Monday morning we woke, packed up our things and got ready for our drive South. It was SO nice to have a clean car, with clean clothes and an organized suitcase again!
James is a software engineer at Google, so he invited us for a quick tour if we were interested. OF COURSE we were interested! And it was just as magical and wonderful as we were thinking! We saw a cool conference bike, for those who would like to get some exercise while in a meeting. There are dogs everywhere because they are allowed at work, as long as they aren’t disruptive. We saw gardens, sand volleyball courts, infinity pools, and all sorts of beautiful places to work outside, if you so desired. We ate lunch at one of the many cafeterias that had really good food! I had sushi and egg drop soup with a Greek salad and marinated mushrooms.
After lunch, we stopped for coffee (it’s becoming a “thing” now. I think this was called Just-Toured-Google coffee. ;), at Red Rock Coffee Co. I’ll say we’ve had better. By the way, this is an added joy to our trip. It’s something Philip and I both look forward to, we get to share the fun, and support local economy!
The afternoon was spent in the car, some screens, a movie, and napping.
We met our friends for dinner in Santa Barbara, surprisingly at the same restaurant that Philip and I had a date at last August when we were there! Such a funny coincidence! Santa Barbara is beautiful, with its gorgeous mountains and crystal blue water, slow-paced atmosphere and sun-kissed bodies. It’s a total beach town.
Our stay was short, but sweet and we were on our way again! We got into Pasadena around 10pm, said hello and went to bed!
Our friends, Nancy and Bernie Becker were who we stayed with in the “Bungalow Heaven” part of Pasadena. Did you know back in the 1920’s you could go to Sears, buy a kit to build a house and build it?! These are Craftsman houses! I knew the name Craftsman home, but never knew that story! So this home is just about 100 years old, with a several updates and there are tons of them in the neighborhood. Their home is sweet and practical, with lots of history threading throughout. They are both musicians, so the harp and grand piano were an immediate draw for the boys. Nancy showed us the mastering studio and recording studio that is in progress as well. I love seeing the homes of some of our dear friends from all over. You can see deeper into their personalities and family history, their loves and inclinations.
We met their son and family, also some of our greatest friends for brunch in Old Town Pasadena, I think one of my favorite cities ever. It has such charm and delight. And it’s clean! After brunch we walked to Amara, you guessed it, for coffee. Amara is one of those places that stick with you. It is a Venezuelan chocolate house that serves authentic pastries and the like… heavenly… I had had Amara’s coffee last August as well and it was on my “must go again” list.
We then walked to our friend Dale’s studio at Firehouse Studios in Pasadena. He showed the boys his mastering suite and we listened to a few tunes. I love them hearing from a true master! Then me and my boys, and Mary (Dale’s wife) and her newborn and 4 year old boy drove to downtown LA to the California Science Center. So fun! They have a lot of space memorabilia and an awesome things to see. A couple of things that stood out to me were a live termite table where you can see them working inside plexi-glass, and real whale baleen! I had never seen that before.
When we were done at the museum, we ran back to our friend’s to change and met some more friends for dinner. Because a few others couldn’t make it, it ended up being 2 other couple friends, so a spontaneous triple date! Nancy and Bernie offered to watch all of the boys for us, so we were without kids for a whole evening! It was glorious! The food was amazing, the laughter was abundant, and it was all so good for our souls. This was Day 14 for us, 2 weeks in, 1 week to go!
Philip had stayed out late with Dale, so he stayed in most of the day and rested, while Nancy and I took the boys down to Hollywood. I had never been before, so I was interested too. Deron was VERY interested in seeing the glitz and glamour, so I think he was somewhat disappointed at the reality that is Hollywood. But regardless, it was fun to see.
We went right to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to see the handprints on the ground, which is right across the street from El Capitan, Disney’s awesome movie theater. I had thought about taking the boys for a movie there, but we did have some driving to do that day, so opted out. Our friends say it’s a really fun experience though! One note of advice about Hollywood: there are some crazies down there! It was a weekday, so the tourists weren’t too dense, but there are superheroes in costume waiting to take pictures with you and give you things… to which they all want a tip! Haha! We were walking down to the theater and Spiderman gives the boys balloon swords to which I was like, “Oh! How nice!” And he was telling me something, but because of the road noise and people around I couldn’t hear what he was saying. So we just kept walking! Then he stopped us a few steps down the sidewalk and took the swords back from the kids. He did it politely, but I started cracking up. So funny! Then Flash saw us later and asked the kids if they wanted a picture with him. Nancy quickly told me he’d want a tip… Ahhh.. yes. We politely declined. 🙂
We walked over to the mall that sits adjacent to Grauman’s and saw the Hollywood sign in the hills from there, took a pic and went to Hard Rock for lunch. The kids thought that was great!
Philip was feeling better by then, so we got our stuff together, stopped for a mocha (did you see that coming? Lavender and Honey this time. Possibly my FAVORITE of the trip!! Good job, L&H!) and started our drive down to Ramona- about a 3.5 hour drive…. Well.. sort of. This is southern California. And that is synonymous with traffic. Lots of traffic. Ramona is northeast of San Diego, in a beautiful, mountainous area. We couldn’t see all of this driving in, as the sun had just set, but we were in for a treat come the next morning!
We had an easy, quick dinner, put the kids to bed, and shared some tea before bed. As soon as we walked in, there was a sense of peace and ease and joy. This was going to be a great next couple of days, I could sense.