Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Los Angeles Trip {Airport 8/24 & Day 1 8/25}

Wednesday morning we got up bright and early to head to the airport. We had a 9:00am flight and the last time (Houston) I went to the Lindberg terminal it was a MESS so we wanted to be sure to have plenty of time. Our wonderful friend Michelle picked us up about 6:30 or so and we stopped to pick up breakfast, arriving at the airport a little after 7:00am. Luckily there were no lines, the security was easy peasy to get through and next thing we know we're people watching in the middle of the terminal. We didn't even bother going to our gate yet because we were a little early.
Airport Moose

Once we did make it to our gate we noticed the take off time had changed to 10:00... but the lady on the intercom said "the plane had a mechanical error and we are waiting on a new plane, the latest it will be is 1:00, but we will give you an update at 10" okay, we could deal with that, just a few hours, hopefully something would come sooner. So at 10 they gave us an update that "we're still waiting on a plane, hoping that one will come soon, but it shouldn't be any later than 1:00, we will give another update at 12. You won't want to go too far in case another plane comes, because you will not hear these announcements outside of this gate area" Oh at this point we did get $6 a piece in food vouchers for the delay. I can't remember if it was at this point or not, but we decided to take a walk around the terminal loop. It was a good 10 minute walk. No actually the walk came after 12:00. We were sitting at our gate and about 11:30 the lady gets on the speaker "we're sorry to announce this flight has been cancelled, you may visit the help desk across from G9" at this point I just get up and book it (along with another crowd of people) to the help desk that we had passed a few times in our walking around. Here we learn that we are rescheduled for sure for the 7:50pm flight, and that we are on the 2:30 standby list and if we don't get that one we will be placed on the 5:30 standby list. Well PHUCK! This sucked! This is when we decided to take a walk around the terminal. And try to make the most of our time there. At this point the airport time clock was reading ~4 hours in the airport.

Airport walking

Oh the back side of our walk there was a ticket checker thingy, where you could check the status and get a new boarding pass if needed. So I ran our tickets and two more $6 food voucher's popped out (that was two $6 for me and two $6 for Kyle). WOO HOO! Once we made it back to our gate area it was time to wait near G15 to see if we could catch the 2:30 plane.... Well we were listed 48 & 49 on the standby list, so we weren't very hopefully. Especially when they said the plane was full. One person on the standby list got on this plane. So we walk again. And then go to G13 to see if we can get on the 5:30 plane. Again we were about 40 on the standby list, hey we're moving up. We were informed that of the 80 on the standby list that kept going across the screen that over half of them already had seats on the plane and were on the standby list for an upgrade, so those names weren't technically standing between us and a seat to LA. The guy slowly called a few names as we waiting in anticipation that our names would get called. A family of four got to go, parents & two kids, they did all have to sit separate. Probably about 10 people total from our flight were able to catch this one. Then the door was closed and the names were done being called. 5:30.... that makes the airport time clock rise to ~ 10 hours of being in the airport. We can safely say we surpassed the time clock of the NYC trip of being stuck in the Milwaukee airport. But we knew for sure we had seats on the 7:50 flight, a whopping 12.5 hours after we had arrived at the airport! WOW what a day. We got some dinner with our lovely food vouchers. Funny how they give you $6 when there is nothing that cost less than $9.

But soon we were SITTING on our plane!!! It was a large plane, it wasn't even full, we had a middle row to ourselves.

Airport plane

Sad thing is, what likely happened was they saw they had half a plane for the 9am flight and had lots of room on the 7:50 flight that they decided "well we'll just cancel the 9am flight, lead these people on, then shuffle them all onto the 7:50 flight. There's nothing they can do about it and we'll save a whole flight cost by combining them" Granted this is illegal, but it doesn't stop them from doing it. there is nothing we could do about it. And YES we did complain, and YES we did play the pregnant card... but nada. Oh we did get $50 credit for our next travel needs... blah!

Oh well, what's done is done. We weren't going to let this ruin our flight. And luckily the city tour we had planned for Wednesday, we could just do on Monday before we went to the airport as we didn't have anything planned for then.

About 9:45pm (west coast time) we arrived at LAX WOO HOO!

Airport LAX

Josh picked us up and we headed back to his place. What a long boring drawn out day! :-/ In preparation for our arrival (and possibly a friend of his coming from Mexico soon) Josh converted his dining room area into a spare room!

D1 josh guest closet

He lives in a one bedroom apartment, which is larger than the two other studio apartments he was living in during my previous visits. It is actually a really nice place.

Thursday; August 25th

This day we had already planned to take the bus out to Hollywood then onto Santa Monica to see the beach. My brother had to work, so he helped us figure out the routes. We rode downtown with him and walked with him to his work building

D1 Josh work buildling

Where he directed us to the metro to catch the subway up to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland. We made our way down to the subway

D1 subway

D1 daisy kyle subway

Once we got went up to the street, off the subway, we were on Hollywood Boulevard, next to Highland Mall. Which was a great place to arrive at because for one I had to find a bathroom (a common theme to the whole trip) and it was one of the best places to view the Hollywood Sign from! We could see the sign as we entered the mall

D1 highland mall

D1 highland mall zoomed

But we didn't go up there to the walkway until we found a bathroom. Once we relieved ourselves, we walked up to view the Hollywood hill.

D1 hollywood sign

One thing I forgot to mention about the airport stay the day prior, was that I became very acquainted with their restrooms. I LOVE the Dyson hand dryers. They are my new favorite, well they've always been my favorite, but after using them 10+ times the day before, I got to really like them. This picture is actually in the Highland Mall restroom.

D1 dyson dryers

After the quick walk through at the Highland Mall we made our way to Highland to find the double decker bus that we were going to purchase tickets for and go on a quick tour of the Hollywood area. After taking the NYC bus, we knew we'd want to do this as it's the easiest way to get a lot of sight seeing in and some knowledge that we might not have otherwise learned. So it started at Hollywood & Highland, went down Hollywood Blvd, passing the Kodak Theater and the Chinese Theater.

D1 tour chinese theater

We then turned south to go down the Sunset Strip. And learning about the sites there. Our tour guide was a funny little dude. And from the beginning he said "Now I know this is a hop-on-hop-off tour, but I recommend you take the whole loop with me, because I'm the best entertainment. Then if there is somewhere that you would like to get off the bus and explore more, then you take the next bus around and get off" Now we knew we weren't going to do that because well, we didn't have the whole day to spend just riding their bus around. We had planned to get off at the La Brea Tar Pits, which was about mid trip. This whole tour was about an hour and forty-five minutes. And we were on the top of a double decker bus, in the sun, and there were NO clouds.

So we continued down the Sunset Strip and turned south where the tour guide pointed out the obvious difference between Beverly Hills on our right and West Hollywood on our left. Here is the picture, although I took it looking back (so Beverly Hills in on the left in this photo and Hollywood on the right) Do you see the difference?

D1 tour bev hills hollywood

The palm trees!!! And the price difference in houses. The ones in Beverly Hills are paying about 5 million, and he said it's all because of the 9-0-2-1-0 zip code.

D1 tour beverly hills sign

We continued on south, eventually hitting Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Drive. Searching for stars at various hip restaurants. But what we learned is that it was too early for the stars to be out, they all sleep in. It was about 11:15 or so at this point.

D1 tour rodeo drive

Here we are in all our glory, sweat, & wind blown hair
D1 tour daisy kyle

Shortly after turning onto Wilshire Blvd, the tour made it's way to the Tar Pit stop. Of course the tour guide asked "Where are you going? Why are you leaving" We just had to put our foot down and say it was our stop, we had plans, and we wanted off. We walked around the Tar Pit, which I had never seen before... and can kinda understand why Josh had never made it a priority on my previous LA visits... it really wasn't very exciting :-P

D1 le brea tar pit

After we walked around the Tar Pit for 10 minutes or so (and I found a bathroom) we found a shady spot near the bus stop to lather on some more sunscreen. The tour bus came around the corner and our resting time was cut short. I'm just glad we caught it. The tour buses come along about every 30 minutes and I didn't want to miss it and be stuck at the Tar Pits for an hour. Luckily this was perfect timing because it was really only about 20 minutes since the other one had dropped us off. We boarded the new bus, with the new tour guide and made our way north on Fairfax Ave. Passing in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

D1 tour art

And some other random things. We passed the famous Fairfax High School, where Demi Moore and some Red Hot Chili Peppers members attended. Also a few episodes of Glee were filmed there. Then we turned onto Melrose Ave. I then told Kyle that Josh's first apartment was here on Melrose somewhere, I wasn't sure where though. We went by Paramount Studios, Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Josh actually worked there at one time), and made our way back up to Hollywood Blvd. We hopped off the tour bus and made our way over to the metro bus to hop on it to take it out west to the beach. While waiting for the bus, Kyle got a quick snap shot of me standing by a star

D1 daisy star

We rode the bus south, to Venice Blvd, where we had to get off and transfer to one to take us west. It was about a 45 minute bus ride or so, maybe just 30 minutes. Anyway we arrived at Venice beach, just in time for lunch. We ended up eating at a place called Danny's, which you can see here in this picture where the yellow arches are.

D1 venice beach lunch spot

After a much needed lunch of a French Dip Sandwich and Fish & Chips, we walked out to the ocean. Ahhh the breeze was so wonderful! We felt an immediate difference as soon as we stepped off the bus.

D1 venice beach

D1 venice beach sail boats

I normally don't really like getting my picture taken... but since it's not just me anymore I needed some documentation :-)

D1 daisy venice beach

After a few fun photos on the beach, we made our way to walk down the sidewalk and observe all the hippies and their stands

D1 venice beach walk

There was a lady with a stand "Advice $1" then a few feet down another lady holding a sign "Shitty Advice $1". Lots of dread locks, skateboarders, and wiffs of mary-g-wuana floating through the air. Kyle said he's never seen such 'interesting' people.

There was this cool bamboo-ish grass growing along many of the houses/business buildings. I just loved it. I later heard it called 'Horse grass' or something like that.

D1 bamboo grass stuff

We were origionally going to walk back to the main road to hop on the bus up to Santa Monica Pier, but instead we just decided to walk. We could already see the pier and when I looked it up on the map on my phone, it was only 2 miles away. It was so gorgeous by the water that I didn't want to hop on another bus.

D1 santa monica beach

We stopped at a few places along the way to get some more photos :-)

D1 daisy beach B&w

D1 daisy palm

D1 daisy kyle b&w

D1 daisy kyle

We eventually made it to Santa Monica Beach

D1 Santa Monica Pier

The first area we came upon, before getting to the pier, was Muscle Beach. Kyle had heard of it before and was pretty excited we came across it. We even saw a young girl (probably about 8) climing the rope, about 20 feet in the air. Lots of people were working out and playing around on the equipment.

D1 Muscle Beach

We walked out along the pier, watching people fish and feeling the cool ocean breeze. There were a lot of people along the beach just to the north of the pier, as it was a pretty warm day.

D1 Santa Monica Beach by pier

D1 santa monica beach waves

After we walked to the edge and back we headed up the walk way hill, to the main street to catch the bus. We got a good view of the pier when we looked back

D1 Santa Monica Pier 2

We waited a while for the bus, then hopped on it. This bus took us straight back to Josh's neighborhood. We rode the bus for a good hour, hour and a half. Once we arrived in Echo Park, we met Josh and went for a bite to eat. On our way over to a little Vietaminese restaurant we stopped for an ear of Mexican Corn from this lady in the street. One of Josh's favorites. Since we were on our way to eat, we just got one to share. He wanted us to experience it. The corn was cooking in a trash can! lol It had mayo, parmesan cheese, butter (I think) and chili powder on it.

D1 mexican street corn

After dinner we went back downtown to Josh's office, as he had some things he had to get finished. He had a really nice view of the library

D1 view from josh office

He got the email out he needed to work on, he was taking the next day off and had to get this thing out ASAP, but it was fun getting to see his office and what not. (for the time being as he is in job transition). After this we headed back to his place. Kyle and I were beat from our long day of touring the city.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Basement Update: Tape & Mud

Basement is coming along slowly but surely. Kyle and I are going vacation so hopefully we'll see some good progress once we get back (primed, dry core flooring, & tile) We are scheduled to paint once we get back. We decided back in the beginning to paint ourselves to try and save some $$ Painting and putting up the trim ourselves is saving us about two grand!

Doesn't look much different other than most of the drywall nails are covered with mud and the seams covered with tape.
Aug23_11 1

Aug23_11 2

Aug23_11 3

We've also been working in the baby's room. Kyle go the trim painted white (window, closet frame, & base trim) I need to put one more coat on it today. He also painted the baby's room door. We hung new doors a while ago, but didn't paint them. We'll paint the other three doors before we put the trim up, which we have in the garage... but right now trim is our last priority :-) Once we get home from California, we can paint the basement and get the baby's room painted! That will make a big difference!! That's all we have left for the baby's room, although we can't really move in until the basement gets finished as my computer is still in this room (baby's room)
computer in baby room

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gooseberry Falls: Saturday August 20, 2011

Lake Superior

Saturday we went up to the North Shore, first time this summer!!! Usually we got a few times in the summer and I was determined to not let this summer go by without a visit! Camping is pretty much out of the question since these days I can't really even get comfortable in my own bed :-/ So we just decided to drive up for the day.

We didn't have the hiking club password for Gooseberry Falls State Park so we decided we'd hit that one. It's a touristy place, and not a good camping park - so a day trip would be great to get it marked off our list. I also wanted to hit this park because they have a big visitor center/gift shop and I needed a new passport book to hold my smashed penny collection. Yeah I'm a dork and get those dumb fifty cent smashed pennies where ever I go :-P I was even hopefully going into it saying "Then if we're up to it we can stop at Moose Lake State Park on the way home and get that hiking club trail walked" HAHA

We started the morning off with a lovely breakfast at our favorite Uptown Cafeteria, rooftop seating. I've been obsessed with their 'French Toast Treasure Box', which is DELICIOUS! It's three pieces of french toast (I only make it through one and a half usually) the top is covered with blueberries and then there is a wonderful surprise of vanilla cream cheese under the first piece!!! YUM YUM!

Then we stopped home, picked up Harpo, and headed up north. It's about a 3.5-4 hour drive to Gooseberry Falls State Park. About two hours in I started getting uncomfortable... very uncomfortable. Sitting for the long in the a car was not fun. We stopped a few extra times to get out and stretch our legs. By the time we got there we were ready to get-ta-walking. We just wanted to do the hiking club trail which was about 1.5-2 miles. Like I mentioned Gooseberry is one of the more touristy parks, which makes it one of our least favorites. They do have some beautiful falls... but people are ALL over the place, making for not such great pictures. We didn't go down to the big falls, as we did this one time when stopping by. But here are the 'little falls' just north of the big falls.
gooseberry little falls

There are actually MORE people at the big falls. This path took us on a bridge across the river and under the highway, over to the Gitchi Gumi Trail. This was the hiking club trail. I'm glad Kyle got a picture of me before the hike, as I was a sweaty mess shortly after this photo, lol.
daisy harpo 27 weeks 2

It was a gorgeous day! I don't even know why I packed a long sleeve shirt in the car, it was NOT needed! lol Hiking is a little harder when there's a 14" little boy strapped inside my belly!
North Shore

I found a log to prop the camera on and attempted a few family photos.
family photo attempt 1 family photo attempt 2
After three attempts we were able to get one :-P
family photo


It was crazy how many dragonfly's were EVERYWHERE!!! I tried to get a picture of how many there were, but it was rather hard since they were all flying around. You can see quite a few in this photo:

Here's a close up:

Once we made it around the mile loop, I was worn out. It was a great walk and I enjoyed it. It was just a little harder than I anticipated :-P Instead of exploring anymore of the park we decided just to head back over the river to the parking lot
little falls

Of course Harpo was walking like he needed to poop the ENTIRE time! We were hoping he'd go at some point along the trail since we were secluded... but he didn't. It was rather funny because as soon as he saw the parking lot he was READY to go, I walked him over to some grass and he quickly relieved himself, lol.

Flowers on the path to the parking lot:

On our way home, of COURSE we had to stop for our annual visit to Betty's Pies!

Yum Yum! We figured it up and we've stopped there every summer for the past three years. This day I got Apple Strawberry Crunch a la mode and Kyle got Blackberry Peach Crunch a la mode.

We made the long trek home, again not very comfortable! but I'm so glad we were able to make it up there at least once this summer!!

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