My PARENTS were in town last week! (That’s them, humoring me as I made them jump into the air, over and over, to try to catch a good shot of them, um, jumping while silhouetted by the sunset. They are good sports. Even my Mom, with her bad knees, was into it. I truly believe she would have torn her ACL, just for me.)
They called it a “vacation”. But it was hard work. I had them running all over town (Traffic! It’s part of the experience!), seeing everything we could, in 5 days or less. We missed out on a few things (Stupid Dolby Theatre OSCARS load-in, shutting down the place!), but I like to think they’ll be back again. Because who doesn’t love seeing their daughter break out into road rage and spontaneous depression at the drop of an irritating hat!
I have to say. These are two of my favorite people. Not only are they my blood, they are, like, really awesome parents.They stayed at Los Feliz Lodge, which, we all recommend as the most adorable, affordable, well-appointed casita in my neighborhood. They had a full kitchen, WiFi, and plenty of safe morning walks to take through the hills.
They arrived at LAX and fought through the 3 hour time difference, to stay up until 1am East Coast Time (aka “their time”), to have dinner with Ervin and I at Cafe Gratitude. I’ve posted about my longstanding “ehhh, what??” about Cafe Gratitude, but their food is amazing. My Dad even enjoyed his veggie burger with coconut “bacon”. I never get to just meet my parents for dinner, so it was a real treat. And knowing they were gonna be there in the morning? Even treat-ier.
Cafe Gratitude, however… you are dumming us down with questions-of-the-day like “What am I grateful for?” WHAT AM I GRATEFUL FOR? It’s the name of your restaurant! Our question of the day was “What am I most grateful for in this moment.” Snore. How about something more thought provoking. “What do I want to do before I die?”. “How do I think others at this table would kill me?”. “How would I buy myself time, using locally sourced ingredients within my reach?”Day 2 started out like this.
“Looks like rope!” My Dad said, about the weird wheatgrass “sausage” emerging from the juicer. My Dad! Ordering the “Jamaican Breeze” smoothie. If you can’t see it, the number machine says “temporarily out of numbers”. And they are “now serving 32.”
My Mom got some tofu, which tasted like smoky cheese (so good!), and I wondered if in fact, we were all aliens, who had just pretended to grow up in Pennsylvania. Where was our BEEF! Our POTATOES! Our things with CORN! No matter, we had some Hollywood Blvd to see!
I had dreams of us touring the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak), walking on the carpet, sitting in the seats, seeing an actual Oscar up close. “No tours today — we’re closed for load-in for the Oscars” said the ticketing agent, like a nasally robot. We peeked through slits in the blackout curtains to see the Dolby lobby. “So… here’s where celebrities walk on Oscar nite…. past this Hello Kitty store…and this candy shop. They cover it up… or something.” We made our own 5 minute tour.
Then we found this staircase, painted like piano keys! My Mom is a music composer, and my Dad is very talented musically. So is Ervin, who teaches guitar at Musicians Institute. I took piano lessons for 8 years. We figured we’d RULE on this steps-piano!
No we didn’t! It sounded more like an incredibly loud pipe organ, and of course was really hard to “play”, unless you’re a professional free runner. The best was watching people who took the stairs and had no idea they were playing the organ. Stupid tourists. — Oh, wait.This is my parents at a scenic lookout on Mulholland Drive. The kind you see in movies, at night, with a valley full of lights. We could spot the Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood sign, Downtown LA, all of it.
Then we breezed through Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, but — y’know, once you’ve seen a 2 million dollar Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse you’ve seen them all.
Then, we headed to see the Professional Bull Riding tour in Anaheim at the Honda Center (A fun diversion from my view of LA!). We arrived in time to check out the beach, for a minute, and caught the last moments of a gorgeous sunset.
A gorgeous, windy sunset.“Get together in front of that cloud!” Here are my parents, like fearless rookie weather reporters facing a hurricane. “And now, on the scene, Rob and Lisa Bair, reporting live from Laguna Beach. LISA, can you hear us?!”
My Mom loves bull riding. Because of the animals. (They are incredible). We were all cheering and screaming for those cowboys who stayed aboard for 8 seconds or more. And we especially liked the bulls who wouldn’t go back into the pen. Rebels! Pre-show, an announcer warned those of sensitive spirit, to return to the arena after the intro to the show. Because of loud noises, strobe lights, that.
They should have also warned that if you haven’t actually heard a live explosion in a while, you’ve probably forgotten what it sounds like. Your heart will react accordingly. Also there will be flames, 30 seconds of Carly Rae Jepsen, praying to God, girls wearing slutty leather outfits sponsored by Monster Energy Drink, people getting stomped by bulls, bad white trash dancing in the stands, and you will definitely spill your whiskey-Coke on yourself.
We walked the boardwalk and discussed the difference between the smell of pot vs incense, then stopped by the basketball courts. My Dad coached boys’ basketball at my high school. My best memories of those days are of being 7 years old, eating triple my weight in Twizzlers, and getting slammed in the face by a basketball.
I couldn’t get Lakers tickets for this trip (mainly because I’m not a zillionaire, and they were on the road), so this was the second best option! Lakers ghetto farm league! Not really. We made our exit once a fight broke out between teams and the N word started flying around…(Parents! Earmuffs!)We signed our names and stamped our footprints into the sand. It’s nice to know you’ve left something in the world that will be around forever. (…sound of a wave…)
The next day was my birthday. I haven’t spent my birthday with my parents since I lived in Pennsylvania. And was asking for gifts like soccer balls and sweater/socks sets from The Gap. And for dinner, stromboli and unlimited M&Ms. This year, I was grateful to be with (most of) my family. All I really wanted to do was feel at peace, make a bonfire on the beach, and eat something with them.
First, a pit stop at The Griffith Observatory near my apartment.On a beautiful cold and cloudy day!
We walked around the lawn and did some science-ing inside. This pendulum swings in the same direction always. But the rotation of the Earth causes it to knock over little pegs gradually through an hour. I read the explanation like 3 solid times and still didn’t understand it.– Whatever, no one comes to this blog to actually learn anything, right?
Ervin and I recently came upon this beach just north of Redondo. Dockweiler. Where there are fire pits available to anyone, and giant commercial airliners taking off from LAX just over your heads! Really, there is something for everybody. I screamed when I saw the biggest plane rise up over the little hill and fly off into the yonder. Or Japan. Whichever comes first.
My Dad, soaking it in:Later, we went to dinner at Cafe Stella in Silverlake for a delicious, celebratory supper together. With real steak and real salted caramel pot de creme I know shut up it’s so good.
Maybe you didn’t know that my Mom is a chic cave explorer (She’s gonna hate that I put this picture up here, but I love it! Those glasses will laser through any menu in seconds!):The next day was horrible because it was the day before they were leaving. This kind of time always flies by too fast. BUT, it was also great because my friend Kevin Leman, head writer on Ellen, got us some sweet VIP tickets to her show. (Thanks Kevin!) Proof! On the show, were Al Gore with his new novel that is TOO SMART FOR ME (maybe if it had random pictures of baby animals every 10 pages…), and Kathy Lee and Hoda from The Today Show. Also Bruno Mars stopped by to plug his new album and tour. It was a lot of standing, sitting, clapping, screaming, dancing, laughing. A super fun workout!
Well, I’m all out of pictures, so I guess that was about it.
A few days after they left, I suddenly got this feeling of wanting to hang out with them again the following weekend. And the next one. And the next.
I’m a lucky kid.