Category Archives: U.S. Los Angeles, CA

Family, friends, and fun

Dad, Kimberly and I at Hermosa Fresh Market

Visit to the States: Part I

What? 6 months since my last visit to the States.  My journey to the States was a lot easier than in January.  A 3.5 hour public bus ride, 30-minute taxi, 5-hour flight to MIA, 5-hour flight to LA.  Easy Peasy – 20 hours later.

We had a jammed packed schedule with lots of activities and errands.  I saw my good friends Ed and Wendy, Kathryn and Gene, and got to see my sister show off her jumping skills.

Sis jumping her horse and Ed, Wendy and I

Sis jumping her horse and Ed, Wendy and I

Cole performed in a high school “Spring Sing” and was the only kid with a solo – he’s so amazing!  As a matter of fact, he made a select men’s singing group for next year.

Cole singing solo at Spring Sing

Cole singing solo at Spring Sing

Kimberly had a fundraiser at the Spring Sing concert and raised over $250 for the Mira Costa Choir.  Equally important, we had fun working side by side.

The family at Cole's Spring Sing

The family at Cole’s Spring Sing

Kimberly put together a last minute girls happy hour where my friend Deborah joined us.  Always good to see a fellow Texan enjoying the California lifestyle.

Girls Happy Hour

Girls Happy Hour

We see lots of weird fruits and veggies that we cannot identify in other countries, but this is a first for me. I could  not identify this huge jack fruit in California.  Evidently it’s  a huge source of protein for vegetarians.  It was heavy!

What the heck? It is a vegan source of protein.

What the heck? It is a vegan source of protein.

One of the main reasons I went to LA (besides seeing my family) was to see Cameron, my youngest nephew graduate from middle school.  Notably, graduating with all “A’s.”

The cast below:  Cameron, my dad, Troy, Kimberly, Vicki, Uncle Matt, Diana and Mark. Bottom row: Reese’s PB Cup/Chocolate Chip cookies

Family celebrating Cameron's graduation

Family celebrating Cameron’s graduation

Cameron rocked the front row of his 2018 graduating class.  Under these circumstances, it was no surprise as he did a jig exited the stage, cracking everyone up!

Cameron's Middle School Graduation

Cameron’s Middle School Graduation

It’s always good to get the family together, but even better when it is a celebration.

Family at Cameron's Graduation in the States

Family at Cameron’s Graduation in the States

In addition to being a rock star student, Cameron also rocks the volleyball court!  We got to see him play in a tournament.  He is a power house on the court like his mom and dad!

Cameron at Volleyball Tournament

Cameron at Volleyball Tournament

We celebrated Father’s day early as I was traveling to ATX on the actual day.  We took my dad to brunch then walked the Hermosa Beach Fresh Market.  As can be seen, it was a beautiful day.

Dad, Kimberly and I at Hermosa Fresh Market

Dad, Kimberly and I at Hermosa Fresh Market

Had a fabulous time, even though we packed a lot in a short amount of time during my visit to the States:

  • Cameron’s graduation
  • Cole’s Spring Sing
  • Kimberly’s Horseback Riding Lessons
  • Visit with a few friends (Ed & Wendy, Kathryn & Gene, and Deborah)
  • Father’s Day
  • Errands, errands, and more errands
Cole, Cameron, Kimberly Celebrating with me

La la land: The City of Angeles

Returning back to Los Angeles or as I affectionately call it “la la land” (way before the movie came out) is always exciting because I get to see my family!  It makes it especially nice because my sister lives in Hermosa Beach with a beautiful view of the beach and ocean – so I am not too disconnected from Matt and the boat.  I call it la la land because I can go around saying “la la la” with no responsibilities other than seeing my family and enjoying life.

After a few hours of sleep, my nephews, Cole and Cameron, and my sister and I made a plan – we are headed to Santa Monica Pier!  Even though it is only about 11 miles from Hermosa Beach, it will take us about an hour to get there with traffic – during the day at 11am in the morning.

Santa Monica Pier has a huge merry-go-round, tons of games, vintage stores, eateries, and of course lots of shopping.  The boys wanted to take me to Bruxie, where you can get a waffle sandwich.  It is a complete novelty in Los Angels being the health nuts that they are to get anything on a waffle sandwich, but for us Texans its not out of the ordinary.  I had my first chicken waffle sandwich at a SXSW event many moons ago, but it is not something I have often.  I wanted to see what a la la land would do to this special dish.

Bruxie with Cameron and Col (and Kimberly not pictured)

Bruxie with Cameron and Col (and Kimberly not pictured)

They did it well!  Let me tell you they had vegetarian, chicken, and mushroomsandwiches all on waffles.  It was very tasty and very worthy of a Texas tradition!

Overstuffed, we headed to the Santa Monica Promenade to check out the shops.  It always amazes me how LA gets the newest stores and the latest trends that won’t hit Texas for months or quarters, and won’t hit the islands for years, if at all.  Not that I need to be on “trend” anymore, but it is kind of cool.  We found a new store called RH Baby and Child that was part of Restoration Hardware family and it was spectacular.  They had some of the most beautiful rooms, décor, and furniture.  We had a little fun with some of their accessories.

Goofin around with Kimberly and Cameron

Goofin around with Kimberly and Cameron

Next stop is the famous merry-go-round.  Kimberly and I used to come here as kids as my mother loved the merry-go-round.  The boys were not 100% sold on actually getting on the ride, but we didn’t give them a choice!

Cameron quickly claimed the goat, Cole hopped on the pig and sis and I just grabbed horses nearby.  It was surprisingly faster than we remembered.

Santa Monica Merry-Go-Round Adventure

Santa Monica Merry-Go-Round Adventure

A fun and fabulous day in Los Angeles!

Kimberly arranged for a pre-birthday celebration on Saturday night at a local eatery.  She brought balloons, candles, décor, and a tasty cake.  A few good friends, a delicious meal, and lots of libations had by all!  Check out the white roses that she dipped in gold glitter – love these special touches!

Kimberly and Greg (Deborah’s boyfriend) and I top left, Vicki and I (top right), Kimberly and Troy (center left), Greg, Troy, and Andy (Vicky’s husband) (center right), Vicky and Andy, Deborah and Greg (bottom left), and Greg, Troy, and Andy (bottom right)

The bar joined in singing “happy birthday” and I got a naked furry belly showing from a random drunk guy.  La la land always provides some funny entertainment.

Me celebrating the naked drunk guy (top and far right), Deborah and I (left), entire group (center), Vicky, Kimberly, me, and Deborah (bottom right).

The next day, our family came over to celebrate a batch of birthdays.  Unfortunately, the flu held Donna, Diana, and Mark back (my aunts and uncle), but we made the best of it.  Kimberly made her famous chili, decorated the house and we ate and feasted our hearts.  Top: Troy, Uncle Joe, Cameron and Cole, 2nd row: Me and Matt and Uncle Joe, 3rd row: Me, Kimberly and Dad, last row: Uncle Matt and Dad and Kimberly and Dad.

It is always hard to leave my family, especially knowing I won’t get to see most of them for over a year.  But my heart leaves full of love, my mind if full of new memories, and my soul is overflowing with laughter.

Thank you, Sissy for making this a wonderful 50th pre-celebration.

Me, Cole, Cameron, and Kimberly at Ruby's

Me, Cole, Cameron, and Kimberly at Ruby’s

Special Thank you:

  • Kimberly for going out of her way to celebrate my birthday
  • Dad, Joe, and Uncle Matt for driving to Hermosa Beach
  • Cole and Cameron for being such good sports
  • Deborah for celebrating my birthday and the cool Google Home
  • Vicky for the beautiful gifts
  • La la land for being so beautiful and magical