Monday, May 31, 2010

Our First Visitors

May 14-17, 2010

After 5 months in California we got our first visitors from home. Carl's mum and her friend joined us for a long weekend at our home in Burbank. We were glad to see some familiar faces and we were happy to finally have an excuse to get out and explore.

Carl took them on a tour of Hollywood Boulevard while I was at work on Friday. They enjoyed walking around, seeing the "Stars" on the sidewalk, and all the sites that Hollywood has to offer. In June of 2004, Carl and I visited CA (my first time, his third) and we took a bus from the WB Studio to Hollywood Blvd. Carl got his 'Ghostbusters' tattoo that night and then we waited for hours for a bus to take us back to our hotel...unfortunately when the bus finally did come it's last stop was miles from where our hotel was. After being forced to walk several blocks at midnight our Night in Shinning Armor pulled up in the form of a yellow taxi and kindly (not cheaply) gave us a ride the rest of the way. I have not been back to Hollywood Blvd. since then.

On Saturday we decided to do a little sight seeing starting with the famous Mulholland Drive. It is a very long and windy road that snakes through part of the Hollywood Hills. Thankfully, there were many designated overlooks to stop at where we were able to get pictures of the Hollywood sign, downtown LA, Universal and WB Studio, and the beautiful mountains. Next, we headed down to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. We walked around and 'window shopped' at all the designer stores like Gucci and Channel. We took a break for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, which was delicious! Then we finished our day with a drive down to the Santa Monica Pier. It was very windy and a little chilly down by the shore, but we walked to the end of the Pier and enjoyed watching all the vendors and performers that line boardwalk. Carl and I took a walk through the sand and put our feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was very cold, but well worth it. We left the Santa Monica via the Pacific Coast Highway and then took the scenic mountain view roads back home.

Sunday was a day for relaxing and we didn't go far from home. Carl took his mum and Linda for the WB Studio tour on Monday while I returned to work. Carl and I took that tour when we visited in 2004 but this time he opted for the VIP tour which offered a smaller group size and some other perks that we didn't get before.

It was a wonderful visit and inspired Carl and I to look into doing more day trips to explore the area around us. We are hoping to have a few long weekends together so we can experience what California has to offer this summer, after all we are 'Living and Loving in California'!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our First California Summer

This is the first summer since I was 14 years old that I wont be working. I always knew there were perks to being a teacher...I just had to work a long time before getting them! As a self declared work-a-holic, I was actually quite nervous about having that much time off. When Carl and I moved to California I was "unemployed" from December 18th through February 1st and by the time I started working again I had become bored out of my mind. Granted, we also had the stress of trying to find jobs and worrying if we would be able to survive on what little savings we had, so I didn't really get to enjoy the time off.

As the school year comes to a close I really have been able to move past the nerves of having that much time off and I am really looking forward to it. At first it was very hard to imagine what I could possibly do during the summer to keep myself occupied, especially since Carl will still be working. But, the more I think about it, the more excited I become about making plans. I am now hoping I have enough time off to do all the things I want to!

First and foremost on my list is to finish the "Thank You" notes that are long over due from my October wedding. I'm estimating that this will take a few days. Next, I plan to work on several scrapbook projects. I would like to work on 'journaling' for my wedding album before I forget too many of the details. About a year ago I found this giant 24" x 24" Martha Stewart Album on clearance for dirt cheap. I just bought it because it was so inexpensive but I didn't really have any ideas for how to use it. Then, while we were packing to move I re-discovered a storage bin filled with papers and mementos from my childhood. My goal now is to get rid of the storage bin by putting the contents into the giant album instead. I figure that way I'll save space and if I want to look at that memorabilia I can just go to the album instead digging through the bin. Last on the scrapbook agenda is to work on an album of pictures of my dad. A few years ago I 'confiscated' all of my dads old photos from his childhood with the intention of making him a scrapbook...but 5 years later all the photos are still sitting in the same box I took them in. I have a brand new 'craft desk' as Carl calls it and I'm ready to use it for all my craft and scrapbook needs.
In preparation for my summer break I took a trip to Barnes and Noble to find a good summer read...I found 3. First is a book by Philippa Gregory called The White Queen. I have read almost all of her other books related to King Henry VIII, but this one is focused on the War of the Roses. I have recently been drawn to books related to the War of the Roses since reading (and re-reading) A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith. My aunt, Bobbi, sent it to me as a birthday gift when I lived in PA and I couldn't put it down the first or second time I read it! It depicts a softer and gentler side of King Richard III who is often villianized in history and in literature. For this summers reading I also picked up To the Tower Born by Robin Maxwell. This book, which also involves King Richard III, focuses on 2 princes he is suspect for murdering. I have come to love historical fiction in the last few years...I would love to tour England (or Europe in general) and see the settings for these amazing tales. The third book I picked up is NOT historical fiction, it is titled Lucky and is written by Alice Seabold, author of Lovely Bones and Almost Moon. I loved Lovely Bones when I read it but was very disappointed in Almost Moon. Unlike her other books, Lucky is autobiographical. If I'm being honest, I started reading it last night and picked it back up this morning when I got out of bed. I don't think I'll be able to stop reading it I may have to go back to Barnes and Noble to find another summer reading book since Lucky has now turned into my Memorial Day reading.

I hope to have a few long weekends with Carl over the summer if his schedule allows. We would like to visit San Fransisco and a few other California destinations. We did make it out to Santa Monica a few weeks ago when his mom and her friend visited. We stuck our feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time and although it was cold it was wonderful to say that we did it.

I look forward to sharing more as we continue 'Living and Loving in California' for our first California summer!