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Thursday, August 22, 2002

I'm in sunny/overcast L.A., and the weather is fine, not nearly as stifling as home, and yes, it is a drier heat.  LOL

I learn a lesson with each trip I take, and this one is no exception.  TRAVEL LIGHT!!!!  Next time it's two pairs of black pants, four shirts, and an appropriate jacket.  No extra shoes and assorted junk because schlepping it around the airport SUCKS.  Also, there's less leg room than ever before, and a purse alone will eat up what little space there is.  Oh, the movie was Angelina Jolie's Life, Or Something Like It.  Don't quote me on the title, but it was pretty good with a satisfying ending.  The food?  OK if you're not watching carbs.  Starvation inducing otherwise.  Thank goodness for that Atkins bar in my carry on.

My friend was right there at the bottom of the escalator, and she had to recognize ME! 

While she finished up at work, I hit the mall across the street.  Uh oh, so much for pacing myself, but then I didn't get out of my own airport without dropping some cash.  Don't worry Mom & Dad, Nordstrom's was tempting as hell, but I only bought one tiny thing.

Then came the drive-by tour of L.A.  It's mostly a blur actually.  After a little down time, we got back in the car and headed to Mulholland Drive for the views.  Even though we were a good distance away, we could hear the crowd applauding at the Hollywood Bowl.  BTW, on this road you'd better not get distracted or you're off a cliff.  Dad, remember that funky house in one of the Lethal Weapon movies?  I think I saw it! 

After dinner (California Pizza Kitchen--we have them at home, had to come HERE to eat there), I hit Sephora (a cosmetic, fragrance and whatever else mecca), and I only bought ONE thing.  That's a record low for me so I'm proud of myself.  LOL

Some of you will want to know about this....I found some FABULOUS shots of Thaao!  A couple from MI are on Lee's site, but some are new to us, and the shop owner will try to find more.  He's really going the extra mile, and we may all reap the benefits.  LOL

Then it was my turn to drive.  The roads are just like they are back home really, but the parking situation is weird.  I haven't parallel parked since my driving test, and I think I'll go miles to avoid it now.  LOL 

My first impression is that no, Mom, I won't be loving it out here so much that I'll move.  Second, driveways are an alien concept.  You're lucky if you have enough space for your car, and many homes have the garage practically on the street.  Better get that door up folks or you're causing some serious damage.

Right now I'm trying to figure out what in the heck to do today, and if I'm lucky, I won't have the same problem posting my updates as I did yesterday.  Later!

P.S. for Mom & Dad...give the Huggy Bear a few hundred missing hugs from me.


Friday, August 23, 2002

I drove my friend into work yesterday just to get familiar with driving around L.A., and her nervous cat decided to leave a present in her lap on the way.  When I say "pile" you'll know what I mean.  ;-)  Out the window it went along with a few of her business cards...LITTERER!!!  LOL!

Until I decided what to do--and nothing much is open at 9 a.m. anyway--I hung around her office.  Her bosses are really great and don't mind some visiting Southerner working on a laptop in the conference room.  Their daughter is really sweet too, and I think she's 9 going on 90!  LOL   

This was a smart decision actually as Thaao returned my call, and I was here to get it.  Even though I do have my phone with me, it would be long distance for him, and I was petrified he'd leave a voice mail if I didn't pick up.  The system is locking me out so it wouldn't be good to have his message sitting there!

After the delicious lunch my friend's bosses brought in, it was time for me to go do something.  I went the wrong way down Pico and found a museum we intended to go to later.  Good, know where it is now.  I turned around and went the RIGHT way and headed off to the Hammer Museum--but first, let's get the car washed. 

The museum is quite small but well designed, and it was worth the trip just to see the four paintings that took my breath away:  Gustave Moreau's Salome Dancing Before Herod and King David and Daniel Ridgeway Knight's After Lunch On The Banks of The Seine and Afternoon Tea

Moreau's paintings are full of such amazing detail!  The Salome canvas is quite large, and wether it's the workmanship on an arch, or the embroidery on her dress, nothing was forgotten.  It's a feast for the eyes.  Knight's paintings are spectacular for their realism.  The faces show such emotion, and I stood there in awe.  I LOVE art like this!  God help me if I ever get to the Louvre.

After I got back to her office, there was more computer time and then Thaao's chat.  I was surprised to hear that he listens to soundtracks because that's my music of choice.  Right now I'm on an Aerosmith kick so Armageddon is always in the CD player. 

We did some more driving around through parts of Beverly Hills and Beverly Glen.  This is an amazing city if you're filthy rich, and some of the houses are too grand for words.  For what the walls and gates can cost, I could have a mini mansion back home.  One person with major bucks has a front yard that looks like a park, and there are signs all over that it's private property.  I don't even want to imagine the property taxes on that chunk of real estate.

The thing that blows me away is how so many homes have a garage practically on the street.  Okay, getting in is a cinch, but backing out?  In rush hour on certain streets?  You're taking your life into your hands!!  Make that two things actually.  The number of walls and fences you see is something else, and I found out yesterday that they're required by the building code in many areas.  Just what you want to look out on your first floor (especially if that's all you got)--a wall!

Sunset Blvd. was next, and as expected the traffic was AWFUL.  There was an appearance by someone at Tower Records, and there sat the stretch Hummer with thousands of fans.  Where do these people park?  How much of their income goes for hourly fees?

A late dinner was had at In-N-Out, a burger place.  OMG, I've found hamburger heaven!!!  They're the only chain I've found that recognizes the low-carb eaters, and they'll wrap the burger in lettuce and make it all to order.  YUM!!!  A double double is now my favorite meal, and I hope I'm able to eat there enough to get sick of the things before I go home.  

Today?  Who knows.  Still trying to figure that one out too.  LOL

Mom & Dad...lock the doors, empty the water and hug the baby a few hundred times. 


Monday, August 26, 2002

Yeah, I can finally post again!

On Friday we got all the instructions we needed for house sitting, and that started last night.  What a bathroom!!!!  I just wish I had one like it at home.  *sigh*

What else...we went to It's A Wrap, a store that sells the clothing from various tv shows (the studios are around a few corners), and I really liked this whole area (Burbank).  Hollywood doesn't blow my skirt up, and much of L.A. puts me in sensory overload, but this is where it's more "me." 

We also hit Rodeo Drive, and I had A LOT of fun there.  I can't say what I did though because I picked up some gifts, and they need to be a surprise.  Kind of surprise anyway. 

The plans for Magic Mountain bit the dust as it will be too hot and crowded.  Fine by me really.

Saturday--Now for the main reason to come to L.A., the Ronald Reagan Library.  I was in Republican heaven, and I cried a bit through the film...what a nice reminder as to why historians now consider him one of the best presidents ever.  The displays are extensive, and the views amazing from the hilltop location...I just hope my pictures come out since they're on my second roll.

Called Claire, and we had a great chat.  I'll try to call you later this afternoon or this evening.

After some downtime because my friend didn't get in from seeing someone until 4 a.m., we hit Universal City Walk.  Good night...when it's packed to the rafters!  We did some shopping but weren't there too long. 

Sunday--We got a VERY late start.  Or rather, I did.  After a quick trip to a small farmer's market, I headed off alone to the Norton Simon Museum.  I got lost, but despite the warning as to how long it would take me, it was around 22 minutes travel time.  14 coming back! 

Once I returned, we packed up our stuff and headed over to the house to drop everything off before going to a small Amy Jo Johnson concert.  It was fun, and I met some really interesting people.  Right in the midst of all this, Thaao called, and I'm about to head out to NBC to see him for a quick lunch.

He's really super busy at the moment what with working on Days and his script as well as trying to buy a house.  Wish him luck as there's a bidding war. 


Okay, y'all, it's later.

Lunch with Thaao was wonderful!  And as Sheri Anderson (sorry if that's misspelled) said when she spoke to Thaao live on Pure Soap (1993), he looked FABUUUUULOUS!!!  He's VERY tan!

After arriving, I spent a few minutes in the lounge with other visitors, and when Thaao came in, he was greeted by them enthusiastically.  Pictures and autographs...and a photo was pulled out to be signed that prompted the question as to where they got it.  Hollywood Blvd. of course!  LOL

His dressing room isn't a postage stamp this time, and it's quite comfy.

Lunch was in the dining room, and we both had a salad we couldn't finish.

As I promised him, what we discussed would be kept confidential.  Sorry, but that's the way it goes. 

I did mention my dislike of the military jacket he wore to the Emmys, and he told me it was an antique, he loved it and planned to wear it again.  I covered my face and wished I'd kept my opinion to myself...not that he was upset or anything. 

The coin necklace I mentioned on the boards awhile back was around his neck, and yes, it's an ancient bronze coin in gold.  It really is quite similar to the one I have!  Darn, I forgot to ask him about his favorite soundtracks.  Oh well.

Duh moment here...I saw Kevin and Patrika and met Justin.  He's thoroughly gorgeous!

The drive out and back was very easy, and I'm surprised that I'm getting more of a feel for the city. 

I don't know what's up for the rest of the evening, but Claire and I are going to have lunch tomorrow, and I can't wait!

Til next time...


Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Today was technically very quiet but one of the best days. 

Oh goody, the elusive Hello Kitty store!  I stocked up on all the NON-essentials of life.

I wondered why I hadn't heard from Claire (a member of the Thaao group if you don't know) so I called.  Great.  Like it wasn't bad enough that I can't get to the voice mail, but now it doesn't ring? 

Anyway, she walked me through the mall to get me where I needed to be, and then I waited until she arrived.  Lunch was at a place called Sisley in the Westside Pavillion, and it was DELICIOUS!!!  I even blew my diet with tiramasu, and it was worth it.  So far so good, and I didn't get the usual carb hangover. 

It was a great lunch with lots of dishing, and Claire generously picked up the tab.  I'll do it when we go to the Huntington Library on Sunday.  She's never been either so it should be lots of fun.

I then headed for the car and hit the Beverly Center.  It's a HUGE mall, but what makes it so big is that the stores are on top of the parking...four floors of cars in fact.  At least the parking is cheap, and I fell in love with Bloomingdales--which is fine since they don't have one in my city.  Bought ANOTHER purse, but this one is small enough to fit into the first.

Back at the office, my friend's terrific co-worker came up with the idea of going to Santa Monica on Saturday, and she'll show me all the best shops!!!  Like I really need to be doing more shopping at this stage!

Last night was quietly spent at the house after a short stopover at the home of the fabulous woman that came up with the idea to go to Santa Monica.  Tonight will be the same.  I ducked out on the concert that was planned because it started at 11 p.m.  I didn't want to be the walking dead tomorrow behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle--and at the Getty yawning no less--so it was a good idea.  I'll hit the shower, check the Thaao board and watch Legally Blonde before bed. 


Wednesday, August 28, 2002

What a day this has been!  I got up at 4 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so I watched Legally Blonde (too exhausted to do so last night) with a big dog named Buttercup leaning on my chest.  Not great, not bad...entertaining enough to spend the morning on.

After a little time off from sightseeing, I hit the Getty Center (  Oh wow!!!!  It's huge, the views are great, and the art will blow you away.  My favorite pieces this time were two bronzes, both of which they believe are of Bacchus, and a stunning 16th century painting by Hans Hoffman named A Hare in the Forest.  Normally I'm not thrilled by bowls of fruit, animals or vases of flowers, but the detail in the other animals and plants was...well...stunning.  To me anyway.  Forget the hare, look at the other things around him (her?).

I hit Hollywood Blvd. again and found some more Thaao stuff so I should have lots of photos to update with over the coming weeks.  Once they arrive that is as these have to be mailed. No, you're not going to see them all at once.  LOL

Tonight is no biggie as I'll probably pick up my pictures and settle in with another movie.  I really am THAT tired.  I'm fine behind the wheel of the car, but once I sit down anywhere else, I'm in pre-launch mode for sleep.

The thing that really surprises me is that I was so nervous about driving around here, but it's easy.  Okay, so you get stuck in some traffic...what city doesn't have that to deal with?  At least I haven't had to parallel park, and I can probably avoid it entirely since I have so far. 

Tomorrow's plan is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  If I wasn't on museum overload with the Getty, this will certainly push me over the edge.  Don't worry Claire, I still want to go to the Huntington Library.  Very much so.  I'd rather OD on museums when possible so I can get through the drought back home.


Thursday, August 29, 2002

Last night really was quiet, and that suited me just fine.

House sitting can be a real bitch because you have's that word...WORK!  This morning the fabulous duties were poo patrol (two humongous dogs) and watering the plants.  This is no small endeavor because there are plants on top of plants, and it takes awhile.  OY!!!  Then there are the dishes and towels...I could have stayed home and done the laundry!  LOL

Anyway...I hit the shops again and had some more fun before heading to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  It doesn't have the grand views of the Getty, but you'll see more than enough from Cole to Monet (paintings), and ancient to 20th century (whatever).  My dad would have drooled over the enameled glass as that's one of his favorites, and I loved the 16th century Limoges enamels.  If I ever see another Rodin sculpture, I'm not promising I'll be sane...that's one item I've definitely overdosed on. 

I know...not much to update with, but that's the way it goes some days.  Unless you want details on paintings or sculptures, it's going to be short.  LOL

Hey, at least my pictures--what few of them there are--turn out pretty well. 


Friday, August 30, 2002

Today was a bit of the usual Hollywood stuff before the big drama of the day hit.

We drove along Mulholland Drive, and I got a shot this time of the house I think was in one of the Lethal Weapon movies.  We also lucked out on finding THE single best spot to take a picture of the Hollywood sign...but I bet the neighborhood would hate the traffic.  LOL  Anyway, the roads through here aren't much more than one lane, and I wonder how the UPS guys deal with it.  What if you move? 

Next was the Griffith Park Observatory.  It's closed for the next few years while they renovate the whole thing and make it more tourist friendly, but the grounds are open, and the views would be utterly amazing if it weren't so hazy. 

We saw a bit of Los Feliz, and where General Hospital is filmed, before hitting a section of Hollywood Blvd. I hadn't driven down before.  We went by the Pantages Theatre (The Lion King), saw the round Capital Records building...that kind of thing before I picked up the Thaao pics I ordered my first day here.  Or second...whatever.  LOL

Since we were there, we ate at Vert, one of Wolfgang Puck's 3,187 restaurants (I'm kidding on the number).  The pizza was pretty good, but the bread was the my diet!  No wonder I dream about the stuff!!!!

Then the drama began.  It was a busy afternoon of moving my friend out of her apartment, and we FILLED her SUV to the top.  Then we had to UNLOAD the thing so we could do it again the next day...or so we thought. 

Things went badly with the roommate, and she wouldn't let her pick up anything unless she signed a statement saying she'd pay next month's rent in full.  Then we call the police and wait an hour for them to arrive--at midnight!!  Hey, this is a big city, a holiday weekend, AND it's Friday night...and there are other priorities.

We cancel the cop because he has other things to do and head off to the apartment.  There isn't a problem in the end, but this is after a series of bitter phone calls that alarmed us, and after a bunch of trips, she was all moved out.  I didn't get to sleep until nearly 3 a.m.

I'm the walking dead essentially, but then it has been that way since the beginning of the trip.  I'll just have to go to bed and get about 14 hours sleep once I get home.  Good grief do I miss my pillow.

Saturday's plan is to hit Santa Monica later in the day with a couple of more people thrown into the mix...if the schedules can be worked out.  There seems to be a discrepancy as to WHEN we're supposed to go.

Claire...I'll call you later today and hand the phone over to my friend so she can tell you what's what with my location.  Oy, what a mess!!!

Mom and Dad...I hope you're putting ALL my mail in one spot, locking the doors and emptying the water.  Change the tape in the VCR too.  Give my baby lots of hugs and kisses!


Thursday, September 5, 2002

This will be my second-to-last entry (pictures will be posted later ) as I'm...HOME!!!

Because the schedules didn't mesh, and the family we were house sitting for were coming back, it was me and my friend's co worker hitting Santa Monica on Saturday.

The weather was the best of the trip, cool and overcast, and I was treated to a late lunch at a Greek restaurant on the 3rd Street Promenade.  I had moussaka, liked it, but oh is it deadly on the diet.  She also gave me a darling stuffed Hello Kitty from her own collection.  I nearly cried with that one.  Thank you!

The shopping was terrific, the prices quite fair, and if you're looking for silver jewelry, Shiva Imports on the Promenade is for you.

We walked down to the Santa Monica Pier to look around before heading off to Venice.  I didn't feel the need or desire to stop so we went back to the house.

There was a little drama at this stage--which I won't get into--and I called Claire to ask if I could stay with her for the night.  She graciously said yes, and I invaded shortly thereafter.  The dinner was great, her friends were fun, the conversation flowed, and I had lots of cats to pet. 

I slept quite well, a record for the trip actually with about 7 or so hours, and we got ready for the Huntington.  A quick breakfast at Denney's hit the spot and off we went.

I think we both just about fainted when we got out of the car.  Yes, the heat was that extreme at 10:30 in the morning!  Ugh.  Just like any summer trip to Disney World, it's about going from store to store just for the air conditioning.  In this case, it's gallery to gallery.  LOL!  The gardens, as much as we saw, were lovely, but we were sweating bullets just getting from one place to the next.  Yes Claire, I did get a little sun.  Who wouldn't after sweating off the sunscreen in about five minutes.  LOL

We saw Pinkie (sp?) and Blue Boy, lots of enameled boxes (my personal favorite), tons of silver, porcelain...and a large painting by my second-favorite artist of all time (Michelangelo being the first), Frederic Edwin Church.  It struck me once again that while I'm overwhelmed by the art and quite thrilled to see it all, I wouldn't want to live with it in my home.  Maybe if I had a Newport mansion...otherwise, no.

After some shopping at the Library store and a snack, we went back to her house.  My friend was still busy moving, and I waited awhile before checking in with her.  In the meantime, Claire and I could eat and dish. 

When my friend picked me up, we had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and I discovered their Sicilian pizza.  YUM!  If you're going to wipe the diet out of existence, do it for something that's worthwhile.

At the new apartment, we stayed up until 3 a.m. talking to the new roomie's mother!  How tired can I be?  I think I'll be finding out.

Monday, Labor Day, was pretty quiet.  We got a late start and went over to the house we stayed at to pick up some more of my friend's things.  We were treated to lunch, and a quickie trip to where Marilyn Monroe was laid to rest.  It's a beautiful spot that's literally in the middle of a city block surrounded by homes and businesses. 

Once again it's HOT.  Wouldn't you know it, the heat wave had to start before I left.  LOL

Dinner was fast food that we took up into the Mount Olympus neighborhood for a view of the city.  If you've got the cash, this is the best place in all of L.A. to live IMO.  The streets are spacious, friends can easily park when they stop by, and the view is outstanding.  I can't even imagine though what you pay for all of this.

Tuesday, my last day in L.A., and I kept things simple.  I shopped a little, started writing in my journal about the trip (glad I bought one) and saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  I've never before spent $9 to see a movie, and I hope it's many years before I do again.  Of course it might be that long to get me back into a theater anyway as I normally rent DVDs. 

Once my friend got off work, we drove around a little and went to California Pizza Kitchen again.  BIG MISTAKE!!!!  Between this and the Cinnabon I had at the mall, I was in serious trouble.  More on this in a moment.

Lucky me, I got stopped by security.  The metal detector beeped for some reason, and even they couldn't figure out why.  I only had on a small ring, a bracelet with very little metal, and a watch.  Because most everything I bought was metal (and in the case of Lalique, lead crystal), they had to go through practically everything.  Ugh.  So much for carefully packing.

I DID luck out on the random security check at the gate.  The two people in front of me were picked, and I literally prayed they wouldn't tag me as both my bags needed to be in the overhead compartment.  Those things fill up fast, and I wanted to be able to get to my bags easily.

The flight itself was well under 4 hours, but I felt like a house landed on me.  I was reacting all along to going off my diet in general, but now I was experiencing a real carb hangover.  I even made a mental note as to where the air-sick bag was just in case.  The only saving grace was that I actually slept about half the time, and that was a first for me on a plane. 

My bags came out quickly, and I hit the train to meet my dad at the station.  Poor guy, I had NO idea how long it took to get from the airport to the central station for the next train, and he had to wait awhile for me to arrive. 

It's almost surreal being back home as I haven't taken a vacation in five years, but I'm slowly adjusting.  The highlight was seeing my furbaby.  Her greeting was so enthusiastic you'd think she was going to the park (her favorite thing in the world)!  I gave her the cow's hoof I got at the pet store in L.A., and she started happily chewing away.

I also had the good news that a friend from another country has indeed come for a visit, and we might be able to meet up after all.  I haven't seen him in 16 years so this will be a treat.

Now I just have to unpack.  Not fun.

I would like to take the opportunity to give thanks to the people who helped make my trip such a success.

My parents.  The airfare itself was my birthday gift, and they even threw in some cash at the end.  Considering that I came home with $5, it must have come in handy.  LOL

My friend's co worker who is just so kind and generous.  I'm so glad we met, and I hope we stay in touch.  Thank you for Santa Monica, and a delicious lunch.

Claire, for being my friend and such a good sport.  I don't think too many people would open their home on such short notice, and it was so appreciated.  We did have a lot of fun dishing away, and please give my thanks to Carol too.  My best to you with Ariel. 

Thaao (not that I think he'll see this) really didn't have to take the time out of your busy schedule, but you did, and it was great meeting you.  Thank you for lunch too!  

My friend.  Not only did she let me invade her life for two weeks, she loaned me her car for most of the trip!  You're a special person with a good heart, and I'm glad we're friends.  I really do believe that without you, the trip would have been a crashing bore if I had even gone in the first place.  THANKS!!!  I hope your new living situation provides much less drama and lots more fun too.

Okay, that's pretty much it unless I describe my favorite meal or something, and it's 2 a.m. here so I've got to go to bed.  Again. 

Pictures to come.