Saturday, February 28, 2009

California Dreamin'...Part One

On such a winter's day...

Over February break I went to California (my 31st state) and I have to say from the very deepest recesses of my upstate NY frame of mind----I don't know why I came back to yucky winter here. Ha ha!

Most of you who read this know there are things on my bucket list--(the one I created in 2006 upon my second cancer diagnosis)-- that I've slowly been checking off. This time it was visiting California, which I'd only ever experienced from a stop over at the LAX airport on the way to Hawaii (lame!).

Back in the fall my friend Kevin called me and happened to say "hey, why don't you come visit?" and it was impetus to actually consider. Kevin lives outside Los Angeles in Playa del Ray, right on the beach practically! Kevin has the life, seriously. Okay now I get I get why one might put up with smog and earthquakes and traffic jams. We will not mention what the psychic said, Kevin.

My first full day there (mind you without any of my luggage--ha ha!) I went out to breakfast with Cutter and Butter while I waited for my friend Val to come. Yes, I am serious Cutter and Butter. :) Butter is Kevins roommate, Cutter is their friend. We had awesome omlettes at this diner nearby...Good times!

Then Val and I went cruising all around L.A. and she showed me all the touristy sites of course in Hollywood. But we actually got to a scenic overlook where you can see all of Los Angeles and of course the Hollywood sign...which you might be able pick out ever so slightly from the picture of Val and I. We had some interesting adventures along the Walk of Fame as evidenced by the rather strange looking leather clad hello kitty studs.

What a time! That night (Saturday) we had dinner in the Valley at Kevin's friend Butch's house. Yummy! And to my surprise, I was tricked into eating Brussell Sprouts which I actually loved! My mom would be so happy to hear this--I ate Brusssell Sprouts! Kevin is a sly culinary whiz...nice work!

The next day was the surprise brunch. I love surprises as anyone can attest that knows me...When Kevin told me to bring my coat I was pretty sure the brunch would be outside. Butch, Butter, Kevin and I stepped aboard the Hornblower for a brunch cruise in Marina del Ray!

Fun! The other surprise was that the guys had told the staff of Hornblower that is was my as I swilled down the never-ending champagne I celebrated my special day...ha ha.
What a fun afternoon!

Some other highlights of the time in L.A included a little karaoke...who would have guessed, huh? There was also a visit to speak to the class Kevin teaches at Loyola Marymount University, and of course the thing Side Order of Life fans might appreciate, dinner with Diana Maria Riva and her husband, Mike.
Kevin and I met this awesome couple out in Hollywood for a fabulous meal I will never forget.

More than a year ago when the effort was launched to save Side Order...and I was telling all of you to send menus I certainly never imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd meet the woman who played Vivy. Diana's raw and honest portrayal of Vivy made those of us who are cancer survivors proud on so many levels. Vivy was strong, she was real and she was a real person who just faced a challenge with her own blend of humor and vitality.

Well Diana is just as vivacious, just as fun...and so is her husband Mike. I am so glad to have finally thanked her in person for all that she brought to our lives (as survivors) for that one phenomenal season. If Hollywood has any sense at all...her next project is going to take off like gangbusters. Not only is she a phenomenal actress...but a truly warm and genuine person.

I would say Los Angeles was a pretty amazing time!

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