Monday, July 18, 2016


"Maybe we can be each other's soul mates...
... and then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with." -- Charlotte

As longtime friends and readers of this blog know, I have a small but close-knit circle of people in my life that I have come to refer to as "best friends." To paraphrase Mindy Kaling, "Best friend is not a person; it's a tier." Anyway, most of these wonderful people unfortunately live nowhere near me. Heck, only one even lives in the same time zone! Thus, visits with these special people mean the world to me. And visits from my Erica, well... those are in a category all to themselves!

Erica hails from the Mile High city, although we met long ago in the other mile high city, Albuquerque. While most of my "best friends" are people I love because we are so much alike, Erica and I have grown close in our diversity. I like to say that she's the ying to my yang - sure, we have a lot of similarities, but our differences or quirks are nicely complemented by each other's. Needless to say, I miss her dearly. When the opportunity came up for her to visit, I quickly jumped at the chance!

Erica had only one request for her visit - she wanted for us to get the "best friend" tattoos we have talked about for years and years. Seriously. This isn't a joke. It has come up in conversation every time that Erica and I have vacationed together in the last 10 years. We originally just planned to get tattoos at the same time, but recent circumstances called for more! After committing to finally doing it, I called a good friend of mine to ask for the contact information for her tattoo guy. During that conversation, my friend asked if Erica would like to see the Walt Disney Studio Lot, and I said yes! (I don't want to name my friend for fear that others will ask her for similar access, but THANK YOU! You know who you are, and it was an amazingly generous gesture, my friend!) We have lots of pictures from that adventure, but I'll share them separately. 

After a nice visit on the Studio Lot, Erica and I hurried down to my friend's tattoo guy's parlor to get our tattoos. We looked at a TON of pictures for inspiration, but every one we found didn't feel quite "us." Some were too young; others too frilly. We finally found a trio of pictures for inspiration, and provided them to Jeff for him to design. The resulting tattoo was so friggin' cute! Erica's tattoo is in the foreground in the picture above, while mine is in the back. Jeff picked which tattoo should go on each of us, and we both got a kick out of how he picked. Erica's girl is very prim and proper... much like me. My girl is more silly and playful... much like her! We were thrilled with how these turned out!

After our tattoos were done, we headed to Universal to pick up our friend, Shika. (Shika got a fancy new job, so she couldn't join our earlier hijinks) Earlier in the week, someone had shared with me the news that a new New Mexican inspired food truck had started up in LA. We learned that the food truck was scheduled to be in Burbank that night, so we planned to find it and try it! Boy, was it worth it! Sopaipillas, green chile burgers, real sugar coke... it was like being home! We roamed the boutiques along Magnolia for a while before dropping Shika off and heading home.

When I asked Erica what she wanted to do while she was here, she had two suggestions: either visit an old, giant fig tree in Santa Barbara, or visit the old, giant Sequoias in Sequoia National Forest. Given the "ah" factor of the latter, I suggested we go to the Trail of 100 Giants. This place never gets old!

Being the awesome girls that we are, Erica and I invited my intern to join us. It was a perfect morning for a hike! Both were struck by the tremendous size of the trees, and the stillness of the forest. It was the busiest I have ever seen the park (we got one of the last parking spots), but you could still hear a pin drop when you ventured away from the main paths. The Trail has experienced a lot of trauma recently, and one of the trails was closed while we were there. To quote the Park Ranger, "Some of the old trees are dying and falling. Don't get on the closed trail. Those trees will squash you like a bug in seconds. Have a great time!" And despite the closed trails, we did have a great time!

Because we went to the park so early in the day, we got home with plenty of time to plan other adventures. First, we met with one of my closest local friends for "coffee" (read: coffee for me; tea for everyone else) at a local bookstore. Erica and I bought the sunglasses pictured above at Audrey's Boutique in Burbank the night before, so of course we had to take a selfie wearing them! Later in the evening, I took Erica to see my friend perform in a comedy show... at a morgue. Something fun to tell her friends back home, I'm sure! She's a big comedy fan like me, though, so we had a great time.

Like all of the best things, Erica's trip came to a quick end the following day. We took our time and had a lazy morning, then slowly made our way to LAX for her departure. The plan was for me to drop Erica off at her gate, then walk down two gates to pick up my niece who was arriving the same day. And that is what we did... 

About two hours after leaving LAX, however, I received a call from Erica stating that she missed her flight. I panicked - I wasn't sure how to help her or what to do. Luckily, the airline angels assisted her and were able to get her on another flight the next morning. Not wanting to leave her stranded, my niece and I headed back to LAX to pick her up. We grabbed burritos in Marina del Rey, and helped her find a hotel for the night. It was nice for the two of them to see each other and get caught up, so the missed flight was a blessing in disguise. Alas, it was getting late and we all needed to go to bed. We bid Erica adieu, and left her at a hotel near LAX.

I wrote this originally about a week after Erica left California, but wasn't sure when I would see her next. I'm super excited to report that I now know that I will be heading out east in her direction in September. Yay! I can't wait to see her again. 

Stay tuned for my other Disney post... soon!

Until next time...

--- Becks

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