Archive for March 10th, 2009

LA stories

So, I just flew in from LA and I’m exhausted.  Ok, yes, I didn’t “just” fly in and yes, it is fun to say that and it makes me feel cool (just the letters “LA” resonate with coolness), but I am tired.  That part is true.  I took my first (and last?) redeye home from LAX on Sunday night.  Only it wasn’t quite “home” since I don’t live in Cleveland.  I had to wait almost three hours in Cleveland (from about 6:30 am until 9:15 am) before getting to take an almost two hour flight home.  And then I slept and slept and still wish I were sleeping.

I had such a nice trip, though.  The weather was so lovely, despite what Angelenos may tell you.  Sunny and 60s beats cloudy and 30s every day of the week, if not the year.  It was so ridiculously fun not to have to wear a hat, mittens or even a coat.  Though I was grateful for the long cardigan I  had just splurged on at Anthropologie.  The clerk had told me I would wear it all the time and she was right.  So, I arrived on Thursday night and broke my nail trying to help some guy get his luggage off of the baggage claim and he barely muttered ‘thanks.’  Welcome to California.  But not really because the rest of the trip was peppered with strangers saying things like, “Hi, you guys!” while we passed them on the sidewalk.  I like friendly, but sometimes it was scary — I would wonder if people were mistaking me for a celebrity.  Ha.  Ok, not really.  Anyway, we went to dinner at a joint called Chaya and I’m sure it was good, but I was so nauseous that I thought I was going to hurl.  So, what do I do?  Order a martini and tuna tartar.  What?  Yes, it’s true.  The martini I managed to get down but the tuna tartare looked how I felt.  Why did I order it?  I have no idea.  I’ve never had it before and never want to.  Sarayu had some yummy looking meat, which she was assured had no butter in it when she told the waiter she was gluten-intolerant.  This meal was on the house as Sarayu knew the marketing person or something and called in a fun favor.  It was a bit of a bummer, though, because a free meal at a posh LA restaurant should not = 1 martini + a couple of Sarayu’s raspberries.  Oh well. 

The next day we got up and drove to Griffith Park and went on a hike.  This was quite a feat for two reasons: (1) it took us forever to find the trail head, which is weird because it was clearly marked and had about 100 people on it (with their dogs) and (2) it was steep and hard and I am out of shape.  It was warm and sunny, though, which made it bearable and we got to talk a lot in between breaths.  The view of LA was grand — though views over big cities are always kind of weird to me.  It’s sort of, yes, there are a lot of buildings and cars.  Anyway, the shots I got of the Hollywood sign with Sarayu looking super Hollywood were fun, I thought.  Back down the hill we went and stopped at Griffith Observatory for more observations and for some learning about tides and eclipses and such.  Back down the hill some more and we had lunch OUTSIDE at a super cute place called Alcove.  It was across the street from a small-looking Scientology center (more on Scientologists in a bit).  After this we drove around, poked in a couple of shops and then headed back to Casa de Rao.  That night we had a yummy dinner (mussels, salad and garlicky spinach) at a place called Pace on Laurel Canyon.  It’s weird how everyplace has valet and how you have to valet even when there is a parking lot.  Oh, LA.  So, as we walk in, we run into a casting director that Sarayu knows from a couple of auditions.  As Sarayu said, it was so very LA.  She’s talking to him, giving him a hug, being her charming self.  I have no idea who he is so I’m staring at everyone else around us.  You’d think with the amount of staring I did, I would have spotted some celebs, but no.  I had to keep having Sarayu point them out to me!  At dinner, she discreetly informed me that Anna Faris was at the table kitty-corner behind us and that Ian Ziering was at the bar.  Then came John Henson of Talk Soup fame (fame?) who sat at the table next to us.  Yay!  Celebrities!

The next day we saw Peter Brady at lunch at Hugo’s, which is also famous for serving Kate the most delicious turkey burger she has ever had.  Weirdly, while in LA, I ate two veggie burgers, one turkey burger and one mozzarella panino.  That’s a lot of sandwiches.  I couldn’t shake my sandwich yen.  I think, though, that I’m now in the clear.  This day was Sarayu’s birthday so we did what every girl dreams of on her birthday: going to a super crowded Target.  And it was Saturday.  We did have fun, though, and I got to buy Sarayu some fun stuff to spruce up her already cute apartment.  We got manicures and pedicures at a cute place Sarayu frequents.  This was good except (a) the woman giving me my services kept chastizing me for having such dry, broken nails (being from Wisconsin did not count as an excuse in her eyes) and (b) I ruined my manicure almost immediately.  After this, we rushed home to get ready for the Big Night Out.  We had dinner with Sarayu’s very close friends, Patrick, a professional musician and Scientologist (my first encounter with a real, live one!), and Lacey, a professional actor and all-around nice, nice gal, and their significant others.  Despite the obnoxiousness of the table seating (extremely large table for five tiny Californians and me), it was really pretty fun.  I get nervous talking to strangers (and even friends sometimes), but I thought I did ok and what did it matter?  All eyes were (rightfully) on Sarayu anyway.  I took some pictures that I will soon post.  After dinner, the Lacey contingency left and while the Patrick contingency lingered for a bit, they were gone soon, as well.  Then the rest of Sarayu’s enormous group of LA friends started filtering in to the bar part of the restaurant.  It was fun, but exhausting, meeting everyone.  Sometime after 1, we headed home.  Sunday was spent having a yummy lunch (and no one told me it was the start of DST!  I’ve never been so unprepared!) and going to open houses in North Hollywood and thereabouts.  The least expensive place we saw was $775,000.  It was two beds, two baths and about 1,000 SF.  Hmm.  Cute, but really?  Shocking.  The most expensive one we went to was $1.8 million and was so not cute.  We did, though, find a gem in the Burbank hills.  Built in the 1930s, it had been lovingly restored and had the most beautiful living room with enormous french doors that opened to a lovely backyard. Mmm!  Scruptious.  And it was only $1.3 million.  Hooray!  Sold.

Alas, that night I boarded my flight to fly east.  Before I could do so, however, I had to bear witness to a jerkstore in the aisle of the plane, singing while he boarded.  Singing.  It’s 11:30 pm and he has no ipod, but he does have on aviator sunglasses.  He must have bumped the guy seated in the aisle behind me because a little fracas ensued.  Aviator jerkstore started calling the Aisle Guy “baldy” and “old brother” and stuff, while Aisle Guy just ignored him.  Aviator jerkstore said to the flight attendant standing patiently behind him, “This guy just assaulted me!  I bumped him and he pushed me and said, ‘Don’t do that again!’  You should do something about this.”  And then later, as he made his way down the aisle, “Are you going to follow up on this?”  A couple of minutes later, a sort of official-looking woman comes on the plane and the flight attendant asks Aisle Guy to come with her.  He does.  They leave the plane.  Flight attendant then goes to the back and gets Aviator jerkstore.  They leave the plane.  Aisle Guy comes back, Aviator jerkstore doesn’t.  Hooray!   Justice and common sense prevail!  And we take off…


March 2009
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