Los Angeles with Friends and Family

Driving between Joshua Tree and Los Angeles was the first time I noticed my lack of A/C on the van! I feared that what I felt in the desert was the way it was going to be my whole time in L.A. And then throw in the traffic to boot, and I’m thinking, “only the love of family and friends would bring me this deep into this city!”

momma duck with babies

A momma duck with her 6 or 7 baby ducklings…only the love of family and friends could compel a person to face L.A. traffic!

But once I was able to pull up to my friend Cristy’s house, and get out of the driver’s seat for a while, I began to enjoy the beautiful weather of southern California! My three-week stay in LA began in La Mirada visiting with Cris and her friends. For the weekend we packed up and headed to Angeles National Forest and set up camp with the most beautiful weather accompanying us the whole time.

deb camping

Camping at Sycamore Flats in Angeles National Forest free of charge! Great weather, great company and great camp food!
*I haven’t gotten permission to post a pic with her in it yet–hence the empty chair!

Most campsites were still closed as they were recovering from the ski season, but after a “Sunday drive” through the San Bernardino Mountains and Angeles National Forest, we found the site just for us. Time with her was a great mix of suburban hanging out and relaxing camping.

Yellow flowers

Surrounded by fields of flowers and trees with birds and just all round glorious sunshiny day!

Staying in La Mirada, I was able to catch up with my cousin Tooks who I haven’t seen in at least a decade! He’s such a busy fellow that I was thankful to even get a couple of hours with him and find out how he is doing.

yellow bird

Yellow bird atop a cactus…I haven’t been able to look up exactly who he is yet, but since I didn’t have a pic of my cousin Tooks, I thought I’d use him in stead!

I then headed just a few minute’s drive away to my uncle Steve and aunt Joan’s house in Buena Vista. I did a lot of “firsts” with them!

  • Met Skip and Sue! (and I even got to meet some of their family too!)
  • Played dice! (but I didn’t really have a chance with Sue being on her incredible hot streak…really no one had a chance with the way she was rolling those dice!)
  • Enjoyed stuffed Jalapenos! (I only enjoy my uncle’s cause he knows how to clean ’em and how to stuff ’em!)
  • Watched Naked and Afraid (I first thought, “Oh, I could do that!” But after a few episodes my tune changed, “Those people are craaaaazy!! Why on earth!?”)
  • C’Est Si Bon Pub! (potluck from the customers and all you can eat popcorn) while we
  • played electronic golf! (I’m better at it than real golf, but that really isn’t saying much!)

Uncle Steve filled up my tank (a number of times!) and Aunt Joan threw together front-window-mosquito-net-screens for me as the warmer weather comes on…and the Ducks and Clippers were winning when I was there. All in all, it was a great to be able to spend time with them and hear all the good stories!

peacock plumage

I stayed nearly a week with my uncle and aunt and I don’t have a single photo of them! I guess I was just enjoying them too much to remember the need for them! Next time! So in stead we have the beautiful display of a peacock’s plumage!

And then I got to spend time with an old friend (no! she’s not old, but our friendship is!) in San Bernardino. I told her I’d like to come see her, but really that was all just a ploy to get to meet her daughter Chloe! I had an incredible dining experience at Rok N Fondu in Redlands with Lynne and Rod and Chloe.

Hummingbird yellow background

No pic of Lynne, Rod or Chloe either! I’d be a terrible recorder! But I certainly enjoyed my visit, and they brought a lot of vibrancy and fun to the whole time together…hence this hummingbird photo!

What a fantabulous outing that was! Very relaxing, low-key, great conversation, no rush…just a great place to visit and treat your taste buds! We got home late and spent even more time sharing…so much to catch up on! I’m so glad both they and I had time to make that renewal happen!

hummingbird blue flower

A hummingbird in blue heaven! It was a feast for me as well to spend time with Lynne Rod and Chloe at RokNFondue in the Redlands!

Speaking of renewal…the rest of the folks I hung out with, I don’t think I’ve met most of them before. At least I don’t remember, nor do they! I was able to spend the weekend with my aunt Lynn and uncle Wade (the latter of whom, we both agreed, I have never met before). What an enchanting time with them!

aunt lynn and uncle wad

A delicious and dazzling time was had with my aunt Lynn and uncle Wade! Most of these photos on this post came from my time with them at the Huntington and the Arboretum. So glad they had the time to take me there! (btw: Wade really is a sweet man, [even forgave me for running into his garage door!] but this quick photo didn’t capture his smile!)

Beautiful Pasadena–the home of the Rose Bowl parade! They took me to the Huntington which was full of so much to see, especially flora and fauna, as well as peacocks! And then the next day we were able to browse through the Arboretum, both of which were simply dazzling! Talk about taking in a fire hydrant full of beauty and eye candy! Wade then treated us to a homemade camp dinner (though we all agreed the complexity of the dish really negates that “camping” description!).

Purple hummingbird

Most of the time this hummingbird’s bib looked black, but when the sun hit it just right…it was vibrant, saturated magenta/purple! Absolutely striking colors!

My uncle Mark surprised us and joined us for the scrumptious dinner before he had to head back to work. Next time, I’m going to plan for a longer stay, so I can savor all the experiences with them more fully!

peacock surprise

My reaction when Mark showed up for dinner! What a surprise!
(Actually, this is a fellow in the middle of cat-calling to his gal-pal!)

The last week was spent with my mother’s side (Davenports). I stayed at my cousin Michael’s first, whom I met for the first time (though we have stalked each other on facebook for a couple of years!) Boy did he show me a good time down at Port ‘O Calls and San Pedro! He just got back from a trip to Costa Rica so we watched his pics from that…definitely adding that place to my itinerary!

Michael at San Pedro

My cousin Michael hanging out at San Pedro…gorgeous views, good company and tasty food! (seems to be my theme for my time in LA!)

I went to church with him at First Lutheran church with him and enjoyed the sermon very much…much different than the Missouri Synod Lutheran I grew up with. The preacher had so much more emphasis and inflections and out right theatrics than I ever remember! But a lovely group of folks.

black succulents

Fascinating black succulent as seen at the Huntington. So shiny black that it almost looks grey or polished nickel.

I then stayed with his sister and her husband for a couple of nights. And I got to see all the pictures from her mom and her’s month-long trip around the USA! It was when they were on that trip that they stopped by Frisco and I was able to meet them (for the first time in my memory, but not in theirs!).

hummingbird in flight

Hummingbird in flight…using it here instead of a pic of Alisa and Rob because…that’s right…I didn’t get my camera out to snap them when i was with them!

It was great to hear how the Lord has worked in her and her husband’s lives. And then to enjoy bible study at their house studying the book of James. What a delightful couple join them, Jeff and Alita, and make for a challenging and helpful discussion group.

amoeba flower

An odd looking flower…kind of alienish, but captivating, as were so many of the flowers at the Huntington and the Pasadena Arboretum!

Lastly, I stayed with their momma, my aunt Madonna! What a precious time I had with her as she took me to the church my parents were married 57 years ago!

Wayside Chapel

Madonna at the entrance to the Wayside Chapel where my parents got married! The trees have grown a lot since then, according to the pictures!

It is an absolutely stunning chapel in Palos Verdes. Not just the Lloyd Wright (Frank’s son) architecture, nor the mature gardens surrounding it, but the breathtaking view of the ocean from it! Ay yi yi!

Deb at commemorative brick at Wayside Chapel

Found the brick in the Wayside Chapel walkway that commemorates the uniting of mom and dad together 57 years ago! What a testament!

She also took me to her Bible study with the Morning Glories at Christ the King Lutheran church. It was a good community of ladies and very warm in their reception.

madonna at chapel

My beautiful aunt Madonna with the magnificent view behind her from the Wayside Chapel in Palos Verde!

Another highlight that Madonna arranged, was me getting to meet my artistic aunt Darlene and my cousin Faye and Jim out in Yucaipa. We had only planned a lunch together, but next thing you know the hours passed so quickly it was time for dinner as well. So after hooking up with Faye and Jim and getting to hear all their stories of growing up “Davenport” it was time to head back to Torrance, and bring my time in LA to a close.

purple yellow flower

Nope! No pic of my aunt Darlene and cousin Faye either…I need to have a GoPro on me perpetually in order to remember to capture all these moments. So instead of my aunt Darlene and some of her lovely paintings, you get a purple flower!

I know I’ve written a lot, but that is the best I can do at restricting myself to mere snippets of my precious time with each person. And for all those visits I have nary a photo. I never once, save the camping trip, took out my camera to snap a person. Caught lots of flowers and animals in Pasadena, but none of my beloved relatives. Makes me all the more thankful for facebook!

hummingbird in flight

One last photo of that hummingbird having a most enthralling time at the banquet of flowers…he just kind of reminds me of my time here in Los Angeles…just so many sweet morsels to partake of!

Next on tap, is my journey through the Sierra Nevadas by way of the lowest point in the USA to the highest auto pass in the USA!

mating lizards

Oops! I interrupted an intimate moment between Mr. and Mrs. Lizard and didn’t know where else to put the pic…so here you have it!

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