Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer O' Fun

After the lackluster summer of 2012, I vowed to never again waste another summer tied to my desk during the longest days of the year. We're now midway through summer 2013, and I'm proud to say - mission accomplished! While there have still been days when I've worked overtime, this has become more the exception than the rule. I may finally be figuring out this work/life balance thing after all. 

Anyway, I had big plans for today, but an excruciating headache and horrible traffic on the 5 due to the fire have caused me to rethink my plans. Not to worry - I had plenty to do at home as it was. Nonetheless, it gave me plenty of time to reflect on how grateful I have been to have had the fun I've had this summer thus far, and plan to have for the rest of the summer. 

This summer has been jam-packed with travel, visitors, and friends near and far. I have been so lucky to see so many of my friends and family this year (especially since most of them live so far away). Here's a bit of what I've been up to:

My summer (which I always say unofficially begins with Memorial Day weekend) began with a vacation to Albuquerque, my favorite "hometown" and where many of my best friends still live. I met my friend from Florida there, and we had a fabulous time exploring New Mexico and visiting some of its many beautiful churches. Each time I visit makes it harder to leave, but at least I know I'm always welcome if I ever decide to return. 

Just 4 short days after I returned to California, I found myself boarding a red-eye flight across the country to Washington, DC. It was my first visit, and hope it won't be my last. It was so much fun! I got to visit friends (old and new), explore many of the historic buildings and monuments, and I got some work education credits done! Hurray! I'm still sorting through pictures, but you can see a couple of my posts about the Arlington Cemetery, the monuments (at day and at night), and more on the links here. Future posts about the Library of Congress and the Capitol building to come!

My mom and my brother drove out to California to drop my niece off for a couple of weeks in June. It had been nearly a year since mom had been out here, and a few months since my brother moved away, so I was incredibly excited to see them. They were only here for 4 days, but we packed in a lot! First, we drove up to San Francisco for the day for a quick driving tour of the city by the bay (with better weather than we could have hoped for!). Then, we headed south to the city of Angels for a visit to Venice Beach, Hollywood, and Olvera Street. These visits are always too short, but I'm glad they got to see everything they wanted to see. Blogs about those visits to come soon!

Having my niece visit me is always a treat. She's growing up fast so I know these moments are fleeting. We stayed very busy during her two short weeks here. While we really enjoyed the valley, we had more fun playing in LA. We spent one weekend stalking filming locations and visiting Griffith Observatory with a colleague who was about to move away. We spent her last weekend visiting studios (Universal and Warner Brothers) and enjoying the warm (read: hot) weather. Our road trip to take her back to New Mexico was quite an adventure, and I miss her even though she just left. Can't wait for her to stay again next summer.

I mentioned my road trip to New Mexico, and gave you a preview of that adventure on another blog post. Driving across 4 states and back in 6 days was exhausting, but fun. It was also great visiting family while I was home - I miss them so much! My brother (pictured above) turns 29 tomorrow, and my nephew turns 1 on Tuesday. The things we miss when we move from home... sigh.

With just 6 weeks until Labor Day (my unofficial end of summer), I still have time to check off a few more items from my summer to-do list. I know it's pretty ambitious, but I'd really like to do the following before this summer fades into fall:
  • Visit the gardens at the Huntington Library in Pasadena
  • Go to a spa for a mini spa day (anyone know of any good deals?)
  • See the latest exhibit at the FIDM museum
  • Watch a baseball game. Seriously, it shouldn't be this hard finding someone to go with me!
  • Go to the beach (need to find a dog friendly one that doesn't suck)
  • Ride a boat... to somewhere. I hear Catalina Island is nice...
  • Watch a movie in the Cinerama Dome
  • Check off a few of my film location stalking wish lists
Let's see how many more of these I can check off in the next six weeks. Nothing's impossible, right?

Until next time...

--- Becks

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