Monday, August 17, 2009

August 14 - 17 2009 Los Angeles Vacation and Going Away Celebration for Julie

Julie heads off to Nicaragua August 31st and Fran and I wanted to spend a long weekend with her next to the ocean ... her favorite thing to do. We were originally going to race in the La Jolla Gatorman together but since her Peace Corp assignment came through quicker than we anticipated we found a 3 mile race around Naples Island in Long Beach to go to instead. We made it a four day weekend and managed to bring along one of her swim buddies from Phoenix (Jen) and met another two of her swim friends (Alisha and Megan) that now live in LA. What a trip for me being around five women that are all so smart and much quicker witted than I am ... I learned quickly to do what I do best ... just drive the car and do what I am told :-)

We went to the 3rd Street Prominade on Friday night and I became a part of a "street art" demonstration. Basically, a bunch of guys that do all sorts of acrobatic moves in the street and enlist audience participation. Their leader pulled me out of the crowd because I looked like "Chuck Norris" ... sure ... I think they pulled me and a bunch of others into the center was so they could tease us into donating more money for them.

During the day on Saturday the girls (Julie, Jen, Alisha and Megan) went swimming in the ocean together and they were in 2nd heaven! Really quite a memory for all them as it brought back so many fond stories of how they swam together for so many years and made numerous trips to La Jolla together to swim in the ocean.

Saturday evening was very cool as all six of us went to the Hollywood Bowl and saw the LA Philharmonic perform along with some fireworks. Turns out it was 16 years almost to the day that Fran and I first came to the Hollywood Bowl. We ate dinner in one of the bowl picnic areas and then attended a two hour performance. From a music perspective the pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa was UNBELIEVABLE ... here is a link to her website: An amazing 30 minute performance of non-stop Tchaikovsky music called "Piano Concerto Number 1" ... it really was impressive to listen and watch Mihaela perform. Since Fran and I were last there in 1993 the Hollywood Bowl has installed large jumbotrons allowing close ups of her playing the piano. After a mid-performance break the guest conductor Christian Knapp led a storied rendition of a relatively unknown and unpublished Romeo & Juliet operatic duet and then ... there were fireworks to the 1812 Overture!!

Sunday was the "big swim" day. It was really quite a small race involving maybe 70 people in the 1 mile race (Jen won 1st in her age group) and about 80 people in the 3 mile (Julie got 3rd in her age group). Julie and I swam the 3 mile (actually about 2.75) and it was quite nice ... the swim is around the Naples Island in the center of the harbor and the water temperature was about 65 degrees. Me ... I thought I swam really well but came in 7th in my age group ... but I made it!

Saturday morning Fran and I walked on the beach and then had breakfast at the "Urth" Cafe ... I liked it so much I went back Monday morning by myself to have another bowl of oatmeal and really good coffee. :-)

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