Welcome Home Blizzard

And…. we’re back.  We woke up on Saturday morning in LA to news of the giant blizzard approaching the east coast.  We were supposed to leave California on Sunday afternoon – to arrive at JFK on Sunday evening at around eleven-thirty at night.  The weather, once again, seemed to be conspiring against us, so we changed our flight to a redeye on Saturday night.  That got us home at six o’clock Sunday morning – right before the snow started snowing!  Thanks to Jet Blue, we did not have to pay a cent extra to change our flight… another score for Jet Blue’s customer service.

Meanwhile, when I left you last, we were on our way from LA to Coronado for Sean and Christy’s wedding.  After a whirlwind of a visit with my cousins Lisa and Michael at their home in the adorable Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego (this trip was filled with whirlwind visits!), we made our way to the Hotel Del Coronado, where I promptly laid on our big bed and passed out.  I was fighting the cold I got from Adam (thanks hubs) and was worn out from driving three hours in all that torrential rain!

Sunday was the wedding.  The rain held off just long enough for Sean and Christy to get married on the beach as planned.  It was a dramatic scene, with gusting wind and chilly temperatures, but nonetheless, the ceremony was beautifully officiated by Adam and was thankfully short and sweet.  Then we hustled back indoors before the skies opened up and the rain came again. This time, it didn’t stop for days!!  Here is a picture of the bride and groom… just married.

Photo 254 out of 365 – “Just Married”

"Just Married" - Settings: ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, 24-70mm lens (42mm)

On Monday we had a lovely visit with Adam’s dad and his wife Nina.  It was a much-needed day of relaxing at home – they whipped us up a nice homemade squash soup from their CSA (community supported agriculture) bounty and we sat by the fire and enjoyed catching up with some chit chat.  Adam’s dad is a bit of a movie man himself and back in the day, he took hours and hours of film of the family growing up.  I love old family movies.  It is so interesting to me to see Adam’s childhood in California… everything is so sun-drenched and it seems to be forever summer – a nice contrast to my New England upbringing.  Seeing baby Adam was quite amusing.  He was such a little nugget and surprisingly very camera shy and quiet… not so much anymore. 🙂   Here is a photo of Richard and Nina’s orchid plant… with the weather being so crappy, many of my photos on this trip were taken indoors!

Photo 255 out of 365 – “Orchid”

“Orchid” – Settings: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, 100mm macro lens

On Tuesday we made our way to Adam’s mom’s house in Laguna Hills.  It was still tough driving outside – with flash flood warnings and TONS of rain.  Thankfully, it was another cozy day in.  Adam’s mom cooked up lots of goodies – chili for lunch and BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, cream of broccoli soup and chocolate cake for dinner!  Adam’s brother David was there along with his nephew Tomas and we had a major Skype session with Adam’s sister Robin in Calgary and his niece Michele in Corona.  Adam’s mom is a very talented sculptor and her home is filled with her  artworks – including this life-size sculpture of Adam from when he was thirteen:

Adam & Sculpted Adam

And here is another… one of my favorite sculptures made by Lorene:

Photo 256 out of 365 – “Sculpture of a Female Figure”

"Sculpture of Female Figure" - Settings: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, 24-70mm lens (40mm)

On Wednesday morning we left Laguna Hills (after losing our power overnight at our hotel – storm central over here) and made a short breakfast stopover at my Uncle’s place in Huntington Beach.  Then – we were off for the fun pig conclusion of our California trip – our visit to the Jackson’s new house in LA.  The Jacksons (Brett & Emily) are our fabulous, kooky, fun-addicted friends (AKA – “Fun Pigs”) who used to live in NYC, then moved to Geneva for two years, then just moved back to LA.  They are part of the “Stock” group of friends.  You may have last read about this crew in my Squeenstock post from New Orleans!  Courtney (another “Stocker” was in California visiting as well, so we had a California stock – which was named “Camp Jackson”.

We were given matching “Camp Jackson” T-Shirts (logo designed by Brett) and homemade flannel comfy pants designed and sewn by Emily.  Of course, it wasn’t the same without Dan & Yvonne (the Squeens of Squeenstock) – but we managed to have some fun, starting appropriately with a rain-soaked Disneyland adventure on Wednesday afternoon!   Here is a cell-phone photo I took while enjoying Splash Mountain… before I got DRENCHED.  I played with this one quite a bit in Lightroom – changed the color to look all old and vintage and added some grain and some serious vignetting.

Photo 257 out of 365 – “Splash Mountain”

"Splash Mountain" - taken with cell phone camera

Thursday was day two of Camp Jackson.  We started off eating breakfast outside on the brand new picnic table that was delivered that morning.  Brett made amazingly delicious chilaquiles for breakfast and then it started getting cloudy and cool so we stayed inside and played for the rest of the day in our Camp Jackson PJ’s!  Emily is a total Martha Stewart (but a much funkier version) – and she has an entire cabinet of colorful fabrics so we picked out some cool patterns and she sewed up some new camera straps for us!  I’m loving my new one… it’s that purple and orange fabric in the group below:

Here is Emily working her magic with her red and white polka dot fabric for her camera strap.  I love all the bright colors in this one!

Photo 258 out of 365 – “Crafting at Camp Jackson”

"Crafting at Camp Jackson" - Settings: ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, 24-70mm lens (70mm)

Friday was truly the only really nice day we had during our ten-day stay in California so we were determined to get some quality time in the sunshine!  We started with the most delicious burrito I may have ever had the pleasure of eating.  It was a juicy heavenly carnitas burrito from a place called Yucka’s.  Upon Brett’s advice, I enjoyed my burrito with a most refreshing glass of horchata.  Seriously… one of the best Mexican eating experiences ever.  Then we drove up to the Griffith Park Observatory for some cool architecture and great views of the city.

Photo 259 out of 365 – “Photographer at Griffith Park Observatory”

"Photographer at Griffith Park Observatory" - Settings: ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, 24-70mm lens (51mm)

We followed that up with a walk through a part of Griffith Park that used to be the old LA zoo.  Now it is just a bunch of abandoned old animal enclosures and has a somewhat spooky yet very cool feel to it.  Here are Brett, Emily and Adam sporting some animal poses for the camera:

Adam, Brett & Emily as zoo animals

Friday night we enjoyed a home-cooked dinner by Emily – turkey meatloaf, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes (sprinkled with a wonderful truffle salt – YUM) – and we said our goodbyes – as Brett and Emily had to leave us at the crack of dawn Saturday morning for Christmas day with their families.   Here are Brett & Adam being all boyish in their matching Emily-made pants playing video games… aren’t they cute?

Adam and Brett playing video games

We were supposed to reunite Saturday night for the official close of Camp Jackson, but I checked out the weather Saturday morning when we woke up and it seemed wise to get the hell out of California and get back to NYC ASAP.  Thus, our change of plans ensued… we switched our tickets to leave on the redeye that night and left the Jackson abode to meet up with Adam’s mom in Santa Monica for our Jewy Christmas of a movie and asian cuisine!  Unfortunately, Santa Monica didn’t get the message that Jewish people depend on good chinese food on Christmas and none of the go-to chinese places were open.  (Very disappointing Santa Monica).  So we went to the only open place available within walking distance…  Benihana.

Photo 260 out of 365 – “Christmas at Benihana”

"Christmas at Benihana" - Settings: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, 24-70mm lens (25mm)

Then it was off to the airport for our redeye flight home to beat the storm!  And what perfect timing it was.  We arrived back home at six in the morning on Sunday, went right to sleep and slept until around twelve-thirty, then woke up to beautiful snow!  After a quick afternoon trip to the grocery store before it got too blizzardy, we remained indoors for the rest of the day and I made some ridiculously delicious bacon and black bean chili – a perfect blizzard food.  Here is my photo looking out the window at the blizzard conditions outside.

Photo 261 out of 365 – “Blizzard Outside”

"Blizzard Outside" - Settings" ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, 100mm lens

So there you have it.  How’s that for a marathon blog post?!  I’ve been working on this one since yesterday morning!  I have one more photo to post from yesterday – but haven’t uploaded the photos to my computer yet and just had to get this post finished! Whew!  Anyway – it was a looooong and good trip to California and now we’re back and life is approaching normalcy once again.  Oh – and I’m turning thirty-two on Sunday… which is somewhat on my mind, but I think thirty-two is going to be a good year.

Did everyone have a good holiday weekend?  Anyone see any good movies?  We saw True Grit.  I liked it – but didn’t love it. I’d give it a B+.   Bye for now!

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5 thoughts on “Welcome Home Blizzard

  1. I just asked Adam… apparently, she did the sculpture mostly from a photograph – but he did sit for around four hours… though not very patiently! Happy holidays Peter!!

  2. Nell,
    It all sounds so wonderful. Thank you for the pictures, the update, and all your posts. So glad you guys were smart enough to get out of there early and not get stuck at the airport for two days like so many people were!
    Enjoy being home!

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