We arrived in time to take a cab to Katie's office, where we were able to meet her boss and many of her co-workers. It is fun to now be able to visualize her sitting at her desk. Everyone seems very nice. From there we went to her apartment to drop off our luggage, and then walked to a nearby Scottish restaurant for dinner. I love where she lives because you can walk to many different places and leave the car in the garage. The next morning, New Year's Day, we drove north to Ventura where we met my college friend Karen Smith and her husband for lunch. While they live in Washington, DC, the navy has transferred Mark to Ventura for a couple of years. It was so much fun to reminisce about our days at Iowa State.
|Karen Smith and me|
|dolphins at play|
|sea lion waves hello|
|sun sets on a great day|
|Santa Monica Pier|
|fitness, Santa Monica style|
|California sledding at Venice Beach|
|another glorious sunset in Venice|
|Getty Center gardens|
|Jim and me|
|everyone's a star|
|Joshua Tree National Park|
|Sun sets over the mountain|
We had been touching base with home about the snow headed to St. Louis, so I wasn't surprised to find out that our flight home on Sunday had been cancelled. Unfortunately American left me a voice mail in the middle of the night so by the time I retrieved it on Sunday morning we had few options for rescheduling anything. They had booked us on a flight Monday night arriving in Dallas at 9:35 p.m. That didn't look too bad until we realized that the next flight for us didn't leave Dallas until 9:35 p.m. on Tuesday night! When I tried to call American I was informed there would be a two hour wait on hold. Yikes. No changes were allowed online at all. We decided to just go to the airport early on Monday and hope for the best. In the meantime, that left us with the opportunity to spend Sunday with Katie. We enjoyed a nice brunch in Glendale, walked around the outdoor mall in the area, and then drove the short distance to downtown so that Jim could see one of the urban parks in the area. We picked up brats for dinner and watched the season premier of Downton Abbey.
We drove to work with Katie Monday morning and then took a cab to the airport. The couple in line ahead of us had just returned from a 17 day cruise to the Panama Canal, and were trying to get back to St. Louis as well. I jokingly said that they would probably get the last two seats on the non-stop flight going out at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday morning. It turned out that they couldn't get any flight at all until Thursday! When we got up to the agent she was puzzled by the flights we had been given since they normally do not make you wait so long between flights. But she could not find any better alternative for us.
In Dallas we headed to a Comfort Inn near the airport for the night. Everyone on the shuttle bus had a horror story. The next morning my brother and his wife came to pick us up at the hotel, and we spent the day with them, my niece and my two great-nephews. That was the silver lining in the black snow cloud that was hovering over us.
Once we arrived back in St. Louis we were faced with clearing 12 inches of snow off the car - with no winter coats or boots! Luckily the shuttle bus driver helped us remove snow from behind the car so that we could get out. That was pretty nice considering it was nearly midnight and 16 degrees outside.
|snow on our patio|