15 February 2017

California Catch Up

I flew to Los Angeles on Friday to attend the funeral of a dear friend who passed away at age 83 on February 3. My friend Dave was a wonderful man, who was successful in business, raised a wonderful family and was so good to people around him. Everyone liked Dave and it was a great experience to celebrate his life on Saturday with his family and many friends.

A side benefit to attending the funeral was a great reunion with so many friends in Los Angeles. I shared a hotel room with a dear friend and we spent many, many hours talking. The great thing about this friendship, we said, Saturday night is that our conversations always lead us to three things, 1) knowing that we are doing okay, 2) knowing that we can carry on and continue to do what we need to do in life and 3) feeling loved and accepted no matter what. Such great blessings! Such a great friendship.

I had three goals for my trip beyond the funeral on Saturday. I wanted to see a few friends, eat only at restaurants/fast food chains I missed from living in LA and 3) to go to IKEA. I did pretty well achieving those goals although there is never enough time to do them all.

Friday I got into town and met up with a wonderful friend who years ago wrote this blog post on living happily in the current moment. After we had eaten lunch we had a good laugh saying "gosh it's too bad we have nothing in common and nothing to talk about anymore." We chatted and chatted and could've chatted for many more long hours. We covered home decor, creative projects, career goals, time management, staying sane, exercise, health issues relative to our current decade of life, marriage and family life, elementary school and so many other topics. It was a very fun and filling afternoon.

Then I buzzed back over to the Westside to get a mani-pedi at my favorite nail salon that I went to for years just around the corner from our old apartment. It was fun to see all the ladies and I will say I splurged a little on the extra massage add-ons. But it felt wonderful. I also picked a polish for my toes that was a little too bright for my liking but I'll live with it for a couple of weeks.

I had a classic LA moment next when at 7 p.m. on a Friday I tried to drive six or seven blocks and it took about an hour trying to get from one side of the 405 under it to the other side. Ugh. Don't miss that. But when you're not is a big hurry it sure is not as irritating.

I was still awaiting the arrival of friends from out of town, so I decided to have my favorite Chinese Chicken Salad at California Chicken Cafe. I don't know why but when I get that salad and I'm hungry it makes me so happy I can barely stand it. It's so good and a feast for the taste buds. I took it to the hotel and enjoyed it while watching HGTV.

Once my friend arrived we chatted for several hours until we were so tired we couldn't carry on. There were laughs, tears, deep thoughts and silly ones. Saturday morning we were up early to get to the funeral early enough to get parking and a seat in the chapel. We knew there would be a big crowd. By the time the viewing, services and luncheon were over it was last afternoon. We were quite tired by then and three of us stopped in at a little french cafe in our old neighborhood for a drink, some food and a nice chat. So that was the third place I hit for food that was an LA favorite eatery.

After that we stopped to visit with Dave's family, which his wife had asked us to do earlier in the day. It was fun to sit with his wife, children and grandchildren and catch up and decompress from the day. By the time we left there it was well into the evening and we headed back to the hotel to change clothes and then we chatted while we were collapsed on the bed, nursing good, hydrating beverages.

The next morning the friends were off early for their long drive home. I attended church at our old congregation which was lovely. Saw so many good friends. I went for a walk afterwards, grabbed some lunch and headed to the airport in the late afternoon. When I got back to ABQ it was snowing heavily which I was not expecting at all. Such a change of environment! It was a wonderful weekend and so filling for the soul and exhausting for the body. I slept for a good long time the morning after I got back.

This was my first real trip back to our old home stomping grounds and it was so wonderful in so many ways and it was hard in some ways too. There were so many things that were so familiar. There was much that I miss and so little time to do all many things I wanted to do. There was much that had changed and felt strange. I found myself torn between wanting to go back and feeling some weird regrets about things I wish I would've done differently while I did live there and things I wish I'd done that I didn't. Then there was a wave of gratitude that we did move and all the blessings that came from that too.

It was kind of intense and a lot of that hit me while I was alone Sunday afternoon. It was a bit of a challenge to process and part of me just had to remind myself not to get sucked into overthinking anything too much and appreciate all the good things. I am so happy to have gone back and hope I'll be able to process all my thoughts and feelings and be able to focus on the things I gained from the trip. I really did leave the funeral and conversations with friends committing to focus on things I took away from those moments and make them more a part of my life. Those are great blessings.

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