Monday, April 5, 2010

EDGE 2010

Due to the fact that I have been crazy busy, I have not had the chance to post about the Spring Break Girls trip. It was a blast. Erika has always been a wittier and more entertaining writer than I, so I just stole her post. Here is what we did:
I hope I am not the only one who has been getting glares and raised eyebrows from people when they find out that we went to Disneyland without all of our kids.  I bet they’re just jealous.  And why wouldn’t they be?  Three days of shopping, eating, laughing, and being mistaken for Jews would fill anyone with envy.

Hijinks at the LAX Airport

Scenario:  You have four hours to kill at the LAX airport until the rest of your party arrives.  You’ve already gotten your luggage, watched strangers arrive at the drop-off curb, given these strangers nicknames, and burned through the second package of peanuts from your Southwest flight.  What do you do?  Start your life history?  Read 2 Nephi?  Help a stranger?  Well, if you are Erika, Hillary, and Miriam, you flirt with Larry the Baggage guy from United Airlines and get directions to the nearest IN-N-OUT.  Then, you take an infant, your 80 year-old grandmother, and all of your luggage, and walk approximately 33.7 miles just to get some grease. In retrospect, it’s probably not the best idea we’ve ever had, but those burgers were SOOO good!

Who Needs a GPS?

With just one GPS between our two rental cars, Katie and I had to do some quick talking on cell phones to navigate all six of us safely through the spaghetti bowl of LA freeways.  Three cheers for Tom Tom!  (And three cheers for Mom Mom who earned the nickname after relaying–in detail–all of Tom Tom’s instructions to the car behind.  “Stay left.  Then, stay left.”)  To everyone who wasn’t driving:  thank you for your patience, for being such good sports, and for popping the valium pills while Katie and I weren’t looking.  And note to self:  Get Mom a NASCAR t-shirt for her birthday since she enjoys the thrill of acceleration and quick lane changes so much.

Shorebreak Shangri La

For the record, I will never stay at a Super 8 ever again–not when there are hotels like the Shorebreak around.  (I thought I made this point abundantly clear after staying in Satan’s Smut Hut with Hillary and her kids in Las Vegas last Christmas, but just in case you didn’t get the memo . . . )  Our hotel was an upscale, clean-lined, ocean-themed dream.  From the sleek, contemporary bathrooms, to the bamboo soap, to the down pillows and ocean views, I couldn’t have imagined more ideal accommodations.  And as if these amenities weren’t enough, the Shorebreak even threw in an “intimacy kit” should the guests feel so inclined.  While we had no need of such generosity, it did make me wonder if Rod would have preferred the “kit” as a souvenir over a pair of embroidered Mickey ears.

Shopping:  The Breakfast of Champions

Who needs to eat when you have a free morning and a Forever 21 next door?  Well, we do.  But we didn’t venture out to breakfast until we had tried on every pair of sunglasses, piece of jewelry, and hat in the store.  Mom kept an eye on our favorite finds and sneaked them into her purchase pile as a surprise for us later that night.  Had I known Mom was springing for the bill, I would have gotten two cocktail rings!

Sugar Shack Scrumptrulescence

Five words:  The Keppler’s and Michele’s Special.  If eggs benedict are served in heaven, this is what they would taste like.  And just when we thought the Sugar Shack couldn’t get any more divine with its outdoor charm, quick service, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, we spied the gallery of LDS religious art in the hallway.  The owners have five kids and opened up the restaurant to teach them the value of money and hard work.  The Sugar Shack seems clearly “celestial” to me.
(And while anyone but a nursing mother would be far too full to consider a breakfast “night cap,” Miriam popped into Baskin Robbins for a scoop to “fill in the cracks.”)

Beautiful Balboa

It really isn’t fair.  Somehow those islanders weaseled their way into MY COTTAGES!  Apparently 5 million dollars buys you 2000 square feet of home, some beach front property, and a front seat to all the tourists gawking as they walk down your street.  (When I asked that local lady if I could take a picture of her front door, I got the distinct impression that I wasn’t the only one who had asked that question before.)  But it’s not like the housing is the only perk about living here.  Apparently residency on Balboa Island also comes with a spoiled, pure-bred pet (or three), a 4 carat wedding ring, and a ferry ride that is so smooth that Grandma didn’t even realize we were on it.  And yes, Mom talked to all of the pets along the way.  As for me, I just wanted to talk to that lady’s ring on the ferry.  And if the ring wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat, I guess I could have gabbed with the other passengers about the similarities between Judaism and Mormonism.  Oh, wait.  Mom already did that, too.  Farewell, faithful ferry friends. Mazel tov.

Pinching Pennies

Even after we had dragged her through shops, restaurants, neighborhoods, and beaches, Grandma still mustered the energy to collect all the good luck pennies she could handle.  As for the rest of us, our good luck charm was not-so-little Alice Elizabeth who looked as edible as a Balboa funnel cake in that outfit.

Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice

Leave it to us to somehow work Johnny Depp into our girls’ trip.  I never knew gappy teeth, white face paint, and orange hair could be so alluring.  I’m still working on getting Rod to read me the Jabberwocky with a Scottish accent, but he’s not falling for it.  I might have better luck with the hair dye.  But perhaps the luckiest of us all was Miriam, who, like the Mad Hatter, got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Alice—just not the one in the film.  Miriam, someday you’ll get to see the whole movie and it will be a frabjous day!  Callooh!  Callay!

Living the High Life at the Californian

I was a bit angsty at the thought of handing over the keys of my sapphire Chevy Aveo to the valet at the Hyatt resort, but I had no other choice.  So I gave him strict instructions to take care of that fine piece of engineering and to soak it up while he could.  After all, you don’t get to ride in a car with roll up windows and manual locks every day.  (Unless, of course, you have a penchant for driving vehicles manufactured pre-Prohibition.)
As classy as my rental car was, dinner at the Californian was even better.  I actually watched people’s eyes roll back into their heads with ecstasy over the kalamata olive/rosmary bread. Poor Hillary couldn’t roll, focus, or even close her eyes due to a mounting migraine, but a dose of Advil and creme brulee work wonders for any ailment.

The Happiest Place on Earth

What do you do when you have no children to wrestle and a whole day at Disneyland ahead of you?  Do you take a botanical tour of the park?  An historical walk through Disney?  A leisurely show, perhaps?  No.  You do what every other 2 year-old is doing, and you head directly to Peter Pan.  I still get goosebumps going through that nursery window and “soaring” over Big Ben.  Somewhere between Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, we finally grew up and increased the adrenaline factor with stints on the Rocky Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, and the Haunted House.  We also squeezed in a Jungle Cruise, which happens to also be the ONLY cruise I have ever been on.  (Rod, I hope you are reading this and paying special attention to my subtle use of caps.)  After collectively stimulating the economy with lunch at the French Quarter, and a souvenir guilt-trip to Frontier Land, we bid adieu to Disneyland, its manicured hedges, its smiling employees, and its $3.50 churros.

A California Adventure

While I generally try to keep my opinions and wishes to myself, I decided–just this once–to sweetly and subtly suggest that everyone pay the extra money to get into California Adventure on a hopper pass.  (I think it actually went something like, “But I want to ride the Tower of Terror!”  Stomp, stomp, stomp . . . )  As the day went on, I started to question myself, wondering if we would be able to get our money’s worth with only a few hours left at our disposal. All I can say is that when I saw that picture of Grandma’s face during our ride on the Tower of Terror, I knew it had been worth EVERY penny.  (Grandma might have been ‘terrorized’ by the ride alright, but at least she held her bladder.  I’m pretty sure that guy in the red shirt behind us was christening his seat when the camera flashed.)
Two hours isn’t a lot of time to finagle two shifts on the Tower, but we still managed to sneak a peek at a Bug’s Life in acid-spitting, bee-stinging 3-D.  And, in a fitting farewell to the beautiful Golden State, we took in the final flight of “Soaring Over California.”  Everyone enjoyed the wafts of orange blossoms, the rolling vineyards, and the descent into Los Angeles.  Well, everyone, that is, except Mom, who somehow contracted rigor mortis during the ride and had to hold her stiff legs out in front of her for fear of touching the “water”.  (One of these days we’ll have to tell her that it was just a movie screen.)

That’s Amore!

When I die, I hope there is a sassy Spanish-speaking server waiting for me on the other side with a plate of bruschetta and farfalle pasta.  (Well, I guess I’d be happy to see any of you, too.  Just make sure you let me eat first before you show me around.)  I think we saved the best service and the best meal for last.  After all, it takes some real composure to crank out a smile and a gourmet meal for 6 women who walk in 3 minutes before closing . . .and don’t even order alcohol.  And while I’ve never been a fan of leftover Italian food for breakfast, you know the meal is a good one when you consider risking halitosis and mini-fridge charges just to take the leftovers home with you.

Love Letters

When we returned to the hotel after our day at Disneyland, we walked into our rooms to find love letters from our husbands on the beds.  (Apparently word got out about the “intimacy kits.”)  Even Grandma got a love letter from our Dad.  (I would share Rod’s letter with you in this blog, but I’d hate to embarrass you with all of his references to my ample bosom and hard body.)  We went to bed feeling exhausted, but we’ve never felt so loved.  Thank you, husbands.  But this doesn’t mean you get to go to the Florida State game . . .

Kudos to Katie

I’ve never been a high school teacher with two jobs, nor have I ever been a Young Women’s president.  But I have been a wife and a graduate student, and I cannot fathom how Katie found time to do all of this.  Here’s to Katie for her vision, her generosity, her google map printouts, and her excellent taste in sunglasses:  cheers!  (I don’t know about you, but I just toasted Katie in my heart with that champagne glass of tiramisu from Capone’s.)


Shea McGee said...

Katie! I had no idea you were going to be visiting Southern California?! Next time let me know and I'll definitely sneak over to the F21.

The Dixon Family said...

Can I be in your family?

And I'm DYING over Hilary's hat. So adorable.

Love your cute family!

The Dixon Family said...

PS. We really should get together sometime and discuss YW ideas . . .

Miriam D Padilla said...

Can we go back? Like today? EDGE 2010b! I love you- you are SO Awesome! Thanks for a great time!

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