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When fellow bloggie-friend and commiserating grandmother, Lisa Winkler contacted me a few weeks ago that she was coming to Los Angeles with her husband, I was thrilled. She and I decided to fit some time in for each other. We exchanged a few emails back and forth – from what to pack (warm clothes? raincoat? layers?) to where we would meet (her hotel!) and what we should do (“whatever you want” – we each said!).
I’ve lived in LA for several decades, almost my entire adult life. I love it here, and have many dear friends and family. But there is something special about getting together with friends from the (freezing cold) East Coast. First, I get to show off LA’s weather! Listen, we may have earthquakes here, but nothing beats our 70’s climate in January. Second, I get to spend some time taking friends and family around, something I love to do.
Being with people from the East Coast reminds me of my family, who I miss very much. Their weather may be cold, but their personalities are very warm.
And since Lisa (who blogs over at Cycling Grandma with her astute observations of the world) and I have never met, except for our online communication, this was a chance for us to meet in IRL (that’s “in real life” btw!). I’ve always admired Lisa and enjoyed writing about her play awhile ago on my blog.
When I drove up and saw Lisa, I felt as if I was seeing someone I’ve known for more than just the few years that we’ve been emailing, blogging and corresponding online. It was thrilling.
Oh! The chatting, talking, comparing notes. On and on and on. Whew. I had to be careful driving, because I was so distracted by the excitement of it all.
Our first stop on that Monday afternoon when the sun was shining (low 70’s during the day; cooler in the early morning), was the “Fish Grill” which is a favorite restaurant of mine. Grilled fish, tacos, fast-food, and fun ambience.
Lisa and I had myriad things to talk about. From family, to kids, to married couples and of course grandchildren. Oh, the kvelling and the venting (come on, what do you expect when two middle aged ladies get together?). We had lots in common: Talking about hobbies, writing, passions. You name it.
Our next stop after eating lunch and snapping a picture, (“Ummm, do you mind taking a photo of us,” I asked someone at the next table.), we headed over to the Museum of Tolerance, located near Beverly Hills.
The place was pretty empty that day except for a few school gatherings, and the patrons were overly eager to help us out (one interestingly – ahem – offered to show us the restroom, which we politely declined; “we’re good, thank you!”). Another one, later on in our trek, wanted to give us a ticket to use for the computerized exhibits. We told her we are not techno-savvy and declined that as well.
I chuckle at the irony of two ladies walking through a museum which evokes sadness and tragedy, and chatting about things that were not always relevant to the topic or mood. But yes, we did explore a few exhibits. Going through the museum triggered lots of discussions about our respective Jewish heritage and other stimulating discussions about our moms, dads and other relatives. Lisa is an accomplished playwright of “The Shabbos List,” and writer of people’s memoirs, so her knowledge of Jewish culture is rich and stimulating.
After the museum, we headed to Walgreens, where Lisa picked up a few essentials she needed. I dropped her off at the hotel and then with plans to get together for a bit the next day as well, we said good-bye.
Our second day together was equally wonderful. We drove by the LACMA museum (LA county art museum) and the Tar Pits and down Wilshire Blvd, while I, the tour guide (ahem, ahem) shared my knowledge, as if I was a born and bred Angelino (not).
We talked more about the weather (just kidding), and then headed over to The Grove, a charming out-door mall, and walked around a bit. Lisa and I sat outside for about an hour chatting, sipping latte and the Special of the Day (Lisa ordered that one!) at the Coffee Bean at the Farmer’s Market (adjacent to the Grove shopping mall). Time flies and before we knew it, it was 4 pm and both of us had to be on our ways.
I then drove Lisa back to the hotel. All good things must come to an end.
Lisa’s visit was a welcome break from my regular routine of work and errands. Since I have a flexible schedule at work, I was more than happy to block out a few hours or more to get together. Lisa kept thanking me, but it was my pleasure really. And of course, being active and able to drive and get around without extreme fatigue is a treat for me. So Lisa gets the credit for giving me the opportunity for that.
Lisa and I already promised each other that the next time I’m in NY or NJ, we will get together! I’m already looking forward, notwithstanding the NY weather!
Tags: blog friends, East Coast, Farmer's Market, friendship, grandmothers, IRL in real life, LA weather, lisa winkler, Los Angeles, Los Angeles weather, meeting in real life, Museum of Tolerance, New York, online friendships, out-of-towners, The Grove, West Coast