Tuesday, October 15, 2013

At the top in Hollywood

We just got back from six days in Long Beach, California. We flew out on Thursday eve and went straight to Julie and Shane's, my BFF's. As always, it felt like we were home.

One of my favorite things to do in Southern California is hiking the Hollywood sign. I love the drive to the sign. The neighborhood is old-time Hollywood. Beautiful homes up a windy street that dead ends to many hiking trails and a horse stable. And the hike is awesome. Last time I did the hike, it was a huge struggle for me to make it. I had just come off of stem cell transplant and I was incredibly weak.

The children all made it! Look how happy Jake is in this photo. He wanted to go surfing but was "forced" to hike instead.

So on Saturday, we loaded up four adults and 12 kids into two cars and headed up. Shane lead the way with the kids who were in great shape, I stayed back with Julie, and William and his daughters got sidetracked and disappeared down a different trail. This time, my hike was much, much easier. My quest to get strong post transplant must be working. The views, as always, were amazing. I felt like I was on top of the world.

The best friends anyone could ever have is Julie and Shane. I don't know what I would do without them.

When we got back to the cars, William's daughters were waiting for us but no William. Apparently, he went looking for us. Some 30 minutes later, he made it back. He took a trail less traveled all the way up to the sign. Actually, the trail he took wasn't actually a trail. He went straight up the mountain to the front of the sign. He said it was strenuous beyond belief and he had to hold onto branches during part of the trail to pull himself up so he wouldn't fall. And, dear lord, he heard two rattlesnakes on his way up. If I had been with him, I would have had a complete and total meltdown over the snakes. I asked him if I could have made it up with him. The answer was "no way." William is in amazing shape and he said it was really super hard for him. Ok, glad I stayed on the normal trail. As hard as it was, he said, it was worth the experience a thousand times over. I'm jealous.

The girls got to see Grandma Peggy (my ex husband's mom) and do lunch, shopping and a movie. We had tried to meet up with Kalie, my ex husband's younger daughter, but we couldn't make it work. Instead, I invited her to join us next summer in Italy. I'm renting a villa for a month (I might add a few weeks onto that) near Lake Como so that'll provide ample catch-up time.

Later, we dropped the kids off at Knotts Scary Farm, they swam, we went to the beach, we did some interesting people watching at Venice Beach, and took a tour of the movie star homes that departed from Hollywood Blvd. I also participated in the mpatient.org radio broadcast while sitting on the beach in Seal Beach watching the waves. It was so nice. And, lastly, William and I took his girls and mine to Medieval Times in Buena Park for dinner. It was very entertaining-- the girls all loved it. Not cheap but something different and memorable.

These girls get along so well. I almost wrote "like sisters" but they get alone better than most sisters.

Funniest T-shirt. I almost bought it for William and then thought better of it. He'd never say that to me anyway.

Breakfast in Venice Beach

As busy as this all sounds, it was actually quite relaxing. I slept a lot and ate too much. Part of my healing process and focus on staying well means doing things that are good for me emotionally and physically. This weekend was spot on target and much needed. Some day I suppose I'll need to return to work but before that can happen, I need to get myself ready for it. This helps get me there. Not sure how I'm supposed to work around chemo brain yet. That part makes me most nervous, to be honest. Oh well, I'll have to tackle that topic another day.

Breakfast in Venice Beach. I'm starting to feel my cold coming on. My head was pounding and my throat was on fire.

We are home now. I have piles of laundry to do and I'm afraid to check my email inbox. I have a stack of mail. And a deadline for my column looming. But since I've now come home with a killer cold, a headache, fever and sore throat, it can all wait until tomorrow. Or the next day.