am to have a kid who is very easy going and go-with-the-flow 99.9% of the time.  But let me tell you, when she goes into meltdown mode it is UGLY.  Hold onto your hats, because we were headed to Meltdown City, population 1, and Sadira was the mayor.

Now I'll be honest, I wasn't upset about her ruining dinner, or her whining...I've learned to tune her out pretty easily when she gets into that mood. :)  The thing is, I knew how much Bonnie was looking forward to meeting Sadira, and I didn't want her to be in an ugly mood! I wanted to be herself and have a good time!

In Sadie's defense we had already been travelling for over a week (the first leg of our trip was spent in Hawaii, which I'll be blogging about later this week..) we still hadn't quite adjusted to California time, and we had been going NON-STOP all day, with no nap involved.  Oh yeah, and she's three.  So all things considered, she deserved a good meltdown.

So let me set the scene for you here....

I get a text from Bonnie telling me she's at the restaurant.  Alix and Lisa head over there to check our spot on the wait list, with a crabby Sadira in the stroller while I paid out our tab (the ONLY tab I got to touch the entire time we were in LA--told you we were super spoiled).

As I run over to the restaurant, I see everyone out front, and Alix and Lisa have found Bonnie.  Andre texts that he just minutes away.  I quickly said hi to Bonnie and scooped Sadie out of her stroller in an effort to improve her mood.  I introduce Bonnie to Sadie with my standard explanation, "just give her 5 minutes, she'll be a little stand-offish at first, but once she get used to you, she'll be just fine," (HOPING that this would again be the case tonight...)

And what happened next was PURE MAGIC.

Bonnie reaches out and asks Sadie if she can have a hug, and Sadie practically THROWS herself into Bonnie's arms giving her hugs and kisses like they are BFF's that go WAAAY back. Ya know, all the way back to 2007.

Here is picture evidence.  This was taken mere SECONDS after meeting, with a child who had just MOMENTS before been in the crabbiest of moods:

From that moment on, Sadie wouldn't leave Bonnie's side.  It was so cute. Andre arrived, and it was awesome to see him after so many years and catch up.  We went inside, took about 20 minutes just to figure out the menu, but ultimately went with Andre's recommendations...

...and let me tell you, those noodles were BANGIN.

I have no idea what they put in them, but I have never tasted a ramen noodle bowl so delicious.  We topped the evening off with a quick trip to Pinkberry and a run in the Sanrio store so Sadie could stock up on her Hello Kitty accessories.  Super fun night.

We had so much fun in LA.  Thanks to Andre for the great dinner, thanks to Bonnie for being so sweet to Sadie, thanks to Lisa for being effin' awesome, and thanks to Alix for treating us like absolute queens the entire two days.  You guys are great friends, and I'm so glad we got to spend time together.   

The next morning we left LA bright and early to head to the land where dreams come true.

To be continued...


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