I am with Roger at a conference in Long Beach, California. On the one hand, I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time, but it was also really hard to leave my kids. I see this world through their eyes, not mine, as a quick glance through the pictures on my camera attest. Why else would I have taken picture after picture of billboards? But I am glad I came. My relationship with my husband is nearly always the relationship that I let slip when life gets crazy, and I'm so glad I've had this time with him.
We've been here since Thursday, and here is a quick run-down of some of my memories.
1. Motorcycles on the freeway. Sabrina tells me what they are doing is perfectly legal, but that has got to be the scariest thing I have ever seen. Sheesh.
2. Billboards. There are very few billboards in Maine--I'd like to say none, but I might be wrong. I'm pretty sure they are illegal though, because if you are looking at a billboard, you might not notice one or two of the trees, and wouldn't that be a tragedy?? There are plenty of billboards in Utah though, and many of them shock the socks off of me. I haven't seen many pictures of bikini-clad women here, which is a lovely thing. Instead, I see billboard after billboard advertising movies! And TV shows. It is so cool. Ender's Game! Catching Fire! Once Upon A Time In Wonderland!
3. We went to the LA temple on Friday. It is huge! I haven't been to the temple since May, and such a feeling of peace overcame me as we drove onto the temple grounds. The funny thing is that it is on Santa Monica Boulevard. The only things I know about Santa Monica Boulevard come from that song, and they are not at all pleasant. Such a contrast. Afterward, we drove down to Rodeo Drive. Even though I hate to shop, I got filled with adrenaline just driving past all those incredible stores. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who is addicted to it.
4. The next day we drove back to Santa Monica and went to the pier, which is a little like a carnival. The most memorable thing that happened there was that we watched the fishermen. One of the cormorants ate the bait from a fishing pole, and the fisherman had to drag it through the water, and then pull it up onto the pier. It was awful! He didn't seem phased by it though. He grabbed the bird by the head and gently tugged the hook out, and then let the bird go free.
5. It was pretty cold that day. We decided against getting into our swim suits, and instead walked along the beach for a long, long time. I should have known that eventually I wouldn't be able to stop myself from getting in the water, and as we walked I slowly got deeper and deeper until by the time we returned my pants were soaked. They also got a rip in them, dangit, I am hard on pants.
6. That evening we went to a restaurant with the ASDWA board members. It was a Spanish restaurant, and I had the paella. The amusing thing is that it was decorated for Halloween, and the waiters and waitresses were dressed up for Halloween, but it was such an eccentric little restaurant anyway that I didn't notice. I thought the scary looking monster over our heads was just part of the decor. Finally I noticed a waiter in a pumpkin suit, and it all came clear. I spent the rest of the evening readjusting my impressions of the whole restaurant. It was a noisy place, especially when the flamenco show started, but it was a lot of fun. Between the show and the TV with the Red Sox game going, I never ran out of things to be interested in.
7. I forgot to mention that Albertsons's sells our favorite kind of taffy--the kind we can usually only find when we go on vacation to Utah! My kids will be SO excited.
8. Also, that night I lost my phone somewhere. I keep hoping it will turn up. I'm going to call the restaurant today. But yesterday I had to walk to Walmart and buy myself a cheap phone, just to tide me over.