|As I write from Hilton Head (more about that next month!), I look back on the whirl that was May. The middle of the month took our family to La Jolla, a beautiful seaside community outside San Diego. Our nephew was to wed his lovely bride there and we decided to make a mini vacation of the occasion.
A few days before the wedding, my husband, youngest son, and his gal flew to LA, rented a car and drove to Oxnard to stay with my husbandís sister for the night. She not only opened her home to us, but also welcomed her other brother and his wife (parents of the groom) and their best friends from Cleveland that night, her philosophy being, ďthe more the merrier."
Once arrived, we all went out to lunch at a yummy, build-your-own-pizza restaurant, called "Blaze". It was very good! Afterwards, we enjoyed a beautiful walk in a neighborhood situated on a channel of water. The day ended with a fabulous cookout of salmon, chicken and burgers at home. A fun (and delicious) first day!
The following morning, our group of four departed for LA to see our eldest son, while the rest of the group proceeded to San Diego. We checked into our hotel, only a walk away from one of our favorite lunch spots, Jones on 3rd, and fitted in a little window shopping after our meal. Later that day, we met our Californian son for dinner at El Carmen, a colorful Mexican restaurant. The next morning, we visited his office for the very first time. He is a writer for the new series, ďStar Trek DiscoveryĒ, produced by CBS. He was so excited for us to meet his fellow writers and the producers. They were all lovely and couldnít shower enough praise for Seanís talents and contributions to the team. I was so touched at one point, I could feel the tears brimming over! Once a mama, always a mama...
After our brief tour, we jumped back in the car for the two-hour drive to La Jolla. We checked into our hotel and then walked next door for a wonderful lunch of chilled gazpacho soup, topped off with lump crab and seafood salad. See a pattern here? Before we knew it, it would be time for the rehearsal dinner at a wonderful restaurant nearbyÖfor more eating!
In the lobby, we met our eldestís gal who had just checked in, after driving in from LA. Our hardworking screenwriter would be arriving by train, a couple of hours later.
At the dinner, we were welcomed by the future bride and groom, of course, as well as by other family members and friends, and were delighted to see Ed's Aunt Jeannette who had flown in from Charleston, WV with her son, Danny. We had not seen them in several years. What a wonderful group of people!
Then the groomís best high school bud from Cleveland, Mark Foster arrived. Remember Foster the People, and their hit song, "Pumped up Kicks"? We hadn't seen him since those high school days, 14 years earlier! How I love weddings like this one that bring everyone together!!! Our son arrived later than expected but we were thrilled that he finally made it. After the dinner, several of us walked to a club, where we visited for another hour. Then off to bed!!
The big day! After meeting for breakfast on the top floor of the hotel, where the reception would be taking place, my youngest, the two gals and I walked into town. After 90 minutes of walking around this little jewel of a town, I headed back. I needed to get ready an hour before the ceremony to run through the song I had been asked to sing. My husband dropped me off at the charming Mary Star of the Sea Church so that I could rehearse Schubertís "Ave Maria," the brideís special request. Although I've been asked to sing it for funerals in the past, I have declined as itís not my range-- I always suggest something more "comfortable". But I agreed for this wedding as I had a year to prepare! The ceremony was beautiful and I enjoyed the "Ave Maria". I received many lovely comments, too, which made me feel great! Now, on to the party!
The reception was set on the rooftop terrace of the hotel overlooking the majestic Pacific. The evening was beautiful, the dinner was wonderful and music and dancing filled the dance floor, with our youngest attracting attention with his ultra-smooth moves. It was a very fun night!
The next morning was the send-off breakfast, where we bid goodbye to our family and friends. What a fabulous wedding!!
Soon we were on our way back to LA for a rare Motherís Day celebration, with both my boys in presence. Sunday traffic added an extra hour to our trip, and we regrouped at our third and final hotel of the trip. My eldest treated us all to a fabulous dinner at Terroni's, a fantastic Italian restaurant. It was a delightful way to spend our last night in California. The next morning, after a quick breakfast with our dear one, we headed back home to far-away Cleveland. At least it feels that way to us. Itís always sad to say goodbye.
Ten days later, my hubby and I were off to Indianapolis for the 101st Indy 500, over Memorial Day Weekend. Our friend John Norman's son, Ryan, 19, is an up-and-coming race car talent with Mario Andretti's Indy Lights Team. The day of his race we enjoyed the amenities of the Andretti hospitality tent, our home base for lunch, snacks and beverages. If you preferred, you could watch all the races on huge TV screens from there, but we chose to go to the pit, where we could experience the drivers and cars in final preparation, before the race. What an electric atmosphere!!!
We were very hopeful for Ryan who had placed fourth the day before, which would be his line-up position for the main race. Sadly, after the first turn, a teammate charged ahead, clipping Ryanís car, which caused major damage as he spun around and hit the wall, practically destroying his car. Thankfully, he was unhurt. But he was out of the race, after an entire year devoted to its preparation. We were all crushed for him.
We tried to enjoy the rest of the day with a concert by Bare Naked Ladies and dinner out at a wonderful Italian restaurant. Our group consisted of Ryan, his high school buddy, his mom, his dad and his gal, and two wonderful friends, Jeff and Mark.
The following day, after parking for the parade, I lost my cell phone! It was found by a smart stranger who contacted my cousin (last call made on the phone) and was able to give it to him soon after, as he was in the vicinity. Phew!! I was so relieved to have my phone back AND to enjoy a lighthearted visit with my Milwaukee and Indianapolis cousins at the parade!!!
That evening, we attended a wonderful dance party at Andretti Headquarters where we dined, danced and met host Michael Andretti and his Indy team, including driver, Takuma Sato, who would carry the race the following day!!
The big race was a big day for all! The 300,000 attendees were kept on the edge of their seats with several hair-raising collisions on the track. We cheered for our favorite, Takuma Sato, who went on to win the Indy, becoming the first Japanese driver to do so! After the race on Sunday, we drove the five hours home, navigating some major thunderstorms!
The evening of Memorial Day, I rehearsed with Jim Brickman and British vocal sensation, Russell Watson, for a new Christmas Special. Russel is not only talented, but also a true gentleman and so funny. His sister/manager is also very lovely. The rehearsal went swimmingly, as Russell would say, and we were ready to tape the show, which included a small choir for one of our songs, "Hallelujah I Believe." The taping went well and I'm very excited to see the finished product!
Canít wait to hear about Hilton Head? Hold on till next month!