Fall is always nostalgic to me for some reason. Of what, exactly, I’m not sure, but the cool air, rain and short days make my thoughts go inward, though the memory my mind is searching for is never found.
So it’s only natural that this weekend was spent reflecting upon other, closer memories, while also creating new ones.
Helen and I, along with the in-laws (Dan, Grace and Sean), made a journey to Los Angeles this weekend to get together with family and celebrate Mamasan’s life.
The trip began on Wednesday evening, when we flew to Los Angeles and got situated at our hotel. When we arrived, it was after 10, so we drug our suitcases to our room and crashed.
Early the next morning, Helen and I walked down the street to meet our long lost friend Joanna. How we miss her, and how good it was to see her. But on our way to Starbucks, the strangest smell filled the air, and it reminded us why we don’t see her very often: Los Angeles is a cess pool.
About three steps out the hotel door Helen says accusatorily, “Sick, it smells like fart.” To which I reply, defensively, “Welcome to California.”
But as we walked, said fart stench got stronger. Until I had to hold my hand over my face, literally gagging with each step. And there we saw it. A man, with no mask or smell protection whatsoever, leaning over a manhole using a huge hose to suck sewer out of it into a white truck.
We darted across five lanes of traffic to avoid the stench, stumbled into Starbucks gasping for air, and Joanna arrived.
We embraced, ordered our coffee, talked, laughed, reminisced, had an awkward solo photo shoot with Joanna…
After making plans for the great Gorge Wine Weekend in April, we said our goodbyes, headed back to the hotel. (See Jo, in writing, you MUST come now)
We cleaned up a bit, and started getting ready for the service. One problem. While I had a shirt, belt, shoes, socks, and underwear, I was lacking something very important. Dress pants. So we all got dressed, I threw on some jeans, we got in the car and sped toward Banana.
When we entered the completely empty store, I identified reason two that I hate California (reason one was the poop smell, if you didn’t catch that). I walked in and said, “Hi, I’m on my way to a funeral and I left my pants in Oregon, I’m looking for your tailored cut, size 32 – 36, do you have anything that will match this [pointing to shirt]?“
“Uhhh… our pants are over there [gestures lazily].”
Really? Really! Maybe it’s just because they know me, but when I walk into the Banana in Portland, the employees strip the mannequins looking for any tall sizes, yet in L.A., even after explaining my relatively desperate situation, all I get is an arm movement in the direction of the suits?
F you California.
So I find some pants, a leather-faced LA lady reluctantly steams them for me, and we’re on our way. On the freeway, we encounter a funeral procession. Strange, because we’re also going to a funeral, but since we’re lone rangers, they of course get priority. And guess what? They’re headed to Holy Cross as well. And at that moment, I identified reason three that I hate California – every car in the funeral procession only had one person in it. So wasteful.
So after waiting for all 50 cars to enter Holy Cross in front of us, the police escort zips away and we arrive at the chapel. And we had a lovely service in memory of Mamasan.
And after the service, we took her ashes to the grave where Papasan was buried…
We sang one final song, and laid her to rest.
The following day, California redeemed itself a little bit, because we went to Disneyland and had a blast. I’m not sure if I had more fun going on the rides, or listening to Grace scream, or convincing her that Space Mountain wasn’t going to be as fast or scary as [insert ride name here], but it was a great day.
P.S. This Disney parade puts every pride parade in the country to shame… a brief clip for you:
After the day was done, we were all starving and tired, so we headed to a little place that Mamasan used to love, Pancho’s. And I can see why she loved it. The food was incredible.
We gorged ourselves on food and “Naughty Molly” margaritas, which turned out to be very naughty indeed. See, here’s where the real memory making comes. We each had two margaritas, and some of us (read: Grace) were hit a little harder than others. And some of us (read: Grace) wanted to take tequila shots. But since we were getting a little rowdy for the restaurant, we paid our bill, using cash, in true Mexican fashion (5% discount!!) and hit up the grocery store where we purchased some tequila and other treats. And the rest, well, let’s just say mother-in-law + tequila shots = major win.
(She’s attempting to hide)
The following morning, we slept in, and then packed up our hotel to head closer to the airport for our last night. We then headed to Manhattan Beach, followed by Venice Beach, which is reason number 181 I hate California. Venice Beach is the grossest place I’ve ever been. I can’t even describe it. My hate for spiders and the fat girl eating a banana on the plane next to me on the way home are close rivals to how much I hate Venice Beach. Any of you who know me, know the passion behind those two hatreds.
After returning from our trip to nastyland, we had dinner with Helen’s Aunt Kelly, happy hour at the hotel, followed by hot tubbing, a few glasses of wine and some Domino’s pizza, which I ordered to be delivered to our hotel room from my BLACKBERRY… Amazing. Seriously the best invention ever.
And this morning, we boarded a plane and headed back to Portland, where fall is fully here, and I have some major clean-up items to take care of ASAP, including the drywall around the front door and the yard/garden.
On the bright side… I got a card in the mail while we were gone… apparently it’s my birthday this week!