So I went to California. It is very sunny there -- at least, it's very sunny after it's very foggy (or smoggy -- hard to distinguish), which it is all morning. Ye Olde Theme Park was as fun as always. I was with a slightly-younger co-worker who had never been to any theme park owned by this particular company, so it was exciting to go on the classics with her. We were there for two nights, and then rented a car and drove to Burbank for two nights. We met with some colleagues I'd previously only known via email and phone calls, and it seemed to go fairly well, except for one meeting in which it became apparent we were two factions of underlings without our leaders, and as such had no real power to make anything happen of any consequence. But still, face-to-face stuff is important. So they tell me.
We saw Mariska Hargitay (with child and a short haircut) at the theme park, and The Rock (so completely gorgeous and perfect... seriously, he's charming and has a good sense of humor, and has gotten more slender and less bulky, and is just... we were drooling) at the studio's restaurant. My co-worker thought she saw Lisa Kudrow, and I know Lisa's not super-thin, but I doubt she'd wear clothing that would give her even a tiny muffin-top. But maybe I'm wrong.
We also went out and socialized in Hollywood: once with a beloved former co-worker, and once with a couple of the new co-workers I'd met that day. The former was at a dinner at an "English pub" called the Cat and Fiddle, which is said to be frequented by Morrissey (he wasn't there). We sat in a gorgeous outside patio and dished about everything. She's the kind of woman who buys a combination map of stars' homes and famous crime scenes, and makes a special drive to see the house where the Manson murders happened. She used to cut my hair in a spare office at work, back when my haircut was as simple as can be. She's a trip, and I miss her. After dinner we went to Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood, which is essentially a gay theme restaurant. Besides the bright red and pink walls and kitsch hanging everywhere, each single-stall unisex bathroom has its own disco ball and "Dancing Queen" playing on a loop. (On the way back from the bathroom, I overheard one guy saying to his group of male friends, "Oh don't tell the flavored condom story again!") The check is presented in a high-heel pump. The waiters are all hot, skinny men, and they take care of you well. We met up with some of my former co-workers' friends and talked trash about celebrities (we were, as a group, unanimously anti-Angelina and pro-Aniston. My people!).
The latter night, we were invited to join some colleagues' Dining Divas night. They're a group of women (mostly single and in their 20s-early 40s, I'd guess, but mostly in their 30s) who get together every month or so and do something different each time. This night was a wine-and-cheese thing for charity held in the outdoor mall right next to the Kodak Theater. I was concerned the group would be kind of boring or false or overly girly, but they ended up being very funny, warm, smart, talkative, confident... It was very inspiring.
So, to sum up: Flying out there is always a bitch, but I had a great time.
Tuesday morning, while I was getting ready to leave my hotel room, my sister IMed me on my laptop that my grandmother had died. I feel like I haven't processed this information yet. I seem to start mourning a long time after the actual passing-away... Maybe I need time to feel the lack of their presence, and when people I don't see very often die, that can take some time. I want to write a blog post all about her, if it doesn't turn too sad or personal or morbid.
Speaking of morbid, when I visited the nest after work yesterday, there were no robins sighted anywhere. I fear the neighborhood cats have made short work of the little guys. Sad. Next time I think I'll remove the nest before any laying happens. Near my house, there aren't enough places to hide out of reach of cats. Damnable beasts.