Monday, April 22, 2013

LA Adventures

So haven't been getting many hits on the blog lately. Not that hit counts are why I do this anyway. If it was, I'd be a complete failure at this whole blogging thing. Anyway, I'm here today to share with you want I did this past weekend... with my mom. So no bar hopping or crashing of movie sets or playing I-spy at the beach. Mom's not really into that sort of stuff... I don't think.

A while back I had posted on Facebook that I wanted to go to a book festival where the guy that makes the Simon's Cat videos was going to be. And my mom actually said she'd take me. And she was serious. I kind of made that post in fun thinking no one would actually take me.

So Thursday noonish she came by and off we started on our drive down to Los Angeles. I drove us down through LA and on to Orange California where we were to stay our first night. Why Orange? Well, the festival didn't start til Saturday and it was now Friday. She was going to visit two old friends. (old as in they are old and they were friends for probably close to 50 years!) And both of them live in Orange County. And Orange just happened to be smack in the middle of where they live.

I had mentioned that I had the best Chicken and Waffles in Pasadena. Mom was like, "Wha? Chicken and waffles??" I couldn't remember where it was and neither of us have smart phones so she texted my sister. Got the address from her and plugged it into Broomhilda the GPS. Short detour to Pasadena for dinner. She loved the Chicken and Waffles combo. And it was just as good as I remember.

So mom left Friday morning to visit old friend number 1 and I called my good friend Pancho (not his real name) and say "hey, where you at? Wanna play?" So he of course said yes. He drove out from the Inland Empire and picked me up and we went to Downtown Disney. It's where I met my new boyfriend. He's really fit. Even his muscles have ripply muscles!

Pancho and I had a good time catching up and hanging out. He needed to get back home and left me around 2pm. Mom came by and picked me up and then we went to visit her old friend number 2. The last time I had apparently seen her I was 12. She has stage 4 cancer and had radiation treatment earlier that day. If you didn't know she had stage 4 cancer, you wouldn't know it by her exuberant personality and enthusiasm. She's quite amazing for being 81 with stage 4 cancer. I hope I'm half what she is by that age.

After leaving the home of old friend number 2 I drove mom and I into Downtown Los Angeles. We were to stay at The Sheridan. Fancy. Got totally snookered. But I had known that, but mom didn't. I know that the fancier the hotel, the more you will have to pay for amenities that you get for free at other places. Anyway. I had to drive around the block a few times to get into the parking and loading area for the hotel. It didn't help that Buena Vista Studios was setting up for a night shoot on the next block and so the streets were blocked off. Silly movie people! But I had a great view of the cater truck from our window. Ooh exciting. (I'm being sarcastic here)

Next day was our day at the LA Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. The whole point of me wanting to go down to this crazy place that I don't like visiting normally. We first drove a whole mile which took about 10 minutes to find The Last Bookstore. A friend had posted a link to an article about this bookstore on Facebook, and I was intregued. So I just had to go see it. I was here, so why not. Pretty cool place once we finally found it. But only had 20 minutes because the stupid parking meter ate my first $1.50 in quarters! They have a lot of books, but the cool parts were their displays. And apparently they have hidden rooms, where you have to find the right bookcase that happens to be a door. But again, the parking meter had eaten my money and we were missing the Festival of Books. So off we then went to USC. Besides the urine sidewalks in downtown are pretty smelly.

I finally get us into a parking garage on campus and we start the walk to the center of campus. I get mom situated in the shade at the Stage where all the authors she wants to hear are at and I go off to look for stuff. So many booths, so little time! I went off to get tickets to the "conversation" that Simon and two other authors were going to do. I finally find the booth selling the tickets. They are free! Woo Hoo. And they hadn't sold out yet. Sweet. I get two tickets and then go off to find a booth that is selling Simon's book. Wander wander wander. Ah ha! Found one. I ask the guy how much it is, he says it's on sale today for only $10.00. Sweet. I'll take it. Then he says, "oh here's Simon the author, by the way." Wha?? My brain goes stupid. All I get out is, "Hi, will you sign it?" He say's sure, and gets out his pen and asks my name and writes out "For Kelly, All the best" and then doodles the cat, kitten, and robin. I say, "thank you very much" and shake his hand. Oh, he also asked if I had any cats, and I said yes. If my brain had been working properly I would have told him about my cat Quirk. But it wasn't. I get back to mom, and told her what had happened, and said that my mission is complete! I stayed with her through the next author she was going to listen to. Oh my god! It was Debbie Reynolds. You know Princess Leia's mom!! She is in her early 80's and she is just a riot! Totally funny and genuine person. She talked about the early days with Gene Kelly and Fred Astire. And about her many husbands. It was just fun to listen to her. Truly. Again, if I can be just half what she is by her age. Wow. Oh and there was this old guy behind me that chatted with me for a while. He was so freakin impressed that I knew who the Smothers Brothers were. And the Kingston Trio. Thank you dad for introducing me to them. I earned major props with this old guy for that. He was fun.

After her talk it was time to go listen to Simon. The panel is Simon Tofield (cats), Lauren Scheuer (chickens), and Ken Foster (dogs). It was really fun. The moderator introduces them and asks each to read a bit from their books. The Chicken lady was hysterical. The dog guy was really poignant. Then it was Simon's turn. The moderator said, "This will be really interesting since there aren't any words in your book." He proceeded to do all the voices of his characters. I could talk a lot about the panel. But will say, it was really interesting and informative and I found out that the chicken lady is my sister's soulmate. After the panel they were going to have a signing. So I go out and buy her book. Since I already got Simon's autograph, I didn't need to stand in that line too. I told the chicken lady that my sister and I had chickens once. She signed the book to me and my sister and drew us a little chicken. So cool.

It's funny that I go to a book festival with all these famous authors there and movie stars and major publishers and panel after panel about writing, publishing, any and all genres, and I get most excited about a web comic artist and a crazy chicken lady. Go figure.

We were done at the festival after that. We then drove back east to Whittier to go visit my Grandmother at Rose Hills Cemetery. After seeing her marker it was probably close to 7pm. I then drove us out of LA and headed up the 99 to Bakersfield. I know, why Bakersfield? We were going to stay the night at some family friends who live there. We got in to their place a bit after 9pm. We chatted, went to bed, got up, they made us a great breakfast. Chatted some more, and then it was time to get home. We were both ready to go home. Of course mom decided she wanted to go home via 101. I said it will take longer, but she said, but it's prettier. Fine, whatever. I drive us over 46 and onto 101. Pull into my house around 4pm.

Awwww, nice to be home. When we first left on this adventure, I was excited. I needed out of the house. I had felt like a prisoner in my own home. It was good to get out. I needed it. I needed a jolt or a swift kick in the ass. By the end I was ready to be home again. I love my mother, but I was ready for my own room without a snoring person next to me. Next time: bring ear plugs. Because there will be a next time.

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