Archive for Just Breathe

Tuesday en Nueva Jork

It was 5am on a mildly cold December evening when we shivered off the minor chill in the air and unlocked the door to the second floor apartment in the walkup on 65th St.  We rented this place from a company called “Ideal Oasis” which is, in my experience, the worst short term apartment rental company ever.  DO NOT RENT FROM THEM.

As I was saying…

My friend Andrea and I had just finished “breakfast” at a diner in the city, accompanied by Jeru the Damaja (a rapper). At first I was put off by his abrasive yet quirky behavior at the bar where we ran into him but he grew on me after he told me how he actually learned to rap from his aunt and was raised around twenty – one females.  “I know females. I’m telling you!” he said to me from across the booth at the diner as we waited on our breakfast faire to arrive and soak up the alcohol in our system.

MySurreaLife Jeru the Damaja Dec 2014

When Andrea and I laid down on crunchy, squeeky mattress on top of the scratchy, once-white sheets, we both laughed at loud at the ridiculous accommodations we were staying. It was 5:30 am when I set my alarm for 11:30 the next day. Fortunately we were a bit drunk and drifted right to sleep but I did not feel rested come 11:30am.

I had a meeting to get to with Universal Attractions Agency, an agency I had been hired by earlier that month to do publicity for surrounding “Get On Up,” the James Brown biopic.  I was meeting with them about Paystr and the meeting could not have gone better. The gentlemen I spoke with understood the software I was bringing to their attention, and even better, understood the many routes they could take to use the software for huge sales growth for them and their clients.

I had brought a bag of materials (& a change of shoes!) for the meeting and now also had to cart it with me to my next stop, which was anywhere I could get some food to prep myself for the next round of drinking in store.  This time, it was to celebrate my little sister’s thirty-third birthday.  She had just moved to the city earlier that summer and had been going non-stop with work ever since.  I could not be more proud of her for her hard work and determination to do a spectacular job.

We ate and ate and ate (and drank and drank and drank) and had a WONDERFUL evening at the David Burke restaurant Kitchen.  Fortunately in my old age, I know enough to drink lots of water while drinking lots of alcohol, so by the time we left, I was barely tipsy.  Ahhh, to be a grown up, and also to know enough to eat lots of greasy food during alcohol consumption.  Below are the wines we drank that night.  The sommelier of Kitchen kindly arranged the labels from the amazing selections of wine we had that night, onto one piece of paper as memorabilia for my sister.  Awesome.com

MySurreaLife What We Drank Tuesday at David Burke Kitchen

When en NYC, eat at the best spots in town, of which, Kitchen is definitely one.

Beyond thankful the lives of my family were spared and I am so eternally saddened for those who cannot say the same

Every year when I’m reminded of the events thirteen years ago today, my only thought is how thankful I am for guardian angels. My mother had just been in the city, helping my sister move into her dorm (apt building) and get her ready for her sophomore year at NYU. The dorm (apt building) is in the financial district of the city, blocks from the Trade Center. My sister, mom & friends ate at Windows Of The World, atop the Trade Center the week prior to the attack . My mother stayed at a hotel that week that ended up being reconstructed from all the damage. My mom left NYC the day (?) before the attack.

My sister and her colleagues were homeless for two weeks after September 11. When they arrived back to their place, their things were covered in ash. When they left their place for classes that day, they had left their windows open. I am so thankful, everyday, but especially today, that the lives of my family were spared and I am so eternally saddened for those who cannot say the same.

After ten years of living in other states in this great country, my sister moved back to the one and only New York City.  Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about her.  Not a day goes by that I don’t forget how proud I am of her overcoming many difficult challenges in her life, including this hard time in her life.  She has moved her career to new heights, and seems incredibly happy doing what she does.  Not a day goes by that I don’t stop to think how thankful I am for my siblings, my family, my family of friends and to be grateful for how important each day is.

‪#‎Remember‬ ‪#‎September11th‬  ‪#‎MySurreaLife‬ ‪#‎SoThankful‬

MySurreaLife TBT Sept 11 didn't take them

Since September 11 happens to fall on a Thursday this year, I am posting this #TBT photo to accompany my written portion of the post. #SoThankfulThisDayDidntTakeThem

 

Growing Older Does Not Suck, and Other Inevitable Realizations

There was a point in time, not so very long ago, when i was really having a hard time with the realization that I was in my mid-thirties and not getting any younger.  I was a bit mad coming to realize that my body couldn’t recover from drinking alcohol like I could in my twenties.  I was not terribly joyous when we were on the hunt for a single family home. I loved the condo we lived in for the past few years, a condo I bought as a single person seven years ago and I wasn’t yet ready to move.

Our daughter’s school had offered to stay open, for extra money of course, late the Friday night before mothers day. So sweet & so something we jumped at. My man and I went to dinner and a movie. We saw the Seth Rogan film, “The Neighbors.”  It was raunchy, hysterical and actually really sweet. I felt like their dilemma was on course with mine; new house, new parents seeing young people partying & being slightly sad and mad about the fact that they could no longer be living that lifestyle.  The end was a scene with the two new parents in bed together. Seth Rogan’s character said something to his wife the effect of enjoying their private party in their house and how that’s the party he’d rather be at. It really struck a chord with me.

MySurreaLife Mother's Day delivery

Plants received at my door for Mother’s Day, from my mom and siblings. Thanks guys!

That past week was nonstop, 12 hour days of hard work. Monday and Tuesday I worked with the talent flow team at the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon. Those were long, hot days working with talent including Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks, Fallout Boy, Kevin Frazier, American Authors and others.  The talent were all super easy and nice to work with but it was a television production, and those all have so many facets to make sure work together; they were long days of work.

MySurreaLife Jason Derulo Jordin Sparks MDA Telethon 2014

Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo doing an interview with an MDA ambassador at the 2014 MDA Telethon at the Hollywood Palladium

We had scheduled movers to come Wednesday to move us out of our condo to our new house a few miles away. There was a heat wave rolling through Los Angeles that week, and it was 100 degrees that day.  Not that I was moving heavy furniture or anything, but doors were open, heat was everywhere, was directing traffic, and it was another long, hot, productive day.

Thursday was spent working my “main job” as a house manager readying two homes for arrivals. Another long day of work, I came home to a house filled with boxes to unpack & a child to feed and bathe. Im not complaining at all, in fact I am very aware of how blessed I am to have a house, food and a beautiful child to raise. However, it is all exhausting to this thirty something me.

Friday morning I headed to the fantastically small Bob Hope Burbank airport to catch an equally fantastically short hour long flight to Las Vegas to work with talent flow for the Billboard Music Awards. I had never worked this show and i had always wanted to attend the show growing up. I was excited to go to Vegas and excited to be around my work colleagues, not have to drive, not have to cook and not have to worry about unpacking for a couple of days.

While in line to board the flight, I stood behind a group of twenty somethings en route to Vegas for one of their bachelorette party. They were talking about what they were all wearing and how to drink to be able to keep drinking and not pass out. Their plans were clearly so much different than mine, but our excitement was likely quite parallel and that was when it hit me how much I love my life in my mid-thirties.  When I was their age I loved doing all the things they were pumped to do.

MySurreaLife Tom Green Southwest Airlines

Tom Green, asleep on the Southwest Airlines flight we were on from Las Vegas to Burbank. Creepy to take a picture of someone asleep, I know, but I couldn’t resist. “Your bum is on my lips.”

Right now, I am thrilled to be on a plane back home from Vegas, not in the slightest bit hungover, on the flight with Tom Green, some of my colleagues at the show, and the dancers of the Michael Jackson hologram performance.

MySurreaLife Carrie Underwood Miranda Lambert

Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert hanging out after the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

MySurreaLife Miranda Lambert Wanda the Wanderer Airstream

The interior of “Wanda the Wanderer,” Miranda Lambert’s airstream tour trailer

I am excited to have stood around the day before, after the Billboard Music Awards show, amidst Miranda Lambert and her airstream Wanda the Wanderer, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan.  

MySurreaLife Wanda the Wanderer Miranda Lambert

Wanda the Wanderer and her awesome gynormous tiara

MySurreaLife Wanda the wanderer Miranda Lambert Blake Shelton Luke Bryan

Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert standing around after the 2014 Billboard Music Awards by “Wanda the Wanderer,” the tour trailer of Miranda Lambert.

Of all of that, I was most excited at how gorgeous the sky looked that evening.

MySurreaLife Las Vegas Skies

The gorgeous sky in Las Vegas, May 2014

I am excited to go unpack more boxes and get our new house together.  I cannot wait to go pick up our little girl from school and take her to the park. This is totally the party I want to be at right now. I’m so thankful to have been to the other parties, the drinking parties and I’m so thankful to be at the party that is my mid-thirties life.

Dog Days of Summer in Aspen

While in Aspen last summer, I saw these dogs thoroughly enjoying their lives.  I just had to share such preciously adorable photos of these cute beasts.

MySurreaLife Dog Days in Aspen MySurreaLife It's a Dog's Life in Aspen

Happy summer everyone!

4.4 Earthquake Shook Us GOOD this morning!

To be shaken so hard by an earthquake and the subsequent shattering of glass, right before I was about to be alarmed by my alarm clock is definitely one of the scariest things I’ve experienced, recently at least.  At around 6:30am this morning, my husband and I were literally forcefully shaken awake by a 4.4 earthquake that was cenetered not far from where we live.  We live on the top floor of a condo building, but from what I’ve heard from people’s reactions online, most everyone in the near vicinity felt it, whether they were on the ground or a few floors above it.

It was an earthquake that was not far below the surface, only 5.3 miles, according to news reports this morning.  I have never even thought about depth of quakes before and how that might make the shock feel stronger.  It certainly did in our experience today!  I’ve experienced a few small quakes in my ten years of living in Los Angeles but this one took the cake of the strength of the shake.  I’m a poet.  I know it.

 

As soon as the shaking calmed down a bit, my husband and I both jumped out of bed; I ran to our three year old daughter’s room, he ran to his eighty-three year old mother’s room.  Our three year old started crying and said, “I don’t want our house to be shaking mommy!”  I held her tight and told her it was okay and that the earth just went scribble scrabble.  That’s something the teachers say at the school she attends when children draw frantically and scribbly all over a page.  She understood, I stayed calm and she quickly followed suit.

MySurreaLife Los Angeles Earthquake March 17 2014

While my husband was in with his mom, I walked down the hallway with our little lady in my arms and was in awe at how nearly all of our framed art on the walls was drastically tilted.  It was very surreal.  I was half awake and entirely dumbstruck.  It’s funny how when your brain knows what’s going on, it also still acts completely stupid and takes a long time to process everything that’s going on.

MySurreaLife Los Angeles Earthquake 03 17 14

Our one window that faces the atrium of our building was open.  I heard one of our kind neighbors stick his head out of his front door asking, “is everyone okay?”  Another neighbor peeped her head out and said, “was that an earthquake?!  wow!  We’re okay.”  I stuck my head out, waved and said, “we’re okay too!”

MySurreaLife.com Los Angeles Earthquake March 17 2014

I kept looking around the house for what could have possibly broken.  All the bottles of wine were in one piece *THANK GOD*, none of the framed photos had come off the wall. I cracked open the door to the guest bathroom and saw broken pieces of white ceramic.  I went inside, like a fool because I didn’t have shoes on, and saw that one of fancier toilet brush holders (this is actually a possibility) I had gotten at IKEA and installed on our walls had jumped off the wall in an apparent nervous attempt to make a run for it.  I guess it didn’t realize it didn’t have legs and couldn’t get too far.  Even the toilet looks surprised that this thing came off the wall.  I have two other ceramic brush holders installed in our other two bathrooms and they didn’t go anywhere.  So curious.

Anywho, all is well with us in SoCal; just shaken, and slightly stirred.  😉

Leaving A Legacy

Aspen is one of those places that cannot be mimicked by anywhere else, regardless the effort.  It is a tiny town, sporadically but consistently filled with hugely inflated egos of the wealthy who were there scattered between the incredible, humble, fun loving, kind, tight knit community of locals that keep the place running.

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Due to Aspen’s 11,000 ft elevation and geography of being in a mountain valley, it is difficult to get to and difficult to leave. Due to my history there over the course of my life, it has also been difficult for me to go there and more recently, difficult for me to leave.

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Our family lived full time in Phoenix for my sister and my childhoods.  We annually escaped the summer heat of Phoenix that is comparable to living on the sweet face of the sun.  As soon as school was out for the summer, we would pack a van full of children, pets and luggage and drive the 16 hour treck to Aspen. I’m fairly certain my mother was always drawn to Aspen for the memories there with my biological father who died when I was four.  She re-married and had my sister by the time I was five and in the three and a half decades of my life experiencing my mother and step father’s toxic relationship, maybe six times do I remember them ever getting along for an extended period of time, like really getting along. This made for extremely stressful family time and consequently, stressful times in Aspen.

Family time was often spent in Aspen hence my anxious relationship with the small mining turned celebrity/uber wealthy town. Having to go to Aspen with my family, my siblings and I, and anyone else who were with us and knew our family well were all always on edge waiting for one of our parents to freak out over god knows what.  It was a toxic environment to be around.  Having celebrities in our midst made it a somehow easier Aspen pill to swallow. It also gave me something not as depressing to talk about when people asked how my time in Aspen was.

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The duality of Aspen to me, full and rich according to the looks of most people there, like the trees on the left while also bare and cold like the trees on the right

This past November, my father passed away. He was technically my step father but I never considered him a step father, probably mostly because I don’t remember my biological father but also because my step father never ever treated me like anything but his daughter. He took care of me in every way a father should care for his daughter. He played with us, he took us to amusement parks, he financially took care of our every want and need.

He was my dad.

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Our father was a brilliant man. He started what is now the largest opthalmology practice in Arizona. He was a notable Opthalmologist, literally known the world over, in that field, for his contributions to opthalmology, of which include founding an annual opthalmology meeting in Aspen. For the past thirty years, doctors and opthalmology business owners from across the country, maybe even the world, have come to continue their education in the field of opthalmology, while also enjoying a week in the beauty and luxury of winter in Aspen.

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My younger brother and sister and I were asked to present the annual award given out to a recipient that the board of the meeting feels best contributed to the field of opthalmology and also to the annual meeting over the past year.

We were asked to briefly speak about our father. We did, emotionally.  We also compiled a six minute video presentation, a very condensed look back at his life in pictures. The 6 minute version was mostly of his professional past, photos from his college graduation and lifelong achievements that include incredible feats such as winning back to back NCAA tumbling championships, being an opthalmologist to the stars and a revered medical business owner.  There was not a dry eye in the room once the presentation concluded.  It had clearly struck a nerve with the two hundred people in attendance.

We three children and our mother talked about the crowd’s response later and we all agree it made us feel good to have shown his business colleagues a bit of his personal life. It was painful for me to see all of his colleagues there and know I would never again see him there.  It is a painful reality I will carry for awhile.

We thanked everyone for keeping our father’s vision (haha) of this meeting so alive and so strong by continuing to attend. He would be so proud to see what it has evolved into.

Not having him around to talk to anymore, reflecting on his life so much these past few months and coming to the opening night of the annual meeting he founded has really made me realize that in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations, we can still create our dream careers and leave long lasting legacies.

I have always been so inspired by his many accomplishments and I never let an opportunity go by that I didn’t tell him so. I am so thankful for all he did for me, and for the example he set with his generosity and belief in people. He gave a lot of people, including me, lots of chances to follow their dreams, whatever they were.  I will be forever grateful for the positive contributions he made to so many people’s lives.  I wanted to stay and attend a few of the seminars at the annual meeting, but I didn’t. It is a torn feeling, trying to keep a loved ones legacy alive while working to find closure with their passing.

May we all live our dreams and leave lasting contributions to the world we love.

Thanks for reading this :)

My Most Surreal Holiday Yet

I haven’t written a post for awhile.  At first it was because I had been busy and exhausted from working the American Music Awards.  Then when I had another post written in my head, but I was too tired from just getting back from getting married in Maui.  Then I had some more things I wanted to share but I was busy running around buying and cooking food because it was Thanksgiving.

Then the most heavy news of my life punched me in the stomach the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  My amazing husband brought his mother home with him from Las Vegas three days early to tell me that my father had unexpectedly passed away earlier that day.  Instead of calling me on the phone to tell me, and have me be alone to comprehend the news with our three year old, my mother called him to tell me, and he came all the way home be with me when I heard the news.  That is one of the biggest blessings I could have ever been granted.

My siblings, mother, some friends and family and I went to his small, rural hometown in Pennsylvania to lay him to rest.  Hearing the holiday music everywhere and seeing the twinkling decorations was so surreal.  Being there, in the very cold weather, hearing and seeing all these festive sights and sounds, while preparing to say our final goodbyes to our father was the most surreal experience imaginable for me.

While on that side of the country, I decided I wanted to go to my favorite city to visit and make some new holiday memories with my new, small family of three.  We drove from Pennsylvania to New York City and arrived to the city through the Lincoln Tunnel, just like my hero “Buddy the Elf.”

Only there one full day and a few hours of daylight after we drove in, with one of my wonderful friends who lives there, I took our three year old to Central Park.  Together we built a tiny snowman and the little one made snow angels with the help of my friend.  It was a beautiful sight, a snow covered Central Park.  In all my treasured times in New York, I had never seen the snow in Central Park.  We walked to the Plaza for a warm drink only to find their bar was closed.  The little one’s feet had gotten wet during our excursion in the slushy snow in the Park.  I striped her of her damp stockings and socks and put on an extra pair of gloves on her feet that I had in my bag.  What a story to remind her of as she grows older!  We rode back to our hotel in a cab.  She fell asleep and I held her tight as we drove by every sight I had wanted to see with my own eyes this year; the incredible decorations on 5th Avenue including the huge beautiful shining star at 5th Avenue & 58th Street and the breathtaking tree at Rockefeller Center.

It was incredible being in a warm cab, with our little girl on my lap, seeing the tremendous holiday sights of a city I adore.  I was so thrilled, but so serene; I was there because we had just said goodbye to my dad.

The next day my husband and I took our little lady to Macy’s to meet Santa bright and early.  We got out of the cab across from the entrance to Macy’s and as my husband carried her towards the crosswalk, I saw the gorgeous sparkling “Believe” sign on Macy’s exterior wall and grabbed my camera to get a shot of everything my life had built up to at that point.  I believed I would fall in love with a good man, and that I would one day be a mother.  It had come true because I believed it would.  What a wonderful memory that image will be to me for forever.

MySurreaLife.com Believe

It’s gotten a bit easier to swallow, realizing I can never again hug my dad or hear his voice; we’ve been so busy with everything since the news.  Once back home in LA, I had to get right back to work and also prepare our home for Christmas.  We went to buy a tree at a lot near us.  When we walked into the makeshift forrest in the vacant parking lot, the loudspeakers were playing one of my dad’s favorite holiday songs, a John Denver song.  I pulled my sunglasses off my head and back over my eyes and cried quietly.  I didn’t want this memory of getting our first tree together to be also remembered with mommy crying…again.  As I think about it more, I like to think it was my dad saying, “hi.”  I used to love to go to the tree lot with him in Phoenix to buy our tree when I was little.

I’m sure tomorrow, Christmas Day, will be just as surreal as the rest of the month has been.  I hope I remember times of him being funny on Christmas more than I feel the saddness of him not being on the other end of the phone when I call or on the receiving end of a plane ride when I visit.

My mother has a slightly elaborate manger scene she sets up near the tree during the holidays.  My dad was always “Santa” Christmas morning, passing out gifts to his anxious family, one at a time so we could all see what the other is receiving.   One year, he went to reach a gift for someone and bumped the manger.  He quielty mumbled, “oh shit, I dropped Jesus.”  I cracked up laughing.  I think I was the only one who heard.  He started laughing too and we shared with the rest of the family what just had happened.  We all laughed and laughed.  Now I’m crying again so I guess that didn’t do me much good.  I guess now I should just brace myself for more of our little lady asking me, “are you crying again?!”

Merry Christmas everyone.

Being *only minorly* Affected By the Shooting at LAX

After months of planning, the time was upon us to pack our bags and get ready to go to Maui.  I had arranged for my supermely capable aunt to fly into LA the day before we left to see how a day in our life operates and to implement the consistency for our three year old in the coming few days we would be gone.

At the nail salon getting my nails done the day before we left, I overhead one of the nail techs talking about how LAX was closed because of a shooting.

“Great,” I thought to myself as I came to start worrying about how this turn of events would likely affect the majority of the rest of my day, and possibly my entire week ahead. The flight my aunt was on was supposed to land at LAX in just under an hour from when I heard the news. Her flight was scheduled to land not 2 hours after the incident. There I sat waiting, debating if I should still have these last few nails polished or if i should immediately race out the door and down to what was sure to be quite a scene at LAX.

I waited for the rest of my nails to be polished, paid and got in my car. Before getting on the road I called a colleague I work with who is also a former LAX police officer. I explained my situation and asked him if he could ask anyone he still knows there if my aunt’s flight would be landing and if I would be able to get to my aunt once at LAX. He told me he would call around and call me back.

I started my car and made my way down the 405 to LAX.  My colleague called me back and said the airport was closed, flights weren’t arriving or departing and that no one was allowed into the airport. I thanked him but stayed en route, hoping somehow his colleagues were wrong.

I then got on the phone with United airlines to see if her flight had been diverted. After ten minutes of menus and selections, I was able to speak with someone in reservations who told me her flight was on time. I asked if i would be able to pick her up from the airport. The person on the other line was definitely in a call centee overseas. I ground my teeth as she read from her script and again told me how the flight was on time to arrive at LAX.

Too nervous to be much nicer, I told her there was a shooting, I heard the airport was closed and asked her to check with her supervisor to see if people were able to pick up arriving passengers at the airport. She placed me on hold for a couple minutes at most and assured me her flight was due to arrive on time and that I would be able to pick her up.

Sure enough, in the miles before the exits to the airport, there were signs stating, “airport closed.”

“What am I supposed to do?!” I thought in a minor panic. “If I can’t get my aunt today, we can’t leave tomorrow and all our plans we’ve been working on for months will be all for not. How and why would someone waltz into an airport and start shooting people? Why can’t we all just be happy and not hurt each other?!” Sigh. These were my thoughts as I pulled off the freeway, onto Sepulveda and put my foot on the brakes.

MySurreaLife Sirius Satellite Navigation LAX gridlock LAX shooting

There were red taillights everywhere; stopped cars as far as I could see. People were waiting everywhere for someone to have any sort of information about arriving & departing passengers and how we were supposed to get them and if people’s flights would be leaving that day. While in the line of stopped cars, I called the LAX airport information line but after two rings it said, “all circuits busy,” and dropped the call. I called again to see if I might get a different response. I didn’t.

MySurreaLife Sepulveda closed LAX shooting

As I inched closer to the airport, the scene was surreal in a very unsettling way. Of the ten minutes I had been in the vicinity of LAX, I had only seen one plane land, and five helicopters hovering over the typically otherwise restriced airspace. I sat in the line of traffic on Sepulveda, in front of In-N-Out burger and saw, on the grassy area between the burger joint and the road, about 50 people with luggage, sitting around talking, pointing, scratching their heads, literally and figuratively.

MySurreaLife LAX shooting grassy area

I saw about 10 flight attendants grouped together in their pressed white shirts, blue pants and uniform scarves. I saw a couple take towels out of their suitcase and use it for a makeshift picnic area. The man laid down & put on his shades. The woman sat cross legged and took out a magazine.  Everyone was so calm, even with the handful of news trucks in the background and the helicopters buzzing overhead.

I called my aunt, hoping she’d landed somewhere by now. The call went directly to voice mail so I sent her a text asking her to call me when she lands so we can figure out what to do from there. Not too long after I sent her the text, I drove away towards Marina Del Rey, just to escape the other, many confused people almost on top of each other for lack of information about where else we should all go.

I drove towards MDR and turned around at the first stop light.  I didn’t want to go too far in case she made it in and in case we would be allowed to go into the airport to pick up arriving passengers.

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As I waited, my phone chirped.  My aunt texted back saying they had arrived into LAX but were waiting for a gate. I had no idea if the passengers were given information about what had happened. I asked her to call me if and when should could.

She called. I told her what had happened and told her how the airport was completely closed and that it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to drive onto the property to pick her up. I told her I would wait at one of the parking lots hoping that the police might be allowing shuttle buses to bring people out. Then I saw a shuttle bus driver who confirmed that even they couldn’t go in or out.

My aunt called back when she had her luggage and said there were no cars or busses anywhere in the airport. I tried to imagine the scene. It seemed too unreal to believe. She said she would start walking towards Sepulveda and that if they started allowing cars inside or at least along Sepulveda that she would look for my car & hop in if she saw me. I told her I was going to leave the parking area and go stay at in-n-out and wait for her. I had to pay $6.00 for the 20 minutes I was in the parking area. It drives me crazy that in times of crisis business owners can’t lend the smallest hand and give people a pass.

Miraculously I found a parking space at In-N-Out so I parked, grabbed my phone and started walking towards the airport. The weather had reached the low 80s. I didn’t want my aunt to have to pull her suitcase any longer than she already had. As I crossed the crosswalk onto an eerily empty Sepulveda, my phone rang. My aunt was in the parking lot at In-N-Out! I turned around, crossed the street again and was offered a bottle of cold Arrowhead water from a young man with cases full. A news reporter came up and said, “ok, i’ll take one. How much?”  “Oh, these are free,” he said, grabbing as many as he could and handing them out as fast as he could.  I didn’t ask who they were provided by, I just took one for my aunt, thanked him and kept heading back towards where she was waiting.

I’m always happy to see this aunt but I have never been more relieved to see her face standing with her suitcase in the parking lot at In-N-Out. We gave each other huge, sweaty hugs, I gave her the bottle of cold water and we made our way to my car and back to the Valley.

Before going to sleep that night my fiance had the brilliant idea to try to check us in and see if we would be able to or if our flight was somehow delayed due to the incident at LAX.  I was able to check us in online without a problem, but I called the airline just to be sure we wouldn’t have any surprises at the airport.  Sure enough, the airline assured us we could check in as we would have any other day, but to get there a bit early, just to be sure.

We arrived early and drove by the eerie scene of terminal 3.  The windows were covered and there were police cars lined up, about 10-12 deep. I was very thankful we weren’t departing out of terminal 3, that our flight was able to leave without delay only one day after the entire airport was shut down and mostly, I was thankful that my aunt was able to get into and out of the airport without major incident.  I feel truly blessed that, although we were minorly affected by the incident, it was only a convenience of time factor and nothing more.

My aunt and I have a great joke about walking to and from LAX now. When I took her back she asked if I could take her all the way to the terminal and not drop her at In-N-Out, even though she knew she could walk that distance with a suitcase.

I love all parts of my surreal life, even the nerve wracking parts!  Being able to remember the nerve wracking times in my life truly makes the easy parts that much more enjoyable for me.  So thankful, for everything.

Mommy, Mommy! Are Those Real?

At the grocery store the other day, little lady and I stood by the “fresh” seafood counter awaiting the rotisserie chicken to be finished rotissering. She noticed some whole trout in the frozen display, pointed and said,
“Mommy! Mommy! Look fish!” I looked over, saw the fish in their entireties, eyes open, etc.

Feeling horrible for being at the top of the food chain and being partly responsible for the poor fish in their current state, I simply said,  “yep! Those are fish!”

We waited there for awhile longer, me looking around, on my phone, etc, her in the little seat of the shopping cart.   She had her head turned away from me to look at the fish in the frozen display and she started patting her arm on me, to get my attention. Her little hand landed on my little chest. As she patted the bra area, she said,  “Mommy, mommy. Are those real?”

So that happened, in public.

I explained to her that the fish were real and that they were in there so people could eat them.  She was a bit angered by that.  I forget what she said as I was trying to recover from her feeling me up while asking if something was real.  Hysterical.

Interesting Day of Trying to Figure Out What People Were Saying

In my house, I’ve become used to trying to decifer what the three year old who lives with us is trying to say.  Tonight, for instance, after reading her a bedtime story, I gave her a hug and put her into her bed.  She then said, “goodnight!  You are Hangry.”

I twice asked her to repeat what she was saying and each time, very clearly, she said, “You are Hangry.”

I responded, confused, “I’m angry?”

“Nooo!” she said. “You’re Hangry.”

“I’m hungry?”

“No,” she responded again, this time pointing at the book we just read.  “You’re Hangry.”

“Ohhhh, I’m Henry!” I finally understood.

“Yes, Hangry,” she again replied.

Tonight we also had my significant other’s 83 year old mother over for dinner.  She first said she wasn’t very hungry and that she would only like a salad.  When we all sat down to dinner, she stopped eating her salad and looked, and looked harder at her son.  He said, “yes mother?”

She said, “I really don’t like all this stuff in my salad.”  He looked at me confused, as there was only lettuce leaves left in her salad bowl.

He said, “mom, you only have lettuce in your salad bowl.”

She replied ephatically, “yes, but it’s green!  I only like white lettuce.”

He and I just looked at each other, admitting our loss at the logic of the situation.

I LOVE how surprising our days are now-a-days. From the three year old to the eighty three year old, we never know what to expect from these two!