Thursday, August 12, 2010

California, The Rest of the Trip in One Long, Giant Post

We're home again, reveling in "air that has substance" as my son lovingly described the humidity. Our flight was long and uneventful, with plenty of time for sleep and knitting and reading and decompressing. I've come home ready to jump into the final preparations for the reception on Friday. I'm excited to have Jeff's new extended family here to see where he was raised and meet our friends. So, here are memories and photos of the rest of the trip so I can feel like it is captured properly.

  • We decided not to go to the beach again with family.
  • I needed to get a frame of reference for the wedding day and see how things would work. I was having some serious anxiety about all the uncertainty of a big event in an unfamiliar place.
  • We were all business in the morning: picked up Sam's tux, got our nails done (just us girls-couldn't talk the boys into it), learned our way around the temple, hotel, restaurant, etc, and just got the lay of the land. I felt better!
  • In the afternoon, we were near Hollywood, so we headed over there for the Walk of Fame, Graumann's Chinese Theater and general glitzy sight-seeing. We are movie fans, so it was really fun to be there in movie-land. 
  • The evening was making sure everyone got checked into their hotel rooms then over to Campagnola Trattoria for our family dinner. 
  • This was my first meeting of Ashlyn's family so it was definitely a moment for butterflies, but of course they were all delightful and it was really fun. Things I learned that will go into the wedding file are to make up seating assignments and to program some way for people to share memories or connections with the bride and groom. It was still nice though, even without those things. 
  • That night I slept soundly for sure. 
The best set of impressions of all.

In front of Graumann's Chinese Theater

At the family dinner on Friday.

  • The Wedding! Finally! It was awesome and beautiful and touching and romantic and exciting and well, words just fail to express it. I have so much I could write, but I think the photos tell the story. It was a case of right time, right place, right person, and it just felt wonderful!
  • We had the ceremony at the Los Angeles temple around 10:30 am, then had photos on the grounds of the temple, then had some lunch at my pal's brother's deli in Burbank, then started the drive up to Bakersfield for the reception. 
  • The reception was, well, the only word I keep coming up with is, magical. I felt like Anne of Green Gables wearing puffed sleeves at a party. Ashlyn's mom and her good pals did a simply amazing job of setting a lovely, romantic tone for the celebration. It was replete with fresh flowers, beautiful details and gorgeous things to see. I loved it.


Flowers were everywhere!

A bentwood arch to frame the band. They built this!

The decor as the darkness set in-just as lovely.
This is another bentwood structure they build for the reception. Here it is all lit up as darkness fell.
  • Here the pace slowed down and we started to breathe again. I said a bit of a hurried goodbye to all my family, which was not my favorite moment-I wanted to spend more time with them but that wasn't the purpose of the trip and lucky for me they are awesome and understood that I so appreciated their presence. Ashlyn's family was nice enough to invite us over for a lovely leftover-reception-food lunch, which gave us some much needed time to just get to know each other. I loved hearing more about my daughter-in-law through the eyes of those who know and love her best. 
  • We then headed east-ish to see my darling pal from days of yore. We met when she was 12 and I was 13. We've had our lapses in communication and being in each other's company, but never in loving each other. She hosted us at her home for a blessed 24 hours and gave us a peaceful space to relax, do laundry (we took things slow enough to let the clothes hang to dry in the warm, California sunshine), lay around, play with her kids, and totally refresh ourselves. Eric and I took a walk in the subtle beauty of the desert and saw Joshua trees (and they are real trees, with bark-I didn't know that!) and animal bones and lizards and a mosaic of glass from target practice.
  • We left there Monday afternoon and headed west again to the coast and a little town called Carpinteria. We spent our family night walking way up the beach to town. We saw natural tar pits, oil rigs off shore, lots of kelp and gorgeous views. We walked and talked and listened to the waves while the sun set just for us.  We played the random question game while we waited for food at a local restaurant and I felt a very nice connection to all my family. 
  • Tuesday we slept in and did nothing till we really felt like it, then drove up the coast to Santa Barbara. It was a pretty town even though we saw no sign of the cast or crew of Psych, a favorite tv show that is set there. 
  • We finished the day with a drive further up the coast, then inland to the hills. We tried to visit a knit shop, but it was closed, but we still got to see the cute, Swedish-themed town of Solvang and we found the Ostrich Farm. We decided to stop and feed the ostriches and it was a hilarious and fun diversion. 
  • On the way to our last hotel in LA, we stopped at a local favorite attraction for homemade ice cream sandwiches. You choose your cookie, then you choose your ice cream and voila! Instant freezy goodness for a buck and a half. Yes. that's right. We all had a huge, wonderful treat for seven dollars and fifty cents. Eric thinks it must be a money-laundering set up to have prices that low, but whatever, I'm just glad my sis recommended it. 
  • Across the street was Eric's highlight of the day: A Mexican-American Deli called Jose' Bernsteins. Could that be any more LA? We think not. 
  • Today was flying, flying flying. One plane, three stops and the last one was finally ours. Home again with the maximum allowed baggage and carry-ons. It is an imposing sight to see 5 people hauling 20 pieces of luggage. 
  • Now we move on to one last celebration for all our friends here. I hope that it will be fun. Please come if you can-Clarksville building. 7 pm on Friday. I know I didn't send enough official announcements because I just wasn't organized enough when that deadline came,  but please consider yourself welcome! Really!
My dear friend and I enjoying some cookie dough. They call it American Sushi. I love that.

From strangers to friends in an afternoon.

There was glass in many colors littering the desert. It was pretty in its way.
Joshua trees have bark! I always thought they were more cactusy.

Eric considers the Joshua Tree.
Someone got artistic with the tar.

Natural tar pits on the beach. Native Americans built their boats here because of the tar. In our hotel room there were "TAR-OFF" Wipes: Pleasantly Scented Tar-Removing Wipe". I was baffled by that till we took our walk.

Cool old tree in the sunset.

The boys walking ahead of me.

Evan Almighty

On the Beach in Carpinteria
Santa Barbara

Flowers in Santa Barbara
Feeding Ostriches. I wasn't quick enough to get video. It washilarious. 

Diddy Riese-You must Go if you are near the LA temple or UCLA.
Jose' Bernstein's Mexican-American Deli. Really.
Our rather large collection of luggage as we waited for wonderful Jann to pick us up at the airport.


  1. It looks like it was a really fun trip. Your son and his bride are so in love and happy!! They look beautiful and what a reception that looked amazing. Cute family you sure do have!

  2. wow, sounds like you were able to pack a lot of stuff into such a little time!

  3. Wahoo! Amazingness. Some GREAT pictures and great times. So glad it was just right :)

  4. Love it! They got married where Chris and I did! Great memories!

  5. This looks just like a dream. It sounds like everything went SO smoothly. I love the pictures, it's all so dreamy. And I'm a little freaking out that you have a son married, because that could be ME so much sooner than I think.


Thank you for sharing your insights!