Saturday morning we packed 6 adults, 2 toddlers, and two grandmas into 3 cars and headed for Anaheim (with at least one bathroom break on the way down). We had every intention of spending the morning at Disneyland with the kids (how great is disneyland with little kids??). Unfortunately, getting to Disneyland with little kids and grandmas is a little harder than going it on your own. Plus we had a ticket snafu. So, we spent what little time we had playing chase with the kids while the parents sorted out our ticket problems, and then parted ways as they went to enjoy the happiest place on earth. Courtney and I then headed to what might be dubbed as, "The second happiest place on earth" and that was lunch with Ted and Alison. The lunch was too short, but we got to catch up, and spend some time together, so that was nice. Then Ted and Alison made the second leg of Renee's LA Relay and took me to the Rose Bowl where I met up with Emily, Maggie and Evan to check out the floats for the Rose Parade. They were RAD. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I had no idea that the floats were made entirely of flowers and other organic materials. Every inch of those suckers had to be covered with flower petals, ground up lentils, palm fronds, and all kinds of beautiful stuff. It was cool to see how the floats are put together and it was really fun to just hang out with my friends a bit.After the floats, we made the final leg of Renee's LA Relay and headed back to West LA where we met up with Jim and friends for the celebration of Jimmy's birthday. Of course there was way too much food and the usual hubbub caused by Jim whenever he's in public...which made for a great time. On Sunday the LA 1st ward wasn't meeting, which was a total bummer because I was looking forward to seeing everyone at church. But, we went to one of the Westwood wards and I got to see a fair number of peeps...particularly the marrieds :) Sunday afternoon I got to take a nap (yipeee) and we had a bunch of people over for dinner and games. It was just like old times and made me wish I still lived around the corner and could participate in the usual Sunday gathering.
On Monday my wildest dreams came true and I made it to Disneyland afterall. I drove down with Kami, which was great because it gave me some unexpected quality time with her. Courtney, 63, and my new friend A met us down there and we hit some rides at California Adventure before I had to head back up to LA. Monday evening we went to Emily's parents' house for a delish New Year's Eve dinner of lobster and salad. The food was amazing, but the best part was the company and being able to participate in a Winnie family tradition. They are such a loving and welcoming family and it feels so good to be in their home. I devoured the food and ate up all of the love in that home. I particularly loved Emily's mom's best friend (sitting to my right)...she was a riot!! I also learned that broom sticks can fix garbage disposals...who knew?
After dinner we raced back home and changed for the New Year's Eve Bash which was a great success. Lots of people came and it seemed to be a great time had by all. We did a little bit of dancing, a lot of chatting, and a bit of New Year's smooching (totally innocent I promise). I have to admit though, at the end of the party I was left feeling a little unsatisfied. Not from the lack of kissing, but because there were so many people who I got to "see" but not really sit down and catch up with. As people started to leave the party, my heart just sank because I had to leave the next day and I knew I wasn't going to see them again for a while. It left me feeling sort of disconnected and sad. I had a really really wonderful time (and lots of quality time) with those I stayed with (Courtney, Emily, Maggie, and Sara). But, there were so many people with whom I wanted to plop down on a big fluffy chair and talk for hours. There just wasn't time for that in the trip and it made me sad. So, New Year's Resolution #1 - plan my trips so that I have plenty of time to see everyone I want to see and do everything I want to do. Hold me to it folks!
After the crowds trickled out in the wee hours of the morn', I packed up my stuff, debriefed with the girls, and then headed to the airport at 4:30 am. I get to the airport well before my scheduled 6:00 am flight, to find that there is a horrendous line for ticketing and several airport agents who are no help whatsoever. Without giving me a chance to wait in the line, or checking me in at a side booth so as to make my flight, they make me stand in another horrendously long line (with only 2 agents manning the booth) in order to get re-routed on another flight because they, "didn't think I would make it." You can imagine that all of my forms of the word "what" were used that day as I tried to make sense of the ridiculousness that was unfolding before me. So, I waited in said line for OVER AN HOUR to get rerouted on a flight that left at 7 am. I thanked my lucky stars (and the very nice agent Jimmy) that I wouldn't have to spend all day at LAX and headed to my gate for a very short (and very uncomfortable) nap...the first sleep I'd had in over 22 hours. My flights (yes...I now had to have a layover instead of a direct flight) were uneventful and I finally made it back to beautiful Portland 4 hours later than scheduled. My dear roommate Ashley came to pick me up and had a big gulp coke waiting for me. Isn't she a good roommate? I guzzled it down despite my New Year's Resolution #2 to drink less coke, then went home to take a four hour nap. It took me several days to finally recover from the trip, but I think I'm almost back to normal now.
So, despite the lack of sleep and boiling frustration at airline travel, I had a really amazing time with my friends in LA. Thanks to everyone who made my trip so great! I hope I get to see you again soon!!