Tag Archives: parents

Unexpected Birthday Present (or I Love Having Technology That Works!)

I was not planning on asking for anything for my birthday from my parents this year. They helped me get my car at the beginning of the year so I didn’t feel right asking for anything else. I still feel a bit guilty about my new car, but I know that they are happy to help me out. But there was no way I was going to tell my parents I wanted something for my birthday.

I usually get a check from my grandma for my birthday, so I was thinking about what I wanted to use it for (she prefers that I get something fun with it and not use it to pay bills). I was talking with my dad before my birthday and mentioned how my iPad was pretty much dead at that point. It was taking hours for it to turn on and for me to open an app could take close to 30 minutes. And that day, I couldn’t get it to turn on no matter what I did. I didn’t think my iPad was going to be usable anymore.

The iPad I had was about 5 years old, which is a pretty long time for a piece of technology. I used to use it much more often, but over the past 2 years I used it less because it was getting so slow and several apps that I like to use wouldn’t work anymore. But I didn’t want to get a new one because at that time I knew I’d spending a lot on a new laptop and technically my old one still worked.

I’m aware that this is totally a first world problem. I don’t need an iPad, but I like having it and it is something I do work on. But I think I also knew it wasn’t a necessity to get a new one so when my old one pretty much died on me I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get a new one for my birthday. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be the perfect thing to use my birthday check toward.

This call with my dad was just one of our usual phone calls and the iPad thing just happened to come up. And he agreed that getting one for my birthday would be a great thing to use my check for. I didn’t think much more about that conversation after we hung up. But then the next morning, I got an email from my dad with the subject “Birthday Surprise”. And my dad wrote that he and my mom had discussed it after he got off the phone with me and they wanted to get me my iPad for my birthday!

I was totally not expecting this and I even called my parents to tell them that I didn’t tell my dad about my old one dying to try to get them to buy me one. I kept asking if they were sure they wanted to get it for me because I was considering my car my birthday present (and I’m totally considering it my Hanukkah present for this year too). But my mom said that they wanted to do that for me and I couldn’t express how grateful I was for it!

I was originally going to get the new one before my birthday, but there were a few delays in me getting it. But the delays worked out well because I was able to make a decision on which one I wanted to get (after getting input from a friend who works for Apple and from my parents) and I realized that they had a back to school special for their educational discount (which I get for being a substitute teacher). Not only would I get the normal discount, which is about $20 off, I would get a free pair of wireless Beats headphones! So this past week, I headed over to the Apple Store near me to buy my new iPad!

It was a pretty fast purchase since I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I just had to decide on what color I wanted (I went with gray to match my laptop). And I’ve spent the past few days making sure I get everything set up on it before I try to erase all the data off of my old one (if I can get it to turn back on again). Just like with my laptop, it’s a crazy difference between the old one and the new one. Things are working again, I can get work done so much faster, and I know that it is going to make me more productive.

If I could figure out how to do all of my day job work from my iPad, I’d do that when I go out-of-town. But for right now, that’s not possible due to the phone calls I have to do for my box office job. But I think I might actually be able to run everything else from it which is a nice idea. The iPad can use a keyboard so if I figure out how to do it all (or if I don’t have to take phone calls for my box office job), I think it will be pretty easy to work with it and I think that will be a nice feature for me when I get to travel again.

This present was so unexpected but beyond appreciated. I am so grateful to my parents for wanting to get me this because they easily could have just gotten me nothing for my birthday which is exactly what I was expecting. And I love that now whenever I use my iPad I’m going to think about this awesome birthday this year and how amazing my parents are!

San Diego Day Trip (or The Backgammon Witch)

I was down in San Diego for a day trip not too long ago, but I was able to do another day trip down there this past weekend. I’m glad I’m able to go down there more often because my grandma is in San Diego. She understands that I can’t be there all the time, but I know that she appreciates it when I’m able to get down there too.

This time, my parents were in San Diego for the week visiting my grandma (unlike last time when their trip was for the surgery I was supposed to have) and they had been doing a lot of fun stuff. I couldn’t visit during the week because of my schedule, but I was able to take time off on Saturday so I could spend a few hours down there with everyone.

I’m glad I took the time off work because there were so many accidents on the freeway on the drive down. It usually takes me 2 hours to get there, but this time it was 3 hours. If I hadn’t gotten the time off work, I only would have had an hour or so with my family before I had to go back to LA.

Once I got there, my parents and I went out for lunch. Originally my grandma was possibly going to come with us, but it was easier for her to eat lunch at home. So the 3 of us (plus the dog) went out for a casual lunch at a Greek restaurant just around the corner from where my grandma lives. It was nice getting to catch my parents up on some of the stuff happening in my life and what I’m trying to plan to do coming up. I was hoping to get to Tahoe sometime soon, but I don’t think that will be happening until the winter now.

After our lunch, we headed up to my grandma’s apartment. It was nice to see her at her place since I hadn’t been up there in a while (when I was there last time, I waited in my car while my dad got her). Her apartment is really nice and has some of my favorite pictures of our family on her desk and tv table. And it also has her backgammon set.

My grandparents used to play backgammon every single day. My grandpa would always say that my grandma is a witch because she could always get double sixes or whatever roll she needed at the time she needed it. She would win most of the time and it was so funny seeing my grandpa get frustrated that she always got lucky with the dice.

I don’t know how much backgammon my grandma has played since my grandpa passed away. But my parents had told me that while they’ve been on this trip they have been playing backgammon with her. And it’s like she never stopped playing! She’s just as good as she always has been and she still has all her witch powers. My dad took this photo from the day before I was there of my grandma right after she won a game against my mom.

I love that expression on her face! You can tell how proud she is that she can still kick my mom’s butt in backgammon. And while I was there, my mom and grandma played some more.

This time, my grandma wasn’t as lucky with the dice (and she kept saying how badly she was playing) so my mom was lucky and was able to win a game. But seeing my grandma so happy doing something that I’ve seen her do my entire life made me so happy. My grandparents had taught all their grandkids how to play backgammon, but it’s been a while since I’ve played. But I think I’ll need to brush up on my skills because I have a feeling we will be playing a lot at Thanksgiving this year.

After visiting with my grandma, we went back to the place my parents were staying at. My parents’ friends were going to be coming over to hang out with them and I was going to visit with them as well. A lot of the conversation was about medical stuff (that’s the case a lot of the time around my family) and clearly Tucker was pretty bored by all the talk.

I stayed for about an hour with everyone and then headed out when they were all walking down to the beach. I have a friend who recently moved to San Diego and I was going to have dinner with him and his sister before heading back up to LA. It was a pretty chill dinner and was a nice way to feel like I did have a bit of a mini-vacation with my day trip down to San Diego. Usually I’m down and back so quickly that it doesn’t feel like I did much more than drive a lot.

On my drive back up, I happened to time it out perfectly and was driving past Disneyland just as the fireworks were going off. It was actually a better view from the freeway than what we had by the castle the last time we were there! Seeing the fireworks made me miss Disneyland a bit, but it’s only about another month before I can go back with my pass.

While my trip down to San Diego wasn’t that much longer than the time it took me to drive there and back, it was still a nice break from LA. I don’t think I’ll be down there again before Thanksgiving, but you never know. I’m lucky that it’s not too far for me to get there and that I can easily do it as a day trip.

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

A Tahoe Weekend (or Let It Snow!)

It had been a while since I was up to Lake Tahoe, so when my parents invited me to come up for a weekend in the fall I was really excited! The fall in Tahoe can be really nice and there is usually some really gorgeous foliage around the mountains to check out.

I was already pretty excited about the trip when my dad gave me a heads up a few days before I left to say that there was actually snow in the forecast! I hadn’t seen snow in several years so even the possibility of it was making me so happy. I tried to pack warm clothes and after work on Saturday I flew to Tahoe to meet up with my parents (and dog).

When we were driving from the Reno airport to Truckee, the fall foliage was already impressing me. The trees were so full of color that my mom pulled over the car so I could get a picture of the Aspen trees on the side of the road.


That first day in Tahoe we didn’t do too much. After I flew in, we drove to Truckee, we got some food, and got to my parents’ place; it was getting a bit late. I was pretty tired from getting up early that morning to work and even though I didn’t have a panic attack on the plane it still exhausted me to focus on staying calm. So I spent some time hanging out with my parents and I went to bed pretty early to get ready for the full day we had the next day.

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful view outside.


I was able to convince my dad to join me for some yoga in the morning, and then we all headed off to the unofficial dog park that Tucker loves in Truckee. The dog park is really a road behind the Truckee airport, but since it is gated and no cars can be on there, people let their dogs off leash to play. In the winter it can be a long walk, but when there isn’t snow you can park farther up the road.

Once we parked and started walking, Tucker was in heaven. He was enjoying all of the smells all around and he didn’t care too much that there were no other dogs for him to play with. Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, about 7 dogs and their owners showed up. We let Tucker play with the other dogs for a few minutes before we headed off to our next adventure for the day.

We drove for about 45 minutes to get to Spooner Lake. I’ve done this hike/walk before in the past. It’s a pretty flat road (although there are some uphill bits) and it’s about 2.5 miles around. Usually in the fall the trees are all super bright and yellow, but this time it wasn’t that way. But it was still a really nice day out.


The walk around the lake took a while since Tucker had to be on leash and we had to keep stopping whenever he wanted to smell something exciting that he found. But it was fine that it was a slow walk since it gave us time to enjoy the view. I was also finding myself really out-of-breath quite a bit since I’m not used to the elevation that we were at. I always hate how I feel super out of shape when I’m in Tahoe since I can’t catch my breath as quickly as I can in LA, but I tried to not think about that too much.

After getting around the lake, we headed back toward my parents’ place to get some lunch at their favorite local Italian restaurant (they’ve been going there for almost 10 years but this was my first time there!). While we were eating, we noticed that the weather had changed from being nice and sunny to cloudy and overcast. And as we were finishing up it started to snow! After lunch we drove around and seeing the snow made me so happy!


In the snow, we weren’t going to do a ton of outside stuff so we headed back home and relaxed together. Tucker was pretty calm since he went to the dog park and had the walk around the lake. He wanted to hang out with us while we watched tv and decided to be a bit of a rule-breaker. He knows he can’t sit on the couch, but he can scoot back to the couch and he is so tall that his butt rests on it. I noticed him doing that and he gave me a dirty look when I asked Tucker if he was sitting on the couch.


My last day in Tahoe started with seeing the snow that fell overnight!


Originally, my dad had a couple of projects that he wanted me to help him with at their place. But because of the schedule and other things that happened our projects weren’t possible. But I was inspired by the snow and I told my dad that we should turn an old tree stake in their backyard into a snow stake so they can measure all the snow that falls this season! So my dad and I went outside in the cold with some electrical tape and a marker and we made a pretty impressive custom snow stake.


I helped my parents with a few other small projects and then we went out for a late lunch before they drove me back to the Reno airport so I could fly back home.

It was a quick trip (I was only there for 2 days) and we didn’t do a ton of stuff, but it was still a perfect weekend adventure and I’m so excited for when I get to go to Tahoe again!

A Day In San Diego (or Celebrating An Anniversary And A Birthday)

Even though I was out pretty late this past Saturday night, I got up early on Sunday morning so I could head out for the day. My parents were down in San Diego visiting my grandma and this past Sunday was their 34th anniversary! So since they were so close to me, I drove down so I could spend the day with them (and with my grandma and aunt).

Growing up, it was pretty cool that my parents’ anniversary was only 2 days before my birthday because we could celebrate them together or back to back. But I don’t think I’ve seen my parents on their anniversary since I moved to LA so this was a pretty special treat! Plus, as I joked to them, we all saved money on stamps not having to mail cards to each other.

My drive down was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I got there just around lunch time. My parents had found an apartment to rent for the weekend so we had a nice place to hang out for the day. It was pretty close to where my grandma lives so my aunt was going to pick her up and bring her over to be with us. But before they got there, I got some time with my parents and the dog.

I know I just saw my parents 2 weeks ago, but it was really nice getting to see them. And I hadn’t seen Tucker since April and he seems to have gotten bigger since then! My grandma and aunt were supposed to arrive about 30 minutes after I got there, so my parents and I went for a walk in the neighborhood where they were staying so I could stretch my legs and the dog could get some energy out.


It was a nice day for a walk and I loved being right next to the ocean. And of course Tucker loved getting to check out all the other dogs that were out on their lunchtime walk.

Right after we got back to where my parents were staying, my grandma and aunt showed up. We all hung out outside enjoying some food (I brought leftovers from the night before) and catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen my grandma or aunt for a while, so it was good to get to see them again (I won’t see either again until Thanksgiving but that’s not too long from now).

We all gave my parents their anniversary cards and they opened them and shared them with everyone. My parents do homemade cards for each other and we got to see what cards they made this year. And then I opened my birthday cards (I only opened the ones from my parents, grandma, and aunt since I didn’t bring the others with me) and shared them with everyone as well.

After opening cards (and thanking my grandma for my birthday check that will help me fix some more stuff on my car), we just spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying time as a family together. I’ve really come to appreciate the quiet time I get to spend with my family since so many times when we are together it is for an event and things are a bit crazy and hectic. Just being with each other is a nice change.

My mom cooked dinner that night (it’s easy and usually better than going out) and we had a pretty early dinner since my parents knew I didn’t want to drive back too late. My dad, aunt, and I discussed how we might have even more family joining us this year for our Thanksgiving morning workout at Orangetheory and we are pretty excited about that. It should be a fun workout (as always) and I’m so happy that we started this new tradition with the family.

After dinner we spent a little bit more time together and then it was time for my aunt to drive my grandma back home. After they left, I stuck around a bit longer because my parents were giving me their leftovers from what they had cooked that weekend in San Diego (I’ve been eating their leftovers all week!). They also had some stuff for me to take back home (mainly donations to take to My Friends Place) so they helped me pack up my car.

I should be seeing my parents again in October (I’m hoping to make it to Tahoe since it’s been a while since I’ve been out there) so it’s not going to be too long before I get to hang out with them again. And as I said, Thanksgiving is coming quickly and I know I’ll be with them for a few days then as well.

Overall, I’m so happy that my parents just happened to be in San Diego on their anniversary so I got to spend the day with them. It was a nice way to spend the day and since I’m used to driving to San Diego just for the day, it wasn’t bad to drive down and back within a few hours. And even though it wasn’t my birthday, it still felt like I got to celebrate my birthday with them which is something that hasn’t happened since I turned 18. Hopefully we can celebrate their anniversary and my birthday together before another 15 years pass.

Family Weekend (or Hanging Out With The Dog)

While Rayshell and Paul’s wedding was the main event of my weekend in Santa Barbara, I was there for a couple of days with my family as well. When I knew the date for the wedding, I had asked my parents if they would be in Santa Barbara at the same time. When I asked they didn’t have plans to be there then, but they looked into it and it worked out well for them to be there the same weekend. Not only did that give me time with my parents, it saved me the expense of getting a hotel since I could stay with them at the house they rented (thanks Mom and Dad!).

I got up there on Saturday afternoon after my race. When I arrived my parents were out with my brother and sister-in-law doing some wine tasting. I could have arrived up there earlier and might have been able to join them, but I was happier not rushing from the race to get ready. Taking my time was nice and even though I was alone at the rental house for a couple of hours before anyone else got back, I enjoyed that time reading and napping a little since I got up at 4am that day.

Once everyone got back, the dog was in heaven that so many people were there. He finally calmed down and settled in for one of his weirdly positioned naps.

Sleeping Tucker

While Tucker was resting, the rest of us visited. I had brought some stuff for everyone with me. My brother and sister-in-law got some stuff from a swag bag that I didn’t need (and I knew they would like), I had my mom’s birthday present since her birthday was last week, and I brought my parents’ anniversary gift since I didn’t know when else I could give it to them (I’ll see them at a family thing back east this summer, but I didn’t want to have to fly with the gift).

My brother and sister-in-law left a little bit after they arrived and I enjoyed a nice relaxing dinner with my parents. My friend Sarah came over and stayed with us that night (otherwise Sarah would have driven to and from Santa Barbara from LA twice in 2 days) and we all had a fun chat since Sarah’s last name is also Levin and I’m sure that somehow we are related. But since the wedding was the next day and I was exhausted, I was glad we all went to bed on the earlier side.

The next day, we dropped Sarah off at Rayshell’s parents’ home where the bridal party was getting ready (Sarah was a bridesmaid) and then my parents, the dog, and I headed out to Tucker’s Grove Park. I had heard of this park a while ago and thought it would be fun for the dog to go to a park with the same name as him. We started at the dog park, but some of the dogs were bugging Tucker a bit. So we headed out to do a walk/hike where everything was so nice and green because of the rain southern CA has been getting lately.

Tucker's Grove Park

It was pretty warm out and I didn’t want to get my hair too gross since I wasn’t going to wash it again before the wedding, so we turned around after a little bit and headed back to the dog park again to let Tucker get as much energy out as possible. It was all different dogs compared to when we were there before, but this time we met a dog that looked like he could have been related to Tucker!

Dog Twins

After the double dog park visit and the walk, I got some lunch with my parents before heading back to the rental house to get ready for the wedding.

I didn’t get back too late on Sunday night, so I was able to get up at a decent time on Monday. We relaxed around the house for a bit before taking the dog out to another dog park and for a nice walk. While the wedding was in Santa Barbara, the town we stayed in was called Summerland (it was just south of Santa Barbara). The town was really cute, but the freeway was really close and almost all the houses overlooked it. But at least they tried to hide the freeway with nice flowers.


After our walk, my brother and sister-in-law came over and we went to lunch together to an Italian restaurant that they had been wanting to check out. After our lunch visit, I headed back to LA while everyone else went walking with the dog.

While the main point of my trip was to go to the wedding, it was nice to get to have family time too. It’s not too often that my immediate family is all together (and I’m not sure when that will happen again), so it was nice that we could coordinate schedules like that and all be in Santa Barbara together. I don’t know if I’ll see the dog before Thanksgiving (I might see him over the summer) and while I’ll see my parents in July I don’t know when I’ll see my brother and sister-in-law again (even though they live close to me, our schedules don’t always match). So I’m glad to get to fit in family time when I was already taking time away from home to make sure that I don’t go too long without seeing my family.

Out Of The Heat (or Finally Getting A/C!)

I’ve been complaining about the heat in my house since my very first summer here. Because my house is so old, the insulation is pretty bad. So when it gets hot in LA, the heat gets trapped inside even if it cools down outside in the evening. There have been plenty of nights where it’s over 90 degrees inside my bedroom when I was going to bed.

I have never really lived in a place with a/c (my last apartment had it but it was facing a wall in the kitchen so it was useless). And I wanted to get some sort of a/c for my house. But there were issues from the beginning. Until recently, my house had fuses and there wasn’t enough power to run an a/c. Then when I got circuits, I was told that I would have to still watch how much power I used because there is still very little power in my place.

Next was the issue of trying to find a portable a/c unit that wasn’t a swamp cooler (because it does get too humid in LA to use one) and didn’t use a ton of power. Once I found that, then it was the issue of finding one that wasn’t insanely expensive. I never found anything that seemed right to me so I never got a portable a/c unit.

I was talking to my landlord last month and we were making small talk about the heat. I mentioned the lack of a/c and he said that because of my house set up I was pretty limited in my options. I said how I really wanted to put a window unit in my dining room, and he said that it couldn’t block the communal driveway (my dining room looks onto the driveway and there is about a foot of room between my wall and the driveway path). With that new restriction, I started to do some research again.

I actually found a low profile window a/c that doesn’t stick out that far and is energy-efficient so it doesn’t go over the power limit I have in my house! And since I hadn’t asked for anything for my birthday from my parents, they agreed to buy it for me!

Once I knew it was on its way, I had to figure out how I’d install it. Fortunately, the directions were available online so my dad and I both researched them. And when I was at brunch with my friend Jane a week ago, I mentioned the new a/c unit and she said that she had installed one before! So she agreed to help me out when it was here!

This past Sunday was installation day. Prior to that, I had made a trip to Home Depot because my dad discovered some fine print in the directions that would require me to drill a piece of wood onto my window sill. And my dad and I had multiple FaceTime calls so he could look at what I was doing.

FaceTime Help

It was actually pretty funny when we were on FaceTime trying to figure this all out.

On Sunday, there were dozens of phone calls/FaceTime calls to my dad while Jane and I were working and then we also had to make another Home Depot run. But after a couple of attempts (and thanks to my power drill and saw that my dad got me years ago), we were able to install it!

New A:C

I’m sure this sounds silly, but even in the couple of days that I’ve had it this a/c unit has made a huge difference in my life! I got it installed just in time for another heat wave in LA and I’m finally getting to work in my house in reasonable temperatures.

Cooler House

I’m still super nervous about how much more expensive my power bill will be, but there was a little guide on the a/c unit that said if you ran the until 8 hours a day for 3 months it would only cost an extra $48 a year. Hopefully that’s true.

I’m so glad that my parents were generous enough to get me this a/c unit. I’m so happy that I was able to install it and that Jane was willing to help me (and we did this in the heat since the a/c wasn’t in yet!). And I’m so excited that I will not feel as sick inside my house during a heat wave and feel trapped since I have to work in my house.

Hopefully when I eventually move one day this a/c unit is as easy to uninstall as it was to install. This thing is totally coming with me wherever I go!

Long Layover Visit (or Celebrating With My Mom In Person)

This past Thursday my parents had a couple of flights. The first flight brought them to LAX where they had about a 10 hour layover. So when my parents knew that this was the situation, they asked me what my plans were for the afternoon. And of course, I immediately cleared my schedule so I could get them and spend some time with them.

The first thing we did at my house was a project (of course). A drawer on my dresser broke and my dad said that he would work on fixing it. We were finally able to create a fix, but we really need to work on it when my dad has the time to go to the hardware store and get some proper things (right now, the drawer is fixed with tape).

Since it was a nice day out, we also took a walk around my neighborhood. My parents haven’t really walked around my neighborhood that much. Usually when they are over at my house, we are working on something and then driving to another activity. But since we had all the free time in the afternoon, we took a very nice walk.

It’s fun to see my parents seeing more about where I live. My mom grew up in LA, but not near where I live. So it’s interesting to see them discovering why I love my area so much.

After walking around, it was time for linner (lunch/dinner). My parents wanted something filling so they wouldn’t be hungry on their next flight, so I took them over to Westside Tavern. I’ve been there plenty of times (it’s right next to one of my favorite movie theaters) but my parents have never been.

And since we were celebrating my mom’s final chemo treatment and her being cancer free, of course she got some champagne.


We had a nice relaxing dinner and then headed back to my place. We spent some time watching tv and I helped both my parents with iPad questions (which is how I “pay” for the house repairs my dad does) and before we knew it, it was time for me to take them back to LAX for their next flight.

Their layover on the flight back isn’t nearly as long as this one was, but I might get to see them again then. But if not, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and I’ll see them (and Tucker!) for a couple of days then.

I’m just so grateful that I’m in a work situation right now that allowed me to take the afternoon off so I could spend it with my parents. It was a nice treat for me to get to see them and I’m sure that they preferred hanging out at my house over spending 10 hours waiting at LAX for their next flight.

Saturday Evening With My Parents (or I’m Posting A Little Out Of Order About My Weekend)

Typically, when I do recaps of things that happen in my life, I put things in order. But to make a bit more sense of what I did with my parents this past weekend, I’m breaking things up a little funny.

On Saturday, I spent the morning/early afternoon with my parents (I’ll talk more about that in tomorrow’s post). Then my parents headed back to their hotel to rest for a bit. And at about 5pm I headed over to their hotel to meet them for our evening plans.

My parents usually stay in Brentwood (there is a dog friendly hotel that they like there), but this time I encouraged them to stay near the Hollywood Bowl. So they found a nice hotel on Highland Ave (although it was quite touristy) and that’s where I headed to meet them.

It was important for them to stay near the Hollywood Bowl because that’s where we were headed on Saturday evening!


My mom saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl when she was younger. She’s not 100% sure she was at the show 50 years ago or the show 48 years ago. But either way, she saw them at the Bowl.

My dad on the other hand, has never seen a show at the Bowl. We went there during the wintertime so he could check out the venue and we toured the museum, but never for a show.

So when this summer’s season was announced, I knew that this would be an awesome event to go to with my parents.

My mom originally wanted me to get us box seats, but those sold out before I even had a chance. The best seats in my opinion are the first row of any section because there is more leg room and you can use the concrete barrier as a table for your snacks. So I found us some pretty close seats in the first row of a section.


Technically, they were partially obstructed seats, but we never really had an issue with that (plus everything was shown on the giant screens).

The show was amazing (check out my Instagram for some videos). The first part was 30 minutes long and it was the playlist from the Beatles concert 50 years ago. It was shocking to think that the Beatles only played for 30 minutes when they were in LA!

After intermission, there were maybe 15 more Beatles songs. They had a bunch of different singers. Some were amazing and some I wished hadn’t had as many songs to sing as they did. But overall, it was an amazing concert!

My parents both had a great time and because their hotel was so close to the Bowl, I parked my car there and we were able to walk to and from the concert. That was much more relaxing than me taking the Bowl bus there and trying to meet up with them!

After I got back to my parents’ hotel, I got my car and headed back home.

I’ll be back at the Bowl this weekend for the John Williams show and I’m hoping to go in September for the Simpsons event. Every time I’m there, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such an amazing venue so close to where I live!

A Birthday Present For Me And My House (or Thank You Mom And Dad!)

My parents are pretty great at getting me awesome presents. They do ask me what I want, so that always helps.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were talking about my birthday and I mentioned that I finally wanted to replace my old couch.

I had that couch in my old apartment before I moved into my house (I think I got it 7 years ago). The couch was actually part of a set of 3 pieces: the couch, the loveseat, and the armchair. The couch and armchair moved into my house with me. The loveseat was ruined by my last set of roommates at my apartment (one of the cushions got sliced open somehow), so I made them buy it off me.

I loved my couch, but it was starting to show some wear and tear.


About 6 months ago, I saw a couch at IKEA that I loved. It was a couch with a lounge on it and it turned into a double bed! I tried it out then and thought it was super comfortable. I remembered it for future reference.

When I mentioned wanting to get a new couch, my mom decided that that would be my birthday present from my parents!

So earlier this week, I went to IKEA to check out the couch again. I went to sit on it, and it didn’t feel right. The back was super low. Turns out, they changed the couch. This one was similar to the old one I saw, but it was a different one with a different name (who remembers the names of IKEA pieces?).

I was pretty upset. I really wanted that couch. I called my mom and she encouraged me to go look at other furniture stores. You never know what else is out there.

I went around to 4 or 5 different stores with no luck. Either the couches were way too big, or they were way too expensive.

As I was driving home, I passed the storefront for Sofa Club. I’ve driven past it a million times, but I had never gone inside. I found some parking, walked inside, and right next to the door was my dream couch!


It was exactly what I wanted (minus the sofa sleeper part but that’s ok)! The owner of the store gave me a great deal on it because I bought the floor model and Sofa Club is actually a custom furniture store. Then, I asked if she had any discounts for the beginning of the school year, and she said that if I was a teacher, she would give me free delivery and take another $20 off the price. I’ve never been so grateful that I keep my teacher ID card for substitute teaching in my purse.

The couch came a few hours later. The delivery men were nice enough to move my old couch and chair into my garage (a friend is taking the couch from me and I’m still looking for someone to buy my chair).

The couch looks amazing in my house!


I am thinking of getting the back pillows switched out. The owner said if I wanted pillows without buttons, they would exchange the ones I have for new ones at no cost (they would just have to take a few days to make the new pillows). I’m pretty sure I will get the other pillows. While the buttons look cute, they aren’t the most comfortable to lean against.

My parents will be in town next week to visit me, so they will get to see the present they got me in person soon. I’m so grateful that my parents got me such an incredible gift. It’s the nicest piece of furniture I’ve owned. And it really makes my house look even better than it did before!