One of the true joys of blogging are the friendships I’ve made. I tell people about my “blog friends,” and how I know details of lives of complete strangers who aren’t really strangers. So to meet a blog friend in person is a special treat. Knowing I had a couple days in Los Angeles, I contacted Miriam Hendeles who shares her experiences being a mother -in- law, mother and grandmother in her blog, Bubbly Joys and Oys.
Like similar meet-ups I’ve had with other blog friends, we immediately fell into conversation as if we’ve known each other for years and shared stories about families, work, and of course writing. Miriam is an accomplished musician, and shares her talents as a music therapist with hospice patients. She drove me around a bit in LA and we ate grilled fish and toured the Museum of Tolerance.
On my second day, she had about an hour in her busy schedule and we stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits and then headed to an area called the Grove, an outdoor shopping plaza. At the Coffee Bean, a west coast icon, two of her former high school students recognized her and recalled how she taught them Shakespeare and other literature. The students had to remind Miriam who they were. I shared how I too usually have trouble remembering the names of former students I encounter.
In the morning, I wanted to take a walk around the neighborhood. Walking isn’t really done much in LA; it’s a driving city. Daunted about crossing four lanes of traffic without a stoplight, I waited until someone else appeared who wanted to cross. Safety in numbers, I figured, or at least, the locals must know how to do things. A young man joined me and we crossed together, and started talking. Mark, as I found out, is originally from NYC and has settled in Los Angeles, where he manages a hair salon in West Hollywood. We chatted while walking; I admired the local architecture and of course, how both the climate and vegetation provided a welcome change from the cold we left behind.
The next day we took a few hours before our flight to San Francisco to tour the Getty Museum. Unlike any art museum I’ve ever seen, the Getty comprises five pavilions set atop a mountain. A tram takes guests to the top and back and both the tram and museum are free. Panoramic views of the city and coast, meticulous gardens and waterfalls, indoor art and outdoor sculpture, it’s truly a peaceful escape from the sprawling city.
Onto San Francisco for a day to see our daughter and meet our grand-dog, Tyson Chandler, and then grabbing a couple days biking in Sonoma. Ah, to live in a climate where one can bike year round.