Sunday, January 4, 2009
Annoyingly Long Blog Post
This post is super long. I usually try to keep them short, but this one is over the top. So I've made category headings to make it easier to skim if you prefer.
I spent the holidays with the family in Los Angeles, where my brother Don & sister-in-law Mae live. My parents flew out from Tennessee to celebrate with us, & Mae's family already lives there, so the whole family was together.
Mostly we hung out & ate & hung out some more & ate some more. But we did some cool things too.
We spent Christmas Day at the house, eating & opening presents. Mae's mother & sister Roz cooked lots of food for us, & made a special effort to have plenty of vegan options for me. Roz, who has a wacky sense of humor, brought along her John Deere Jenga set for us to play.
New Years Eve Day we spent market-hopping. We stopped at a Thai market, a Japanese market, & a Korean market just for the fun of it. That day we ate lunch at AOI, a Japanese restaurant, where we had miso soup, nori rolls, edamame, gyoza, & udon noodles. Yum! We rang in the new year watching Dick Clark & drinking champagne.
New Years Day, the rest of Mae's family came over with her mother & Roz. Mae's mother made us a spread of Japanese food, again with lots of vegan goodies. The boys watched football while the women played Scrabble. I was glad for the practice since I've just joined a Scrabble Meetup in Tempe.
The first night that my parents were in town, we went to Palms Thai Restaurant, where we've eaten several times before. It's a special favorite because of the Thai Elvis impersonator who goes on stage every night at 7:00pm.
One morning for breakfast, we ate at the 101 Coffee Shop, where my brother says a scene from the movie Swingers was filmed. That could probably be said about any place in LA. I liked the coffee shop because they served a variety of vegan breakfast options, something practically unheard of in Phoenix.
Surfing came to California from Hawaii, & so, apparently, did Duke's in Malibu, a seafood lover's Hawaiian-themed paradise. My family seemed to enjoy it. I ate a salad & some french fries while we watched the pelicans diving into the ocean after their own afternoon meal.
The night that we went out to ArcLight Cinemas to see Slumdog Millionaire, my brother & sister-in-law treated me to Truly, a vegan restaurant across the street from Palms Thai. My coconut milk & udon noodle soup was yummy. So was everything else we tried.
Another night, we went to Miceli's, an Italian restaurant near my brother's house. We were hoping to catch their famous singing waiters on stage, but they seated us in a booth on the other side of the restaurant. No matter. The food was good.
As you can see, my family enjoys eating out!
I didn't get much exercise in over the ten-day visit. However, one of the first things that I did after I got there was sign up at the nearest yoga studio, Golden Bridge, which is less than two miles from my brother's house. I borrowed a bike & rode down there three of the days I was there - downhill going, uphill coming back. They also had a great almost-vegan lunch cafe there with some yummy food & lots of vegan dessert options.
After all that eating out, I'm going to have to do some serious exercising now that I'm back in Phoenix. Camelback, here I come!
One of the days, we killed some time by stopping at Amoeba Music, a huge independent media store. My friend Michelle would love that place. I'm just glad I didn't have any money to spend.
Another day, we stopped at Designers Views, a really cool furniture/interior design store. They had a lot of Asian items, & a little of everything else. Walking through the store was like getting lost in a maze.
Saturday was the perfect day to head out to Venice Beach. The sun was out & so were the people, the usual suspects & the tourists alike. We sat at the Sidewalk Cafe, & honed our people watching skills over bagels & coffee.
The day that we went out to Joshua Tree to see my brother's plot of land there, we stopped in Pioneer Town at Pappy & Harriet's for a brew & some zydeco music. It was a pretty dive-y dive bar with indoor & outdoor seating. When we arrived, there was a man raking the sand outside into neat stripes. I called it the Zen Beer Garden.
On my last day in LA, we went to the J. Paul Getty Museum. We had been there before a couple of years ago, but it had rained & we couldn't see the famed gardens, so we went back to try again. This time it didn't rain, but it was super foggy all day long. Alas - will the third time be the charm?
One very cool thing at the Getty this time was The Vexed Man, a sculpture by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. The detail was amazing. Apparently, this is just one of 69 "character heads" by the same artist. I would love to see them exhibited together some day.
That's All Folks
So, I had a great time in LA with the family. Now I'm back in Phoenix trying to get geared up to deal with "real" life again. Yuck.