Where do I start? It has been a crazy couple of weeks. We have had the annual influx of summer visitors, and Deanna and Annabelle in particular. Deanna brought a bevy of colleagues with her, so we had to get creative with all the regular beds, the two sofabeds in the Christmas room and Aerobeds in the solarium and my office. I was lucky if I had a minute to work on my laptop, much less get into the main computers. But we had such a blast.
First off, of course, we were running to the airport every couple of days. People arriving then leaving, then Deanna and her group rushing off to their conference. But we girls had multiple days to hit all the prime shopping areas, including, of course Pasadena, the Americana, our mall here in Valencia and a trip to the biggie, South Coast Plaza. Lots of driving, lots of take-out, and a ton of buying.
I have a fancy five day wedding to attend in Carpinteria next month and decided to get all new outfits, all on a color theme, matching each other, jewelry (of course) and new shoes for each. Deanna and I are deadly together as she is just as much a clothes horse as I am. She had to buy an extra suitcase to haul everything back home.
We also made sure we took several trips to the beach in nearby Ventura, only 40 minutes away. I will be posting about Ventura soon as it is one of my favorite places now especially since it is loaded with tribal eateries that appeal to a veteran foodie like me. Each time we went, we came home with bags of Indian or Sicilian or Ethiopian feasts. Luckily there was so much activity, I felt I could afford to pig out a little.
Geoffrey surprised me with a brand new computer with all the latest bells and whistles for the office — just for photography and graphics — for my birthday this week and we had a big party. I love Windows 10 and am now totally addicted to Office 2013. I have my latest Lightroom and PhotoShop on it already as well as all my Topaz programs. We got a new router and a new modem. I should really complain about the modem because it was not by choice.
One day, in the middle of an email to a client, a window popped up informing me that Time Warner had simply hijacked my process, cut off my internet access, and demanded a phone call or visit. Why? Because my modem was allegedly out of date. What the …? Can you imagine? But Geoffrey called them and saved the day, rushing over and picking up the new one after work. Meanwhile they reconnected me on my old one so I could finish my work day. I will not tell you what I wanted to say to them, but refrained since they control the levers, clearly! It was just luck that they did upgrade us, because the new computer wouldn’t have worked as fast with the old setup.
There was so much pandemonium here that I have only begun to discover all its sexy new features. I love Cortana, Siri’s cousin, my very own synth! She and I chat vocally, and she has learned my voice already, acting as my personal assistant, talking to me in mellifluous, Ooma-like tones. What a hoot.
As for Anna. Well, she was really feeling her oats this time. We got her some new games and books, a few new dresses and mostly played with her in our pool. It was ungodly hot the whole time, so the pool and the beach featured more heavily than the park this year. There was a lot of ice cream consumption and I found out that one of the best new flavors at Ben and Jerry’s is Blondie Ambition — I don’t want to admit how much I had. Anna’s choice this year was Strawberry Cheesecake. She has patrician tastes like the rest of us too, so we hit Cheesecake Factory and Anthropologie multiple times. There are a slew of new restaurants around, so the ones we didn’t cover we are saving for Christmas.
We enjoyed the fact that, while the sun was glaring down full force in Valencia, LAX, each time we went, was socked in with its signature fog. So was Ventura. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting in beach chairs on the sand, watching the ships in the distance, bathing in the cool breezes that washed over us from the Pacific, glasses of Passion Fruit ice tea in hand. We collected shells, seaweed and examined a few little sand creatures. Anna had the time of her life, trying to slowly approach the gulls that land at the water’s edge looking for tidbits.
Geoffrey, God bless him, has had his surfeit of estrogen and is now recovering nicely — one more week and he would have been living at his office downtown. He ran around and did everything for us, acting as chauffeur, swim coach, bellhop, chef, and travel agent. I have to figure out something special for him as a reward.
Now I face a month working on a huge new project on personality disorders. It will be intense but extremely interesting. Meanwhile, I have a ton of photographs to develop, edit and share so there will be midnight oil burning here.
More to come! Stay tuned for my continuing series on the Central California coast and two more towns I love.
(Stay cool — over 100F here right now. TG we fixed our AC in time for this heat wave. And, we are counting the days until the monster El Niño arrives as promised this year. I think I may put on a bathing suit and just lie outside in it.)
Images: BB/LAX, Ventura, Glendale, Valencia and more