Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’

Home home again

March 17, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Leisure, Los Angeles, Travel

Back home from Los Angeles now, after a relatively exciting weekend. Friday we toured Disney, and we get to hear about movies coming out in several more years. The newest, exciting movie is The Princess and The Frog, which will even introduce a brand new princess, Tiana! I respect that there are things I can be told and things I can’t, but it was cool going to Disney and being able to see the animators and artists drawing a movie coming out in summer 2009.

Img_0758While walking around Disney, my cousin asked if we wanted to see the wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe,
and we agreed. Donna’s never seen the movie even, but we thought it
would be cool. While in the mini-archives, across from the wardrobe was
the knob from Bedknobs and Broomsticks! I have always loved
this movie, and this was the most exciting thing all day. In the case
next to the knob was an Oscar statue! The closest I will probably ever
come, but the knob was coolest!

Over the last few years, mostly by accident, I’ve been visiting aquariums around the country. I took Claire to Monterey Bay Aquarium with MaryAnn & Donna last March, last April I toured the Denver aquarium, and the year before, while at a conference, I went with colleagues to the Baltimore Aquarium. So this weekend we headed down to Long Beach, CA to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific. I was pretty excited about this, but when we arrived (after a scrumptious lunch at Bubba Gump!), it looked relatively small. I figured it’d be bigger inside, but it really wasn’t. Claire quickly became a demon child from hell, and I think she threw the longest tantrum in history! We made our way through the aquarium, saw some cool fish, and hung out. It was very cramped and small, but we made it what we could.

Sunday we drove back across the desert to Arizona, and Claire kept asking when we would take her to see Sarah! We told her "next year" and I think hope she understands what that means.

David & Goliath

March 14, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Los Angeles, Travel

It’s amazing how large they get so fast. My mother use to tell me a story about how I was in line at a store with my grandmother and I was freaking out. Mum was back a few people, and I was about 2. A woman was complaining to those around her about the kid a few people up, and couldn’t that lady keep her kid quiet. I was such a large 2 year old that I looked 4, but people didn’t know that. I hear that story and chuckle, but isn’t karma a bite in the ass?? Claire will be 3 in three weeks. She’s 40" tall and 36 pounds. Some of her clothes are 5T, and she can pass for a 4 year old.

We just met Claire’s second cousin, Sarah, yesterday who is 7 months old. Wow. What a difference! We have this baby who is just getting ready to walk and doesn’t even come up to my knees, and then we have Claire. Moreover, the contrast between the two kids makes me realize how quickly they grow up. Claire speaks very well, and she’s brilliant. And she’s so attentive to Sarah. She’s so excited to be here, and she’s been asking for 4 months when she’d come see her cousin and the ocean.

Yesterday driving over here, we stopped at a rest area. The same rest area we always stop at on the way to Los Angeles, and Claire announces, as we pull in, "There’s no hand towels here! Only blowers." Of course she was correct, but the last time she was here was last summer. The time before that she was only a couple of months old.

They grow up so quickly don’t they?

The last one from Los Angeles

March 19, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Leisure, Los Angeles, Travel

Getty overlooking Los Angeles is a free museum set up
by the philanthropist J. Paul Getty.  The stark marble brightly loomed
above the LA highways, and Saturday morning we made this our first stop.  A
coworker of Donna’s recommended this museum, and since Esther and Kimmy are
artists, it was the perfect stop on our final day in LA.  After parking at
the bottom, we entered a tram that crawled up the side of the hills overlooking
the city and ocean.  Claire sat in her stroller facing a window revealing where
we started and she giggled at anyone who would listen, including the rude
couple who pushed their way through us and took the two seats next to the
stroller parking.  The Center itself had several different wings that we
wanted to peruse, but Claire’s voracious appetite got the best of her and we
had to pause for food.  After I smacked down a $20 for a small salad, two
waters and a cup of fruit, we fed Claire near the gardens on the north side of
the Center.  Kimmy and Esther made their way ahead, and later when we had
caught up with them, I saw one of my former students who chose to quit public
high school to go into real estate in California.


our visit Kimmy asked what we wanted to do while we were in LA, and the only
thing other than Disneyland that I could think of was taking Claire to the beach.  I hoped to get her
feet wet and take pictures of her smiling in the crashing waves, but the beach
isn’t very warm in March.  We drove to Santa Monica Pier and dragged the
baby down the beach while she giggled as the wet wind blew around her.  Donna
stood her near the surf and I clicked a photo but wanted another without anyone
else in it.  I begged Donna to sit Claire in the sand and she
eventually acquiesced.  As soon as she let go, Kimmy and Esther screamed
“Wave! Wave! Wave!”
Donna swooped Claire up, just as the ensuing wave crashed
against her shoes and jeans.  A relatively irked Donna carried Claire into
the warm, windless safety of Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner.


don’t get me wrong, amusement park games are fun,Santamonica36_2
especially when you have a
small child or a

date to impress, so we played this dart game on the pier where
you throw darts at balloons. If you break the balloon you get a prize.  Of
course they never tell you that you need to hit like a bazillion balloons to
get something more than an ugly trinket that smells.  So eventually Donna
and I won Claire a purple elephant, and after we took some pictures of her with
it, and walked away, Donna mentioned how expensive purple elephants are.  I
gave her a quizzical look before realizing that we spent $14.00 on a stuffed
elephant that will sit on the shelf with the scads of other stuffed animals she
has in her room at home.  Oh well.

for trip = $60; Disneyland adventure = $85; museum parking = $7; Pink Elephant = $14; the look on Donna’s
face as she rescued Claire from Poseidon’s clutches = Priceless.

Disneyland and Spanish Card Games, or LA Part Dos

March 17, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Los Angeles, Travel

The low lying clouds across LA
county made us desert rats happy, but the rain did not. We weren’t sure if the weather would be worse
on Friday or Saturday, so we made our way to Disneyland
with Claire. Kimmy has a silver pass
that allowed us access Disneyland for free: yippee! As we extracted the beast of a stroller from
the back of the truck, I asked Donna if she wanted to take her raincoat.
Looking at the amount of items we were attempting to stuff under the stroller,
she shook her head "no" and eyeballed the cloudy sky.

Main StreetWe took the elevator down from Daisy
2 Parking Garage and across the tram to the entrance. Kimmy waved his ID badge and we began to walk
up Main Streetin The Happiest Place on Earth. After a
few hours and a nice lunch, it began to rain. Esther moved closer to Kimmy, under the umbrella, and I sat eating pot
pie in the rain before pulling my lightweight raincoat (which I chose to bring)
up around my ears.

Donna, sans raincoat, pulled the
stroller top over Claire who was wearing her Hannah Anderson outfit from Aunt
Susan and a pink fleece hat. Even though the stroller seat was reclined, Claire
kept pulling herself forward to play in the rain. We eventually had to give up
on the drenched stroller all together and after purchasing her a t-shirt with
Minnie on it, we turned the plastic bag upside down, tore holes in the bottom
and both sides, then slipped it over her head. Her makeshift raincoat reminded me of Natalie Portman in Garden

In order to experience one exhibit,
the attendant told us to park the stroller outside the front entrance; Donna
flipped out about leaving the Mercedes of strollers (well at least the Volvo of
strollers) out where anyone could roll it away. With a sweeping hand I showed
her the other thousand strollers lined up outside rides all over the park, but
she still wasn¹t happy about it. After the ride, everything was exactly as she
left it and the strap of the heavy diaper bag I carried through the exhibit
only left a semi-permanent indentation on my right shoulder.

Even with free tickets to the park,
there gets to be a point where you just cash it in and head to the warm, dry
car. Of course, about the time we made it there is when the rain dissipated.

That evening Kimmy taught us a card
game called Continental, which we loved immediately. Donna and I are game
freaks as you can tell from here. The game changes each round and there are
eight total rounds. Esther and he play
this game in Madrid with her father when they visit, and they lose to him even
worse than they lost to me that evening.

Los Angeles Part One

March 16, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Los Angeles, Travel

After waking up well before dawn, we peeled ourselves from the comfort of the bed and poured ourselves into the truck for the trip.  Claire was quietly sleeping while I drove through the early morning pre-dawn toward LA.  The day before Donna and I put together a playlist for trip and I needed to make a couple CDs.  When I was done I had over 100 songs and could not figure out how to chunk them all down.  I decided to burn songs in alphabetical order, so somewhere along the trip I get to listen to “Here I go Again” and “I Wanna Rock” right after one another as I drive east on 80 miles an hour.

The Czech Republic has red and white tanks, which probably explains why they’re not a world super power.  This tank and others lined the fenced-in yard outside of the Patton Museum in the middle of the desert near where we stopped for breakfast.  After two cups of sludge coffee, I drove the last leg of the trip to Glendale, CA.

The highways of California make PA’s feel like driving on glass.  About 45 minutes from Kim’s apartment, we thought we had blown a tire.  The truck was jumping all over the road and bouncing like an earthquake had hit under the chassis.  After pulling over and checking the tires while semi’s whipped around me at 80-90 miles an hour, we discovered that it was just the road and we should proceed with jackrabbit caution.

We’ve not seen Esther in four years and that was nice.  We drove to Disney for a tour of where Kimmy works in Circle 7; we viewed ping pong tables, free arcades, free Coke machines and tons of cubicles linked together and decorated with whatever element of creativity the possessor deemed fit from Death Star pez dispensers to photos of children to lamps adding ambience lighting as if the worker were sitting on his own couch.

That evening we sat around their granite dinner table and Claire, from between our legs, looked up and shouted “BOB!” in the perfect little baby voice with a hint of Chicago accent.  Now I don’t know anyone named Bob and I only know one person from Chicago.  So now every time Donna asks Claire who I am, she looks at me and says “Bob!”  I am still trying to figure out who this Bob character is and tomorrow I am interrogating the mailman.

LA here we come

March 15, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Leisure, Los Angeles, Travel

So my cousin Kim accepted a job working for Disney a
couple of months ago and
planned to stop by Phoenix
on his
drive to California but then decided that he and his wife would fly to
CA.  A few weeks after that he suggested
that my wife
and I visit
, so here we go. Tomorrow morning
are driving to Los Angeles for the long weekend.
Kim promises that we’ll
take Claire to Disneyland. 
Even though most people
I’ve mentioned this to ask “Why, she won’t remember it!”
, my response remains:  “But we

Kim is a Disney guy without an
assignment since they pulled Toy Story 3.  So he’s taking classes and
wandering around California with his wife Esther.  To read more about them, go
here and here.  I am sure that we’ll post along the journey, and please wish us
luck… we’ll need it with a six hour, 396 mile car ride with an 11 1/2
month old.

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