Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Can you believe we've been here for a year?  

Some of our favorite places, not so far from our apartment:   Venice Canals, the jetty, and the marina.

And some a little further from our apartment, like this overlook.

And Santa Monica

Runyon Canyon

and the Griffith Observatory

The highlight of living here has been our visits from family and friends.  We've had 8 different visits and of course we do all the touristy stuff which means . . .  I have attended 5 tapings of The Tonight Show, 2 - Conan shows, 1- Jimmy Kimmel, 1- Bethanny Show, 3- tapings of The Talk, 5- Extra tapings, 1- Wheel of Fortune (but they taped 3 shows), 1-Dodgers game, a tour of Hollywood, a tour of stars homes, a tour of Warner Brothers Studio, and 2 movie premieres (yes, Kathy, the premiere we went to counts).  
Allison and Brian

Caroline and Dan 


Allison joined Natalie

Dorothy and Marshall


Steve hasn't attended as many shows but he's been to The Tonight Show, Docu- Day (which was a highlight), the Dodgers game, and we've taken some great day trips around California.  We've been blessed to have seen so much of the country this year with our cross country trip and also going to Ontario for Scott and Shelby's wedding.  

This year's been full of a lot of changes, amazing gifts, and difficult challenges.  And no, I'm not just talking about this guy.  
Walter at 5 months

Although he has changed a lot, 
                   and is such a wonderful gift of companionship to me, 
                                         and does continue to be quite a challenge at times.

Walter at 14 months

Originally, our time here was an 11 month assignment which quickly turned into 13 months, then 15, 18, and 21 months.  There's still no final word as to when we'll move back to Florida, but we want to embrace our time here fully and to see all that we can while given this opportunity.  Year two, here we come!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


 Ok, I know you think all I ever do is go to free shows around here.  Well, I usually only do those touristy things when we have company in town, but when I saw that Jimmy Kimmel's guest for tonight's show was Ellen Degeneres- I jumped on the priority tickets for two.  I asked Deborah if she could extend her visit- which she couldn't.  Steve couldn't get off work early.  I almost canceled the tickets but thought I'd humble myself and ask someone from Bible study.  You see, people from L.A. don't do these touristy things.  But, I found one who would- Sarah!  She's the friend who picked me up to see the Space Shuttle transported through the L.A. streets.  

We got front row seats which turned out to be great- it was questionable for a bit when the camera was right in front of us, but it was moved and we had an excellent view.  Fun seeing Ellen!

We went outside to watch the band One Republic- great fun!

After the show on our way back to the car we saw Arnold Schwarzenegger across the street for the premiere of The Last Stand.  
                       Wish I could've taken a good picture of him with my camera.  What a fun night!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome Deborah!

While in Tennessee for Christmas I found out that my friend, Deborah, from Greensboro was able to come for a visit the same week that Steve would be in Ohio for some training.  I was much relieved that I would not be alone for the week and welcomed Deborah's visit!

Unfortunately, Deborah arrived not feeling 100% well.  Rest and chicken soup quickly were added to our agenda, but not for long . . . 

Our first outing was to The Tonight Show.  Originally Dustin Hoffman was scheduled which we were very excited about, so we were surprised to find out that the guests were Carson Daly, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and some animals- which by the way, stole the show.   We had a great time even without Dustin!

Our next outing was to The Farmers Market for lunch and to see Extra being filmed at The Grove (which of course, comes with a giveaway). 

 Mario interviews Pete Rose and his fiancĂ©.  Pete Rose was quite entertaining (although he doesn't look like it in this picture).

And by the way, after standing for almost 3 hours we received our giveaway- Brazilian Blowout hair products.  Lucky for me, but no so much for Deborah : (

Then we attended tapings of The Wheel of Fortune show.  It's a lot harder in person to guess the puzzles than when sitting in front of the TV.

Our last outing was to Hollywood to see the "Hollywood Sign", Grauman's Chinese Theater, and the Dolby Theater.

We did a self tour of Beverly Hills with a stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

We drove by the Beverly Hills Hilton where they were setting up for the Golden Globes, but we didn't see any stars - though I tried!  We drove down Rodeo Drive- without making any stops.  And before going home, we stopped briefly at Venice Beach to give Deborah a glimpse of such a diverse area.  Quite a change from Rodeo Drive and only 10 miles away!  It was her only glance at the Pacific Ocean.  We drove over the Venice Canals before returning home which were beautiful.

Thanks Deborah for coming to see me!  Hope you're feeling better and maybe when you return in September we can hike Runyon Canyon!  Thanks for putting up with my rusty driving, my new navigation system, and my shedding dog!  It was great having you!

Happy New Year!

We set our alarm clock to make sure we made it to the Grand Canyon in time for the sunrise.  What a way to bring in the new year!

So awesome to see -even though the temperature was 0 degrees and that was after the sun came up!  We had no hats or gloves so we could only stay out for short periods of time.

Maybe our next visit here we will take a mule ride down to the bottom . . . when it's much warmer!

On our way to Hoover Dam!

Views from the Memorial Bridge

Thought we might go through Las Vegas, but changed our minds.  Not soon enough - we were in stopped traffic or less than 10 mph for over two hours.  Yep, we're back in California!!!

We got back to Marina del Rey around 8:30 p.m. and we were exhausted.  Very thankful for the safe travel and all the amazing sights we saw on the trip.  And I am very thankful to have my car in California!!!  Woohoo!!!

We had to wait until Jan 2nd to pick up Walter.  We were so happy to have him back!!!  Here's a picture after his bath