Saturday, February 26, 2011

California Trip

I took a quick trip to So. Cal to visit with friends that I hadn't seen in years.  The reason for my trip was a class reunion, which you can read about HERE.  But I wanted to make the most of my stay, so I planned a whirlwind few days to enjoy the company of some long lost friends.

My first evening was spent with my high school friend, David.  We reconnected over Facebook, and I'm so happy that we did.  He planned a fun-filled Culver City evening.  We started at our old high school Culver City High. 
Appetizers and Cocktails were next on the evenings agenda, at the old Culver Hotel.  It is the hotel that housed the "Munchkins" while filming "The Wizard of Oz" at MGM in the late 1930's.  The hotel had fallen into disrepair YEARS ago.  In all the years I lived in Culver City, I had never stepped foot it.  But they've completely refurbished it and it looks amazing.
Next we had dinner at "Ford's Filling Station", across the street from the hotel.  It is owned and operated by Harrison Ford's son.  Really yummy meal.  I loved it. 
I had so much fun with David.  He planned a great evening for us and we laughed the night away.  I look forward to the next time we can get together.  Hopefully he will come to visit me the next time!
The next day I got together with some great friends - Colleen, Lamarr and Vartouhy - we used to work together in the 80's. 
I haven't seen Colleen since her wedding day 12 years ago.  And Vartouhy and I haven't seen each other in probably 20 years.  What a fun time the four of us had together.  And, it was a really great meal too!
Lamarr and I were fortunate to have seen each other last October - but it's always a giggle fest when the two of us get together.  We all kept the family at the next table quite entertained.  What a great few hours we had and so wonderful catching up with everyone.
That evening I drove to Orange County - THE O.C. - to see my "cousin" Steve. (Steve was my Godfather's Grandson... so we've always referred to each other as cousins.)  I  haven't seen him since I moved to Oregon 15 years ago. 
He and his wife Kerri took me to a delicious dinner at a wonderful Italian Restaurant - Capone's.  His son Tom was able to join us.  I really enjoyed getting to know Kerri and spending time with Tom.  The last time I saw him, he was just a baby.
Kerri is really sweet and funny, and a beautiful pianist.  I am happy that she and Steve found each other and have begun a new life together.  I truly enjoyed my evening with them and hope it will not be so long before we see each other again.
The next morning I was able to have a fun and laugh filled brunch, at the Cheesecake Factory in Marina Del Rey, with my high school friend Hope. As with David, we reconnected on Facebook and it's been years since we saw each other.  I hope she will come visit me in Oregon this summer.
Because it had rained the two previous days, this was a truly spectacularly gorgeous day.  The sun was so bright, sky so blue, and the air so clean and clear.  That is Catalina Island that you can see in the distance.  Having it be so clear and visible is a somewhat unusual occurrence.
My friend Carol and I had a lovely lunch with her son Jack the day after the reunion.
My last evening was spent with another long lost friend that was found on Facebook.  Conor and I met for a nice dinner filled with lots of reminiscing and good times.  I had such a good time that I totally forgot to ask the waiter to take a picture of us.  Oy!

So, this entire weekend was pretty much brought to me by Facebook!  I think it is a wonderful phenomenon that so many friends have been able to reconnect because of it.  My weekend was perfect - I just wish it wasn't over.  It was pretty special to see so many special friends that I share such fantastic memories with.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Notre Dame Reunion

Ever heard of an Eighth Grade Reunion??? Yeah, I thought not!  We're a unique group.  Having gone to a small Catholic school, we were the same group of kids going from class to class each year - from first through eighth grade.  Some of us have stayed in touch - and in recent years our friend Keith has made it his mission to find as many of us as possible - and get us together for a couple of reunions.

On February 20th, fifteen of us met at Heidi's house for an evening full of great food, lots of memories, and just an overwhelming feeling of love and friendship.

Here's our group!  Hey - we don't look half bad all these many years later!
Our delicious chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling... Thanks Costco!
Carol and Me - BFF's for YEARS!
Ron, Keith in the background, Tom and Harry
The hostess with the mostest - Heidi.  She and her family were so welcoming and made the evening so special.
Lauren, Maria and Gigi
Tom & Me - what a fun guy he is.  Always was one of the class clowns... he hasn't changed a bit!
Carol and Keith.  We kept referring to this as their "Prom Photo"! 
Gigi, Tom and I having a laugh
Ron and Me
Erin lives on a ranch in Nashville.  I sure hope I can find some time in the near future to visit her.  We really enjoyed the time we spent visiting - and I've never been to Nashville before!
Keith surrounded by all the girls.... some things never change!
The carpool buddies - Sheila, Tom and Gigi
Having not seen most of these people for almost 20 years (at our last reunion) it was really fun to catch up and share a great evening with them.  We all stay in contact thanks to Facebook, which is really special. Some of our friends were unable to make it this time - so we'll just have to plan another wonderful evening in the not too distant future, hopefully. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Look Who's 16 !!!

John's 16th birthday was January 31st.  How did this happen?  Where do the years go? Seems like yesterday that we brought him home!

We started with a "friends party".  Justin & Mason came for a night of fun, video games, and a sleep over. 

The next night we celebrated with the family party.

 Cake Time!  Yum!

And on his actual birthday we went to dinner at his favorite restaurant, Rudy's.  Home of the baseball cut steak.  His FAVORITE!
John is a handsome, intelligent, loving, funny and wonderful son.  He was the light of our life when he became a part of our family - and he still is.  We love you John... Happy Birthday!
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