Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reporting from Santa Monica

The unmistakable Pacific ocean.

Shutters on the Beach. Lovely.

I'm feeling like a travel writer these past few weeks. I realized tonight at dinner in Venice Beach, California (with Lee) that I have been in my 3-4 favorite places in the US in the last 2 1/2 weeks! New York, Charleston, Minneapolis, Santa Monica / Santa Barbara (where we are headed on Monday). The only place I can think of that I also love, but didn't make in the past 2 1/2 weeks is New Orleans. It seems insincere to complain about being tired when I am so lucky to spend time in these amazing places.

And, it is all for good reason. I had to move Isabelle to Charleston - a right of passage and great pleasure for me. Then, of course returned to MSP for work and family and general life. And, today, we flew to LA for Lee. His turn. On Tuesday, he presents an oral defense of his PhD dissertation at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. (I guess he could have attended a school in Nebraska and I would not be nearly as happy to attend this ceremony.) I'm so proud of him - that he got this darn dissertation done! 250 pages - it's a book. He's written a book and we get to celebrate it on Tuesday.

So we had this great day - after a long, hard week. It started out on this perfect note when I asked for an upgrade at the check in desk at our gate and got it! Loved sitting in 1A and 1B - I got lots of writing done, had a glass of wine and a perfectly nice goat cheese pizza. And LA is just far enough that first class is especially nice! Then, we went to FOX rent-a-car. They were out of cars with about 40 people waiting for one! We didn't really know what to do. After almost an hour, we thought we'd just go to our hotel and forget a car. We'd get one on Monday to drive to Santa Barbara. But, we hung around, joking about how things had gone well for us today so let's just trust the big Michelle Bachman universe (wink, wink). Before you know it, a big old Nissan Altima pulls into the lot and they call our name. Another upgrade and we didn't have to pay for it. (We booked the super compact size!) 
Off we go to the hotel. I am not a fan of hotels. In fact, I hate hotels. I like to stay in apartments or homes or just a hole in the wall as long as it has a refrigerator and coffee machine. Lee booked this and it was a crap shoot that I would not complain. We are so "vibing" with this ask and you shall receive thing, I ask for some money to fall out of the sky - joking. Now this is true. I get to the room, clean out my messy wallet to tuck away the reciept from the cab this morning and FIND $220! in a pocket I had forgotten! So this is a really good day! 

And....ya know...the room has a perfectly fine scale. The TV isn't the size of Mt. Everest. There are two full beds so you don't have to deal with that mammoth king size thing. There is free wifi, a nice desk, a nice lounge chair and great air circulation if you open both your door and window. It is across the street from the beach and the breeze is just exquisite. It is like early fall in Minneapolis. So cool and beautiful. BUT SUNNNY! BLUE SUNNY SKIES.

It is only 8:30 and we are headed to bed - way past our normal bedtime in MSP. But I wanted to post some photos from Day 1 in LA. I just can't get my head around this place, but we've had a lot of fun, it is really relaxing and we had a great dinner at Chaya Venice. Here are some scenes. (Dinner pics from Chaya tomorrow after I upload.) For now...sweet dreams.

Yoga on the beach. 

Back therapy?

Lee at Shutters on the Beach.

The Dude?

Okay, this was kind of scary. This is under the Santa Monica Pier with high tide coming in.

This needs no sub-title.

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